April 17, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Activists Protest RNC Rules Change

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Paul Wheeler, right, and C.L. Bryant, center, both of FreedomWorks, attempt to deliver a petition to the Republican National Committee.

Conservative activists protested the Republican National Committee Monday for approving rules guiding the presidential primary process.

Forty protestors with FreedomWorks, a conservative campaign organization, waited outside the RNC’s doors for an hour as security guards denied entry.

Jacqueline Bodnar, a media coordinator for FreedomWorks, was eventually allowed to enter the building. She carried a stack of paper she said contained the signatures of 12,000 activists. After 20 minutes inside the building, Bodnar emerged from the RNC lobby and told the crowd that they had been asked to come back with an appointment.

Activists said they were being disenfranchised by two rules the national party adopted at last year’s Republican National Convention:

• Rule 12 allows the RNC to change its rules at any time.

• Rule 16 binds delegates elected in state primaries to vote for the candidate who wins the state contest.

The demonstrators said they fear these rules allow for capricious decision-making at the national level and disenfranchisement at the local level. The group occasionally chanted and shouted up to people visible from the windows of the headquarters’ upstairs offices.

“They’re criminals,” said Kelly L. Khuri, a Republican county councilwoman from Clark County in Indiana. “Why are we paying for a primary when they select?”

“The Rules Committee created Rule 12 to open up the rules process precisely to foster this type of debate,” RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski told CQ Roll Call. “What we can’t have is candidates winning delegates during a statewide contest and have to come back to the same state to secure those delegates at a later time in the process.”

The activists were recruited from 16 states and wore distinguishing paraphernalia including shirts with the Gadsden snake and others with the FreedomWorks logo. One man, who referred to himself as “Patriot Paul,” wore traditional 18th-century style clothing and rapped on the RNC doors with his cane.

This story has been corrected to reflect the name of "Patriot Paul," the electoral effects of Rule 16 and the office held by Kelly L. Khuri.

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