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South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham Censured Illegally

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A 13-7 vote for the censure of a United States Senator is making the headlines. The problem is the vote is completely illegal by all established GOP standards in South Carolina. Unfortunately, that little fact is being ignored.

On Monday night, the Lexington County (SC) GOP executive committee allegedly passed a measure to censure Senator Lindsey Graham for only being 90% conservative. The media is giving the story quite a bit of coverage, without doing any actual fact checking. If they were, they would discover that the measure was not quite legal. The censure, prepared by a member of the executive committee who admits to not being a Republican, was not on the pre-published agenda.

The Lexington County GOP has nearly 70 organized precincts and requires a quorum for such a vote to be legal and binding. According to South Carolina's Palmetto Scoop, only 24 of the 63 executive committee members were available to vote. Thirteen members of the executive committee voted to censure Graham. That is hardly a quorum.

Congressman Joe Wilson, who is from Lexington County, is furious.

Lindsey Graham has been a great leader for our state and party. I appreciate everything he has done for me and his tireless work in helping Republicans at all levels of government. He’s a team player. Ronald Reagan always said that people who agree with you 80 percent of the time should be considered a good friend. Reagan was a wise man and if we want to build a strong, vibrant Republican Party we should follow his advice.

Four former Lexington County GOP chairpersons have expressed indignation at the illegality of the procedure. In a letter of complaint sent to Lexington County GOP Chairman Rich Bolen, who was behind the illegal censure, the four former chairpersons said:

…As it now stands, 13 people have now spoken for our county's 70 organized precincts and the 23,000 Republicans who voted in our 2008 primary. This is completely unfair and very disappointing… 

With the exception of the Palmetto Scoop, CNN, and The Pink Flamingo, it appears that no other news outlet is fact checking the incident.

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About SJ Reidhead

  • DfromtheC

    So the real question is: Where were all the elected Republicans that make up the committee? Seems kinda stupid to me to bash the Paul supporters that were actually in attendence, when the reason issue is that the censure was passed because NO ONE ELSE BOTHERED TO SHOW UP.

    Who’s the real problem here?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ah, South Carolina – the home of Lindsey Graham and “You lie!” Joe Wilson. The only thing that would make this better is if Michelle Bachmann would show up and become your next state senator.

    That’s my dream for the GOP 2012 ticket, you know – Palin/Bachmann! Or maybe Cheney/Bachmann (with either Dick or Lynn).

    Go Far Right Go Far Right Go!

  • John

    Shouldn’t it be more easy to correct the political wanderings of politicians instead of more difficult? It is no wonder why established politicians have drifted so far, and why the GOP has abandoned its libertarian heritage.

  • #2 Glen,
    You beat me to it!!!!

    Ah, South Carolina – the home of Lindsey Graham and “You lie!” Joe Wilson.


  • Jive Dadson

    What’s shocking is that 7 voted against it.

  • Fed Up Former straight rep ticket voter

    It would appear that SJ Reidhead is in fact the one that needs to do some fact checking. A “Quorum” as defined in the 2009 SCGOP rules is “(a) A quorum of all committees shall be the lesser of 25 members or one-third of the members thereof. All meetings must be properly noticed.” Notice of the meeting was sent out. There were at least 24 members present 1/3 of 63 is 21 and 24 is more than 21. You should do your research before you start telling people to do theirs.

  • silentboom

    90% Conservative? Are you sure you’re talking about the same Graham? He’s nowhere near that.

  • WorkingTommyC

    If the ratings systems were properly weighted on a common sense scale of potential damage to our country and unconstitutionality of bills being supported or voted on, Gaham have about a 20% “conservative rating.”

    The following email explains adequately why SJR does not know what she’s talking about in this case:

    From: Rich Bolen
    Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 6:51 PM
    Subject: Resolution Redux…

    Dear Republicans,

    I guess by now you have all had an opportunity to mull over the events of Monday night and its aftermath. I would like to take this opportunity to clear up any confusion about the propriety of the process by which the Resolution was passed. We did have a quorum of the LCRP throughout the whole evening even up to the vote. Our county has 70 organized precincts and the quorum rule is that we must have 1/3 of that number or 25, whichever is less, represented at a meeting in order to have a quorum. I have a list of the names of all of the people present and the precincts they represented. We had 29 precincts represented at certain points during the night and at the time of the vote we had 24 people participate in the vote. 24 people is a quorum. We also had me as President of Park Road and one other member in the meeting at the time of the vote so at the end of the meeting we still had 26 members in the room.

    I also want to point out that the Executive Committee conducted the same exact process when we passed a resolution supporting Congressman Joe Wilson at our September meeting on the 14th of that month. That resolution also had no notice and was not on the agenda. In both cases our rules and bylaws allow this type of action. I as Chairman could not have ruled honestly that such a measure was out of order or that a quorum was not present. The procedure for dealing with this issue was followed and several role call votes were taken and recorded with the will of the body followed. We voted not to postpone definitely. We voted to amend the resolution and of course the final vote. All of these were by role call vote. We also had 90 minutes of debate including participants who were not members of the EC in the interests of allowing people an opportunity to be heard. I attempted to be fair to all participants and follow the rule of law and precedent while conducting the meeting.

    I distributed the body of the resolution with no comments immediately after the meeting because before I got back to my office I was getting calls from the press and state party. I felt it was important that the actual language of the resolution be available versus the original version or the recollections of various reporters. The resolution speaks for itself. With the previous resolution I also sent it out immediately after the meeting but with a press release as well. Since then there have been various rumors and allegations which I have tried to address in a professional manner without causing further negative controversy. Unfortunately when you act as a single party body it is difficult to pass any controversial measure without generating hard feelings. I hope that we can continue to have animated discussions and take necessary actions even if not unanimous without impugning the character and value of the people on the other side of the issue. We will never agree on all of the decisions taken by the party as a whole but we must keep in mind that our disagreements are minor compared to the disagreements we have with the Democrat party and their platform. We must not let our disagreements prevent us from working together to win elections and improve our state and country . . .

  • ‘Fed Up’ and Tommy,

    If I understand SJ’s argument correctly, she isn’t actually claiming that there was no quorum. She’s saying that the censure motion was not legal because it was not on the agenda for that meeting.

    (And also possibly that the person who prepared the motion isn’t even a party member.)