BREAKING: Court Rules Against Bingham in Idaho GOP Lawsuit

Local News 8 out of Idaho Falls reported this evening that a judge has ruled in favor of the Idaho Republican Party in the lawsuit filed by the Bingham County Republican Central Committee late last year.

I read the whole judgment this evening. It’s a fascinating look at the relationship between Robert’s Rules of Order and county and state bylaws. It also obliterates the arguments made by the Bingham GOP and their attorney Greg Chaney at the Winter Meeting last month.

Greg Chaney finishes presenting the BCRCC’s case at the Executive Board meeting in January. Bryan Smith, representing the Idaho GOP, prepares to rebut.

Feel free to read Judge Darren Simpson’s ruling yourself:

The basic facts of the case are that Bingham GOP Chairman Dan Cravens announced his resignation, effective August 1, 2023. He put an item on the agenda for the regular meeting on July 20, 2023 to fill the soon-to-be vacant officer positions. Several PCs objected at the meeting, pointing out that both county and state bylaws require that filling officer vacancies requires seven days notice after the vacancies occur, which had not yet happened.

Cravens ignored those concerns and the committee voted to elect First Vice Chairman Matthew Thompson as the new chair. This created a chain reaction of new vacancies, which Cravens intended to fill right then and there. He moved to suspend the rules and hold the votes immediately.

Members of the BCRCC sent an official complaint to Idaho Republican Party Chairwoman Dorothy Moon, who ruled that the election was improper. She announced a new election for September 18. Thompson filed an appeal of the chair’s decision, and then filed a lawsuit asking for a court to step in and stop the Idaho GOP from holding a new meeting. The court issued an injunction, and that’s where things were until today.

It should be obvious to anyone familiar with parliamentary procedure that you cannot simply move to suspend your own bylaws for convenience. A motion to suspend the rules applies to Robert’s Rules, not your committee’s bylaws. Changing a bylaw requires a month’s notice and a two thirds supermajority vote. Yet Cravens and the BCRCC argued that a simple motion to suspend the rules at their July meeting was sufficient to ignore both county and state bylaws.

Even worse than suing the state party is the fact that the BCRCC chose to use their finite funds to pay a lawyer rather than using them to promote Republican principles. Greg Chaney is a former state representative, failed candidate for state senate, and is now rumored to be running for Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney. Was this ill-conceived lawsuit simply an under-the-table campaign contribution?

The most absurd thing about the whole affair is that none of this had to happen. Dan Cravens broke the rules by chairing the meeting to elect his own successor, but he wasn’t facing any sanctions or fines, rather, Vice Chairman Thompson simply had to follow the rules and call a new meeting. The outcome would have been exactly the same. Yet he and the BCRCC chose to file an expensive lawsuit, seemingly out of spite for Dorothy Moon and the rest of the Idaho GOP leadership.

Tomorrow I’ll write more about the flak Moon is taking by bad faith actors within the Idaho GOP. For now, I celebrate this vindication. An Idaho judge has ruled that, rather than being conspiratorial and vindictive, Dorothy Moon was acting within her authority and according to our party’s rules. This judgment is a victory for the rule of law, without which we are nothing but anarchists.

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