It is quite apparent there is a national pattern of “problems” when it comes to those who support Ron Paul exercising their right to participate in the Republican Party. More reports this weekend from Oregon and Massachusetts only add to the litany of grievances to date. My home state of Oklahoma saw significant rules violations that have been well documented elsewhere. I will not recount the state by state list, but it is safe to say naming the states following the rules is a shorter list than the violators. The question being asked by the Liberty-loving core of the Republican Party is:
WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
Since guidance “from above” – meaning from the Ron Paul campaign itself – is not forthcoming, we must figure this out on our own. I will leave criticism of the campaign for a later date, and I certainly have plenty to say on the subject, but the fact is we have built our own organizations and efforts across the country, on our own, with our own self-chosen leadership. We are a lesson in the power of decentralization. It is therefore advisable to continue our decentralized quest for justice in the delegate process.
STEP ONE – fight within the party structure. The Rules that apply at the National Convention to contest what happened in your state are Rule 20, Rule 22, and Rule 23. I suggest you read them all, and I have included them at the end of this article. NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, START HERE. If there are violations of the Rules, be diligent in filling your complaint in the proper manner. Doing this serves several purposes. First, it shows our continued support of the Rules and desire to operate within them (and by extension our support of the Rule of Law). Second, it properly documents who violated the Rules, and how they did it, so we can both stop them in the future and vote them out of office. Finally, it is entirely possible that your challenge will be upheld.
STEP TWO – fight within your state legal system. If state law was violated, by all means take action. This is something you will have to figure out on your own, on a state by state basis. You will need an attorney (or several) to figure this out, but a simple call out on a Facebook or Meetup site should get a few that will help you. If they won’t help you, they’ll know who can. If you can’t afford it, there are donors out there looking to help. Go ask them for help on legal expenses. We stand for the Rule of Law, and those who violate it must be exposed and brought to justice.
STEP THREE – fight within the federal legal system. If you believe federal law was violated, you have every right to file suit for legal remedy. You may do this on your own or as part of a larger group. This is the most difficult and in my opinion a last resort. As I am sure many of you know, there is a group known as “Tools for Justice” bringing a case in the 9th Circuit. I am not involved with this group, for several reasons. Here are some:
I don’t know them. I don’t know their party affiliation. I don’t know their involvement with the Ron Paul campaign and/or the Liberty Movement. I don’t know what type of law he/they practice. I don’t know their track record of winning/losing. I am pursuing things in a different way, within my state.
Whether you join up with that effort is up to you, and your personal discretion. I would encourage you to let your head rule your heart, and fully “vet” them before you decide. We all want justice done, and none should be condemned or praised for finding their own way to it. I do not oppose what they are doing, but I don’t choose to be a part of it and am not interested in a mass case. I am interested in the case that we have in my state, and how it fits within my state’s law, and my state’s rules. I will pursue it with attorneys that I have been involved with choosing, not ones I don’t know from other states.
I believe many separate challenges, of any and all Rules violations in the selection of delegates at both the Congressional District level and the State level, is much more powerful than one giant federal court case. My goal is to nominate and elect Ron Paul in Tampa. My belief is that he is the only candidate with any hope of defeating Barrack Obama. In my opinion, the only way that is going to happen is if each state properly documents and challenges improperly elected and/or selected delegations. We must use the process to hold the party to the rules it has written. I do not believe any legal action will be in time. That does not mean we should not pursue legal action. If the law has been broken, the guilty must be exposed and punished. Corruption must be rooted out, but the wheels of justice turn slowly.
In the interests of disclosure, I am a “Santorum-bound” National Delegate from Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District. I am currently in the process of challenging the results of Oklahoma’s GOP State Convention. The details of our challenge can be found at www.okliberty.com. We are accepting donations to offset our legal expenses, which we anticipate will be significant. If you are contemplating your own effort, I would encourage you to set up your own legal fund, and make sure you follow all applicable laws when you do. Please, do NOT donate to us if you have your own effort to fund, unless you have extra. We can always put it to good use.
Good luck to all of you, whichever path you choose. The most important thing is to CHOOSE and then TAKE ACTION!
RULE NO. 20
Contests: Resolution by States
All contests arising in any state electing district delegates by district conventions shall be decided by its state convention or, if the state convention shall not meet prior to the national convention, then by its state committee. Only contests affecting delegates elected or selected at large shall be presented to the Republican National Committee; provided, however, if the contest regarding a district delegate arises out of the irregular or unlawful action of the state committee or state convention, the Republican National Committee may take jurisdiction thereof and hear and determine the same under the procedures provided in Rule Nos. 22 and 23.
RULE NO. 22
(a) Notices of contests shall state the grounds of the contest and shall be filed, no later than thirty (30) days before the time set for the meeting of the national convention, with the secretary of the Republican National Committee and shall be sent, simultaneously, by registered mail to the person or persons being contested, except in the case of delegates or alternate delegates elected at a time or times in accordance with applicable state law rendering impossible the filing of the notice of contest within the time above specified.
(b) Notices of contests may be filed only by a resident of the state whose delegation is challenged who was eligible to participate at any level in the delegate selection process of that state.
(c) Only contests that are timely filed under these rules shall be considered.
(d) For purposes of the rules relating to contests and credentials, the term “party” shall mean a person or persons who shall have filed a notice of contest pursuant to this Rule No. 22, and the person or persons whose right to be seated as a delegate or alternate delegate is the subject of such notice of contest.
RULE NO. 23
(a) The Committee on Contests shall have the power to adopt procedural rules, not inconsistent with these rules, which shall govern the expeditious resolution of contests before the Committee on Contests. When any deadline set out in this rule falls on a Sunday or legal holiday, such deadline shall be extended to the following day.
(b) No later than twenty-two (22) days before the convening of the national convention (or, in the case of delegates or alternate delegates elected at a time or times in accordance with applicable state law rendering impossible compliance with this requirement, within five (5) days after such election), each of the parties shall file with the secretary of the Republican National Committee at least three (3) printed or typewritten copies of the statement of position in support of the party’s claim to sit as delegates or alternate delegates to the national convention together with such affidavits or other evidence as desired. The secretary of the Republican National Committee, upon receiving the statement of position of a party, shall furnish the opposing party a copy of said statement of position. Each statement of position shall begin with a summary of not more than one thousand (1,000) words setting forth succinctly a synopsis of the statement of position and a specific statement of the points relied upon.
(c) The Committee on Contests shall promptly hear the matter; decide which issues are involved, either of law or fact, or both; decide upon its recommendation for resolution of such issues; and submit such issues and its recommendations for resolution to the Republican National Committee. The issues so submitted by the Committee on Contests shall be the sole issues passed upon and determined by the Republican National Committee unless the Republican National Committee shall, by a majority vote, extend or change the same. If the Committee on Contests for any reason shall fail to state the issues either of law or fact, the Republican National Committee shall decide upon what issues the contest shall be tried, and the hearing shall be limited to such issues unless the Republican National Committee, by a majority vote, shall decide otherwise.
(d) The Committee on Contests shall make up a report of each contest filed, showing the grounds of contest; the statute and rule, if any, under which the contest is waged; and the contentions of each party thereto. The report shall conclude with a statement of the points of issue in the contest, both of fact and law, and a statement of the recommendation of the Committee on Contests as to resolution of such points of issue, and shall be signed by the chairman or his designee. When the Committee on Contests has prepared such report stating the issues of law and fact, a copy of the statement of such issues shall be submitted forthwith to a person in the convention city, whom the parties must appoint at the time of filing the contest to receive such statement, and a copy shall be served forthwith by the chairman of the Committee on Contests upon the parties by the most expeditious method available, providing for written evidence of receipt including, but not limited to, overnight delivery service.
(e) The parties shall have eight (8) days to file written objections to the Committee on Contests’ statement of the issues of fact or law, or both, unless the Republican National Committee is called to act upon the contest sooner, in which case such objections shall be made before the meeting of the whole committee. The objections shall contain any additional statement of issues of either law or fact, or both, claimed by the party submitting the same to be involved in and necessary to be decided in the contest.
(f) When the Republican National Committee is called to pass upon any contest that may arise, the members of the Convention Committee on Credentials shall also be notified of the time and place of such meeting and shall have the right to attend all hearings of all contests but without the right to participate in the discussion or the vote.