Carl Wimmer back in Utah after Nevada GOP debacle

Published: Thursday, June 7 2012 8:00 p.m. MDT

Carl Wimmer, former Utah legislator and unsuccessful Republican candidate for Utah's 4th Congressional District, holds a press conference Thursday, June 7, 2012, at the University of Utah to discuss the Nevada Republican Party and the initial offer of employment extended to Wimmer as the party's political director.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The saga surrounding Carl Wimmer's announcement that he was the new political director of the Nevada GOP has come to a close with his return home just days later.

At a news conference at the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics Wednesday, Wimmer said there wasn't a job waiting for him after all, thanks to a "non-functional" state party organization.

Wimmer said at the start of the week he was leaving Utah "to take the lead in Nevada" in bringing together the factions that have divided the Republican Party in a key battleground state in November's presidential race.

The former state lawmaker and congressional candidate said he was driving on I-15 near Cedar City when he got a call from a Nevada reporter who'd been told the party hadn't hired him. He said he didn't turn around because others assured him the situation could be resolved.

What he said he found in Las Vegas, however, were party officials who were "not just dysfunctional, they're non-functional." After a day of meetings Tuesday with a number of Nevada Republicans, Wimmer said it was time to head back to Utah.

Wimmer said he plans to resume working for his security consulting firm, and said he has "no ill will or hard feelings" about his experience.

That didn't stop him from accusing Nevada GOP Chairman Michael McDonald of not telling the truth about being aware of the hiring. McDonald told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he had never spoken to Wimmer and never agreed to hire him.

"That's absolutely, unequivocally false and not true. He absolutely knew who I was. There was an exchange of emails he was carbon-copied on," Wimmer said. 

McDonald, Wimmer said, likely was getting pushback from others in the party about how he filled the political director spot and "wanted to put the genie back in the bottle and say, OK, this deal is over."

Wimmer acknowledged he never actually talked to McDonald or anyone else associated with the party other than two people he said he couldn't name, and Jesse Law, whom he called the Nevada GOP's "acting political director."

It turns out, though, that Law doesn't work for the party.

"He has no title with the party. He's not on staff," said Nola Bonecutter, controller for the Nevada Republican Party.

Law, described as an aide to McDonald, apparently had expected to be hired as executive director as supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paul swept into power at the Nevada GOP.

Neither McDonald nor Law have returned calls during the past two days seeking clarification about the controversy.  McDonald reportedly has been with his ailing father the past few days.

Wimmer said he understood Law was making decisions for the party and had been negotiating details of the job with him since May 23, including where Wimmer would live while working in Las Vegas.

On May 31, Wimmer said he accepted the position of political director, with an emphasis on fundraising for the party. His own salary was guaranteed for only two months, Wimmer said, with future paychecks coming from the money he raised.

Reports that his salary was being paid by Chuck Warren, a Las Vegas-based lobbyist who recommended Wimmer for the job, were incorrect, Wimmer said.

Thusday Wimmer provided copies of what he said were emails between himself and Law that mentioned "the chairman" and dealt with housing, an assignment to track down funds reportedly raised by a consultant and a fundraising update.

Wimmer said he had been told party officials were supportive of his hiring. Once he started meeting them, he said he realized that wasn't the case.

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