Guest Post by Art Robinson
(Written by Art Robinson, this is his compendium/two-decade summary of events regarding state-level Oregon Republican Party leadership -sc)
As the figures above show, Oregon Republicans have been losing for about 15 years. They have lost regardless of the fact that Oregon grass-roots voters on average favor Republican policies, and Oregon Republican County Parties have worked hard and effectively.
My purpose in writing this article is to explain why I think we need a new National Committeeman. Solomon Yue has been National Committeeman for almost 20 years. He is one of the most skilled political operatives in Oregon. Unfortunately, he has not used these talents for Oregon and instead has been harmful to Republican candidates and policies.
Republicans have lost because of failure of the Oregon State Republican Party, which is completely controlled by Solomon Yue and his “fixer” Jeff Grossman. Having served one term as Oregon State Republican Party Chairman and having been nominated five times as the Republican candidate for Oregon District 4 Congress, I am very familiar with the cause of this failure.
1. At an ORP Executive Committee meeting during my term as Chairman, I looked at the Committee, which contained some very affluent individuals – far more wealthy than myself, and said, “I notice that the entire sum of contributions to the ORP from all of you combined is only about $300.” (I personally donated about $25,000 to the ORP during that term and loaned the ORP about $25,000 more). Tyler Smith was apparently the only other donor.
Solomon Yue immediately objected. “I pay all of my expenses of about $10,000 as National Committeeman. That’s my contribution!” I replied, “I think you are doing OK.” Solomon replied, “What do you mean?” “Let’s debate that here right now Solomon.” I said. “We’ll include the money you paid to yourself from Independent Expenditures to one of my own congressional races.” Solomon paled and looked around for some way to exit the room. (He was on the wrong side from the door.) There was no debate.
You see, Solomon, during my 2012 campaign, had paid himself personally $80,000 and paid additional amounts to his political associates from Independent expenditures supporting my candidacy. In addition he handled television work and printing work arranged outside of Oregon and near his friends. Printing and TV usually involves handsome financial kickbacks. (These kickbacks are not publically reported.) These funds all came from about $600,000 that was intended to help my election effort. The contributors were affluent people who had similarly helped my campaign in an earlier race. Solomon did not locate or recruit these donors.
Solomon had approached me after my first campaign, during which I received no help from the Republican Party and lost to DeFazio by 9 points. Solomon said that he was a high official of the Republican Party and that the Republican Party thought I could win next time, so they wanted to help me. The help later turned out to be the formation of this $600,000 “super pac” funded by my previous supporters, controlled by Solomon, and operated counterproductively.
Ironically, during that same campaign, Solomon advised my campaign to spread a rumor that a Republican officer in CD4, whom Solomon disliked, had pretended to be a volunteer while making money from his political work. We did not take that advice.
A lot of money passes through Solomon’s hands. For example, interests in Taiwan apparently pay for his sponsorship and Republicans outside of the U.S. make substantial contributions.
Solomon and his retainers do very well from this.
2. While driving to an Executive Committee meeting one evening, I received a call from a colleague urging me to immediately contact one of the county parties. The colleague told me that the county had just that day elected a new Chairman, and that Solomon Yue and his fixer Jeff Grossman had attended the election and were telling the new Chairman that I, Art Robinson as ORP Chair, would use my authority to unseat him because I thought he would not support me.
Actually, I did not know that the county had held an election, and I did not even know the man who had been elected!
Solomon describes this kind of activity in Chinese terms that he says he learned as a very successful student in Maoist China. The Chinese strategy, according to Solomon, advises the defeat of an opponent by “Drying the grass, waiting for a wind, and lighting a fire.” The “wind” is the advent of some issue that can be distorted to use against the opponent, and the “fire” is the public contest.
Most important is “drying the grass,” which involves a stealth whispering campaign of lies to ruin the future opponent’s reputation before the “wind” arises. In my case, Solomon and Grossman constantly “dried the grass” under me, an ORP Chairman who refused to be their vassal and because I am a pro-liberty Republican, rather than one who submits to the statist goals of establishment friends and contacts to obtain public office.
As soon as I was elected as ORP Chair, my reputation became the target of a lot of grass drying. When I began a direct mail fund raising campaign, an unprincipled and false whispering campaign was initiated claiming that I was doing so just to get control of the ORP mailing list for my own personal use. Actually, just the mailing list of people donating to my own congressional campaigns was already 10 times larger than the ORP donor list under Solomon Yue.
When I discovered after my election as Chairman that the ORP was out of funds and had $30,000 in unpaid obligations besides, I ordered that no more salaries be paid or obligations incurred until the finances recovered. The office staff would have to work as volunteers. A few months earlier, retiring Chair Allen Alley had paid all ORP bills up to date and left $40,000 in the treasury. That money had then been paid, in significant part, to ORP insiders.
The grass drying campaign then circulated a false rumor that I had laid off the staff so that I could put my children into paid secretarial positions in the ORP office. My six “children” included five with doctoral degrees in medicine, science, and engineering and one still working toward a doctorate – an unlikely group to be seeking paper shuffling jobs for the ORP. Still this was an effective lie, which was actively circulated for many months. You see, most central committee members did not know of the accomplishments of these young people.
Solomon Yue has stayed in office in the ORP for two decades largely by means of numerous whispering campaigns by himself and his retainers used to influence Central Committee voters and ruin the reputations of opponents.
In 2016, however, he gained re-election by only 8 votes, running against Perry Atkinson. Perry had been a very successful two-term ORP Chairman who presided while more than $9 million was raised for the ORP. (Actual contributions, not the bogus more than $1 million recently claimed by Solomon-controlled Bill Currier, which was actually just a financial pass through in order to use the ORP mailing permit. The ORP Treasurer provided to the Central Committee the accurate very small income amount to the ORP from this mailing work.)
It was difficult to dry the grass under Perry, so a different tactic was used. A group of Solomon retainers was organized to inundate Perry with apparently independent calls demanding he withdraw because his candidacy was tearing the ORP apart. Perry, a very mild mannered and likeable man, almost did withdraw as a result. Ultimately, he remained a candidate but campaigned very little – giving Solomon his 8 vote margin.
3. Solomon has been using the ORP as a foreign lobbying base for the country of Taiwan. He really should register as an agent for a foreign country. He takes Taiwan functionaries to Republican events (at a price) and uses his position to provide them with valuable access to politically powerful people. He even orchestrated an ORP resolution favoring Taiwan.
Foreign policy is the province of the President of the United States. It is not the responsibility of state Republican parties. The ORP does not use its position to lobby for Canada, or Mexico, or Germany, or France, or other foreign countries. Yet, Solomon uses his position as Oregon National Committeeman and his access to the ORP and RNC to lobby for Taiwan.
4. The successful effort by Solomon, Grossman, and their friends to drive ORP Chair Suzanne Gallagher out of office, their failed efforts to do the same to Art Robinson, and their final victory in putting their retainer Bill Currier into office (through whispering campaigns and lies about his far more qualified opponent, Wally Hicks) are well known.
Suzanne was driven from office because she thought she was ORP Chair. She did not realize she was expected to be a stand-in for Solomon Yue. After she resigned, I permitted my nomination because my family and I decided that this was a fine opportunity to help more than 100 Republican candidates win office. We have the skills to do so.
Wally Hicks was subjected to a false whispering campaign saying that he had lied – that he had not really graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis. Meanwhile, Currier bragged that he had many very large donors lined up who would fund the ORP lavishly if he were elected. Wally had actually raised $400,000 in his spare time for the Richardson gubernatorial campaign, but he was positioned by Solomon and friends as being unable to raise money. After Currier was elected, it was found that Currier’s advertised large donors did not exist.
When I took office, it was expected that I would raise substantial money for the ORP. I have more than 40 years of experience in doing this for scientific institutions, and have the necessary skills. So, Solomon, Grossman, and retainers immediately attacked my efforts. They knew that they could not control me and were determined that I would fail.
First, they manipulated the Executive Committee, in meeting after meeting, where it was alleged that my election over Bill Currier was fraudulent. These claims were even leaked to the Oregonian, whose reporter questioned me about this. One cannot approach affluent donors with an active cloud like this positioned over his head. The matter was finally settled in a November Central Committee vote that was overwhelmingly in my favor.
I then told Margie Hughes to start arranging appointments. My plan was to personally visit every individual we could locate who had given substantial financial help to the ORP in the past. I told Margie to arrange the appointments for January and February. The election was the next November.
Instead, at a January 6 Executive Committee meeting, Jeff Grossman threw out the meeting agenda by means of an obviously prearranged vote by Solomon Yue retainers and then proposed an agenda with 14 points of restrictions on my activities. The 14 points were essentially a complete list of all of the Chair’s duties, resources, and responsibilities, which Grossman’s motion ordered cancelled.
Grossman’s motion was an effort to recall the ORP Chair from office, a power that the Executive Committee does not have. Solomon’s retainers passed this motion easily and advertised the vote throughout Oregon. Bill Currier then “offered” to assume my duties.
I refused to comply.
Yet, I now knew that Solomon had the votes to redirect any money I raised away from the donor’s wishes. Meeting with donors and convincing them to support specific activities when I knew I could not fulfill obligations to them was impossible.
So, I made a third effort. The ORP Chair appoints the members of the budget committee, and the budget must be rigorously followed. I appointed Republicans of good reputation, some I knew and some I did not – one from each congressional district – and proposed to them a budget that contained specific plans to help candidates and county parties. This budget also contained prohibitions on wasting the money on insiders. The committee passed this budget unanimously.
The Executive Committee, with a majority of Solomon’s retainers, then rejected this budget and substituted a budget Solomon had produced, which put money in a very large slush fund that they could spend at will. Jeff Grossman commented at the Executive Committee meeting that he liked this fund because Robinson would probably not raise that much money, so he could advertise that Robinson had failed. Therefore, I put my budget forward at a Central Committee meeting in opposition to Solomon’s. The Solomon Yue group conducted a very intense lobbying effort, the members were confused, and my budget was narrowly defeated.
In addition to these three failures to put myself in a credible position to approach affluent donors, I tried one additional effort. I appointed Ames Curtright as Finance Chair of the ORP, a position that unfortunately requires Executive Committee approval.
ORP by-laws have been changed extensively by means of Grossman’s activities during Solomon’s terms of office in order to move more and more authority away from the Central Committee and into the Executive Committee. Solomon and Grossman consider the Central Committee generally a nuisance that they must continually manipulate.
Ames Curtright agreed to donate $25,000 to the ORP and to arrange at least four identical contributions from his associates. With this $125,000 in hand, he would work vigorously to raise much more. This is a common way in which a finance chair is chosen and functions. An affluent donor is appointed who begins by donating and then raising money from his affluent friends.
So, Ames attended the Executive committee scheduled to confirm his position. Tyler Smith, ORP attorney, led off with a strong endorsement of Ames. Then, however, it was Solomon Yue’s turn. Knowing Ames to be a justifiably proud man, Solomon extensively and egregiously insulted Ames. I was astonished when Ames just replied, “I don’t want to fight with you. I just want to raise some money.”
So, it was Grossman’s turn. Grossman was also very insulting and included even an insult to Ames’s Christian faith. Ames (who is now deceased) was a very devout Christian. When Grossman finished, I was again astonished. Ames simply said, “I don’t want to fight with you. I just want to raise some money”
So, the committee’s Solomon Yue retainers, including Currier, went to work on Ames with further insults. Finally, Ames had enough. He looked at Solomon and Grossman and said, “I’ll write that $25,000 check right now if you two will resign.” Then, of course, Solomon’s majority on the committee voted down Ames’s appointment as Finance Chair.
Several other ORP Chairs have reported similar problems with Solomon Yue.
Solomon’s extensive and unprincipled activities to remain as National Committeeman have almost nothing to do with electing Oregon Republican candidates to office – the primary mission of the ORP. I estimate that the ORP could have put at least 3 more Republicans into the Oregon legislature by no more effort than that Solomon’s people expended in trying to drive me from office. Solomon’s apparent personal and political interests are to control the ORP for monetary gain and (far more important than the money) to use the ORP as a platform keep himself in membership on the Republican National Committee. There he makes a lot of mischief.
In 2012, Solomon was a vigorous pro-Romney opponent of Ron Paul, and a very strong supporter of Mitt Romney. He orchestrated anti-Ron Paul activities in the ORP that drove many idealistic young Republicans out of the ORP.
Nationally, Solomon and Grossman were instrumental in writing an RNC rule change that prevented Ron Paul’s primary-won delegates from being counted. It was obvious that Romney would be the nominee, but Ron Paul’s supporters wanted him to be recognized. The rule change, however, prevented this. This was part of the Mitt Romney effort to keep Ron Paul from participating in the convention.
In 2016, Solomon vigorously opposed Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. He favored establishment candidates like Jeb Bush. There was a problem, however, with the rule change he had orchestrated in 2012 against Ron Paul. The last hope of the anti-Trump and anti-Cruz people was that neither would receive a majority on the first ballot. This could create a brokered convention wherein a Bush or related candidate could be brought forward. Yet, only Cruz and Trump qualified under Solomon’s own RNC rule from 2012. Others could not be considered. So, Solomon engaged in a vigorous fight against Reince Priebus, because Reince was unwilling to change Solomon’s rule back to the original so late in the primaries.
When I was ORP Chairman, I attended RNC meetings and watched Solomon Yue in action. To put it mildly, he is counter-productive, and he is surely no asset to Oregon.
Solomon is a chameleon. He is now changing his advocacy from Mitt Romney and Romney’s friends to President Trump. Any less, would be fatal to his position.
I have purchased and passed out thousands of President Trump campaign signs in Oregon and have always strongly supported both Senator Cruz and President Trump. The primary mission of the ORP is to aid the people of Oregon. The President’s actions are definitely helping Oregon.
American freedom is being unconstitutionally attacked at the national, state, county, and local levels throughout our nation. The state and, where possible, county and local contests must be the ORP’s principle emphasis. Yet, consider the figure with which I began this article. Solomon Yue’s tenure as top officer and controller of the ORP has paralleled worse and worse Republican losses in the Oregon legislature and less and less ORP funding. We need a National Committeeman who works for Oregon.
This is not coincidental. So long as Solomon Yue and his retainers control our state Republican Party, these losses can be expected to continue.
This article is already long, but I could increase its length substantially by further specific descriptions of specific Republican losses in Oregon that have in significant part been the result of corruption and incompetence in the Oregon State Republican Party led by Solomon Yue.
Some were also harmful to our nation. There are, of course, many very fine principled people in the ORP such as Treasurer John Lee, but they are overridden by Yue, Grossman, and their friends.
The removal from office of Solomon Yue and the election of a principled replacement would go a long way toward a Republican resurgence in Oregon. John Lee would be an excellent choice.
Former ORP Chairman
P.S. I notice that the coming ORP meeting where the National Committeeman will be elected for the next 4-year term has been scheduled in a location especially near the homes of those Central Committee members who are expected to be more favorable to Solomon Yue. It is essential that all Central Committee members attend. The extra drive to the meeting may be your most important action in reviving the Oregon Republican Party.
P.P.S. Solomon Yue has recently circulated a campaign email that presents an incorrect picture of his activities. For examples:
- Solomon represents that he has supported Donald Trump. Solomon was a very strong supporter of Mitt Romney because Romney is a part of the failed Republican establishment that Solomon has sought to please. Solomon used his ORP position to work vigorously against both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in 2016 in an effort to prevent the nomination of either one of these men. After Donald Trump was elected, Solomon has claimed to be a Trump supporter, but his work undermines the values that President Trump represents.
- Solomon states that he supported Dennis Richardson. I worked very closely with Dennis in both his campaign for Governor and for Secretary of State. Solomon’s shenanigans and those of his retainers in both races were, in my opinion, significantly harmful to Dennis’s campaigns.
- In his position as National Committeeman at the RNC, Solomon has supported statist policies that can significantly harm our nation, generally choosing sides based upon those which enhance his own career in politics.
- Solomon states that he has effectively worked for increased ORP funding. The graphical figures above illustrate the non-effectiveness of his actions.
- Solomon Yue seeks reelection every four years to a large extent on the basis of his activities within the national party taking place far from Oregon – which are presented by him in a favorable way to benefit him. However, as our national committeeman, he has a responsibility to Oregon. The few fundraisers he has helped arrange are not worth the trouble he has caused the ORP. Since the ORP has constantly failed under his leadership, it is time for new leadership.
Solomon is skilled at manipulating people. It is actually not difficult for one smart individual – with plenty of money and time spend on it – to make personal contact with enough ORP members to assure his reelection every 4 years. He works, himself and through his retainers, around the state to help elect members whom he thinks will be favorable to him and is often behind bylaws changes that will extend his tenure as well. Solomon works with detailed information about each individual voting ORP member specifying who needs to be contacted and what to say to each one. Most people who run for office in the ORP try to personally contact the Central Committee members or have friends contact members. Solomon and Grossman are masters at this, but this does not qualify them to control the ORP.
Many people who have observed Solomon’s unprincipled actions over the years have speculated as to his motives. It is not necessary, however, to speculate. Solomon is a skilled political operative and should have been a benefit to the ORP, although Maoist tactics really do not belong inside the ORP at all. Instead, the ORP has constantly failed under his leadership.
We need a new National Committeeman.