The following statement by Chairman Craig Frank, provides further context (process and historical) for the current public debate regarding a candidate’s opportunity to meet with the Steering Committee to review written instructions from the Executive Committee, prior to being qualified as a UCRP candidate.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2016 | Updated Monday, April 11, 2016* | Thursday, April 14, 2016*
RE: Utah County Republican Party Bylaw 5.B.
Much local media attention was focused yesterday on the Utah County Republican Party (UCRP) documents requiring “approval in advance by the Executive Committee the Party’s standards of, and candidate’s willingness to adhere to” a number of items regarding “fitness” for public office. Much of what was discussed in various media and social media forums was mis-communicated, misunderstood, and misrepresented by conversation participants.
Contrary to the assertion by a number of individuals in the public forum, the bylaw associated with candidates meeting with the Steering Committee “to discuss written instructions” regarding their candidacy, preceded the introduction of SB54 Election Amendments [Sen. Bramble] (passed by the Utah Legislature during the 2014 General Session) by nearly two decades.*
Long before I was elected as Chairman of the UCRP, a proposal to introduce Bylaw 5.B. (aka fitness test, minimum standards evaluation, and many other “branded” labels) was presented, debated, and adopted by a majority of a quorum of the Party’s governing body—the 600+ member County Central Committee. Why previous Steering Committees and Executive Committees of the UCRP decided not to implement Bylaw 5.B. as described, I’ll leave for them to answer.
Bylaw 5.B. provides for the creation of certain “written instructions” by the UCRP Executive Committee (26 members), to be used by the Steering Committee (nine members), when qualifying declared candidates as they seek to become the Party’s nominee. The process is structured so that no one person qualifies a candidate. Instead, a panel, or designee, meets and discusses with the candidate, “instructions” regarding election processes, significant dates, party loyalty, platform, etc. The entire content of the evaluation and declaration forms are taken from the UCRP and UTGOP governing documents. There is no “new” content to these documents.
Leadership of the Utah County Republican Party, both the Steering Committee and the Executive Committee, reviewed draft documents over several months. The results of the two committees’ deliberations produced the document titled “Candidate Fitness Evaluation Form,” as well as the accompanying document titled “2016 Candidate Disclosure Statement.” During its January 2016 Executive Committee meeting, the final versions of these documents were passed by a majority of a quorum of the committee (with only a few dissenting votes).
We respect those who selflessly provide public service in our county and throughout our state. Utah County Republican Party bylaws of this type, have been created to “assure” an even playing field for all Republican Party candidates. Members of the UCRP Steering Committee, as well as the Executive Committee, and other Legislative/Precinct leaders, are bound to a stance of neutrality while candidates are opposed intra-party. When the Party has a single nominee, the Party publicly supports that nominee. (UCRP Bylaw 5.B.3.) The UCRP will continue to equitably provide party resources to declared candidates who have accepted the invitation to meet with the Steering Committee prior to the 2016 Nominating Convention.
Regarding delegate lists. The UCRP has complied, and will continue to comply with, all state statutory requirements for the dispersal of delegate lists. Under rules located in the UTGOP governing documents, all state party processes for equal distribution of delegate lists were satisfied. All Party delegate lists were made available after they were satisfactorily completed—and immediately placed on the UCRP.org website for public access.
The Bylaw 5.B. requirement for the Steering Committee (or it’s designee) to meet with each candidate, does not contradict the responsibility of each county and state delegate to carefully and thoroughly investigate all persons running for elected office. Perhaps the misunderstanding rests in a philosophical discussion about who (or what) delegates are accountable to—the Party or the candidate. In fact, delegates are elected through a party procedure, and without the express procedures of this private organization, the Caucus/Convention System would not exist. Also, when delegates vacate their seat for whatever reason, it’s not the candidate who elects/appoints a replacement, but the Party. And, as stated in the last line of the Platform, delegates are held accountable to the Party.
We encourage all elected, and appointed, leaders and delegates of the UCRP, to familiarize themselves with the Party’s governing documents. The latest version of these documents may be found on the Party’s website located at www.UCRP.org (under the RESOURCES tab on the main menu).
Some have suggested that perhaps the time is ripe to consider the repeal of UCRP Bylaw 5.B. There is a process in our governing documents to provide for its removal. As the Chairman, my position during such a debate is one of impartial moderator. Any member of the County Central Committee may propose changes to the Bylaws. (UCRP Bylaw, Article I, Section C.)
You may call the “Evaluation and Declaration” documents of the UCRP whatever you’d like, but the standards and information defined in the UCRP governing papers provide structure and fairness to the organization and to declared and/or qualified Republican Party candidates. Fundamental fairness in process is necessary to extinguish tyranny of the one, or the few.
The UCRP Platform closes with this statement: “All Republican elected officials, candidates and party officers are expected to endorse these principles and agree to be held accountable to the people and to the party.”
The County Central Committee performed its due diligence in introducing and passing Bylaw 5.B., the Executive Committee has done its due diligence in adopting the provisions and affirmations included in these candidate documents, and the Steering Committee has requested that all declared candidates meet with it to perform its duty under the party’s governing documents.
We are mandated to do our duty, for fairness sake.
Utah County Republican Party
* Updated statement on 4/14/16. Original language of Bylaw 5.B. was included in the document as Bylaw 6.B. When subsequent changes were made to the Bylaw document on February 17, 2007, by the County Central Committee, Bylaw 6.B. was renumbered to Bylaw 5.B.
Bylaw 6.B. (now 5.B.) was included in the language of the UCRP Bylaws as far back as 1995.