Thursday, January 23, 2014

The RNC Already Increased Penalties on Potential Rogue Primary States

There is a lot of chatter this morning about what the RNC will be up to these next couple of days in Washington, DC. One thing neither the Rules Committee nor the full RNC will do -- despite the bulk of reports today -- is to increase the penalties on states that move their delegate selection contests ahead of the March 1 threshold or state parties that do not allocate delegates in accordance with the rules laid out by the national party.


Mainly, the RNC will not be upping the penalties because it has already done so. Some seem to have conveniently forgotten the struggle over the rules in the Rules Committee meetings in the week leading up to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. Perhaps the increased penalties got lost in the shuffle of Rule 40 changes that had Ron Paul delegates up in arms during the actual convention.

But the point is, the Bennett rule -- named for former Ohio GOP chair, Bob Bennett who devised the penalty -- had already been added, stripping rogue state delegations down to nine delegates (12 including the automatic delegates) for holding primaries or caucuses too early. The rules coming out of Tampa also included a 50% penalty on states that did not follow proportionality requirement. None of that is new. None of that will be new after the RNC winter meeting concludes.

What will potentially be new is:
1) The proportionality requirement will see some changes. The rules package will reduce the window of the proportionality requirement from all of March to just the first two weeks of March. Additionally, the language of the rule (described in Rule 16(c)2) will be ever so slightly altered. As it is now the word "may" appears, suggesting that states allocated delegates in a proportional manner before March 15. The new rule will, as was the case in 2012, mandate this with the word "shall". All that is doing is insuring that there is an actual proportionality requirement for the 50% penalty already described in Rule 17 to apply to.
2) The super penalty described in the Bennett rule will be tightened up to close a loophole that a very small number of small states could have exploited. FHQ has covered those discrepancies for nearly a year.

There are some other matters -- particularly Rule 20 -- that may be noteworthy during the Rules Committee meeting today. But that rule has nothing to do with penalties. It is something that will from the RNC perspective help lay the groundwork for an earlier convention. Everything else will be about tightening up the language for the penalties that are already there.

Are you following FHQ on TwitterGoogle+ and Facebook? Click on the links to join in.

No comments: