GOP chairman reassures Hill Republicans about convention rules

Washington (CNN)Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus met with GOP House members Tuesday on Capitol Hill to assuage concerns sparked by presidential front-runner Donald Trump's accusations the nominating process is "rigged."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who will also serve as the chairman of the Republican convention in Cleveland in July, said that Priebus was "received favorably."
Ryan said questions about the RNC rules continue to come up, including in his own telephone town hall with his Wisconsin constituents on Monday night.
    "I gotta tell you, about two of the questions that came up were about the convention: How does the convention work? How are delegates selected?" Ryan said to reporters after the meeting. "So these are the kinds of questions we're getting from our own constituents. And so what Reince wanted to do was simply walk members through the process as we're going into it."
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    How Republicans pick their nominee -- and not just who will win -- is in the spotlight as Trump has called the nominating process "rigged" and corrupt.
    The nomination rules debate has ensnared Ryan -- his remarks Tuesday were delivered at the same location where, just a week ago, he was forced to declare he would not accept the Republican nomination in July if delegates couldn't agree on a nominee.
    Priebus did not speak with reporters after the meeting, but lawmakers who were there described it as routine and cordial, and one even called it "wonky."
    Priebus walked them through the party's nominating process frequently asked questions, but none of the House GOP members asked any questions afterward.
    He explained that the rules cannot be changed without the support of a majority of the 2,472 delegates -- the same amount needed to win the nomination -- and promised the public would know more well before the convention, said Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican.
    "I think there's just a lot of questions out there about, 'How does this thing work?' " Walden said, noting that he has been asked by people from his district about the convention.
    If the Republican convention adopts the rules used for the 2012 convention in Tampa, it would benefit Trump and Ted Cruz and block John Kasich from being considered. But the delegates begin each convention with a clean slate, leaving open the possibility that the rules could be changed to benefit Kasich or some other establishment-backed candidate.
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    Talk of potential changes before the convention has sparked concerns among conservatives, including Cruz supporters. But Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who has endorsed Cruz, said he walked out of the meeting confident there wouldn't be any changes before Cleveland.
    After the delegates are together, rules changes are fair game, he said.
    "If 1,237 (delegates) do it under the rules, then no one should complain about that. But I'm talking about any sort of behind-the-scenes, committee rules changes that would dissuade or distort the nomination process," Franks said.
    The meeting with House lawmakers Tuesday comes as Republican National Committee members head to Florida this week for their spring meeting. The RNC would typically select a package of rules this week and recommend them for the convention, but Priebus and his supporters have been urging RNC members to stay out of the fight.
    That insistence from Priebus has sparked its own, separate fight inside the party over what say party leaders should have in selecting their nominee.