Resolution by state Republican party sparks questions, bewilderment from Malheur County lawmaker

State Sen. Lynn Findley (R-Vale) was surprised to learn about a resolution drafted by the state Republican Party that tied unrest at the nation’s Capitol to a conspiracy. (The Enterprise/File).

UPDATE: Oregon House Republicans oppose party resolution, and state Sen. Lynn Findley issues a new statement.

VALE – State and local Republicans voiced confusion and doubt regarding a resolution issued last week by the Oregon Republican Party that appears to embrace a conspiracy theory.

The resolution makes a number of assertions, concluding that the mob violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was part of a false-flag operation designed to disgrace former President Donald Trump.

A false flag operation is an act performed to make it appear someone else conducted it. This notion, debunked by federal prosecutors and the U.S. Justice Department, is popular among conspiracy theorists.  

The Oregon resolution also denounced the 10 Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach Trump but praised U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Oregon.

Bentz was one of 139 House Republicans to challenge electors and voted against impeaching Trump.

The state Republican party resolution thanked Bentz for “challenging Presidential Electors from disputed states where claims of election irregularities were never resolved and of voting against President Trump’s Impeachment.”

Nick Clemens, spokesman for Bentz, said Bentz had no comment on the extraordinary document.

The state Republican resolution states that there is “growing evidence” of a false flag operation designed to “support Joe Biden plans to introducing new domestic terrorism legislation likely placing more emphasis on themes from the post-911 Patriot Act, such as allowing those charged with terrorism to be automatically detained before trial “and other provisions.”

The resolution asserted the false flag operation “provided the sham motivation to impeach President Trump in order to advance the Democrat goal of seizing total power, in a frightening parallel to the February 1933 burning of the German Reichstag.”

That fire occurred the night of Feb. 27, 1933, and is often cited as a key episode establishing a Nazi dictatorship. The fire is believed to have been set by the new Nazi government to create the environment to adopt restrictive, emergency powers. 

The resolution also warned Oregonians that “the move to impeach President Trump shows that we have legitimate reasons to fear what will happen under a Biden/Harris administration.”

The resolution also warned “the citizens of Oregon, and the entire nation, to strongly oppose any new domestic terrorism legislation.”

State Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, said last week he was unaware of the resolution until a reporter from the Malheur Enterprise told him about it.

Findley declined to comment in detail on the resolution but said “I don’t like it.”

“It is not how I look at the world. I would just as soon not be associated with anything about it,” said Findley.

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Findley issued a written statement, saying “I do not support the resolution of the Oregon Republican Party, and I find it an unfortunate distraction to what we need to focus on in our state right now.”

State Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane, said he agreed with some of the assertions in the resolution.

“I do believe the impeachment of our former president was not a good thing for our country or state. It does nothing but divide our nation and state even more,” said Owens.

However, Owens said he didn’t believe the violence at the Capitol was a false flag operation.

He joined every Republican in the Oregon House, including state Rep. Greg Smith-R-Heppner and Malheur County’s economic development director, in a statement criticizing the resolution.

“There is no credible evidence to support false flag claims,” the statement said, issued Wednesday, Jan. 27. “We are in a crisis and that crisis requires steady leadership and action, not partisan rhetoric. The election is over. It is time to govern.”

John Gaskill, chair of the Malheur County Republican Central Committee, said he was surprised by the resolution. He said he wasn’t sure if the resolution was “beneficial to the overall discussion.”

“I think the impeachment was a little bit of a rush without getting a chance to at least ask what was the intent here, what was really the motivation behind the comments and the way they were made,” said Gaskill.

Gaskill said the violence at the Capitol was appalling.

“As an American, I don’t agree with any of it. I think there were people who were there bent on mischief, with a capital M. It was clear there were at least some people there whose intent was to do damage and go beyond the normal pale of demonstration, petition and assembly,” said Gaskill.

Gaskill said isn’t sure the resolution’s language to condemn the House Republicans who voted to impeach the president was necessary.

“To advocate for the removal of them from office, I think that is a whole other question,” said Gaskill.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

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