…or do you? It seems that some feel that you do not.
If you have ever watched a police drama, you are likely familiar with the “Miranda warning” given to people who have just been arrested:
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning.
Recent events might lead one to conclude that NCGOP has their own version of the Miranda warning something like this:
You have the right to expose RINOs. If you choose to expose RINOs, anything you say can and will be used against you in an Executive Committee hearing charging you with party disloyalty
It is quite understandable if the reader is at this point thinking “that’s CRAZY!”. Please bear with me a bit.
Recently, four conservative activists from Haywood County were found guilty by the North Carolina Republican Party’s Executive Committee of “party disloyalty” for allegedly writing emails and Facebook posts stating that they could not support a Republican candidate for Haywood County Commission that they perceived to be a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only). Also, at least one or two were accused of voicing their opinion about an incumbent candidate for the United States Senate.
The punishment handed down for these offenses was a ban from holding any party office in North Carolina for a period of three to five years depending on the individual. It should be noted that this is a ban from holding a party office, not a public office such as town alderman, county commissioner, or legislator.
Where does NCGOP get the right to ban people from party office for stating their opinion that an elected official is a RINO? From a ludicrously broad interpretation of a provision in the party’s Plan of Organization quoted directly below (complete with typographical errors):
Article IX, Section 8. Vacancies and Removals
a. Any Member of a Committee organized under this Plan may be removed either:
i. By a 2/3’s vote of the respective Committee after being furnished with notice of the charges against him, signed by the lesser of (i) 50 Members or (i) one-third of the Members of the respective Committee. Any Republican against whom charges are brought shall be furnished with 2 weeks notice of said charges and be given an opportunity to present a defense. Removal by a vote of the respective Committee shall be confined to gross inefficiency, Party disloyalty (as defined herein) or failure to comply with the County, District, or State Party Plans of Organization
c. For the purposes of this Plan of Organization, “Party Disloyalty” shall be defined as actively supporting a candidate of another Party or independent candidate running in opposition to a candidate of the Republican Party or a Republican endorsed by the appropriate Executive Committee in a non-partisan election.Article IX section E:
2. Party Disloyalty
Any registered Republican attempting to influence or influencing the outcome of any election against a Republican candidate or Republican endorsed by the appropriate Republican Executive Committee or Legislative Caucus, other than by supporting an opposing Republican Candidate in a Republican primary, may be declared ineligible to hold office under the State Plan of Organization at the State, District, and Precinct level for Party disloyalty by 2/3 vote of the State Executive Committee. Charges of Party disloyalty may be brought by petition of 50 members of the State Executive Committee, or by resolution of a County or District Republican Executive Committee. The State Executive Committee may declare a Republican found to have engaged in Party disloyalty as ineligible to serve in any office under the Plan of Organization for a period of time between 6 months and 5 years.
Without question, the accused were subject to the above provisions by virtue of their membership in the Haywood County Republican Party Executive Committee at the time of their alleged offenses.
But, are the Plan of Organization provisions cited above fairly applicable to the alleged offenses? Let’s examine that.
“Party Disloyalty” shall be defined as actively supporting a candidate of another Party or independent candidate running in opposition to a candidate of the Republican Party or a Republican endorsed by the appropriate Executive Committee in a non-partisan election
Now, I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I understand English pretty well. The above language seems quite unequivocal to me. It seems quite clear that for actions to be construed as “party disloyalty” as defined above, one would have to actively support a candidate of another party or an independent candidate running in opposition to a Republican. I just can’t see how else to interpret that.
Is saying “Commissioner Smith is a RINO” in an email or on Facebook “actively supporting” a candidate of another party?
Does saying “I cannot support Commissioner Smith” in an email or on Facebook qualify as “actively supporting” his opponent?
Does simply stating in an email that you will vote for a Democrat who is opposing a Republican Candidate qualify as “actively supporting” a Democrat?
Did the alleged actions “affect the outcome”?
Was justice done?
Stay tuned for more.