According to the Seattle PI’s Joel Connelly, Washington State GOP Chair, Luke Esser, has said in a Memo that,
“the state GOP will run criminal and civil background checks on every serious Republican candidate for statewide or congressional office.”
Republican Party probes GOP candidates’ backgrounds
The check is labeled as
“part of the candidate vetting process,” each will be charged approximately $75.00 for an outside vendor to probe each candidate. Esser says the probe is to “determine if legal proceedings have been undertaken against a candidate, ranging from speeding tickets to serious felonies on the criminal side, and ranging from liens and collection actions to bankruptcy filings on the civil side.”
“WSRP staff will oversee the conduct of a Background Check of criminal and credit related issues, to be performed by a third-party vendor that will include the review of multiple criminal and civil court databases for records related to the candidate in question.”
Esser justifies the background checks as, “The main desire is that the state party not be surprised. We will examine what any citizen could find in court records.”
There are those elsewhere who find this a good idea saying,
“Every Republican candidate should understand that the Democrats already know your negatives or will soon find them out. Sooner or later, the Democrats will use your negatives against you. Republican candidates who think they can keep their negatives secret are dead wrong.”
From where I sit, it seems the quest for “pure” candidates continues.
Naturally, there are some things that must be known and ferreted out, such as felony convictions, dishonorable discharges and major infractions of the law. But, just how deep will these probes go and what will be used to deny otherwise good conservatives a run for office, while young establishment moderates who will lose elections are favored?
What all questions will be on the questionnaire sent to prospective candidates is unknown to me since I am not privy to such information, unless I am able to obtain a copy.
How far back such a probe will extend is also unknown. According to Esser,
“Results of the completed Candidate Questionnaires and Background Checks will be reviewed by the executive board at a meeting to be convened by the chairman. The executive board will determine if any information reviewed during their evaluation of these materials is serious enough to warrant bringing it to the attention of the entire state committee.”
I am reminded of how the revelation of the now 17 year old DUI of Mike McGavick from another state hurt his chance of winning against Maria Cantwell in 2006.
I am also reminded of recent revelations of Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal exaggerating claims of his Military service that were revealed by those who had heard his ever increasing claims of bravado over the years. A background check did not reveal any of this as access to a Veterans Military record is restricted to only those the Veteran signs a SF 180 to grant access.
While I can see the concern over supporting the absolute best candidates possible, such a background check would not reveal whether or not a candidate that is a legislator had others voting in their place nor would it reveal their support for causes and bills that are contrary to conservative values.
Such things rarely sink a Democrat candidate, as evidenced by Blumenthal’s resurgence in the polls in Connecticut, not to mention the country embracing scandal ridden former president Bill Clinton, who although impeached by the House served out his full term.
Then again, Democrats, unlike Republicans, do not seek to oust party members accused of infractions.
Much like I saw Clark County GOP’s sealed vote for selecting the top candidate for the 18th Legislative District race, should the Democrats run a second candidate, being fear driven when the GOP should be in a strong position to win elections this cycle, I’m afraid this move by the state party is also driven by fear.
I don’t know if any candidate will refuse out of privacy concerns or not. Nor do I know if the party would deny support of a good candidate if the background check were refused. As Luke Esser said,
“That’s all yet to be determined. It’s our first trip down this road.”
Maybe if the party wasn’t striving to be so pure, this wouldn’t even be necessary. After all, there have only been two perfect humans ever created. One of them fell from grace and the other was killed on a cross.
In closing I’d like to remind the party of the words of Saul Alinksy from his now famous Rules for Radicals, specifically Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”
How long will the party continue falling into this leftwing trap?
See also: The Background Check: A Pathway to the Libertarian Party