After talking with Guilford County NCGOP activist Clark Porter, that appears to be exactly what is happening. You may remember the Pat McCrory campaign and the NCGOP making noises and filing complaints about vote fraud in the wake of the 2016 election that gave us Governor Roy Cooper.
Porter told us he was one of about three dozen party activists encouraged by the McCrory campaign and the state GOP to sign their names to vote fraud complaints in the wake of the 2016 vote. Unfortunately for Porter and the other activists, many of the complaints were struck down or found to be without merit. Leftist groups moved in and filed suit against the NCGOP complainants on behalf of those originally accused.
The court action got started shortly after the 2016 vote and is still apparently going on. Porter said the NCGOP leadership was initially good for their word about paying legal bills for the Republican voters being sued by the liberal groups. Things started to change, Porter told us, right about the time Michael Whatley took over as state party chairman.
Porter said Team Whatley initially said hopeful things about continuing to fund everyone’s lawyers. Then, Porter said, the situation suddenly took a drastic turn for the worse:
“We were told that this whole thing was a legacy, embarrassing situation that needed to go away.”
Porter said he was floored upon hearing that. He, and others, had stuck their necks out for the NCGOP way back in 2016. Now, they were apparently being told they were ON THEIR OWN. Meanwhile, the liberals had an army of paid-for lawyers coming after the GOP activists.
Porter said he and his attorney were informed that the party would no longer foot his legal bill. So, Porter lost that attorney for a while. Meanwhile, in the courtroom, the liberal side was asking for penalties against the GOP activists for up to $1.25 million per complaint they signed. (Porter had signed four.)
So, Porter noted — he was left facing an army of leftist lawyers, with no legal representation for himself, and facing a potential penalty of up to FIVE MILLION DOLLARS.
Porter eventually found another attorney to help him. He said he began to see some success in the courtroom, but the Whatley-led NCGOP was balking at even paying his attorney ONE DIME.
Porter told us the situation has now reached a point where — if even ONE of the GOP activists loses in court — ALL of them could be liable for the multi-million dollar penalties.
So, here we are in 2023. Whatley has been named RNC general counsel and is trying to get reelected as NCGOP state chairman. Porter said the NCGOP counsel has approached him with an attempt at settling the matter.
The settlement document offers to pay $25,000 for Porter’s legal fees — a sum Porter says is significantly lower than what his attorney has incurred and invoiced. The settlement agreement also demands Porter and his attorney decline to talk about this matter to anyone, and promise not to publicly disparage NCGOP or any of its officers or representatives.
Most significantly, the settlement agreement demands that Porter and his attorney release NCGOP from any liability for any court findings that may come about as a result of this case. (Such as, you, know, a fine of up to $5 million.)
So, if Porter had quietly agreed to sign this — his attorney would be short-changed, he would be left to pay for his own defense the rest of the way, and would be solely liable for any potential multi-million dollar fines the court may award the plaintiffs. (The leftists will not quit if Porter simply does.)
So, with nearly eight years invested, here we are. Porter says the only reason he got involved is that the party recruited him. Eight years in, the party leadership appears to have backed way off of what the central and executive committees and previous party chairmen all previously approved — paying for the defense of all GOP defendants.
And if Porter or any of the other three dozen or so defendants gets found liable — ALL of them would be ON THEIR OWN for paying the potential millions of dollars in fines.
This sounds like a great story to think about the next time anyone from the NCGOP asks you to put your neck out there on the line.