By Lynn R. Mitchell
Republican Party of Virginia First Vice Chairman Michael Thomas responded to the latest click bait rambling attack of blogger Tom White and his baseless accusations on Donald Williams, the Chesterfield County Republican Committee, the Hanover County Republican Committee, and by extension, the Republican Party of Virginia. Mr. Thomas wrote:
I believe you are way off base with your attacks on Donald Williams and the Chesterfield County Republican Committee. There are no requirements for RPV or any local committee to allow audio or video recording of meetings. None. Not in IRS regs, not in federal or State code, not in the RPV Party Plan.
In fact, the RPV General Counsel provided guidance in 2008 that committees MAY adopt restrictions – or even a prohibition – on recordings. Quite a number of committees have such a policy, including the Chesterfield County Republican Committee, which adopted one over 5 years ago. Not last week. Not last month. Not even last year. More than five years ago.
Actually, there is no requirement in law that our (Republican) meetings even be open to the public. Our meetings are made open to the public by our own choice as a Republican Party and is embodied in the Party Plan. No government entity forces us to do this.
Indeed, the meeting of the Chesterfield Committee this week WAS open to the public. I will assume you were just misinformed about this fact. An individual (who was neither a member nor even a resident of Chesterfield County) began making a video recording of the meeting and continued to record even after being called to order by the chairman for violating the standing rule of the committee. You are likely familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order and the protections provided organizations and their members from those who do not have the courtesy of respecting the rules of a private association.
Beyond this, no Republican Committee is required to make either the minutes of its meetings or its Treasurer’s reports public. Only members are entitled to these documents. The RPV State Central Committee always goes into closed session to discuss the finances of the party. Always. The reason is simple: Financial information, whether it be a Treasurer’s report or a budget or a fundraising report – is valuable information to the Democrats.
Any organization, not just a political organization, should be able to expect common courtesy from people, visitors and members alike. Maybe that’s too old fashioned for some.
All are welcome to come to meetings. But, all are expected to abide by the rules. As Republicans, we take our Constitutional right to peaceably assemble seriously. And we will use the protections afforded by Robert’s and the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia to uphold them.
Aaron Mathes added:
“Generally speaking, since our meetings are open to visitors, the recoding restriction protects our candidates and elected officials from trackers who intend to harm them and allows candidates and officials to be at ease and communicate candidly with Republicans. These self imposed rules of the body are of right for those who freely associate and self govern as afforded by our Constitution.”
The baseless attacks on Republicans continue.