Barry Peterson says he disagrees with the legal opinion offered to the Idaho GOP by attorney Jason Risch, and believes he’s still the party chairman – and he’s requested another legal opinion from attorney Christ Troupis on the matter. “I’m adopting the position that was tendered at the convention when the motion for adjournment was made,” Peterson told Eye on Boise this afternoon. The convention chairman, 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador, conferred with his parliamentarians and announced that the result of voting for adjournment would be that “the party officers and the party position as to the platform etc. would be as they were constituted,” Peterson said. “Overwhelmingly, the vote was carried.”
Peterson said Troupis’ legal opinion, like Risch’s, will be done for the party without charge. “It’s my personal opinion that the position taken by the party when they cast their vote should be the position of the party,” Peterson said. “Everybody got to vote on it there at the convention. We’ll see what happens.”
Peterson said he’s called a meeting of the central committee’s rules committee for this Thursday at 7 p.m. in Boise, to review the two legal opinions and discuss what to do next. “They’ll be working on the problem, trying to find a resolve that seems appropriate and in harmony with the rules,” he said.
The party also has received a formal petition calling for an emergency meeting of the central committee, which Risch’s legal analysis noted is the body charged with filling vacancies in officer positions. “The process for that is … I get 10 days to schedule the meeting, and have to schedule the meeting within 30 days of that 10 days – our rules allow for that,” Peterson said. He said one touchy question is where he calls for the meeting to take place. “No matter where I call that meeting, I’m going to get spears in both sides of me,” he said, because members have to participate in person, and the location could benefit those on one side or the other if it’s easier for them to get there. “I just, I want to do the right thing for the right reason,” Peterson said. “And I don’t know what will happen.”
He also said he thought the convention’s spectacular breakdown on Saturday – the only votes taken were on refusing to seat various delegates, and none of the scheduled business was taken up, from the chairmanship to the platform – was planned in advance. “By design, they intended from the very beginning by parliamentary procedure to get the whole convention to go for four hours without taking a vote, and they were successful in that,” Peterson said. He said he couldn’t say who “they” were. “I do not know who put the plan together,” he said. “But I have no doubt that that’s what happened.”