A fight for control over the Bucks County Republican Party is underway in a second legal filing which charges that Bucks GOP leaders acted unethically and their June 2022 reorganization meeting and its election should be invalidated.
Filed in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, “Barry R Casper vs. Bucks County Republican Committee” seeks in excess of $50,000 in damages and the nullification of the June 25, 2022 re-election of chairwoman Patricia Poprik and vice-chairman Joseph A. Cullen Jr., secretary Joseph Pizzo, treasurer David R. Breidinger, and assistant secretary/treasurer Colleen Strunk.
Casper is the Hilltown committeeman who opposed Poprik in the 2022 race for the chairmanship. Casper’s co-plaintiffs represent many of the committee’s more conservative members.
Andrew Teitelman, Casper’s Lower Moreland-based attorney, said in a phone interview they started a new filing because they had to change certain parties. “The body of the complaint, the allegations, everything else stays the same,” he said.
Casper’s co-plaintiffs are about 50 people. With the exception of one person, they’re all committee people. Teitelman said even if the bylaws were valid for the entire term that Pat Poprik has been the chairperson for the Bucks County Republican Committee (BCRC), she has failed to fill about one-third of the total available seats for committee people.
“We have our speculation as to why that is. One of which is that she doesn’t want to risk having the bylaws be amended or restated. You need to have a two-thirds majority of committee people to do that – two-thirds of the total seats,” he said. “So, if you always keep one-third of the seats empty, there can never be an amendment or revision of the bylaws.”
Teitelman said at some point after 1972, when the bylaws for the BCRC were drafted, there were a series of switches and none of them were appropriate. According to the Bucks County Board of Elections, they can’t really track what happened.
“In a perfect world, the version of the bylaws that they would like us to believe are in effect now should have been filed with the Bucks County Board of Elections. This is a requirement of the Pennsylvania election code under Title 25,” he explained.
“The 1972 bylaws that the Bucks County Republican Party Committee were relying on were produced on a word processor. And those were on file with the Board of Elections until sometime after January 3, 2023. Something very wrong took place regarding the switching out of those bylaws on at least two occasions,” Teitelman alleges.
He believes the date of the first switch out happened sometime after 1985 and the date of the second switch out happened after January 3, 2023, and before January 11 or 12 of 2023.
The word-processed version could not have been produced in 1972 since computerized word processing did not come out until the mid-1980s. Teitelman said that after January 3rd at some point, a typewritten version was put on file with the Board of Elections.
In June of 2022, the Bucks County Republican Committee held its reorganization meeting. Its officers and executive committee were elected by the committee people holding seats. Teitelman alleges the election outcome was changed by virtue of hundreds of proxy votes that were introduced by a few people.
“Some carrying 30, 40, 50 proxies. In Pennsylvania it is illegal to use proxy voting. Therefore, that makes the vote that took place in June of 2022 illegal. And that means that the people who were elected in accordance with that vote do not validly hold their offices,” said Teitelman.
In a statement issued by the Bucks GOP to us on Thursday, Poprik said: “We have engaged an attorney, but this complaint appears to be entirely meritless, and it will be rigorously defended.”
Their attorney is Joel L. Frank, managing partner of West Chester-based Lamb McErlane PC.
Holland resident Andy Meehan, president and founder of the RightForBucks organization, was not on the plaintiff list. However, he has publicly feuded with Poprik over where the party is headed.
“The lawsuit against the local Republican Party is yet another manifestation of how radical the GOP has become nationally, and even here in Bucks County,” said Bucks County Democratic Committee Chair State Senator Steve Santarsiero. “When the Chair of the Bucks GOP signs on to become a fake elector, can these types of battles over radical ideology be too far behind? I think we’re seeing the answer to that question is no.”
“We in the Bucks County Democratic Party will continue to stay focused on promoting our candidates who are working hard so that they can serve the community in a way that promotes the interests and rights of all people,” he added.