After a series of contentious meetings resulting in a complete impasse between the two factions of the Montgomery County Republican Party, a group of precinct chairs known as the Freedom Caucus has filed a formal complaint against County Chairman Bryan Christ with the Republican Party of Texas under RPT Rule 8m.
“We believe that Chairman Christ’s actions are damaging and disgracing the
party, so the party should have the right to sever that relationship,” states a letter attached to the petition. The complaint alleges that Christ “abused his power,” failed to perform statutory duties, and “conspired to control an
RPT 8m allows members of the county executive committee to request mediation before the state party’s Officials Committee between precinct chairs and the county chairman:
“Executive Committees may elect to submit disputes between them to the SREC Officials
Committee for mediation in lieu of litigation. The SREC Officials Committee may elect to
accept or decline the role of mediator on a case-by-case basis.”
The 8m petition filed by the Freedom Caucus precinct chairs against Christ is the latest escalation in the ongoing war over the MCRP. Full of explosive claims and incindiary accusations, the complaint and supporting appendixes constitute 123 pages outlining the Freedom Caucus’ various grievances with Christ.
The complaint accuses Christ of “collusion” with Precinct Chair James Byers and Parliamentarian Jason Millsaps before the organizational meeting to “hijack” the meeting. It also accuses Christ of violating state law by not acknowledging precinct chairs appointed by the Freedom Caucus and not posting the minutes of their meetings. Christ has argued that the meetings were out of order and does not recognize them to be valid. The complaint also alleges that an emergency online meeting held by Christ was “fraudulent.” The complaint accuses Christ of various other violations of parliamentary procedure.
“In summary, the chairman has exhibited a blatant disregard for the body by
exhibiting a gross abuse of power in trying to thwart adopting the Agenda (on
7/19/22), the new bylaws adopted on 7/23/22, not fulfilling his statutory duties
and with his actions he has brought and continues to bring great embarrassment
and disgrace to the Republican Party of Texas and Montgomery County,” concludes the complaint.
Although RPT Rule 8m is about the state party mediating disputes between county chairs and precinct chairs, by stating that,” the party should have the right to sever that relationship [with Christ],” it would seem that the Freedom Caucus is asking to remove Christ as chairman.
When the Texas Citizen Journal reached out to Christ for comment about the 8m complaint that had been filed the day before, he was surprised, and said he was not even aware of the complaint. “This is all new information for me,” he said.
The Texas Citizen Journal also reached out to Byers and Millsaps for comment, since both were also mentioned in the complaint. Neither of them were aware of it either.
MCRP Vice Chair Jon Bouche told the Texas Citizen Journal that the complaint was sent directly to the state party:
“It was given to the SREC people,” said Bouche. “Since Bryan [Christ] has decided to not recognize anything the party is doing, the report went directly to the SREC people.”
At the heart of the complaint is the dispute between Christ and the Freedom Caucus regarding whether or not the party’s biennial organizational meeting on July 19 was properly adjourned. Christ maintains the meeting was properly adjourned, and since bylaws were not adopted, he and his lawyer Eric Opiela argue that the party is still under the previous biennium’s bylaws. However, precinct chairs aligned with the Freedom Caucus contend that the organizational meeting was not properly adjourned. At a racous emergency meeting held a few days later on July 23, Christ walked out of the room after being shouted down and having his microphone silenced. The Freedom Caucus then proceeded to pass their own bylaws by a majority of those still present. Those are the bylaws the Freedom Caucus is accusing Christ of violating. Christ argues that the July 23 meeting was out of order and does not recognize the bylaws or appointments approved by the Freedom Caucus at that meeting.
It is worth noting that the 8m petition for “mediation in lieu of litigation” comes just days after the Freedom Caucus precinct chairs voted to remove Christ from the party’s bank account. Several years ago, a similar situation occured in Galveston County where a dispute over the bank account and party funds between the chairman and precinct chairs led to litigation.
It is ultimately up to the state party whether they decide to meditate the dispute or not. They have the choice to either accept or decline to get involved. With the level of acrimony between the factions reaching an all time high, the only way the dispute gets resolved may be before the state party’s Officials Committee. Or before a judge.
The complete complaint and all supporting documents (all 123 pages) can be found below:
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