The Indiana Republican Party (“Party”), as previously noted, is an assumed business name of the Indiana Republican State Committee, Inc. (“Committee”). These entities were “born” on 10/24/05 when they were incorporated, with the Indiana Secretary of State, under the laws of the State of Indiana, by Terre Haute, Indiana, attorney James Bopp, Jr.
The Party’s “rules” state: “Subject to the Republican Party of the State of Indiana in the State Convention duly assembled, the State Committee is the supreme party authority in this state...” (State Rule 1-1.) There appears no limitation on the Committee itself in the rules related to the State Convention.
The Articles provide that the Committee “shall have no members except the members of the Board of Directors” and that the “election or appointment of new directors shall be governed by the Bylaws of the corporation.” Problem: there are no links to any bylaws.
On the morning of Friday, 12/20/19, I called the offices of the Party, explained I am a candidate in the GOP primary for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, and asked if I could have a link to, or copy of, the by-laws of the Party or the Committee.
The gentleman who answered said the by-laws are on the Party’s website. I explained the State Rules can be accessed there and the Articles of Incorporation can be accessed on the Secretary of State’s website, but the by-laws are in neither place. He asked, “Shouldn’t that be enough?” I said there are several references to the by-laws in the Rules and for playing field to be even, I need access to the by-laws.
He said he would get back to me. I gave him by phone number and e-mail address. I have not heard back from him.
Mr. Bopp was lead counsel for Plaintiff Citizens United, at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, in Citizens United v. FEC, 588 U.S. 310 (2010). That SCOTUS decision lifted many constraints on campaign spending by corporations. He also has been counsel for, or affiliated with, the National Right to Life Committee, the Traditional Values Coalition, the Alliance Defense Fund (anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ rights group), and the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund (anti-choice).
Mr. Bopp also has been a member of the Republican National Committee in which he “fought for a resolution requiring candidates to pledge support for at least eight of ten policy positions” including being “pro-gun rights [and] pro-Defense of Marriage Act.” Novak, “Citizen Bopp,” The American Prospect, 01/02/2012.
Mr. Bopp has staunchly argued for elimination of campaign contribution limits and for anonymity for donors to campaign efforts. He was counsel in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, 536 U.S. 765 (2002).
Mr. Bopp’s role in incorporating the Committee (and hence the Party), his embrace of campaign donors’ anonymity as a function of the First Amendment, and the absence of the Committee’s by-laws from the internet are troublesome for those who seek transparency in government.
If an overwhelming majority of the members of the Republican Party want to take control of the Party, as I read the Rules and the Articles of Incorporation, they cannot. The Committee is the “supreme authority” of the Party. Only members of the Board of Directors of the Committee can be members of the Committee, i.e., the Indiana Republican State Committee, Inc.
Given that in Indiana, the two “major political parties” enjoy enormous advantages - automatic listing of candidates on ballots and subsidization of primary elections as two examples - the parties should not be run as a secret society.
Given, also, that Mr. Bopp has been a member of the Republican National Committee and of enormous influence in this country’s politics, I ask people in other States to review the corresponding documents for the Republican AND the Democratic parties in their and other States.
The Indiana Democratic Party appears not to have the same apparati of secrecy as the GOP - but then, Mr Bopp is not a Democrat.
Such secrecy of a major political party means that voters do not have a “final” say in the ways in which one half of our two-party system is run. And it is far from easy, in Indiana given the statutory structure of elections, to replace one of the two “major” political parties.
So, again - I ask people in other States to review the corresponding documents for the Republican AND the Democratic parties in their and other States. Post such documents so that we can see how these bodies function. As President lincoln said: “Let the people know the facts and the country will be safe.”
I fear that we do not know the facts and we lack safety.