Image: Although the Texas Republican County Chairman’s Association (TRCCA) and Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Wally Wilkerson have taken a swipe at grassroots conservative Republicans, the grassroots are fight back!
Austin and Conroe, September 8 – The proposed change to Rule 8(k), concerning “County Chairman Misbehavior in Office,” of the Rules of the Republican Party of Texas just got a whole lot worse. The Texas Republican County Chairman’s Association (TRCCA) and its member and ally Wally Wilkerson have taken a huge swipe at grassroots conservative Republicans by proposing a mechanism to impose top-down discipline on precinct chairs for misbehavior while deleting the discipline mechanism for County Chairs entirely from the rules, even if County Chairs violate the Texas Election Code, commit election fraud, or engage in behavior designed to disgrace the Republican Party.
Rule 8(k) currently provides:
“County Chairman Misbehavior in Office — A County Chairman may be deemed to have misbehaved in office by failing to perform statutory duties, failing to attend four (4) consecutive County Executive Committee Meetings, embezzling County Executive Committee funds, being convicted of election fraud, or other behavior designed to disgrace the Republican Party. A written demand signed by at least a majority of the Precinct Chairman of a County Executive Committee shall be forwarded to the Officials Committee of the State Republican Executive Committee. If the Officials Committee finds that the complaint has merit, the Officials Committee shall conduct a hearing on the conduct of the County Chairman and shall forward a recommendation to the State Chairman for consideration for appropriate lawful remedy.”
Clearly, that Rule provides far too much accountability to the County Executive Committee, composed of the elected Precinct Chairs in each county, for TRCCA not to want to change the provision entirely. Therefore, TRCCA’s President Jack Barcroft proposed to delete Rule 8(k) entirely from the Rules during the State Republican Executive Committee meetings on September 13 and 14, 2019.
On Thursday, September 5, 2019, Rules Committee Chair Jan Duncan, an SREC Committeewoman from the Austin area, notified the SREC members of the proposed change which the Rules Committee would present to the SREC at its meetings on September 13 and 14, 2019. There were other less controversial changes as well.
Late in the day on Friday, September 6, 2019, however, Duncan and the Rules Committee noticed SREC members that the proposed Rules change to Rule 8(k) would differ markedly from Barcroft’s original proposal to delete the Rule altogether. The Rules Committee’s and Duncan’s substitute follows with an ostensible explanation:
“The public call put out for what we decided to do with rule 8K was sent out in error. We must have it noticed today [Friday, September 6] that we intend to amend the rule in the following manner which includes precinct chairs to the process.
“8k. County Chairman Misbehavior in Office Recording complaint against Executive Committee members— A County Chairmanmember of the county executive committeemay be deemed to have misbehaved in office by failing to perform statutory duties, or any item currently listed in Texas election code. failing to attend four (4) consecutive County Executive Committee Meetings, embezzling County Executive Committee funds, being convicted of election fraud, or other behavior designed to disgrace the Republican Party. A written demand signed by at least a majority of the Precinct Chairman of a County Executive Committee shall be forwarded to the Officials Committee of the State Republican Executive Committee. If the Officials Committee finds that the complaint has merit, the Officials Committee shall conduct a hearing on the conduct of the County ChairmanExecutive Committee memberand shall forward a recommendation to the State Chairman for consideration for appropriate lawful remedy.”
Unbelievably, Barcroft, Duncan, and the Rules Committee now want to turn Rule 8(k) upside down. Instead of disciplining County Chairs, they want to give County Chairs and the County Executive Committee the capability to impose discipline on the Republican Precinct Chairs!
Venerable SREC Committeeman Mark Ramsey of Senatorial District 7 commented, “I oppose the proposed change. Thought Rule 8(k) needs to be strengthened, not gutted, it has worked reasonably well in its inaugural biennium AND absent a statewide party-operations-disrupting crisis, any changes should be done by the next convention, not the SREC operating between conventions.” Ramsey added, “The proposed new language would weaken, if not gut, the current 8(k) language.”
Walter West, II, an SREC Committeeman from Senatorial District 4 and from Montgomery County where the first 8(k) ruling in history occurred on October 2, 2018, said, “I am for the changing of rules by delegates only!!! MAY2020HOUSTON!!! I like the rule as it pertains to Rogue County Chairs and their Hail for ‘Power!’ that is Representative of everything “Not” in our government in any fashion. The changes I understand will add Precinct Chairs in the lazy attempt to water down the bad optics, however, Precinct Chairs cannot Control a Party’s Bank Account, Committee Appointments, Tempo of the Party, and the Party’s influence across the county as a Whole. Just look at the actual number of County parties as it relates to Actual County Parties. You’ll find TeXaS has an overwhelming number of County Chairs that have no working CECs. The failure of Both OF Texas’ Parties to influence the changing of election law to stay out of private Party Matters should prove how influential County Chairs are in Texas with the Bills that Stephanie Click killed in Committee. These are the opinions I may share with my Liberty minded Patriots in SD4, but do not reflect all who have contacted me on this issue. “
Surprisingly, even members of the Rules Committee don’t seem to know from where the substitute version of the proposed Rules change appeared. Gail Stanart, a member of the SREC from Houston said, “I am on the Rules Committee. I have requested that proposed rule changes come with the name of the person making the recommendation. I have also asked for the names of those who proposed the current batch. It has been suggested that some of these came from Jack Barcroft, SREC.”
One former SREC member who supports a change in Rule 8(k) is Terry Holcomb, who will become the Director of Operations for the Republican Party of Texas. Holcomb told The Golden Hammer, “My position on this issue then and now is that the rule as written has issues. I do not think it should be removed but I do believe it should be amended to address a couple of issues. The biggest issue is that it causes problems between the local parties and State Party. The rule as written creates an expectationthat the Officials Committee nor the SREC can meet due to election code. Even in Montgomery County, after we issued an 8k ruling which I supported and voted for, there was a request to remove him under 8k which we did not have the authority to do. The election code dictates those parameters. There were quite a few upset with us because we could not do more. A second issue with the rule as written is that it calls out one position on an entire executive committee. That is wholly inappropriate and needs to be fixed. These two things combined serve to confound the work of the Party. With that said, amending the rule is certainly an option that could alleviate both of these issues. Pointing to the election code for actions that would allow for a removal would clear up the unrealistic expectations and bringing all members of the executive committee into the rule is the only good and right thing to do.”
In the only use of Rule 8(k) in history, the Republican Party of Texas Officials Committee issued a ruling on October 2, 2018, that Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Wally Wilkerson failed to fulfill statutory duties as County Republican Chairman and “engaged in behavior designed to disgrace the Republican Party.” The ruling came after a majority of the elected Republican Precinct Chairs in Montgomery County filed a complaint under Republican Party Rule 8(k) that Wilkerson had refused to abide by Texas election law, Republican Party Rules, and the Bylaws of the Montgomery County Republican Party.
Reagan Reed, the Vice Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party, said, “Rule 8k very likely kept the Montgomery County Republican Party out of the courtroom last year. Is 8k perfect? No. It needs to be strengthened. But it is a way for county parties to work through their disputes within the party without going to court. Unless the RPT wants to see a bunch of intra-party lawsuits, I strongly suggest they keep 8k.”
The Montgomery County 8(k) ruling was the first time in the history of the Republican Party of Texas that the State Party had found that a County Republican Chairman “engaged in behavior designed to disgrace the Republican Party” and failed to fulfill statutory duties under the Texas Election Code.
The letter ruling requested that Wilkerson and all members of the County GOP Executive Committee:
- abide by the Party Bylaws enacted on June 26, 2018;
- acknowledge that Treasurer John Hill Wertz should be on all Party bank accounts and that Wilkerson provide Wertz with the information to make the Treasurer’s regulatory filings with the Texas Ethics Committee and Federal Election Commission; and
- recognize all results of the June 26 organizational meeting of the County GOP Executive Committee.
The following is an excerpt from the 30-page Rule 8(k) complaint which a majority of the Precinct Chairs of the Montgomery County Republican Party filed against Wilkerson on August 17, 2018, with the State Republican Executive Committee:
At the June 26, 2018, Statutory Organizational Meeting of the Montgomery County Republican Party County Executive Committee, by call and scheduling of the County Chairman Walter Wilkerson, the County Executive Committee (“CEC”) voted to adopt bylaws for the current 2018- 2020 biennium by a majority vote of 39 in favor with 32 opposed. Upon query, Chairman Wilkerson correctly ruled during the meeting that a “majority”vote was required to adopt the bylaws. His Parliamentarian, Jim Wiggins, ruled likewise.
However, 17 days later on July 13, 2018, Wilkerson reversed his position and has made several incorrect public pronouncements that the adoption of bylaws required a 2/3rds vote, so that the CEC adopted no bylaws at the Organizational Meeting.
Subsequently, Wilkerson has refused to recognize the officers elected at the June 26 meeting of the CEC, has locked out everyone from the Republican Party Headquarters for the entire month of July, changed the locks of the Party Headquarters, secreted the financial records, refused to provide the financial records to the duly-elected Party Treasurer, has threatened litigation against the duly elected officers, Steering Committee members, and all Precinct Chairs who voted in favor of the bylaws, and moreover has refused to communicate with any of the officers or Steering Committee members of the Montgomery County Republican Party other than by edict.
Chairman Wilkerson’s actions subsequent to the June 26, 2018 Statutory Organizational Meeting have fomented anger and confusion among the C.E.C. and Republican voters in Montgomery County and has clearly damaged and disgraced the party.
Here is a list of just some of the offenses committed by Chairman Wilkerson since the June 26, 2018 Statutory Organizational Meeting of the MCRP CEC.
- Chairman Wilkerson has refused to post the new bylaws on the County Party website.
- Chairman Wilkerson has refused recognize or post the names of the duly elected officers of the 2018-2020 MCRP on the website.
- Chairman Wilkerson has refused to attend Steering Committee Meetings on July 7, 2018 and July 18, 2018 nor did he attend the August 7, 2018 C.E.C. Meeting and has further sought to delegitimize that C.E.C. meeting even though it complied with the current MCRP bylaws as well as the expired bylaws which he claims are still in force.
- Instead of attending the first Steering Committee Meeting on July 7, 2018, Chairman Wilkerson gave an interview to the Montgomery County Gazette which is published on Facebook and Youtube in which he made false claims about the C.E.C. members who voted for the bylaws. Specifically, Chairman Wilkerson claimed that the C.E.C. members who voted for the new bylaws used “smears and lies” against those who disagree with those who support the bylaws (42:45). Claimed that a private citizen is behind the effort to pass the new bylaws (1:04:55) and accused that private citizen of being guilty of felony voter fraud(1:05:26). Imputed motives upon C.E.C. members by claiming that the purpose of the new bylaws was to overturn his election(10:02 and 41:42). In reference to the member of the C.E.C. who supported thebylaws, Chairman Wilkerson stated, “They are losers to begin with.”(55:01) States that those who voted for the new bylaws are Democrats (41:55).
- To date, Chairman Wilkerson has refused to give the proper notification for MCRP Meetings on the MCRP.org website in accordance with the MCRP bylaws.
- Chairman Wilkerson has also sent out a total of three (3) mailers to thousands of Montgomery County Republican voters in which he presumes to nullify the vote of the C.E.C. for the adoption of bylaws on June 26, 2018 and in which he also attempts to delegitimize the MCRP Steering Committee and all business that has been conducted by the MCRP under the new bylaws.
- Chairman Wilkerson also sought legal advice from the TexasRepublican County Chairmen’s Association (TRCCA). The attorney for that organization, Wade Emmert sent Chairman Wilkerson his opinion regarding the new bylaws (see attached). Emmert is quoted as saying, “I have reviewed the bylaws you sent me and I don’t think these bylaws violate the Texas Election Code.”Chairman Wilkerson failed to disclose Emmert’s opinion to the C.E.C. and has continued to ignore the MCRP bylaws, RPT Rules, Chairman Dickey and even the opinion of the legal counsel that he solicited. After this opinion was emailed to Chairman Wilkerson on August 9, 2018, on August 10, 2018 Chairman Wilkerson sent out yet another mailer to approximately 3,000 Montgomery County Republican voters in which he once again claimed that the new bylaws were not adopted and attempted to delegitimize the Steering Committee.
As the Republican Officials Committee explained in its letter ruling, the Committee provided Wilkerson with enormous opportunities to come into compliance with the County Party Bylaws and the Texas Election Code before the Committee took any action. On Thursday, September 27, 2018, Wilkerson and one of his attorneys John Pettit defiantly told the State Republican Party that Wilkerson had no intention of complying with the Bylaws of the Montgomery County Republican Party.
Despite Wilkerson’s intransigence, the Officials Committee extended the deadline for Wilkerson to come into compliance until Monday, October 1, 2018, at 5 p.m. Approximately 10 minutes before the latest deadline, Wilkerson’s representative Charlie Parada (whose wife Judy Parada is a State Republican Executive Committeewoman who voted on September 22 that the June 26 Bylaws of the Montgomery County Republican Party were adopted in accordance with Texas Election law, Party Rules, and Robert’s Rules of Order) asked for an additional extension before the Committee ruled.
Barcroft did not respond to requests for comment.