Published in Liberty for America, May 2011
In a surprise move without precedent or advance warning, the Libertarian Party of Nevada State Committee disaffiliated its three County/Regional Committees, which cover Las Vegas, Reno, and the Capital District. Readers of this newspaper may recall that the Clark County, Nevada LP group is financially independent of their state party, files separately with the FEC, and raises more money than a large fraction of all LP State Par-ties.
A pair of audio tapes, said to be from the meeting, appear on Youtube at youtube.com/watch?v=O-3UnWQFRZ8 and
youtube.com/watch?v=bzggrxmqjRo .Readers unwilling to type these links may find them on IndependentPoliticalReport.com.
A draft transcript of the tapes appears on IPR.
The Clark County LP has already responded. Debra Dedmon, writing on IPR, reports: The Libertarian Party of Clark County is valid due to the bylaws violation. The remaining members have elected Angela McKinster Chair .
Here is a partial edited transcript. Each paragraph is a different speaker. Your editor was not at the LPNV State Committee meeting and can neither identify most of the voices nor vouch for the validity of the recordings of this public meeting:
Motion #1 I move that we have three Libertarian Party of Nevada membership levels. These levels would also main-tain national sustaining membership status as defined in (inaudible): level 1 $50 annually, level 2 $213.12 annually, and level 3 which would be $1776 annually.
(Person making motion is invited to speak and does not.)
This is Dave Colborne. Out of curiosity, are we actually al-lowed to do this? Our bylaws leave membership fees to the lo-cal affiliates presently.
I don‘t know. Irv do you want to address this?
Irv: I‘m not aware of any bylaws. It wouldn‘t change our by-laws so it wouldn‘t change our qualifications for membership according to our state bylaws.
This is descriptions of donor levels. We‘re not really changing our state bylaws. That‘s all it is, just establishing three different levels. We can come up with names later. Basic membership, just the fifty to force the uh (unintelligible), the next level equates to $17.76 per month, and the last level is the $1776 for hopefully new members, big bucks ( big deep pockets).
Colborne: So, just as a question, would this override the local membership program or would it be on top of the local mem-bership program? Answer: It just establishes three different names for the three different levels, that‘s all.
Colborne: Well the problem here is that and I hate quoting by-laws here but according to them any affiliated areas under article 3 section A all members of an affiliate party in Nevada are members of the LPN provided that the region has joined the local membership program, which basically requires forward-ing ten dollars to the executive committee for each member registered in the affiliate. I personally have no problem, the 1776 brigade and things like that, accepting membership levels beyond whatever the affiliates currently have. I just want to make sure that those who live in Clark County and Nye County where they don‘t have dues or have dues that are considerably lower than fifty dollars are still members of state. I just want to be sure that is cleared up.
I can answer that. Nothing we do as an executive committee changes our bylaws, and I‘m sure you‘re aware of that. Our Bylaws and our constitution do not create any kind of donor level or membership level. This just establishing a description rather than as establishment who is a member or not. Right we now we have membership as just as you quoted, that‘s what governs our body so I don‘t see this as a conflict. Nothing we do can change our bylaws. We have to do that at a state convention.
Colborne OK. Mostly I wanted to make sure that was clear to the entire body. I‘ve got no problem with raising some extra money and having some extra donation levels. That‘s fine.
[Editor: There is then a vote. The motion appears to pass unanimously. We then reach the next motion, under which all regional affiliates are disaffiliated, meaning that the dues levels just voted cover the entire state.]
I move to consolidate the Libertarian Party of Nevada by revoking the affiliate status of all Nevada county chapters including the Libertarian Party of Clark County, The Capi-tol Libertarian Party, and the Nye County Libertarian Par-ty thereby folding them into one organization until such time as membership levels (?) have reached (?) rechartering of county organizations.
Colborne: I was expecting Irv to speak in favor of his motion before chiming in.
Irv: I really don‘t have anything to say. This thing speaks for itself. I just think it‘s a good time for consolidation.. (short problem with background noise)
Colborne: Why are we doing this? I guess that would be my first question.
Chair: David, are you speaking for this or against this? I guess that could be my first question.
All right, I‘ll go ahead with this and I‘ll speak against it. As-suming we go though we this and assuming that you vote in favor of this, which I have a sneaking suspicion you probably will, you are talking about requiring all perspective candidates from (list of counties) to go down to Clark County to be even considered on their local ballots. I really think this is inappro-priate. I don‘t believe this will help grow the Libertarian Party of Nevada. I fail to see how this will increase activism, increase donations, or otherwise improve the functioning of our state especially since the largest most successful state parties in the country namely the Libertarian Parties of California and Texas have heavily relied on local and county affiliates and the Republicans and Democrats as much as you may dislike their ideologies win elections using local county and even precinct level organizations, so I think it‘s kind of unfortunate that we‘re talking about moving away from that direction.
This is Sandy Darby. I‘m not quite sure, my phone kind of went out. What do you mean moving to consolidate?
Motion is read again.
I would like to speak against that. In Nye County we‘re grow-ing pretty rapidly. I think that if we consolidate you‘ll ruin what we‘re starting here.
(Rowan?) I would like to comment,
Chair: You are not recognized. This is an executive committee meeting.
Joe, we also have two elected libertarian officials in our county.
We meet once a month. We had more people in our region than we‘ve ever had before. That‘s not going to happen if we consolidate.
OK thank you Sandy.
Colborne: I move to allow Rowan to speak for five minutes. Sandy Second
Transcriber: This is a motion to allow someone to speak in defense of her organization, on a motion to revoke (for cause) the affiliate status of the group. Observe that enough people vote against permitting a defense. An Aye vote is a vote to per-mit the defense.
Root Aye; Secretary Nay; Treasurer Aye; David Aye; Darby Aye; Roberts Nay; Hopkins Nay; The Chair votes: I vote no.
Rowan: You realize you‘re shutting out two counties and we have real members here. There‘s fifteen of us.
The Nays have it. This is a tie vote and in event of a tie the motion fails.
Voice: Bylaws Article 7B says you have to put your reasons in writing if you have cause to revoke affiliate status.
Chair: You‘re not an officer.
The vote on the disaffiliation motion was Silvestri – Chair; YES, Root – Vice Chair YES; Kris McKinster – Secretary YES, Michael McAuliffe – Treasurer YES; Irv Hopkins – At Large YES; Chris Roberts – Southern Region YES; Da-vid Colborne – Northern Region NO; Sandra Darby – Cen-tral Region NO
The next motion is to authorize spending of funds. I move to authorize the chair to use up any LPNV funds for certain functions: campaigns, fundraising, and annual convention.
Is there any discussion from any officer? Hearing none we move to a vote
Wayne Aye; Secretary No; Treasurer Aye; Colborne No; Darby No; Roberts Aye; Hopkins Aye; Chair I believe it passes — abstains. Passes 4-3.