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Republican Central Committee county chairs and co-chairs voluntarily participated in a call Wednesday night with the Republican Party of Iowa. The guest was RPI chairman Jeff Kaufmann, who clarified comments he previously made saying county committees could not censure politicians.

Kaufmann said the word “censure” and it means has been the topic of a lot of conversation lately. At least six Iowa counties have voted to censure Sen. Joni Ernst for her vote against the Republican Party of Iowa platform and in support of the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act.

He said he wanted to explain what he meant by a statement he made earlier this year regarding county central committees and their ability to censure Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks over her vote for the same bill.

Kaufmann, who alluded to The Iowa Standard without naming The Iowa Standard, said he wanted to explain as opposed to having people read about it from “somebody that is trying to increase viewership and doing a little spin and fib over what I said.”

For the record, all The Iowa Standard has done is repeat what was reported four months ago. You can read that story here

Radio Iowa wrote that Kaufmann said Mahaska County Republicans do not have the power to formally censure Miller-Meeks.

“County committees do not have the ability to censure. There is nothing in our bylaws that talks about censure. Even the Republican Party of Iowa cannot censure,” Kaufmann told reporters. “It’s a word to show disapproval.”

He then made a pitch for party unity, according to the report.

But on Wednesday night, Kaufmann gave county central committees the green light.

“The central committees can do whatever they want to do,” Kaufmann said on Wednesday night’s call. “We have no control over them. If you read Robert’s Rules of Order, it implies very, very strongly that a censure only applies to members of that organization.”

Kaufmann suggested central committees instead pass a resolution to show displeasure rather than voting to censure Ernst.

“Censure is not in any bylaws or anything,” he said.

Kaufmann said he was wanting to make sure all of the central committees are doing the right thing to exert what they want to do.

“I wanted to make sure that you knew what those comments were, and again, you just need to email us because there’s a lot of folks who get a lot of things wrong in terms of innuendo,” he said.

We reported Kaufmann said there is nothing in the bylaws that talks about censure. But again, it was Kaufmann who, according to a four-month-old Radio Iowa story, said:

“County committees do not have the ability to censure.”

However, it seems after Wednesday night the updated line is that central committees can do “whatever they want.”

A county chair from a large county that is “very, very blue” said they received an email about censuring Ernst and they told the individual it could be presented and nothing would stop it from coming to the floor. But it would have to come as a resolution and be handled similarly to a platform plank at convention.

That chair said their fear is the decision to censure Ernst will upset “one side or the other” and divide the party.

“This is fodder for a campaign,” they said. “I live in a very, very blue county and they will take this and use this kind of item against Republicans. And I’ll just say a house divided will never stand.”

Another county chair whose county has already voted to send a letter of censure to Ernst clarified with Kaufmann that what they did isn’t something that could be prohibited.

“First of all, the position of RPI, we cannot tell county parties what to do,” Kaufmann said. “This is what’s unique about Iowa. Iowa probably has, well I can’t say the most, but one of the most autonomous county party structures that you can have anywhere. We cannot dictate anything.”

Kaufmann said if the group has sent a letter of censure, nothing prohibits that. He said he was talking about a vote of censure as read in Robert’s Rules of Order.

“If it’s a letter, you folks can, you have to make the decision as a party what you want to do,” Kaufmann said. “Do you want to call Joni up and have every single member of your county party call her so you have 24 calls going in there? Or do you want to do something as a group and then let the Democrats and let everybody else see that there’s division? I mean, that’s a political decision that all of you have to make.”

Kaufmann suggested committees make sure to read Robert’s Rules of Order on what they say. He said if a committee is going to make a statement, they should make sure they’re following Robert’s Rules of Order, they have a quorum, make sure all members know the vote is coming up and everyone gets a call. He said to make it as open and transparent as possible. And then the group must decide if they’re going to make contact privately or if they will do something publicly.

Kaufmann again clarified that this Saturday’s meeting where a code of conduct will be considered by the state central committee will only apply to state central committee members and not county committee members. He reiterated there is “nothing” the state central committee can do to force the counties to do anything.

Another individual asked Kaufmann if he would send out statements from Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Ashley Hinson on the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act like he did with Ernst’s statement on Wednesday.

Kaufmann said the state party was receiving so many comments — “a ton,” he said — they reached out to Ernst asking if there was something they could send out about her position. Ernst’s statement that was sent out defends her vote and contradicts much of Grassley’s statement on the issue, which has been public since Nov. 16.


  1. Maybe time for Jeff to resign as well.

    Censure is just another tool that we the people have to exert on our servants to remind them they work for us. To follow our will and wishes; we don’t elect politicians to “lead” us in whatever direction that tickles their fancy. If Joni and the other RINOs don’t like it, then resign! And let us pick someone else.

    Obviously, Joni and the others have never read our Constitutions and oaths to office. The Disrespect for Marriage Act is just the latest betrayal in a long train of betrayal from these DIABLOs – – Demonrat In All But Label Only.


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