MIGOP leadership feud continues ahead of Saturday meeting in Houghton Lake ⋆
With the party split into two factions, infighting within the Michigan Republican Party is set to continue heading into what could be a critical meeting Saturday in Houghton Lake scheduled by Kristina Karamo, who was elected chair in 2023.
The fracas takes place during a crucial election year in Michigan, which is expected to play a key role in determining party control of the White House and Congress. The state House is also on the line.
On Jan. 6, Karamo’s opponents voted to remove her and a number of other party officers from their positions at what Karamo and her supporters say was an unauthorized meeting in Commerce Township that failed to comply with the party’s bylaws.
In the days after the vote, party Co-Chair Malinda Pego and her supporters have insisted she is the acting chair, setting up a separate website and email, which has sent out conflicting statements to those sent by Karamo’s faction, including a notice canceling Saturday’s state committee meeting initially scheduled by Karamo.
Karamo’s faction has blasted those statements, calling them fraudulent and urging anyone receiving communications from Pego’s faction of the party to consider it “potential malware.”
🚨🚨 The https://t.co/8gsBIYO9D0 website is FRAUDULENT. It is not affiliated with the Michigan Republican Party. We caution anyone receiving email correspondence from this bootleg website to consider it as potential malware. Our official website is https://t.co/Pjj9npHyvs. 🚨🚨 https://t.co/pnM8ME2xJD
— Michigan GOP (@MIGOP) January 11, 2024
Pego has also been removed from the leadership page on the party’s website, with Karamo saying Pego’s actions at the Jan. 6 meeting constitute her resignation.
“Therefore, any correspondence sent by Melinda Pego is fraudulent and does not represent the Michigan Republican Party in any capacity,” Karamo’s party sent in an email to the Advance earlier this week.
While Karamo’s party released a seven-page report earlier this week to invalidate the Jan. 6 meeting due to lack of compliance with party bylaws, Pego’s faction has responded, releasing a presentation intended to prove the validity of the meeting.
In the report from Karamo’s faction, it argued the meeting was null and void due to lack of authorization from the chair and lack of authority from the organizers to call the meeting. It also contended that the Jan. 6 meeting did not have a quorum to conduct party business, failed to verify proxies for absent members, misappropriated signatures on the petitions to remove an officer, and did not reach an appropriate threshold to remove party members.
However, the report from Pego’s group argues they followed proper procedure, with more than a third of the party’s state committee members submitting a request for a special meeting on Dec. 2, 2023, giving Karamo 15 days to call the meeting.
According to the presentation from Karamo’s opposition, Karamo rejected the meeting as invalid and scheduled her own meeting, which did not match the purpose of the requested meeting. While Karamo’s faction argues she met her obligations by calling the meeting, her opposition argues this does not meet the request for a meeting.
If the chair fails to call the meeting, the party’s bylaws state that members can give notice five days before the meeting.
According to the presentation, Bree Moeggenberg, a member of the state committee who signed on to the original special meeting request, sent out a the call for the Jan. 6 special meeting with five days notice and included an agenda outlining the purpose of the meeting, making it a legal meeting of the state committee.
Bree Moeggenberg, a member of the Michigan Republican Party State Committee, takes questions from reporters following a meeting where party members voted to remove party Chair Kristina Karamo from her position. | Kyle Davidson
As for establishing a quorum, the party’s bylaws state: “A majority of the total membership of the Committee present in person or by proxy shall constitute a quorum to transact all business of the Committee except where the action of the Committee requires a larger number of members as specially set forth in these bylaws.”
With 71 members present, including state committee members and proxies, Pego’s faction argues a quorum was present. However Karamo’s allies argue in their reading of the bylaws that the exception at the end of the definition could only refer to removing a member, and that 75% percent of all state committee members needed to be voting and present.
According to the party’s bylaws, members may be removed upon a 75% vote of the Committee present and voting, provided there is a quorum present and the 75% vote is made in person by such members and not by proxy.
The presentation did not address allegations from Karamo’s faction that the proxy forms were not properly submitted to the secretary for verification.
While Karamo’s group also argued that the signatures in support of removing members were not properly submitted to the secretary before the meeting, her opposition noted that there is no time requirement listed under the bylaws for removal. Because they submitted their petition to remove Karamo with the required number of signatures before the motion was brought, they argued they have met the bylaws requirements.
The opposition also responded to claims that their use of signatures was disingenuous, as Karamo’s faction said not all members who had signed the petition had signed on in favor of her removal, but instead were simply looking to bring the matter to a vote. They also said that multiple members asked to recant their signature.
In an email, Pego responded, saying all members who signed the petition received a form that plainly stated at the top of the page “PETITION requesting that a vote be taken to REMOVE Kristina Karamo as an Officer of the Michigan Republican State Committee.”
Additionally, the members who recanted their signatures via email did so at 8:09 p.m. according to the email from Pego, which was after the vote had taken place.
“Their only recourse now would be by unanimous permission of the assembly and though they certainly have the right to ask, it is highly doubtful that the threshold will be met. Their signatures for a meeting are valid,” Pego said.
Both factions remained divided on whether the vote was sufficient to remove Karamo from her position.
In the report invalidating the Jan. 6 meeting, Karamo’s supporters argued that the 40 members who voted to remove Karamo do not represent the super-majority needed to amend bylaws or remove members, as they represent 37% of the party’s 107 member state committee. However, the opposition argues they met the 75% threshold required to remove members outlined in the bylaws, with 45 state committee members voting, no proxies, and 40 members supporting Karamo’s removal, making up 88.8% of the vote.
While Karamo has continued to act as chair of the party, sending out communications and hosting Q&A sessions ahead of the upcoming Saturday meeting, the party’s operations seem to have splintered between the factions.
MIGOP members vote to remove Karamo, her supporters rip the effort as ‘illegitimate’
In an email earlier this week, Pego announced new temporary chairs for the party’s standing committees, in addition to reassigning various state committee members to the standing committees.
Meanwhile, Karamo’s faction has already begun searching for a replacement for Pego, Bridge Michigan reporter Jonathan Oosting sharing part of a survey intended for precinct delegates that includes options for a potential co-chair.
While Karamo has said she would address the matter of her removal at the meeting this Saturday through a vote on whether she should remain as chair, Pego continued to argue that Karamo had been removed as chair. Assuming Karamo were still chair of the party, she also would not have unilateral authority to change Saturday’s agenda, as the purpose for the meeting had already been specified when the meeting was called.
“If we are to be the party that follows law and order, and if indeed the former chair were to uphold principles of the constitution as the foundation of the party, then we would need to hold her accountable to these same principles that she espouses. She therefore cannot change the agenda for her called special meeting,” Pego said.
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authored by Kyle Davidson
First published at https%3A%2F%2Fmichiganadvance.com%2F2024%2F01%2F12%2Fmigop-leadership-feud-continues-ahead-of-saturday-meeting-in-houghton-lake%2F