A group of Ron Paul supporters is suing the Republican National Committee, Chairman Reince Priebus, the Republican parties of every U.S. state and territory and the chair of each state party. The plaintiffs hope that a federal judge will rule that all delegates to the national convention are “unbound” and therefore free to vote for the candidate of their choice. The suit also alleges that the RNC has been helping Mitt Romney’s campaign throughout the presidential primary, in violation of party rules.
“It’s a frivolous lawsuit,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J. Spiker said. “I don’t think it will go anywhere.” Spiker and former RPI Chairman Matt Strawn are both named in the suit.
Like Spiker, the Republican National Committee calls the lawsuit “frivolous”, but plans a vigorous defense nonetheless. In regards to at least some of the plaintiffs, Spiker and the RNC are correct.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of “Delegates to the National Convention as Follows”. The document later lists all 121 individual plaintiffs. However, not all of the plaintiffs are delegates to the national convention. The lone plaintiff from Iowa, Edward True, told TheIowaRepublican.com that he was a delegate to the Appanoose County GOP convention, but went no further. He is referred to in the lawsuit as “Iowa Delegate, Edward True”.
Political operatives in Missouri say there is no record of the two plaintiffs from that state, Lynn Kempen and Matthew Hay, being delegates at any level. The plaintiffs come from 19 different states, mostly Arizona and Georgia.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in California, claims plaintiffs are “suffering irreparable harm because their right to vote in accordance with their conscience on the first and all ballots of the Convention is being impeded by threats of monetary fines, criminal sanctions, and/or removal from their status as a Certified Delegate”.
This of course makes no sense in regards to the plaintiffs like Edward True who are not national delegates. They can’t suffer “irreparable harm” over being forced to vote a certain way at the national convention when they are not going to the national convention.
If the name Edward True sounds familiar, it is. True received nationwide media attention when he publicly announced that his precinct in Appanoose County reported twenty more votes for Mitt Romney than what he actually received in the Iowa Caucus. Since Romney was announced the winner on caucus night by an eight vote margin, True’s information indicated that Rick Santorum should have been announced the victor.
At the time, KCCI-TV reported that an RPI spokeswoman said since Edward True was not a precinct captain, nor county chairperson, he had no business talking about results. However, Edward True’s statements matched his last name. The error in that Appanoose County precinct was one of more than 140 that RPI discovered during its certification process. Eventually, Santorum was declared the winner of the Iowa Caucus by a 34-vote margin.
The RPI’s spokesperson’s derogatory tone is part of what spurred True to join this lawsuit. “When the story first broke, the response from the GOP party was, well you’re not a precinct captain or county chairman so it’s none of your business,” True told TheIowaRepublican.com. “That’s just blatant arrogance and poor attitudes toward people that were trying to follow the rules. There’s no reason for it.
Edward True is an ardent Ron Paul supporter. He posted on his Facebook page last week that “Ron Paul was cheated out of a win in the Iowa caucus”. True would not elaborate on that claim during his interview with TheIowaRepublican.com.
Since the caucus controversy, Edward True has followed presidential election results very carefully. “I’ve spent pretty well 8-10 hours a day since the Iowa Caucus studying every state,” he said. “There’s video evidence of a lot of stuff being legally questionable.”
The federal lawsuit True joined makes claims of “systematic campaign election fraud at State Conventions, including programming a voting machine in Arizona to count Ron Paul votes as Governor Romney votes; ballot stuffing, meaning the same person casting several ballots in several states; altering and falsifying ballot totals for each candidate; the use of violence at several State Conventions; altering procedural rules to prevent votes being cast for Ron Paul”.
Mitt Romney has already surpassed the threshold of 1,144 bound delegates necessary to clinch the GOP presidential nomination. The Paul supporters who filed the lawsuit hope that the federal court will rule that delegates cannot be bound. If that happens and all national delegates are free to vote for whomever they choose, the Paul campaign’s efforts to secure the majority of delegates to the convention, like they did in Iowa, could hand the GOP nomination to Ron Paul.
“We have nothing to do with it and do not support it,” Paul adviser Jesse Benton told reporters. However, Benton’s statement is much stronger than the one Ron Paul made when he was interviewed by CNN on Tuesday.
“It’s certainly not part of our campaign,” Ron Paul said. “There certainly have been times when we felt like we came up short in the process, but not extremely so, and it hasn’t ever motivated me to file a lawsuit, but at times when we’ve been pushed around, it’s because the other side hasn’t followed the rules you know and they closed down conventions for us and they’ve done things to try to prevent us. But that has not motivated me to file a lawsuit.”
While Iowa’s delegates are unbound, most states with presidential primaries have party rules, state election laws, or both that bind delegates to successful candidates. The lawsuit does not ask for any monetary damages, just “guidance” and “injunctive relief” from the court.
Photo by Dave Davidson, Prezography.com
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