Bryce Steinhoff reports for the Daily Paul:
I’m one of the St. Charles County Coordinators for Ron Paul. This is my account of the caucus hijacking on March 17.
Available for sharing on Facebook here:http://www.facebook.com/notes/bryce-steinhoff/st-charles-cau…
The St. Charles County Republican Central Committee HIJACKED the St. Charles County Caucus today!
Due to long lines, the caucus didn’t convene until until nearly 11 AM (it should have begun at 10 AM, but that wait was by far the most bearable of the day).
Bryan Spencer, chairman of the caucus subcommittee of the St. Charles Central Committee, told me personally, very strongly, at the committee meeting on March 8 that he would work to challenge the St. Charles delegation on a technicality if any one group came in and “hijacked” the caucus by taking all the delegates or otherwise not allowing for a proportionate distribution. This narrow definition of “fair” as described by Spencer simply isn’t his definition to decide. It is the very purpose of the caucus for the body to decide what is fair – how delegates would be apportioned. It is clear that Spencer and the committee were fearful of a Paul or Paul and Romney majority at the caucus – and so they hijacked it instead by ignoring all rules, the orders of the day, and general fairness in chairmanship.
Bryan Spencer tried to enforce an arbitrary “house rule” ban on recording devices and eject a caucus body member who refused to stop recording. The caucus body of many hundreds erupted into howls of disapproval for what seemed like an eternity. Spencer dispatched on-site police officers to remove him or arrest him for trespassing. So much for fair and accountable. It is clear that the committee had something to hide, but we didn’t have to wait too long to find out what it was.
Spencer and temporary caucus chairman and Central Committee Chairman Eugene Dokes refused to continue the caucus until the recording devices were stopped and the crowd settled down. During this time I, along with many others, attempted to motion for the rule against recording devices be lifted. No motions or points of order were recognized by either Dokes or Spencer. A large number of additional police officers and highway patrolmen entered the gymnasium during this time to help keep the peace.
It is my feeling that the body realized that in order for the caucus to have any semblance of productivity, we would have to get quiet so that Eugene Dokes would continue the meeting. The plan was to wait until the election of the Caucus Chairman (Paul and Romney supporters had previously agreed to rally behind Brent Stafford, a Paul supporter) after which we could move to approve recording devices.
Once we quieted, Dokes carried on with facilitating the prayer and pledge which went off without incident. After this point, Dokes proceeded to entirely ignore the published MO GOP Caucus Agenda and appointed a parliamentarian, the credentials committee, and the rules committee. All three of these are very clearly supposed to be appointed by a newly elected Caucus Chairman. The crowd booed loudly at the gross misconduct by the chair and I, along with others, called for points of order and for the orders of the day. No motions were recognized from the floor.
At this point, Dokes opened the floor for nominations for Caucus Chairman. The Central Committee shills nominated Matt Ehlen while the crowd nearly-unanimously chanted “Brent Stafford”. After not waiting for further nominations, Dokes called for a voice vote. There were no audible ayes and an uproar of no’s, but Dokes declared that the ayes had it and awarded the position of Caucus Chairman to Ehlen. Dokes refused to recognize many, many calls for a division of the vote, which would have required him to count the votes for the purpose of transparency and clarity.
Matt Ehlen, illegally “elected” and de-facto appointed chair, then proceeded to demand order, which was rightly met with rejection from the body.
Bryan Spencer and Matt Ehlen warned that the caucus would be disqualified and no delegates would be awarded if the raucous continued, but united supporters from all campaigns continued to show extreme disgust with the actions of the Central Committee. A motion to adjourn (at least I think there was a motion; I didn’t hear it) was put forward by Spencer and his cronies. It should have required a 2/3 vote since there was still business to be conducted, but regardless Spencer put it up for a voice vote and declared the caucus adjourned.
At this point Brent Stafford attempted to declare the chair vacant, as is proper parliamentary procedure when a chairman continually disrupts order and steps down. Stafford attempted to facilitate the election of a new chairman to preside over the caucus, but attempts were futile and Spencer and clan demanded that the body evacuate the gym or face arrest.
We rallied as many of the caucus body as possible to hold a rump convention in the parking lot, where we planned to re-credential the body and hold the caucus fairly according to the agenda released by the MO GOP. We were greeted outside by a large police presence, including at least one helicopter. When word had gotten around and the body that remained congregated in the designated location for the rump convention, Brent Stafford stood on a chair and began instructing the new rump convention body how to turn in credential information.
While this was happening, two police officers approached Brent and placed him under arrest for trespassing, a charge which was entirely unfounded.
Police continued efforts to eject the body from the public school grounds and much of the body gathered at nearly Wapelhorst Park to talk, rehash, and rally behind our common goals – transparency and fairness in the process. The entire process uncovered great unity among many camps, particularly the Romney and Paul camps, much to my delight.
During this process at least one other person, Kenny Suitter, was detained or arrested for refusing to turn off his recording device.
My belief is that the St. Charles Republican Central Committee had full intentions from the beginning to railroad the caucus results in favor of Santorum, the candidate most supported by the committee’s members. They were vastly outnumbered by Paul and Romney supporters at the caucus and knew they couldn’t pull out delegates without overtly breaking the rules. Bryan Spencer’s cries of “fairness” were a sham intended to skew media reports of the caucus he knew would be heavily contested.
Let me be clear: The St. Charles Republican Central Committee, lead by Eugene Dokes and Bryan Spencer (and I suspect Cheryl Bates), broke a wide variety of rules, refused to follow the established parliamentary procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order, and HIJACKED the caucus.
Dokes, Spencer, and Ehlen are all running for public office in Missouri.
Let’s show them that we will not stand for their totalitarian tactics, but that we demand respect, accountability, and transparency in the process. DO NOT VOTE FOR THESE LIBERTY-ROBBING, FRAUDULENT PEOPLE.
I beg and plead that the Missouri Republican Party reschedule the caucus and assign a specially-appointed committee not consisting of any Central Committee members to oversee its execution. I also call for the immediate removal of Eugene Dokes as chair of the Central Committee. Please call the Missouri GOP (573-636-3146) and demand that our caucus be rescheduled.
Additionally, call the St. Peters City Police (636-278-2222) and let them know your disgust with the unwarranted arrests performed during peaceful assembly on public property.
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