Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mike Christian Rips Speaker Steele: Is There Now Open Warfare Among House Republicans?

Rep. Mike Christian
Rep. Mike Christian rips into House Speaker Kris Steele today in an email sent to all legislators.

Christian's broadside likely indicates that what has been simmering for months is now totally on the surface, and that is the animosity some arch-conservative Republican members of the House hold for Republican Steele, whom they perceive to be moderate.

The animosity has been evident before, but it is clear now that more may be speaking out about it in public.

Christian's attack on Steele followed House action in which Rep. Randy Terrill and Rep. Mike Reynolds were reprimanded for their actions.

Here's Christian's email:

On March 14th, 2011, Representative Mike Reynolds was reprimanded for making a point of order. Rep. Reynolds was not reprimanded for violating a rule of the House. Instead, he was reprimanded for electing to follow the procedures explicitly provided by House rules that allow a member to object in precisely the manner he did. While some may disagree with the substance of Rep. Reynolds point of order, there should have been no disagreement that he had the right under our rules to make his motion.

On March 14th, 2011 Rep. Terrill was also reprimanded on the House floor. In a private conversation with an unnamed staffer that occurred off the House floor, Terrill is alleged to have used curse words and have been disrespectful towards the Speaker of the House, (who was not present at the time.) This is alleged to have been caused by the Speaker’s refusal to hear bills Terrill had proposed.

Despite the fact that there is no rule against this, despite a member’s constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech, despite the fact that the staffer was in no way offended, and despite the fact that Terrill denies the accusation, the Speaker managed to get 34 members to vote for the reprimand against Terrill. (It should be noted that these members almost exclusively form the Speakers leadership team.) 66 members refused to vote with the Speaker.

Are private conversations off the House floor now subject to House oversight? Unlikely.

What we are now witnessing is how the leadership abuses its power to stifle dissent.

These actions were completely hypocritical and unjustified. The precedent established yesterday was designed to only apply to those who dare to stand up to the Speaker or his special interest puppet masters.

The above actions, all orchestrated by the House leadership, are a clear abuse of process. The Speaker is directly responsible for this spectacle which has embarrassed the House and robs our institution of its natural dignity.

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