This was originally posted by Caryn Ann Harlos.
This letter was provided to IPR editor Caryn Ann Harlos.
Dear Ms. Salvette,
I have received your email rejecting the Libertarian Party of Oregon’s list of delegates for the 2016 Libertarian National Convention in Orlando. In your reply of May 8, your reason for rejecting our delegates is:
“Since 2011 the national Libertarian Party and the State of Oregon have recognized the Wagner/Hedbor group as the official Libertarian Party in Oregon.”
Respectfully, this is demonstrably untrue. We hope this email will provide you with information compelling you to reconsider your position and either:
1) Recommend that the Oregon delegation we submitted to you on 4/14/16 be seated or,
2) You refer the question to the floor during your Credentials Committee report.
An amended list of delegates is attached to this email as an Excel file as are copies of the relevant Judicial Committee rulings and a supporting communication from the Oregon Secretary of State.
1. Regarding the Libertarian National Committee.
Respectfully, while Mr. Sarwark acted contrary to LNC resolutions upheld by the 2015 Judicial Committee ruling, the national party has never recognized the Wagner/Hedbor group as the official Libertarian Party in Oregon as you suggest in your email.
In fact, on no fewer than four occasions, the LNC has recognized the legitimacy of our leadership group, not the Wagner/Hedbor group, and the same is true of our governing documents.
With respect to the LNC Email ballot of 10/16/11, the Wagner/Hedbor leadership group was explicitly rejected by the LNC. These resolutions were not acted upon because of the now rescinded 2011 Judicial Committee ruling, but have now explicitly been upheld by their 2015 ruling.
You are correct in pointing out that on 11/14/15, the LNC failed to consider a resolution instructing the LNC Chair to implement the Judicial Committee’s 2015. Still, no action was taken to rescind or reverse the LNC’s 2011 resolutions concerning Oregon, which still stand and have been upheld by the 2015 Judicial Committee.
If then, you wish to “follow the LNC’s lead,” and the lead of the delegates assembled at the 2012 and 2014 conventions which voted to seat our delegate configurations, and if you wish to follow the lead of the national Judicial Committee, you are obligated to either:
a. Option 1: Recommend the seating of the delegate list we submitted on 4/16/16 (as amended) in keepting with the 2011 resolutions and the 2015 national Judicial Committee ruling or,
b. Option 2: If you really want to emulate the LNC’s decision not to act on 11/14/15, then your committee should take no action with respect to Oregon and refer the question to the assembled delegates at the 2016 convention during your Credentials Committee report.
For your convenience, here are texts of the 2011 LNC resolutions. Again, these have never been rescinded and have been explicitly upheld by the 2015 national Judicial Committee:
From the July 18, 2011 LNC Executive Committee minutes:
Motion: “Based upon the available evidence, the Executive Committee of the Libertarian National Committee finds that the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Oregon (as amended March 14-15, 2009) are the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Oregon, and that these bylaws have been in effect since March 15, 2009.”
Result: Adopted by a vote of 6-1
From the July 18, 2011 LNC Executive Committee minutes:
Motion: Based upon the available evidence, the Executive Committee of the Libertarian National Committee recognizes as the officers of the Libertarian Party of Oregon those people elected by the State Committee during its meeting on May 21, 2011. They are:
Chair: Tim Reeves
Vice chair: Eric B. Saub
Secretary: Carla J. Pealer
Treasurer: Gregory Burnett
Result: adopted by a vote of 6-1.
From the LNC email ballot ended 10/16/11:
Motion: That the LNC direct our ED to reinstate Wagner et al. as our official LPOregon affiliate as per the JC decision of 8/26/2011 and the JC Clarification of 9/23/2011.
Result: failed by a vote of 5-10
From the LNC email ballot ended 11/20/11 after the now rescinded 2011 Judicial Committee ruling came out:
Whereas, Article 9, Section 2 of the Libertarian Party Bylaws specifically restricts the authority of the Judicial Committee:
The subject matter jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee is limited to consideration of only those matters expressly identified as follows:
a. suspension of affiliate parties (Article 6, Section 6),
b. suspension of officers (Article 7, Section 8),
c. suspension of National Committee members-at-large (Article 8, Section 5),
d. voiding of National Committee decisions (Article 8, Section 13),
e. challenges to platform planks (Rule 5, Section 7),
f. challenges to Resolutions (Rule 6, Section 2), and
g. suspension of Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates (Article 14, Section 5)
Whereas, these explicit restrictions were enumerated in detail in the Bylaws for the purpose of preventing an unchecked Judicial Committee from usurping the duly authorized powers of the Libertarian National Committee to control and manage the affairs of the Party consistent with the Bylaws;
Whereas, it is apparent under the 2009 Libertarian Party of Oregon (LPO) Bylaws that it was impossible for Wes Wagner and his associate claimants to be the legitimate leadership of LPO as of the date of the Judicial Committee appeal, and therefore under Article 6, Section 6 of the Bylaws the Wagner-led faction lacked standing to initiate an appeal on behalf of the LPO;
Whereas, the Judicial Committee lacked jurisdiction under any other provision of the Bylaws to hear the complaint brought by Mr. Wagner;
Whereas, the dispute in question has always been about recognizing the leadership of officers properly selected under LPO’s 2009 Bylaws, and not the choosing between two organizations or disaffiliating a state affiliate;
Whereas, the Bylaws do not grant any authority to the Judicial Committee to determine matters of state affiliate leadership;
Whereas, in its statement of August 25 and subsequent clarification on September 23, the Judicial Committee declared that the Libertarian Party of a particular state (and by implication, the leadership of that state party), is the entity recognized by the secretary of state (in this case, the Secretary of State of Oregon);
Whereas, this declaration is neither stated nor implied by any provision of the Libertarian Party Bylaws, and thus amounts to the crafting of a rule of its own making and an arrogation of power;
Whereas, this declaration and attendant decision may be mistakenly cited by state agencies and courts as evidence that the Libertarian Party Bylaws require the National Committee to recognize as affiliate officers those people recognized by state officials, rather than those who are duly selected according to the state affiliate’s bylaws;
Whereas, this declaration and attendant decision therefore places state affiliates in greater jeopardy of untoward interference by state officials and those hostile to the interests of the Libertarian Party and its affiliates;
Whereas, the Judicial Committee made a further declaration on September 23 concerning its view of affiliate autonomy, a subject about which no appeal was made and no hearing conducted; and
Whereas, a direct consequence of the Judicial Committee’s improper actions of August 25 and September 23 was the Oregon Secretary of State’s September 29 decision to recognize the last officers known to them, rather than the officers elected by members of the Libertarian Party of Oregon in accordance with its bylaws.
Therefore be it resolved, it is the sense of the Libertarian National Committee that the decision by four members of the Judicial Committee in its 4-3 declaration regarding the Libertarian Party of Oregon is not justified by the Libertarian Party Bylaws, and that the Judicial Committee has acted outside of its limited authority, which is clearly and explicitly defined in the Libertarian Party Bylaws; and
Be it further resolved, the Libertarian National Committee finds that the Judicial Committee’s decision is irreparably tainted by the fact that the deciding vote on the decision was cast by a person with an obvious conflict of interest, and that in any other venue of jurisprudence a person with such conflicts of interest would have been expected or required to recuse himself.
Result: adopted by a vote of 12-5
Through it’s resolutions, the unilateral actions of the LNC Chair notwithstanding, the LNC has consistently adopted a position acknowledging the legitimacy of our leadership of it’s Oregon affiliate and it’s bylaws. It has never adopted a position supporting the Wagner/Hedbor group of leaders or their bylaws.
Ms. Salvette, in 2014 you said you acted in accordance with the Judicial Committee although their 2011 decision was inoperative. Now, you claim you are acting in accordance with the LNC even though your action runs counter to both LNC resolutions and the 2015 Judicial Committee ruling. Why has that changed?
At both the 2012 and 2014 national conventions, delegates assembled opted to seat our delegate configurations over Wagner’s under similar circumstances. It would seem to me that the current Credentials Committee should heed that message as well, especially given the 2015 Judicial Committee ruling.
2. Regarding the State of Oregon
Respectfully, although Oregon’s Secretary of State currently affords the Wagner/Hedbor group access to Oregon’s ballot line, she has never “recognized” either group as legitimate.
Other things to consider:
a. There are numerous precedents of the LNC recognizing one group of leaders while Secretaries of State recognized another. Arizona is a relatively recent example. In any case, such decisions are the province of the LNC, not the national chair in defiance of LNC resolutions and Judicial Committee rulings. It is also worth noting that the LNC recognizes state affiliates
b. As Libertarians, we want to choose our leaders. Allowing the state to do so is anathma to libertarianism. The LNC and the Judicial Committee have already spoken. On what grounds would the credentials committee contradict? The position of the state?
c. Oregon’s Secretary of State has has consistently refused to adjudicate the question of legitimacy. As shown by the attached document, Oregon’s Secretary of State only adopted her current stance because of the ambiguity of the now rescinded 2011 Judicial Committee ruling. Her office wrote:
“We understand that the Judicial Committee of the National Libertarian Party has left it up to this office to decide which of your competing groups will be recognized by the state as the leadership of the Libertarian Party of Oregon.”
The 2011 Judicial Committee ruling was the only basis upon which the Sec. of State took their default position. Now that there is a new and unambiguous Judicial Committee ruling, this position is tenuous and we expect a change in position.
3. Do We Really Want Another Floor Fight Over This?
We cannot accept seating in another state delegation. Nick Sarwark is running for re-election as the national chair. It seems curious to us that he is willing to publicly defy LNC resolutions and Judicial Committee rulings as he runs for re-election. Does the national Credentials Committee really want to take such a position?
These questions are even more significant given that the Wagner leadership group has opted to boycott the national convention and threatens not to list the national conventions choice for president and vice president on the Oregon ballot. Are such tactics those that a national chair seeking re-election and a credentials committee want to identify with? Especially given the decisions of the 2012 and 2014 conventions concerning Oregon? And with Oregon delegates present who have travelled 3,000 miles?
To conclude, the Credentials Committee should recommend seating the delegation we submitted to you on 4/14/16 as amended or, minimally, should make no recommendation and refer the question to the delegates assembled during your Credendials Committee report.
Ian Epstein, Chair
Libertarian Party of Oregon