Once More Into the Breach: Local Ron Paul Supporters Appeal Officials Committee Decision
The same twelve Paul delegates and alternates who filed a challenge with the Officials Committee of the State Republican Executive Committee [Please see Newstreamz story: Hays County Paul Supporters Challenge Delegate Selection] have appealed a decision of that committee. The Officials Committee, “the Committee”, decided that the challenge from the Hays County Twelve “was not valid” and therefore their challenge would not be forwarded to the Credentials Committee of the Republican State Convention. [Please see Newstreamz story: State Republican Committee Reaches decision on Complaints from Hays County Ron Paul Supporters].
In response, the Twelve has filed an appeal with the Credentials Committee of the Texas Republican Party. In their appeal, they reiterate their allegation that the location of the March 21 meeting of the Temporary Nominations Committee of the Hays County Republican Party was not generally made known. The appellants allege that “the choice of an isolated meeting place was another attempt to disenfranchise the complainants through the use of stealth and secrecy.” They further charge that “many of the public comments by the challenged delegates [those that the Twelve filed their challenge against] suggest that the reason the complainants were denied access to the meeting was based upon their age. This would be a clear violation of RPT [Republican Party of Texas] rule #3.”
The Twelve’s appeal additionally alleges rule violations of the Officials Committee that heard their challenge. First, the appeal alleges that the Committee “exceeded the scope of their [sic] authority by ‘assessing the merit or lack thereof’ of the challenge” in violation of Rule 27 (b) (2). Second the appeal alleges that the Committee violated Rule 14 that requires that the Committee hold its meeting open to any delegates and/or alternates whom wish to attend the meeting. The appeal alleges that the Committee proceeded “directly into executive session” so that its entire deliberations were not open to county convention delegates and alternates. According to Sean Bullock, one of the Twelve, “The Officials Committee meeting was not open to the public because the committee met in executive session and made its decision behind closed doors.”
Third and finally, the Twelve allege that the Committee treated a letter to it as “testimony” but since the Committee did so during executive session it violated their due process rights because they were not given the opportunity to respond to it.
Of the twelve Paul supporters who issued the challenge and appeal, Sean Bullock, Will Compton, Taylor Meek, Steven Sheftall, and Griffin Spell say that they never received any notice from the Texas Republican Party or any committee or agency of the party informing them of the Officials Committee decision. To their knowledge, none of the challengers received any such notification letter.
The Twelve decided to appeal the Committee’s decision because they believe that the party is violating principles it should be defending. Sean Bullock said that he was appealing the decision “because its right. The Temporary Nominations Committee meeting place location was not made public.” Will Compton said simply, “we are here to represent the popular vote of our precincts. I felt it was my duty as a citizen to represent the votes in my precinct . The voters in my precinct overwhelmingly supported Ron Paul” and the delegates to the state convention “should reflect the popular vote.”
For Stephen Sheftall, the major reason he supported the appeal was that “we weren’t very welcomed” by the Hays County Republican Party “because of the candidate we were supporting.” Sheftall added, “any party that wants to run a country should be able to run one county committee meeting. I want accountability and the party following its rules.” In Taylor Diane Meek’s opinion, the Hays County Republican Convention “was pretty evenly split between McCain and Paul supporters.” Yet, according to Meek, out of the 35 delegates and alternates from Hays County to the State Convention, only two delegates and alternates are Paul supporters. Meek said that many of the people who were elected as delegates at the precinct caucuses on March 4 were told that “their names weren’t on the delegate list so they couldn’t vote at the county convention.” That is why for Meek, “We felt disenfranchised by the Hays County Republican Party.”
The Credentials Committee will hear the Twelve’s appeal and all other filed appeals on Wednesday June 11. That committee is scheduled to meet from 1:00am to Midnight to review all appeals that day.
Many Hays County Ron Paul supporters are planning to participate in two national Ron Paul events. A march on Washington in support of Paul’s presidential bid is scheduled for July 12 and start at the Washington Monument , move down Constitution Avenue and end at the west side of Capitol Hill. The second event is being billed as the Great Freedom Walk and will begin in Green Bay, Wisconsin on August 11. Participants will walk the approximately 261 miles from Green Bay to Minneapolis, Minnesota, which will host the 2008 National Republican Convention.
By ED MIHALKANIN, Ph.D