Updated: NCGOP Chairman Won't Step Down, Blames 'Republican Anonymous' on His Censure

Mar 21, 2016

Updated 03/22/16 at 9:45 am

In an interview with WCQS following a vote of "no confidence" by a powerful committee, North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Hasan Harnett vowed he would stay on as Chairman, and said his future is bright in the NC GOP.  Harnett blamed what he termed the 'Republican Anonymous' for spreading unfounded rumors about him on internet blogs.  He called Sunday's vote "utterly amazing" and defended his authority to set ticket prices for the GOP convention, which began the internal party dispute.  He also defended his social media posts that have pointedly called out members of his own party for disabling his e-mail account. 

His full comments are above.  Background on this story, including a conversation with Republican National Committeewoman Dr. Ada Fisher is below. 

Original Post:

A dispute brewing within the North Carolina Republican Party took a more serious turn Sunday night when a powerful committee voted to reprimand and censure the party's chairman.  Hasan Harnett was elected the party's first black chairman in June.  In recent weeks, he's complained about having his e-mail shut off and confronted the NC Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse about it, questioning whether race was a motivating factor.  The response was that e-mails were shut off for multiple party members due to a security threat.  But that apparently didn't settle the dispute.  Dr. Ada Fisher is North Carolina's Republican National Committeewoman.  She said in an interview with WCQS the vote by the central committee to censure Harnett was "unequivocal" but declined to elaborate.  She says she stands by the vote, which amounts to a recommendation to the executive committee.  She would not specify whether a change of leadership was imminent but that the position of the central committee is that one is needed.  Reached by telephone, Chairman Harnett declined to comment, citing a scheduling conflict, but made himself available the following day.  WCQS will follow up with his comments.

The following is the GOP's news release about the censure vote:

From: North Carolina Republican Party
To: Interested Parties
Date: 3/20/16
RE: No Confidence, Censure and Restriction of NCGOP Chairman

The North Carolina Republican Party (NCGOP) Central Committee, in its duties to oversee the day to day management of the Party and to protect the Party’s integrity, passed a formal resolution of no confidence in NCGOP Chairman Hasan Harnett. Further, the Central Committee censured him for recent actions and placed severe emergency restrictions on his duties, pending a full review of charges of gross inefficiency by the NCGOP Executive Committee.

The Central Committee expressed extreme concerns about Mr. Harnett’s actions to change prices to the upcoming convention without regard to the financial health of the party, which according to the Central Committee, has suffered greatly under Mr. Harnett’s tenure because he has fallen well short of his own fundraising goals and promises.

Harnett was censured for actions deemed harmful to the North Carolina Republican Party including making false and malicious statements about other Republicans and staff.

In adopting A Resolution of No Confidence, Censure and Restriction, the committee reviewed what it believes to be gross violations of the Party’s rules (Plan of Organization), including the following:

  1. The refusal to timely authorize the staff to send an official Call to the NCGOP Convention even after assuring NCGOP General Counsel he would do so, thereby requiring a duplication of the notice, a “gross inefficiency.”
  2. The usurpation of the power vested in the Central Committee of the NCGOP by unilaterally announcing an unapproved fee structure for the 2016 NCGOP Convention causing great confusion and consternation among delegates concerning the price of the convention.
  3. The sending of a Call to Convention to various Republicans, including to some members of the NCGOP Executive Committee, that stated fees at variance with the action of the Central and Executive Committees of the NCGOP, which undermined the authority of these Committees and created confusion among delegates to the 2016 NCGOP Convention.
  4. The wasting of staff and volunteer time by prolonged inaction and unilateral action at variance with the Plan of Organization of the NCGOP and in opposition to the decisions of the Executive and Central Committees of the NCGOP.
  5. The posting or allowing to be posted on public blogs articles regarding the internal affairs of the NCGOP in a way that discredits the NCGOP and misrepresents facts and the NCGOP Plan of Organization.
  6. The scheduling for hearing of Petitions before the Executive Committee to remove the Party leaders without following the clear process outlined in the NCGOP Plan or Organization.  The Petitions were never properly vetted to determine that they could be placed on an agenda.
  7. The taking of action which caused concern and expense regarding the security of the NCGOP computer systems and fundraising apparatus. These actions are not only “gross inefficiency,” but also have very serious implications.
  8. The unilateral taking of personnel actions not delegated to the Chairman under the Plan of Organization.  The creation of an uncertain and disrespectful environment which resulted in the loss of staff and morale.

The Central Committee passed this resolution with overwhelming support with only two members in opposition.

The Central Committee also censured member, Daniel Rufty, for false and malicious statements about other Republicans.

Hasan Harnett e-mailed WCQS the following statement:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As Chairman, my vision stands for a bolder, energetic and reinvigorated North Carolina Republican Party. That is why he ran and became the elected Chairman back on June 5th, 2015. Since then, your Republican Chairman has worked consistently in the vast areas of fundraising and helping Republican Candidates get elected. Your Republican Chairman has met with county parties and elected officials inside and outside the state. Despite having a full inbox from time-to-time, your Republican Chairman takes the time to answer your questions, find solutions and call you back.Your Republican Chairman is not perfect; however, he is a hardworking leader.  He is also a devoted Christian; a sincere and honest fellow. Even though some of the Republican Anonymous may disagree with the vision God has given your Republican Chairman, he remains steadfast in serving the full North Carolina Republican electorate and the greater Republican community despite no access to my NC GOP emails and resources.With this in mind, many of you will say “Why are Republicans warring with each other during a presidential year?” Some of you will say “Who likes to see Republicans brought up on bogus charges?”  Others will say “Who likes to see Republicans eating their own?” Your Republican Chairman does not, and likewise, you should not either.Nobody in our party likes to see fellow Republicans, including your Republican Chairman, brutally assaulted, kicked in the mouth, and gagged by unfounded truths. Most of you will say “No volunteer in our party should be treated like this.” Your Chairman stands against and denies all allegations of hiring a hacker. Even though the Republican Anonymous may continue to mount their fiery darts, your Republican Chairman will continue to pray, “In the name of the Lord Almighty and Jesus Christ, STOP.”You are only hurting all of our chances of winning in November. For these reasons, your State Chairman is still willing to push all these matters aside for the greater good of the party. Your, State Chairman and duly elected officer, calls for unity for ALL Republicans in North Carolina.

The NC GOP e-mailed WCQS the following quotes:

"I was saddened to find the North Carolina GOP had to bring the actions taken last night involving Chairman Hasan Harnett. It had become quite evident that our operating environment was being compromised by actions and misstatements which did not reflect the manner in which we as Republicans are expected to conduct our business. Respect for each of us and the people of North Carolina must be shown and the Central Committee took the actions necessary to ensure that its principles are not compromised." - Dr. Ada Fisher, RNC National Committeewoman

"I can only express my profound disappointment in having to deliberate this proceeding, but the work of the party must carry on in an environment of mutual trust and respect with our leaders. It became painfully evident that this was not to be the case with this chairman." - Claude Pope, Former NCGOP Chairman  

"This has been a very difficult process and a process that no one wanted to participate in, but it was necessary for us to take this action in order to restore an environment where we can refocus on the important work ahead this year." - Scott Cumbie, Central Committee Member and Assistant Secretary for the Central Committee

"Leadership often requires difficult and painstaking decisions when examining allegations that have serious consequences. I am concerned, disappointed and saddened by recent events; however, I look forward to restored trust, unity and professionalism." - David Cozart, NCGOP Treasurer