Dear Committee Member,

The state GOP chair’s call for the special central committee meeting states that its purpose is “to determine the regularity and organization” of the El Paso County GOP central committee. This language, “regularity and organization,” is hardly intuitive.

In fact, it’s opaque. What does it mean? Why use an opaque term? Why not use ordinary language that members of the state CC could understand?

Then it dawned on my slow brain; the language must be lifted from somewhere. It must be what lawyers call a term of art. Like a formula.

So, I searched the Colorado Revised Statutes. Bingo. The language was lifted from C.R.S. sec. 1-3-106, which provides:

(1) The state central committee of any political party in this state has full power to pass upon and determine all controversies concerning the regularity of the organization of that party within any congressional, judicial, senatorial, representative, or county commissioner district or within any county and also concerning the right to the use of the party name. The state central committee may make rules governing the method of passing upon and determining controversies as it deems best, unless the rules have been provided by the state convention of the party as provided in subsection (2) of this section. All determinations upon the part of the state central committee shall be final.

This seems to be the font of the state CC’s authority in this matter.

The state CC can resolve “controversies” concerning the regularity and organization of a county CC. But the authority extends only to “controversies.” There must be a controversy to resolve. Otherwise C.R.S. sec. 1-3-106 bestows no authority on the state CC. Why did the state chair omit the key word “controversies?”

The obvious answer lies in Article XV D. of the state CC bylaws. That provision contains the two-week rule that circumscribes the state CC’s exercise of authority under C.R.S. sec. 1-3-106. It prohibits any controversy from being considered by the state CC if it is not brought to the state CC within two weeks after the underlying events occurred. The “indictment” does not provide information about when the alleged events occurred, let alone in relation to when they were brought to the attention of the state chair.

Once upon a time I had a meeting with the city attorney in my town about his interpretation of a state statute. He opened the statute book and brazenly read from it, intentionally omitting the key language that proved my point and made him a liar.

Our state chair has pulled the same trick. She can read the statute. In fact, she must have. Otherwise, where would she get the strange and opaque terminology “regularity and organization?”

She didn’t think of it on her own. But she incorporated in her call only the part of the statute that served her devious cause. She omitted the language that would invite anyone familiar with the state bylaws to insist on adherence to the two-week rule.

Shame on the state party chair. Does she think we can’t read?

Best regards,

Maurice Emmer

Aspen, CO

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