Dorothy Crockett of Osceola, secretary of the 1st Congressional District committee for the Arkansas Republican Party, responded last night to my Facebook inquiry and confirms a tip that John Casteel of Newport "was elected by the First Congressional District Committee to serve as District Representative to the Appointee Recommendations Board." This group makes recommendations to state officials on appointments to state posts.
You'll recall that Casteel earlier resigned under pressure as chairman of the Jackson County Republican Committee because he wouldn't quit the white supremacist-rooted Council of Conservative Citizens, as GOP chair Doyle Webb had insisted. Casteel has said the organization, a successor to the racist White Citizens Council, was neither white supremacist nor racist, but "pro-white."
The 1st District committee's approval of Casteel as a representative might be a hint that state executive committee removal of Casteel from a party position — something Webb once threatened — might not necessarily be non-controversial among Republicans.
UPDATE: State Republican spokesman Katherine Vasilos responds to the news:
Until a Republican President or Governor is elected, the Appointee Recommendations Committee is considered inactive. The committee has not been active since Governor Huckabee left office at the end of 2006.
Yes, but ....
I asked Vasilos if Chairman Doyle Webb had any thoughts about the vote for Casteel, even if only symbolic at the moment, in light of his strong statements on Casteel's ties to the white rights group. Could it be construed as any sort of rebuke or criticism? I'll let you know if I hear further.
On the jump is a bit of the rulebook about the committee.
Backgrounder on function of Committee…
RPA Rules, Page 49, Section 3, Part B:
1. The Appointee Recommendations Committee shall serve to recruit and evaluate qualified persons, giving preferred recommendation to loyal Republicans when submitting names for appointive positions to the Republican Governor and the Republican President.
2. The Appointee Recommendations Committee shall be composed of seven (7) members, at least one of whom shall be a minority and at least one of whom shall be female. Each Congressional District Committee shall elect one member of the committee after which the State Chairman shall select three (3) members subject to the approval of the Executive Committee.