For immediate release
Republican Party Establishment Offers Compromise to Rules Proposal Stripping State Parties’ Authority to Choose Convention Delegates
Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins calls compromise proposal a “Heads we win, tails you lose” offer to grassroots activists.
(Tampa) – In response to compromise position offered late Monday, August 27, in which the Romney campaign and GOP leaders ostensibly backed down from proposed rule changes effectively eliminating a state’s authority to select delegates to national Republican conventions, Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins noted that what is being played as a compromise is simply more slight-of-hand politics that betrays republican principles.
The proposed rule change pushed in the pre-convention Rules Committee meeting, August 24, by Romney campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg would grant the Republican National Committee — and Mitt Romney — sweeping new powers to amend the governing document of the GOP and allocate and bind state party delegates to presidential candidates based on state straw polls and give presidential campaigns final approval of delegate selections.
Under the compromise proposal, which will be voted on by the full GOP Convention on Tuesday, August 28, delegates who are bound by state law to a presidential candidate that hasn’t bowed out of the race or released his/her delegates must honor that commitment. Any vote for another candidate would be voided and the delegate would lose his or her delegate status.
“The compromise proposed by the RNC and Romney campaigns is a heads “Heads we win, tails you lose” offer to grassroots activists,” said Stebbins.
“The establishment/Romney campaign has offered a minimal compromise to the supporters of the Rules Committee Minority Report that leaves in place most of the objectionable power grabs of proposed new rules including the ability for the RNC to change the rules without convention approval (Rule 12). Meanwhile, support for the full Minority Report continues to grow as grassroots activists from across the nation – Ron Paul and non-Paul delegates — flood email inboxes with protests,” said Stebbins . “With Rule 12 in effect, there is nothing stopping the RNC from changing party rules after the convention and away from public scrutiny and effectively rescinding its publicly offered compromise or creating new rules that further reduces the grassroots effectiveness of the party,” said Stebbins.
Rule 12 requires a 75 percent vote of the RNC to make changes to party rules without a vote by delegates to a national convention. While 75 percent might seem like a high threshold, because the national party controls state funding, a little arm-twisting is all it takes for the national party to influence state RNC members.
“In the past the power of the purse has proven a powerful tool praty chairmen,” Stebbins added. “In the past, what party chaimen have wanted, party chairmen have gotten irrespective of the opinion of the grassroots.”
“I fail to see the difference between the rules proposed by the party establishment and the process they imply and the criticisms we make of the Democrats and President Obama buying votes by doling out federal benefits,” said Stebbins. “Clearly the party establishment and the Romney campaign’s attempt to strip state Republican parties of their authority to select delegates to national conventions is a violation of republican principles.”
Stebbins noted that minority reports coming out of the Rules Committee will also be presented to convention delegates on Tuesday that address the proposed new process for amending GOP convention rules (Rule 12).
“More states, not just states with a plurality or majority of Ron Paul delegates are seeing this move as the power grab by national party leadership and the Romney campaign that it is,” said Stebbins. “Many if not all members of the Minnesota delegation will reject the new rule and be voting in favor of minority reports that repeal the proposed rules.”
“If we are going to be the party that in the general election that seriously proposes reducing the size and scope of the federal government, then we ought to be running our party consistent with the same principles,” added Stebbins. “Rejecting consolidation of power in our own party makes the GOP a stronger party in the general election.”
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