Friday, February 20, 2015

The Errors Of The Tulsa GOP Chairman

On February 26th, Chairman McCutchin is calling his executive committee to kick delegates out
of the upcoming convention; bypassing  the Convention's Credentials Committee volunteers.
   In the past 12 weeks some subtle errors have led to a crisis that threatens to disenfranchise more precincts and the repercussions could lead to a rebellion that would ban current executive committee members from future roles in the Tulsa GOP.

 The Tulsa County GOP Chairman has recruited a party prosecutor who is set to usurp the role of the Credentials Committee and hold a trial before the Tulsa County Executive Committee. that Committee has no constitutional role in determining credentials, yet Attorney, Terry Simonson, is boldly setting a course to begin purging several grassroots Republican delegates from the 2015 Republican County Convention, this Thursday night, Feb. 26th, at Martin East Regional Library.

 How It Started

  The OKGOP Chairman (David Weston) errantly reported in December, 2014;
   "The first step is to hold Precinct Meetings and conduct Precinct business. The meeting is open to ALL registered Republicans and should be held within the boundaries of the precinct, however many counties in Oklahoma hold their Precinct Meetings together as a group. Some meet as one county-wide event and others meet in zones or by State House District. OKGOP State Party Rule (SPR) 16(a) gives authority to the County Executive Committee to set the location of the Precinct Meetings where they think best for their county."
   But further inspection reveals that this statement has a false representation of the OKGOP Rules. The role of the County Executive Committee  is to hear requests from precincts who want to meet somewhere OTHER THAN within their precinct boundaries.
Rule 16 – Conventions 
(a) Regular Biennial Meetings and Conventions: There shall be a regular biennial Precinct Meeting in each precinct, except with prior approval of the County Executive Committee of the location outside the precinct boundary; 
Chairman McCutchin declared Terry Simonson to be
"General Counsel of the Tulsa County GOP" and
ordered him to prosecute the case of several delegates.
   The rules of the state party do not allow for the  County Executive Committee (a hand-picked small group of appointees of the chairman's choosing along with his vice chair), to delegate this "constitutional role" over to the County Chairman or his ad-hoc committee. If the Executive Committee moves to further study or refine other options, The results of the study will require a subsequent Executive Committee finding and authorization of the specific locations which the precincts or County Committee requested.
Rule 5
(b ) Authority and Duties: The Precinct Committee is the supreme Republican Party authority of each precinct, subject to these rules, and the direction and control of official precinct meetings. The Precinct Committee of each precinct is charged with the duty of promoting the welfare and directing the affairs of the Republican Party in its precinct. 
  The  error was further corrupted by the Tulsa County Chairman (Michael McCutchin) presented this fraudulent proposal to the December Executive Committee, premising his takeover of the precinct organizing powers away from the Current Precinct Committees;
Whereas Rule 16(c) of the Rules of the Oklahoma Republican Party states, in part, 
"Fixing Time and Place of Meetings...: 
The State Executive Committee or the State Chairman may permit the County...organizations to fix the exact hour, day and place of the Precinct Meetings... within limits consistent with these rules"; and 
Whereas the State Chairman has expressly granted permission for the Tulsa County Executive Committee to set the hour, day and place of the 2015 biennial Precinct Meetings, per attached letter; "
 The premise completely misrepresents what constitutes the permanent County Organization. 
  State Chairman, David Weston, erred in that he cannot delegate authority to any entity other than whom the OKGOP rules allow. He cannot specifically meddle inside the Tulsa County structure at his whim or recklessness.
   The OKGOP permanent rules define the County Permanent Organization as;
Rule 1- Permanent Organization
  • Republican County Committee
  • Republican County Central Committee 
  • Republican County Executive Committee
  While the Executive Committee clearly plays a vital role in setting up the official Call To Convention, their only specific duty is to approve an equitable division of the size of precinct delegations and approve the date & time of precinct meetings in the event that the state executive committee does not mandate a specific time and/or date for every precinct to meet and/or every county convention to meet.
Rule 16 c
"...the State Chairman may permit the County and Congressional District organizations to fix the exact hour, day, and place of the Precinct Meetings and the County Conventions, within limits consistent with these rules."  

So who is the County Organization?

Rule 6(b) Authority and Duties: 1. The County Committee of each county is the supreme Republican Party authority of the county, subject to these rules and the direction and control of County Conventions. It is charged with the duty of promoting the welfare and directing and controlling the affairs of the Republican Party in its county 
  The County Committee is composed of every organized precinct's chair & vice chair in the county, along with some county party leadership. It is the most grassroots and inclusive permanent entity in the county GOP. The County Chairman presides and calls the committee to meet as a regular part of the governance of the county GOP.
  It is the County Committee (precinct leaders across the county) who principally act in the official role of controlling the affairs of the county GOP.

Has Tulsa's County GOP Chairman followed the process?

  Unlike most every other county in Oklahoma, Chairman McCutchin has never attempted to call the County Committee together. This group clearly represents the elected party leaders and therefore provides the consensus of all of the party, between county conventions.

Who is the County Executive Committee?
   The Chair & Vice Chair are ordered to select their own choice of advisers who have the authority to approve or reject certain functions and proposals of the County Committee and the County Central Committee. But the County Chairman is never authorized to solely usurp the organized precinct's authority to meet in their precinct boundaries, for precinct business.
   If the correct reading  and understanding of the rules had been done by those who are currently acting as a monarch, we would not be in this mess of confusion. We all make mistakes, and that is why we have the detailed permanent organization. The Chairman's chief duty is to call the permanent organization into the appropriate committee meetings.
  Has Chairman McCutchin availed the Tulsa County GOP of the carefully structured committee resources? No.
In 2 years of chairing the county, Mike McCutchin has called;
  • 0 County Committee meetings
  • 1 County Central Committee meeting, shortly after his election, for photos and other housekeeping
  • 3 County Executive Committee meetings (2 of them in the last 2 months)
  This is not a small rural county in Little Dixie. Tulsa has great assets and energy to offer to the Republican cause. But the failure of McCutchin seems too blatant and egregious to blame on ignorance, ineptness, or catastrophic coincidence. Many counties hold monthly GOP meetings which are all open to the public.
   Since the Precinct leadership would be the ones carrying out the new idea for precinct meetings miles away from the neighborhoods, it only makes practical sense that the County Committee would be tapped to develop a plan several months in advance of the January 2015 event. But they were completely ignored and impugned by the chairman. McCutchin detailed a stark narrative of dangerous neighborhoods and vulnerable old ladies whom fear had disenfranchised from the precincts they live in. Massive fraud including incorrect addresses posted and meetings where voters are locked out of gated communities.
  McCutchin has deliberately kept the county GOP grassroots quiet and immobilized. It has empowered him to solely dictate far beyond any defensible excuse.
The Tulsa GOP grassroots successfully rallied to defeat Vision2,
because former chairman, JB Alexander convened a County Committee.
  Perhaps the only explanation for this behavior is that the last time the Tulsa County Committee met was in the Summer of 2012, in the wake of the County Commissioner's attempt to pass "Vision2", and it's massive additional taxes through 2027 a.d.
  The County Committee soundly passed a resolution opposing this tax that was orchestrated by Republican politicians. The rebuke of elected Republicans sent chills through the halls of the seats of power, because the grassroots actually called upon the Republican politicians to reflect the platform and convictions of Republican Party.

One more rule...

Rule 3- Rights and Qualifications of Members and Officers 
(a) Members: All citizens of Oklahoma are invited to join the Oklahoma Republican Party to perpetuate this Republic. All qualified voters of this state who are registered Republicans are members of the Oklahoma Republican Party, and shall have the right to participate in the official affairs and governance of the Republican Party in accordance with these rules as set forth herein. Such right shall be sacred and inviolate, and the willful disregard or abridgement of such right by an officer or member of any committee of the Party shall be deemed sufficient cause for the removal of such officer or committee member.
  This rule will be certainly be visited by a future Committee who will review the actions of those who violate the sacred and inviolate rights of any delegate who is improperly abridged of their full rights as Republicans representing their own precincts. 
David Van Risseghem

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