The Penobscotgate Plot Thickens

1. “The Penobscot Heist
2. “Penobscotgate
3. “Maine GOP Chairman Responds To Penobscotgate
4. “Two State Committeemembers Resign Over Penobscotgate
5. “The Penobscotgate Plot Thickens

The Penobscotgate plot has indeed thickened. With the Maine Republican Party chairman threatening his State Committee with lawyers and only “non-binding” investigations arising from a significant controversy, more revelations continue to come to light and the Republican Party is further damaged.

The Maine Republican Party is reassuring itself that the issue is going to be addressed, yet the investigation will be “non-binding.” Essentially, denial needs a smokescreen.

Unfortunately, those “leaders” of the Maine Republican Party have little concern for others within their own entity. While Chairman Rich Cebra uses his internal memos to describe how he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, over and over again, and uses that to defend the refusal to touch what happened in Penobscot.

According to Michelle Anderson in her resignation letter, Chairman Cebra refused to remain at the Penobscot County Republican meeting for the elections after he spoke despite the fact that he was aware of the fact that non-voting Republicans would be voting illegally.

It’s all about him. And his good name.

Ken Anderson has had his good name sullied, all because he appealed an election that was full of irregularities. Although he attempted to work within the party and keep this issue out of the public eye, the Party declared open war on him.

Now? The war is led to an investigation of his good name. Various members of the State Committee are being critical of Ken Anderson’s participation in the Constitution Party following his departure.

Why do they care? Anderson was “unaffected” by their elections, a result they neglected to inform him, thus essentially being thrown away by his own leadership. He left the Republican Party because it didn’t want him.

It is important enough however, where the Executive Director is investigating him on the Internet. “I went and checked the google cache of the Constitution party to see when Ken Anderson’s involvement with them began,” Jason Savage told the State Committee. “Google cache is an interesting tool that lets you go back and review websites to see how they appeared previously”

Savage then goes on to provide a link and declare Ken Anderson has been lying about when he joined the Constitution Party.

If the Maine Republican Party wants to start launching investigations into unrecognized third party participation, they might look within their own State Committee. There is at least one member who has been affiliated with an unsavory organization in their past. Perhaps the Executive Director should keep doing his own homework on his own team.

Yet, Anderson is not the only one who has been hurt by this ongoing controversy. Bryan Daugherty was viciously attacked by Chairman Cebra in his second memo to the State Committee, for simply doing as Anderson did.

As much as the Republican Party claims they want to not air their dirty laundry publicly and want to work on their problems internally, they treat their members with extreme disrespect when they dare question problems. They are degraded, because questions apparently help the liberal agenda. Furthermore, the Reagan line about not attacking fellow Republicans is frequently utilized. Ironically.

Daugherty has helped town and county committees enter the twenty-first century by launching websites and a social media presence. Being a viable force on the Internet is where the Republican Party lacks, and this man was helping make that happen.

Until he lost an election that has legitimate questions surrounding it, which the Maine Republican Party has refused to address. For simply filing an appeal and attempting to handle this problem within, the State Chairman unleashed on him.

Both individuals tried to work within the system. Instead of going through the Executive Committee and attempting to find resolution to the matter properly, Chairman Cebra ran to a lawyer.

The lawyer is William “Bill” Logan. Former Maine Republican Party Treasurer Bill Logan works for the law firm of former House Minority Leader Josh Tardy, who served with Chairman Cebra in the State House.

Why did Chairman Cebra run to the former Party Treasurer for two legal decisions?

Rule 23 (a) of the Maine Republican Party bylaws states:

The Republican State Party may, upon a decision of the Executive Committee, exercise jurisdiction over controversies between and among members of any county committee or municipal committee when such controversy affects the interests of the party as a whole or the rights of any member of the party to participate in its affairs.

The Executive Committee was not consulted, as noted by Chairman Cebra.

Yet, Article VIII, section C lists the duties of the Executive Committee. Article VIII, Section 1, Subsection C (1) of the Maine Republican Party bylaws states that one of the duties of the Executive Committee is “Advising the State Chairman in all matters.” One would assume that appeals would be included in “all matters.”

So why wasn’t the Executive Committee allowed to advise Chairman Cebra on the issue?

It’s unfortunate, because the lingering issue in Penobscot continues to unfold as the Maine Republican Party refuses to take serious action. A “non-binding” report is not serious, it is a smokescreen. Good people like Ken Anderson and Bryan Daugherty are being smeared. Worse, it casts leaders like Traci Gauthier in a negative light merely by association.

Gauthier was the Penobscot County Chair at the time of the elections and has the respect of Penobscot Republicans. She is a hard worker, who unified people and led by excellent example.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Traci and do not believe that she acted with any ill intentions. She has always been very respectful, inclusive and I still consider her a friend,” Bryan Daugherty said of Gauthier. “From my perspective, the rules are what binds us all together and attempts to make a level playing field out of what can be at times a very unfair game. Obviously, there were those who sought to disregard the rules to tilt the field to their favor – I can honestly say, I do not believe that ever to be Traci’s intention. However, I cannot say the same for some of the others that worked to facilitate an illegal suspension of the bylaws in order to ‘right the wrong of the 2012 state convention’. To dismiss that one is either being blind or complicit.”

Maria Hodge, a Penobscot Republican who attempted to monitor the vote, added “I did in fact try to observe the vote of the Penobscot GOP Election of Chair and Traci told me that she was there to observe and I could sit down which I was ok with because I fully trust in Traci and that she would NEVER allow any shenanigans to occur.”

“I believe that she took advice from two people who had personal political agendas,” Michelle Anderson, former Penobscot County State Committeewoman, said of Gauthier. “She had every reason to trust those people. One was Larry Willey, a member of the County Committee who is lawyer, former mayor of Bangor, and the de facto parliamentarian for several years. The other was Lois Bloomer, long-time member of the Committee, former County Chair, and member of the Rules Committee. She, in fact, was responsible for the VERY County Bylaws which are at issue here.”

Clearly, the consensus is that Gauthier is a woman of integrity. She acted in the best interests of the Republican Party and the activists who elected her to lead them.

But the implied disrespect by a State leadership that continues to ignore this matter is very revealing. It’s threatening to damage Gauthier just as it has Daugherty and Anderson. This is wrong and terrible, as all are good, honest individuals.

When will the Maine Republican Party stand up for what is right? Or at the very least, when will it cease the disrespect of one of their strongest leaders?

Chris Dixon

About Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon is a libertarian-leaning writer and managing editor for The Liberty Conservative. In addition to his political writing, he also covers baseball for Cleat Geeks and enjoys writing on a number of other topics ranging on Medium.