Letter submitted to the LNC by Region 1 Representative and IPR contributor Caryn Ann Harlos to the LNC, co-sponsored by at-large members Daniel Hayes & Starchild, as posted to Facebook by Kimberly Ruff:
“Submitted just now. Motion to Rescind – request for co-sponsors.
“Fellow LNC members, it is with great regret that I have to present this Motion and ask for support, but I feel this is our duty – our duty to our Bylaws, this Party, and its members. I will give my narrative support following.
“Move to rescind the authority granted to the Chair to negotiate and execute a campaign contract and the Joint Fundraising Agreement and rescind any signatures already executed.
“Procedurally, I note I voted to grant this authority and thus have standing to bring this Motion. I note the contract has not yet been signed by the campaign, and thus, there is no agreement. This motion should put the campaign on notice that there is a dispute in the LNC, but at least one member.
“To recap the events of the last few days. On Friday we learned that the Chair had signed a campaign contract and the Joint Fundraising Agreement with the campaign and that he had decided, upon advice of counsel, to keep them confidential until Inauguration Day. When I requested to see the documents, I was presented with an NDA, and this whole thing began. It is, to me, without dispute, that we agreed to keep the negotiations confidential until they were signed but were silent on any silence afterwards. On these grounds and the over-reach of the NDA, I refused to sign it. I asked if the contract itself required confidentiality until Inauguration Day as arguably we granted the authority to negotiate that term when we granted this authority to the Chair. On Saturday, at 14:28CDT, the Chair responded to me and us that this provision to keep the contract confidential was NOT a provision of the contract but was a decision reached unilaterally by him on advice of counsel. Starchild and I objected that the Chair did not have this authority and that such would require a vote of the LNC in Executive Session or otherwise. Starchild in fact proposed a Motion for that very thing. However, a mere forty minutes after advising me that the contract did not contain such a provision, the Chair advised us that the contract did, in fact, contain an eternal secrecy clause, a fact which he verified with counsel today. When I saw all this happening, and in light of my earlier lack of information in which any earlier agreements would be rendered null, I formally withdrew my request to see the documents until these issues could be resolved.
“This should be very disturbing, because one thing has become patently clear. The Chair did not know there was an eternal secrecy clause in the contract when he signed it. There is then quite obviously some negligence here. I do not know if it is negligence of the Chair or professional negligence of LNC counsel to advise of all the potential and reasonable implications, but a contract was signed in complete ignorance of one of the key terms. This is unacceptable and is reason enough for the LNC to take control of this situation and rescind the authority and the signatures. I argue that it is our fiduciary duty to do so.
“But let’s put that reason aside, though that is justification enough. Let’s stipulate that the Chair and LNC counsel knew full well that there was an eternal secrecy provision and went ahead with it. Such a provision must be repudiated as it usurps and abrogates our rights and privileges as Committee members to be able to publicly enforce our Bylaws and represent our members, and further is in direct conflict with our fiduciary duty to this Party, its members, and our Bylaws. How so? Well I can think of a few ways it is possible, and this is not intended to be exhaustive as the unknown can contain quite a few subjunctives.
“Does the contract create potential financial liabilities for the current committee, its members, or future committees? If the answer is “I can’t tell you” unless I waive my rights, the contract makes the budgetary process impossible and thus we abrogate our public duties.
“Does the contract create potential liabilities that could be visited on state affiliates that are not separately incorporated? If the answer is “I can’t tell you,” why should that be believed? Why should the state affiliates and members, who can never see it, be assured?
“Does the contract potentially violate the Statement of Principles? Well if I am sworn to secrecy, I have lost my right to press this case to the Judicial Committee and through the appeal process in the Bylaws (as well as the same right of the membership), then such rights are rendered null and void making a mockery of our Bylaws.
“I would also note that this completely hobbles the membership from being able to judge for itself if either side is upholding their sides of the bargain. It is opaque and completely unaccountable. It further prevents the members from using the lessons learned from the successes and failures of this contract (as all things can be improved on) in negotiating and crafting future contracts with future campaigns and thus is a complete abrogation of our duty to the future of this Party and the members’ rights to ensure the same.
“There is the further issue that I am being ask to agree to a secrecy provision in order to see the contract to judge for myself whether it is there, in effect having to “pass it, to see what is in it” and to proactively waive my rights and bind myself to a repellant stipulation. This is the way the corrupt state and duopoly behave, and should not be the way the Libertarian Party is conducted.
“Lastly, this is indeed a rumour, but it was told to me, and I have to, in the discharge of my duties consider it- no matter how incredible, if there is any chance that it could be the case, particularly since I have to waive my rights to ascertain for myself, a source, allegedly from within the campaign, has relayed that there is a eternal non-disparagement clause in the contract. I find that difficult to believe (but I would have earlier thought the idea of an eternal secrecy cause to be ridiculous), and if so, absolutely repellant to the Libertarian principles we are supposed to be upholding in our modeling of transparency and integrity to the watching world, but if there was, I couldn’t tell anyone. And without waiving my rights, I cannot even know if I am supposed to be bound to any such thing. And if anything was done by the campaign (and I am NOT alleging anything would be) that while legal would be against our principles or our duty to the Party, I would be unable to say so to the membership nor pursue any redress. I do not think our Chair would ever agree to such a thing. But …. an eternal secrecy clause was agreed to unknowingly, how do I know this wasn’t too? Or what other clause that I cannot even imagine, and once I learn of it, I am bound to silence to the grave? This is unacceptable.
“All of this is reason enough. I have no desire to put a target on my back, and I literally am sick about this, but my duty compels me to protect rights and duties and the integrity of our judgment and our Party Bylaws, and potentially, our Statement of Principles which is the only charter for our existence. I feel I have been put in an impossible situation.
“I want to be perfectly clear here. This is NOT about the campaign. Anyone who uses this email to attack or belittle is doing so against my express intent. This is ONLY about the LNC, its rights and duties, and the members’ rights. This is on our doorstep and no one else. We have only ourselves to praise or blame.
Caryn Ann Harlos
Region 1 Representative, Libertarian National Committee (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Washington) – Caryn.Ann. Harlos@LP.org
Communications Director, Libertarian Party of Colorado
Colorado State Coordinator, Libertarian Party Radical Caucus”