After viewing and experiencing avoidable local discord among Republicans in Kootenai County, I realized that the KCRCC Bylaws were an impediment to long-term success of the party in linking Kootenai County-related issues to solutions that may be suggested by the Republican Party Platform. The current KCRCC rarely ties its Republican Platform to local issues, and so its effectiveness is blunted. It can raise money, mostly by leveraging national wedge issues, but its contribution to local solutions is minimal.

As an attorney, I have seen the effects of poorly written Bylaws on dozens of non-profit corporations and other organizations. Clear Bylaws assist in better governance, giving an organization the ability to reach its full potential both among the individual members and as a group.

Further down on this page, the old and proposed Bylaws are available for your consideration.

Today, the KCRCC is run very secretly by a few people at the top, there is little transparency regarding expenditures – even to KCRCC members, no one plans for elections, except the chosen few, Subcommittee membership is unknown except for those at the top (who is on them?) and meeting times and places are unknown (when and where are they held?), and the ability of a given Precinct Committee Member to access the KCRCC volunteer list without gaining permission from a gatekeeper is fruitless. These conditions generate needless friction and suspicion among the members and has resulted in the creation of an IN group and an OUT group. This is detrimental to KCRCC operations over time, although such tight-fisted control may have worked for a short time.

Over the last few years, the KCRCC has not been able to bridge the communications gaps between Republicans of different stripes in the community, and its only public speaker appears to be the Chair. PCs are warned that their personal opinions cannot be touted as KCRCC opinions. But, the Chair’s opinions are not only in the paper with no KCRCC approval prior to publication, but they are listed on the KCRCC website as if they represent the opinions of the entire KCRCC. Due to the bad optics thus created, the KCRCC now faces election challenges in 70 of 73 precincts due to significant societal friction generated by KCRCC operations and visible contributions in the community — or the lack thereof. In my opinion, if the organization was better at its job, there would be very few election challenges – or none, because the community would be happier with the job being done. Such destructive faction as is seen today is avoidable, and in my view, it begins with the Bylaws.

The proposed Bylaws changes do not resolve all these issues, but they are a good, healthy start to creating the structure, transparency, and trust to carry forward the Republican Platform with less friction internally and better community visibility to the pursuit of better Republican outcomes for Platform policies. The current Bylaws triggered huge negative political costs for Kootenai County.

Some of the proposed changes include:

    • Outdated language, such as “Chairman” instead of “Chair.” Where applicable, “Committee” to “Subcommittee.”
    • Section 4.1: All officers shall be then-sitting Precinct Committee Members. Currently, officers may be chosen by the Precinct Committeemen from the local electorate. Some argue this is for the good of the Committee, because those with specialized talents can then contribute without having the burden of being elected. I think if the Committee was truly interacting with the precincts, then people with special skills could be found. Also, why are leaders chosen by the few, instead of by the many?
    • Section 4.1(b): Change “Executive Committee” to “Executive Council.”
    • Section 5.4: Add majority vote for entering a KCRCC executive session. Currently, one Precinct Committee Member can call for executive session and the body has to follow, which gives one person plenary control over a meeting.
    • Section 5.5: Clarification of agenda creation and notice.
    • Section 5.6: Clarifications to quorum, retention of KCRCC ability to act during meeting.
    • Section 5.7: Clarification of proxy, and when not needed under certain circumstances.
    • Section 5.8: Motions and resolutions, and announcements.
    • Section 6.1(a): Handling vacancies in Precinct Committee Member positions, and ability of KCRCC to reach into the precinct to assure attendance under certain circumstances; and replacement of Precinct Committee Member with a specific process. Currently, a new section 6.1(a) was created during the March 2024 meeting, but its design was to lop off the heads of any challenger who grows tired of KCRCC meetings without any precinct outreach for a replacement. The provision allows for removing a PC who missed four consecutive meetings without a reason acceptable to the Committee. I am not sure a PC can be unilaterally removed without some due process and outreach to a vacated precinct. This means – again – the appointed PCs are chosen by their friends already on the Committee, instead of being chose by the precinct where a vacancy has opened up.
    • Section 6.1(b)(5): Allowable types of absences for Precinct Committee Members. General, but helpful.
    • Section 6.2: KCRCC mailing to Precinct when new Precinct Committee Member named. By this provision, a precinct of electors has notice of the contact information for their new PC.
    • Section 7.1: Only then-sitting Precinct Committee Members can be on Subcommittees. See argument in section 4.1 above. Currently, a subcommittee can have new members without the full KCRCC even being notified of that occurrence. The KCRCC, except for its “leaders,” has no idea who is on the subcommittees. All KCRCC Precinct Committee Members receive updated lists of Subcommittee Members with contact information. In my view, all names and contact information for all PCs on the main body and in its subcommittees should be entirely public. “I don’t want to be bothered or harassed!” Deal with it. You got elected, man up and don’t fret being known. Politics in secret is cowardice.
    • Section 7.2: Clarification of quorum for Subcommittee meeting, ability to continue.
    • Section 7.3: Executive Council powers re contracts and lawsuits, approval by Precinct Committee Member vote in certain circumstances. I do not recall a vote of the full KCRCC to allow the lawsuit against Dan Gookin, a current sitting member. Contracts? It is hard to tell who is doing Committee business, who is being paid. For example, try to find “Idaho Political Solutions” in Broward County, Florida. Expenditures are made to Amazon, Square, Stripe, but where those payments end up is not on the so-called sunshine reports.
    • Section 7.4: Transparency in KCRCC executive session regarding Subcommittee budgeting requests. Currently, the KCRCC as a body votes (rubber-stamps) requests from leadership, “Bev needs $10K for the Campaign Committee.” “What is the $10K for?” “Stuff we need to do to win.”
    • Section 7.5 and 7.6: Recruitment and Rating and Vetting Subcommittees requirement to assess adherence with and capability to carry out the tenets of the State Republican Party Platform.
    • Section 7.7: Addition of training for prospective political candidates to be developed and provided to assure success once in office. Rating and vetting makes assessments, the full body votes on them, and they are tossed into office with no training of any sort.
    • Section 8.2: Clarification on method for changing Bylaws.

The REDLINE version of the old Bylaws is here: REDLINE Version.

NOTE: The REDLINE version above was created prior to the addition of a Section 6.1 provision that was passed at the March 26 meeting. The March 6.1 provision is harsh in its process and does not allow the KCRCC to interact with a given precinct’s voters when a vacancy occurs. The REDLINE proposed changes linked above were sent to KCRCC membership on March 22, 2024 and met the 30-day deadline for submission of proposed changes, but they do not include cancellation of the March 22 section 6.1(a).

The CLEAN COPY of the proposed Bylaws is here: CLEAN COPY Bylaws. Passage would put the KCRCC on a better organizational footing and contribute to its overall success.

The above CLEAN COPY came up at the April 2024 meeting. The Chair made a decision prior to the meeting that I did not comply with the Bylaws by sending the proposed Bylaws to all “members,” which the Bylaws states includes unelected executive committee members.

I protested, citing Idaho Code section 34-502, which states in its first sentence, “The county central committee of each political party in each county shall consist of the precinct committeemen representing the precincts within the county and the county chairman elected by the precinct committeemen.”

The Chair then cited the second sentence, as if it disagreed with or nullified the first sentence, which states, “The precinct committeemen within each county shall meet at the county seat within ten (10) days after the primary election and at the time and date designated by the incumbent county chairman, and shall organize by electing a chairman, vice chairman, a secretary, a state committeeman, a state committeewoman, and such other officers as they may desire who shall hold office at the pleasure of the county central committee or until their successors are elected.”

All that second sentence means is that a reorganization meeting to elect new officers is required. The law presumes the officers shall be from the pool of PCs just elected, see the first sentence.

The Chair then cited to an unspecified “decision” based on Article 6, section 2 of the State Party Rules made after “this issue” came up in Washington County “a few years back” in which “three [unnamed] lawyers” concurred that the first sentence of Idaho Code section 34-502 did not control who are “members” of a central committee for purposes of valid notice. I have not seen such a decision, the Chair did not and has not sent a copy of such a decision to me, and I found no declaratory judgment cases involving Idaho Code section 34-502. Further, I looked up the State Party Rules at the April meeting, and found Article 6, section 2 does not involve this issue. I raised that point later in the meeting when I motioned to add the proposed Bylaws back onto the agenda, and the Chair said he had already ruled on the issue. No proof offered, just assertion. In my view, that is not leadership.

I rewrote the KCRCC Bylaws, because I think they are deficient. A well-written set of Bylaws could last 10 to 20 years, and in my view should not reflect current political power holders. As Robert’s Rules of Order is non-partisan, so also should good organizational Bylaws avoid political power biases at a given time.

Maybe with a new committee, the level-headed approach to Bylaws can prevail.

Author: Art Macomber, Precinct Committee Member for Precinct 407, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

NOTE: I withdrew from the Precinct 407 race, because I knew my opponent wanted to make an issue about my tenure as counsel for North Idaho College. According to the Idaho professional rules of conduct for attorneys I have a duty of confidentiality to former clients, and so I withdrew from the race to avoid having to fight with one hand tied behind my back — or else break the rules and put my client in jeopardy. Withdrawal Letter to Precinct 407_3-29-24

Date: April 20, 2024. Updated April 29, 2024.

Letter by Art Macmber

Original Article:  Link

Subscribe!

11 + 9 =