Eye On Boise

RNC counsel: Whoever is elected Idaho GOP chairman at Aug. 2 meeting will be 'full voting member' of RNC

John R. Phillippe Jr., chief counsel for the Republican National Committee, has sent a memo headed “Update on Idaho GOP Chairmanship Vacancy” to RNC Chairman Rance Priebus, saying the Idaho Republican Party’s central committee meeting on Aug. 2 will fill the vacancy for state party chairman, and will comply with party rules. Embattled state Chairman Barry Peterson has called a competing meeting for Aug. 9. “Mr. Peterson has no authority to call such a meeting since, as I advised earlier, he is no longer the state party chairman,” Phillippe wrote. “In any case, the meeting in Boise on August 2nd is the properly called meeting. If someone is elected chairman at the meeting, he or she will be eligible to attend the RNC Summer Meeting as a full voting member of the RNC.”

A week ago, Peterson sent out a press release calling on Idaho Gov. Butch Otter to select a single date and bring the party together, saying “one phone call” from the governor would straighten things out. Otter subsequently announced support for the Aug. 2 date, and Sen. Jim Risch and Congressman Mike Simpson chimed in with their support.

Click below for Phillippe’s full memo. The question over the party's leadership arose after the state party convention in Moscow last month ended in disarray, without any elections on leaders, resolutions or a party platform; instead, delegates spent the two days squabbling over whether to seat various counties' delegations, before giving up in disgust. Peterson maintained afterward that he was still chairman, but his opponents said his term ended after two years and the party was left with no chairman.

From: John Phillippe - RNC Legal Counsel
Date: July 2, 2014 at 12:21:01 PM PDT
To: Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman

Subject: Update on Idaho GOP Chairmanship Vacancy

Chairman Priebus,
 
I wanted to give you a quick update on the Idaho GOP state chairmanship situation.  As you know, there is currently a vacancy in the chairmanship, which if not filled before the RNC Summer Meeting (August 6th – 9th), will result in Idaho having only two RNC members eligible to attend.
 
It looks, however, like the vacancy will be filled by then.  Under the Rules of the Idaho Republican Party, a meeting to elect a chairman has been called for August 2nd in Boise.  The meeting was set pursuant to Art. 1, Sec. 3, which allows Central Committee members to call a meeting if at least 15 members from at least five counties make the call.  In this case, they had 32 members from 13 counties.  For good measure, the First Vice Chairman called a meeting for August 2nd based on member requests and Article 1, Section 2 to fill a vacancy.
 
About a week after the Central Committee members called the August 2nd meeting, former state chairman Barry Peterson purported to call a meeting of the Central Committee for August 9th.  Presumably, he is making this attempt pursuant to Article 1, Section 6, which allows the state party chairman to call a meeting.  Of course, Mr. Peterson has no authority to call such a meeting since, as I advised earlier, he is no longer the state party chairman.
 
In any case, the meeting in Boise on August 2nd is the properly called meeting.  If someone is elected chairman at that meeting, he or she will be eligible to attend the RNC Summer Meeting as a full voting member of the RNC.   I will keep you updated on further developments.
 
John R. Phillippe Jr.
Chief Counsel
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003



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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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