Entrata CEO Dave Bateman is once again offering to absorb the debts of the Utah Republican Party to ensure the organization does not “rely on a rich fetcher like me” to maintain operations, according to a recent Facebook post.
Writing on an unofficial discussion page Friday for Utah Republicans, Bateman said he had been told that next month’s meeting of the party’s State Central Committee, or SCC, would be canceled due to roughly $100,000 in outstanding debts. He said he would personally ensure the debt is paid off, adding that the members of the central committee are the solution to the Utah GOP’s problems and not a “sideshow.”
“I pledge my life, my resources, and admittedly limited wit and intellect to this ever important cause,” Bateman wrote. “Let the educated voter have influence. May our Utah delegates not slowly succumb to irrelevance.”
Party Chairman Derek Brown confirmed on Monday that a central committee will be held next month. But he declined to respond to Bateman’s offer or comment further on central committee scheduling.
“As a party, we’re grateful for the commitment and the generosity of people like Dave Bateman,” Brown said. “His proposal is something the committee may want to discuss at its next meeting.”
Party Secretary Kendra Seeley — who was described by Bateman as announcing the cancellation of next month’s SCC meeting — deferred questions to Brown.
“I don’t know what we’ve announced and what we haven’t announced yet,” Seeley said.
Bateman placed a series of conditions on his offer to pay off the party’s debts, primarily that next month’s State Central Committee be held as scheduled.
He also called for the creation of a new committee dedicated to fundraising, and a committee to implement software to better engage party members, “evangelize” the party platform, protect delegate data and administer elections.
“This is complicated and I understand this will take time,” Bateman wrote. “It’s time the disingenuous and bankrupt [Salt Lake] Tribune and liberal Utah Policy play second fiddle to our party’s own messaging.”
Bateman did not respond to a request for comment.
Last year, Bateman absorbed more than $400,000 in legal debts stemming from the Utah Republican Party’s efforts to challenge SB54, a state law allowing partisan candidates to qualify for a primary either by winning the support of delegates at a party caucus or convention or by collecting voter signatures.
That debt was formally extinguished last month, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the party’s appeal of a ruling upholding SB54.
But the party also faced operational debts, including outstanding payments for its 2017 organizing convention, stemming in part from a decline in fundraising as warring factions within the Utah GOP battled over whether to accept or flout state law.
State delegates elected a full slate of new party officers last month in what most observers viewed as a rejection of the past several years of infighting. And in his Facebook post, Bateman — who was recently elected to the State Central Committee — said he is “ecstatic” about the new party leadership, but added that the new chairman should submit the party’s updated bylaws to the state elections office next month.
The previous chairman, Rob Anderson, was censured by the State Central Committee for ignoring bylaw changes that could have revoked the party membership of candidates who collect signatures under SB54.
“The new chair doesn’t run the party," Bateman wrote, “despite his utter awesomeness, and endorsement by my hero Senator Mike Lee. The SCC is the governing body.”
A State Central Committee meeting on June 22 is currently listed on the party’s online events calendar.