By guest contributor Nicole Revels
A newly-formed subcommittee of the RNC Committee on Rules will hold their first meeting this Friday in Washington, D.C. The subcommittee is charged with considering some of the most controversial aspects of the Rules of the Republican Party, those affecting the 2016 Presidential Primary process. Discussions will include the topics of state election timing guidelines and the delegate selection process.
The formation of the subcommittee was announced during the August meeting of the RNC, at which point it was explained by Rules Committee Chairman Bruce Ash that the subcommittee’s function would be to discuss amendments to primary-affecting RNC rules, and submit a report of amendment suggestions for a vote before the entire RNC Standing Committee on Rules.
Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri, a member of the new subcommittee on rules, says that the purpose of the subcommittee is efficiency in the consideration of the hotly-debated primary election rules. “You have 50 people on the rules committee, every state has (a representative). I would say that’s probably an unwieldy number, to sit there and go back & forth on a regular basis. You’re talking about monthly meetings that may become weekly meetings,” says Munisteri. “As a practical matter, I don’t know how practical it is to try to get 50 people together once a week or once every couple of weeks.”
Morton Blackwell, a long-standing member of the RNC rules committee, opposed the formation of the subcommittee, concerned that the process could lead to a consolidation of decision-making. Blackwell stating during the summer meeting, “It is perfectly feasible for the committee to deal with each issue separately. It is not the custom of this committee to come up with an omnibus set of changes derived by some group other than the entire membership of the Standing Committee on Rules.”
Blackwell warned rule committee members, “It is entirely possible that (the subcommittee) is going to come up with a report which will have many different portions offered, some of which will be very offensive and thought to be very wrong by many people on this committee, and then we will be told that there are some elements of this that you like, and if you want to get those things that you like, you have to vote for those things that you think are bad for the Republican Party. I think that under any circumstance, issues should be considered individually.”
Suspicions have stigmatized the RNC rules debate ever since the 2012 Republican National Convention, in which many delegates felt shut-out during the debate and passage of the 2012 rules. Jeremy Blosser, a 2012 Republican National Delegate, is skeptical of claims by Chairman Ash that the discussions this week will be conducted with transparency.
“The RNC is continuing a pattern of promising transparency and delivering the opposite,” says Blosser. “Forming a subcommittee to consider rules issues has some merit, but … we were told the discussions would be open and transparent.” Blosser plans to observe this week’s meeting, but says he has not yet received confirmation that he will be admitted into the room. “These conversations are critical to the future of the party … they have to stop trying to close the doors.”
Munisteri, who has a reputation among Republican Party activists for transparency advocacy, also hopes that the process will be open, “I think Tampa made it particularly important that we try not to do things behind closed doors unless it’s absolutely necessary because there’s already a climate of suspicion among some and we need not to do anything to foster that suspicion.”
Event page for following activists attending subcommittee meeting https://www.facebook.com/events/1413532492209125/?fref=ts