First published August 30: The Rules change issue has developed into a controversy among Tea Party and 9-12 leaders in Illinois who are threatening to withhold support of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as a result. Troubled by what she was hearing from back home, Sharee Langenstein, IL 12th CD delegate to the 2012 RNC Convention serving on the Platform Committee, posted the following on her Facebook page Wednesday:
A lot of misinformation has been going around about the RNC Rules changes. I want to make sure you all understand what happened.
During the Rules Committee hearing last week, some language was proposed to Rules 12 and Rules 15, and the changes passed at the last minute. I want to address the Rule 15 language first:
This was portrayed as a "huge power grab" by the RNC and the Romney Campaign. I am not so sure about THAT motive, but I can speak to another motive that hasn't been discussed much at all: keeping our delegate selection fair and free from fraud.
Many states do not directly elect delegates like we do in Illinois. Instead, they hold caucuses to select who will represent them at the National Convention. These are apportioned according to how many voters are in favor of a particular candidate. So, for example, if the voters are 60% for Romney, 20% for Santorum, 10% Gingrich and 10% Paul, then each would get that same percentage of the delegates.
The problem we had in this past primary season was that hundreds of people who were in favor of Paul LIED when they were at their state conventions. So, instead of Santorum getting 20% and Paul getting 10%, according to the make-up of their state electorate, Paul got 30%.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is NOT RIGHT. NO ONE should be allowed to use fraudulent representations to become a delegate. Fraud should NEVER be condoned.
So that was the reason behind the original change to Rule 15. The idea was to let a candidate disavow delegates who SAID they were for him, but REALLY were for someone else. The problem was that the language in the original Rule proposal was way too broad. It would have allowed a candidate to nix even delegates who were directly elected on the ballot like those of us in Illinois, and that would have completely overridden the will of the voters of Illinois-- and that is something to which I am COMPLETELY opposed.
I brought my concerns and the concerns expressed to me by my grassroots friends to Demetra DeMonte, who is one of Illinois' elected members of the RNC and who was on the Rules Committee. Demetra is a true conservative and she LISTENS to her constituents. She and I discussed language that could correct the problem and how to get it passed.
My husband Mike and I both have law degrees (Mike is no longer practicing) and we took a long look at the rule and tried to craft new language that would protect the grassroots while ALSO protecting the integrity of the delegates. I sent the language to several people we know in the RNC and with the Romney campaign. EVERYONE was appreciative. No one wanted a floor fight that would turn into a big media spectacle, but yet there was a lot of agreement that the rule needed to be changed. We all saw a big problem (fraud) that needed to be fixed, and everyone worked together in trying to find
My language did not end up in the deal that was worked out. I am 100% fine with that because the language that we got was even better. My fellow Platform member Jim Bopp of Indiana, who is the RNC Vice Chairman, crafted the new language. We had one last last Platform meeting just after the convention opened yesterday, and I commended him for his work just before the rule change went to the floor for a vote.
I would ask you all to not be quite so suspicious about what is going on here and instead make inquiries about WHAT is being done and WHY it is being done. Was the original rule change a problem? Yes, and it was indeed a BIG problem. However, the fraud issue was ALSO a big problem that needed to be addressed. In the end everyone worked together to find a solution and I am comfortable with the end result.
Now, briefly, regarding Rule 12: The new rule says that the rules can be changed with a yes vote of 75% of the ENTIRE RNC membership. Not just RNC members present at a meeting, but 75% of the WHOLE RNC.
Philosophically, I have a bit of a problem with this-- the delegates have traditionally been the ones to change the rules, not the RNC. However, on a practical level, it doesn't bother me. After being here and meeting so many people, I have a whole new perspective on how diverse our party really is, and how many different and interesting viewpoints we have. I am HIGHLY skeptical that they will be able to get 75% of the members to agree on something unless it is a HUGE GIGANTIC problem that NEEDS to be fixed. However, the delegates on the Rules committee (who, by the way, passed this new rule) can change it in four years if the rule is abused.
Rule 15 was a hill to die on. Rule 12 just wasn't.
Thank you ALL for your input. I hope that I have explained the "inside" story to you and addressed your concerns. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer.