RNC calls 'frivolous' lawsuit by Ron Paul supporters
June 19th, 2012
01:34 PM ET
6 years ago

RNC calls 'frivolous' lawsuit by Ron Paul supporters

Washington (CNN) - The Republican National Committee is brushing off a lawsuit against the party by Ron Paul supporters as "frivolous" but it is nonetheless coordinating a "joint defense" effort to fight the legal challenge, according to an internal RNC memorandum obtained by CNN Tuesday.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in California last Tuesday by over 100 self-described delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, alleges that the RNC and its chairman, Reince Priebus, quietly and improperly aided Mitt Romney throughout the GOP nomination fight.

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The legal filing, which names Priebus and GOP chairmen in every state as defendants, "seeks the guidance of the court" on whether the plaintiffs are free to break with certain state party rules and vote for the candidate of their choice at the August convention.

The plaintiffs claim that so-called "binding" delegate rules – in which delegates are required to vote for the winner of their state's primary or caucus at the convention – violate federal law and prevent delegates from exercising their "Constitutional right to vote their conscience" in Tampa.

Because delegates may shift their votes at the convention, they argue, Romney does not yet have the nomination locked up.

According to the complaint, however, the RNC and affiliated state GOP leaders systematically "engaged in a scheme to intimidate and harass" delegates supporting candidates other than Romney during the nomination process.

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This "harassment," the suit alleges, included numerous violations of party rules, threats of violence, ballot tampering at state conventions and "intimidating demands" that delegates sign affidavits promising to vote for Romney.

The Paul campaign, now in limbo but still aiming to have a prominent voice at the convention, says it is not involved in the lawsuit.

"We have nothing to do with it and do not support it," said Paul adviser Jesse Benton.

RNC Chief Legal Counsel John R. Phillippe Jr. informed Republican state party chairman of the lawsuit on in an internal party memorandum Tuesday morning and asked if they want to add their names to the party's defense.

"It appears that all of the Plaintiffs are supporters of the candidacy of Ron Paul," Phillippe wrote.

He added: "We view the suit as completely frivolous but one to which a serious response must be made."

Phillippe said the RNC is planning to present a "joint defense on behalf of all the Defendants" and has scheduled a conference call this week to discuss the matter.

Asked about the complaint, a spokeswoman for the RNC said "we're not worried about it."

Richard Gilbert, the Santa Ana, California attorney representing the Paul supporters, said the suit is "clearly not a frivolous case."

"When the RNC calls this frivolous, I think it's very telling about how the RNC has no respect for the delegates at the convention," Gilbert told CNN. "And that's disappointing. As Mitt Romney would say, I would bet you $10,000 that not one their lawyers say to federal judge that this is a frivolous lawsuit.

"These are delegates to a national convention who are asking the judge for guidance whether to follow federal law or whether to follow state party rules or state bylaws," he added. "How can that be a frivolous case?"

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Filed under: 2012 • RNC • Ron Paul
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Jc quoted:

    "Mitt Romney is the worst Republican to run against Obama" -Rick Santorum
    Spoken like a true ultra-conservative.

    "When people get sick, they can go to their church and raise money for their medical bills." Ron Paul
    Spoken from a truly twisted vision of libertarianism.

    June 19, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  2. Republic-an

    The primary process is intended to serve as a formal public opinion poll, to give the delegates a sense of what the voters in their area are thinking. But the United States is NOT a Democracy; the United States is a REPUBLIC. (Remember your pledge of allegiance..."and to the Republic for which it stands...") Our Founders established a REPUBLIC for a good reason. The average citizen forms an opinion based on 30-second sound bytes and advertising paid for by those who have the money to pay for it. The delegate process evens the scale for grassroots activists who take the time to thoroughly research the issues and then devote the time and money necessary to participate in the nominations process. God bless the Republic! Of course, the delegates should have the free will to vote their conscience. Otherwise, the United Staes will fall into Democracy - and that always ends badly when the people discover they can vote themselves benefits from the public treasury and the country bankrupts itself.

    June 19, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. PeoplePower

    Since when is the US Citizens right to vote frivilous? Since when is Election Fraud frivilous?
    Oh, this lawsuit is anything but frivilous and the complaints are not only from the Ron Paul delegates but by rombama's delegates too. Every violation that the RNC/GOP locals, and the rombama campaign have committed to alter the outcome of this election has been recorded, video taped, witnessed, and documented. This is a HUGE issue, not to be taken lightly. The RNC/GOP, and rombama have from the onset of this Federal Election Process of electing the POTUS committed election fraud to disenfranchise not only the delegates but have frauded the American Citizens out of a just and legal election process. This IS HUGE!!!!!!! The CRIMINALITY of the actions from the RNC/GOP, and rombama will not be brushed aside on this one.

    June 19, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Ken

    It is unfortunate that the focus of this lawsuit as far as a legal remedy is an attempt to throw out the rules binding delegates to specific candidates. That will not and should not be done. However, intimidation, tampering and even violence against the Ron Paul campaign during the caucus and primary process have been more than paranoid delusions. Such actions need to be exposed and remedies sought to make the process more ethical and more transparent in the future.

    June 19, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Vince

    Get over it....Ron Paul will NEVER be president of the United States.

    June 19, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. lips

    let's not beat around the bush here. there has been election fraud of every single kind, in every single state and puerto rico. fraud in the primaries, fraud at the caucuses, fraud at the conventions. mitt romney is a fraud. a fraud as a person, a fraud as a candidate and his whole entire goon sqaud campaign is a fraud. he didn't even win 1 damn state convention without fraud. not even 1!!! ron paul won the popular vote and won this election in a landslide. period.

    June 19, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. mikeOsmith

    Sven that is the point of the law suit. The GOP has cheated Ron Paul. They changed rules to give Romney a edge. All the states use computers to count the votes in the primarys. Ron Paul they are saying only got 12% of the vote in TEXAS. This is BS there is no way this is true. The gop is flipping votes to give Romney the win in these elections. This is where the real voter fraud happens. Its not with dead people voting or people voting 2 times. If the delegates think the gop has been cheating why would they want to base there vote on the fraud that was done in the state gop elections? Go watch the movie Hacking Democracy and you will realize that our elections are all rigged.

    June 19, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Mike S

    ".....paulbots..........cant tell when they have LOST....................................."

    Go ahead and gloat like you picked the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby, but your glorious win isn't exactly going to save this country from implosion.

    Regardless, this isn't about sour grapes. It's about ACCOUNTABILITY. Few of us have real hope of seeing Ron Paul as the actual nominee in August, but the RNC and their lackeys have horrifically abused the process at every stage, and not just in 2012 either. It's time they start answering for their crimes, and I hope this is a good start.

    June 19, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Jc

    "is an attempt to throw out the rules binding delegates to specific candidates." – Ken

    Rule 38 look it up.

    June 19, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Ken

    In response to Rudy NYC's resurrection of a long-debunked claim that Paul walked out on a CNN interview, a little research on YouTube would show that an 8 1/2 minute CNN interview with Paul was edited down to less than three minutes. This made it appear that Paul stormed out of the interview and it was broadcast with that spin. As far as I know, Paul has accepted almost all of the few invitations he has been offered to appear on national news broadcasts. He did decline one debate appearance because of a long-standing previous commitment. If Rudy NYC has information that would indicate otherwise, I would hope he would share it.

    June 19, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. PeoplePower

    One things for sure, the American Citizens don't consider Election Fraud FRIVILOUS – Beware RNC/GOP, you are defamating the character of the US Citizens here when it is YOU that is the criminal element here.

    June 19, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Joe Black

    CNN has an interview scheduled with Dr Paul at 4 today. Pay attention to the way they will treat him. Rudy NYC stated that Dr Paul walked out of an interview with CNN once before... Truth be known that was an edited Hit piece, He did not walk out before the interview was completed . Now ask yourself why did they do that?. Then ask yourself would you want to participate in interviews that defame you, like the CNN interview did.?
    Pay attention to the questioning today as well.
    The lawsuit is an attempt by supporters of Liberty to establish the rules and to file complaints about previous rule breaking , and law violations which most certainly happened many many times. They have proof! Don't bet against them. This will be very interesting and I can't wait to see the Romney cheaters and RNC get their just dues.
    People were arrested and physically assulted trying to participate in the conventions. From the videos I've seen and the witness accounts of what happened I think the Romney/RNC team should be worried.
    For all you open minded folks who are unaware of the crap ( Cheating, assaults, unfounded and unwarranted arrests) that happened . Just take the time to get the facts. You'll then understand why these folks are seeking legal remedies to their grief suffered.

    June 19, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Sandy

    I don't think Paul's policies would be any better than Romney's, except on war, but I would vote for Paul over Romney. I don't think I could stomach that fraud Romney winning the White House.

    June 19, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Mike S

    Rudy NYC wrote,
    "'When people get sick, they can go to their church and raise money for their medical bills.' Ron Paul
    Spoken from a truly twisted vision of libertarianism."

    In case you haven't been paying attention (which seems apparent), medical bills didn't used to be outrageous, like they are today, and doctors – like and including Ron Paul – used to spend a lot of time caring for the poor, pro bono. The natural path of technology and market production leads to successively lower prices, but mandated HMO's, patent abuse, corporatist regulations, inflation, demand-spiking subsidies, and a prescription drug racket have led to enormous and never-ending price hikes, followed by frantic debates about "OMG, who is going to pay all these ludicrous costs?" and "O, I noe! Letz shuffle costs around to everyonez with extortion for moral hazard mayhem!"

    It's the wrong question to ask. The right question to ask is, "Why are prices so high, and how do we fix it?" (Hint: Price controls aren't the answer either, because we've known since Babylonian times that they always cause shortages...although people aren't keen on learning from history.) Once that problem is solved, it will be much easier for people to afford ordinary healthcare out of pocket, insurance will go back to its proper role as INSURANCE (i.e. for the event of an unforeseen medical emergency), and it will be much easier for charity to fill the gaps.

    June 19, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Sean Bell

    Rudy NYC wrote:

    "Paul has not been ignored by the media. Don't forget. Ron Paul ignores the media. Most especially after he walked out on the CNN interview, he has avoided all media like the plague."
    Either you only took a cursory look at the subject or your intentionally throwing up a BS strawman argument. That CNN hatchet job was taken down the same day it went viral. The full video showed him sitting through the entire 10 minute interview and then chastising the reporter over her questions after they were done. That you possibly still believe this just shows how effective the media can be in creating a lasting impression no matter the truth.

    If you don't read articles that disagree with your opinion at least as often as the ones that sing to your choir then the media owns the only part of you that matters– your brain. In the last 3 decades the number of corporations that make up the dominate share of the media in the US has fallen to just a handful. Please do all of us a favor and work off the assumption that whatever you read or watch has at least some form of cheer-leading, PR, or slant and that there is always some form of a lie involved.

    When all the disenfranchised state delegates start flooding out of the woodwork is when it gets really gory. Every state Romney took all the delegates in featured some form of party shennanigans to keep the Paul people out. Either at the local or state level and in the most successful and quiet instances of Romney wins– both. Indiana bragged about how well they could keep the Paul people out by having a rule in place that all prospective delegates to the state convention had to get permission slips from the local party heads.

    The GOP made sure this year that Romney would be the nominee. To do it though, they had to become so public in their game that the only people who didn't see it weren't watching.

    June 19, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Joe Black

    Binding and non binding, Laws are laws and rules are rules. Rule 11 was violated by the RNC. rules 37 and 38 speak for themselves. The RNC already gave it's interpretation to those rules in 2008. Ironically it favored Romney at the time as the RNC ruled that NO delegate is bound and any and all delegates can vote their conscience. Yes one lady's vote for Romney instead of a forced vote for McCain was allowed and the rule again speaks for itself. Come on folks look it up , don't take my word for it! This I find interesting

    June 19, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. mikeOsmith

    Vince you may be right Ron Paul may never be President. What you and others like do not understand is his followers are now very awake. They realize that to change the party they will have to take it over at the local level all the way up to the state level. This has already happen in many states. The thing that these people now realize is that big money goldman sach's and other big banks have put there puppets in power. This is not ok with the liberty minded Paul supporters. The problems the gop establishment have now will only get greater as time goes on. The Youth realize what is going on even if there parents and grand parents do not. The youth get there news from online they realize the MSM is nothing more then a propaganda machine.

    June 19, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Mike S. wrote:

    It's the wrong question to ask. The right question to ask is, "Why are prices so high, and how do we fix it?" (Hint: Price controls aren't the answer either, because we've known since Babylonian times that they always cause shortages...although people aren't keen on learning from history.) Once that problem is solved, it will be much easier for people to afford ordinary healthcare out of pocket, insurance will go back to its proper role as INSURANCE (i.e. for the event of an unforeseen medical emergency), and it will be much easier for charity to fill the gaps.
    "Once that problem is solved, it will be much easier....."

    Solutions and batteries not included. Just declare "problem solved" and your problem is solved. My question is, "How?"

    June 19, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. tibs

    Why dont we just print more money? The only thing that makes an economy is spending paper money. Fiat currency always works and it working for us right now too. Please print more money and give it to the financial sector so our economy grows. Savings is bad. people should not save, do you american duty and spend spend and borrow borrow. do your part to save the economy.

    June 19, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Orwell sees it, again & again

    The republicans started out as elephants, and have turned into rinos and hypos.

    These new additions at Animal Farm, will soon be marketed and sold to Animal Zoo or Glue Factory.

    June 19, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. libertylady

    Why do people resort to name calling when they cannot provide REAL and LOGICAL input. Linuxj is absolutely right. The liberty movement is just beginning. Liberty minded individuals are infiltrating the Republican party from the county on up. Say what you must about the Ron Paul supporters but they are tenacious and don't just sit at their computers at home complaining about the state of our country. They are the boots on the ground actually effecting change at every level. Begrudge them now. Call them names now. Tomorrow you will be thanking them.

    June 19, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Hap

    Dirty politics by republicans? Say it ain't so. I hope this exposes them for what they are and the middle class republicans revolt and bring their party back to reality. Then we get to have two real options rather than the President, and the guy who represents only the wealthiest. Wake up real republicans your party has been hijacked by big money.

    June 19, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Jack

    Just when you think that the GOP 2012 campaign can't get funnier. What a bunch of clowns!

    June 19, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Katherine Chadrick

    The irony of writting anything remotely liberty related on a CNN website is hilarious all by itself....that being said does it realy even matter who the delegates candidates are??? I may or may not be for Ron Paul but I AM and WILL always be for THE PEOPLE and the people of our once great Nation have been cheated and bamboozled. To NOT see the corruption that has occured this campaign season is pure ignorance and stupitidy. OPEN YOUR EYES America!!!! Our choice of Presidential candidates has be pre chosen for us. Let that be our cue that something is terribly wrong with our Country. Its not all about who wins THIS campaign but more importantly the integrity of the system itself. WE THE PEOPLE not WE WHO TRUST in GOLDMAN SACHS and are rich enough to benefit from it. If WE THE PEOPLE do not take a stand on what is simply right then we will deserve the consequences we reap. Some more than others.

    June 19, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Josh

    While I have my doubts that this will change anything, it is healthy and the RNC is foolish to call it frivolous. There has been mass corruption in the GOP process from the start of this season. Why was Romney called the winner so quickly in Iowa when it later became apparent that he didn't win? Why was he called the winner in Maine when thousands of votes were "missing" or improperly counted? The establishment republicans just didn't want Romney to suffer the embarrassment of losing a match to Paul. In Maine local conventions were (illegally) told not to record the votes on paper. As a result the final votes didn't match the actual ones. In another state one convention was shut down because of a Ron Paul supporter being voted in as chairman. In at least two states the appointed chairs violated the rules of the conventions. When other participants tried to continue the convention in a lawful way, some were arrested.

    June 19, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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