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It seems clear to me that the Warren County Republican Party values loyalty over ethics.

That explains a lot about its actions in Queensbury leading up to the November election, and its continued refusal to address its lack of ethical behavior.

Warren County Republican Chairman Michael Grasso said the party does not need to develop an ethics policy because it already has one.

That turns out to be true.

It is a 12-page document dated March 2015 that outlines the rules and regulations they follow.

You get to the ethics policy — Article IX — on page 11, where it is divided into two sections, covering 11 typewritten lines. It is pretty short.

Section I reads as follows:

“Every member or officer of the Warren County Republican Committee shall, at the time of filing of any application, petition or request with any municipal planning authority, zoning authority, town, village or city board, pursuant to the provisions of any ordinance, local law, rule or regulation constituting the zoning and planning regulations of any municipality, disclose the nature and extent of the interest which such member or officer has directly or indirectly in the subject matter of the application, petition or request as required by the said agency or body.”

Essentially, it outlines a conflict of interest policy in mind-numbing legalese.

Section II says that any person who intentionally violates Section I can be removed from his party position.

That is the extent of the ethics policy.

There is nothing about honesty, campaigning in good faith, debating the issues or trying to avoid negative campaigning.

There is no definition of what the Warren County Republicans stand for.

Just after the November election, I suggested that all local political parties adopt a brief, but broad-reaching code of ethics that would be something like this:

“Our political party in Warren County stands for the highest ideals of American democracy and demands that any candidate it endorses make a commitment to serve in the best interest of its constituents while campaigning on the highest ideals of our society by providing the electorate with facts while refraining from misleading campaign literature, social media and advertising in any manner. And finally, the candidate vows to put community before party.”

Grasso said the Warren County Republicans already stood for honesty and ethical behavior, obviously contradicting his own actions leading up to the election.

What is especially telling about the Warren County GOP’s rules and regulations is their emphasis on “loyalty.”

The rules and regulations go into great detail about the conditions under which one can be removed from the party for disloyalty.

They define nine different acts of disloyalty, covering 21 typewritten lines, while mostly ignoring essential standards of behavior.

The one I found especially interesting was that campaigning for anyone other than the primary winner was grounds for expulsion.

Considering that Doug Irish, John Aspland and Michael Grasso — all officers in the party at one time this year — made it clear that defeating Republican Ward 1 primary winner Tony Metivier was their goal, it would seem all three are guilty of disloyalty.

n Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at tingley@poststar.com. His blog, “The Front Page,” discusses issues about newspapers and journalism. You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley.

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Editor

Ken Tingley is Editor of The Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y. and writes a regular blog called "The Front Page."

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