Republican Commissioners Dan Camp and Sandie Egley say they intend to force a vote on the removal of party Chairman Chip Kohser, after he refused to voluntarily resign and the Executive Committee failed to take action at an emergency meeting held yesterday.
Republican party Secretary Carla Maloney resigned on Friday after BeaverCountian.com published an investigative report on Wednesday exposing a series of racially charged posts she made on Facebook several months ago. The reporting also revealed that party Chairman Chip Kohser was informed of Maloney’s posts at the time they were made, but failed to notify the Executive Board about her statements before they decided to appoint her to party leadership.
Commissioners Camp and Egley called for Kohser’s resignation in separate interviews with BeaverCountian.com on Friday.
Camp had been so disturbed by the revelation that Chairman Kohser knew about Maloney’s statements, he walked out of a birthday party he was attending Friday evening at a Pittsburgh restaurant to give KDKA a sidewalk interview asking for Kohser to give up his position.
The Republican Executive Committee held an emergency session Saturday morning to discuss the controversy.
Camp said he never received a notice about an emergency meeting. After learning from BeaverCountian.com a meeting had been scheduled, Camp said he emailed party leadership asking to be called if they went ahead with it so he could participate in any votes. He said he has spoken to other members who also did not receive notification about the meeting.
Egley said she did get notice of the emergency session, but hadn’t been to an Executive Committee meeting since January 2017, the night Chip Kohser was named Chairman. Egley ended her boycott of the meetings yesterday so she could attempt to have Kohser removed.
“I felt there would be a vote to remove Kohser because the night prior to it Commissioner Camp and I gave statements to the press that we thought he should resign. I was actually expecting his resignation, but that didn’t happen. When I got to the meeting I was surprised by the attitude of the other (Executive Committee) members and their lack of action.”
Egley said she was stunned to hear party leadership praising Maloney’s resignation letter, which she felt seemed insincere. Egley was even more taken back when District Attorney David Lozier told her he wished she had not asked for Kohser’s resignation. A second source who was in the room confirmed Lozier’s statement.
“I made a motion to relieve the Chairman of his duties anyway, and then Lozier asked me to withdraw that motion,” said Egley. “I refused to do that and my motion did not get seconded. There was discussion and eventually the Committee decided that since my motion was not written into an agenda it should not receive a vote.”
Camp told the Beaver Countian there is nothing in the Republican Committee’s by-laws that prevented a vote from taking place last night. “Any member can bring a motion to the floor.”
Prior reporting by BeaverCountian.com documents several previous Republican Executive Committee meetings where motions were made and passed that had not been part of an official agenda.
According to multiple sources in yesterday’s meeting, State Representative Jim Christiana spoke up and told his fellow Executive Committee members that Egley’s motion should receive consideration. Another emergency meeting has now been scheduled for September 8th.
Camp told BeaverCountian.com he is irate that he was never called during yesterday’s meeting and is disappointed his fellow Executive Committee members failed to take action.
“I will be making calls and asking for the support of others in removing (Kohser) as Chairman of Republican Party of Beaver County at our next meeting … I will work to get the votes we need to do that … These aren’t the beliefs of all Republicans in Beaver County and I do not believe we should have someone in leadership who overlooks and then appoints people who do have those beliefs.”
Egley said the experience yesterday reminded her why she quit attending meetings of party leadership.
“These people can not see beyond their nose. They are so involved in their own little circle, their own little clique, they can’t even see what is happening. They can’t see beyond their small little room (party headquarters) in Rochester on Adams Street … I didn’t get a second to my motion and I think having an emergency session in another week is waiting too long for something of this magnitude to get settled. The Republican party should be better than that.”
The Beaver County Republican party has become a topic of regional, state, and national news over the past week, with Maloney’s statements being covered by outlets including KDKA, WTAE, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Politics PA, The Hill, VICE News, Yahoo News, Newsweek, The Daily Mail, and People Magazine’s website.
According to Egley and another participant of the meeting, Sheriff Tony Guy at one point turned the discussion toward one of his frequent refrains, BeaverCountian.com.
“Tony claimed that I was just grandstanding in calling for Kohser’s removal,” said Egley. “He said things get out of hand when people talk to the ‘blogger’ and he wants people to stop doing it … I don’t want to hurt the Republican party any more than it has already hurt itself, but at the same time people need to do the right thing. I have no problem calling them out publicly when they don’t.”
Sources who attended the meeting say Christiana spoke up a second time after several other members suggested no one should be speaking to the press, saying he felt Egley had every right to inform the public she made a motion that was not acted upon.
Beaver County Democratic Committee Chairman Stephen Dupree told BeaverCountian.com the Republican party needs to take action beyond just releasing a statement condemning Maloney’s remarks.
“Racism is not acceptable, period. The Republican party of Beaver County putting this woman in a position of power and trust, even after they knew of her statements, reveals that rhetoric is acceptable in their eyes. How they proceed will show what the Republican party of Beaver County stands for.”