Does NCGOP Central Committee Care About Fairness or Rules?

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 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?

Probably not.

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 Harnett
Date: Wed, Jan 27, 2016, at 9:22 AM
Subject: Chairman – Upcoming Calendar Events
To: Scheduling
Upcoming 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
So, while it is still possible for a meeting on April 30th to be called with sufficent notice, it is not possible and never was possible for the Chairman to be present at such a meeting to present a defense as specified in the Plan of Organization as cited above.


But as they say on TV, wait, there’s more.


Paragraph VII.7.a.1 cited above also says:
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



NCGOP outpaces NCDP in 2016 Q1 fundraising

Has the Chairman failed at fundraising?  See what The Daily Haymaker has to say:

There is a lot of talk about fundraising at the state Republican Party these days.  According to documents on file with the state board of elections, the Republican Party outraised — however slightly — the state Democrat Party for the first quarter of 2016.

Records show the state GOP pulling in receipts of $133,695.80 for the first quarter of 2016. Some experienced politics watchers may poo-poo that figure.  

But you need to remember — the rise of super PACS AND the debut of affiliated committees this cycle are taking a lot of money out of party coffers that would have been there in previous years.

Even so, the Democrats are not faring any better.  They are reporting receipts of $129,723.58 for the first quarter of 2016.

NCGOP outpaces NCDP in 2016 Q1 fundraising

NCGOP Counsel Sends Letter To Executive Committee

Thomas H. Stark, NCGOP General Counsel, has sent a letter to all NCGOP Executive Committee members.  We have received a copy of this letter, and find several interesting claims there.  For example:

The Chairman and his confederates, however, have chosen a different path. They have released numerous public statements that, in my view, contain inappropriate, vitriolic and inaccurate information.

Certainly no one on the Central Committee has done that, right?  For example we have this and this.

And then we have the interesting case of Dr. Kenneth Robol.  While Dr. Robol admits that it was he who had…

…unilaterally reached out to Chairman Harnett about accessing the Party website. Dr. Robol had read conversations on social media claiming Chairman Harnett had been wrongfully locked out of the Party’s website. As a result of these statements on social media, Dr. Robol contacted Mr. Rufty to volunteer his services. Dr. Robol was then put into contact with Chairman Harnett.

Dr. Robol told me he came forward to another member of the Party after his conversation with Chairman Harnett because the Chairman asked him to assist with what appeared to be an
illegal act. Specifically, Dr. Robol told me that Chairman Harnett asked him to hack the Party website and assist in setting up a competing site that would receive the convention fees, under the
direct control of the Chairman. My law office then obtained a sworn statement from Dr. Robol.

A sworn statement that, to our knowledge, has not been seen outside Mr. Stark’s office.  A sworn statement that is the only significant evidence that the Chairman in fact made the request described above.  Polygraph, anyone?

On March 8, 2016, after learning that the website lacked a number of security features, and out of concern for vulnerability, I advised the Party staff to turn off the servers and email, but to restore the email as soon as possible using an outside server. The email was restored the next morning.

He advised them to “turn off server and email”.  Okay, we can understand why shutting down web servers if there are security concerns, but why email (especially since we know who was running the email)?

He advised them to “restore the email as soon as possible using an outside server”.  Wait.  What?  As we have demonstrated here, on March 8, NCGOP email was already on an outside server.

The initial information provided to the staff was incomplete and the staff feared the worst. They were concerned that all the Party’s computer systems were under attack, including email systems, financial systems, databases, and credit card collection accounts. Because of this, it appeared that immediate and drastic action was necessary to protect confidential party, financial, and donor information.

Email systems?  You mean the ones that little company out in Mountain View, California called Google uses to provide email to NCGOP and hundreds of thousands if not millions of other organizations?  This just doesn’t add up.  Either someone is not telling the truth, or they don’t know enough about what they are doing to be responsible for such things.

I was finally able to meet with Chairman Harnett and his lawyer for a little over one hour on Friday, March 18, 2016. He was only willing to speak of these matters through counsel.

Seriously, Counselor?  Are you surprised that the Chairman declined to speak to opposition counsel without his own counsel present? Would you advise your client to speak to the opposing counsel without you present?  Or are you attempting to act as counsel for both sides in this dispute?

On March 20, 2016, the Central Committee voted to censure Chairman Harnett for these actions. See Attachment B. I abstained from the vote. The Central Committee censured the Chairman for a series of statements and acts that were inconsistent with the proper role of the Chairman according to the Plan of Organization, and the Chairman’s legal obligations. The majority of the Central Committee voted for censure, believing that the Chairman’s vitriolic, racially charged statements, false accusations, and improper conduct should not stand without clear rejection.

But the Central Committee went way beyond censure, into actions that they are not authorized to do by the Plan of Organization.  Let’s examine the word “censure”:

  1. express severe disapproval of (someone or something), typically in a formal statement.
    “a judge was censured in 1983 for a variety of types of injudicious conduct”
  1. the expression of formal disapproval.

    “angry delegates offered a resolution of censure against the offenders”

    Note that both as a verb and as a noun, we are speaking of an expression of disapproval.  There is nothing mentioned in the definition above about punishment or “severe emergency restrictions” on the person who is the object of censure.

There is a procedure for removing someone from office.  The Central Committee knew they could not explicitly remove the Chairman from office, so they did the next best thing – which in our opinion is the same thing – they implicitly removed him by placing restrictions on him that made it impossible for him to do his job.

We have reviewed the NCGOP Plan of Organization, and find nothing there authorizing the Central Committee to go so far beyond censure as they have done. There is no authorization to so hamstring the Chairman.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that I had not revealed Dr. Robol’s identity, Chairman Harnett has now put forward various versions of their conversation. Notably, in a recent statement, Chairman Harnett has used the word “entrapment” to refer to his conversations with Dr. Robol.

As a legal defense, entrapment m that a defendant was enticed or led by government agents to commit a crime he would not have otherwise perpetrated. The entrapment defense concedes that a crime has been committed, but argues that the defendant was not the ultimate cause
of it, but was led into the situation by government actors. Thus, the defendant participated in a crime he would not have otherwise been party to. For Chairman Harnett to use the word “entrapment,” he has conceded that the conversation between him and Dr. Robol occurred essentially as described in Dr. Robol’s statement.

It appears here that Mr. Stark is claiming that the since the Chairman (who by the way is not an attorney) used the word “entrapment” in conversation, his use of the word should be interpreted as if he had used entrapment as a defense in a court of law.  Certainly we aren’t the only ones who find this ludicrous.

It was entirely Chairman Harnett’s own initiative to ask Dr. Robol to hack the Party website and set up a competing website to divert funds away from the Party. Further, it was entirely Chairman Harnett’s own initiative to place a follow up phone call to Dr. Robol.

Dr. Robol contacted other members of the Party because he was made extremely uncomfortable by the Chairman’s request. He was aware that if he did nothing, others might be contacted who did not share his scruples.

Again, we have this allegation for which the only evidence is the word of Dr. Kenneth Robol.  Sworn statement or not, that is all there is.

And doesn’t Dr. Robol have close family ties to folks who strongly oppose the Chairman?  But that couldn’t possibly be relevant.

The Central Committee has been dedicated to working with the
Chairman to ensure the success of the North Carolina Republican Party moving forward.

Ummm…. Yeah….   Right.

I have written this letter to set the record straight, but also to urge everyone involved to adhere to the organizational rules of the North Carolina Plan of Organization. Being an effective member of an organization requires working within the rules and structure of that organization.

Please share this message with the Central Committee.

As I write this, it appears that a new attempt is underway by Chairman Harnett to circumvent the Plan of Organization. Disregarding the Plan of Organization’s notice requirements, he has purported to schedule a meeting of the Executive Committee in conflict with numerous District Conventions. This behavior needs to stop.

From what we have heard, the meeting notice requirements were met.  In addition, there is plenty of evidence that some of the Chairman’s detractors were planning a meeting on the same date – for the very reason that scheduling conflicts would keep attendance low.

You can download a copy of the Mr. Stark’s letter here.

The Daily Haymaker also has excellent commentary on Mr. Stark’s letter here.

Why Does NCGOP Central Committee Operate in Secret?


Following the controversial “lockout” of Hasan Harnett, the duly-elected Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, in the news and social media can be very educational.

We here at have learned many things that almost prompt us to run to the hills.  But where would we go, to the Democrat Party?  Not a chance.  So, we’ll stay here and fight on.  The right outcome of this dispute will go along way towards fixing problems.  So we can’t give up.  Chairman Hasan Harnett isn’t giving up.  Don’t you give up.  The more we dig into this pile of (insert scatalogical reference here), the more victory appears assured.

Among the disturbing things we have learned is that part of the price of admission to the rarefied heights of the NCGOP Central Committee is execution of a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) that attempts to restrict members from sharing outside the Central Committe that committee’s deliberations and actions.

We can’t speak for anyone else, but the image that suggests to us is that of a bunch of old fat white guys in a smoke-filled back room with cigars and tumblers of whiskey deciding the fate of NCGOP.  Not a pretty picture.

Now we realize that there are factual problems with the image described above.  The Central Committee members aren’t all old, all fat, all white, all male, or smoking cigars.  I am quite sure that it is a pretty diverse group.  I am also sure that quite a few of them are people of good character trying to the right thing.  However what is left after removing most of the adjectives from the description above is still a group of people meeting in secret to chart the course of the North Carolina Republican Party.  Not a pretty sight.

We have learned that those who sign such Nondisclosure Agreements are not provided copies of what they have signed.  This makes it rather difficult to discover just what the language of the NDA contains. Isn’t that convenient?

The operation of the Central Committee is supposed to be governed by the NCGOP Plan of Organization and Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.  The Plan of Organization does not mention anything about NDAs for Central Committee members, nor does Robert’s Rules.

While we recognize that there may exist some situations in which application of NDAs to the business of the Central Committee might be appropriate, we are sure that they are by far the exception and not the rule.

I hope that someone will present a resolution to severely limit the application of NDAs to the Central Committee’s conduct of business.

Our NCGOP Central Committee should operate in the open for all of us to see.