Michael Jingozian: Resolving the LP Oregon Fiasco

Sent to IPR for publication. For history regarding this situation, the reader can enter “Oregon LP” in the search box and read chronologically, starting in February 2011.
 

Dear Fellow Patriots,

I am reaching out to you in the spirit of fellowship and goodwill in the hope that all of us can arrive at a fair and just resolution to the very serious rift that currently threatens our beloved Libertarian Party of Oregon. In addition, it concerns me that this situation is negatively impacting the progress and direction of our national party. At a time when America sorely needs the ideas, passions, and solutions offered by Libertarians, we cannot in good conscience allow this quarrel to continue.

Let’s review the facts that lay before us. Over the past two years, two rival factions have been battling for control of the Libertarian Party of Oregon (LPO). Each faction is promoting its own agenda and supporting its own slate of candidates for state and national offices.

One faction, led by Wes Wagner, recognizes him as chairman of the LPO. The other faction recognizes Tim Reese as chairman. The Reese faction is backed by Richard Burke and M Carling. In my opinion, both factions want to do the right thing by pursuing their own agenda and strategies. However, when strong passions and dynamic personalities clash, feelings and egos can become bruised.

It’s important to understand how this unfortunate situation developed. At the 2009 LPO state convention, we voted on many changes to our bylaws. All of these amendments were prepared in advance and recommended by Burke and Carling. One of the motions was not published in advance. This amendment stated that if no explicit rules existed in our bylaws regarding any issue, then the issue would be resolved by applying Robert’s Rules of Order.

I was present at this convention. I expressed my concern about voting for an amendment that was presented hastily and which did not seem to serve any practical purpose. . (I’ve seen this tactic tried when I served as Vice Chair of the LNC). However, Carling supported the amendment’s passage and I deferred to his superior knowledge of Libertarian bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order. The amendment passed and the bylaws were amended.

At the invitation of the Reese faction, LNC Chair Mark Hinkle and LNC Secretary Alicia Matson attended the subsequent state convention. Citing the newly adopted amendment to the bylaws, Hinkle and Matson ruled that an LPO quorum was not based on the number of active party members but rather on everyone who had ever joined the party—an unrealistic number. As a result of this ruling, it is now virtually impossible to achieve quorum to call a meeting, elect new officers, amend the party bylaws, or conduct any meaningful LPO business.

The current situation is a dysfunctional stalemate with two executive committees, one led by the Wagner faction and the other led by the Reese faction – each claiming legitimacy. To convolute matters even further, the Wagner executive committee adopted a new set of bylaws to support its agenda. The legitimacy of this new set of bylaws has been called into serious question.

The bottom line is how do we resolve this dispute in the easiest, quickest way possible – so that we can move on with the party’s business? Currently, there seem to be two courses-of-action.

The first option is to recognize the Wagner executive committee as the legitimate governing body of the LPO. The Libertarian Party National Judicial Committee ruled that the Wagner executive committee was in fact the legitimate ruling arm. However, this decision was not supported by LNC Chair Hinkle, who has stated that he does not recognize the Wagner executive committee.

The second option is to disaffiliate the LPO and install a new executive committee. This would essentially create a new and second LPO. The Reese faction is actively pursuing this course of action. Although this second option may initially appear feasible, it would likely create even more problems and uncertainty. Our party would likely encounter serious reproof from the secretary of state’s office, from our membership, and from our donors and supporters. Party assets would be in dispute. We face the real chance of loosing our ballot access status.

Yes, friends. We’ve created a huge challenge for ourselves. But the overriding question is where do we go from here? In my opinion, neither of the two aforementioned options is ideal. After evaluating facts, personalities, and agendas, I propose a different course of action:

o We recognize the Wes Wagner executive committee. This was also the ruling by the LPO Judicial Committee. I agree with their decision.

o We need to void (nullify, etc.) the amendment that created the unrealistic quorum requirement. There are many reasons why this amendment can and should be nullified. I propose that the national Judicial Committee meet again and vote to void this amendment.

o We also need to nullify the new Oregon bylaws that were adopted by the Wagner executive committee. In my opinion, the executive committee did not have the authority to adopt new bylaws. (If the LPO membership wishes to change bylaws, it can do so at any future state convention.)

Even if this course of action is taken, there is no guarantee that the Wagner faction will recognize these decisions. It is my hope that he (along with the rest of the Oregon Executive Committee) decides to resolve this stalemate before this problem escalates even further.

Moving forward, I urge that all of us to drop our fixation with bylaws,
Robert’s Rules of Order, and other constraints and clever attempts to further an agenda by manipulating our policies. Please keep in mind our true adversaries in our fight for liberty! Let’s devote our time, energy, and brainpower on activities that are key to our party’s growth – activities like marketing, membership recruitment, candidate development, and fundraising. I also urge the LNC to not over-step their bounds or muddle in the activities of the state affiliates.

When I served on the LNC, too many of our discussions revolved around rules and parliamentary procedure. Friends, we’re losing touch with what’s truly important. In our preoccupation with rules, we’re neglecting our friends and neighbors who desperately need action and solutions. Parliamentary procedure is not going to create jobs or put food on the table. I fervently believe that our party is not about rules. It’s about a purpose – to increase personal freedom and personal responsibility. It’s about fundraising, and spreading our message, and attracting powerful candidates to run for office. It’s about inspiring more citizens to rally around our principles and join the Libertarian party.

At future Libertarian conventions, I respectfully ask you (the LP members) to re-evaluate the qualities that your leadership should possess. I encourage you to especially consider individuals who can share experience and knowledge in areas like marketing, public relations, organizational development, fundraising, just to name a few.

The situation that we find ourselves in is politically driven – and it is a mistake. Let us put aside our petty differences and desire for control. Let us forgive the barbs and insults that may have wounded us. Let us remember why we joined the Libertarian Party in the first place. At this dangerous juncture in our nation’s history, it is critical that we recommit ourselves to the greater fight – the fight for personal liberty and freedom. Please. Let’s do the right thing now.

Freedom & Peace,

Michael P. Jingozian

Former Vice Chairman, LNC

102 thoughts on “Michael Jingozian: Resolving the LP Oregon Fiasco

  1. Nicholas Sarwark

    1) It’s Reeves, not Reese, based on what I’ve heard.

    2) What Tom said.

    With those caveats, I like the direction that Jingozian is going here and hope that the Oregon situation gets resolved without further Judicial Committee involvement.

  2. Robert Capozzi

    mj: We need to void (nullify, etc.) the amendment that created the unrealistic quorum requirement. There are many reasons why this amendment can and should be nullified. I propose that the national Judicial Committee meet again and vote to void this amendment.

    me: First, I like the tone and spirit that MJ articulates in this letter. I do wonder whether the JC would view this particular nullification as in their jurisdiction…I’d guess no. Perhaps MJ could serve as mediator for this dysfunction himself. He lives there. He’s not allied that I can tell with either faction. And he gives all indications of being reasonable, smart and filled with good will.

    He would probably need to flesh out how the nullification “can and should” be done. Off the top of my head, I’d suggest that a rule that is essentially impossible to meet is on its face void.

  3. Tom Feeny

    Jingo makes sense here, but the national JC can not rule on Oregon bylaws and ballot access is not threatened accordinging to Oregon Secretary of State. Other than that I agree.

  4. Marc Montoni

    What Jingo is proposing is similar to what I suggested back in May as a compromise position.

    I don’t know that Jingo is unallied; he was after all set up to run against Chuck Moulton in 2008 by the same faction on the LNC that is now trying to replace Wes, et al, with Reeves, et al. In addition, his votes while on the LNC dovetailed fairly well with the majority faction.

    So unallied… I don’t think that can be said.

    However, he is of the right mind on this issue, so I’ll accept that he has good intentions here.

    On the other hand, I think at this point that neither side is willing to compromise; and that being the case, the best thing that the LNC can do is allow these guys to maul each other until they wear themselves out.

  5. George Whitfield

    I agree with Michael. We need to keep the big picture in mind and settle this quarrel. There are important actions our Party should focus on without this rule distraction.

  6. Jeremy C. Young

    I don’t know that neither side is willing to compromise. I think Wes might very well accept this deal — it gets Burke and Carling out of LPO leadership for the time being, and voids the new bylaws while simultaneously fixing the problem the new bylaws were written to address. I’d certainly take it if I were him.

    On the other hand, I’d think the deal would be unpalatable to the Reeves faction.

  7. Robert Capozzi

    5 mm: I don’t know that Jingo is unallied; he was after all set up to run against Chuck Moulton in 2008 by the same faction on the LNC that is now trying to replace Wes, et al, with Reeves, et al. In addition, his votes while on the LNC dovetailed fairly well with the majority faction.

    me: Can you expand? What do you mean by “set up”? Who specifically set him up?

    Near as I can tell, CM is also unallied, btw. He’s a “radical,” but, for ex., he took the view that Wagner is not the proper Chair of the LPO, as I recall. Similarly, MJ may have tended to vote a certain way, but what my IMPRESSION is is that he’s independent-minded, not an SCMHer, not part of the “cabal.”

    It’s a mistake to assume just two sides to any issue, including/especially the LPO dysfunction….

  8. George Phillies

    I am inclined to believe that the Wagner faction has better things to do with its time than to save face for the Reeves faction. They appear to be busier actually running people for office, etc.

    Curiously, on one hand the LNC voted down the Ruwart motion that the LNC should obey its own bylaws and implement the Judicial Committee recommendation, and on the other hand I see that LPOregon is agian linked from the LP.org web site.

  9. George Phillies

    @6 In my opinion, the quarrel appears to be over, the way quarrels are ever over in politics, namely one side appears to have been lost. Of course, the Reeves faction is still alive, and can appeal to the success of the political market by being more successful than the Wagner faction at, e.g., raising money and using it effectively to run candidates for office. However, they actually have to succeed at politics.

  10. Alicia Mattson

    Besides the fact that we attended the November 2010 LPO special convention, the other things said about me and LNC Chairman Mark Hinkle in paragraph #6 of this posting are untrue.

    Michael Jingozian was not at the November 2010 dinner where M Carling and I (Mark Hinkle was NOT present at this dinner) spoke about these matters with Jeff Weston, Wes Wagner, and Mark Vetanen. Nor do I recall seeing Michael Jingozian at the special LP of Oregon (LPO) convention the next day.

    I do not believe Michael Jingozian to be the type of person who would knowingly misrepresent facts in this story. Rather I believe he has been misinformed and/or has misunderstood something, and his error is not intentional. I believe that he and many others have been told incomplete and inaccurate information leading them to mistaken conclusions.

    In the weeks leading up to the LPO special convention in November 2010, several LNC members received email complaints from numerous members of the LPO, complaints that the LPO leadership was violating their fundamental membership rights. Evidence was provided to back up these complaints. These complaints had been made to the LPO leadership with demands that their rights be restored, but to no avail, so the victims repeated their complaints to LNC members asking for advice.

    At the time Jeff Weston was the LPO Chair, and Wes Wagner was the Vice-Chair. The special convention in November 2010 had been called to consider adopting a bylaws revision, with the proposals being supported by what is now known as “the Wagner faction”.

    A series of steps taken by the Wagner faction LPO leadership would have deprived a large number of LPO members of their membership rights to participate in this special convention and vote whether to adopt the bylaws revision being proposed.

    #1. There was a group of thirteen people who met the bylaws requirements for LPO membership and submitted payment for their dues in time to be eligible to vote at the Nov 2010 special convention. The Wagner faction dominated the LPO State Committee at the time, and they perceived that these 13 weren’t likely to vote for the bylaw proposals supported by the Wagner faction. So the LPO leadership sent letters to these 13 to inform them that their membership applications had been placed on hold until after the special convention, at which time the LPO State Committee would decide whether or not to allow those people to join the LPO.

    The bylaws gave the LPO leadership absolutely no such authority to reject membership applications from people who met the bylaws qualifications. This action would have deprived these 13 members of their fundamental voting rights at the special convention and it could easily have impacted the outcome of the convention votes.

    #2. The Wagner faction as the dominant group in the LPO leadership had removed life members from the membership rolls. An LPO Judicial Committee ordered the life members be added back to the membership rolls. Some were added back. A substantial number were not. In the weeks leading up to the November 2010 special convention, it was at least twice brought to the attention of the LPO leadership that some life members had not been restored to the membership rolls, but no action was taken by the leadership to attempt to rectify the problem. Since these individuals were not on the membership listings, they were not sent notice of the special convention. This failure would have deprived even more people of their fundamental membership rights to know of the special convention and the proposed bylaw changes and have opportunity to participate in the decisions.

    The reasons above, followed by complaints from LPO members, are why LNC Chairman Mark Hinkle and I went to Oregon last November. None of those reasons have anything to do with quorum. These were very serious complaints that we were hearing from LP members in Oregon that their state leadership was depriving large numbers of people of their fundamental membership rights to participate in the special convention and decide whether or not to adopt new bylaws.

    I didn’t start a blog war about it. I went there to see it for myself and talk with the leadership face-to-face about it.

    On the evening before that special convention, M Carling and I went to dinner with LPO Chair Jeff Weston, LPO Vice-Chair Wes Wagner, and LPO officer Mark Vetanen. We sat down like adults and had a straightforward and civil discussion about what they were doing, how those actions were not permitted by their bylaws, and how those actions were abuses of their positions at the expense of the rights of the membership.

    Mr. Carling and I did not issue any orders or rulings, nor did we have authority to do so. We listened to their arguments and gave the LPO officers our opinions and explained the reasons for them.

    At the end of the discussion, Jeff Weston of his own free will concluded from the arguments made at dinner that night that item #1 above was in violation of their rules. Mr. Weston challenged Wes Wagner to make his case for why it was permitted. Mr. Wagner had no counter-argument, and Mr. Weston remained convinced that the opinions presented by Mr. Carling and myself were correct. At the convention the next day Mr. Weston chose to publicly retract his actions regarding these 13 members.

    During dinner the LPO officers initially denied that item #2 had been previously brought to their attention, and complained that learning of it on the night before the convention was too late to do anything about it. Because LPO members had previously sent me evidence for their complaints, that night I was able to provide proof in the form of emails LPO members had sent to the LPO leadership complaining about item #2. The LPO leadership had been informed, and they had taken no action to try to remedy it.

    There was actually an item #3 that affected one other individual’s rights, but we didn’t even get around to discussing item #3 at dinner that evening. It was getting late already, and we had chosen to first address the mass disenfranchisements rather than the case affecting one individual.

    Had the LPO leadership not invited scrutiny of their bylaws by trampling on LPO membership rights and then ignoring the membership complaints, the quorum problem might well have gone unnoticed for years.

    Because the complaints of LPO members had reached my ears and came with evidence, including prior membership listings, I had an idea of their membership numbers. When at the end of dinner the three LPO officers told me how many attendees they expected the next day, I asked if they would have quorum.

    The story above wrongly claims that I advised them “an LPO quorum was not based on the number of active party members but rather on everyone who had ever joined the party—an unrealistic number.”

    I most certainly DID NOT AT ANY TIME say that, nor have I ever believed that to be the rule for the LPO.

    I did advise them that since their bylaws do not otherwise specify a quorum requirement, the default rule comes from their parliamentary authority. I did advise them that in their circumstances, the relevant rule in RONR is that a quorum is a majority of the current membership. That does not include “everyone who had ever joined the party”, but it does include the lifetime memberships the LPO had granted. Those people are current members until they die, resign their membership, or have their membership revoked with proper cause and procedure under the LPO bylaws.

    It is my understanding that back in 2007 the Wagner faction called a special convention during the week between Christmas and New Year’s for consideration of a bylaws change. I do not know how many attended that special convention during the holidays. Nonetheless, the bylaws were amended at that meeting to change their state party meetings from:

    a) a system where the only people eligible to vote are “delegates” elected by county affiliates to represent them at the state meeting (In parliamentary terms this system is called a “convention of delegates”.)

    to:

    b) a system where every LPO member is eligible to attend and vote at the state meeting without a need to first have a county affiliate elect you and delegate to you the responsibility of representing that county affiliate at the state meeting (In parliamentary terms this system is called an “assembly of members”.)

    Under RONR the default quorum rules are different for the two scenarios. As of the night in November 2010 when I spoke with the LPO officers, the event the next day was structured as an assembly of members, so I cited the rule for quorum in an assembly of members.

    After the dinner with the LPO officers in which we discussed rights violations #1 and #2 noted above, and at which the quorum problem became evident, overnight Jeff Weston had opportunity to review the RONR rules about quorum and decide for himself.

    At the convention the next morning, LPO Chair Jeff Weston issued his own ruling of his own free will that he believed a quorum was not present. I issued no ruling as I am neither the chair of the LPO nor a member of the LPO. I did not speak during the business portion of the meeting, though I did give a very brief social greeting when Mr. Weston introduced me to the assembly as a guest.

    When business began, LPO Chair Jeff Weston ruled that a quorum was not present. Had Mr. Weston disagreed with me about the quorum rule, he could have ruled differently, but he did not. No LPO member asked any questions about or appealed the ruling of the chair. Wes Wagner did not ask any questions about or appeal the ruling of the chair, though he was well aware of how he could have done that had he disagreed. The LPO members accepted Jeff Weston’s ruling about quorum. I watched Wes Wagner raise his hand to vote in favor of adjourning because a quorum was not present.

    Again, if anyone disagreed about the Chair’s ruling regarding quorum, they could have spoken up and presented a different case to try to change his mind, but no one even argued the point.

    I did not attend the March 12, 2011 LPO convention. Between the November event and the March event the Wagner faction had publicly accused me of having gone to Oregon in November to allegedly “enforce” an arcane and convoluted interpretation of quorum rules.

    (I told you above why I did go there, and it wasn’t about quorum, but I suspect the Wagner faction wants to use the quorum issue as a political distraction from the other things they attempted in items #1 and #2 above.)

    And at the March 12 convention, LPO Chair Jeff Weston, without me being present, and after public complaints by the Wagner faction about my opinion of quorum, AGAIN ruled of his own free will that a quorum was not present. AGAIN, no LPO member questioned or appealed the ruling, including Wes Wagner.

    Regardless of what the Wagner faction might say privately or on blogs about my opinion, their actions during their business meetings indicate that they agreed with my opinion about the quorum rule. Given multiple opportunities in business meetings for the LPO Chair to change his ruling or for anyone to appeal it, they did not do so, but rather agreed with it.

    I hope my explanation helps clear up some of the misinformation that has been spread on this topic.

  11. paulie

    Hi Alicia, thank you for providing your side of the story. If you would like it published as an article please let us know.

    IPR’s intent is not to take sides in any of these controversies. Individual IPR writers do line up with various factions, but not all on the same side. We are also not supposed to write our own editorials in articles (though we are free to do so in comments). We do publish editorials from other people, and in controversies like this we like to represent all sides as best we can.

    Please don’t hesitate to send us your opinions on party controversies any time you feel like it.

  12. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I agree with paulie and Dr. Phillies. Glad to hear your side of the story, Alicia! There’s usually something interesting going on here, and we can always use more womenfolk.

  13. ATBAFT

    Is this dispute of more than passing interest to the run of the mill LP member out there?

    In any case, rules exist for a reason. They tell those we appoint to leadership how they may conduct the business of the organization we belong to. They should not be tossed aside just because the mission of our group is important.
    This sounds like those who want to disregard the constitution because it is hard to amend and the power they wish to exercise is not enumerated but “what did those old fogies who adopted it know about modern needs?”
    Either Oregon LP followed its rules or it didn’t.
    Which faction followed the rules? If neither did,
    then the membership may wish to start over with a clean slate; call a rump convention and see if LNC recognizes the result. Or let two Oregon Libertarian parties exist until such time, if ever, it sorts itself out. The LP presidential candidate can make nice, or not, with whichever Party holds the ballot access according to the Sec. of State.

  14. Robert Capozzi

    12 am: So the LPO leadership sent letters to these 13 to inform them that their membership applications had been placed on hold until after the special convention, at which time the LPO State Committee would decide whether or not to allow those people to join the LPO. The bylaws gave the LPO leadership absolutely no such authority to reject membership applications from people who met the bylaws qualifications.

    me: If this is true, this strikes me as extraordinarily unacceptable. I’d like to hear from Wagner on this. I’d also like to hear from other out-of-staters who’ve been vociferously pro-Wagner what their interpretation is of this LPO situation, e.g., GP and TK.

    Is this OK with you?

    Ya know, I’ve been accused of being histrionic by bringing up the notion of “what should be done if David Duke took over a state LP?” I’m now wondering whether I understated it!

    If true, like I said. There MAY be a reasonable explanation for the facts.

    To me, the “this has been going on for 15 years, blah, blah, blah” doesn’t justify “therefore, you 13 can’t be members, and you can’t vote”.

    Anticipating possible Wagner responses, perhaps he will just deny this ever happened. Or perhaps he will just claim that he DID have the power to place memberships on hold. If so, then I guess the 13 need to be named and their side of the story heard. Or perhaps Wagner and Co. will post another charming flaming middle finger….

    Finally, if a disaffiliation vote is ever done, it would be interesting to hear why a dissenter dissented, in light of this fact alone, if true. Normally, one would not expect the hear the rationale of an LNCer on a particular vote. However, unless I’m missing something, this is WAY unacceptable behavior.

  15. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@17,

    “I’d also like to hear from other out-of-staters who’ve been vociferously pro-Wagner what their interpretation is of this LPO situation, e.g., GP and TK.”

    Not only have I not been “vociferously pro-Wagner,” I haven’t been particularly “pro-Wagner” at all.

    What I’ve been is “pro-the-LNC-not-exceeding-its-authority.”

  16. George Phillies

    @12 Thank you for a coherent explanation of your perspective, and a discussion of the issues you thought were important. Your explanation made much more sense than the explanation Karlan gave at the LNC meeting, though I have also read several other LNC members’ reports on the membership issue.

    So are you going to support the “Wiener motions”, as the national chair described them?

  17. Robert Capozzi

    18 tk, fair enough. IF AM’s account is true, as an observer of this, would you support the LNC disaffiliating or taking other steps to correct this — I guess the only word I can come up with is — disenfranchisment of 13 L Oregonians?

    Do you have a general opinion about this move to disenfranchise 13 people in order to gain control of the LPO?

  18. Chuck Moulton

    Alicia’s account of membership recognition shenanigans matches many other accounts I have heard. The Wagner faction certainly did not have clean hands in this affair even well before the state central committee meeting where they passed new bylaws with no authorization to do so. (Nor did the Burke faction have clean hands.)

    However, one area where I believe Alicia is partially at fault is that according to Jeff Weston, Wes Wagner, and others they believed Alicia Mattson was speaking to them on behalf of the LNC under color of her office as LNC secretary rather than on behalf of herself (and on behalf of the disenfranchised members). Piecing together what everyone has said I don’t believe Alicia Mattson ever expressly or deliberately misrepresented herself. I get the impression that Weston and Wagner jumped to an incorrect conclusion which was never expressly stated by anyone during the dinner or the convention.

    It is hard to assign much blame for such an error of omission that was clearly an unintentional misunderstanding, but its consequences were quite far reaching. LNC members should be very careful going forward to expressly state when they are speaking just for themselves and when they are speaking for the LNC in dicey situations akin to this one.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    21 cm, why do you say “far reaching”? If a group seizes control of an affiliate in part by disenfranchising members, I really don’t care that others are not without blame. We’re all “guilty” of something, after all?

    Way, way, way uncool to disenfranchise. Completely unjustified. Full stop.

  20. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    CM @ 21: “LNC members should be very careful going forward to expressly state when they are speaking just for themselves and when they are speaking for the LNC.” This is a very reasonable request, and should be expected and enforced from now on.

  21. Robert Capozzi

    Aside from the Chair and the Treasurer in specific situations, when does an LNC member ever speak for the LNC?

    And how could that possible be “enforced”?

  22. Bruce Cohen

    Yes and Jill, what about you, did you always tell everyone you were a Board Member of the LPCA whenever stating an opinion? Sounds like Liberal Marxist overregulation to me.

    Miss Mattson is a straight shooter, non game player type.

    Though I don’t agree with her often and certainly don’t agree with some of her opinions here, that’s how life works.

    Libertarians are way too hung up on cheating to win and to ostracizing folks that don’t agree on minor side issues.

    Jill herself is among those, who demonizes and censors people she doesn’t like.

    Miss Pyatt considers herself more equal than others.

    I am sure she will request this posting to be removed.

    Be that as it may, the facts remain that the Oregon battle is as nasty and dishonest as any in California and New York.

    Can’t Libertarians just get along?

    (NO)

  23. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@20,

    I would neither support nor oppose the LNC disaffiliating LPO based on the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of AM’s account.

    In 1999, I objected to the disaffiliation of Arizona on grounds of non-statement of cause. The reply from LNC members at that time was that that “cause” was that they were unable to distinguish which organization was the “real” affiliate.

    When Arizona decided not to appeal that disaffiliation, it basically established a precedent under which that kind of claim can be presumed to satisfy the “cause” requirement.

    So, regardless of any opinion which I might have regarding which (if either) LPO faction is the “legitimate” leadership, I’d say if the LNC wants to disaffiliate LPO for some reason like that, it’s free to do so.

    Of course, just because it disaffiliates LPO, that doesn’t mean that LPO ceases to be LPO. It just means that the LNC ceases to have an affiliate in Oregon until it chooses a new one, which may or may not be LPO (who is LPO is not a question the LNC gets to decide).

  24. Robert Capozzi

    26 tk: … just because it disaffiliates LPO, that doesn’t mean that LPO ceases to be LPO.

    me: Not so fast there, Bubaloo. If AM’s statement is a fact — that the “recognized” by the State LPO leadership overtly disenfranchised 13 prospects as a means to get themselves in party office and to control the LPO, do you or do you not have an opinion about that maneuver?

    Frankly, I cannot imagine a fair-minded justification for that move, and I can’t imagine how a fair-minded observer could NOT have an opinion of such a manipulation. (Assuming it’s a fact.)

    If there IS one — even a hypothetical one! — I’d like you to share it.

  25. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@27,

    “f AM’s statement is a fact — that the ‘recognized’ by the State LPO leadership overtly disenfranchised 13 prospects as a means to get themselves in party office and to control the LPO, do you or do you not have an opinion about that maneuver?”

    I’d certainly have an opinion about that maneuver.

    It’s just that I’m not sure what that maneuver, or my opinion of it, or Alicia Mattson’s opinion of it, has to do with the price of tea in China.

  26. JT

    Robert to Tom: “Do you have a general opinion about this move to disenfranchise 13 people in order to gain control of the LPO?”

    I’d also like to know that, as well as what Tom thinks about the Wagner faction changing the bylaws outside of convention. I’ve heard him and George criticize the LNC a lot and what it did in this case, but I don’t know where they stand as to whether they think Wagner et. al. were right in what they did (George has said Mattson’s explanation makes sense, but that isn’t an opinion on how Wagner and his cohorts behaved). Obviously, neither has to state their opinions, but I’m somewhat curious.

    I’m also curious as to whether any other states have problems getting a majority of current party members in their states to attend their conventions. That sounds like a steep requirement to me in order to get a quorum.

  27. George Phillies

    @29 I said that Mattson’s explanation makes sense –I meant as an explanation from Mattson as to what she thought she was doing.

    Whether the assertions about memberships are actually factually accurate as opposed to reporting what Mattson says she believed to be true is another matter.

  28. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT@29,

    “what Tom thinks about the Wagner faction changing the bylaws outside of convention.”

    It appears to be a matter of agreement on all sides that the existing bylaws were broken beyond repair — that LPO was effectively frozen in place because getting a legitimate quorum was, for all intents and purposes, impossible.

    That created a vacuum within which two factions attempted to seize power and remake LPO in its own image.

    Based on the limited information at my disposal, I tend to think the Wagner approach (tying its legitimacy to all 13,000 registered Libertarians in Oregon and to the state-based character of political parties, and fashioning working bylaws to proceed with) was better than the Reeves approach (ginning up a committee of Republicans and felons — but I repeat myself — and asking the LNC to impose that committee’s rule by edict).

    But, the information at my disposal could be incomplete, incorrect, or given undue complexion in transmission. My overarching opinion of the whole matter is that LPO’s problems are LPO’s to work out, and that the LNC’s sole tool for intervention is disaffilation.

  29. Robert Capozzi

    31 tk: I tend to think the Wagner approach (tying its legitimacy to all 13,000 registered Libertarians in Oregon and to the state-based character of political parties, and fashioning working bylaws to proceed with)…

    me: Yes, I can see that. But doing so while DISENFRANCHING new members in the process? Wait a sec. Aren’t you the guy who repeatedly critiques SCMH for operating from an “ends justify the means” perspective? If Wagner & Co. just unilaterally said, Nope, sorry, we don’t know WHO you are, you can’t be an LPO member until after we seize control and rewrite the bylaws.

    C’mon, Tom!!! Maybe I’m really missing something here, but that SURE looks like a textbook ex. of an “ends justify the means” power play. If I am, what is it? Please set me straight, as only you can! 😉

  30. Michael H. Wilson

    Some of us have realized for some time that there were problems whether it is where the conventions are held or the manner in which they are conducted. Unfortunately it has taken something like this to get the attention of others.

    Too many people in it promoting their own agenda or just a lack of knowledge.

    At least I understand the Mr. Hinkle has tossed the ball back to Oregon and said solve your own problems.

  31. Alicia Mattson

    @33 – I have just sent to the IPR editors two items with a request that they be posted here.

    They are:

    1) the form letter sent by the LPO Secretary to the 13 individuals whose memberships were put on hold – I did black out the name/address of the particular victim, as I don’t know if that person minds being dragged into a blog fight. I have several of these, and they’re identical except for the name/address.

    2) an audio recording of the portion of the November 2010 LPO special convention in which the chair rescinds his action putting those 13 memberships on hold

  32. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@32,

    I thought I had already stipulated to the disenfranchisement claims, if true, being a bad, wrong thing.

    As for the “WHILE” element, I do not know what the relationship (if any) between the alleged disenfranchisements and subsequent events was. The other night, I ate a dish of ice cream WHILE reading one of your comments on IPR, but that doesn’t mean that eating the dish of ice cream and reading one of your comments on IPR had anything in particular to do with each other from a causal standpoint.

    As far as “end justifies the means” stuff goes, my understanding is that the stasis imposed by the bylaws dictated that there could be only one means of resolution — someone had to say “well, if we follow the bylaws, the organization can’t ever do anything again … so, we’re going to reboot.” Two factions did that, because there was nothing else to do.

    SCMH’s “ends justify the means” approach is somewhat different in that they don’t play that card only at a dead end situation — they play it any time they want something and don’t think they can get it through legitimate process.

  33. Alicia Mattson

    Paulie @ 37,

    Yep. I just now sent it again just in case something went awry with the first.

  34. Robert Capozzi

    38 tk: As for the “WHILE” element, I do not know what the relationship (if any) between the alleged disenfranchisements and subsequent events was.

    me: Yes, we can’t know what outcome would have happened if the 13 alleged disenfranchisees were accepted and they attended and voted in convention. Agreed.

    However, this looks to me like a “fruit of the poisonous tree” situation. If leaders of a political party that is using the means of democracy and voting ARBITRARILY disallow membership in that party, I would say that the “reset” needs to be “reset.”

    I’m really just playing Columbo here, because I don’t know, either. This particular datapoint, however, looks MIGHTY suspicious.

    As I’ve sporadically followed that story as it unfolds, my perception is that Wagner has been playing the victim, righteously wronging years of wrongs. And, really, maybe that’s exactly what he and his posse did, or intended to do. (I admit to skepticism based solely on the flaming middle finger and Wagner’s tendency here on IPR for not answering direct questions, as such behavior is not the work of lucid minds, near as I can tell.)

    Unless I hear a credible explanation for how and why they disenfranchised the 13 (now established by the audio AM shared), I would have to assume that they did it to railroad the outcome. And if that’s the case, then I’d have to assume that outcome is unacceptable. Then, the question becomes, what to do about a rogue state LP?

    I wonder: do you find it ACCEPTABLE, TK? “Bad, wrong thing” seems vague to me.

    If LPO is in fact a rogue organization, then that casts MH’s acts in a different light, for me, certainly, and I’d hope any other observer, especially Jingozian.

    I would also wonder whether OR state election law has pertinent clauses for situations like this. Relying on things like the state Voting Rights Acts is sub-optimal, but still, the principle should be that if people want to join the LP, they should be treated like other prospects, i.e., welcomed!

    If they were not, in my book, Wagner and Co. get an epic fail! But, let’s see. Maybe there’s a reasonable explanation here….

  35. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 44,

    When I say that I don’t know what the relationship between the alleged disenfranchisements and the other events is, I don’t just mean that I don’t know what outcomes were changed, I mean that I don’t know what outcomes, if any, were intended to be change.

    Here are a couple of scenarios to demonstrate what I mean:

    Scenario A: A set of bylaws requires people to be members of an organization for 30 days before they can vote on things. A bunch of membership applications arrive at the organization’s 31 days before a convention. The person who processes those applications recognizes them as being from supporters of a measure he opposes, so he sticks them in a drawer for two days to make sure those people can’t vote.

    Scenario B: A set of bylaws requires people to be members of an organization for 30 days before they can vote on things. 30 days before a convention falls on a Saturday. On the following Monday (28 days before a convention), the person responsible for processing applications finds a bunch of them in the mailbox. He consults the bylaws and finds no guidance on whether the 30-day requirement runs from the date the applications were sent/postmarked, the day he received them, or the day the dues checks clear into the organization’s bank account, so he puts a rubber band around them with a sticky note for the executive committee to the effect of “we need to figure out whether or not these people have voting rights at the convention; it’s not a call I think I can make on my own hook.”

    Scenario A would obviously be an abuse. Scenario B would not be — but of course Scenario A could easily be disguised as Scenario B, couldn’t it?

    With respect to LPO and LNC, of course, neither scenario would magically create a new power of the LNC’s chair or executive committee to disaffiliate LPO under the guise of “figuring this shit out.”

    And as for “acceptability,” I rarely find anything “ACCEPTABLE” or “un-ACCEPTABLE,” as I generally consider those to be meaningless categories (very few things depend on, or are even affected by, my acceptance or rejection).

  36. Robert Capozzi

    45 tk, yes, there could be mitigating circumstances that make (what I’d call) unacceptable actions acceptable.

    Thus far, we don’t have anything from Posse Wagner on this allegation of disenfranchisement. Could be they don’t know about it; could be they are circling the wagons, trying to get their story straight. My guess is they’ll need to weigh in and address it. So far, I’ve noted a lot of deflection and smokescreens coming from WW, but we’ll see. I hope they have a credible explanation.

    For me, acceptable/unacceptable might roughly equal ethical behavior. Roughly speaking, my True North is the Golden Rule. Then it becomes a question is this an important matter for me to share my view about, or something to let go (for me, most things should be let go.)

    I address those before even considering the technicalities/legalities.

    So, for ex., the Wrights Affair, that was for me unacceptable even though technically his lapsed membership might have been = to resignation from LNC. In that case, I didn’t let it go, since it was unacceptable, dysfunctional, and I thought I had some insight on the matter.

    FWIW.

  37. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @46,

    “For me, acceptable/unacceptable might roughly equal ethical behavior.”

    Different strokes for different folks. I find it personally counter-productive to think in those terms, as it tends to personalize matters.

    While I probably fail at least as often as I succeed (and while the whole idea may be FUBAR for all I know), I do my best to discern objective standards to measure these kinds of things against, and to keep my subjective personal feelings out of it.

  38. Robert Capozzi

    47 tk: …I do my best to discern objective standards to measure these kinds of things against…

    me: So, you subjectively do your best to discern objectivity? Yep, strokes and folks.

  39. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@48,

    “So, you subjectively do your best to discern objectivity?”

    I don’t see any way around that — we’re all trapped inside the cages of our own assumptions. The best one can do is to attempt to see the bars and filter for them.

    Or, if you prefer it in fiziks terms, we all have our own frame of reference, so the best one can do is to attempt to discern the velocities and directions of observer and observed and apply a guesstimated correction.

  40. paulie

    Thus far, we don’t have anything from Posse Wagner on this allegation of disenfranchisement. Could be they don’t know about it; could be they are circling the wagons, trying to get their story straight.

    Dunno if any of them have read IPR comments since last night (or the day before). Send an email if you are eager to hear their take.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    50 p, I’m not eager, just interested, morbidly curious. Think of me as sand seeking an oyster. One day, a pearl may be created. Or not.

    It’s been said that infinite patience produces to immediate results. Omar from The Wire once said, “A man got to have a code,” so that’s mine. 😉

    Peace is the way.

    That said, I can’t imagine that Wagner’s Crew doesn’t know about MJ’s clarion call for sanity. I respect that they’ll address this revelation when they are ready to…this one looks so clear cut that perhaps they are taking care to get their story REALLY straight, knowing that smokescreens won’t suffice this time…I’m just guessing here…

  42. Thomas L. Knapp

    BH@52,

    “In what sense did the Reeves faction ‘reboot’ the LPOR bylaws?”

    By creating themselves as a central committee out of nothing but pixie dust and their aspirations to be same.

  43. Thomas L. Knapp

    BH @52,

    “If for libertarians the ends can justify unilaterally ‘rebooting’ the rules of voluntary agreements, then libertarianism isn’t worth the electrons used to spell it.”

    If the voluntary agreements are internally inconsistent such that not all elements of them can be carried out, then choices must be made.

    The primary imperative in any organization’s bylaws is that it continue to exist and maintain itself as a going concern.

    Within LPO, that primary imperative came into conflict with a subsidiary imperative, the quorum requirement. Only one or the other could be abided by, and abiding by either required breaking the other.

  44. Robert Capozzi

    54 tk: The primary imperative in any organization’s bylaws is that it continue to exist and maintain itself as a going concern.

    me: Which MIGHT be persuasive until we see that actions were taken in the OTHER direction, i.e., disenfranchising new members, PAYING members, apparently!

    But, we suspend judgment, awaiting Herr Wagner’s explanation….

  45. Brian Holtz

    After the May 21 convention adjourned sine die due to lack of quorum, there was a Bylaws-mandated State Committee meeting that filled the offices that Bylaw 5.2 said became vacant at the close of the convention.

    Calling that “pixie dust” is self-disqualifying from serious discussion of this topic.

    The allegations that Alicia credibly makes @12 are very disturbing. It will be interesting to see if they attract any credible rebuttal.

    The primary imperative of any libertarian organization is to respect the individual rights of its members.

  46. George Phillies

    @54 Tom, you are obviously right.

    Note, however, that the free market will still be able to act on the matter, namely there is nothing to keep the Reeves faction from getting its act in gear, raising money, running people for office, organizing on whatever pattern they are going to use, and becoming the more successful group. Indeed, if they had wanted to run someone else to fill the Wu seat, they had but to show up at the caucus with the candidate, supporters, and perhaps some evidence that he was the better choice. The Wagner group gets to do the same.

    We had this happen in Massachusetts, and despite one bit of in my opinion massive fraud by the other side, in the end we won via the political market.

  47. Robert Capozzi

    57 gp: …the free market will still be able to act on the matter, namely there is nothing to keep the Reeves faction …

    me: Thanks for this. I needed a good laugh today!

    If — as it’s increasingly appearing — the Wagner faction effectively stole the LPO’s assets by, among other things:

    a) disenfranchising potential supporters of the Reeves faction and

    b) inventing its own rules,

    I would LOVE to hear how that’s the “free market” in your mind. If someone steals something from Person A and then offers to sell it back to Person A, that might well be a “transaction”…a “free market transaction,” not so much.

    Still, just like reading raw FEC reports, prudence dictates hearing a credible alternative explanation. Maybe there is one….

  48. George Phillies

    Look up the state ballot access rules. Until then, hush. Oregon Nominations use several processes that are equally open to all sides. Of course, the Reeves officers would need to register Libertarian — inconvenient when you are an elected Republican party official — but the membership requirement of the state party is now registering “L”. No one can be disenfranchised. Indeed, it you want to move to Oregon and register “L”, there is nothing anyone on either side can do to stop you.

    The party asset at the time the Wagner group took over was a $40,000 debt, since discharged.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    59 gp: Look up the state ballot access rules.

    me: Yes, that aspect has sounded very much like a threat. Threats should be dealt with as such.

    gp: Of course, the Reeves officers would need to register Libertarian — inconvenient when you are an elected Republican party official — but the membership requirement of the state party is now registering “L”.

    me: This is a smokescreen, completely unresponsive. The question that continues to be sidestepped is a) were prospective LPO members disenfranchised and b) were the assets (broadly defined) taken inappropriately. I have not seen where there’s a charge that ALL the Reeves officers are registered R…it’s beside the point, but you seem to be implying so. Care to clarify?

    gp: The party asset at the time the Wagner group took over was a $40,000 debt, since discharged.

    me: Membership lists are assets, as is ballot access. They may or may not have a financial value assigned to them, or they may be rolled up in “goodwill,” depending on how the accounting is done. For a political party, lists and ballot access are arguably their most important asset. Surely you see that!

  50. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 55,

    “54 tk: The primary imperative in any organization’s bylaws is that it continue to exist and maintain itself as a going concern.

    me: Which MIGHT be persuasive until we see that actions were taken in the OTHER direction, i.e., disenfranchising new members, PAYING members, apparently!”

    It’s not intended to be “persuasive.” It’s intended to be “explanatory.”

    An organization, like an organism, must survive before it can do anything else. Therefore, its survival takes precedence over all other priorities.

    As far as the “until” is concerned, while I do condemn any illegitimate disenfranchisement, I have yet to see:

    1) Evidence of intent to disenfranchise, or of particular motive for doing so; or

    2) Any claim that the alleged disenfranchisement was a casual factor in inability to meet the quorum requirement that resulted in organizational stasis.

    BH @ 56,

    “After the May 21 convention adjourned sine die due to lack of quorum, there was a Bylaws-mandated State Committee meeting that filled the offices that Bylaw 5.2 said became vacant at the close of the convention.”

    There was a meeting. Whether or not it was a bona fide State Committee meeting, with the authority to take the actions in question, is very much in dispute.

    I could get some friends together at my house next May, announce that we’re holding the Libertarian Party’s national convention, and nominate my cat for president, but it would be very much open to question whether or not that event, and the actions taken at it, had any legitimacy.

    “The primary imperative of any libertarian organization is to respect the individual rights of its members.”

    No, that’s a secondary imperative. A libertarian organization cannot respect the rights of its members by going out of existence in the face of its members’ desire that it not do so.

  51. Hugh Mann

    After the May 21 convention adjourned sine die due to lack of quorum, there was a Bylaws-mandated State Committee meeting that filled the offices that Bylaw 5.2 said became vacant at the close of the convention.

    On the other hand, I’ve also seen allegations that some of the people voting in that meeting had previously resigned from that committee and that there was no quorum. Does anyone know more about whether this was true or not?

  52. Hugh Mann

    I could get some friends together at my house next May, announce that we’re holding the Libertarian Party’s national convention, and nominate my cat for president, but it would be very much open to question whether or not that event, and the actions taken at it, had any legitimacy.

    There was a convention announced, and if you take the position that the bylaws revision was illegal, the Reeves meeting was pro forma correct. However, if the allegation that resigned committee members were counted for the purpose of achieving quorum is also correct, that puts it back in the pro forma incorrect category.

  53. Robert Capozzi

    63 tk: An organization, like an organism, must survive before it can do anything else. Therefore, its survival takes precedence over all other priorities.

    me: Right, that IS persuasive. It does NOT explain why Posse Wagner did what they appear to’ve done–disenfranchise, and take the assets outside of the rules. I say that because I’ve seen NO evidence that the LPO would have COLLAPSED had they not done what they did.

    tk: 2) Any claim that the alleged disenfranchisement was a casual factor in inability to meet the quorum requirement that resulted in organizational stasis.

    me: That standard is way too high, IMO. If true, what it COULD establish is a clear-cut case of ill will on the part of Team Wagner. If they can do THIS — deeply dysfunctional as we seem to agree — as part of this process, it calls into question the entire process. We’ve heard the tape. We’ve seen the expurgated letter. “Discovery” is incomplete, but it looks REAL suspicious…

  54. Hugh Mann

    Right, that IS persuasive. It does NOT explain why Posse Wagner did what they appear to’ve done–disenfranchise, and take the assets outside of the rules. I say that because I’ve seen NO evidence that the LPO would have COLLAPSED had they not done what they did.

    I have yet to hear an explanation for the disenfranchisement.

    However, most state LPs as far as I know would never be able to meet a quorum of a majority of all dues paying members showing up to a convention. If that was the standing interpretation of the bylaws, and it appears that people agree it was, that is a serious existential problem.

  55. Robert Capozzi

    65 hm, I have seen NO ONE suggest that the LPO bylaws were/are not a problem. Has anyone?

    A “problem” =/= a “serious existential problem”. I have also not heard anyone say that the LPO would have gone defunct UNLESS Wagner & Co did what is alleged.

  56. Hugh Mann

    If there was no way to practically ever meet to elect new officers or change the bylaws, that seems to be a serious existential problem to me.

    I suppose it can be said that the Wagner officers could have availed themselves of the same means of electing new officers that the Reeves officers did, IE a state committee meeting following a convention adjourned for lack of quorum, but that sounds grossly suboptimal, especially if it would have to be done that way every year from then on.

  57. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 64,

    “tk: 2) Any claim that the alleged disenfranchisement was a casual factor in inability to meet the quorum requirement that resulted in organizational stasis.

    me: That standard is way too high, IMO.”

    Way too high for what?

    Correction: I wrote “casual,” when I meant to write “causal.”

    Let me explain:

    There are allegations that LPO members were disenfranchised.

    There seems to be some implication that the persons behind the disenfranchisement are among those now running LPO.

    Both of those, if true, are bad things, possibly bad enough that the membership, if fully informed, would banish the bad actors from leadership positions. The only mitigating factor I can think of might be non-intent to disenfranchise (e.g. accident, administrative error, etc.).

    With respect to the “frozen” status of LPO due to lack of quorum, however, there are two questions to look at:

    1) Did the alleged disenfranchisement cause, or even contribute to, the quorum problem?

    2) Was causing or continuing the quorum problem the motive for an intentional program of disenfranchisement?

    If either of those things (especially the second) are true, and if the Wagner faction was behind them, then the Wagner faction has a serious legitimacy problem. They may anyway, but that would certainly bolster the claim that they do.

    All of which is interesting, but not especially germane to the fact that the LNC’s sole administrative remedy for problems it may have with the operation of an affiliate is disaffiliation, that only the full LNC (not the executive committee) may undertake to administer that remedy, and that the only effect that remedy has is to dissolve the relationship between the affiliate and the LNC, not to dissolve the former affiliate itself as an organization.

  58. Robert Capozzi

    68 tk, right. If disenfranchisement was inadvertent, it’s understandable. Given the letter from Skyba, it appears intentional, however. We can’t know what the actual intent was, but to me it does not matter, except that I find it indicative that — if true — Team Wagner was doing a Malcolm X, any means necessary, power play. It’s hard to know what might have happened without the alleged disenfranchisement.

    Thus far, when I read Wagner & Co’s accounts, I have thus far seen a lot of smokescreens and diversions. Some of Reeves & Co. may have been Republicans and/or ex-cons. They recount 15-year-old incidents that are much ado about nothing that I can see… Even if Reeves & Co. are all card-carrying Rs just released from jail, it has zero bearing on this matter!

    Still, I’m hopeful that MJ and this disenfranchisement revelation will help to clear away the smoke and allow for a straightforward explanation for those of us interested onlookers.

  59. JT

    Brian, I couldn’t agree with your post 56 more. Well said. As it is, it appears to me that some Libertarians are twisting like pretzels to excuse a state level power-grab that they’d surely deem unacceptable on the national level.

    Can you imagine if the national convention couldn’t be held for lack of a quorum, and then the LNC executive committee decided to reappoint themselves to new terms? The outcry from persistent LNC critics would be deafening.

    That said, the requirement that a majority of state party members be present at a convention in order to achieve a quorum does seem overly stringent to me. Are there many states that have a majority of total members attend their conventions?

  60. George Phillies

    “Can you imagine if the national convention couldn’t be held for lack of a quorum, and then the LNC executive committee decided to reappoint themselves to new terms?”

    What else were they supposed to do?

  61. JT

    Phillies: “What else were they supposed to do?”

    It’s the party bylaws that absolutely must be honored, not RONR. Since apparently there was no quorum bylaw, I would’ve told attendees at the convention the following day that RONR makes no sense in this case, and that the attendees should pass one. Undoubtedly, it would be much less strict than requiring a majority of all current members.

    Or you can just think of what you’d criticize the LNC for not doing had this happened on the national level, George. Then apply that solution here.

  62. George Phillies

    What I would have said about the LNC depends on what alternatives they had at the point they made their decision. “not passing a whack-headed quorum rule’ sounds like good advice, but it is already too late in your scenario. When I criticize the LNC, it is because they had better choices they did not take, or because we are paying the price for their guiding genius, not because they took one of several bad alternatives.

  63. JT

    Phillies: ““not passing a whack-headed quorum rule’ sounds like good advice, but it is already too late in your scenario.”

    The party no quorum bylaw at all, according to Mattson. She wrote in post 12:
    “I did advise them that since their bylaws do not otherwise specify a quorum requirement, the default rule comes from their parliamentary authority.”

    So it wasn’t too late to pass a quorum bylaw. The officers just decided to defer to RONR–which Mattson advised them to do–and that didn’t allow them to hold a convention. They could’ve passed one at that point since none existed.

  64. Michael H. Wilson

    I am not a lawyer, but I understand that Common Law develops from the practices of the people. That idea might be applied in this case. Over the years the LPO had allowed anyone who showed up to be a delegate and had their dues paid to be allowed to vote.

    The word delegate used here is not as used in RRONR, but generally refers to the voting members.

    The problem with being a delegate as defined by RRONR is that only a few counties are organized which leaves those members from the unorganized counties without a voice, vote, or anything else.

    As the factions jockeyed for power this has changed to some degree, as I recall, but generally if you should up and your dues were paid you could vote.

    The important thing is RRONR should not be used to deny people an opportunity to participate.

  65. George Phillies

    JT If they had tried to pass a quorum rule on the spot, someone would have noted that you need a quorum to pass things. They were already under a quorum rule, thanks to Roberts, which said they did not have a quorum.

    The important thing to remember here is that in arguing with crazy people you should not accept the validity of their premises, or you will regret the outcome.

  66. JT

    Phillies: “JT If they had tried to pass a quorum rule on the spot, someone would have noted that you need a quorum to pass things. They were already under a quorum rule, thanks to Roberts, which said they did not have a quorum.”

    My point in post 74, George, is that Roberts isn’t the same as the bylaws of the party. The party bylaws written and passed by the members in convention are what should be followed without exception, not Roberts. RNOR is intended to facilitate orderly meetings–not make them impossible or near-impossible to hold.

    If the party had no quorum bylaw, which is what Mattson said, and I were heading the meeting, then I would’ve done what I wrote in post 74: “I would’ve told attendees at the convention the following day that RONR makes no sense in this case, and that the attendees should pass one.”

    Instead, party officers took it upon themselves to simply change existing bylaws. That’s unfortunate, because my way would’ve prevented this mess, while that way created it.

  67. Hugh Mann

    “Roberts isn’t the same as the bylaws of the party. ”

    Apparently the bylaws specified that any matter not covered in the bylaws reverted to Roberts, which specifies that an assembly which is not an assembly of delegates is an assembly of members and has to have a majority of the members present to have quorum.

    Most state LP conventions are theoretically assemblies of delegates, but in practice are assemblies of whichever members show up. Same with the national convention (at least up til now, this next one may be different). If your state’s delegation is full it is normally no problem to find one that’s not.

    Imagine if the national convention had to have a majority of national members to have quorum?

  68. George Phillies

    @80 If you had been running that meeting, this entire mess would I suspect not have taken place. I would have done more or less the same thing that you say that you would have done. “Does anyone here remember amending the convention quorum? Is there any record that we did? Then we didn’t.”

    However, we were not running that meeting.

    The current party leadership inherited the decision of the former chair.

    Perhaps it would be better to focus on the way forward. I imagine that the next LNC meeting will have at least one deputation from one of the factions involved.

  69. Michael H. Wilson

    GP @82 Perhaps it would be better to focus on the way forward. I imagine that the next LNC meeting will have at least one deputation from one of the factions involved.

    The LP seems to have a bunch of people who have this problem if they aren’t running the show and too often they think they know RRONR, but in reality have only a enough knowledge to cause problems. It has been that way for years.

    Time to fix the problem so that this or something similar doesn’t not end up in court and screw up a major campaign.

  70. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT @ 70,

    “Can you imagine if the national convention couldn’t be held for lack of a quorum, and then the LNC executive committee decided to reappoint themselves to new terms? The outcry from persistent LNC critics would be deafening.”

    We don’t have to imagine, because we have a roughly analogous situation not that long ago to test the hypothesis with.

    In 2000, at the Libertarian National Convention in Anaheim, I was a candidate for Judicial Committee.

    For some reason or another, one faction at the convention wanted things stopped ASAP (I don’t recall that it had to do with the vote for Judicial Committee, necessarily). So they got enough delegates to leave the hall and stay out of the hall, pulled a quorum call, and caused the national convention to be adjourned sine die.

    Since a new Judicial Committee had not been elected, the new LNC simply appointed the existing members of the Judicial Committee to an additional term.

    If I’m not much mistaken, I’m one of those “persistent critics of the LNC” you’re referencing, and my chosen faction (the “Clean Slate”) had not done particularly well in the LNC elections.

    I defy you to find a fucking peep of protest from me over the LNC’s appointment of new Judicial Committee members after that sine die adjournment. You won’t find one, because there wasn’t one.

  71. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@69,

    You write:

    “If disenfranchisement was inadvertent, it’s understandable. Given the letter from Skyba, it appears intentional, however.”

    I’m not sure how you draw that conclusion.

    The letter from Skyba implies that there was some issue with the membership applications that needed to be referred to the state executive committee.

    There’s a big gap between that claim and the claim that “the intent was to disenfranchise.”

    My knee-jerk reaction is to assume that that was in fact the intent, but I could construct any number of scenarios in which it wasn’t (and of course any of those scenarios could just be an excuse to cover actual intent).

    Just as a for-instance analogy, one of the dodges SMC used to try to remove Wrights from the LNC was that his dues check had been written by someone else.

    What if all 13 of those membership applications were accompanied by a dues check written by one person, and some applicable Oregon statute forbids “contributions on behalf of another?” That would be a matter that might cause a treasurer to say “I don’t know if this is legit, so I’m dumping it in the executive committee’s lap.”

    Or what if all 13 applications listed the same return address and the treasurer had a reasonable suspicion that some or all of the people didn’t exist, and that someone was trying to fraudulently inflate membership numbers for the purpose of making a quorum even more difficult?

    You and I both have the same knee-jerk response to the known facts. the difference between us is that I’m fighting down my knee-jerk reaction and waiting to see if more information fills the gap between the two known facts.

    And, for the nth time, I don’t claim to know whether or not the Wagner faction is the legitimate leadership of LPO; I only know that the LNC doesn’t have plenary authority to decide that issue, and that its sole recourse if it doesn’t like how LPO is handling it is disaffiliation.

  72. Mike Seebeck

    Considering Ms. Mattson’s losing record when it comes to Bylaws and Parliamentary Procedure (Wrights, 2010 floor fee, LPOR), why take anything she says seriously?

    The JudComm ruled that the Wagner faction was the legitimate ruling committee of LPOR. Parts of the LNC, including the Chair, defied that ruling, which should be considered for throwing him and them out of office at the next convention for not following the Bylaws either.

    The real point is this: the Secretary of State recognized the Wagner faction as the correct one. In simple terms vs. the Reeves faction, they got there first and are legally recognized as such.

    The other point that everyone seems to forget is the precedence of the state laws, bylaws, and RRONR. RRONR, of course, are subject to the Bylaws. The Bylaws supersede state laws where they conflict (First Amendment), but where they don’t conflict, they are both in effect. In LPOR’s case, the state laws in effect over LPOR’s official status were not conflicted by any Bylaws, which were silent on the issue, and therefore they (state laws) were controlling, which allowed the Wagner group to do their actions. The Judicial Committee majority recognized that and ruled accordingly.

    The rest is simply sour grapes by the same crowd that they tried yet another fast one and failed yet again, because every time they tried they have failed.

    That’s what, the fourth time now? They were beaten by The Keaton by her walking away and laughing at them on the way out the door; they were beaten by me, Dr. Ruwart, and Mr. Wrights over that fiasco; they were beaten by me and Ms. Marbry over the convention floor fees; and now they were beaten by the Wagner faction.

    We need a new LNC, one where the members (not named Mr. Olsen, Dr. Ruwart and Mr. Craig) actually respect the membership and work towards real political change instead of playing these wasteful petty games.

    Question is, will the membership make that necessary and overdue change? Or will they vote for SSDD?

  73. Mike Seebeck

    BTW, I’m not intending to toot my own horn there, just reporting the facts. They keep losing, and in three of those cases I was involved in some form or another on the winning side.

    That I tend to drive them crazy all the time is merely satisfying entertainment for me. Everyone needs a hobby, I guess. 🙂

  74. Mullet Over

    BTW, I’m not intending to toot my own horn there,

    Of course not.

    satisfying entertainment for me. Everyone needs a hobby

    I s’pose….

  75. Robert Capozzi

    85 tk: You and I both have the same knee-jerk response to the known facts. the difference between us is that I’m fighting down my knee-jerk reaction and waiting to see if more information fills the gap between the two known facts.

    me: I support your suspension of judgment, and I’m doing the same while copping to my biases.

  76. Robert Capozzi

    86 ms: Considering Ms. Mattson’s losing record when it comes to Bylaws and Parliamentary Procedure (Wrights, 2010 floor fee, LPOR), why take anything she says seriously?

    me: I don’t know what AM’s role was in these matters, but since when does a L use a “losing record” to determine whether a L’s ideas should be taken seriously or not? 99% of the time, for ex., Ls “lose” when one runs for office. Do you believe that others should not take Ls seriously because we lose? I’d think that Ls of all people respect others who share their opinions REGARDLESS of the outcome.

    I take Knapp’s ideas seriously, for instance, even when I disagree with those ideas.

    ms: The JudComm ruled that the Wagner faction was the legitimate ruling committee of LPOR.

    me: I don’t see the word “legitimate” in the JC’s ruling. The 4:3 ruling simply said “We find.” It goes on to say that disaffiliation is an option, and they spell out the rules to do so.

    It was a narrow ruling, dealing only with what the LNC and ExComm are authorized to do.

    Is that what you meant to say?.

  77. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @91,

    “since when does a L use a ‘losing record’ to determine whether a L’s ideas should be taken seriously or not?”

    I think we’re talking about different kinds of ideas here.

    The “ideas” of AM’s which are at issue are not her political/ideological beliefs, but rather her self-serving and mendacious interpretations of parliamentary authority which amount to — to co-opt a bit of Jefferson — “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinc[ing] a design to reduce the[ Libertarian Party] under absolute Despotism.”

    I suspect that AM’s historical legacy within the LP — if it survives the cumulative effect of her faction’s ministrations — will be that eventually RONR will be recognized as fatally defective due to its many vulnerabilities to abuse, and replaced as the LP’s parliamentary authority (perhaps by the Standard Code).

  78. Robert Capozzi

    92 tk, right. I don’t know enough about AM’s involvement in those 3 incidents, so I can’t comment. You know my view of the Wrights incident.

    I can comment that my experience on AM’s chairing the PlatComm was very positive, and not in any way mendacious. To the extent she may have been involved in the incidents MS cites, it’s entirely possible that it was simply an honest disagreement.

    To the extent the LP has stars, I consider AM one. With her leadership, the platform was revised from a bizarre laundry list (like what I call the infamous “private nukes clause”) riddled with fringe ideas, to what we have now, which is hardly perfect, but not nearly as embarrassing as the pre-08 platform. So, there’s a deep well of goodwill there in my book…

  79. Robert Capozzi

    Meanwhile, now both Paul and Johnson are winking that they might be interested in a 3rd party run. Odds go down that that happens on the LP line the longer this childish war goes on.

    Where is Rodney King when we need him the most?

  80. JT

    Capozzi: “Meanwhile, now both Paul and Johnson are winking that they might be interested in a 3rd party run.”

    How?

  81. Mullet Over

    @96 Nothing new there. The facebook group is an attempt to recruit Johnson, not an indication that he would accept.

    Paul has given the same answer as four years ago, that he is very unlikely to do it but hasn’t completely ruled it out.

  82. Robert Capozzi

    98 mo, there’s some reports in the GJ recruitment page that seem to be slight indications of more interest than has previously been stated. See Steve Berson’s post from Oct. 19, for ex.

    As for RP, I’d say his language around a 3rd party run has, again, in a VERY nuanced way, signaled a slight interest. I discern a slight shift in stance; you may not.

    It would be foolish if either said at this stage If I don’t get it, I’m going third party.

    If you’re looking for literalism, politics may not be satisfying for you….

  83. Michael H. Wilson

    While I don’t agree with every thing Gary Johnson says I do wish he would become active in the LP. It might be good for some of the hotheads to see a real working politician.

  84. paulie

    there’s some reports in the GJ recruitment page that seem to be slight indications of more interest than has previously been stated. See Steve Berson’s post from Oct. 19, for ex.

    Would you post it here or email it to IPR please? Apparently you have to be a member of the group to see it, and I’m maxed out on groups so I can’t join.

  85. Fred

    First, I would like to applaud Mr. Jingozian’s sentiment. He and I first met at a tumultuous LPO function that had people storming out of the building and threatening each other. It was at that meeting that I was elected to a committee with the intent to find common ground between these two factions. Despite hours a day of hard work, the task became to difficult based on the ill will some members brought to the table.
    MJ’s ideas have some merit although they might be a few details short of practicality.
    I know Michael, and most of the other key players in the LPO. I can attest that Michael is not either part of the factionalism nor a puppet in the hands of one of the leaders.
    While Alicia Mattson may have looked at this situation with an outsider perspective and with a strong knowledge of both Roberts and the National bylaws, she is missing some key components.
    1. Despite our Libertarian philosophies we are still subject to following election laws. Oregon election laws have some distinct language about governing political parties which were likely being violated by the LPO.
    2. The membership lists from many years of the LPO were potentially incorrect. This lead to a snowballing problem of party officials who were voted into office by an incorrect procedure making policies (sometimes incorrectly) that affected memberships. (This cycle could be repeated ad nausea, but the end result was we were uncertain how far back we would have to repeal incorrect decisions to find a correct membership list or set of bylaws.
    3. There are people in proclaimed areas of power that are working in ill will. They have an agenda that they would prefer passed than to find any solution.

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