Some may call it “purification,” others call it basic accountability. But the rule book calls it “censure.”
On Saturday, conservative activist leaders from around the state gathered together to talk shop, debrief on the legislative session, and strategize how they can better coordinate going forward into the special session and election season.
In their ongoing effort to push policymakers more to the right, one weapon in their arsenal is the Republican Party of Texas’ Rule 44.
The rule basically states that an elected Republican who has been censured and penalized by the party cannot receive financial support from the RPT or its local affiliates. It also frees the RPT and its local affiliates from their normal obligations to remain neutral in Republican Primary elections.
Basically, censure allows the Republican Party to take sides to defeat one of their own who has gone astray and violated the RPT’s guiding principles.
But you won’t see the party handing out censures very often – if at all. The process for passing a censure resolution is almost as difficult as passing a tax cut through the legislature. Here’s how it works:
A Precinct Chair (or other party official) can introduce a censure resolution at a local party meeting (such as County and Senate District Conventions, or County and District Executive Committee meetings) as long as the body discussing the resolution actually has jurisdiction over the elected official in question. In other words, the Travis County Republican Party cannot vote to censure an elected official in Dallas County.
A valid resolution should detail at least 3 instances when the elected official in question violated the Republican Party’s core principles since the last state convention. Those principles can be found in the Preamble to the Party Platform.
The resolution must then be passed by a 2/3 vote of those present and voting.
The resolution may also request the elected official be penalized, and this is the trigger that allows the Party to work to remove that official from office during the election.
But a resolution with a penalty request must receive a second vote within the party, either at the State Convention, or at the SREC (Senate district Republican Executive Committee). It must be passed by a 2/3 vote of the full membership.
If the censure passes with the penalty, it would mean the Republican Party has officially declared that it refuses to support the candidate in the next election. You can imagine the bad press and difficulty winning re-election that would entail.
However, in 2014, Republican US Senator John McCain was formally reprimanded and censured by the Arizona Republican Party and still managed to win re-election.
Censured or not, many of the officials these activists desire to remove are already receiving Primary Election challengers for 2018.
Read the Republican Party rules for yourself by clicking here.
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