By Paul Yeager
A petition has been circulating calling for a NCGOP Executive Committee meeting on April 30th for the purpose of removing Hasan Harnett, the duly elected Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.
We at NC4Hasan.com have no idea what sort of reception this petition has received, but we urge those being asked to sign it to consider carefully in light of NCGOP rules and available evidence.
First, let us consider what the 2015 Plan of Organization says about removing a member from office. Taking it one step at a time…
Paragrapgh VI.C.5.b states on page 21:
b. Procedure for removal of any Member or Officer is defined in Article VII A.7 The decision of the State Executive Committee shall be final.
Section VII.A.7 states on page 24:
7. Vacancies and Removals
a. Any Member of a Committee organized under this Plan may be removed either:
1. 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.
2. Automatically upon such Member’s conviction (as defined below) of a felony after election to such Committee organized under this Plan without the need for any further action immediately effective upon such conviction, and the seat declared vacant. Each Member shall have the affirmative duty to inform the Chairman of such Committee in writing immediately upon his conviction of a felony; provided that the failure of a Member to so notify the Chairman in writing shall not delay, prevent or restrict the expulsion of such Member from such Committee in accordance with this Section.
a. For the purposes hereof, a “conviction” shall be defined as the conviction of or the entering of a guilty plea, an alford plea, or a plea of no contest to a felony.
b. 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.
As there has been no felony conviction, and no allegation of “Party Disloyalty” as defined above, we must assume that an effort to remove the Chairman from office would have to proceed under the terms of paragraph a.1 above. Most relevant to this discussion is the following portion thereof:
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.
So, as long as notice of the meeting to hear the charges is postmarked by April 15, it would be valid, right?
The citation above says “and be given an opportunity to present a defense”. How can someone have the opportunity to present a defense when a meeting is called for a time when they are known to be out of the country?
Skeptics among us might be forgiven for thinking: “Out of the country? How convenient!”. However, this is not something that was dreamed up on the spur of the moment to evade a hearing in front of the Executive Committee. The Chairman made it known to NCGOP staff that he would be out of the country on that date via email back in January:
From: Hasan HarnettDate: Wed, Jan 27, 2016, at 9:22 AMSubject: Chairman – Upcoming Calendar EventsTo: SchedulingUpcoming Calendar Events· 2/20* Johnston County Reagan Dinner (Lt. Gov), Johnston County Agriculture Center, 2736 NC 210 Hwy., Smithfield, NC at 5:30 pm· 2/25* Durham GOP Lincoln-Douglass Event· 3/4* 2nd Annual TARS Fundraiser, Embassy Suites Hotel, 460 N. Cherry St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 7-9:30 pm
· 4/23 – 5/1 I’m traveling out of the country (Confirmed)*I have not confirmed anything with the venue(s) – please advise
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.
Which sets forth a set of offenses for which a member of a committee can be removed. In the citation above, we see three possible causes for removal:
1. Gross inefficiency. While inefficiency has been alleged, it is hard to tell whether or not it qualifies as “gross inefficiency”. If a duplicate mailing qualifies as “gross inefficiency”, then what is it called when the General Counsel spends NCGOP funds to send a mailing critical of the Chairman?
2. Party Disloyalty. This is clearly defined in the citation above, and all that need be said here is that no such thing has even been alleged.
3. Failure to comply with the County, District, or State Party Plans of Organization. While there may or may not be a supportable charge on this ground, one might want to use caution here. On this ground at least a dozen Central Committee members are likely also subject to removal. What’s good for the goose…
We have watched while the list of charges against the Chairman has gotten smaller and smaller. Oddly, the remaining charges to which the Chairman’s opponents cling are hacking or attempting to get someone to hack NCGOP computer systems, and opening an Evenbrite account using his official NCGOP email address.
The first charge is based on extremely thin evidence – the statement of one person – a statement that few have been privileged to see.
The second charge is too petty to warrant further comment.
Is it not time for the Chairman’s opponents to apologize, sheath their swords, and return to the business of getting good Republicans elected to office across North Carolina and in Washington?
I think so.
After 30 years developing software in diverse fields from avionics to materials handling to medical device manufacturing to web sites, Paul Yeager runs a small diversified technology consulting firm in Waynesville.
Paul also serves as a Precinct Chairman in Haywood County, and as Editor and Publisher of NC4Hasan.com