Sarah Anderson, the controversial secretary of the El Paso County Republican party, broke her silence Monday and said that she’s been the target of a “witch hunt with a predetermined outcome.”
After Anderson went off the reservation earlier this year and openly criticized a major Republican healthcare bill at the state Capitol, it was loudly suggested by county party chair Eli Bremer and other Republicans that Anderson should resign as the county party secretary. And a closed-door meeting of the county party’s executive committee was convened nearly two weeks ago to address the issue.
The proceedings of the meeting were kept confidential, which enraged many grassroots Republicans and Tea Partiers who see Anderson as a symbol of conflict between them and the GOP power structure. Anderson, however, abided by the party’s wishes that the talks remain secret, and kept her mouth shut until Monday.
In a statement she issued, she called the meeting a “sham trial,” and slammed the county party for not allowing party members to watch. She said the county party has become “an organization that claims ’100 percent accountability and transparency’ to the people who are part of it, then completely shuts their voice out of the process.”
She said in the email that Bremer should release the details from the meeting, and also said state GOP chair Ryan Call should issue a statement on whether he thinks party officers–such as Anderson–should be allowed to speak out against Republican officials.
Bremer has said in the past he won’t release the meeting’s proceedings, and a unanimous vote was cast by the committee to keep the proceedings confidential. Call declined to comment.
Bremer wrote in an email, “There are a lot more things that draw the ‘factions’ of our Party together than that separate us. However, there will always be folks willing to divide the Party for personal or political gain.”
“My goal is to work with as many people as possible on the Republican side to bring together the factions and fight for a common cause. I truly believe that there is much more that unites my Party than that divides us,” Bremer wrote.
Though Anderson has not resigned her post as county party secretary, her Facebook profile now says she is the campaign manager for Clear the Bench Colorado, a conservative non-profit that advocates removing several left-leaning justices from the state Supreme Court. Matt Arnold, the Colorado director of the group, is Anderson’s boyfriend.
Anderson also wrote on her Facebook page on Tuesday that she can “no longer access our county party’s database.”
Bremer said the database had been “shut down for security reasons.”
Anderson further attacked the county party for adopting what it calls a “strategic plan” to help direct donations to specific projects, and called it a “pay-to-play” system.
Though Bremer again declined to comment on Anderson’s attacks, he did say in an email that the “strategic plan” was both well within the party’s bylaws and is the perfect tool to help the party win races next year.
“The Road to the White House will come through El Paso County next year; and I can say with complete confidence that our new tools of the Strategic Plan, Donor Directed Fund, and (chief operating officer) will help us make sure that road leads a Republican to the White House!” Bremer wrote.
Read about what happened at the executive committee meeting here.
Anderson’s full statement:
The real travesty of 7 July, 2011 at the El Paso County Republican Party Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado was not the sham “trial” conducted in a secret closed-door meeting. That portion of the meeting was a witch hunt with a predetermined outcome. Much rumour, intrigue and speculation swirls about the happenings simply because they were made “secret” by a decree of the Chairman, not by a vote of the members present.
It was not that a Party, which screams “Unity!” from the rooftops, would leave elected officials and precinct leaders (along with many who they might have been able to bring into the Republican Party had they been more open and hospitable) out in the rain to follow a “fire code” that, if it exists, has been broken many times in the past, one that was only adhered to at the last minute for this meeting.
It was not about an organization that claims “100% accountability and transparency” to the people who are part of it, then completely shuts their voices out of the process.
No, the real travesty of 7 July, 2011 meeting is that all of the above was used to distract WE THE PEOPLE from the power play made that night in the open meeting, against the clear definition and plain text of the By-Laws of this Party, By-Laws which had been given such attention on that night by the Chairman before certain sections were entirely disregarded when convenient.
As with many power plays inside the Republican Party here in El Paso County, it was done using smoke & mirrors and diversion, without giving full information to the voting members, all while ignoring requests and questions for clarification and additional information. It was rushed through to avoid actual careful thought being given to the motions on the floor.
Now the El Paso County Republican Party has an unaccountable and non-transparent pay-to-play Donor Directed Fund governing its finances, in clear violation of the By-Laws and common sense. In an abdication of their duties under the By-Laws, the majority of the Executive Committee has over-committed this Party to pay a salary for someone hired outside of the By-Laws that the Party can’t afford… all while we wait on the promise of money coming in to take care of this with the pay-to-play Donor Directed Fund: but not until at least in November, when it is finally formed. Pinning hopes on promised money is not being fiscally conservative, and spending beyond our means is what got us into the financial mess this County Party was in at the beginning of 2011.
This behavior cannot be allowed to continue. In order to win in 2012 and defeat the elitists in Washington and in our own state, the voting public needs to, once again, be able to trust this Party. Unfortunately, thanks to the actions of a Chairman and the majority of an Executive Committee, we are moving in the wrong direction. Voters are tired of having to vote against someone (or for the lesser of two evils)… they want to have someone to vote for, someone to trust in. We can’t have that if this Party keeps violating that trust. And we absolutely cannot win when we alienate, ignore and push out portions of our voting base in order to “purify” the big tent Party of Reagan.
All over this nation, from Pima County, Arizona to the East Coast, patriots are rising up to fight a battle that transcends Party lines: it is the big government “establishment” vs. the liberty minded activists. This is not about Sarah Anderson. It’s about a larger movement.
In order to have the promised “100% accountability and transparency”, I would like to call upon our Chairman, Eli Bremer, to release a statement regarding the “secret” meeting to put that hubbub to rest. I would also ask that the State Party Chairman, Ryan Call, release a statement to publicly clarify his position as to whether or not a county Party Officer gives up their ability to publicly hold politicians of all parties, but particularly our own, accountable when they stray from the Republican Party Platform after they are elected.
While I am the duly elected El Paso County Republican Party Secretary, I did not relinquish my right to speak freely with that election, and I don’t leave that right at the front door of the El Paso County Republican Party office. My opinions—and right to express them—are my own. I do not speak on behalf of the Republican Party, just as I have not previously spoken on behalf of the Party.
It has been my honor and privilege to serve as the El Paso County Republican Party Secretary since my election on 15 February, 2011. Just like that day, after winning an overwhelming number of votes, and every day since, I continue in my pledge to uphold the By-Laws of the El Paso County Republican Party. I am committed to this Party, it’s By-Laws and the platforms and principles of the GOP—and that is why the events of 7 July, 2011 concern me so gravely.
As the “chief clerical officer” of the Party, I don’t just take notes: there are many responsibilities to the job of Secretary, including being responsible for reports after Organizational Meetings, Caucuses and Assemblies to the State Party, Secretary of State and County Clerk and Recorder. Political Parties here in Colorado are organized under State Statute, making them State Authorized Rule-Making Boards, and making the Officers of this Party Election Officials (because of our work with the Caucuses and County Assembly).
I am very proud to have helped clear up a campaign finance fine with the Secretary of State’s office to help get this Party back on the right financial track, and am looking forward to continuing my work with Precinct Leaders to help train and work alongside the foot soldiers of this Party.
I am overwhelmed and eternally grateful for all the support I received before and since I was elected, and I look forward to all of your continued support and help in the political arena. I am honored by the trust that the Central Committee Members have in my ongoing commitment to the principles of this Party and I look forward to continue my hard work that will help to ensure the election of principled leaders.