Tuesday, January 12, 2010

LCRP Simpson group files complaints against Stainbrook

It appears Jon Stainbrook is getting a taste of his own medicine, so to speak.

Yesterday, the Simpson-led faction of the Lucas County Republican Party filed several complaints against Jon Stainbrook for multiple offenses, including violating the LCRP bylaws.

It starts with the lists each faction needs to submit to the local Board of Elections when there are two groups claiming to be the 'official' party. Ohio law determines the process by which the local BOE certifies the officers/members submitted by each group to the state central committee which then makes a determination as to which group to recognize.

While Stainbrook and his attorney have made a filing against the Simpson lists, the Simpson group has done the same - only they've got a lot more details than Stainbrook as to why the Stainbrook lists are invalid.

Apparently, 15 individuals have been 'appointed' to serve as precinct committeemen. That is certainly allowable under LCRP bylaws when there is no one elected to serve in a particular precinct or when the precinct has become vacant for some reason. However, those appointees must be voted upon and approved at a meeting of the central committee. According to the complaint, no vote was ever taken to appoint these 15 people.

Additionally, all central committee members must be members of the Republican Party - that is, registered Republicans. The complaint points out that four of the individuals are NOT registered Republicans and, therefore, ineligible to serve on the central committee.

The second complaint deals with the number of appointed members of the party's executive committee. As I've explained in previous posts, certain individuals are automatically members of the party executive committee: past party chairmen, ward chairmen, presidents of GOP clubs with more than 25 members, state central committee members and elected officials. The chairmen of the party can make appointments equal to the total of these mandatory members combined.

Apparently, some of the individuals named in the mandatory categories do not actually hold those positions. Stainbrook listed the wrong president of the Greater Toledo Republican Club, listed ward chairmen who either do not live in the ward they represent (which is required) or are not the individuals duly elected by the ward to serve as their ward chair (noting that no elections have taken place to elect some of the named individuals), and one of them isn't even a Republican.

When those ineligible individuals are removed, it reduces the membership of the executive committee and reduces the number of 'equal' appointments the chairman can make. The complaint alleges that this is a 'flagrant' violation of the party bylaws in an attempt to "stack the Executive Committee with his consorts."

The third complaint states that Stainbrook is in violation of the party bylaws by not providing written reports of party business and finances at the executive committee meetings. It states:

Article VII Section C 4, clearly states “The Party Chairman shall make available reports, filings, bank and financial statements, contracts and candidate profiles to Executive Committee members for review at the office of the LCRP.” Mr. Stainbrook has never provided and of the above documentation. Furthermore, when pressed for this information Mr. Stainbrook has called the member “Out of Order”.

The fourth complaint deals with party finances. It asks the BOE to investigate hotel in-kind contributions from 2008 that have not been reported on any of the campaign finance reports filed by the party.

It also questions the lack of reporting of cash contributions:

It has also come to our attention that former LCRP Chairman Jon Stainbrook and his associates were accepting cash contributions during the 2008 McCain Campaign by way of a wooden cash box screwed onto the wall near the entryway by Jon Stainbrook’s office and also by selling McCain/Palin yard signs. There is a glaring absence of ANY cash contributions in any of the 2008 campaign finance reports. We would also like to request a full investigation into this matter.

The fifth complaint deals with an old issue. When Stainbrook decided to file suit to overturn the original appointment of Patrick Kriner to the BOE, he had himself nominated to fill that position. That nomination by the executive committee has never been rescinded, even though it was denied by the Secretary of State who makes the appointment. However, Stainbrook also had himself nominated to serve in the position Lynn Olman currently holds on the BOE. You cannot nominate a person to serve in both these positions. While this is a technical matter, without rescinding the the first Stainbrook recommendation (which is currently pending in Lucas County Common Pleas Court and has not been resolved), Stainbrook cannot be recommended for another seat on the BOE.

It's sloppy, I admit, but it's a technicality which renders his appointment for the term expiring at the end of February moot without further action from the executive committee.

The sixth complaint deals with the endorsement of Kevin Haddad for Sylvania Township Trustee. It states that the LCRP exists to elect Republicans and that Haddad is not a registered Republican, even though he was endorsed over the two Republican incumbents for the Trustee positions. The complaint reads:

Receiving endorsement from the LCRP should not be given via a test of loyalty to the Chairman but rather loyalty to the Republican Party.

The last complaint states that Stainbrook is also in violation of the bylaws by not establishing the required standing committees of the party.

Now, I have no idea what the local BOE is supposed to do with some of these complaints about violations of the bylaws. I really don't believe they have any authority to enforce local party bylaws, though such allegations and questions certainly would be pertinent to any central committee making a decision about removing or appointment a chairman.

But the BOE does have jurisdiction over the party's financial reports and knowing that cash donations were solicited and accepted but no cash donations are reported on the reports is clearly something they should investigate.

That the party was 'selling' McCain yard signs was well known. Several of my friends mentioned to me that they made donations for them, which they thought unusual, but didn't really mind. Those donations/collections certainly need to be reported. Even if the party took the cash and used it to pay other expenses, the receipt of the funds needs to be included on the reports and the expenditures, showing they were paid in cash, needs to be there as well.

So while the BOE may not even consider many of these complaints, it doesn't mean Stainbrook will be able to ignore them. However, the state central committee may find these complaints pertinent to their decision on which group to certify as the 'official' LCRP.

My guess is that the Simpson faction just got tired of all the allegations being thrown at them and decided to play by Stainbrook's own rules.

And from The Blade, the BOE did certify both the factions lists to the state central committee earlier today.

As I predicted in prior posts, I think this is finally the end of Stainbrook's time as party chairman.

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