The Republican National Committee's lawyer says the Idaho GOP can send a full compliment of three representatives to the party's summer meeting in Chicago if they meet as Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson suggest — on Aug. 2 — and elect a chairman.
General Counsel John Phillippe said last month that Barry Peterson is no longer Idaho GOP chairman after the state convention adjourned without taking action. Peterson set a Aug. 9 meeting of the State Republican Central Committee but recently said he's open to compromise.
"...the meeting in Boise on August 2nd is the properly called meeting," Phillippe said in a Wednesday email to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. "If someone is elected chairman at that meeting, he or she will be eligible to attend the RNC Summer Meeting as a full voting member of the RNC. I will keep you updated on further developments."
The Aug. 2nd meeting was sought by members of the Central Committee and complies with party rules, Phillippe wrote. Peterson's alternative date is not recognized by the national party.
"Of course, Mr. Peterson has no authority to call such a meeting since, as I advised earlier, he is no longer the party chairman," Phillippe wrote.
The RNC meeting is Aug. 6-9.
After Idaho GOP lawyer Jason Risch agreed with Phillippe, Peterson sought a third legal opinion from Eagle attorney Chris Troupis. Troupis said Peterson remains in power.
Phillippe's email follows:
From: John Phillippe - Legal Date: July 2, 2014 at 12:21:01 PM PDT To: Reince Priebus Cc: Tory Maguire - Member Services, Peter Graves - Political , John Ryder - National Committeeman, Mike Shields - Chairman's Office, Matt Pinnell - Political
Subject: Update on Idaho GOP Chairmanship Vacancy Chairman Priebus,
I wanted to give you a quick update on the Idaho GOP state chairmanship situation. As you know, there is currently a vacancy in the chairmanship, which if not filled before the RNC Summer Meeting (August 6th – 9th), will result in Idaho having only two RNC members eligible to attend. It looks, however, like the vacancy will be filled by then. Under the Rules of the Idaho Republican Party, a meeting to elect a chairman has been called for August 2nd in Boise. The meeting was set pursuant to Art. 1, Sec. 3, which allows Central Committee members to call a meeting if at least 15 members from at least five counties make the call. In this case, they had 32 members from 13 counties. For good measure, the First Vice Chairman called a meeting for August 2nd based on member requests and Article 1, Section 2 to fill a vacancy.
About a week after the Central Committee members called the August 2nd meeting, former state chairman Barry Peterson purported to call a meeting of the Central Committee for August 9th. Presumably, he is making this attempt pursuant to Article 1, Section 6, which allows the state party chairman to call a meeting. Of course, Mr. Peterson has no authority to call such a meeting since, as I advised earlier, he is no longer the state party chairman.
In any case, the meeting in Boise on August 2nd is the properly called meeting. If someone is elected chairman at that meeting, he or she will be eligible to attend the RNC Summer Meeting as a full voting member of the RNC. I will keep you updated on further developments.
John R. Phillippe Jr.
Chief Counsel Republican National Committee