AZGOP’s new secretary, Gabby Saucedo Mercer, and treasurer, Bob Lettieri, have been stalled in their attempts to review documents relating to the Party’s practices and financial resources. At the same time, questions remain about the use of those resources on behalf of newly elected chair, Jonathan Lines, in his run for office.
Currently Lines’ staff members are blocking Saucedo Mercer, who had requested documents related primarily to the annual statutory meeting at which she, Lines, and Lettieri were elected. She gave a deadline of February 7 for the documents to be turned over to her. Saucedo Mercer, and Lettieri believe the AZGOP Bylaws give the AZGOP 10 days to turn over all records to new board members.
According to a post by the Arizona Freedom Alliance, Lines’ staff advised Saucedo Mercer that because the “AZGOP is currently under Audit pursuant to our Bylaws,” documents would not be turned over “until the Audit is underway and sufficiently compliant with normal business standard operating procedures.” From MCRC Briefs, on February 8:
Reports Are Circulating that the AZGOP hasn’t turned over the Secretary minutes and the Treasurer’s report to newly elected Secretary Gabby Saucedo-Mercer and newly elected Treasurer Robert Lettieri. Here is a message from Lettieri and Compliance Director Timothy Lee: “The AZGOP is currently under Audit pursuant to our Bylaws. There will be no movement of anything until the Audit is underway and sufficiently compliant with normal business standard operating procedures. All records of the business of the AZGOP are housed at and maintained at 3501 N 24th Street Phoenix, AZ 85016. No business records of the AZGOP shall at any time be removed from the offices of the AZGOP for any reason; and neither shall there be copies made of what is otherwise proprietary property of a private organization. I would suggest, here, that it is time for education classes. Oh, and by the way, we start them on Saturday at 9AM. Please avail yourselves of this important training offered free of charge by the AZGOP.” Lee, a former long-time AZGOP treasurer will be teaching the Saturday class. Contact Lee regarding the class at firstname.lastname@example.org
Because the secrecy that had shrouded the AZGOP under former chair, Robert Graham, left the Party faithful full of distrust, Saucedo Mercer’s request was widely supported. Yet, it is unlikely that the widespread support will compel transparency from the Line’s team.
That team, which included Graham, was evident during the race for the chairmanship. Lines was Graham’s handpicked candidate, and according to multiple sources, that support took the form of using AZGOP resources and whatever influence Graham had left. Lines’ slim margin of victory clearly demonstrated that Graham had squandered his influence over the years, and may have led to the necessity of using Party resources.
Case in point, as reported in the MCRC Briefs:
LD16 State Committeeman Kay Reardon reported that LD16 State Committeemen (SC) have either not received their Call letter or they received a letter from the Arizona Republican Party addressed to another SC’s with their address on it.
Chris Morrill, LD 27 State Committeeman: AZ GOP Collusion -Courtesy of AZGOP a very interesting occurrence has transpired in LD 27 that demonstrates collusion between Graham’s AZ GOP HQ and Jonathan Lines, candidate for state chair, and also creates a very dubious arrangement for some alleged LD 23 State Committeemen. Most of the LD 27 State Committeemen have received three pieces of mail in recent days in the following order: the AZ GOP Call to Meeting, a campaign letter from Jonathan Lines and a letter supposedly from LD 23 that excoriates the good name of Jim O’Connor. The address labels for EACH mailing had the SAME identical errors demonstrating that they were all sent from the same AZ GOP corrupted mailing list. The physical addresses on each label were correct, but all three letters were addressed to the SAME incorrect state committeeman. So with each letter, “A” received “B’s” three letters, “B” received “C’s” three letters and so on. …. Ironically, the first sentence of the junk mail letter sent allegedly by “GOP Precinct Committeemen Legislative District 23” reads, “First, we hope we’re addressing you correctly.” The answer is NO you are not, but you are addressing me in identical fashion as AZ GOP and Jonathan Lines. Robert Graham has no business utilizing AZ GOP recourses to help Lines or anyone for that matter succeed him in office. The RIGHT to elect the next chair is the state committeemen’s, and their RIGHT alone. It is not too late for Robert Graham to do the honorable thing and resign.
Sara Dunsford, CD 7 State Committeeman, LD 27: The swamp that needs draining is AZ GOP. How dare Robert Graham assist one candidate for state chairman over another by providing AZ GOP resources to any candidate, for any reason, ever? And if that isn’t bad enough, AZ GOP resources were also provided to a group of charlatans who sent out what I believe to be a venomous and inaccurate letter critical of Jim O’Connor.
The evidence is the identically incorrect mailing labels that were received by many LD 27 State Committeemen. The first of three letters was the Call to Meeting sent by AZ GOP. Most of our state committeemen noticed that their address was correct, but the name on the label was that of a different LD 27 State Committeemen. Initially, this was perceived as minor incompetence, but has subsequently confirmed complicity between AZ GOP, candidate Lines and some group that calls themselves GOP PCs LD 23. The evidence is that all three letters were in turn received by the same incorrect LD 27 State Committeemen thus proving that all three letters were sent using the same mailing list that had the same corrupt information.
Shame on Graham, Lines and whoever it is that named themselves LD 23 State Committeemen in the third letter. We won in November and they are acting like a bunch of losers. If you can’t win the AZ GOP Chairmanship fairly, then you have no business running. It is time for Lines to remove himself from contention and time for Graham to resign. If Graham doesn’t resign, at least we will be rid of him by Saturday.
It is clear the errors to which Morrill and Dunsford refer were not the product of databases generally used by most campaigns; including the Maricopa County Recorder’s database. In other words, the errors are unique to the database that served as the source for both Lines’ campaign materials and the GOP “Call To Meeting” letter.
If Lines paid AZGOP to use their email addresses, that is also a violation of the Bylaws. Email addresses are to be used for AZGOP business only, according to sources.
“I am aware that there is a small team of my supporters who have requested to review the recent AZGOP election results. That request has not yet met with success. I am personally supportive of this election audit as Mr. Lines will have an impossible time getting our party together unless members of my team can testify that no fraud occurred in the issuing of ballots and voting hereof. We all need to put this behind us and get focused on the job of the AZGOP,” stated Jim O’Connor.
O’Connor continued, “The party received a gift with the election of Bob Lettieri & Gabby Mercer, in that as Statutory Officers, they will be the PCs safeguard to integrity in the leadership going forward.”
Should Saucedo Mercer and Lettieri gain access to AZGOP’s documents and financials they might discover that Lines paid for the use of the AZGOP voter mailing list. Until then, both Lines’ chairmanship, and the past and future of the AZGOP remain in doubt.