Hello Maryland GOP Leaders,
It was an honor to represent you and the Old Line State at the 2016 Republican National Convention. I very much appreciate the faith you place in me to represent you, and I want to share my thoughts and observations from our Convention with you.
To begin with, the people of Cleveland were AMAZING! Clevelanders were wonderful hosts, and despite the inconvenience we created for locals, everyone was so kind and gracious to us. Then, law enforcement came from many states, and they were not only wonderful to work with, but the job they did was outstanding as we had zero incidents. It was wonderful to hear law enforcement personnel speaking of how impressed they were by how clean and respectful our GOP Convention attendees were…it reminded me of previous Tea Party rallies on Capitol Hill.
And then there were many good speeches, including Ivanka Trump proving she really should run for office someday. It was fascinating to observe the difference between how THE Donald’s speech came across in person versus on television. In person, the speech actually came across as gentle at times, and soberingly realistic. I think we can all relate to the concerns for the future of America and world security that Donald Trump outlined in his speech.
Since THE Donald’s speech, however, I’ve heard countless Hillary surrogates complain that they don’t even recognize the country Mr. Trump describes. These liberals are completely tone-deaf and blind to the threats facing our country and free people everywhere. It truly is a testament to the tale of two Americas. How can people not understand the challenges our country faces? By being limousine liberal Democrats, I guess. From stagnant wages to record numbers on food stamps to terrorism and diminished global respect, how can the Left not even understand what we Americans are concerned about? While the GOP focuses on how to solve problems, the DNC Convention droned on failing to even acknowledge the carnage wrought by the failures of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
GOP Rules Update
I especially want to update you about votes taken at the RNC Convention Rules Committee, which specifically affect how the Republican National Committee will be run for the next four years, until the 2020 Convention. I was specifically interested in representing Maryland to address issues from 2012, which many – including me – believe weakened the Grassroots and instead consolidated power in the office of the RNC Chairman.
A huge bright spot was fellow Marylander, Jim Crawford of Charles County, who served alongside me on the Rules Committee. Jim was a tremendous ally and partner in advocating for the Grassroots. He quickly and thoroughly understood the implications of how these various Rules proposals would concentrate power in the Chairman’s office versus dispersing it to the Grassroots. Jim brilliantly represented Maryland, and our Maryland passion for transparency and fairness.
Sadly, the 15.5 hour long 2016 Convention Rules Committee meeting day exacerbated the problems created by the 2012 Convention Rules Committee. I specifically proposed amendments focused on good governance and transparency for Rules 1-12 that affect how the RNC operates on a daily basis. Here are highlights of my three biggest concerns:
- RULE 8: My proposed amendment would have given 24 hours to Republican National Committee members to read new Rules which propose “changing the playing field” between elections. My opponents argued that was an undue burden on the Chairman.
- RULE 12: Allows the RNC to change Rules between conventions. Along with Morton Blackwell (VA), Senator Mike Lee (UT), and others, I argued that only the Convention body (= THE GRASSROOTS) should be able to set the Rules every four years. This was a new rule in 2012, and I believe it is a main source of many problems in how our Party is now run. This newer Rule is responsible for the concerns about there not being a “level playing field,” or the ability to “rig the system” between Conventions.
- RULE 43 (which became 41e): This was a new Rule that passed, which will keep elected Convention Rules Members’ contact information “confidential.” The Rule literally reads members’ info “SHALL BE CONFIDENTIAL.” I am at a loss to name another American governance document that says elected officials contact information “shall be confidential.”
The situation was compounded by paid RNC staffers instructing elected members how we should vote to take power away from the Grassroots and give it to their boss, the RNC Chairman.
In the midst of this melee, I was so grateful to call Maryland home. I knew our Grassroots & Central Committee members would never want me to go to a Convention to vote away our rights. While some in other states succumbed to pressure, Jim and I never had that concern for a second.
Please do watch the videos below, which are C-SPAN links from the actual Rules Committee debate. I would be delighted to chat with you about your ideas for improving our Party after you watch these most informative video segments. The only positive thing I can say related to Rules is that despite all our foibles, we are still infinitely better off than the Democrats’ totally corrupt and rigged system.
Most of all, we clearly have some reforming to do! I very much want to get your ideas about how we can improve our Party for the future.
Lastly, I’m endlessly grateful to our tremendous law enforcement officials for keeping us safe in tumultuous times. Huge thanks to Marylanders for sending me to Cleveland to represent you and debate for the Grassroots.
Maryland National Committeewoman
Republican National Committee
Paid for and authorized by Nicolee Ambrose.
Below are highlights of the most egregious portions of the Rules Committee Meeting:
RULE 8: This is my proposed amendment to give RNC Members 24 hours to read new Rules before we vote on them.
- Here are two voices who opposed RNC Members being able to read changes to Rules before we vote on them:
- “When we elect our Chairman, we have to give him wide latitude…” Rules Member from NH
- “Folks need flexibility to do what they need to do.” Rules Member from MA
- Suffice it to say, I was shocked to hear such words come out of Republicans mouths. I thought only Nancy Pelosi argued that we need to vote on things to find out what’s in them.
- I thank the good Steve Frias (RI) for saying: “I see no problem with giving notice to people before they vote on something before the meeting. I don’t see why we are so afraid of doing that…Vote to give notice RNC Members before they vote on something.”
- This proposed amendment to give RNC Members notice to read changes to RNC Party Rules before we vote on it failed on a voice vote.
RULE 7: This is my proposed amendment to reinstate the presence of a Registered Parliamentarian at RNC General Sessions, which occurs three times per year.
- I proposed this amendment because I believe it is critical for the integrity of an organization to have an unbiased umpire calling strikes and balls. I also believe it is a critical minority protection. Furthermore, the national party should be the gold standard for running fair meetings.
- I argued for this simple amendment: “We can afford six hours of a Registered Parliamentarian in the course of one year. Moreover, I cannot put a price tag on the value of our credibility and our integrity…We are Republicans. We believe in Rule of Law.”
- The General Counsel of the RNC argued this was unnecessary in the “judgment of the Chairman and the Counsel’s Office…”
- Former RNC General Counsel Norm Semanko (ID) spoke of the need for “Institutional safeguards…” by reinstating this requirement.
- This amendment failed and there is no requirement for a Registered Parliamentarian.
Rule 10: Several key topics were debated
- My proposed amendment to the State Chairman’s Advisory Committee
- Check out this fantastic grassroots debate by Marlys Popma (IO) at 7:10.
Rule 12: This was a new rule which became effective in 2012. It allows the RNC to change Rules between meetings. I believe this is the source of genuine concerns about a “level playing field.” This has also been conservative leader Morton Blackwell’s biggest concern regarding the RNC over the past four years. Mr. Blackwell (VA) moved to strike Rule 12 in its entirety.
- 18:40 – Senator Mike Lee’s not-to-miss speech!
- 12:35 – Nicolee’s comments on Rule 12
- 22:52 – Steve Frias (RI) “This is about concentration of power.”
- 27:30 – see instructions on voting from staff
- Vote: 23 to 86 to continue meddling with the Rules between Conventions
Rule 43, which became 41(e): This new rule proposed keeping elected Rules Members info confidential to each other and public, only the Chairman will have the info.
- 0:09: This new Rules was created “With the assistance of the RNC Counsel’s office…”
- 1:09: “Shall be confidential…
- 5:03: Chairman of Rules Committee quote, “Rules members info is confidential to one another”
- 6:45: VOTE: 55 Rules Members voted in favor of keeping their contact information as an elected official confidential. 46 Rules Members opposed it and voted for transparency.
I can think of no document in the American system of governance which says “shall be confidential” related to elected officials’ contact information.
I remain deeply disturbed about the votes and actions of the 2016 RNC Convention Rules Committee. I hope you will join with me in encouraging your grassroots friends in other states to focus on these issues in the future. Given that these Rules have been railroaded for two consecutive conventions, I suggest we consider other approaches to reform how we operate as a Party at the national level.
Thank you to The Baltimore Sun’s John Fritze for working to get to the bottom of the issue. Click here to see The Baltimore Sun’s video.
Mr. Fritze mentions the “unbinding” debate which never had enough votes to succeed and took very little time in the Rules Committee process; less than an hour of the 15.5 hours of the Rules Committee day. The bulk of the Rules debate day was on governance issues affecting how the Party will be run until 2020; topics not covered by much of the press.