Raleigh, N.C. — One day after state Republican Party Chairman Hasan Harnett said, essentially, let bygones be bygones, GOP officials released a flurry of documents Tuesday as they pushed forward with efforts to oust Harnett, who they say flouted party rules.
The documents include an affidavit from a college instructor whom Harnett asked to help regain control of the party's Internet resources. Those records suggest that Kenneth Robol became uncomfortable when Harnett asked him to divert payments made to the party.
“Dr. Robol contacted other members of the party because he was made extremely uncomfortable by the chairman’s request. He was aware that, if he did nothing, others might be contacted who did not share his scruples. Dr. Robol was very courageous in coming forward,” said Thomas Stark, general counsel of the North Carolina Republican Party. "It was entirely Chairman Harnett’s own initiative to ask Dr. Robol to crash the party website and set up a competing website to divert funds away from the party. Further, it was entirely Chairman Harnett’s own initiative to place follow-up phone calls and text messages to Dr. Robol, including while the sworn statement was being obtained."
Over the past several months, Harnett has charged that GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse and other party leaders have smeared him and stymied his efforts to run the party, either because of race – he is the state party's first black chairman – a conflict between establishment Republicans and the grassroots or a plot to control delegates to the Republican National Convention.
In an interview with WRAL News on Monday, Harnett tempered his remarks, saying he wanted to see the party pull together in advance of a May state convention.
"The relationships are very dynamic, and everyone has their perspective as to what is right and what is wrong. But the key for the NCGOP at this point in time is to focus in on doing the right things," he said. "These things may still exist, but what I can assure you is that my main focus at this time is to ensure the Republican Party is focusing on its mission."
However, it may be too late to reconcile. Other party leaders are circulating a petition to call for a meeting at which members of the state executive committee could vote to remove him on April 30.