Wimmer's link to Chuck Warren
The recent debacle concerning former Utah legislator and failed congressional candidate Carl Wimmer's supposed new job as Nevada Republican political director is just the latest chapter in a political career fraught with confusion.
And the ghost writer in this fantasy-filled reality show is longtime Republican political consultant Chuck Warren, a successful campaign strategist in numerous states whose relationship with Wimmer seems to have begun over the controversial private school voucher issue six years ago.
Warren, who was chief of staff to former Republican Utah Congressman Chris Cannon and briefly was Jon Huntsman's campaign manager when Huntsman ran for governor in 2004, specializes in voter petition gathering through his company, Silver Bullet, based in Las Vegas, but also offers services like fund-raising, organizing and mailings.
One of Warren's clients in 2006 was Patrick Byrne, founder of the on-line retailer Overstock.com and one of the largest financial supporters of Parents for Choice in Education, the group dedicated to giving tax credits to parents sending their children to private schools.
Wimmer had been a police officer and expressed an interest in entering politics. He demonstrated his support for vouchers, was identified as a supporter by PCE, and began his friendship with Warren. He was backed by the pro-voucher forces when he ran for the House seat in Herriman in 2006 and, after he won, became one of the fiercest fighters for the tax break for private school tuition.
After several tries, the bill finally passed in 2007 and opponents launched a petition drive to get it repealed. Warren was involved in trying to defeat the petition, which eventually passed. But Wimmer would continue his friendship with Warren and sponsor bills backed by Warren's clients.
One overriding question of Wimmer's Capitol colleagues was how this proponent of tea-party causes and founder of the right-wing Patrick Henry Caucus was making a living. He listed his occupations as a lawn-care business owner and security consultant. A former world-class weightlifter, he considered opening a gym. But none of that seemed to generate much income, which invited discussion of how he was earning a living.
Indeed, last fall, Wimmer revealed in his candidate's financial report that he made only $18,000 in the first 10 months of 2011. He said at the time, though, that the report didn't include about $30,000 in corporate income paid to his wife by Zions Defense Institute, Wimmer's security consulting business.
Speculation has been rife for years that Wimmer was somehow earning income through Warren, although there is no evidence of that. It grew after some Republican legislators and lobbyists noticed that Wimmer, as a legislator, was the uniformed security guard opening the gate to allow cars through to an exclusive golf course in Park City.
One conservative legislator said Wimmer's demeanor changed in 2010 when he successfully sponsored the anti-union Save Our Secret Ballot resolution, which was backed by one of Warren's clients and approved by voters as a constitutional amendment.
From then on, the colleague said, Wimmer began talking of running for Congress, a dream that ended in defeat at the state GOP convention in April.
Now, it has come to light that Warren was involved in Wimmer's hiring as the Nevada party's political director, even though party officials say they knew nothing about it.
Really, you just can't make this stuff up.