N.C. GOP votes “no confidence” in chairman, begins removal process

NCGOPHQ_031416_RP_KMRALEIGH – On Sunday N.C. GOP leadership signed a Resolution of No Confidence against elected Chairman Hasan Harnett and is circulating a petition for his removal from the helm of the North Carolina Republican party.

In a meeting of the governing Central Committee, the panel of 30 voting members signed off on a five-page document that lists a multitude of violations of the party’s plan of organization. The list includes failures to perform the duties of the chairman and attempts to undermine the staff and Central Committee against the advice of legal counsel. Careful to say that Harnett was presumed innocent until an investigation is complete, the censure outlines allegations that Harnett attempted to recruit a computer expert to crash the party’s website and replace it with his own. His site reportedly offers different ticket prices for the N.C. GOP convention and a payment system that funneled money into an account he controlled.

Dr. Ada Fisher, a forty-year member of party leadership and long-term member of the Central Committee, called on the FBI to investigate the chairman and his actions.
“If what happened, I think happened, some people need to go to jail,” said Fisher.

The allegations came to light in a signed affidavit obtained by the North State Journal last week and was considered by most Central Committee members to be the last straw. The party had been in an ongoing battle with the chairman over ticket prices to the N.C.GOP convention in May, as well as lack of adequate fundraising and a refusal to call the convention at the direction of the Central Committee.

The vote of no confidence states that the “Central Committee has no reasonable belief that Hasan Harnett has the ability to carry out his duties as Chairman of the NCGOP in accord with the Plan of Organization of the NCGOP.”

Hasan Harnett

Hasan Harnett speaks at the 2015 N.C. GOP convention.

Hasan was named chairman in a surprising election result by state party delegates at the 2015 convention nine months ago. He said he was the “non-establishment candidate,” running on a promise to bring in enough donations to dramatically lower the ticket price to the business sessions of the 2016 convention.  According to party officials, Harnett has raised less than the amount needed to run the organization for one month.   Party leaders said they tried to help him succeed until he refused to call the convention with the ticket prices approved by the Central Committee. He instead sent out his own call to convention with prices that would have likely forced the party into debt, they say.

The censure listed in the document imposes emergency restrictions on the chairman until the much larger Executive Committee acts, or decides not to act, on the petition to remove him. The Executive Committee has more than 600 members. According to party activists, the Executive Committee is more mixed in its support for and opposition to Harnett, as opposed to the smaller Central Committee which is nearly unified in its decision to restrict, censure, and begin proceedings to remove him.
In the vote of no confidence, the restrictions are listed as being the result of his “gross violation of the Plan of Organization and for his destructive behavior” toward the staff, Central Committee and party.
The document cuts Harnett from all internal computer systems and email, bans him from all any N.C. GOP or state Republican National Committtee facilities, forbids him from speaking on behalf of the N.C. GOP, and orders him to cease and desist from continuing disparaging comments about the organization, its staff, leadership or volunteers in social media or the press. It also orders him to refrain from any efforts to attack N.C. GOP websites.
The restrictions stand pending the outcome of an internal and any law enforcement investigation into the allegations against Harnett. In the meantime, the petition to begin proceedings to remove him on additional grounds requires signatures of two-thirds of the Executive Committee.