-24 votes

Nevada Committeeman James Smack Issues Statement on Willis Flip-Flop


To:​ Nevada Republican Party Members

From:​ James Smack, ​National Committeeman - Nevada

Date:​ January 29, 2012

Subject: ​Republican National Committee Meeting
​Charlotte, NC - January 23 -25, 2013

This memorandum is in response to the many requests that I have received regarding the events in which I participated at the Republican National Committee meeting last week.

Let me begin with the facts:

Fact #1: On January 21, 2013, I attended a dinner in Las Vegas hosted by Republican National Chairman, Reince Priebus. Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald and three other NRP Executive Board members also joined the gathering. At the dinner, there was an open discussion regarding how Chairman Priebus could help the NRP get stronger going into 2014 and the Presidential Election cycle of 2016. Chairman Priebus admitted that mistakes had been made in 2012, and agreed that we needed to fix these issues going forward.

Fact #2: I had previously stated on a Facebook post that I was supporting Mark Willis of Maine in his run for chairman of the RNC and that I would also make a nomination speech on his behalf.
Fact #3: Chairman Priebus did, in fact, ask Chairman McDonald and myself (after the other dinner guests had departed after the end of the meal) if Nevada would be his third nominating state for RNC Chairman as a way to demonstrate unity and to help bridge the divide that has existed between the Nevada Republican Party and the RNC since the formation of Team Nevada last year. At that time, I asked Mr. Priebus to give me until Wednesday evening to provide a decision for him on this matter.

Fact #4: It requires three states with two RNC members each in agreement to nominate any national officer. It was my understanding from Mark Willis that he still had nominations from only two states as of late Wednesday evening. In talking with RNC members in the states that might be still in play, I did not hear anything that led me to believe that Willis had any more than one RNC member from any of the other states willing to submit a nomination in his behalf. This information convinced me that he wasn’t likely to be nominated after all.

Fact #5: Taking all the above facts into consideration, plus factors involving rules changes, etc., I made the decision very late in the evening on Wednesday, and signed the appropriate nomination form for Reince Priebus at around midnight that evening. I asked Chairman Priebus to allow me the opportunity to inform Mark Willis personally of my decision before any information was released to the press and I personally informed Mr. Willis of my decision at about Noon Eastern on Thursday.

Now that you have the facts, let me provide you with my thought process in coming to the decision:

For at least the next four years, I’m going to have to be able to work in a spirit of collegiality with my fellow RNC members. This fact hit home with me at the Resolutions Committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon when it was apparent to Diana Orrock and me that a resolution we had submitted would not be considered or approved as worded.

However, a well respected member of the RNC from South Carolina had substitute language that directed the RNC to form the Rules Committee with all due speed to convene at the spring meeting and make recommendations for changes. There was a great deal of support for this, so I recommended that the Resolutions Committee consider our motion so that the substitute language could be considered.

This got the Nevada Resolution, as written, made and seconded by the committee. The substitute language was adopted unanimously, passed unanimously, and then was adopted unanimously by the entire body of the RNC, with Diana Orrock and myself as the presenters. This action garnered a great deal of support from individual members who are more than ready to blow up Rules 12, 16, and 40.

Now we’ve established a time line for considering rule rollbacks, and I asked Chairman Priebus if he supported this time line when I spoke to him Wednesday evening prior to giving him my decision. He said he would wholeheartedly support the recommendations of the rules committee. At that point, given the near certainty that no third state would come forward to nominate Willis, and the potential upside of being on good terms with the RNC Chairman as opposed to having him as an adversary, I made my decision to join Chairman McDonald in nominating Chairman Priebus.

Now, could I have gone down with the ship, nominated Willis and kept all the Liberty faction happy? Sure! I guarantee that, save maybe a couple of more votes against his reelection, Reince Priebus would still have been elected the RNC Chairman by a landslide, Nevada would still be in the wilderness, and we would have gained no friends from my work there. And, my ability to continue to fight for fair rules and other liberty movement goals would have been further compromised.

I also recognize that we may have gained nothing. Just because Chairman Priebus looked me in the eye and made a promise to help Nevada does not mean it will happen. Campaign promises can be broken. But, in my opinion, there was certainly more upside here by believing in what Chairman Priebus was committing to Nevada than to ignore it and make a symbolic gesture with the Willis nomination. I have him on record as ready to help, and the NRP stands ready for the help and is ready to work as a team with the present RNC leadership charting a course for the future. This has been too well publicized to not happen at this point without Priebus doing substantial damage to his reputation. I, for one, believe in this commitment, and you should too.

I firmly believe that by my decision to join with Chairman McDonald and give my support to Chairman Priebus that I very likely advanced the cause of Liberty far more than the group of rogue delegates in Tampa who gained the Liberty movement nothing more than a black-eye and embarrassed the state of Nevada on national television.

I don’t doubt for a second that the more popular course of action for me among my supporters would have been to ignore the numbers and to stand with Mark Willis to please the emotions of Nevada’s Liberty movement, but I have an ethical obligation to do what’s best for all Nevada Republicans, not just one group.

Fortunately, in this case, I’m fully confident that my decision in Charlotte last week will help all Nevada Republicans, including the Liberty movement, by allowing me to continue to be an advocate, rather than being sidelined as someone who acts irrationally and against the best interests of Nevada. I did my best to help both the Liberty movement and the Nevada Republican Party with the way I handled my vote.

Finally, Nevada Republicans who wish to be much more rebellious and stand solely on principle, even when that damages their ability to make real changes that will benefit their principles, can only do so when the NRP doesn’t have to continually worry about making ends meet and keeping the lights on. A party with no money has zero chance of influencing any decisions, because it will cease to exist, and those that support the party financially do so because they expect to see the party fighting for our core principles of limited government and individual liberty.

So, to my Liberty Friends who would like to step up and start donating $10 a month or more, please visit www.nevadagop.org and sign up. Those that are not interested in helping us be self-sustaining, or are unwilling to volunteer their time for the state party cannot expect your national leadership to insure the party’s destruction by taking futile stands on principle that prevent sensible donors from supporting the party.

James Smack

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I upvote you because I like what you post. FACT



It's said that the lobbyists

It's said that the lobbyists used to stop by and make pitches. Given what is known about the moral turpitude--to be generous--of lobbying in DC, I'd be willing to bet that MUCH more than vague promises and the possibility of dinner was on the table.

EDIT: and you're dead wrong. Look at the various speeches RP gave during his time in Congress, his letter to resign from the GOP in the 80s, and his various interviews. He wasn't silent in the least...it's just that the comforts and smug surety of modern-era America acted like ear plugs for most people.

show me

I have his books where I've read about speaches he gave to an empty room, but his speaches from the 90s, got any? I'd LOVE to see them!!!!!

Ron Paul has always spoken at

Ron Paul has always spoken at hard money conferences, John Birch Society events, etc.. Are you saying he didn't give speeches to crowds until recently???

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown


Don't get me wrong here.. if a If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it fall?

Sure Ron Paul spoke to his little cliques.. and least we forget the censorship, all the way up to the RNC!

Good Point

"Withstood" isn't the best description. It wasn't much of a challenge for a man of principles like RP after all, which makes him even MORE amazing.

Thankfully, Ron Paul didn't

Thankfully, Ron Paul didn't seem preoccupied with the probabilities when deciding. Ron looked at a principled and constitutionally correct position when deciding. Mr. Smack did neither so the clown, Priebus, got rewarded for his despicable behavior during the RNC. James, you haven't learned much from Ron's history.

I guess it's all about who

I guess it's all about who takes you to dinner. I am sorry, compromise and playing by the corrupt rules is what got us into this mess. This is a big pile of BS excuses. This is not a liberty person in any way, it is a sellout.

When I had an office, I saw all of the drug reps(lobbyists)

Thing is, I used, almost always, generics! I did get a few lunches for my staff, by playing along, in stealth mode! don't assume that the lobbyists will win this game!

dinner first

well, at least smack got a dinner before he got screwed.

For those who see this as a betrayal of promises

You haven't played the game. Look at the flip side to this..

Priebus has promised to betray the people who put those rules in place. If he follows through then they will work to unseat him. If he breaks his promise to the folks in Nevada (and the rest of us) then he knows the GOP will have a very hard time winning in 2014 and 2016 because he'll have several states worth of hard core activists working against him.

Short term you might see this as a sellout, but long term it will play out well for us. Priebus recognizes that we have the upper hand in the long term and he knows that if he and the GOP are to succeed then he will have to give in to us. We haven't gone away, and in fact we've gotten much stronger and organized since November.

Right now the best thing we can do is not allow the Nevada GOP to fall into shambles. If they can't raise money and can't get candidates elected then it gives ammo to people in other states to resist Liberty activists from gaining power in their state party.

Volunteer and donate to the Maine, Iowa, Nevada, and any other state party where Liberty supporters are gaining power and help make them not only strong enough to stand on their own, but strong enough to be a positive example and a threat to the establishment in other states.

Truly Disgusted

I'm truly disgusted by what I just read. Congratulations on being the political equivalent of the battered wife who just knows it really will be different THIS time!

I usually offer quite a bit more discussion and analysis, but I see it would be totally wasted on someone who wrote that and isn't obviously ashamed by the words and rationale given.

EDIT: The last paragraph drips with bitter irony that almost compels me to tear it apart. Almost. Suffice it to say that by closing with a pitch for money and claim that standing on principle is futile tells me you're starting to get the hang of politics. Had RP taken that path, 95% of this site's users would still be asleep.

The Betrayal of Principles Was Worth it

...because you got the word of a liar who has done everything in his power to destroy you?

Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)


...how it was so easy for you to get to the heart of the matter and expose the underlying truth in Mr. Smack's long 'rationalization' treatise.

Well done and dead-nuts on.

Bump for discussion...


I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!


By this logic...

RP should have just dropped out at the start because his chances were slim to get the R nomination.

Failure Wuss Yellow "Chairman


"Chairman Priebus admitted that mistakes had been made in 2012, and agreed that we needed to fix these issues going forward."
Sirens, Alarms, and Red Flashing lights should have been going off if Priebus told him this. What a dolt.

Southern Agrarian

Who is downvoting this?

This makes perfect rational sense to me. The establishment is trying to bleed liberty out of leadership positions in both Iowan and Nevada. We can work with these people while still advancing our principles. Remember the establishment cares about winning only. So as our ideas become more popular, they will adopt them because it will help them gain power.

Yes. That is why it is

Yes. That is why it is important to take seats in your local committee.

Mr. James Smack I was just

Mr. James Smack

I was just reading over a memorandum that you sent out in order to explain the sequence of events and reasoning behind your actions at the RNC Winter Meeting. There is one thing that strikes me in what you wrote, pertaining to the progress made on the egregious rule changes. You state:

“This got the Nevada Resolution, as written, made and seconded by the committee. The substitute language was adopted unanimously, passed unanimously, and then was adopted unanimously by the entire body of the RNC, with Diana Orrock and myself as the presenters. This action garnered a great deal of support from individual members who are more than ready to blow up Rules 12, 16, and 40.”

The problem with this statement is that the resolution adopted by the resolutions committee, and the submitted amendment to be heard by the rules committee in April, do not actually address rules 12 & 40 at all. In fact, the submitted rules amendment, if passed, would destroy any hopes that we might have to take measures to reverse rules 12 & 40 anytime in the near future.

This is a big problem for the grassroots working within the RNC. Even if the submitted amendment takes care of rule 16 (which we were told was already taken care of while we were in Tampa, anyway), as long as rule 12 remains in effect, rule 16 can and likely will come right back. If we accept that John Boehner's teleprompter vote call was legitimate, then the grassroots have lost all power within the republican party, and there will be no need to continue participation within the party nor to ask others to participate in 2016, as no grassroots candidate will even make it close to the goal post of 8 states under rule 40, and even if they do, we have set the precedent that it's acceptable for the vote of the delegation to be nothing more than a courtesy.

Do you consider it to be a good deal for the grassroots that we had rules thrust upon us in an illegitimate manner, the most egregious of them all being rules 12, 40, & 16, and the amends made are that they will temporarily fix rule 16, which we were told was already fixed, and which won't impact us until 2016 anyway, before which point it may be changed back to its egregious form?


Nicole Revels, North Carolina

Bryan Daugherty, Maine

If you are unclear about why the rule amendment to be heard in April does not address rules 12 & 40, please read the following:


Dear Nicole abd Bryan

I hope you both are preparing to run as RNC chair the next election and not just give us a bread a circus like Willis did.

Thank You

Us or them, you picked the

Us or them, you picked the wrong side Smack.

In the beginning the patriot is a sparse man...