Shining the Light on Dahle



Robert Summa
Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.
April 16, 2022, 6:17 am

Apr. 16—Several Republican candidates and delegates have expressed frustration over what they see as "irregularities" in the way the California Republican Party (CAGOP) handled a nomination process for candidates who needed a certain amount of delegate votes in order to speak at the party's convention in Anaheim on April 22-24.

These alleged irregularities have resulted in some within the party to question the validity of the process and why or how an apparent loss of delegate votes occurred.

For some, because the party has put such an increased focus on election integrity, they feel like what has happened with this simple nomination process runs counter to the narrative being pushed by Republican leaders both within the state and nationwide.

Chuck Smith, a Yuba City resident and Republican running for the U.S. Senate, said the CAGOP failed to notify him about the nomination process even though he was registered as a candidate.

"They (CAGOP) forgot to notify me (about) the nomination process. I was never notified to do that," Smith said.

What Smith referred to was a form that is required to be on the list to be nominated so that a candidate can speak at the party's convention in Anaheim.

"Once you get that list that they have, then the delegates can vote for whoever they want. It's my understanding they can vote for different people also," Smith said. "... I didn't find out about this until the 22nd of February because one of the delegates called me. ... She (the delegate) texted me and said, 'I was gonna vote for you, but you're not on the nomination list. I suggest you get on it.' So at that point in time, I called California GOP and said, 'How do I get on that list?' That day I filled out the paperwork. So on the 23rd I was on the list."

Kary Hauck, CEO of Sapphire Group, LLC, and a campaign advisor for Smith's Senate campaign, said her interactions with the CAGOP have been somewhat difficult.

"Feb. 17th I reached out to the California GOP and left a phone message for them, saying who I was, that I was working with Chuck who is a candidate for U.S. Senate and we wanted to know what the GOP could do to help him get his name out to the Republicans in California," Hauck said. "That call went unreturned. And then, this nomination process was just a month later and they didn't even bother to follow up with us."

Smith said because this is his first time as a candidate, he was unaware of the nomination process beforehand. Hauck said Smith was the last Senate candidate to hand in his form because both were "never made aware of the process."

"So voting closed at midnight, essentially at 11:59:59 on the 23rd of March. Delegates received a confirmation receipt via email when they voted, when they cast their nominations," Hauck said. "Now, they can nominate every single person on the ballot because a lot of Republicans feel that everybody should get the right to speak, so they can fill out their ballot and vote for everybody on the list if they want to. Those votes cannot be changed after they are cast, period, end of story. They cannot be retracted, changed, that is just the process."

Hauck said as a result of the reductions in votes that seemed to occur, several delegates were displeased with the fact that their vote didn't count. She said there have been some delegates conducting an investigation into the missing votes.

Hauck said Smith had the largest margin in votes lost with more than 50 percent missing in the final count. She said his vote tally of 31 was reduced to 14.

Another Republican candidate who was affected by alleged missing votes is George Yang, who is running for California Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Yang met the minimum nomination criteria of 200 delegate votes to be able to speak at the convention. However, he still allegedly lost 20 votes on the night of March 23. Hauck said when Yang inquired about the missing votes, he was "told to quit asking questions and be glad he was able to speak" at the convention, she said.

Yang, who also is a delegate, confirmed that delegates can vote for all candidates. He said a vote that was already given cannot be taken back. He said a delegate also can go back and give an additional vote, but cannot take back any vote.

"They give out snapshots. Every day, before they have a snapshot that they can tell how many votes a candidate has," Yang said. "Those votes cannot be taken off. So we keep track of who voted for me and others do as well. The last day of the vote, the 23rd, at 7:30 p.m., they had the last snapshot. If you look at that data, there is no duplicate votes."

What Yang referred to is the CAGOP explanation for why votes were taken away. According to Yang and others, the CAGOP claimed that there were duplicate votes found and that is why votes were removed from final tallies.

Yang said every region of the CAGOP has a regional vice chairman. He said a regional vice chairman that he knows but wanted to keep anonymous, reached out to Bryan Watkins, the chief operating officer and executive director for CAGOP, about the missing delegate votes on Yang's behalf.

In a message that was sent to the Appeal by Yang, the regional vice chairman shared what Watkins told him about the missing delegates.

"I spoke with Bryan Watkins at the CAGOP to relay our concerns about the voting process. Indeed, it appears that the vote totals changed because they ran a de-duplication process to eliminate duplicate data/votes that were registered when people logged in multiple times to vote," the CAGOP regional vice chairman said. "The results were audited to ensure that nobody missed the 200-vote threshold as a result of data duplicates. I will ask that the voting process be communicated differently in the future so that the issue of data duplicates does not become a source of internal tension. Thank you for your vigilance and for bringing this to my attention. Let me know if you want to discuss further."

Hauck said the CAGOP reported they did do an audit of the nomination process, but have refused to release those findings.

In all, Morgan said a total of 93 votes were affected in the nomination process.

"Dozens of impacted Delegates have already been contacted to confirm the above numbers," Morgan said. "Please help the CRA with this investigation. We all deserve to know the truth of this important election integrity matter."

Victor Maranim, a Santa Cruz County CAGOP delegate, said he also was made aware of the alleged "irregularities" in the nomination process.

"We can't figure it all out because CAGOP will not give us access to what they're doing and they won't give us any explanation," Maranim said. "The candidates involved have contacted them directly and three of them have received the same response, that it's the same result."

Maranim also said he was told of an internal review that was done by the CAGOP and that "everything was correct."

Even though Maranim said his vote was not missing, he was concerned because he just wants "things to be truthful and transparent." He referred to the loss of votes as a "big deal" and that there was something "seriously wrong" with the process.

"They tried to say initially that they were deduping names, but you can't reduce it to zero," he said.

Yang stressed that he didn't want to specifically blame anyone for what happened. His goal is to find the truth. He said the CAGOP essentially had the attitude that the cost of dealing with the truth is too high and that the CAGOP did not want to be embarrassed by what happened. He said the CAGOP would rather pretend it never happened in the first place.

Hauck said the CAGOP reported they did do an audit of the nomination process, but have refused to release those findings.

Johnnie Morgan, president of the California Republican Assembly (CRA), alerted delegates about this issue in an email the Appeal obtained this week. In it, he told delegates what happened and how many votes were lost for each affected candidate.

"On March 23rd (with a midnight deadline) the CAGOP concluded an online nomination vote for statewide candidates. Final results were released the following day on March 24, 2022," Morgan said in the email. "Within a few days, multiple statewide candidates and delegates reported glaring errors and election irregularities. President Ronald Reagan called the California Republican Assembly, 'The Conscience of the Republican Party.' As such, it is our responsibility to report the Initial Independent Audit Results of the CAGOP Nomination Election process."

In the independent audit initial results presented by Morgan, he listed five statewide candidate nomination votes that were impacted. They include the following: — George Yang, Superintendent of Instruction, 42 votes missing — Lornie Sortor, Governor, 17 votes missing — Chuck Smith, U.S. Senate, 17 votes missing — Major Williams, Governor, 14 votes missing — James Bradley, U.S. Senate, 3 votes missing

"They tried to say initially that they were deduping names, but you can't reduce it to zero," he said.

Yang stressed that he didn't want to specifically blame anyone for what happened. His goal is to find the truth. He said the CAGOP essentially had the attitude that the cost of dealing with the truth is too high and that the CAGOP did not want to be embarrassed by what happened. He said the CAGOP would rather pretend it never happened in the first place.

"This makes me very angry," Yang said. "I'm not alleging any kind of wrongdoing on the numbers. I don't know who made the mistake. I'm not alleging any malice. All I can think is one thing, is that people who voted for me had their votes taken away at the final count and that's disrespecting their vote. They voted to let them speak."

Yang said while this issue may seem minor to some, integrity still mattered, no matter how small a problem it may be.

"We need to have an audit. That may not be the only problem," Yang said. "I have identified some problems I can prove, but this may be the tip of other problems I cannot prove unless we have an audit. People always say the problem is the cover-up and not the problem."

He said the CAGOP has essentially had the attitude that alerting people about this delegate issue serves only one purpose: To make the group look bad.

"They say, 'The election is over, let's move on,'" Yang said. "Integrity matters. People say, 'It's only 40 votes.' It matters. The process matters. Integrity matters."

Yang's other concern is that because the CAGOP will use technology moving forward for other voting matters, that other delegates are concerned. He said it's not necessarily the technology they are worried about, but the attitude of the CAGOP itself.

"What assurance do we have if there's another problem, and your attitude is let's cover it up, that's what concerns other delegates," Yang said. "The CAGOP will tell me they will use a different vendor and the CAGOP is going to use different software. Yes, they're going to use a different system, but the way that they're dealing with it when they see a mistake, it seems their first instinct is to cover it up. It doesn't make sense. You have a cover story that is full of holes that cannot hold up to scrutiny. The attitude of that is not acceptable."

Yang said Watkins reached out to him with concerns that Yang was making too big a deal of the missing delegate votes.

"Watkins said, 'George, we will help your campaign. Why would you want to jeopardize our reputation? If you get the nomination, we will support you,'" Yang said. "This is not why I am doing this. This is my 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' moment. If we do not have integrity in the process, regardless of the outcomes we want, then that is becoming problematic. We need to ensure integrity in the process. We need to be a stickler to integrity in the process. One of the things that I've come to realize is that you need to have moral courage."

The CAGOP did not respond as of press time when asked to comment on this story.



ANAHEIM, Calif.—A political firestorm over alleged pay-to-play politics at the recent California Republican Party Convention has burned some candidates who have claimed that party leadership used proxy votes to favor establishment candidates for endorsements.

After the reelection campaign for state Sen. Brian Dahle’s wife, Assemblywoman Megan Dahle, gave a $40,500 donation to the Republican Party on April 22, the first day of the weekend-long convention, gubernatorial candidate Jenny Rae Le Roux made the pay-to-play allegation in a text message sent out to Republican delegates that was later leaked on social media.

“Last night at 8:15 p.m., Megan Dahle made a payment from her campaign account to the CAGOP [California Republican Party]. Two hours later 400 proxies were given to her husband’s campaign for Governor by party leadership,” Le Roux wrote in the text message. “We are not the party of rigged elections. The Republican endorsement should not be for sale. I am calling for the return of the suspicious payment and for everyone to vote their conscience tomorrow.”

The next morning, California Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher sent an email to delegates stating that he had asked Megan Dahle for the donation.

“I asked for and Megan Dahle gave money to the Party that goes directly to helping win the Assembly seats. Period. End of story,” Gallagher wrote. “Anything else is just desperate politics. A Governor candidate should know that we need to win all the way down the ticket. Brian Dahle is a proven leader and he deserves our nomination today.”

In response, Le Roux also sent an email to delegates.

“I stand by my position that endorsements should be earned, not bought,” she wrote.

“Megan Dahle’s transfer to the party just hours before those assignments was over 5X the size of any prior contribution. … Many of you have known for years that these deals are regularly made. I found the courage to lead with my own conviction.”

Sen. Dahle, who has held elected public office for more than 25 years, was endorsed by the party for governor on April 24.

Dahle told The Epoch Times via text message on April 25 that he was “in committee” and couldn’t respond to an inquiry.

Le Roux alluded to the pay-to-play scandal during her campaign speech at a candidates’ forum on April 23, alleging that the endorsement had been “purchased” just before organizers cut her mic. She asked the party to return the money.

Ellie Hockenbury, a CAGOP spokesperson, told The Epoch Times on April 25 that the $40,500 was a routine donation.

“This is a routine member contribution to the Assembly Republican Caucus. Nothingburger,” Hockenbury said in a text message.

Le Roux confirmed that she wrote the text message and sent it out to delegates, but suggested that she had put the incident behind her.

“It’s time to move on,” she told The Epoch Times on April 25.

“I’ve got a race to win,” she said, referring to the June 7 Republican primary, “so I can face off with Gavin Newsom in November.”

Rachel Hamm, who’s running for California secretary of state, also had her speech cut short when party leadership cut her mic more than a minute before her five-minute time limit had expired.

“I got cut off unjustly,” she told The Epoch Times.

Hamm said that according to the CAGOP leadership, she broke the rules to not speak negatively about other Republicans when she encouraged other candidates to be conservatives and “stop running to the middle, leaning left, [and] acting like liberals.”

Several sources within the party told The Epoch Times that the party is controlled by RINOs, an acronym for “Republicans in Name Only” and that there are rifts between pro-Trump “America First” candidates and the California Republican Party establishment.

Hamm said she was told that another candidate was offered an endorsement in exchange for a donation. She accused party leadership of favoring moderate candidates and smearing those it opposes.

“It’s death by a thousand cuts. They did very specific things to sabotage very specific people, me being one of them,” she said.

Hamm had been the sole Republican candidate for secretary of state until the party recruited others to run against her, according to Hamm.

“People on the board began making phone calls … telling people that I was a satanic witch, and therefore they needed someone—for the sake of the greater good for the party—to step up and run for secretary of state in order to sabotage my campaign,” she said.

Shocked at the allegation, Hamm said she was in a state of disbelief until she heard the same claim from more than 20 people.

“I’m such a strong, outspoken Christian. So, it’s a very weird, stupid lie. It’s so easily just disputed and put to rest … and then I heard it from another person and then another person,” she said.

Hamm, a Trump supporter, said RINOs and “liberal infiltrators” have risen into key party leadership positions and are trying to destroy the party from within.

Mike Netter, campaign manager for Attorney General candidate Eric Early, told The Epoch Times that he believes party leadership conspired to control blank proxy votes to sway which candidates received endorsements.

“The CAGOP used a paid candidate operative to give out hundreds of signed proxy votes to delegates attending the convention and told them to use those hundreds of proxies to vote against the opponents,” Netter said.

Of the 1,379 eligible delegates, 522 voted at the convention and 534 votes were cast by proxy for other delegates who didn’t attend.

“No one knows who these proxies are,” Netter said.

Each delegate in attendance can “carry” up to two proxy votes, meaning that they can cast up to three ballots—their own and one or two proxy votes.

Although proxy votes require a wet signature from a delegate, the delegate doesn’t have to specify the candidates for whom they’re voting. In other words, it’s like a “blank check,” he said.

Netter is calling for more transparency and a breakdown of how many proxy votes were cast for each candidate.

“The California GOP needs to make visible the wet-signature proxies to the delegates,” he said. “There is currently no way to validate that the proxies are valid, and there is no mechanism, rules, or procedures apparently in place as to how and to what delegates these proxies are distributed.”

Netter said the timing of Megan Dahle’s donation has also created suspicion.

“It’s bad optics,” he said.

“It sure makes delegates and many people in the Republican Party suspicious. We would like someone to come out and show us specifically what that money is used for because it makes delegates not trust the party because everybody thinks proxies are being purchased. Don’t tell me there’s nothing to look at. Prove me wrong.”

California Republican Assembly (CRA) Regional Vice President Jennye Bigelow told The Epoch Times on April 26 that the CAGOP policy of allowing a majority of delegates to vote by proxy opens the door to influence by lobbyists and pay-to-play schemes in which “the proxy votes will go to the highest bidder.”

“The system is designed to favor establishment candidates,” Bigelow said.

“I had several people reach out to me, after the voting on [April 24] at the convention, confused about the way the system works. They were under the impression it was one delegate, one vote, but they quickly realized it was one delegate with multiple votes,” she said. “The California GOP allows proxy votes, and when you have more proxy votes than actual delegates there to vote, the outcome is always going to be in the favor of the proxies.”

The CRA, although chartered by the California Republican Party, is an independent volunteer organization that makes its own endorsements and doesn’t allow delegates to vote by proxy.

“That’s the reason why endorsements are always different between the CRA and the California GOP,” Bigelow said.

“CRA does not allow proxy voting, which means if the delegate doesn’t show up at the convention, there’s no vote. They don’t vote. They cannot give their vote to anybody else. When you use proxy votes, the people no longer have a voice. It should be one person, one vote.”


Earlier this year, party leadership was accused of considering the idea of supporting “moderate Democrats” in the 2022 midterm elections.

When asked by the party secretary about CAGOP’s policy on “possibly either endorsing or unofficially throwing support behind some of the moderate Democrats,” at a meeting on Jan. 22, Chairwoman Jessica Patterson suggested supporting incumbent Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, District 3, who’s a member of the Democratic Party.

However, Hockenbury later told The Epoch Times that the party doesn’t endorse Democrats, which would violate CAGOP’s official bylaws.


At the convention in Anaheim on April 24, the CAGOP endorsed several other statewide candidates: Mark Meuser for U.S. Senate; Lance Christensen for superintendent of public instruction; Nathan Hochman for attorney general; Lanhee Chen for controller; and Angela Underwood Jacobs for lieutenant governor.

“After three days of party building, exceptional speakers, insightful trainings, and official business, our delegates endorsed quality and talented candidates for statewide office,” Patterson said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting them as they challenge California Democrats’ failed one-party rule with visions for a brighter tomorrow.”

The CAGOP board of directors also voted to endorse several candidates for local office. The full list of endorsed candidates can be found on the party’s website.

Basic Ratings and Endorsements




'Republican Senator Brian Dahle Said Joe Biden Is "no doubt" President.'

"Look, I'm a Republican. I voted for Donald Trump," said Dahle. "Do I like what he says all the time? No. But he was my candidate, and he ran for office, and I supported it.”


"If you were the people that were there on January 6, that were there exercising their free speech right, that's fine," said Dahle. "But the people that broke the law, they need to be punished. There's an investigation going on right now."


"If you broke the law, and you were beating people up and breaking windows, yeah, I support law enforcement," he said. 


"Hey, Joe Biden is our president, no doubt," said Dahle. "I think a lot of people in America are wishing they made a different choice, looking at his polling ratings."

“It's notable that Brian Dahle is, for the first time that I've seen, gone on record calling out January 6 only after he got the Republican nomination at the GOP convention last weekend," said Kousser. "It's still an important step, right? He now is almost assured a spot on the November ballot so he's got to start running to the center."

MAY 20, 2019

The Balancing Act: Dahle brought and bought to you by PG&E

By Larry Weitzman

"Politics does make strange bedfellows. Brian Dahle, an alleged Republican candidate for the District 1 Senate seat in the California Legislature, has some strange ones — so much so that he looks more like a RINO (Republican In Name Only) than ever."

"Dahle claims to be a conservative, a common man concerned about his fellow man and constituents. He expressed disgust about PG&E and felt compassion for the unfortunate residents of California’s wildfires, especially the recent Camp Fire which killed more than 80 people and caused damages that may reach into the tens of billions of dollars. It appears PG&E transmission lines caused the Camp Fire and many people who lost their homes and incurred other significant damages have sued the utility company."

"You think Dahle, a man allegedly of the people, supports Camp Fire victims? He will tell you just that — ask him. But that’s apparently a ruse."

"Guess who is in PG&E’s back pocket? That’s right, Brian Dahle. His campaign contribution records state that PG&E has already contributed more than $250,000. But you won’t find it in black and white as the contributions are disguised by front groups with names like Building and Protecting a Strong California, a coalition of firefighters, building trades, Realtors, correctional officers and energy providers."

"By now you’ve figured it out. PG&E has made hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to this group. It is the “energy provider.” According to records from the California Secretary of State, PG&E made no less than six contributions over the last several months, totaling more than $400,000."

"And PG&E’s ownership of Dahle didn’t start with contributions during this election cycle; it goes back to at least to his Assembly campaign in 2018. Contribution records show at least 16 PG&E executives, ranging from senior vice presidents to a utility manager, including the VP of the Community Wildfire Safety Program (how ironic), contributed collectively an amount exceeding $10,000. Not exactly pocket change."

"In politics we don’t need things like campaign contribution limits as those limits are so easily circumvented. We need to know who is contributing and how much they are contributing to a particular candidate. That tells us who is buying them and who will own them. That is critical."

"In Dahle’s case that ownership becomes obvious. Dahle, in his campaign for Assembly and now the Senate, has been bought and paid for by two groups — one being corporate (PG&E) and one being a consortium of government labor unions. Dahle, from his contributors, is certainly not a conservative Republican."

"One other interesting note is this “taxfighters” organization is sponsored by a huge government labor union. Just which taxpayers are they fighting for? They are actually taxfighters fighting for more taxes, not less. They are fighting for more taxes from the rest of the taxpayers to pay for their higher salaries and benefits, including their ridiculously high pension and health benefits. They are taxfighters fighting for more taxes from you and me."

Hauling Ash: Does Sen. Brian Dahle Have A Conflict Of Interest?

July 30, 2019


"Dahle’s familiarity with what Burney Forest Power is “accomplishing” wasn’t based on a recent visit, as he suggested in the Record Searchlight. He’s been hauling ash for them for 15 years, he admitted in a telephone interview from his home in Bieber last Friday."

"The politician who continually touts his status as a farmer/small business owner besieged by government bureaucrats and regulations—most recently at the controversial Faith and Values Town Hall in Redding—first told me that he doesn’t usually discuss his businesses. I asked him about Big Valley Seed Company/Trucking Company’s relationship with Burney Forest Power."

“We do trucking for them, for 15 years,” Dahle said. “We do trucking for other people too.”

"None of those other people are listed on the senator’s FPPC forms before 2017, when Santa Rosa-based Pacific Biochar Benefit Corporation joined Burney Forest Power as the only clients paying more than $10,000 annually to the Dahles’ trucking company."

"It appears hauling biomass incinerator ash is a major part of the Dahles’ trucking business. Fly ash must be disposed of in landfills. But bottom ash and biochar can be used in agricultural applications. In the case of biochar, it can be an effective way of storing carbon in the ground, instead of burning it completely and releasing it into the atmosphere."

“We put it on our farms,” Dahle said. “We do it both ways. It depends on what the haul is. They pay me to haul. We’ve hauled for others over the years, like Sierra Pacific.”

"The FPPC’s conflict of interest rules state “a public official has a financial interest in any person from whom he or she has received income, including commission income and incentive compensation, aggregating $500 or more within 12 months prior to the time when the relevant governmental decision is made.”

"When asked if his business relationship with Burney Forest Power represented a conflict of interest prohibiting him from working on legislation in its behalf, Dahle first said, “It wasn’t my bill,” which is true in the case of
SB 859, to which he tacked on an amendment. But AB 590 the year before was his bill."

AB 590 was a bill I worked on to get the biomass industry out of the woods,” Dahle said. He added that he consulted with the Legislative Counsel before working on the bill. “The Legislative Counsel said it impacts all the biomass facilities in California, so I don’t have a conflict of interest.”

"Technically, SB 859 does apply to the 26 biomass plants currently online in the state. But realistically, the bill mandates that the state’s large investor-owned utilities like PG&E collectively purchase 146 MW from facilities that burn forest debris from high-fire threat areas as their primary fuel. That shortens the list to just six, including Burney Forest Power."

"Dahle told me that transparency in government is important. That’s why he files those statement-of-interest forms with the FPPC documenting his longstanding business relationship with Burney Mountain Power."

"But when asked if he should have mentioned that longstanding relationship to the half-dozen journalists who wrote stories portraying him as a small town’s savior back in 2016, the senator was emphatic."

"“No!” he said."

"Dahle said he’d send me a copy of the Legislative Council’s decision proving he didn’t have a conflict of interest on Monday. I invited both him and his wife to comment further on their business relationship with Burney Mountain Power if they wished."

"Instead, on Monday I got no copy of the Legislative Council’s decision and an email from Sen. Dahle’s chief-of-staff, John F.W. Cook."

“Senator Dahle is a seed farmer, as such he works with other businesses in the Big Valley area,” Cook wrote. “All of these business interactions are disclosed to the public each year and are available on the internet. We are very careful in all of our efforts to comply with the law and be transparent to the public. When concerns arise about potential conflicts of interest, our office seeks the advice of the Legislative Ethics office and other legal professionals. Senator Dahle abides 100 percent by the highest standards of ethical conduct and transparency.”