On March 14th 2012, Deseret News staff writer Jared Page published a story titled “Utah GOP battling efforts to manipulate party caucuses” in which he describes efforts by FreedomWorks to induce it’s followers to break Utah State Republican Party rules at local caucus meetings to increase their chances of becoming state delegates. The smoking gun was a mailer which FreedomWorks sent out to members urging them to, for example, skip the pledge of allegiance and prayer and to run for leadership positions they had no interest in serving for in order to raise their profiles at the meetings. The effort backfired and as most of you know FreedomWorks was demonized as a result (polls show 57% of state delegates have a negative impression of Freedom Works).
In the article Page states that Russ Walker told him that the whole mailer issue was a big misunderstanding. He writes:
Walker said the packets were sent out before the rules for the 2012 GOP caucuses were finalized, resulting in confusion.
When I confronted FreedomWorks officials in Washington, D.C. they backed up Russ Walker’s statement, claiming that the organization had no idea it was breaking state party rules before the mailers were sent out. At one point, they even denied the mailers were theirs.
FACT: Russ Walker lied to Deseret News!
The truth is that caucus rules were finalized at the last meeting of the Utah Republican Party State Central Committee on January 21st, 2012 – almost two months before the caucuses were held. The rules were posted online at the state party website on February 15th, a full month before the caucuses. The Freedom Works mailers which encouraged supporters to break those rules were sent out on March 8th 2012 and we have proof.
Please observe this scanned copy [PDF] of the now infamous ‘caucus manipulation mailer’ which FreedomWorks sent out to all it’s supporters. If you scroll down to the last page of the scanned document you will notice the postmark which clearly shows that this mailer was sent to Freedom Works supporters on March 8th, 2012. Again, that’s three weeks after the caucus rules were posted online, and more than a month and a half after the rules were finalized by the State Central Committee.
What do we as voters do when an out of state organization comes to Utah, tries to manipulate our election system, engages in deceptive polling practices, pollutes our media market with negative ads, and then lies to our local media outlets about it? Personally I think it’s time we ask Russ Walker, Matt Kibbe, and the rest of the FreedomWorks gang (and other out-of-state Nanny PACS like them) to pack their bags and go home! Join me in sending the message to Freedom Works in Washington D.C. that their brand of politics is not welcome in Utah, and it won’t be tolerated in our state anymore.
Call 1.888.564.6273 and tell them to STOP THE LIES!!!