LP Oregon: Reeves Group Wins Latest Court Battle

The below press release from the Reeves faction of the Libertarian Party of Oregon (LPO) was issued in the aftermath of their June 14 victory in court against the Wagner faction.  Both view themselves as the legitimate leadership of the LPO.

The Reeves faction is now seeking an expedited hearing so they can formally direct the Oregon Secretary of State to place Gary Johnson’s name on the ballot as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for President, a step which could have been legally performed as early as June 1, but which the Wagner faction has thus far not done and has not provided public assurance that they shall do.

One observer at the hearing reported that the judge complimented the Wagner faction’s attorneys for their well-written arguments, but then stated that it was clear to him that Oregon law supported the position of the Reeves faction.

The judge also stated the Reeves faction will be allowed to argue for the awarding of legal fees at trial.

The press release asserts that one of Wagner’s directors resigned as a result of this.  The author of this post has confirmed that the LPO website currently controlled by the Wagner faction now displays a vacancy in one of the directorship positions.  Whether the director’s resignation is due to her anticipation of being added to the lawsuit or some other personal reason has not been confirmed, and might simply be speculation on the part of the press release’s author.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JUNE 16, 2012

Reeves group wins major legal battle in their struggle to restore legitimate governance and leadership within the Libertarian Party of Oregon.

Nine motions to dismiss the Reeves case were denied, the case now goes to trial.

OREGON CITY, OREGON – A Clackamas county judge handed Tim Reeves and his fellow plaintiffs a major victory in their battle to restore the leadership and governance of the Libertarian Party of Oregon (LPO) as organized under governing documents adopted by members in convention.  By way of context, defendants led by Wes Wagner purportedly adopted new governing documents for the LPO written by Wagner and his supporters in violation of existing bylaws on March 31, 2011.  They went on to appoint themselves to new terms of office in accordance with these documents.

Because Wagner was the legitimate LPO chair on March 31, 2011, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Election Division accepted his governing documents and officer list.  When informed that these governing documents were not legitimately adopted, the Elections Office said they would only take direction on such matters from a state chair or a judge, hence the Reeves lawsuit.

Attorneys representing Wagner’s group brought nine motions asking the court to dismiss the Reeves lawsuit on a variety of technical grounds unrelated to the merits of the case.  One of them contended that they were immune from such proceedings even though they argued, to the Libertarian Party’s Judicial Committee, that Oregon courts should arbitrate the dispute.  In any case, all nine motions to dismiss the case were denied in court on June 14.  The case now goes to trial.  To speed things up the Reeves group will request an expedited hearing; they want to resolve this quickly so they can put Gary Johnson and James Gray, nominated for president and vice president at the Libertarian’s National Convention last month in Las Vegas, on Oregon’s general election ballot before the filing deadline.  The organization under Wes Wagner purporting to be the LPO has been able to do so since June 1 but has refused thus far.

In addition to denying all nine of Wagner’s motions to dismiss, the judge also said that the Reeves side will be allowed to argue for attorney fees.  And, at the direction of the judge, the lawsuit is being expanded to include all of the directors of Wagner’s organization.  This expansion has caused at least one director representing Marion county to resign her directorship.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Tim Reeves, Chair, Libertarian Party of Oregon
timothy.reeves@tenthamendmentcenter.com

# # #

66 thoughts on “LP Oregon: Reeves Group Wins Latest Court Battle

  1. Erik Viker

    If I lived in Oregon, I’d support the faction that has so far spent more time and effort “moving public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office” (national LP Bylaws)

  2. Steven Wilson

    Regardless of the court ruling, I would guess neither of these two groups can fundamentally understand why membership numbers go down.

    What are Libertarians?

    People who claim to care about freedom, but spend almost all of their time going to court over who is in the big chair.

    With this money spent on lawyers think about this.

    How many radio spots could they have bought?

    How many brochures on hand outs printed?

    How much does a booth at the fair cost?

    How many people could that booth convert to freedom?

    Now finished with coffee, ready to move to wine. Next.

  3. TANSTAAFLUSA

    Wes,

    Glad you are here. Can you explain why you have not submitted Gary Johnson and Jim Gray to the SoS for the November ballot? I know nobody from either group personally and although I have kept up with the case, I have no reason to favor either faction. That being said, I find it troubling that you have not committed to submitting GJ/JG to the SoS. This seems almost like a threat and gives me and others pause when trying to be sympathetic to your arguments. The outcome in Oregon matters, to be sure, but a dispute between (maybe) a total of 20-50 people in Oregon and the LP should not endanger the ability of thousands if Oregonians to vote for Gov Johnson, for the future Presidential nominee to miss out on millions in matching funds by not receiving any votes in Oregon, and for the overall success of our Party by, again, losing votes in Oregon.

    So, If you have good reason why you risk this, I, and manyothers, would really like to hear the
    reasoning.

  4. Wes Wagner

    T @5

    We are working cooperatively with both the LNC and the GJ campaign on these matters. I do not wish to speak for either of those two organizations, but you may note that lack of any complaints from either of those two organizations on the matter stands in stark contrast to the picture others are painting.

  5. Mike Jones

    @6

    What are the numbers for comparison? I haven’t found a website for the Reeves team.

  6. Wes Wagner

    MJ @8

    I have also yet to see any of their press releases picked up by anyone but Aaron Starr.

  7. New Liberty For America Up!

    @5 see article in the latest Liberty for America on legal issues, notably that the Reeves faction and its supporters on the LNC may have made it legally necessary for Johnson to follow the petition route in Oregon, not to mention the actual position of our Oregon State Party on the issue.

  8. TANSTAAFLUSA

    W@7

    That is encouraging to hear. You are correct that press releases/coverage rarely reflects the conplete reality “on the ground”.

    I am just curious what the reasoning is. Is it for leverage so that a ruling in your favor will not result in sanctions or further legal action by the LNC or others at National? This, I understand, but if it is the case perhaps a written agreement that you place GJ/JG on ballot and LNC agrees to respect the court ruling.

    Just speculation on my part, but I do think you may be losing the PR battle due in part to the lack of a commitment to place GJ/JG on the ballot.

    Maybe a release that confirms your intention to submit our nominees with a short explanation of the delat would be useful.

    I really would just like to see this resolved with the least amount of fallout and damage to our party and movement. For all the originally legitimate reasons for the dispute and legal actions it really has become “the People Front of Judea” v. “The Judean People’s Front”.

  9. Wes Wagner

    T @11

    Putting Gary on the ballot is not the issue. Doing it in a way that keeps him there through November 7th is key.

  10. zapper

    Hello Wes Wagner,

    The Reeves group, including its Natcom supporters, earned a lot of disrespect by suing instead of just waiting for the next LPO convention to compete to be king of the tiny LP sandbox hill in Oregon.

    And now, honestly, it’s you who are losing credibility by not putting Johnson/Gray on the ballot.

    Just do it.

    Properly, of course, but do it. Put them on the ballot. No conditions. No maybes. File the necessary paperwork and get it done. Prove that you actually care about the Johnson campaign, the advancement of liberty, and the future of the LP.

    Anything else is just BS at this point.

  11. Wes Wagner

    zapper @14

    We have a pretty reasonable condition for the LNC and the GJ campaign, which involves not putting him on the ballot until the groundwork is laid to ensure he stays on the ballot.

    If GJ is bumped off the ballot and someone has to sue to put him back on, that lawsuit will extend past November resulting in a Pyrrhic victory at best.

    We consider this position quite reasonable and things are not always as simple as “just file the paperwork” — a lesson being learned in Michigan right now.

  12. George Phillies

    I quote the article on this from Liberty for America.

    Is Oregon Ballot Access Gone?

    The NatCon actions may have made it legally impossible or at least unacceptably legally hazardous to the LP of Oregon to use its ballot access to place Johnson on the Oregon:

    We quote a message reportedly from Wes Wagner as supplied to the public (the LNCDiscussPublic list, in message 489) by Starchild. The message shows that the LPOregon is sympathetic with getting Johnson on the Oregon ballot, but the Credentials and Delegate action may have made this step inadvisable, so that direct petitioning may be needed. Wagner reportedly wrote:

    I would like to preface this by saying that our party is supportive of placing Gary on the ballot and are willing to cooperate in every practical manner to do so, specifically as the Libertarian candidate who has our party’s nomination (and not as an independent).

    There is however, a potential issue and I will be making an inquiry with the Oregon Secretary of State in order to clarify this. One of the requirements of Oregon law is that all nominations are only valid if party rules are followed. Although the Secretary of State does not enforce the interpretation of internal party rules, were we to just file paperwork for the nomination of Gary Johnson and James Gray, we could potentially leave ourselves in a position where the Republican or Democratic Party could challenge such nomination in court and remove him from the ballot. Ironically, his Oregon employee, Mr. Burke, would be likely the person to inform others that such a challenge was possible in order to try to extract political revenge. This challenge may not come in a timely manner that would allow us to place Gary on the ballot via alternative means because Mr. Burke would time such a challenge to cause maximum damage. As you are probably aware, the activities of Mr. Burke and his allies are the reason we have this issue in the first place.

    I had a preliminary conversation with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. She informed me that Bob Johnston had called earlier today to make inquiries about the Oregon nominating process as well. I have left him a voice mail to contact me in an attempt to coordinate efforts. I have also attempted to reach out to Mr. Johnson’s campaign through their website but would prefer to have a more direct method of communication if possible.

    We have not made any decisions on this matter, but I have spoken with almost all our board members, and in general the attitude and outcome of our internal decision making process will probably be something along these lines:

    1) Attempt to work cooperatively with the national party to place Gary on the ballot
    2) Provide any support, testimony, etc. to reach a favorable resolution that results in Gary being placed on the ballot
    3) We should not be responsible for any expenses that must be incurred due to the failure of our delegation to be seated and this should be the responsibility of the National Party or Johnson’s campaign and our donor funds will be spent on Oregon campaigns only.

    It is my personal responsibility to sign such paperwork, and I may wish to discuss the solicitation of a legal opinion and indemnification by the LNC Inc. as a prerequisite to signing the paperwork.

    FYI, we also have potentially the same problem as Michigan:

    249.048¹ Unsuccessful candidate not eligible as candidate

    A candidate for nomination of a major political party to a public office who fails to receive the nomination may not be the candidate of any other political party or a nonaffiliated candidate for the same office at the succeeding general election. The filing officer may not certify the name of the candidate. [Formerly 249.420; 2005 c.797 §62]

    There is an attorney general opinion on the matter from 1972 though that we could possibly hang our hat on that states that this law only applies to people who asked for the nomination AND seek placement for election. Since Gary Johnson never participated in a primary process in Oregon, this sore loser law may not apply.

    Either way, we need to get all our ducks in a row and be prepared to answer a challenge. I am willing to do research to find legal counsel here in Oregon who can represent the LNC and the Gary Johnson campaign on this matter who has no conflict of interest and has never represented any of the parties involved in the past if you would like me to do so.
    -Wes Wagner

  13. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Before the Wagner faction considers placing Johnson on the ballot, I think those on the LNC who supported the Reeves faction should first issue a public statement saying: “The Reeves faction is morally wrong. We were morally wrong to support them. We apologize without qualification or conditions. Shame on us. We hope that you’ll put Johnson on the ballot, but we realize we have absolutely no moral right to request anything of you. If you don’t, it’s entirely our fault.”

  14. Dan Reale

    Look, we’ve arrived at the exact sort of legal landmine that I told both factions would occur should a suit be filed this year.

    The faction doing the suing claims that the other is not legitimate, hence it cannot put GJ on the ballot. Then it demands the faction it’s calling illegitimate to put GJ on the ballot.

    Naysayers aside, what if GJ won those electoral votes, and those electoral votes were the margin between winning the White House or losing it?

  15. Joe Buchman

    TANSTAAFLUSA @ 5.

    I was involved in some of the initial conversations between Wes Wagner and the campaign. I found his requests to be well reasoned, and reasonable. I also work with Richard Burke, mostly on endorsements and not on this issue and am grateful for his work as our State Director.

    It’s my understanding, which may be out of date now, that the next step is for the LNC to evaluate those requests, which I gather has now been placed on the agenda for the July 15/16 meeting.

    I don’t think much will happen before then.

    Hope that helps. Sometimes, it seems to me that people who are fighting each other over some matter of Principle are still pulling in the same direction on the other, mostly larger, issues. That’s my sense of the case here, albeit from rather limited knowledge and experience.

    Joe

  16. Wes Wagner

    DR @18

    To be entirely fair, when the other side refuses to ever come to a negotiating table, were promised by some national party officers that they would get backstopped by the LNC, and the chief plaintiffs in the case have never even had a conversation with you in their life — it becomes a bit difficult to avoid a lawsuit.

  17. Ray Gomez

    “Before the Wagner faction considers placing Johnson on the ballot, I think those on the LNC who supported the Reeves faction should first issue a public statement saying: “The Reeves faction is morally wrong. We were morally wrong to support them. We apologize without qualification or conditions. Shame on us. We hope that you’ll put Johnson on the ballot, but we realize we have absolutely no moral right to request anything of you. If you don’t, it’s entirely our fault.”

    Are you on crack, pcp or both?

  18. Ray Gomez

    Presidential candidates are not covered by sore loser laws, it is slates of electors that are on the November ballot.

  19. George Phillies

    @20 You omitted “especially when *they sue you*.

    It takes two to tango, but only one to litigate.

    @22 this argument does not immediately hold water, because in general (do not know about OR) the people being elected in primaries are delegates, not the candidate, either.

  20. paulie

    this argument does not immediately hold water, because in general (do not know about OR) the people being elected in primaries are delegates, not the candidate, either.

    Not the same people as the electoral slate in November.

  21. Wes Wagner

    Ray @22

    Could you please kindly go tell the Secretary of State of Michigan that ? It would solve a little problem over there.

  22. Richard P. Burke

    All,

    Let’s return to the basics here:

    1. Mr. Wagner and his supporters attempted to replace the LPO’s governing documents, adopted by it’s members in convention, with governing documents written by Mr. Wagner and his friends in a state committee meeting – not in a noticed convention as required by the LPO’s governing documents.

    2. Mr. Wagner and his supporters elected themselves to new terms of office under his bylaws.

    3. Mr. Wagner and his supporters attempted to cancel a convention session scheduled for nine weeks later where members would vote on leaders and amendments to the LPO’s governing documents.

    4. They attempted to legitimize this act by using the force of the state, trying to take cover under a statute that only applies to major parties in certain situations which says that a party’s state committee is the highest authority in the party.

    What if this happened in your state or if the LNC adopted new bylaws at a regular LNC meeting? Are any of you saying that you would be OK with that? That’s what happened to us. We didn’t ask for this dispute.

    In any case, the Secretary of State has not endorsed Mr. Wagner’s actions as legitimate; they only accepted his documents because he was the current chair of record. Because they are barred from involving themselves in the internal workings of political parties, their policy is to only be directed by a political party’s state “chair of record” or a judge in response to litigation. Since Wagner refused to withdraw his governing documents or step down when his term ended on May 21, 2011, we were forced to file the lawsuit or accept the coup after trying to solve the problem internally. If we accepted the coup, what would stop some future chair from handing the Sec. of State a new set of bylaws and officer list in the future? Nothing. And what kind of party could we ever build in an environment like that?

    The LP’s Judicial Committee has said, incredibly for a Libertarian entity, that we should defer to the state in disputes of who our party leaders are, which brought us back to court because of the position of the Sec. of State.

    We have been asked why we brought suit in an election year. It’s a good question; indeed, it is always a bad time for Libertarians to sue each other. But we answer with a question – why did Mr. Wagner and his associates pull a coup in violation of our governing documents? Certainly if we had tried to pull such a coup, Mr. Wagner and his associates would doubtless scream bloody murder.

    Mr. Wagner asks us why we do not “negotiate”. The answer is that we WILL negotiate, but not until he acknowledges as legitimate the governing documents of the LPO (most recently amended in 2009) as adopted by members in convention. Certainly we cannot barter with what is not ours, and these documents belong to the members, not us. Also, how could we trust that Mr. Wagner and his friends would follow through on any negotiated deal if they continue to support the idea that they could completely replace our governing documents in the nights at a state committee meeting and cancel a convention session set by convention delegates?

    If you don’t like bylaws, fine. Let’s work to change them. There’s probably common ground on a number of points where we could come together and legitimately amend our bylaws. Mr. Wagner might reply that, because of the quorum issue, we can’t change the bylaws. But united, we could have asked a judge for relief from our quorum requirement so we could fix the problem (that is one of the things we did ask for in our suit). Or, we could have rolled our sleeves up and MADE quorum by recruiting people and badgering them to show up.

    Concerning Gary Johnson – Mr. Wagner is selling snake oil @13 and @15. There is no reason he cannot submit the paperwork to put him on the ballot right now. If the Reeves group loses this court case before the filing deadline, Wagner’s paperwork would stick. If we win this court case before the filing deadline, we would immediately file the paperwork and Johnson will still be securely on the ballot. If Wagner wins the court case AFTER the filing deadline, then his paperwork sticks again. The only real risk, a small one, I believe, is if we win the court case after the filing deadline. But even this risk can be avoided if Mr. Wagner joins us in asking for an expedited hearing of the case to ensure a decision before the filing deadline. An expedited hearing would also allow LPO members to focus on the Johnson campaign sooner that it otherwise could. But the point here is, in any scenario, there is nothing to lose by Wagner filing the paperwork immediately. He is, in fact, holding the Johnson campaign hostage, even referring to his terms as “conditions” (read demands). I spoke with a member of Johnson’s national team weeks ago who said explicitly that the campaign was told by Wagner that the campaign’s intervening in our case was a “condition” to him following through with the paperwork. That ain’t cool.

    Mr. Wagner can end this now by filing the paperwork for Johnson, instructing the Sec. of State to restore the proper governing documents and leadership of the LPO, and then working his butt off to make the changes he wants in our organization the same way everyone else has to. He’s losing in court. He’s never won in court when intra-party disputes he has started sent us there. What he and his friends did were wrong. But it’s not too late for him to set things right.

    Richard

  23. Wes Wagner

    I have to make my decisions based on what is best for 13000+ registered Libertarians in Oregon. Not the interests of one man who would like to establish himself as the puppet master of a private club so he can loot the party treasury again and whore it out to republicans (again).

    Whereas I understand that his friends created an artificial crisis to try to steal it for him, they failed.

    At some point he needs to learn to live with that and recognize that the Libertarians in Oregon own the party again and he is not getting it back — even if he sues.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    28 ww, any reason to believe that the 13K DON’T want GJ/JG on the ballot?

    My swag’d be that probably the high 90%s want to be able to vote for Johnson…

  25. Wes Wagner

    I also categorically deny having threatened the campaign or demanding they intervene … but having an agent of theirs making those accusations has put me in the tough position of having to decide whether to throw staffers of the presidential campaign under the bus for their extremely poor handling of Mr. Burke and their communications thereof, or simply suck it up since it doesn’t really matter.

    I chose the latter.

  26. Wes Wagner

    RC @29

    I concur entirely, I would suspect 95+% would want that. If you framed it “would you like Gary Johnson actually remain on the ballot through election day?” I suspect they would want that even more than him just simply being placed there.

  27. From Der Sidelines

    Seems to me like Mr. Burke needs to stop his incessant whining and accept that he lost. Nothing is stopping him from filing the papers for Johnson, either. In fact, if his group is as legitimate as he continually claims, then those papers should be accepted, and his invoking the state for legitimacy is truly meaningless.

    However, Mr. Burke et al. seems to miss the obvious point that if they are the true LPOR ruling faction, then the lawsuit is unnecessary. By filing it at all they are acknowledging that they are not such and are therefore usurpers who have no legitimate say. Hence their complaint that they can’t file the Johnson paperwork: they know they aren’t legitimate despite their excessive protests to the contrary.

    That makes them petulant children whining about being kicked out of the sandbox because they got there late and they think it’s their sandbox.

    The solution is simple for the Burke group: file their own papers for Johnson and drop the suit, then try to win the offices at convention honestly, since despite their bloviating to the contrary, they are not likely to win on the merits for two simple reasons: the state has recognized under the law the Wagner group, as has the LPUS, and the Wagner group simply got there first. The Burke group thinks for some bizarre reason that because the JudCom deferred to the state of Oregon that their power-grab necessarily requires them to sue to get the state to change recognition, instead of doing it the proper way by winning the seats at convention LIKE IT IS DONE IN EVERY OTHER STATE!

    IOW, Mr. Burke, qwityergritchin, and do it right, if you still can. Your allies on the LNC got their behinds handed to them, and you don’t have much support left, and the more you drag this out, the less it gets.

  28. Steve M

    @8 Mike Jones,

    “What are the numbers for comparison? I haven’t found a website for the Reeves team.”

    I am sure Aaron could give us the full count but here on IPR, we have have seen 4 or 5 in the last 2 or 3 months from the Reeves faction and zero from the Wagner faction. All claiming great victories. But when looked at just seem like their victory amounts to the legal issues not being settled…. While the Wagner faction seems focused on growing the Oregon Party.

    So what is your count?

  29. fred

    Many people from outside of Oregon seem to have strong opinions about who is right in this dispute and what the Libertarians in Oregon should do with their ballot access, and who should be the leaders of the Oregon party, and what set of bylaws we should follow, and what is the right thing for us.
    I have a novel idea–Why don’t we let the Libertarian voters in Oregon decide?
    Instead of thinking that a comment on a blog is going to change the situation, and instead of thinking that the courts will make a decision that Libertarians are going to agree with–Lets ask the 13000 registered Libertarians in Oregon decide which set of bylaws they want and who they think should be in charge of the party. And lets let the party represent the people.

  30. Robert Capozzi

    fred, good question. Is there a practical mechanism for the 13K to decide in the allotted timeframe? And do you think that L from the other 49 have a strong interest in GJ being on the ballot in OR?

    I say we do. That’s why we are encouraging the LPO to set aside petty differences and put GJ on the OR ballot ASAP.

  31. George Phillies

    @32 “to win the offices at convention honestly”

    I seriously question that you have bothered to examine the bylaws of the other states to see how they choose party officers, in order to make this claim, since I need review the bylaws of very few states indeed to confirm that you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Indeed, one of the disagreements between the current Wagner and Burke factions is that the Wagner and Burke factions is that the Wagner faction wishes to be governed by the 13,000 registered voters, and the Burke faction and its LNC allies stood up at the last well-attended Oregon convention and prevented the state party from conducting its business.

  32. Robert Capozzi

    31 ww: I suspect they would want that even more than him just simply being placed there.

    me: sounds like you’re playing the game of chicken. Seems risky….

  33. paulie

    Could you please kindly go tell the Secretary of State of Michigan that ? It would solve a little problem over there.

    Lawyers are already on that. Should be a slam dunk.

  34. paulie

    Who is paying the bills for the Reeves faction?

    I’ve been told Aaron Starr, but I don’t remember whether that has ever been confirmed with evidence or an admission.

  35. paulie

    I am sure Aaron could give us the full count but here on IPR, we have have seen 4 or 5 in the last 2 or 3 months from the Reeves faction and zero from the Wagner faction.

    Wagner faction has sent us stuff to post. Most of it hasn’t been posted. I don’t have a count.

  36. paulie

    To give the Burke side its due (not siding with them, but I think all sides should get their due in an argument):

    Seems to me like Mr. Burke needs to stop his incessant whining and accept that he lost. Nothing is stopping him from filing the papers for Johnson, either. In fact, if his group is as legitimate as he continually claims, then those papers should be accepted, and his invoking the state for legitimacy is truly meaningless.

    Burke, Reeves et al believe they are the legitimate officers, but the state doesn’t, at least until they get a court ruling. That’s why they are suing. Since the state is the entity to accept the Johnson paperwork, they can’t submit any unless the court rules in their favor and does so fast enough for them to do it before the deadline.

    However, Mr. Burke et al. seems to miss the obvious point that if they are the true LPOR ruling faction, then the lawsuit is unnecessary. By filing it at all they are acknowledging that they are not such and are therefore usurpers who have no legitimate say. Hence their complaint that they can’t file the Johnson paperwork: they know they aren’t legitimate despite their excessive protests to the contrary.

    They believe that they are legitimate and that Wagner et al have overstayed their lease. Suppose you rented out a house and paid money for it, and the last tenants just refused to move out. Then imagine the sheriff’s office told you they can’t do anything until they get a court order. I imagine you would then go to court, and wouldn’t consider it acknowledging that the guys who would not move out when their lease expired are there legitimately.

    The solution is simple for the Burke group: file their own papers for Johnson and drop the suit, then try to win the offices at convention honestly, since despite their bloviating to the contrary, they are not likely to win on the merits for two simple reasons: the state has recognized under the law the Wagner group, as has the LPUS, and the Wagner group simply got there first.

    There are no conventions under the Wagner bylaws, just mail ballots to 13k or so registered Libertarian voters, unless someone petitions from among those voters for a convention. The LPUS has deferred to the State, and the state has deferred to the courts. Since Burke, Reeves et al don’t believe the Wagner bylaws were adopted legitimately, they are not interested in participating in the mail ballot or petitioning for a convention; they would rather sue.

    I would also suspect that if they simultaneously take any action in compliance with the Wagner bylaws, such as petitioning for a convention, that would be evidence in the laswuit that would be used against them, showing they acknowledge the Wagner bylaws as legit.

  37. Richard P. Burke

    George Phillies @ 36,

    I did not stand up and stop the last well attended convention from doing business. Then chair Jeff Weston ruled that we did not have quorum. In fact, I mobilized 27 people to show up. The quorum issue was discovered during a meeting before the convention I did not attend.

    From der Sidelines @ 32,

    Until the courts make their decision, the Secretary of State will not accept papers from us to put Gary Johnson on the ballot. Until then it is incumbent upon Mr. Wagner to stop posturing and do so immediately.

    It is ironic, Mr. From der Sidelines, that you believe that we should “…try to win the offices at convention honestly”. That is exactly what we are trying to do. It is Mr. Wagner and his friends who literally attempted to seize office on March 31, 2011, OUTSIDE OF CONVENTION in violation of our proper bylaws. Your comment would me more accurately directed at him.

    Besides, it is not about winning office. Mr. Wagner and his friends were already leading the party. We were not “kicked out of the sandbox”. We were not even in the sandbox if you looked at the roster of LPO officers. This is about restoring bylaws which, whether you love them or hate them, are the governing documents approved by members in convention over many years. This is about restoring the legitimate rights LPO members as defined by those bylaws and assuring members that a handful of people cannot seize the party in the night at a regular state committee meeting where the entire membership was not noticed.

    Concerning support, it is Mr. Wagner who should be concerned. In this venue, Mr. Wagner enjoys support. But he certainly did not enjoy support at convention where the Reeves delegation was seated by a large majority of delegates, where he received a whopping 9 votes for state chair, and something like 26 votes for LNC. (Audited records indicate he did not tie Mark Hinkle as earlier thought… check the latest minutes). Not even the national Judicial Committee supported Wagner, instead deferring to the state, which has said that they want the issue settled in court.

    Your post indicates you are poorly informed on the case itself, events leading up to the case, and a variety of other matters related to it. I would suggest that you review the case information which has been previously posted on this site.

    Fred @ 34,

    Registered LP voters are and have been able to join the LPO, free of cost after taking advantage of the Oregon Political Tax Credit, since it’s inception in 1972. Even those who do not pay dues can fully participate in candidate nominating conventions as delegates, candidates or both. If they want to get involved and move the LPO in a new direction as an organization, fine. Nothing is stopping them. But as is the case in any other organization, they will need to do it according to the rules adopted – not by me or any group of five people – but by active LPO members in convention over decades. Our amendment procedures are not unduly cumbersome; they are standard boilerplate.

    Richard P. Burke

  38. TANSTAAFLUSA

    “Wagner faction has sent us stuff to post. Most of it hasn’t been posted.”

    May I ask why? Time? Format? Content? Author needed to offer commentary?

  39. paulie

    Time. I have hundreds of articles I need to post, not just those, and need to get to work at my real job this is not it).

    Thus, I’ve signed up a lot of other people to write here, and forward everything that should be posted to them. Only a small percentage of it gets posted, though.

  40. Wes Wagner

    Mr. Burke is right, I appear to have lost 100 votes between the convention and the time the minutes were printed for LNC at large.

    Regarding the chair race, I sent all my support to Geoff.

  41. Wes Wagner

    It would appears Chris Thrasher somehow has the vote total I once had on the convention floor, with no notes as to why … given that I know mroe than 23 people personally who voted for me and given the votes of the Texas delegation, thise would appear to be an attempt at revisionist history on the part of the outgoing Secretary for the benefit of….. ???

  42. Richard P. Burke

    Regarding Wagner @46,

    Another conspiracy. OK, fine. Add it to the list. Quite honestly, neither I or anyone I know even knows how to fly a black helicopter.

    But if we want to get into a discussion of voting irregularities, we could talk about ballot stuffing during the national chair’s race on behalf of NOTA. But that would be an equal waste of time.

    Richard P. Burke

  43. George Phillies

    @46 there was a list of votes posted someplace below, and you were tied with Hinkle. Was this a typo.

    @47 Don’t worry, the black helicopters fly exactly like the paisley helicopters. (For no points, identify the group that used paisley as their wing markings.)

  44. Wes Wagner

    George @48

    In the minutes on lp.org I have only 23 votes. Obviously that does not compute with the results that were observed by almost 500 people, with no notation why on the differential.

  45. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@29,

    “28 ww, any reason to believe that the 13K DON’T want GJ/JG on the ballot?”

    That’s not what this is about.

    Let me simplify it for you:

    If the Oregon LP puts Johnson on the ballot and then the Reeves Gang wins its frivolous lawsuit, some allegedly interested party may sue to remove Johnson from the ballot because the organization that put him on it turned out not to be the state-recognized party with the power to do so.

    If the Oregon LP puts Johnson on the ballot and then the Reeves Gang LOSES its frivolous lawsuit, then some allegedly interested party may sue to remove Johnson from the ballot because the Oregon LP was not represented at the convention which nominated Johnson.

    Either one of those potential suits would be just as frivolous as the Reeves Gang’s suit, but either one might also result in a court order taking Johnson off the ballot until it is settled (which would almost certainly be after the election).

    The Oregon LP is trying to work with the LNC and the Johnson campaign to find a way to put Johnson on the ballot that isn’t susceptible to such suits.

    Of course, the Reeves Gang could head such machinations off at the pass and make the issue moot by putting the interests of Oregon Libertarians ahead of their own ambitions to minor and fleeting power and filing a motion to have their frivolous lawsuit dismissed with prejudice. Care to place a bet on whether or not they will do so?

  46. Robert Capozzi

    tk, justify why you think the “Reeves Gang” suit is “frivolous,” please. How is that possible if they won?

  47. Richard P. Burke

    Wagner@49,

    Well, I’d encourage you to ask about your LNC race and the corrected vote total if you really think fraud was involved. Original records from the day exist, and the cause can be discovered.

    But there is little incentive for fraud here, considering the high political risk it would involve for whatever minuscule advantage somebody might think of. Mr. Hinkle, though a good man, had alienated many across all factions. So tying Hinkle’s vote total, which was not impressive, in an election where you could vote for 5, doesn’t mean a heck of a lot. Diminishing Wagner’s vote total through fraud wouldn’t get you very much.

    Not to belabor the point, but the lower vote total is more consistent with the votes he and his group won in other races, suggesting no fraud. But if y’all want to chase that ghost, have at it. I oppose fraud too and would support accountability if it were discovered.

    Richard P. Burke

  48. fred

    Richard @ 42

    1. The tax credit would not apply to anyone who has given $50 as an individual or $100 as a couple to any political cause (such as a campaign, county party, etc…).

    2. The “rules adopted” were done under precarious circumstances. The official membership lists have been disputed for years (I would challenge you to produce a membership list that is not disputed.) Which creates concern that legitimate members were excluded from the process. The conventions held (including the 2009 convention) were all held with out quorum.

    3. The processes adopted have allowed a very small number of people to maintain control of the party and they did little to ensure that they knew what the registered Libertarians in Oregon wanted.

    4. I will once again extend my offer to you and to the members of the “Reeves faction”: I will help the two factions work through the differences and see if we can find common ground that will let the party move forward. There are many things we can do–if we are willing to sit down and determine what is important to each person and work toward solutions.
    We lose the ability to do that when we only focus on what we believe the other faction has done wrong and look for evidence to support our claims.

    5. Since the processes and the bylaws are being contended–and since there is not a definitive ruling in either the courts or public opinion, it seems best to return to the people we claim to represent and ask them how we should be representing them.
    We have excluded them from the process for too long–It isn’t working.

  49. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Capozzi: 50 tk, who would file such a (speculative) suit?

    The Romney campaign?

  50. Chuck Moulton

    Wes Wagner wrote (@45):

    Mr. Burke is right, I appear to have lost 100 votes between the convention and the time the minutes were printed for LNC at large.

    Wes Wagner wrote (@46):

    It would appears Chris Thrasher somehow has the vote total I once had on the convention floor, with no notes as to why … given that I know mroe than 23 people personally who voted for me and given the votes of the Texas delegation, thise would appear to be an attempt at revisionist history on the part of the outgoing Secretary for the benefit of….. ???

    George Phillies wrote (@48):

    @46 there was a list of votes posted someplace below, and you were tied with Hinkle. Was this a typo.

    Wes Wagner wrote (@49):

    In the minutes on lp.org I have only 23 votes. Obviously that does not compute with the results that were observed by almost 500 people, with no notation why on the differential.

    I emailed Alicia Mattson soon after the convention asking for the spreadsheet of LNC elections. (I was curious as to whether Rutherford supporting states had voted for Starchild to give the new chair a handful, as some people had alleged. It turns out that was not the case — his votes seem to come from radicals.)

    It took her a few weeks to email me back because she was auditing the LNC results. She sent me the convention minutes and a PDF of the at-large ballots submitted by states.

    Since she doesn’t post to IPR much, I will post some excerpts from her email here. I’ll confine that to factual statements rather than her opinions because I am not seeking her permission to share her email beforehand.

    Alicia Mattson wrote (via email):

    When auditing the numbers post-convention, I found a few mistakes that I’d made, and the corrected numbers are in the minutes. […]

    The numbers shown onscreen at convention for the At-Large race showed Wes Wagner tied with Mark Hinkle with 126 votes. That was incorrect. Mark Hinkle did receive 126 votes. Wes Wagner actually received only 23 votes. Due to the large number of people nominated for At-Large, I had to insert quite a few rows on the fly to my tally spreadsheet. When I copied the total formula down the column into the new rows, I apparently stopped updating one row short of the bottom. As a result, Wes Wagner’s row (alphabetical order, so he was last) didn’t get the formula updated, and it retained a formula dependent on its prior position before I inserted the new rows. Wes Wagner’s total formula picked up data from Mark Hinkle’s row, thus the tie numbers that were shown on-screen at convention.

    I looked at the PDF Alicia sent me of the at-large ballots and re-tabulated the results. 23 seems to be the correct number for Wes Wagner.

  51. Chuck Moulton

    Chuck Moulton wrote (@58):

    I looked at the PDF Alicia sent me of the at-large ballots and re-tabulated the results. 23 seems to be the correct number for Wes Wagner.

    Paulie wrote (@59):

    I think there is an appendix in the minutes that has each candidate’s votes by state.

    Yes. I was further verifying that the state by state breakdown in the minutes for Wes Wagner match the state submitted ballots for at-large.

  52. Mike Jones

    I don’t think any miscounts happened in adding up state totals. IIRC there were several people working on that and they were not all aligned with one faction.

    If there was any miscounts or cheating it was within states. Given that different states were controlled by different factions it seems unlikely that it would have all been on one side if it did happen.

  53. fred

    Robert @ 35
    There is actually a mechanism in place right now. The primary ballots, that were mailed out to every registered Libertarian in Oregon, include a chance to vote in favor or against the bylaws that the “Wagner faction” is operating with. If the voters vote no — then the 2009 bylaws (that the “Reeves faction” claims are the valid bylaws) will be in place.
    This doesn’t necessarily decide who the leaders of the party will be–but it would show which set of bylaws the voters prefer.

    I completely agree with you that the fighting factions should put aside their differences. I also advocate for putting Johnson on the ballot but provided the party is working toward that goal– there isn’t urgency. It will make no difference how long before the deadline he is on Oregon’s ballot–Provided he is on the ballot before the deadline.
    The Wagner faction, the LP and the Johnson campaign have all stated that they are working out the details to place Johnson on the Oregon ballot. Those who want him to be elected should go out and campaign instead of utilizing their time trying to exploit the delay for their factional benefit.

  54. Richard P. Burke

    Fred @ 56 and 63,

    It is true that those who have already donated to other PACs will not be able to use the Oregon Political Tax Credit to negate their annual dues. Perhaps that is a good incentive for them to donate to the LPO first. If they don’t, it means they care about something else more than they care about the LPO.

    The entire membership list has never been in dispute. Occasionally, the status of individual or groups of members have been in dispute. This is true in almost every organization with a moderate to large membership list, and our disputes have been settled in convention or through our Judicial Committee, as they should be. Such will be the case again when the legitimate LPO governing documents are restored.

    The attempt by Mr. Wagner and his group to whitewash and legitimize their coup through their so-called “primary election” won’t work. If Mr. Wagner and his supporters lose their court case, it all collapses (including the referendum) because the ballot was not executed in accordance with the legitimate governing documents of the LPO as approved by members in convention. I will be curious to see how many people will participate in this farce. I am guessing a 5-7% return rate without a supplemental mailing. While perhaps good for direct mail, it is poor for an election ballot and not indicative of any sort of mandate.

    Fred, you say that you want us to sit down and negotiate. But how can we have any confidence that any negotiating partner is acting in good faith if they think it is OK to rewrite the rulebook unilaterally when the game isn’t going their way?

    That’s what we are dealing with. 1) Mr. Wagner and his friends still believe it is OK to throw out the rulebook when it is politically expedient to do so and rewrite a new one themselves in a small night meeting where the membership they claim to be fighting for is not provided notice. 2) They still believe it is OK to overturn convention majorities and negate their directives. 3) They are unrepentant. This makes them untrustworthy negotiating partners because no rules or agreements will restrain them from breaking the agreement when it doesn’t work in their favor.

    The fact that you are supporting their effort implies that you agree with the above three points or are, at least, willing to look the other way. It is unfortunate and disappointing that you don’t encourage them to prove that they are trustworthy negotiating partners by abandoning their crumbling coup, join us in reinstating the old bylaws, then negotiate amendments. In my mind, your current posture puts you in the same category as Mr. Wagner and his friends and fatally compromises you as any kind of mediator.

    Admittedly, no set of governing documents is perfect. This is true of the legitimate bylaws, and I would be happy in joining in a UNITED process to legitimately improve or replace them.

    But the legitimate ones do, in fact, work. They are just not liked by a vocal minority who has never been able to create a working majority, much less a 2/3 majority, without breaking down the other side through lawsuits, threats of lawsuits, and threats of criminal charges being filed. They’re small children who want to get their way, and they’re going to kick up a tantrum and pound their fists until the adults either appease them, abandon the organization, or allow themselves to be run over roughshod.

    That they are not willing to get their way through recruitment and organization and work is telling – no successful organization can rise from people holding such mentalities. The best they can hope for is a glorified supper club with ballot access, which is what they’ve got now.

    I believe this is the point Mr. Orrin Grover was trying to make at the March 31, 2011 LPO State Committee meeting when Mr. Wagner and his friends pulled their coup. Fortunately, none of what Mr. Wagner and his supporters are doing is going to stick. And members who want to build the LPO along the lines of our governing documents as adopted by members in convention… have had enough of them.

    Want to negotiate? Fine. But we need to know that negotiating partners will stick to whatever we agree to, even it it doesn’t always work to their advantage. And we can have no confidence along these lines as long as our prospective partners think it is OK to rewrite the rulebook whenever they want.

    Richard P. Burke

  55. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@53,

    “tk, justify why you think the ‘Reeves Gang’ suit is ‘frivolous,’ please. How is that possible if they won?”

    They haven’t won. The “victory” they cite in their press release is that the judge declined to dismiss the suit per the Oregon LP’s motion that he do so. All that means is that the suit will actually be heard, rather than kicked out of court without being heard (or, to put it a different way, it means the judge does not agree with me that the suit is prima facie frivolous).

    The reasons the suit are frivolous is that

    1) BOTH sides violated the existing bylaws — the Oregon LP by amending its broken bylaws through a method other than that internally required, the Reeves Gang by holding a kangaroo election in which non-members of the state committee (including at least one committeeman from an entirely different party) were treated as members of the state committee for the purpose of electing people to masquerade as “officers;” and

    2) The Oregon LP’s bylaws violation at least appears to have occurred for correct reasons (to fix broken bylaws and to empower Oregon’s 13,000 Libertarians to control of their party), while the Reeves Gang’s bylaws violation was transparently for the sole purpose of keeping power in the hands of those who had created the broken state in the first place because they like being in charge of their own little private club.

  56. fred

    Richard @ 64,

    finding a negotiator who is not in anyway connected to this group would be an easy task. But I don’t think we are even close to the point of negotiating. I merely suggest talking. Perhaps if we discussed what is important to us as individuals we might find creative solutions that will get us all what we want.

    As for the membership list–as you know, there have been disputes that would have made a difference in the outcomes of elected LPO officers and Judicial committee members. It is an unfortunate cycle that builds upon itself.

    I don’t agree that turning the issue over to the registered Libertarian voters is in any way going to “whitewash” the issues. The registered Libertarians of Oregon are who this party is suppose to represent. The party belongs to them–not the other way around.

    I admit that I have a personal stake that may make me unfit for negotiating between the factions. I was (either intentionally or by accidental omission) not invited to any of the proceedings of the “Reeves Faction.”
    I had no knowledge that they were intending to hold an election at the end of a convention that was cancelled (by the officers that no one has disputed were legitimate at the time). Even though I was one of the representatives from Marion County, I was not invited to (or informed of) a single state committee meeting by the “Reeves faction.”
    I only became aware that the “Reeves Faction” was sending a delegation to the national convention because the “Reeves faction” sent letters to all of the delegates stating that they were the legitimate representatives of Oregon. They only made efforts to contact me as a someone registered as a delegate with national and never a member of the LPO, a registered Libertarian in Oregon, or a member of the state committee under the bylaws they claim to represent.
    I am further hindered in my ability to negotiate by the unwillingness of anyone from the “Reeves Faction” to discuss with me the issues at hand unless I first meet their demands to claim that they are the legitimate representatives of the Libertarians in Oregon. I have no intentions of claiming that anyone has legitimate authority to represent me as a Libertarian–if they are unwilling to meet with me to discuss why they believe that their authority is legitimate and answer my concerns about why I am being excluded.
    I take further exception to the “Reeves Faction’s” claim that the National convention delegates voted that the “Reeves Faction” was the legitimate delegation. The actual action taken was: the delegates at the national convention voted to accept the delegate list approved by the credentials committee. Most of the delegates at the national committee were unaware that the seven member credentials committee included two people who are instigators of the lawsuit that the “Reeves faction” initiated. The delegates were unaware that both members of the “Reeves faction” refuse to recuse themselves and then voted in favor of the faction that they are part of and that their votes decided the outcome.

    As for your assertion that Oregon Libertarians should:
    “donate to the LPO first. If they don’t, it means they care about something else more than they care about the LPO.”
    I will plead GUILTY AS CHARGED.
    I have personally invested my money in political campaigns and activism that goes directly to the cause and that promotes PEACE, FREEDOM and Libertarianism. Those activities are far more important to me than anything that the LPO has accomplished during the five years that I have watched you and Mr. Wagner sue each other.

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