LP Bylaws and Rules Committee Issues 2012 Report

Report of the Bylaws and Rules Committee to the delegates of the Libertarian National Convention of 2012, Las Vegas, Nevada

Proposals Adopted 15 April 2011

Revised 19 August 2011

Modified for Style 05 September 2011

Dan Karlan*, Chair; MSc, ATMS, ALS, NoRC (e-mail: dankarlan@earthlink.net)
M Carling, PRP**
Marc Goddard*
Michael Johnston
Vicki Kirkland
Jonathan Morris
Chuck Moulton, PRP**
Rob Oates
Mark Rutherford
Aaron Starr*, Secretary
Alicia Mattson, PRP**, first alternate
* — Member, National Association of Parliamentarians
** — Professional Registered Parliamentarian

2. TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction to the Committee’s Proposals

Frequently Asked Questions
Appointment of Assistant Treasurer
Expedite LNC Mail Ballot Process
Transparency and Access to LNC Meeting Records
Ensure Delegate Investment in LP
Conflict of Interest
Empower Libertarian Party Members to Amend the Bylaws
Empower Libertarian Party Members to Elect the National Committee
Open Conventions
Require Minimum Term as a Sustaining Member to be Seated Automatically as a Delegate at Open Conventions
Creation of a Style Committee

Introduction to the Committee’s Proposals

The 2010 Bylaws and Rules Committee submitted 38 proposals, many of which focused on housekeeping measures and consumed an entire day of the convention, and even that was not enough time to consider all of them.

The response from delegates in attendance was unambiguous: “Don’t do that again. Too much time is spent on Bylaws proposals and not enough on real politics. Focus your efforts on substantive proposals that need our attention for a brief period of time and find a way to offload housekeeping matters elsewhere.”

That message came loud and clear, so the 2012 committee is submitting only 10 proposals, all of them substantive and selected as part of an overall theme that:

· Empowers Members
· Increases Transparency
· Reduces Procedural Bureaucracy
· Promotes Good Governance

We look forward to your support of this streamlined set of substantive proposals.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

Q: One proposal reduces the time for the LNC to conduct mail ballot votes from 15 days to 10 days. With today’s technology, why not make the time window even shorter?

A: The original mail ballot rules date back to before we had e-mail and it was expected that it might require six days for USPS mail to go back and forth across the country. In those olden days, the rule gave people over a week to consider a proposal, consult on the phone with other board members, if needed, and respond by mail. We agree the old requirement of 15 days is anachronistic, but the Bylaws and Rules Committee wasn’t sure how short a duration the delegates would want, so we went with a conservative proposal. We welcome an amendment from the floor to consider a shorter duration.

Q: Does the conflict of interest proposal require we change how we conduct business within our state affiliate?

A: No, the proposal only impacts one’s involvement at the national level. If you want to enact a similar conflict of interest proposal for your state affiliate, you will need to change your state party bylaws to accomplish that.

Q: There was a proposal last time to consider changes to bylaws by mail. What is different about this year’s proposal?

A: Yes, there was a proposal at the last convention to submit bylaws changes by mail ballot. The major argument against it was that having staff mail out 15,000 paper ballots and hand tabulate the results would have been cost-prohibitive. One delegate later suggested that a worldwide scientific organization he was familiar with used an online voting service contracted out to a professional third party with no interest in the outcome – and that it was inexpensive. His advice was well-taken.

This year’s proposal is to conduct inexpensive electronic voting through an independent third party. This year’s proposal also allows Bylaws proposals to be submitted by a petition of party members, bypassing the Bylaws and Rules Committee. Proposals submitted by electronic mail ballot would require a 4/5 vote of support to pass, while proposals submitted at convention would continue to require a lower 2/3 vote of support.

Q: The Open Conventions proposal suspends the use of state delegate allocation formulas, so long as attendance at national conventions remains low. Without an allocation, won’t the state hosting the convention pack the convention with its members?

A: That potential exists today under the current rules. At the St. Louis, MO convention in 2010 there were over 50 people from Missouri attending as delegates, well over the number allotted for that state. Yet other state affiliates with room in their delegations seated them – as is common practice – and few seemed to mind. And it’s no guarantee the host state can fill its delegation. At the Anaheim, CA convention in 2000, California was unable to present a full delegation at a major tourist destination in its own state.

PROPOSAL #1 ———————————————————————–

 Appointment of Assistant Treasurer

Problem: Serving as Treasurer can be a demanding job. Since 2000, four Treasurers have resigned in the middle of their terms, twice without advance notice.

Federal Election law (2 USC 432) states: “Every political committee shall have a treasurer. No contribution or expenditure shall be accepted or made by or on behalf of a political committee during any period in which the office of treasurer is vacant. No expenditure shall be made for or on behalf of a political committee without the authorization of the treasurer or his or her designated agent.

Effectively, it is illegal for the National Committee to operate while the position of Treasurer is vacant – it can not accept donations, pay vendors or even make payroll.

Under such conditions, the National Committee has been forced to appoint someone to the office the day a vacancy occurred.

Solution: For the above reason, the law allows the designation of an Assistant Treasurer to serve while the Treasurer is either incapacitated or otherwise unavailable. The bylaws should be amended to authorize and require the National Committee to appoint an Assistant Treasurer.

Benefit: Having this language in place will allow the Party to carry on normal financial operations while conducting a search for a qualified replacement Treasurer.

Note: The Assistant Treasurer does not become a voting member of the National Committee as a result of the appointment.

[Text of Proposal:] ARTICLE 10: FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING - 6. The National Committee shall designate an Assistant Treasurer to temporarily serve in the event the Treasurer is incapacitated or unavailable, or vacates the position.

PROPOSAL #2 ———————————————————————–

Expedite LNC Mail Ballot Process

Problem: The Bylaws currently specify that fifteen days shall be allowed for casting votes by mail ballot. The extensive period of time is a relic from when we used to conduct mail ballots via the United States Postal Service. With the change at the last convention to require that all mail ballots be conducted via electronic mail, we have reduced the back-and-forth time for mailing by as many as six days. It appears that fifteen days can reasonably be reduced to ten days without impacting the time required for members of the LNC to give due consideration for each question.

Solution: Specify that voting shall close in ten days, or earlier if all members of the board have already cast their votes (or specifically communicated their desire to abstain from the question, which the Chair regularly does).

[Text of Proposal:]  ARTICLE 8: NATIONAL COMMITTEE – 10. The National Committee may, without meeting together, transact business by electronic mail. The Secretary shall send out electronic mail ballots on any question submitted by the Chair or cosponsored by at least 1/5 of the members of the Committee. Fifteen days shall be allowed for the return of the votes cast, by electronic mail, to the Secretary. The period for voting on a question shall remain open for ten days, unless all members have cast votes, or have stated an intention to abstain, by electronic mail to the Secretary. Votes from alternate regional representatives will be counted, in accordance with the ranking procedure of the region, only if the regional representative fails to respond to the ballot. The number of votes required for passage of any motion shall be the same as that required during a meeting. The Secretary shall preserve all such votes until the next meeting of the National Committee, at which meeting the Committee shall order the disposition of such votes.

PROPOSAL #3 ———————————————————————–

Transparency and Access to LNC Meeting Records

Problem: An archive of the minutes of LNC meetings from the past few terms is currently available to the membership on the Party’s website as mandated by the LNC Policy Manual. However, in a past term the archive was taken down and all historical minutes were removed.

Solution: Increase the transparency of meetings and decrease the likelihood of records being lost by allowing sustaining members to record the proceedings while in open session and elevating the requirement for archiving LNC meeting minutes on the Party’s website from the LNC Policy Manual to the Bylaws.

[Text of Proposal:] ARTICLE 8: NATIONAL COMMITTEE - 15. The Secretary or a designee shall promptly post notice for each session of the National Committee; any National Committee proposed agendas; and approved minutes of each Convention and open National Committee session to a permanent archive section on the Party’s website. Any sustaining member may record the National Committee’s proceedings while in open session.

PROPOSAL #4 ———————————————————————–

Ensure Delegate Investment in LP

Problem: The Bylaws does not require delegates to a National Convention be members of the LP, nor does it require they be members of the state affiliates in which they are seated.

This situation is analogous to a stockholder meeting at which non-stockholders are allowed to vote. Delegates should be required to have an emotional and financial investment in the organization whose leadership and policies they determine.

Solution: Require each delegate to be a sustaining member of the National LP or a member of the affiliate party in whose delegation he or she is seated.

[Text of Proposal:]  ARTICLE 11: CONVENTIONS – 3. Delegates:  a. Delegates shall be required to be members of either the Party or an affiliate party.   Eligibility: Each delegate must be a sustaining member of the Party or a member of the affiliate party in whose delegation he or she is seated.

Proviso: This amendment shall take effect upon the final adjournment of the convention at which it is adopted.

PROPOSAL #5 ———————————————————————–

Conflict of Interest

Problem:  We’ve encountered several examples in the last couple of years where members holding key positions in the Party have been members of other political parties. People who hold positions of trust in our Party should be clearly committed to supporting only our Party.

Solution: Add a new Bylaw that prohibits individuals who choose to affiliate with other political parties from serving in positions of trust or responsibility.

Note: According to Ballot Access News, of the thirty (30) states that allow registration by political party, twenty-three (23) of them extend that franchise to the Libertarian Party. They are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

[Text of Proposal:]  ARTICLE 6: CONFLICT OF INTEREST – No individual enrolled as a registered voter affiliated with another political party, if he or she has the option of affiliating with the Libertarian Party, shall be eligible to serve as a Party employee, National Committee member, committee member, or delegate, or hold any other position of trust or responsibility within the Party. Proviso: This amendment shall take effect upon the final adjournment of the convention at which it is adopted.

PROPOSAL #6 ———————————————————————–

Empower Libertarian Party Members to Amend the Bylaws

Problem: Delegates at recent conventions stated that too much time on the convention floor is spent debating bylaws and not enough time is spent on workshops, speakers, candidate training, and other activities more enjoyable for delegates.

Solution: Empower the membership to be able to bypass the Bylaws & Rules Committee and petition changes directly with the membership. Bring our organization into the 21st Century by enabling the entire membership to sponsor amendments to the bylaws and vote for their approval by e-mail.

Benefits:

· Less floor time needed to address housekeeping issues, freeing up time for more productive activity at the Convention with a higher likelihood of affecting positive change in America.

· While many members pay dues and perhaps read LP News, they do not attend meetings, circulate petitions, or run for public office. Getting them involved in decision making for our Party will give them a greater sense of involvement and attachment, which will encourage some passive members to become activists.

[Text of Proposal:]  ARTICLE 17: AMENDMENT

1. These Bylaws may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the delegates at any Regular Convention or by a 4/5 vote by electronic mail ballot of sustaining members. For an amendment to be enacted by electronic mail ballot the number participating must be greater than the number registered at the most recent Regular Convention

2. Article 4, Section 1, shall not be amended by a vote of less than 7/8 of all registered delegates at a Regular Convention.

ARTICLE 10: MAIL BALLOT PROCEDURES FOR AMENDING BYLAWS

1. The Party shall contract out the election services to an independent, professional firm that conducts elections for other organizations.

2. Proposed amendments to the Party’s Bylaws shall be sponsored by the Bylaws and Rules Committee (or by petition on an approved form signed by ten percent of the sustaining membership to the National Committee) and submitted to sustaining members for approval via electronic mail ballot no more than once per calendar year.

3. Proposals shall be delivered together with any minority reports.

4. Ballots shall be sent to sustaining members who have provided an e-mail address as of the end of the month immediately preceding the mailing of ballots.

5. The period for voting shall be no less than 15 and no more than 30 days. The date and time for the close of voting shall be set prior to the commencement of voting.

6. The Party shall provide an online forum where sustaining members may debate any pending proposal.

PROPOSAL #7 ———————————————————————–

Empower Libertarian Party Members to Elect the National Committee

Problem: Our candidates deserve more support from the national level, but that’s difficult to achieve when National Committee terms begin in the middle of the campaign season.

Solution: Have the entire membership elect by e-mail the National Committee shortly after each nationwide Congressional election.

Benefits:

· Members can hold the National Committee accountable for our candidates’ performance because they will be responsible for an entire election cycle.

· The full day currently spent on Party elections can be freed up for workshops, speakers, candidate training and other activities that help our candidates.

· The location of conventions will no longer help or hinder particular National Committee candidates.

· Having members participate in decision making for our Party will give them a greater sense of involvement and attachment, which will encourage some passive members to become activists.

[Text of Proposal:]  ARTICLE 7: OFFICERS

1. The officers of the Party shall be:

· Chair,
· Vice-Chair,
· Secretary, and
· Treasurer.

All of these officers shall be elected by a Regular Convention of the Party, shall take office immediately upon the close of the Convention and shall serve thereafter until the final adjournment of the next Regular Convention. No person shall serve as an officer who is not a sustaining member of the Party.

ARTICLE 8: NATIONAL COMMITTEE

2. The National Committee shall be composed of the following members:

a) the officers of the Party, all elected by electronic mail ballot of sustaining members;

b) five members elected at large by the delegates at a Regular Convention by electronic mail ballot of sustaining members; and

c) any additional members as specified below:

Any affiliate party with 10% or more of the total national party sustaining membership within affiliate parties (as determined for delegate allocation) shall be entitled to one National Committee representative and one alternate for each 10% of national sustaining membership. Affiliate parties may, by mutual consent, band together to form “representative regions,” and each such “region” with an aggregate national party sustaining membership of 10% or more shall be entitled to one National Committee representative and one alternate for each 10% of national party sustaining membership, all elected by electronic mail ballot of sustaining members of the representative region. “Representative regions” may be formed or dissolved once every two years during a period beginning 90 days before the beginning of and ending on the second day of the National Convention, and notice of new formations or dissolutions must be given in writing to the national Secretary prior to the close of the Convention at which they take place.

3. The National Committee shall take office immediately upon the close of the Regular Convention at which they are selected, and serve until the final adjournment of the next Regular Convention. National Committee members shall serve from February 1 of the year following a nationwide Congressional election through January 31 of the year following a nationwide Congressional election or until their successors are elected.

ARTICLE 10: MAIL BALLOT PROCEDURES FOR ELECTIONS

1. The Party shall contract out the election services to an independent, professional firm that conducts elections for other organizations.

2. The officers and regional representatives shall be elected by Ranked Choice Voting; at-large members shall be elected by majority vote.

3. The ballot design shall allow for the casting of write-in votes and votes for “None of the Above.” Should “None of the Above” be selected for any Party office, that position shall be declared vacant and none of the losing candidates for that position may be selected to fill the vacancy for that term of office.

4. Candidates shall be nominated on a standard petition form approved by the National Committee to be circulated by candidates during the period beginning the day after a nationwide Congressional election and must be received by the national office on or before December 15. The Party shall notify the membership of this deadline and of the requirements for nomination by petition on its website. Eligible candidates with petitions signed by 10 or more sustaining members shall be included on the mail ballot.

5. Ballots shall be sent to sustaining members who have provided an e-mail address as of December 31 immediately following the nationwide Congressional election.

6. The period for voting shall be no less than 15 and no more than 30 days. The date and time for the close of voting shall be set prior to the commencement of voting.

7. The Party shall provide to eligible voters website links to the campaign websites of the candidates for National Committee.

ARTICLE 11: CONVENTIONS

8. Votes cast for “None of the Above” in voting on the Party’s nominees for President and Vice-President, the Party Officers, and at-large members of the National Committee, shall be considered valid. Should a majority of the votes be cast for “None of the Above” in the Presidential or Vice-Presidential balloting, no candidate shall be nominated for that office. Should “None of the Above” be selected for any Party office, that position shall be declared vacant and none of the losing candidates for that position may be selected to fill the vacancy for that term of office.

RULE 1: ORDER OF BUSINESS

The standing order of business for a Regular Convention shall be as follows:

1. Call to order

2. Credentials Committee report

3. Adoption of agenda

4. Treasurer’s report

5. Bylaws and Rules Committee report

6. Platform Committee report

7. Nomination of Party candidates for President and Vice-President (in appropriate
years)

8. Election of Party Officers and at-large members of the National Committee

9. Election of Judicial Committee

10. Resolutions

11. Other business

RULE 2: VOTING PROCEDURE AND MOTIONS

1. On all matters, except the retention of platform planks, the election of Party Officers and at-large members of the National the Judicial Committee, and the nomination of Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, voting will be by either voice vote or rising vote. If any delegate objects to the Chair’s ruling on the outcome of a voice vote, a rising vote shall be conducted. If 20 or more delegates object to the Chair’s ruling on the outcome of a rising vote, a counted vote will be held.

2. The Chair may require any motion offered from the Convention floor to be in writing, signed by the mover and submitted to the Secretary.

RULE 8: ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND NATIONAL COMMITTEE

1. Nominations for Party Officers shall be from the floor. The election shall be conducted in the following manner:

a. For each office, a majority vote will be necessary for election.

b. Each delegation shall tabulate its total vote, and the delegation chair shall deliver a written total to the Secretary. When all delegations have submitted their votes, the Secretary shall declare the voting closed.

c. For the first round of voting for Chair, an announcement of each delegation’s vote total shall be made by delegation chairs in alphabetical order beginning with a randomly selected delegation. Subsequent announcements of each delegation’s totals shall be made by the Secretary.

d. In cases where no candidate receives a majority, runoff votes will be held, dropping the candidate with the fewest votes after each ballot.

2. Nominations for the at-large members of the National Committee shall be from the floor. The election shall be conducted in the following manner:

a. Each delegate may cast up to five votes, but no more than one vote for any one candidate.

b. Each delegation shall tabulate its total vote, and the delegation chair shall deliver a written total to the Secretary. When all delegations have submitted their votes, the Secretary shall declare the voting closed.

c. At this point, an announcement of each delegation’s vote total shall be made by delegation chairs in alphabetical order beginning with a randomly selected delegation.

d. Those five candidates receiving the highest vote totals shall be declared elected. If a tie vote affecting the outcome of the election occurs, another ballot for the remaining offices shall be held with each delegate allowed to cast as many votes as there are offices to fill.

3. Nominations for each candidate may be made by any delegate present on the floor, provided he or she has the candidate’s permission. Nominating speeches shall be limited in duration as follows:

a. Chair: Total of 10 minutes;

b. All others: Total of 5 minutes.

4. In the event a region has not otherwise provided for the election of its regional representative to the National Committee then the delegates from the region shall elect its regional representative, provided there are at least five delegates present. Each Region’s delegates may elect their representative in whatever manner they choose, provided all delegates present from that region are given equal voice in the selection.

RULE 9: ELECTION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

Nominations and elections for members of the Judicial Committee shall be conducted in the same manner as specified for at-large members of the National Committee.

Proviso: This amendment shall take effect upon the opening of the convention following the convention at which it is adopted. Those elected at this convention will be responsible for a full election cycle.

PROPOSAL #8 ———————————————————————–

Open Conventions

Problem: We currently regulate Convention attendance by limiting the number of delegates from each state. However, when more people from a state arrive than there are allocated, we always find a way to seat them with the delegations of other states.

This is needlessly bureaucratic.

Solution: So long as the number of delegates in attendance is significantly fewer than the 1,050 allowed under our bylaws, dispense with the need for delegate allocation formulas and allow any member to be seated at Convention.

Benefits:

· A simpler, faster credentialing process.

· No more hassling for alternates – everyone gets seated.

· More of our members will attend conventions if the process appears less intimidating. No one should needlessly fear not getting seated.

[Text of Proposal:] ARTICLE 11: CONVENTIONS

6. Open Conventions:

Notwithstanding any other section of this Article, if the number of delegates registered at either of the two most recent Regular Conventions was less than ninety percent of the maximum number allowed, the requirements for delegate allocation, selection and reporting shall be waived, and any individual who is a sustaining member of the Party or a member of the affiliate party in whose delegation he or she is to be seated may register as a delegate to the Regular Convention.

Proviso: This amendment shall take effect upon the final adjournment of the convention at which it is adopted.

PROPOSAL #9 ———————————————————————–

Require Minimum Term as a Sustaining Member to be Seated Automatically as a Delegate at Open Conventions

(to be presented if proposal to create open conventions is enacted)

Problem: With an Open Convention, it’s possible that a large number of individuals can join the Party as sustaining members just prior to the convention and attend as voting delegates.

Solution: To alleviate this concern, amend the just adopted bylaw change to authorize only longer-time delegates to seat those who recently joined the Party.

The Bylaws and Rules Committee does not presume to know to what extent, if any, delegates will want someone to have been a member before being automatically seated, so we propose that the Convention vote to “fill-the-blank” in the proposal below.

The process for “fill-the-blank” works as follows. Nominations are made from the floor for different proposed durations (e.g. 365 days, 180 days, 90 days, 30 days). In order, voice votes are held in succession on each alternative, starting with the alternative with the longest duration because it is likely to have the least amount of support. The first alternative to achieve majority support of the delegates will become the main motion considered for adoption. If none of the alternatives achieves majority support, this proposal will be considered rejected, at which point delegates can propose a substitute motion from the floor.

[Text of Proposal:] ARTICLE 11: CONVENTIONS

6. Open Conventions:

Notwithstanding any other section of this Article, if the number of delegates registered at either of the two most recent Regular Conventions was less than ninety percent of the maximum number allowed, the requirements for delegate allocation, selection and reporting shall be waived, and any individual who is a sustaining member of the Party or a member of the affiliate party in whose delegation he or she is to be seated may register as a delegate to the Regular Convention. However, individuals who first became eligible to register as delegates fewer than (FILL THE BLANK) days prior to the opening of the Regular Convention shall need majority approval of the Convention to be seated.

Proviso: This amendment shall take effect upon the final adjournment of the convention at which it is adopted.

PROPOSAL #10 ———————————————————————–

Creation of a Style Committee

Problem: A proposal quickly crafted on the floor of the most recent convention added Convention Rule 5.8, which authorizes the National Committee with a majority vote to amend the Platform and Bylaws (but not the Convention Special Rules of Order) for non-substantive stylistic changes.

The enacted change is more in the nature of a Bylaw, rather than a Convention Special Rule of Order, which is normally intended to address how we conduct business during the convention.

Solution: Move the provision from the Convention Rules to the Bylaws, and require such changes receive a super-majority (rather than a simple majority) of the National Committee after providing advance notice on the Party’s website, and that such changes be proposed by a separate Style Committee, a majority of which is other than National Committee members.

[Text of Proposal:] RULE 5: DEBATING AND VOTING — PLATFORM

8. Should changes to the bylaws or platform result in a grammatical error in accordance with the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, the LNC presiding at the time of that discovery is authorized to make those grammatical corrections provided it does not change the meaning or intent of the item edited.

ARTICLE 17: AMENDMENT

1. These Bylaws may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the delegates at any Regular Convention.

2. Article 4, Section 1, shall not be amended by a vote of less than 7/8 of all registered delegates at a Regular Convention.

3. The National Committee shall appoint a Style Committee composed of three members: the Secretary and two individuals who are not members of the National Committee. The Style Committee may propose stylistic changes to the Platform, Bylaws, and Convention Rules that are non-substantive in nature, such as corrections to spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, active versus passive voice, breaking up run-on sentences, correcting references, reordering, and renumbering. Proposed changes shall be posted on the Party’s website at least 30 days prior to being submitted to the National Committee for ratification by a two-thirds vote.

99 thoughts on “LP Bylaws and Rules Committee Issues 2012 Report

  1. Marc Montoni

    The 2010 Bylaws and Rules Committee submitted 38 proposals, many of which focused on housekeeping measures and consumed an entire day of the convention, and even that was not enough time to consider all of them.

    The response from delegates in attendance was unambiguous: “Don’t do that again. Too much time is spent on Bylaws proposals and not enough on real politics. Focus your efforts on substantive proposals that need our attention for a brief period of time and find a way to offload housekeeping matters elsewhere.”

    Actually the message was that most of us knew damn well in both 2008 and 2010 that the Bylaws Committee leadership fully intended to jam-pack the Agenda so that there was little chance of any proposals from the floor getting any air time.

    FWIW, the document IPR received was apparently submitted by Aaron Starr.

  2. Marc Montoni

    Q: Does the conflict of interest proposal require we change how we conduct business within our state affiliate?

    A: No, the proposal only impacts one’s involvement at the national level. If you want to enact a similar conflict of interest proposal for your state affiliate, you will need to change your state party bylaws to accomplish that.

    Actually that very well may be untrue. Read it as written.

  3. Marc Montoni

    Problem: Serving as Treasurer can be a demanding job. Since 2000, four Treasurers have resigned in the middle of their terms, twice without advance notice.

    Federal Election law (2 USC 432) states: “Every political committee shall have a treasurer. No contribution or expenditure shall be accepted or made by or on behalf of a political committee during any period in which the office of treasurer is vacant. No expenditure shall be made for or on behalf of a political committee without the authorization of the treasurer or his or her designated agent.”

    Effectively, it is illegal for the National Committee to operate while the position of Treasurer is vacant – it can not accept donations, pay vendors or even make payroll.

    Under such conditions, the National Committee has been forced to appoint someone to the office the day a vacancy occurred.

    Solution: For the above reason, the law allows the designation of an Assistant Treasurer to serve while the Treasurer is either incapacitated or otherwise unavailable. The bylaws should be amended to authorize and require the National Committee to appoint an Assistant Treasurer.

    As usual, the bylaws Committee missed the forest for the trees. The proper solution here is to recognize reality and eliminate the elected Treasurer, and plan on hiring one instead. With all of the legal liability involved in being a Treasurer, and the roller-coaster ride of keeping up with federal (and sometimes state) regulations, it’s time to recognize the job is too complicated to thrust upon a volunteer.

  4. Marc Montoni

    Benefit: Having this language in place will allow the Party to carry on normal financial operations while conducting a search for a qualified replacement Treasurer.

    Note: The Assistant Treasurer does not become a voting member of the National Committee as a result of the appointment.

    [Text of Proposal:] ARTICLE 10: FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING – 6. The National Committee shall designate an Assistant Treasurer to temporarily serve in the event the Treasurer is incapacitated or unavailable, or vacates the position.

    And once again, this is not self-evident from the proposed text. Try again, guys. It should be made explicit.

  5. Marc Montoni

    Transparency and Access to LNC Meeting Records

    Problem: An archive of the minutes of LNC meetings from the past few terms is currently available to the membership on the Party’s website as mandated by the LNC Policy Manual. However, in a past term the archive was taken down and all historical minutes were removed.

    Solution: Increase the transparency of meetings and decrease the likelihood of records being lost by allowing sustaining members to record the proceedings while in open session and elevating the requirement for archiving LNC meeting minutes on the Party’s website from the LNC Policy Manual to the Bylaws.

    [Text of Proposal:] ARTICLE 8: NATIONAL COMMITTEE – 15. The Secretary or a designee shall promptly post notice for each session of the National Committee; any National Committee proposed agendas; and approved minutes of each Convention and open National Committee session to a permanent archive section on the Party’s website. Any sustaining member may record the National Committee’s proceedings while in open session.

    This is a strange one. I don’t think the actual intent matches the description or the proposed text.

    For one thing, it adds a prohibition against nonmembers recording anything in open session.

    For another, why would such a statement be necessary in any case? The archives should always be available to LP members (even if it has to be kept in a password-protected members-only area to make some happy); the fact that they aren’t and haven’t been for some time indicates a lack of concern for transparency — how is a bylaws amendment going to change that behavior?

  6. Marc Montoni

    Ensure Delegate Investment in LP

    Problem: The Bylaws does not require delegates to a National Convention be members of the LP, nor does it require they be members of the state affiliates in which they are seated.

    This situation is analogous to a stockholder meeting at which non-stockholders are allowed to vote. Delegates should be required to have an emotional and financial investment in the organization whose leadership and policies they determine.

    Solution: Require each delegate to be a sustaining member of the National LP or a member of the affiliate party in whose delegation he or she is seated.

    [Text of Proposal:] ARTICLE 11: CONVENTIONS – 3. Delegates: a. Delegates shall be required to be members of either the Party or an affiliate party. Eligibility: Each delegate must be a sustaining member of the Party or a member of the affiliate party in whose delegation he or she is seated.

    Unfortunately, this amendment will mean little. Last time I heard, there was at least one member of the Bylaws Committee who was a member of a bunch of state parties. As a result, he considers himself to have standing to meddle in the affairs of multiple state parties; usually to a rather deleterious effect.

    If the desire is to require some actual emotional/financial investment in the organization, add a legal residency requirement to the delegate rules on a national level. The Virginia LP did this awhile ago without any prompting from the national — to be a member of the Virginia LP, one must be a legal resident of and domiciled in the Commonwealth of Virginia — otherwise, you aren’t a member of the Virginia LP.

    In one or two states, all one must do is sign a membership statement.

    As written, this proposal will accomplish little, except to make it somewhat more difficult for those with a more politically-incorrect view of libertarianism to get seated as delegates. Those in the majority faction will have no trouble at all bypassing this.

    So what’s the point?

  7. Marc Montoni

    Empower Libertarian Party Members to Amend the Bylaws

    Problem: Delegates at recent conventions stated that too much time on the convention floor is spent debating bylaws and not enough time is spent on workshops, speakers, candidate training, and other activities more enjoyable for delegates.

    Hmmm…. Gee… I wonder why that might be. Oh, wait:

    The 2010 Bylaws and Rules Committee submitted 38 proposals

    Last time I looked, no one had to attend the Bylaws sessions. The LP has always had multi-track conventions, with other stuff going on besides the wrangling on the convention floor.

    One wonders if those who decry the time spent on Bylaws debate are often the same people who misuse the ones already in existence.

  8. Marc Montoni

    Empower Libertarian Party Members to Elect the National Committee

    Problem: Our candidates deserve more support from the national level, but that’s difficult to achieve when National Committee terms begin in the middle of the campaign season.

    Solution: Have the entire membership elect by e-mail the National Committee shortly after each nationwide Congressional election.

    I can’t agree with this one. No matter how much I favor moving towards doing more things online, I cannot support any of this knowing some of the individuals who will have had a hand in crafting the end product.

    One thing I could support wholeheartedly is moving Regional Reps out of the convention. They should be elected by the state chairs in their region, subject to the rules of their state party affiliate (if a state committee claims the power to elect the Regional Rep, then the state chair should merely transmit the elected person’s name). They should have no set term, but rather should serve until their successor is appointed by those state chairs. This will hopefully serve as a warning to Regional Reps that they should be **representing** their constituent state leaders, rather than making emotional choices based on their own preferences. If they’re not going to “represent”, then we should call them something other than “representatives”.

    If you want to eliminate Business Session time spent by delegates, then simply allow casting early votes. Delegates should be able to fill out their ballots, and then leave to attend some of the other tracks. As I recall there are a few relatively easy ways to do this using ?? ranked choice ?? voting or somethingorother.

    2. The officers and regional representatives shall be elected by Ranked Choice Voting; at-large members shall be elected by majority vote.

    Again, the Regional Reps should be elected by the state chairs.

    4. Candidates shall be nominated on a standard petition form approved by the National Committee to be circulated by candidates during the period beginning the day after a nationwide Congressional election and must be received by the national office on or before December 15. The Party shall notify the membership of this deadline and of the requirements for nomination by petition on its website. Eligible candidates with petitions signed by 10 or more sustaining members shall be included on the mail ballot.

    As much trouble as the LP has with petitioning for ballot access, and we want to show we endorse that system by imposing it on ourselves?

    I think not.

    In addition, this is a bit unfair to any officer candidates who live out in the boonies who 1) don’t have any functioning LP group nearby; and who 2) don’t already have access to the LP database. In most states, the state parety officers have access to the LP database and can contact members at will. What if the candidate for a national LP position is not already a state party officer? How is he supposed to get those ten signatures?

    If you want to keep out the riffraff, how about a contribution test instead? Anyone can afford a $100 donation (especially if they’re planning to attend four LNC meetings a year). Require the officer and At-Large candidates to “post a bond” of at least a $100 donation within the preceding 12 months. That would eliminate the singing cowboys, but it won’t eliminate serious candidates who live in the boonies but don’t have access to the LP database.

  9. George Phillies

    If you want to make sure the current establishment keeps control forever, you have but to vote for:

    “Have the entire membership elect by e-mail the National Committee shortly after each nationwide Congressional election”

    It is challenging now to reach delegates. How is anyone who is running for office supposed to be able to reach the voters to make her case?

    This is a proposal to replace an elected LNC with a self-perpetuating body.

  10. George Phillies

    @9 “One thing I could support wholeheartedly is moving Regional Reps out of the convention.”

    In 2010, my region did this. The names of the representative and alternate were specified in the region formation agreement, as was the voting procedure (number of votes determined by size of state, not one vote per state). Of course, we did have the misfortune that our Rep became extremely ill — you don’t spend 2 weeks in the hospital without good reason — but that is not predictable.

  11. George Phillies

    “So long as the number of delegates in attendance is significantly fewer than the 1,050 allowed under our bylaws, dispense with the need for delegate allocation formulas and allow any member to be seated at Convention.”

    Just think, the convention can now be packed with an arbitrary number of ringers, each of whom had their membership filed the needed number of days in advance.

  12. George Phillies

    “ARTICLE 6: CONFLICT OF INTEREST – No individual enrolled as a registered voter affiliated with another political party, if he or she has the option of affiliating with the Libertarian Party, shall be eligible to serve as a Party employee, National Committee member, committee member, or delegate, or hold any other position of trust or responsibility within the Party. Proviso: This amendment shall take effect upon the final adjournment of the convention at which it is adopted.”

    Some of you may remember Joe Kennedy, candidate for Senate in Massachusetts. He got more publicity for our party than almost any other recent Libertarian candidate, including an extended interview in the New York Times Sunday magazine, which reaches far more politically significant people than essentially any other press source.

    Under this proposal, he would not have been eligible to be delegate to our National Convention, because his ballot line was ‘Liberty’.
    That’s an outcome of our state’s ballot access laws.

    The proposal here damages Massachusetts ballot access, for reasons I have explained before.

  13. Michael H. Wilson

    Looking at the members of this committee I see more than one person who is on more than one committee and I see more than one repeat performer.

    People should be limited to one committee at a time and there needs to be some form of term limits.

  14. Richard Winger

    George Phillies’ comment #13 is incomplete and therefore misleading. The Libertarian Party of Massachusetts was a ballot-qualified party when Joe Kennedy ran in the special 2010 election for U.S. Senate. Massachusetts has horrible ballot access laws for members of small qualified parties to get on their own party’s primary ballot. That is why the Massachusetts LP ignored its own primary and instead qualified Joe Kennedy as an independent with the ballot label “Liberty”. But the LP is no longer a ballot-qualified party, so what happened in that election is not relevant to the current situation.

  15. Jeremy C. Young

    This appears clearly to be a formula to end democratic control of the LP once and for all. The 2012 convention, it appears, will be the decisive one for the future of the LP. There will be no more do-overs after 2012.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    Jeremy,

    It “appears” to be exactly the opposite of “a formula to end democratic control” — it provides for election of the LNC by the whole national membership rather than by a small self-selected group at convention, enhances member access to unfilled delegate seats at the convention, etc.

    Of course, appearances can be deceiving — and in this case I’m definitely inclined to suspect that they are ;-)

  17. Jeremy C. Young

    Yes, but we can see through the appearances, can’t we? What this does is to protect the group that is currently a slight majority of the LP from the temporary fluctuations that happen at major national conventions. It is a formula for long-term control.

    The situation is that the LP has two factions, and that the faction that is a slight majority wants a more “serious,” “mainstream” party. The leaders of that faction, however, don’t believe in intraparty democracy and see it as an obstacle to advancing their goals. Overlapping majorities LP delegates agree with the “mainstream” faction on strategy and with the “radical” faction on intraparty democracy. They think they are right, but they don’t want to disfranchise the people they think are wrong.

    Unfortunately, this plan provides the “mainstream” leaders with ample means of packing conventions and votes with the voters who agree with them. It’s a permanent strong-arm, and if it is passed, the battle for the LP will be over, and the radicals will have to find a new party.

  18. Thomas L. Knapp

    Jeremy,

    A fair analysis.

    I don’t agree with all of it — my factional descriptions differ from yours, and I think the battle proper ended several years ago and that subsequent mini-battles have just been burps in the victors’ consolidation process — but those are minor details.

  19. Michael H. Wilson

    Here is one section that is unnecessary and it is biased to large populated states. “Any affiliate party with 10% or more of the total national party sustaining membership within affiliate parties (as determined for delegate allocation) shall be entitled to one National Committee representative and one alternate for each 10% of national sustaining membership.”

    California with a population of 35 million has a much better chance of getting ten percent than more than half of the other states and they can do that without much effort. Simply put California starts with a larger base. Most of the other states will never come close to having ten percent.

    This section should be repealed!

  20. George Phillies

    @15

    Mr. Winger’s claims about Massachusetts are, once again, completely false.

    The Libertarian Association of Massachusetts took no action with respect to how Joe Kennedy got on the ballot. Joe made his own decisions on this question, with some advice from me.

    Winger’s claim that we “qualified Joe Kennedy as an independent” is an out-and-out lie, that could reasonably be taken as meaning that we violated Federal campaign finance laws, which we did not. We most certainly did not pay for Joe’s signature collecting; he did.

    Winger’s claim that we are not currently ballot-qualified is an out-and-out lie, that he continues to repeat despite repeated corrections. This is part of his personal vendetta against me, as witness his completely false claim in his newsletter that Bob Barr was the nominee of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire. The LPNH made its nomination decision when it started collecting signatures, and their choice of nominee was not Bob Barr.

    There are Libertarians who plan to run for State Representative, Congress, and other partisan offices in Massachusetts in 2012, and the party title following their name will be ‘Libertarian’ if they satisfy current ballot access requirements that are not expected to change.

    Winger’s claim that what happened in 2010 cannot repeat itself in the future is absurd. In particular, if in 2014 that are Libertarian Association members who want to run for statewide office, it is highly likely that they will run on the “Liberty” line again, and under this pointless proposed bylaws change would be ineligible to serve as our delegates to the National Convention.

  21. George Phillies

    @19

    I agree, except it’s not just the radicals, but the people who have worked out that the current old boy network is completely ineffective at advancing the Libertarian political movement. Boy? Consider their treatment of Rachel Hawkridge, Angela Keaton, Lois Kaneshiki, and via official press releases while she was running for President Mary Ruwart.

  22. Marc Montoni

    … I think the battle proper ended several years ago and that subsequent mini-battles have just been burps in the victors’ consolidation process…

    I agree that they have largely won.

    However, I am not so sure that they have really won much of consequence.

    Their hold on the LP is extremely tenuous. They have managed to seize positions that allow them to game and fix LP rules and procedures to their advantage, but their mistake is that this sort of thing has become the only thing they are good at. Winning five or ten positions that allow you to screw over your opponents with parliamentary and procedural trickery doesn’t exactly build any kind of real foundation. What will happen if five or six of the main ringleaders leave? That hold will immediately collapse.

    The reason some of these bylaws changes are being put forth is because they *know* their hold is tenuous, and they are doing what they know — gaming the system to extend their hold. I’m not saying all of the above are cut from that cloth, but it’s clear what the intent is on several.

    Missing here is any understanding that the party is still dying a slow death. Membership numbers are still falling off, and with it, fundraising. Many long-time wallet-openers and newsletter mailing party-goers have been pissed away due to the rudderless “activity”. Vote percentages, despite the platform and 2008 candidate (and later candidates) of various individuals’ wet dreams, nothing is happening. In my opinion if Wes wasn’t where he is, trying hard to swim upstream against the negative current these folks have set us up for, the falloff would be even more dramatic.

    If current trends continue, the LP will become Prohibition Party II, with a bunch of old people sitting around a table lathering about who the ideal non-threatening presidential candidate will be and spilling into difficult-to-watch spasmodic fits at the mere thought that someone in the party, somewhere, is “channeling Rothbard” (even if they have never read him in their entire life).

  23. George Phillies

    @25 Most of what you said is completely correct, except

    “What will happen if five or six of the main ringleaders leave? That hold will immediately collapse.”

    is perhaps overstated.

    You should give the fratboys in question some credit for replenishing their numbers so that as some leave others are inducted, so membership in the old boys club cycles. May of the worst offenders of years back are no longer here.

    On the other hand, you correctly describe what did happen in Massachusetts in 2002-2006. The ringleaders ran out of supporters and left. In the end, every single active local group in Massachusetts had left the Libertarian Party and re-affiliated with Liberty for Massachusetts.

  24. Chuck Moulton

    I serve on the bylaws committee. I supported many of these proposals to report them out to the delegates (to give people options to consider), but I plan to vote against many of them as a delegate on the floor.

    As a delegate I support:

    Appointment of Assistant Treasurer
    Expedite LNC Mail Ballot Process
    Transparency and Access to LNC Meeting Records
    Ensure Delegate Investment in LP
    Require Minimum Term as a Sustaining Member to be Seated Automatically as a Delegate at Open Conventions

    As a delegate I oppose:

    Conflict of Interest
    Empower Libertarian Party Members to Amend the Bylaws
    Empower Libertarian Party Members to Elect the National Committee
    Open Conventions
    Creation of a Style Committee

  25. Chuck Moulton

    Marc Montoni wrote (@5):

    This is a strange one. I don’t think the actual intent matches the description or the proposed text.

    For one thing, it adds a prohibition against nonmembers recording anything in open session.

    For another, why would such a statement be necessary in any case?

    It’s not ideal language. I couldn’t get the proposal I submitted 2 years ago through this committee.

    The reason it is an improvement is the current language mandating an archives section for the minutes is in the LNC Policy Manual. (It’s only there because I added it… all minutes were unilaterally removed from the website and it took a lot of maneuvering to get them up there again.) Right now at any time the LNC could amend the policy manual removing that provision and then take down all the minutes. If it’s put in the bylaws, the LNC must respect that document and leave the archives intact.

    My preference is to at least put some protection in the bylaws, then amend it at a later convention to allow for more recording transparency.

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    Marc@25,

    “However, I am not so sure that they have really won much of consequence. … Missing here is any understanding that the party is still dying a slow death.”

    Personally I think you’re understating the case. They’ve won a shell of a party that’s been in a persistent vegetative state since late 2007, and on a ventilator for the last year and change.

    But that may be faulty hindsight on my part. It’s difficult for me to know whether I’ve become more or less objective about the LP’s situation since leaving it.

  27. George Phillies

    @25

    Indeed, at the recent conference “Future of the Libertarian Political Movement ” (sorry you were not there; I think you would have enjoyed it) Mary Ruwart’s keynote speech discussed in detail what Wes Benedict has done to revive things in D.C. Most important point: those things had a natural limit, now reached. In the absence of changes sometime between now and 2016 we drop below 10,000 members, and finances contract to the point where things stop happening.

    You can watch the event on YouTube. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FITQm-rWDkc for part I

  28. MarcMontoni Post author

    George, really, often you do more harm than good.

    Lois Kaneshiki? Really? One of the nastiest partisan hacks ever involved in the LP? I’ve said it before, and because *you* brought up her name yet again, I’m happy to say it again:

    Kaneshiki was constantly rude and arrogant, and had her own brand of insanity. I was in the audience at the SPT conference in Indy, and she had a clear monopoly on negative commentary in just about every work session. It was disgusting… I was on the state chairs list in 2002. Same-o. Lois alienated many at the national level, and eventually [her home state of] PA turned away from her management style. Get over it…

    Former LNC member described, like you do, the “campaign” against Lois to be “a boy’s club attempting to bully the only girl…”.

    Frankly, that is just outright sexist.

    The reaction to Lois had not a damn thing to do with the fact that she had two x chromosomes, and everything to do with the fact that she was mean and ill-informed… Removing someone from office is not “purging”, Phillies. Lois and her friends removed a sitting LNC regional alternate and placed Croft in the spot — without any notice to the one voting person they knew would vote against such a move — me. You wanna talk “unethical”?

    Kaneshiki constantly harped about theft and fraud she claimed the Browne/Willis team had perpetrated on the LP, but when confronted with an actual, real example of theft of the Party’s database when one of her anti-Browne faction did it, well, she was entirely silent.

    Partisan. HACK. She was ostracized because of her crappy attitude towards others in the movement, rather than purged for ideological reasons.

    It is “purging” to remove members from the LP. It is not “purging” when you replace one officeholder with another. Frankly I think officeholders should be replaced as soon as they demonstrate their inability to do their jobs properly. As far as the LNC goes, there are a number of names that come to mind. As far as LAMA goes, I can think of at least one there, too, who doesn’t belong in any position of responsibility.

  29. MarcMontoni Post author

    By the way, guess who said it:

    Let’s first focus on becoming successful. Once we’ve become successful, then I’d be more willing to look at internal matters… Unsuccessful organizations primarily focus inward. Successful organizations primarily focus outward.

    The author: Aaron Starr, in 2001.

  30. MarcMontoni Post author

    On the other hand, you correctly describe what did happen in Massachusetts in 2002-2006. The ringleaders ran out of supporters and left. In the end, every single active local group in Massachusetts had left the Libertarian Party and re-affiliated with Liberty for Massachusetts.

    Well actually what happened in MA is that someone named Phillies so annoyed, insulted, and harangued good activists for so long that they gave up and left the asylum to the inmate. The inmate now thinks of the list of Libertarians in Massachusetts to be his personal proprietary information; giving him the same sort of rather complete control the current majority faction on the LNC wishes it had over the entire LP.

    Phillies is just as hostile to consistent/radical libertarians as the lamestreamer faction is nationally.

  31. Brian Holtz

    @25 Wes Benedict seems to like the new platform, because he quotes it in so many of his press releases.

    I like most of these proposed changes.

    I oppose the two direct-democracy changes. If we can elect leaders and change foundational documents outside of convention, then conventions are just another FreedomFest or leadership conference.

    I oppose the conflict-of-interest rule. I don’t mind Libertarians infiltrating other parties, and I’m not afraid of other parties trying to infiltrate us.

  32. Kimberly Wilder

    Question – Is the conflict of interest by-law because you do not want registered Republicans to water down the Libertarian Party?

    I am now enrolled blank. But, we had similar conversations and proposals in the Green Party.

    Has someone considered proposing that someone cannot (participate/be on a committee/whatever) of the the Libertarian Party, if they are a registered member of “one of the two major parties, Democratic or Republican”. Does that solve the problem described, of not thwarting independents and other small liberty parties who you might want to coalition with?

  33. paulie

    when confronted with an actual, real example of theft of the Party’s database when one of her anti-Browne faction did it, well, she was entirely silent.

    Who stole the database?

  34. paulie

    @25 Wes Benedict seems to like the new platform, because he quotes it in so many of his press releases.

    That’s more a case of Wes feeling he needs platform “cover” to demonstrate that what he is saying is in line with the platform against those who don’t like the tone of some of his releases. It says nothing about whether he likes the new platform better than the old one or not.

  35. George Phillies

    @39 The only people I recall of who secured a copy of the LNC data base, and that recently, are not anti-LNC-establishment types.

    However, I may have forgotten this gem, or I may have the event filed in a sufficiently different cubbyhole that I am not remembering it.

  36. Brian Holtz

    @40 One of the major purposes of the new platform is to provide both guidance and defense for people who represent the LP. It seems to be working.

  37. paulie

    Again, that says nothing about whether Wes could have used the previous platform just as well, better, or not as well for the same purpose. That is a separate discussion altogether.

  38. Thomas L. Knapp

    Cisewski allegedly stole the database, and was eventually forced to admit — truthfully or not — to having done so as a condition of getting the LNC to stop trying to sue him into complete perpetual poverty.

    The available evidence doesn’t come anything like close to proving he actually did it, and the quality of his opponents (the main one of whom stole the 1996 presidential nomination from within LPHA before, and publicly confessed to having done so after, “the Cisewski affair”) raises more than reasonable doubt.

    And all of that took place before Kaneshiki served on the LNC.

  39. JT

    That available evidence looks pretty conclusive to me, Tom.

    As for “stealing” the 1996 nomination for President, Harry Browne was going to win it easily regardless of what anyone else did, just like Ron Paul or Gary Johnson would win it easily in 2012 regardless of whatever anyone else does.

  40. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT @ 47,

    “That available evidence looks pretty conclusive to me, Tom.”

    It’s been awhile, but so far as I know the publicly divulged evidence consisted entirely of a list “seed” having received a piece of mail that purportedly originated with Cisewski,

    It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out how that “evidence” could have been faked up by anyone with knowledge of whom the “seeds” were.

    “As for ‘stealing’ the 1996 nomination for President, Harry Browne was going to win it easily regardless of what anyone else did”

    That’s always seemed true to me. Nonetheless, Perry Willis — the national director of LPHQ at the time — claims that that was not the case, and that had he not abused his position and defrauded the party to benefit Browne’s campaign, that campaign would have shut down months before the national convention.

    If you’ve got a problem with Willis’s claim that he stole the nomination for Browne, take it up with Willis, not me.

  41. paulie

    From Marc’s other link:

    “As noted in the complaint filed in the lawsuit against Cisewski, the Libertarian Party has spent more than a million dollars over many years, more than $500,000 in the past 3 years alone, building a database of the names and addresses of more than 200,000 members, contributors and interested parties. While the value of the mailing list is primarily for internal use, occasionally we rent all or part of the list to others, provided they agree to: (1) use the list only once, and keep it confidential; (2) allow us to pre-approve the content of all mailings to our list; and (3) only mail on a date pre-approved by us. These requirements are embodied in written agreements, and are designed to preserve the value of the list for our internal use. Prior to 1997, a user of our list violated its agreement by sending a mailing not pre-approved by us, so we banned that user from ever renting our list again. In other words, our policy was to give no second chances to persons who misused our list. ”

    Hmmm, I wonder why a certain person can get away with violating those conditions much more recently and with no negative consequences of any sort? I’ll refrain from going into specifics, as that would get into quarantined thread territory as well as cause further retaliation against me.

  42. George Phillies

    This all happened years before Kaneshiki was on the LNC. To my knowledge, it was never discussed by the LNC, as opposed to the issue I mentioned, which is not the same as the issue that Paulie mentioned.

  43. Darryl W. Perry

    [Text of Proposal:]  ARTICLE 11: CONVENTIONS – 3. Delegates:  a. Delegates shall be required to be members of either the Party or an affiliate party.   Eligibility: Each delegate must be a sustaining member of the Party or a member of the affiliate party in whose delegation he or she is seated.

    How would this proposal affect life-members that are not members of a particular state affiliate?

    Additionally, I oppose the proposed uses of e-mail and/or snail mail voting and allowing for modification of bylaws,etc between conventions.

    I like and support proposal #8.

  44. Brian Holtz

    Delegates will fear changes whose consequences they can’t confidently predict, so I predict these 5 proposals won’t pass: the two direct-democracy proposals, open conventions, conflict-of-interest, and delegate investment.

    Note that BylawsCom didn’t address the Bylaws hole that opens when 3/4 of LNC cannot agree about conflicting credentials presented by purported representatives of an affiliate.

  45. paulie

    How would this proposal affect life-members that are not members of a particular state affiliate?

    They would be eligible. Each delegate must be a sustaining member of the Party or a member of the affiliate party in whose delegation he or she is seated.

  46. Marc Montoni

    @41 Phillies —

    @39 The only people I recall of who secured a copy of the LNC data base, and that recently, are not anti-LNC-establishment types… However, I may have forgotten this gem, or I may have the event filed in a sufficiently different cubbyhole that I am not remembering it.

    Several individuals were named in the past as having access to the LP database outside of LPHQ:

    Chris Farris – former LNC member; went straight to the Republican Party after quitting the LP
    Geoff Neale – Raiser’s Edge consultant
    Stewart Flood – For work on a database solution

    I’m sure there are many more.

  47. JT

    Knapp: “If you’ve got a problem with Willis’s claim that he stole the nomination for Browne, take it up with Willis, not me.”

    Willis didn’t claim that he “stole the nomination for Browne.” You did. Willis claimed that he helped the Browne campaign in violation of LNC policy. He said he did so because Browne might have had to curtail or suspend his many outreach activities if the campaign didn’t get out of deep debt, and many people outside of the LP wouldn’t be exposed to libertarian ideas during that time.

    Those two statements aren’t equivalent, because stealing something means that someone else had it or would’ve received it. That wasn’t the case; the question was whether Browne would be able to continue his many outreach activities as a prospective Libertarian nominee for President, or whether nobody would. That’s what Willis said.

    I don’t agree with Willis’s decision to lie to the LNC about violating the policy, but he should still be quoted accurately, if only indirectly.

  48. Brian Holtz

    @59 It’s a pretty good example of something, that’s for sure. Let me fact-check it quickly:

    … oozes … slime … bigoted … usually sexist and racist, and often do not bathe frequently enough … fetid stench of hypocrisy and treachery … sexist, racist bigots … strangle … poison … slaying … nuts … rip the disguise off … vomit … vile bilge … nastiness … rotten … bird droppings… excretory regions … dung beetle

    Fact-checking complete. I found 0 out of 0 facts that check out as incorrect. Proceed at your own discretion. :-)

  49. Marc Montoni

    Like I said: “The only thing to do is make note of who and where they are, brush them off, and give them no more of your time or attention than you would a dung beetle.”

  50. Marc Montoni

    @48 Knapp said:

    It’s been awhile, but so far as I know the publicly divulged evidence consisted entirely of a list “seed” having received a piece of mail that purportedly originated with Cisewski, … It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out how that “evidence” could have been faked up by anyone with knowledge of whom the “seeds” were.

    You know, Knapp sprang the above Conspiracy Theory on me for the first time I think in 2007. It still floors me every time he regurgitates it. Knapp has often accused me of either being ignorant or a liar, but this Theory of his is definitely woven from one of those two cloths.

    Bill Hall is a long-time and widely-respected LP member among all major factions of the LP. He was the LP’s counsel for a very long time (performing the duty at bargain rates) and is known for his fair dealing and easy manner. I have never had any reason to doubt anything Hall said. Anyone who reads his summary can sense that he’s telling the truth. Plus, he has no reason to lie about what went on.

    If Knapp wants to call the man a liar, that only reflects on Knapp.

    In years past, LPHQ used to feed rental lists with “seeds” to mailing list buyers. The only entity the LP ever caught thieving our list was “one of our own”. The mailing houses themselves have never been a problem; or if they have, such problems were never reflected in the LNC minutes. To find another example of list theft in the LP’s history, one would have to go back to the early 1980’s when a similar list theft occurred.

    Just FYI — there was more than just one “seed”. And given that some of those who agreed to be “seeds” during that period were actually Cisewski supporters, if the evidence was faked, someone would have come forward by now.

    That’s always seemed true to me. Nonetheless, Perry Willis ­ the national director of LPHQ at the time ­ claims that that was not the case, and that had he not abused his position and defrauded the party to benefit Browne’s campaign, that campaign would have shut down months before the national convention… If you’ve got a problem with Willis’s claim that he stole the nomination for Browne, take it up with Willis, not me.

    There is only one individual who is documented to have actually stolen anything from the national LP. The link above provides the documentation. Anyone who fantasizes it’s all faked is saying more about themslves than anything else.

  51. George Phillies

    @64

    I believe you are overlooking the obvious.

    Knapp is saying that anyone who knew who the seeds were, and procured a copy of the mailing could then have generated a fake envelope and transmitted it to the seed address. The seed, acting entirely aboveboard (or being one of the conspirators) would then have transmitted the envelope to HQ, which while acting entirely honest and aboveboard would have concluded that Cisewski had used the list an extra time. That is what Knapp is saying.

    On the other hand, the LNC pre-nomination loans to the Browne campaign were nto theft, because they were authorized by the person authorized to make them.

    And, as you are being picky, ‘stolen’ is the wrong word. Cisewski was authorized to have the list. If what was alleged was true, the accusation was that improper use was made of something that there was authorization to possess, and the lawyers have an exact turn of art for this.

    I had forgotten Farris, and would not count Flood. He is a director of the organization.

  52. George Phillies

    “The inmate now thinks of the list of Libertarians in Massachusetts to be his personal proprietary information”

    Completely false, and your other tone is backward.

    In fact, for several years we kept having long-time libertarians ask for use of the list, e.g., in their district in support of a run for office, or to form a local group. The other side maintained that the list was highly valuable, but only if kept in the dark. I maintained that the list was only of value if used to advance the party, would make motions to share specified part of the list, would insist on a roll call vote, and would reveal who was voting against supporting various political campaigns, etc. After a piece, they started getting mail from other State Party members complaining.

    Finally, having been unable even to bring out a newsletter in well over a year, they folded their tents and went away.

  53. George Phillies

    And what do we do with the list now? As Membership Secretary, I am authorized to transmit LAMA list information to candidates, local groups, etc for their advancement. I do so vigorously. Last time we had two Congressional candidates, and earlier a Senate candidate, and since then a State Rep candidate. They got information support when it mattered, at the start of their campaigns.

  54. Brian Holtz

    LiberCop n. one who watches in horror any time the Libertarian Party begins to show any sign of success, and slanderizes [sic] and defames anyone who is even suspected of remotely being involved in fomenting that success

    Is this a real phenomenon? Well, we can immediately discard the first component of the definition, since it involves mind-reading to the extent that it is distinguishable from the second component.

    If we also tone down the hyperbole in the second component, and fix some spelling and repetition, we get “one who defames anyone involved in the LP showing any sign of success”.

    There are lots of different kinds of “signs of success”. Wayne Root gets lots of LP-branded free media, and published a book about libertarianism. Mary Ruwart’s “answers to hard questions” get a lot of attention, and she too published a book about libertarianism. Bob Barr did somewhat better than the average LP POTUS nominee in both votes and (according to Ruwart) media exposure. Aaron Russo ran a spirited campaign for the LP nomination, and created a rousing anti-government documentary. George Phillies constantly raises the organizational bar in each of his campaigns for external or internal office, and pushes himself and his competitors to maximize the leverage that the LP gets from their campaigns. Ernest Hancock leads by example in his quest to make the LP a service organization for street activism.

    I can’t think of any Libertarian who has “defamed” every single one of the above for their respective signs of success. I’d ask Marc, but he’s now so many years into his campaign of shunning me that I’m starting to suspect he considers me to be a LiberCop. (If so, I’d ask him if this is the activism record of a LiberCop, but of course he won’t answer.)

    Now, many Libertarians are happy to critique purported “signs of success” that they say are the wrong kinds of “success”. If this is what “LiberCop” means, then I’d like to know who isn’t a LiberCop.

    So if the LiberCop phenomenon is real, I’d say it’s just this: Libertarians often have radically different ideas about what constitutes tactical or strategic success, and will enthusiastically criticize fellow Libertarians who pursue or achieve the “wrong” kind. That’s the non-LiberCop way to describe the phenomenon. For the LiberCop way to describe it, see the series of profanities I quoted @61.

  55. Nicholas Sarwark

    I haven’t seen it announced anywhere, but there is a survey for the 2012 bylaws proposals. See http://www.lp.org/bylawssurvey . It was working as of about 5 minutes ago, though it’s not clear where the data goes.

    Also, I’m still curious why there are no vote totals attached to the proposals reported out or any indication of minority reports or dissents. Were all of the proposals supported unanimously?

  56. Chuck Moulton

    Nick Sarwark wrote (@69):

    Also, I’m still curious why there are no vote totals attached to the proposals reported out or any indication of minority reports or dissents. Were all of the proposals supported unanimously?

    Pretty much.

    My recollection is there might have been one proposal that wasn’t unanimous, but then that was changed unanimously at the next meeting.

    There were several proposals that were defeated and there were many contentious amendments (both narrowly passed and narrowly defeated); however, the final votes were consensus votes.

    There are currently no minority reports. It is possible minority reports will be developed before the convention, but I doubt we will see many of those. The only proposal I see as reasonably likely to have a minority report is the open conventions one because there are several bylaws committee members that seem to have concerns.

    Last term I felt I saw eye to eye with you and Rob Latham most of the time but this term I don’t really have someone else on the committee who consistently shares my perspective.

    I’m not going to bother writing minority reports myself because it is very clear that I would not be able to find a bylaws committee member to join me.

    There will still be a bylaws committee meeting at the beginning of the convention though at which the committee by consensus will fix proposals to address concerns mentioned in the survey. So I would encourage anyone who thinks the proposals can be made better to leave specific feedback on the survey.

  57. Marc Montoni

    Survey response – Assistant Treasurer:

    Given that several Treasurers in the past have ad hoc appointed their own Assistant Treasurers (the most recent one I know of was
    Mark A. Tuniewicz), I’m not sure why this is needed. I would think it would be sufficient to have a Policy Manual requirement that the Treasurer must appoint an Assistant Treasurer within ten days of his election, or the LNC will appoint one for him.

    I don’t see any reason to use convention floor time on this when the LNC can take care of this every term in short order.

    But more importantly, the proper solution here is to recognize reality and eliminate the elected Treasurer, and plan on hiring one instead. With all of the legal liability involved in being a Treasurer, and the roller-coaster ride of keeping up with federal (and sometimes state) regulations, it’s time to recognize the job is too complicated to thrust upon a volunteer.

    If this motion were about eliminating the voting membership of the Treasurer and turning the position into an appointed (and paid, if needed) position, I would vote in favor.

    Frankly, this motion is about two decades too late.

  58. George Phillies

    @72

    As a practical matter, the LNC has already taken your advice. The book-keeping is done in DC by staff. FEC filings are made by a paid consultant. The Treasurer currently acts primarily as a chief financial officer.

  59. Mike Seebeck

    Survey link is not working.

    As for the proposals themselves:

    Proposal #1 is not needed as the Treasurer can simply delegate some help in the first place, or the LNC can appoint a workingTreasury Committee to assist the Treasurer per RRONR now. This really doesn’t belong in the Bylaws. Montoni is also correct in that the Treasurer should be hired and not elected. NO

    Proposal #2 is a whatever proposal. If the LNC is so focused on internal vote timing instead of external publicity, fundraising, and realpolitick, then their priorities are mixed up. NO

    Proposal #3 is a cleanup to a mess the LNC created on its own, plus adding a Seebeck Proposal on filming LNC meetings, which is already allowable anyway since the LNC can’t stop it, and it’s also irrelevant to the LNC archives. (I call it a Seebeck Proposal becasue when I broadcast the LNC’s sham Keaton trial in 2008 Starr proposed a Policy Manual change to prohibit members from recording, to which I loudly snorted, “How?”, and that genie has been long out of the bottle ever since, with help from Knapp and Keaton who blazed that trail for me with their tweeting the meetings.) Frankly, if the LNC was responsible to its members in the first place, that mess was avoidable, and this proposal would not be needed. Amend to eliminate the second part, and amend the first part to include the full LNC audio/visual as part of the record. Rather than block the members from exercising their oversight over the LNC, the LNC should truly embrace the transparency fully. FIX NEEDED

    Proposal #4 is unnecessary as the state affiliates can (and should) deal with this issue. Plus, it is badly worded as it allows a national delegate who is not a state member be a delegate from that state without the state having any say in it, and the states determine their delegates, not any national party status. This is a recycle from 2010. If the LPUS wants a separate “national-only” delegate status, then they should establish their own segregated delegate pool with the same voting rights as the state delegates. NO

    Proposal #5 is a good proposal and long overdue. YES

    Proposal #6 is another recycle of 2010 but in different terms. A “supercommittee” of sustaining members, regardless of the voting majority needed, takes votes out of regulart delegates’ hands, and that is improper, because the national party has the ability to deny sustaining memberships under the law and therefore stack the deck on Bylaws. No thanks to this backdoor agenda. NO

    Proposal #7 is a parallel of #6 and has the same problems. If the concern is really about electing LNC in the same conventions as national candidate (President/VP) nominations, then simply move one or the other to off-years and extend the terms to 4 years instead, or have odd-year conventions as well, assuming the Convention Committee can get the job done right. NO

    Proposal #8 is a good idea but badly developed. Yes, it makes sense in intent, but the ultimate decision on state delegates is up to the states. As we saw in St. Louis, poor planning delayed the convention start as they did not plan for overflow, tables were not set, and it was a general mess. A better solution is to simply remove the cap and base the projected numbers on the past two conventions for that cycle (off-years vs. Presidential years) and add 20% from the Catering Rule-of-Thumb. NO UNLESS FIXED

    Proposal #9 is a solution in search of a problem. States determine their delegates, and the decision should be left to them. NO

    Proposal #10 is long overdue. However, I would strongly suggest for the sake of continuity (and from ample personal experience) that the Style Committee be made into five members and include the chairs of the Bylaws and Platform Committees so to not lose the knowledge base that crafted the most recent proposals. That and if a Style Committee proposal is substantive (as they can find those along the way) then it gets referred to the appropriate Bylaws or Platform Committee automatically. YES, BUT AMEND

  60. paulie

    Survey link is not working.

    If it is like past surveys like this, they are individually coded to be opened only on one computer, so they don’t get passed around as links in push polls or get duplicate votes from an individual using multiple computers.

  61. paulie

    Proposal #3 is a cleanup to a mess the LNC created on its own, plus adding a Seebeck Proposal on filming LNC meetings, which is already allowable anyway since the LNC can’t stop it, and it’s also irrelevant to the LNC archives. (I call it a Seebeck Proposal becasue when I broadcast the LNC’s sham Keaton trial in 2008 Starr proposed a Policy Manual change to prohibit members from recording, to which I loudly snorted, “How?”, and that genie has been long out of the bottle ever since, with help from Knapp and Keaton who blazed that trail for me with their tweeting the meetings.) Frankly, if the LNC was responsible to its members in the first place, that mess was avoidable, and this proposal would not be needed. Amend to eliminate the second part, and amend the first part to include the full LNC audio/visual as part of the record. Rather than block the members from exercising their oversight over the LNC, the LNC should truly embrace the transparency fully. FIX NEEDED

    Generally agreed, although Chuck’s point above that the LNC could go back on allowing us to tape is taken. However, so is (Marc’s?) point that the part about allowing only members to tape could perhaps be misused at some point.

    I notice Seebeck (who has blocked me on facebook after some snide remarks about IPR…but notice how he still posts here from time to time) only gives credit to himself and the people he likes (Keaton and Knapp).

    I’ve personally taped, liveblogged (to the best of my meager ability) and posted to IPR several different LNC meetings. George Phillies has liveblogged most of them, usually going from the broadcasts. David Blau taped the latest one. Rocky Eades and another guy whose name I don’t remember taped in South Carolina; I was with them liveblogging. Rachel Hawkridge lent me computers and webcams for this and helped with tech support more than once. I think Chuck Moulton helped with the liveblogging a couple of times. Probably other people I don’t immediately recall (don’t mean to offend anyone but my memory is not perfect by any means).

  62. Mike Seebeck

    LNC going back on “allowing” anyone to tape? Nope, because the moment any of them tries that, the word gets out and they wind up having a PR disaster on their hands. They tried that back in SD in ’08 and it didn’t work; in fact, when I told them at the end of the meeting that it would continue for the membership they worked for (I believe I used the term “whether the LNC liked it or not”) I got a huge ovation.

    Besides, they never had any authority to allow it or disallow it in the first place. I never asked their permission to do so; I just went and did it.

    The simple fact is this: if they try to block getting meeting information out to the membership, then they wind up looking worse than they regularly do. It was those shenanigans that led far too many REAL libertarian activists (Keaton, LaBianca, both Hawkridges, partially me) to leave, and others (Wrights) to take other roles in the LP. People know that history and frankly aren’t very happy with it.

    As for credit, in those days, the tweeting by Knapp and Keaton preceded me doing the first live webcast, which was long before Paulie had anything to do with it, which was later. So, no it has nothing to do with Paulie or anyone else, despite his claims to the contrary–it had everything to do with who pioneered it in the first place, which was Keaton (whose tweets started it all) and Knapp (who helped when round 1 of the Keaton “discipline” fiasco started) and then me, who took it up a notch with the webcast in Dec ’08. Everyone else’s contributions, to their credit, came later.

    Frankly, if that’s what Paulie is bitching about, then it goes more to him than anything else.

  63. Mike Seebeck

    BTW, I blocked him on FB for my own reasons, as I do several people that I consider to be wastes of my time. IPR had nothing to do with it. If Paulie’s complaining about that, well, tough shit, Paulie.

    Now, back to topic instead.

  64. Chuck Moulton

    Paulie wrote (@76):

    Generally agreed, although Chuck’s point above that the LNC could go back on allowing us to tape is taken.

    My point wasn’t the LNC taking back allowing to tape, but rather that the LNC could take down the minute archives.

  65. Chuck Moulton

    Mike Seebeck wrote (@74):

    [Proposal #4] is badly worded as it allows a national delegate who is not a state member be a delegate from that state without the state having any say in it, [...] If the LPUS wants a separate “national-only” delegate status, then they should establish their own segregated delegate pool with the same voting rights as the state delegates.

    When the proposed amendment is compared with the current language, it is clear that there are already two different types of delegates allowed: national members and state members. That doesn’t somehow mean people can be delegates without being selected by the state affiliate. 11.3.a deals with eligibility, 11.3.b deals with selection. This amendment only touches 11.3.a.

  66. Chuck Moulton

    Mike Seebeck wrote (@74):

    Amend to eliminate the second part, and amend the first part to include the full LNC audio/visual as part of the record.

    I’d prefer that. I’m the only person on the current bylaws committee that supports such a formulation though.

    I’d suggest either amending the proposal from the floor or passing the proposal in 2012 so it can be improved further in 2014.

  67. Mike Seebeck

    “I’d suggest either amending the proposal from the floor or passing the proposal in 2012 so it can be improved further in 2014.”

    That’s assuming I grace the national convention in East Death Valley with my presence. Jury is out on that for now.

    As for delegate eligibility, frankly, I favor having only the states make that call, since the convention is supposed to be about their members in the first place.

  68. paulie

    IPR had nothing to do with it.

    Bullshit. Your comments immediately prior was about how much IPR sucked and how I should go back here.

    As for “waste of time” the feeling is mutual.

    It’s nice you blazed the trail with the broadcasts but guess what….without people to keep it going, it withers on the vine.

  69. Pingback: Libertarian Bylaws Committee Survey | Independent Political Report

  70. Mike Seebeck

    I’m not going to waste my time engaging Paulie Spamalot, because frankly he’s not worth it. I only checked in because this particular topic interests me, and it was brought to my attention by a friend and editor here. IOW, not Paulie.

    Paulie’s complaints are also off-topic.

    Back to topic: the survey not providing an anonymous option is offensive, especially for an organization supposedly advocating privacy rights and doing a bunch of stuff in secret.

  71. paulie

    I’m not going to waste my time engaging Paulie Spamalot, because frankly he’s not worth it. I only checked in because this particular topic interests me, and it was brought to my attention by a friend and editor here. IOW, not Paulie.

    Pretty much everyone who posts articles here anymore is someone I personally invited and signed up to post articles here, including the author of this post.

    I personally post more articles than anyone. Probably more than everyone else put together.

    If it was not for me, this whole site would be long abandoned from disuse.

    And I don’t make any money at all off of it.

    Yeah, you’re welcome.

  72. paulie

    Back to topic: the survey not providing an anonymous option is offensive, especially for an organization supposedly advocating privacy rights and doing a bunch of stuff in secret.

    I agree, despite the source of the statement.

  73. paulie

    it was brought to my attention by a friend and editor here.

    Gee I wonder who that was?

    Jill Pyeatt? Marc Montoni? They are only writers here because I invited them.

    Tom Knapp? OK, he was here before me. But he hasn’t posted articles in a while. And I believe he said he no longer would.

    Chances are pretty high that Seebeck’s friend writes at IPR thanks to me.

    In fact, of the people still listed as IPR contributors,

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/about/

    the only ones who are not here because of me are Ross Levin, Knapp, Fred Ortiz and Darcy Richardson. Ross is the only one of those that has posted recently at all that I can remember.

    Once again Seebeck you are so very welcome. Ass.

  74. Marc Montoni

    Thank you, Paulie, for everything you do. IPR is what it is because of you, and I am certainly grateful.

    I’ve had a very busy summer, between vacations and issues with my properties, but hope to get back to helping out with IPR soon.

    As for giving providing anyone a “heads-up”, it wasn’t me.

    By the way, am I reading that right, that you don’t have a laptop?

  75. Pingback: Update on Libertarian Bylaws Committee Survey | Independent Political Report

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