The Grays Harbor Republican Party is once again looking for a new chairman after party members voted to remove Michael Thompson, who had served in the position since January.
On Tuesday, party members voted to remove Thompson for a number of reasons, but incidents following a March traffic infraction were the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Beth DeVaul, who is acting as chairwoman until Thompson’s replacement is found.
Thompson was pulled over March 2 in Aberdeen after cutting off Trooper Matt Rabe and failing to wear his seat belt properly. According to a State Patrol report, Thompson refused to roll down his window after being asked three times. He then got out of his vehicle and refused to obey verbal commands.
The report states that Rabe put Thompson in handcuffs and placed him in his squad car while completing paperwork, as he was worried that Thompson might be hiding weapons in his vehicle. Thompson was ticketed for driving 43 mph in a 30 mph zone.
Thompson contested the ticket at an April 15 Grays Harbor District Court appearance, arguing that Rabe had violated his constitutional rights by issuing him the speeding ticket.
“This goes back to constitutional origins,” Thompson said. “If you have the right to free travel, do you not have the right to determine the mode of travel that you use? Because your tax dollars make the roads, they’re actually yours. It’s not a highway, it’s my way. They don’t have a right to tell you that you’re doing it wrong when you’re being safe in what you were doing.”
He said his driving wasn’t unsafe, and he had only been driving 33 mph.
Thompson also argued that Rabe had no authority to govern his actions as he hadn’t signed a contract allowing him to do so. Thompson presented Rabe with documents informing him that he was the “sole lawful and legal REGISTERED owner, custodian, and trustee of [his] BE’ing,” and that he is now part of the “One People’s Public Trust.”
The document also claimed that as of the end of 2012, all of the “corporations” that disguised themselves as governments, such as the United States government, were “foreclosed” — so they don’t have any authority any more. It also stated that people acting in the name of those so-called governments could be held liable.
He made claims against the court and trooper who stopped him, attaching a list of crimes that could only be remedied by the offender paying a fine in “troy ounce proof quality 99.9 percent pure silver coins bearing the words ‘One Dollar.’ ” Crimes include enforcing or attempting to enforce judgment from courts and threatening prosecution or legal action.
According to the document, governments have been withholding technology that will end illness, war and pollution — and once this technology is released, “our world is going to change beyond recognition. Our true history will be revealed along with the truth of the system we are living under.”
After all that, Thompson agreed to pay a fine of $124.
DeVaul said Thompson’s statements don’t align with the Grays Harbor Republican Party’s beliefs, and that using such a defense wasn’t appropriate while he was chairman of the party.
“We obviously did not want a chair who was acting in this way,” DeVaul said.
“We didn’t remove him because he had a speeding ticket, we removed him because of how he defended that ticket,” said Chris Lowder, an attorney, fellow member of the Grays Harbor Republican Party and husband to former Republican Chairwoman Kristine Lowder.
Thompson admitted that he probably shouldn’t have defended himself in that way while chairman of the party, but said he felt it was his right to defend himself “in any way he saw fit.”
“This shouldn’t be a reason for me to leave,” Thompson said. “Maybe I should have just been slapped on the hand.”
The traffic violation wasn’t the only reason for Thompson’s removal. DeVaul said he was failing to communicate with other party members and making decisions on his own. She said he was also failing to recruit candidates for the upcoming local elections.
“We’re going into filing week and we have no candidates,” DeVaul said.
But Thompson said he wasn’t removed from his position as chair — he left of his own accord. He said he didn’t see eye-to-eye with some members of the party, and they reached an “understanding” and he decided to leave. DeVaul said Thompson was voted out, and that he was one of five party members who disagreed with the removal.
DeVaul said Thompson seemed like an ideal leader when he was selected as chair in January. He hadn’t been a member of the Grays Harbor Republican Party for long. He moved to the area during the summer and worked on the Ron Paul presidential campaign.
But after taking office, DeVaul said he began cutting ties with members.
“It was just kind of weird and off the wall,” DeVaul said. “He got elected and started doing his own thing, which you can’t do.”