LP Bylaws Committee Transparency Issues

Message posted in LNC Business Discuss – a group any LP member can join and view.

“LP Member in a private post:

Despite the fact that transparency is necessity for committees to:

1) Ensure committee member accountability;
2) Educate the membership on committee members and positions held;
3) Provide additional insight into reasoning behind proposals;
4) And, serve as a safeguard for committee members so that their words / positions are not represented without context or accuracy…

The LP Bylaws Committee has none.

Members of the Bylaws Committee are:

M Carling
Andy Craig
David Pratt Demarest
Caryn Ann Harlos
Joe Henchman
Joshua Katz
Alicia Mattson
Chuck Moulton
Kim Ruff
Aaron Starr

Please write the LNC to express your concern.”

Committee members Harlos and Ruff have expressed agreement; at this time I do not know how the other committee members feel about it.

22 thoughts on “LP Bylaws Committee Transparency Issues

  1. Thomas L. Knapp

    Per the national bylaws:

    “Two or more members of the Bylaws and Rules Committee or of the Credentials Committee may join together to issue a minority report regarding their business.”

    Is there any reason that minority report can’t be published in continuously updated draft, incorporating by reference all of the committee’s correspondence and actions?

    The culture of secrecy among some in the LP has always been evil, but these days it’s just stupid. The NSA, CIA and DNC can’t keep their proceedings secret, but the LP bylaws committee thinks it can? Pshaw.

  2. George Phillies

    The LNC made some poor choices for Bylaws Committee, and should fix them. I am not referring to Harlos or Ruff. If any Bylaws Committee member wishes to leak to liberty for America, I can breakout the printing press again. I have never disclosed my sources.

    The historical record on LNC geniuses attacking people for leaking material to LfA is that they were always wrong as to my sources. One migth even propose the existence of sources whose objective it was to attack the accused sources.

  3. paulie Post author

    Is there any reason that minority report can’t be published in continuously updated draft, incorporating by reference all of the committee’s correspondence and actions?

    If the other committee members consider it a breach of confidential proceedings they can censure or remove any members who would do that. But I don’t see why the bylaws committee would need greater secrecy than say LNC.

  4. paulie Post author

    On Mon, May 22, 2017 at 2:45 PM danielehayes@icloud.com wrote:

    All, and especially Mr. Katz in his role as chairman of the Bylaws Committee,

    It has come to my attention and my brain momentarily allotted enough bandwidth to really think about this. Under what authority are our bylaws meetings secret? (No, Starchild has not hijacked my computer). Specifically Ms. Harlos is acting like she just joined Fight Club. Ms. 1000 Emails being mostly clammed shut. I am worried she might end up like the kid from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie that got the experimental candy.

    These are all the reasons for going into executive session in our rules with a majority vote.
    • Legal matters (potential, pending, or past)
    • Regulatory and compliance matters (potential, pending, or past)
    • Contractual compliance
    • Personnel matters (including evaluation, compensation, hiring, or dismissal)
    • Board self-evaluation
    • Strategic issues (only those requiring confidentiality)
    • Negotiations (potential, pending, or past)
    Other topics require a two-thirds vote of LNC.
    No action can be taken while in Executive Session.
    Discussion of action which may be taken in Open Session can occur.

    The reasons for going into Executive session are supposed to be listed if a vote was taken.

    But when I ask about the vote to go into executive session I am told that there was no vote.

    I realize that we have rules all over the place and I might be missing something, hence I am asking, Why?

    Someone enlighten me as to what’s up before I slam big brown(11th ed.) on down.

    How is this remotely in line with what this organization stands for?
    I would flip a gasket if the Louisiana Legislature was operating in this manner. This wouldn’t pass muster under Sunshine Laws for government. Let that sink in.

    Daniel Hayes
    LNC At Large Member

  5. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Also from the list:

    It has come to my attention that the Bylaws Committee will not be using the same level of transparency that the LNC uses for their e-mail discussions.

    I am well aware that certain committees deal with certain matters that are more sensitive, and require more confidentiality. However, I am not sure why the Bylaws Committee would need a closed format.

    I would like to hear the rationale for this. Thanks!

    Whitney Bilyeu
    Region 7 Representative

  6. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I have also protested on the Bylaws list itself. I am worried to even post my own email to the list, because I am so unclear as to my rights.

  7. D. Frank Robinson

    First, they gag you. Then they blindfold you. Then they shoot you. Beware.

  8. Chuck Moulton

    I hope the Bylaws Committee chooses transparency. However, if it doesn’t choose transparency I fully intend to abide by the Committee’s decision and not forward its emails to the public.

    That said, I have in the past (and will in the future) forwarded some emails from a previous bylaws committee to the current bylaws committee to provide historical context for ongoing discussions.

  9. Caryn Ann Harlos

    It is part of a bigger problem. I have been told, and just now told again on the LNC list, that I cannot reveal the names or particulars of a motion in deliberation even though it is not in executive session.

    I am of several minds regarding the email list in its entirety and think the committee should decided that, so I could go with Chuck.

    However, what right is there to say what I personally can or cannot say in a particular discussion? It is a gag order without specific authority.

  10. Meanwhile, In Reality....

    There is no “gag order” and there are no “transparency issues.”

    There was a vote to publish the email discussion list and it failed. That’s it. As the chair of the bylaws cmte. explained to the misinformed members of the LNC (a response I see nobody has seen fit to share here)— the Bylaws cmte. is still operating purely off the established automatic rules, and applicable RONR. That includes the part of RONR about inviting member feedback, which will happen in due course both before and after any recommendation is made by the committee to the 2018 convention. The meetings themselves will also be open and likely recorded. He also correctly noted that the Bylaws Cmte. does not answer to the LNC; and the LNC has no more business telling the BC what to do than vice versa.

    If committee members can’t express their concerns to each other and work deliberatively and honestly, without running to play the misleading shame-game and politics of personal destruction on social media and blogs like this one… that says very little about transparency, and an awful lot about their inability to work with other Libertarians in good faith, and their inability to make a good argument on the actual merits.

    This half-baked notion of “transparency” that tries to prohibit people from having private conversations with each other…. is hogwash. It’s an obsessive hobby horse (if not an outright dilatory tactic) that has all of jack-squat to do with actual substantive transparency. What’s next– we have to record and publish phone calls to each other? Can’t have a Facebook chat window without publishing it? This is absurd. The only thing publishing the informal email discussions does; is move all substantive discussion off-list (like, no accident, has also happened to the LNC; where the volume of communications on the email list plummeted after it was published, and many members simply refuse to use it… leaving it a one-sided echo chamber were members pose to outsiders instead of addressing each other).

    Nobody is going to bring a tentative draft text and ask for open and honest initial feedback; when the whole thing with their name attached is going to be condemned and screamed about on Facebook within the hour. It’s much closer to an invasion of privacy than anything meriting the name “transparency”— even government agencies under FOIA have the “deliberative process” exemption that applies to “predecisional” discussions. After all, what’s to stop members from just making their own email list with all ten (or fewer) members on it and conducting their discussion on that unofficial list? Nothing…. and that’s exactly what would happen.

    The only “issues” on the Bylaws Cmte. so far is that has wasted way too much time dickering about this nonsense, and has not yet conducted any actual substantive business.

    It’s particularly hypocritical coming from R.C. members who conduct their own discussions (and spread their gossip and accusations) in a CLOSED Facebook group. Where’s the Radical devotion to transparency there? I’ll take complaints about “transparency” from the so-called “Radicals” seriously when they open up their ***own*** internal discussions to public view; including publishing all emails between their board members. After all, what do they have to hide?

  11. George Phillies

    The LNC, leading the universe in sturm und drang production.

    Perhaps someone should take this to the Judicial Committee.

    Perhaps the LNC should remove some of its Bylaws Committee appointees.

  12. Joseph Buchman

    I assume the members are aware they are arguing over the “Illusion of Secrecy.”

    I, for one, would never publish anything to such a “private” list assuming it would remain private.

    So what are they really fighting for? I’d suggest it’s the right to cry “unfair” when someone with an axe to grind publishes everything, or some hacker hacks, or the secrecy policy is changed. And that cry of “unfair, it was suppose to be kept secret” is so out of alignment with the Principle of Open Government I had thought the LP stood for that this becomes, at least in my experience of it, some sort of bizarre kabuki theater of the absurd.

    joe

  13. paulie Post author

    As the chair of the bylaws cmte. explained to the misinformed members of the LNC (a response I see nobody has seen fit to share here)

    Who prevented you from sharing it?

  14. Marc Montoni

    It’s particularly hypocritical coming from R.C. members who conduct their own discussions (and spread their gossip and accusations) in a CLOSED Facebook group. Where’s the Radical devotion to transparency there? I’ll take complaints about “transparency” from the so-called “Radicals” seriously when they open up their ***own*** internal discussions to public view; including publishing all emails between their board members. After all, what do they have to hide?

    What genius.

    First, it isn’t only Radicals who are interested in transparency. Not everyone is motivated purely by their own factionalist tendencies, as you apparently are.

    Second, anyone who wants to join the Radicals discussion group to see all the discussion is free to do so. We don’t screen. The group is intended for brainstorming on how to strengthen the radical core of the Libertarian Party. As long as you don’t call for partial bootlicking, we won’t kick you off.

    Third, sure, if you’re a spammer, we’re not interested in you. Are you a spammer?

    Fourth, as for the Board, any member of the Radical Caucus may sit in on any official business.

    Fifth, the same cannot be said of the Furtive Whisperer Caucus, which has a majority on the LNC as well as the convention committees: they do not allow MEMBERS OF THE LP to hear what is being said in their names.

    Sixth, we all know why this is the case. Seriously, everyone does, including YOU: Because in the end, the only reason one has to hide is because they do not want to be known for what they’re trying to manipulate into place.

    Get over it.

  15. paulie Post author

    Yes, the main radical group, while “closed,” has no barrier to entry and is quite obviously open to non-radicals as one can see from how many have joined.

  16. paulie Post author

    It turns out I was not entirely correct. I did create that group on FB, but am no longer one of the moderators there; I deleted myself from admin after I came to within a split second of deleting the group when two people persisted in intentionally flouting the rules there, creating new facebook names/accounts every time they got kicked out for doing so, etc. They went on to create the Audacious Caucus, which surprisingly has bylaws and rules even though the impetus for its creation was the organizers’ insistence that no one had any authority to create rules or bylaws for the radical caucus or set any kind of rules for what could be posted to the group.

    It’s true that there are numerous non-radicals in the group, but at least one of the moderators has now told me that he or she does not allow “known anti-radicals” to join.

  17. paulie Post author

    In any case, the radical caucus is not an official committee of the LP in the same sense as the bylaws committee is, and radical caucus board meetings are open to radical caucus members in the same sense that we would like LP bylaws committee meetings to be open to LP members.

  18. Starchild

    I hope Libertarian Party members are paying attention to this and will come to New Orleans next year to vote out Libertarian Party leaders who want to operate in secret.

    Secrecy at the top is the path toward the members of the Libertarian Party losing control of their (our) party, and seeing it come to be controlled by a few.

    Over time I believe such an organization would find itself in the statist/establishment condition in which the two cartel parties now find themselves.

    We can ensure that we stay grassroots and libertarian by demanding transparency at the center and decentralizing power as much as possible, while ensuring that pledge-signing convention delegates meeting together in convention remain the party’s highest decision-making body.

    So far, the advocates of secrecy on the Bylaws Committee have not revealed their names by actually taking a public vote, but if you pay attention you can probably find out which ones are trying to block transparency:

    http://hq.lp.org/pipermail/lnc-business_hq.lp.org/

    Love & Liberty,

    Starchild
    At-Large Representative, Libertarian National Committee
    (415) 625-FREE

    P.S. – George Phillies has a worthwhile suggestion (May 23, 2017 at 23:53), “Perhaps the LNC should remove some of its Bylaws Committee appointees.” I would favor a proposal to remove any Bylaws Committee member who is seeking to keep the committee’s discussions secret. Perhaps if enough people contact other LNC members and tell them how they feel, we’ll have the votes for a transparent committee.

    Here’s the page with our contact info – https://www.lp.org/libertarian-national-committee/
    https://www.lp.org/libertarian-national-committee/

  19. Starchild

    Paulie – Good comments as usual, and interesting observation about the Audacious Caucus, I hadn’t heard that. Are you suggesting a lack of audacity there, or too much audacity? Perhaps some of both?

  20. paulie Post author

    Are you suggesting a lack of audacity there, or too much audacity? Perhaps some of both?

    It’s not enough or too much of something alright. I’m not sure that something is audacity, however.

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