Political ‘brouhahas’ are considered almost ‘normal’ in political parties both in modern times and going back to the Founding Era when political parties were first formed in the United States. Controversies over policy, procedures, processes can differ, or ideas over interpretations and different definitions can all cause internal arguments as well as differences between parties.
The first political party in our country was formed by Alexander Hamilton, called the Federalist Party (1789) and dominated until 1801. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison formed what was called the Democratic-Republican party, in 1790, and was also known as the Anti-Federalist party because they disagreed so much with Hamilton and the Federalists.
Thomas Jefferson, in writing to Madison in 1787 (30 January 1787) said:
“Malo periculosm, libertatem quam quietam servitutem(I prefer dangerous liberty over peaceful slavery) … I hold that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical … It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.”
Internal quarrels can come up within each party. What about a situation where two factions within a party claim legitimate power to lead the National Party? This is taking place right now in the National Independent American Party.
Members of leadership within the Utah Independent American Party are claiming to have reorganized National Executive Officers through a vote of the duly elected representatives on the National Committee. Those who have been acting as National Officers the last year claim to have kicked them out of the party and dissolved the Utah Party until it can be reorganized with new leadership. But the authority of the National Officers do not extend or allow them to do that.
Utah IAP believes firmly in checks and balances in government and says this includes leaders National Ownership in Political parties, as it is the means to participate in the political process.
They bring up how our founding fathers firmly wanted a written Constitution in order to prevent Arbitrary Government. They assert that those who were acting as officers in the national party were exercising overreach of prescribed power. Accountability to defined power is an important principle in the IAP and is expressed well by John Adams:
“Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.”
The Utah IAP gathered representatives on the National Committee together for an emergency meeting on December 29, 2022, to vote in new National Executive Officers. The situation leading up to this began with the death of Will Christensen last December who was one of the Party’s founders and at the time was the National Chairman. Upon the demise of Chairman Christensen, the First Vice Chair of the NIAP, Patricia Kent of St. George, stepped forward as the acting National Chair.
As 2022 progressed, Utah IAP had growing concern over lack of communication from National as well as concern with certain behaviors. This includes Patricia Kent not signing over the Bank account for the Utah IAP to the proper leaders, after she finished her term as the state party’s treasurer in October 2021.
Greg Duerden, the State Chair, made several attempts to contact Ms. Kent via calls, texts, emails, and even a certified letter. Finally, after his third trip from Orem to St. George, at the end of August, Kent released the funds by withdrawing the cash but would not sign over the account or provide a statement of the transactions.
With the growing concerns and it being over a year since the last National Committee meeting (last held in Oct 2021), the Utah leadership called for a meeting in November. Due to no previous meeting, there had not been a ratification of the acting executive leaders as required by the By Laws.
With pressure building up, Patricia Kent did not welcome discussion or scheduling a meeting, instead she took extreme measures. On December 27, 2022, she sent an email to the Salt Lake County IAP Chair, David Else; the State Chair of the IAP, Greg Duerden; and the State Vice Chair of the IAP, Jake Oaks; informing them she was “revoking” their membership in the party. claiming they were “trying to usurp authority.” She also stated she contacted the Lt. Governor to dissolve the Utah State Party until re-established and reorganized by her – which she did not have the authority to do either according to the party Constitution or Bylaws (it needs to be done by the supermajority of the National Committee, not an action of the National Officers).
On Nov. 28th, as a delegate of the National Committee and vice chair of the Utah IAP, Jake Oaks sent an email to the National Officers and other known participants of the previous National Committee meeting (in 2021) putting forth a motion, per Robert’s Rules, to hold an ‘Emergency’ National Committee meeting and to a vote for their choice of a couple of dates and times provided.
A couple of National Officers took part in the vote and the majority voted in favor of the Dec.29 date with the 7 pm (MT) option. On December 29 at the appointed hour a Zoom meeting was begun with the following National Committee delegates and alternates present: Greg Duerden, Jake Oaks, David Else, Mike Thompson, Shauna Guymon, and Reed McCandless. No NIAP officers showed up and identified themselves for the meeting, although they all had been informed of the day and time via multiple emails and messages. With a ‘Quorum’ deemed present (as per Section 6F of the bylaws) the meeting moved into session.
While going through the agenda, It came to the item regarding voting to ratify and confirm those who had been acting in roles as National Officers. A motion was made then followed with a vote to “ratify Patricia Kent as National Chair” and another motion to confirm “The other National Officers.” The vote was taken, with the results being zero in favor and all representatives present voting against the ratification. Next came a motion for an election of new Officers to be selected with nominations from the floor. There were multiple nominations for David Else to be National chair, to which he accepted and no other nominations were made. There was a vote taken of which the results were unanimous in favor of ratifying him as the new National Chair.
Motions were made then ratified for First Vice Chair, Second Vice Chair, National Secretary, and National Treasurer, each in turn, and each position was duly voted upon, by roll call vote of the National Committee in session.. First Vice Chair of the NIAP is now Mike Thompson, of Saratoga Springs, Utah. Second Vice Chair is now Jake Oaks, of Spanish Fork, Utah. NIAP Secretary is now Reed McCandless, of Missouri. National Treasurer of the NIAP is now Shauna Guymon, of Orem, Utah.
Neither side has admitted defeat nor changed their minds as of this date and are moving forward in their respective courses viewing the others as “illegitimate.” However, the newly elected officers state that with the National Committee of the NIAP having met in session and electing new officers in accordance with the party’s Bylaws and Constitution, assert that any others who represent themselves as NIAP officers are hereby being false representatives with absolute fraud and with no actual authority.