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Oklahoma’s Republican Party: How Do We Stop The Corruption?

I have been actively involved in the political spectrum for about 3 years now. Thirty-five years ago I tried to get involved, but when I saw how corrupt and self-serving the process was, I gave up. I registered as an Independent with the hopes that being an Independent would insulate me from the corruption, self-serving politicians, and the evil that pervades both parties. I was sadly mistaken. In that 35 years nothing has improved. Now, 35 years later, I find our Republic in the death throes of dictatorship and people in both political parties working together to enslave We the People. Sadly, much of this is my fault because I chose to ignore it in the hope it would go away. It didn’t go away, but instead has become much more of a problem and much more of a danger. I re-registered as a Republican just after the 2008 elections that saw John McCain, and the Republican Party machine, surrender my nation to the most radical thing that has ever sat in the White House.

I have seen the Republican Party sacrifice my freedoms on the altar of the party machine interests time and again. I have seen congressional Republicans cave on issue after issue and “go along to get along”, be “bi-partisan, civil, and agreeable” , and “reach across the aisle” to work with their “friends in the Democrat Party” until they no longer stand for the ideals our founding fathers espoused in the Constitution. Republicans have done this in spite of the promises they made to get elected in record numbers. I have found the Republican Party does not represent me any better than the Democrat Party.

In 2010, voters in the State of Oklahoma swept Republicans into office in unprecedented fashion, much as was done in the national elections. We also passed state referendums opposing Sharia Law and Obamacare. The first thing the newly elected Republican governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House did upon taking office was begin a plot to implement Obamacare in the State of Oklahoma. They tried 3 different stealth approaches to slip this into law in spite of the overwhelming, and by overwhelming I mean 70% of the voters, opposition to Obamacare. They were looking at the $54.5 million that would come from the federal government for them to spend, particularly with their allies in the insurance business.

Governor Mary Fallin, State Sen. Brian Bingman, and State House Speaker Kris Steele were the authors of this dastardly plot to subvert the wishes of 70% of We the People of the State of Oklahoma. All of their attempts were thwarted due to the dogged work of OKSAFE, an organization dedicated to defeating Obamacare, and dedicated to being a watch-dog on Oklahoma politicians. I have been told, but cannot verify at this moment, that they are hatching new plots to implement Obamacare in the next legislative session. They seem to be determined to sneak this through when they think We the People aren’t looking. They want that $54.5 million for their cronies, not for We the People.

I was astounded that Republicans would behave in this fashion. I don’t know why it surprised me, but it did. Maybe it is because I have followed the TEA Party movement and seen how Republicans have seemed to step right into what We the People want done in government. Once again, I have seen the duplicity and self-serving nature of politicians rear its ugly head and have begun to realize none of them can be trusted. I have seen the “tell voters what they want to hear and do as we please once elected” attitude alive and well within the Republican Party.

In 2009, I got involved in a campaign for the 2nd Congressional District of Oklahoma. Dr. Charles Thompson nearly upset a long time Democrat, coming close enough that Rep. Dan Boren has decided he won’t run again. Since that time I have become actively involved in my local county party group with the intent of cleaning the corruption and “insider trading” out of the system. I have been elected, by my county peers, as the State Committeeman representing Rogers County in the Oklahoma Republican Party.

Everything was rolling along fine until we began the primary race for the 2nd Congressional District. I won’t go into details, as the details will be very plainly evident in this letter that I sent to the state chairman, district chairman, and the county chairwoman responsible for the issue at the district meeting held in October 2011 in McAlester, Oklahoma. The last 3 names on the list of recipients are there because I discussed it with them to get their input on how I should approach this matter. We were working together to organize a candidate forum and I felt I owed them the courtesy of letting them know how I wound up handling this matter. The e-mail I sent follows:

November 1, 2011
Mr. Montgomery,

I am writing about the fiasco involving the straw pole at the McAlester meeting of the Oklahoma 2nd District Republican Party. It has come to my attention that Holly Gerard and the other people running the straw pole were wearing George Faught t-shirts and stickers. The rules were changed several times and some people who were in line to vote were told the voting was over at the specified time in spite of your announcement that those in line at the cut-off time would be allowed to vote.

I find this troubling on several points. My first problem is with having partisan campaign workers running what is supposed to be an objective voting process. Another issue is the changing of the rules as it went along. You can’t have an objective voting process when one candidate’s operatives are running the vote. You also can’t have a fair and balanced vote if the rules change to suit one candidate or the other. This is what is done in Third World banana republics, not in The United States of America. Whether this was the reason or not is immaterial, the appearance of impropriety is enough to call the entire process, and the people administering it, into question.

Those looking potential straw voters up in voter vault seemed to be totally incompetent and/or the records woefully incomplete. They could not find the name of Linda Lepak, the Rogers County Chairperson. I am sure Linda is a Republican yet she was nearly denied the right to vote over a failure to find her in Voter Vault. She was only allowed to vote after she argued vigorously. I have also been told by some of the candidates that they were not notified that the straw poll was going to be held. Once again, whether that is an oversight or a direct omission is beside the point.

I find the involvement of Holly Gerard in George Faught’s campaign to be in conflict with her duties as an officer of the 2nd Congressional District. I submit that she and any other party official should immediately resign their position to clear up any conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof.

Their involvement in a campaign when they are supposed to be working for the good of the entire district is a conflict of interest that cannot be resolved by them suddenly stating they are not a part of that campaign any longer. Their objectivity has been tarnished and they must step down from any state, district, or county position immediately.

I became involved in the Republican Party two years ago because of my disgust at the graft and corruption I have seen in politics. I realize that I am new here and not terribly aware of “how things are done” but I am aware enough to know that the current system is corrupt. One of the reasons I became involved with the party is to remove these tactics and the people that employ them, those as candidates, those as elected officials, and those as party officials. The American public is totally disgusted with the way politics is handled in this country and the only way to regain the confidence of We the People is to remove the corruption and be totally above board. That is my goal, to clean up a process so vile and corrupt that it needs a good disinfecting by honest and fair people.

Ms. Gerard and the others involved in this may be wonderful, honest people but these circumstances bring into question their judgment at the very least, and their ethics as well. We can no longer afford to tolerate this kind of behavior, innocent or not. The only way to regain the confidence of the American people is to remove those with questionable ethics or judgment from the process and to ensure that everything is done properly and with the utmost propriety.

We are on the verge of losing our Republic and it is partially because of this kind of activity. American citizens have lost their confidence in the political parties and see them as only looking out for the best interests of party insiders and not the well-being of the citizenry as a whole. This must be reversed if we are to have any hope of restoring the confidence needed to preserve our nation and our freedom.

I am not casting aspersions on any of those involved because I don’t know them. I don’t know what their motives were but I do know that their actions, even if totally innocent, were unacceptable. I am saying that the perception of impropriety is enough to bring the ethics and character of those involved into question and that cannot be allowed to fester. If we are to continue on as a free and prosperous nation we must take the steps necessary to restore the confidence of the American people.
I hope to be a part of leading the Republican Party back to being a party of the people, a party that the average American citizen can depend on to look out for the best interests of all not just party insiders. I hope you will be a part of this goal. It is imperative that we succeed in regaining the trust of the citizens of America.

Copies of this letter are going to: Matt Pinnell, Tom Montgomery, Holly Gerard, Linda Lepak, Jo Rainbolt, and Bob Brown.
I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty god To honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

In God We Trust,
Bob Russell
Rogers County State Committeeman

To date, I have received one response to this e-mail. Matt Pinnell, Oklahoma State GOP Chairman, called me one afternoon and told me that Ms. Gerard was contemplating stepping down from her county president position and that this is behind us. I don’t know that anyone has stepped down and the problem wasn’t addressed, only swept under the rug. It might be behind him but it isn’t behind me.

I subsequently made a request that I be allowed to speak at the next Republican Party District 2 meeting and at the next state committee meeting. So far, Mr. Montgomery e-mailed me that Ms. Gerard was doing the planning for the District meeting and that he would get back with me on the matter. That was November 16, today is December 27. I have yet to hear any response at all from the state level. My purpose in speaking at these meetings is to make others aware that this happened and remind them that We the People must step up to tell the political operatives who they represent, and who they work for. I also desire to let others as appalled as I am know that they aren’t alone and need not fear standing up for what is right and just.

State Representative George Faught is playing the old game of self-serving political opportunism. I believe that if he is our next congressman he will do whatever he is told to do by party leadership. He will do what he has to do to improve his own position, power, and benefits in Congress. In addition to this little game, he has his campaign staff, one of which is the Vice-Chair of Rogers County, going around to speaking engagements of the other 5 candidates and recording everything they say. This might be good politics, but to this voter, it is unethical and shows a lack of confidence in his own message. I don’t need to know what others are saying about issues, I can make the case for my views. A good candidate should be able to make the same statement.

Bringing this to the public is painful, as I have no desire to hurt the Republican Party. My desire, or more accurately my responsibility, is to stop the corruption and turn the party back into “the party of the people”. It is up to citizens to get involved and have the courage to take whatever steps are necessary to save our nation for future generations. The only way to defeat evil is to fight it, to bring the back room deals into the light and under the table bargaining above the table. The only way to stop the party insider dealing is to get outsiders involved, outsiders who value the Constitution more than the party.

Bob Russell
Rogers County Oklahoma State Committeeman
December 27, 2011

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