I want to state up front that there are a lot of good people in the Fauquier Republican Committee that just want what I want; to promote Republican ideals in Fauquier, and get good candidates elected so we can take back our country from the left. What will be required to do that is good, fair, transparent leadership that is willing to work with all Republicans, with the goals of the Republican Party as their only agenda.
For the past several years, the Executive Committee (EC) of the Fauquier County Republican Committee (FCRC) have been fighting their political battles with the help of legal counsel. One must ask why they routinely think this is necessary.
While claiming to abide by the RPV Party Plan and the FCRC bylaws, their interpretations and actions have consistently been overruled by the higher-level governing bodies in processes prescribed by the RPV Party Plan, despite legal representation.
This all began in 2014 when four members of the FCRC hired lawyer Chris Ashby to sue the RPV over the judgement and subsequent remedy concerning the 2014 FCRC canvass.
The FCRC violated the Party Plan during that canvass; Period.
After the 1st District Committee and the State Central Committee both said so by two thirds decisions at each level, the four plaintiffs sued all involved including the FCRC itself, and dragged the affair out so long that the 2016 canvass was looming large on the horizon.
Their actions cost the RPV over $70,000 when we could least afford it, and the whole matter was akin to suing your bowling league because you don’t like the way they calculate handicaps.
The RPV is a private organization with rules, and they have the right to enforce them; this is non-negotiable, and not a matter for a court to decide. Perhaps that is why the plaintiffs dropped their suit the day before they were to go to court.
Then came the 2016 canvass which the RPV was directed to conduct per the 2015 Decision of the SCC, and once again FCRC EC employed the lawyer to “negotiate” what had already been decided unanimously by the SCC.
And what was the FCRC EC fighting for?
Primarily, to keep the RPV from expanding the committee from 83 to 213 in a highly Republican county!
They also fought adamantly over the use of a “statement of intent” which all canvass voters were required to sign, stating they are, and will remain, in “accordance with the principles of the Republican Party” as required in Article I.
Why would good Republicans fight for a smaller committee in a county that has never been able to get enough volunteers to even man all the polling places, let alone mount a GOTV effort?
Why would good Republicans want to exclude other Republicans who want to participate; who want to work to make our Party bigger and better?
Why would good Republicans fight to allow Democrats to vote in our Party canvass, and pick our Republican leaders?
Many members of the Fauquier County Republican Committee want to know the answers to these questions. All of our members should want to know.
And the saga continues…
Recently, Mr. Rick Buchanan brought a contest to the FCRC concerning the method by which the FCRC EC installed some new members at the September 2017 meeting.
At a called meeting, with no notice that there was going to be a hearing, Chairman Hayes first belittled Mr. Buchanan herself, gave him six minutes to speak, and then proceeded to allow another EC member to belittle him and those who supported his contest, before taking a vote to deny his contest. Two other members spoke, and one of them expressed his disgust at the way our committee conducts its business, and how bad it looks to outsiders.
Mr. Buchanan appealed the decision to the 5th District Committee, and once again the FCRC EC brought out the lawyers.
The 5th District Committee agreed with Mr. Buchanan unanimously. After their decision, they too prescribed a remedy which, if past history is any guide, will bring out the lawyers again.
The salient point in this last instance is Chairman Hayes hired the lawyer without notice, discussion, and approval of the FCRC at large. It’s doubtful that any members outside the EC even knew that they were being represented by a lawyer, and it’s very possible that not even all members of the EC knew. The Committee at large certainly doesn’t know who is paying the lawyer, and how the lawyer is representing them.
Around midnight of the night before the appeal hearing at the 5th District meeting, Chairman Hayes notified 5th District Chairman Lynn Tucker that she would not be attending, and asked if their lawyer could represent the FCRC at the proceedings. This request was denied because the lawyer, an associate of Mr. Ashby’s, has no standing; she is not a member of the FCRC or the 5th District Committee, and the 5th District Committee meetings are not a court of law.
One has to ask why Chairman Hayes and the FCRC EC thought they needed a lawyer to argue their position in front of their peers instead of simply representing their position themselves?
Chairman Hayes could have sent a representative from the committee to argue the EC position but did not, choosing instead to ask the 5th District Chairman to print and distribute a rambling letter that basically said they should send Mr. Buchanan back home to the FCRC with his tail between his legs.
In addition to failing to defend the FCRC’s position to the 5th District committee that day, Chairman Hayes also failed the FCRC membership, causing the FCRC to lose their voting privileges on the 5th District committee.
The hearing meeting was the third consecutive meeting Chairman Hayes failed to attend, and as anyone active in Virginia Republican politics knows, failure to attend three consecutive meetings is automatic revocation of voting privileges. Chairman Hayes is certainly familiar with this rule since she has enforced it multiple times.
Since the FCRC has appealed the unanimous ruling of the 5th District Committee to the State Central Committee, even though they mounted no defense of their actions at the hearing they are appealing, one wonders who will make the case at State Central: Chairman Hayes, their lawyers, or TBD.
It is hard to believe that the FCRC EC prefers to have lawyers represent their position instead of committee members, and all of this has many members asking who continues to pay the EC’s attorney to represent the committee, and what authorization does the Chairman and EC have to hire a lawyer on behalf of the committee at large without even informing said committee?
While Mr. Ashby states that this is well within the purview of the EC, the EC should at least explain to the full Committee why they believe they are incapable of representing their actions themselves in such matters, and default to legal representation.
Mr. Ashby contends that he was (is?) representing the four original plaintiffs (even though one of them is no longer a member of the FCRC), whose interests were determined by the FCRC EC to have merged with those of the FCRC at large prior to “the negotiations, settlement and new election” leading up to the 2016 canvass.
Apparently this “interest merger” was determined by the four plaintiffs and Chairman Hayes; the committee at large has never voted to retain him or to pay for his services, and in fact the committee has never reported paying him a dime according to required financial filings.
It is apparent that this nebulous representation by lawyers whose purpose is unknown to the committee at large, and who are possibly being paid by people outside the committee membership continues.
In light of the fact that the EC has so recently continued to employ these lawyers without the consent of the membership at large, the EC owes the members some answers.
The FCRC could be a vibrant, active, and productive force for the RPV and our community, but a handful of members on the FCRC EC are puposefully driving good people from our ranks. Fewer and fewer people want to belong to an organization where the leaders routinely violate the rules, operate in secret, and then seek to destroy anyone who questions them.
Below are two letters; one I wrote on behalf of myself (I’m not currently a member because the current EC will not “allow” me to be) and numerous members of the FCRC, some of whom put their names on the letter as well.
The other letter is the “authorized response” from Mr. Ashby. (He claims he represents the FCRC members at large, which would make those members who signed the letter his clients, but apparently his clients are actually the EC, because he sought their approval prior to responding.)