Missouri, California, Tennessee, Nevada Libertarian Party members to introduce resolutions for their state parties to oppose national convention floor fees

From comments on a previous post:

Thomas L. Knapp // Feb 9, 2010 at 6:31 pm

The Missouri LP has the matter on its agenda for this month’s executive committee meeting. Here’s the resolution I expect we’ll be considering:

——
Whereas, the national bylaws of the Libertarian Party set forth the qualifications of delegates to the party’s national convention; and

Whereas, those bylaws do not provide for the assessment or collection of any fee from delegates as a condition of floor access or full
participation in business sessions; and

Whereas, the delegate apportionment formula specified in the bylaws is primarily based on the number of sustaining, i.e. dues-paying, national party members in each state;

Be it resolved that:

The Missouri Libertarian Party opposes in principle the assessment of “registration fees” or other charges to delegates for floor access and participation in the business sessions; and

The Missouri Libertarian Party calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to adopt a policy of routine budgeting from sustaining
membership dues for the provision of meeting facilities for its national conventions;

The Missouri Libertarian Party calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to require that activities and facilities related to the party’s national conventions but not part of the bylaws-mandated business sessions be self-supporting on the basis of payments from willing customers or sponsors rather than on the basis of subsidies
extracted from delegates.

and

Carolyn Marbry // Feb 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Borrowed the last bit from Knapp’s resolution since I hadn’t included that in the one I was crafting. Mine looks something like this and is open to revision if anyone has any suggestions.

Whereas delegates to the national convention are selected by the state affiliates, according to the national by-laws, article 11.3;

Whereas the national by-laws neither require nor allow the national party to impose additional requirements upon these delegates to the national convention over and above their respective states’ requirements;

Whereas, the delegate apportionment formula specified in the bylaws is primarily based on the number of sustaining (dues-paying) national party members in each state;

Be it resolved that:

The Libertarian Party of the State of California opposes in principle the imposition of a mandatory registration fee upon all duly elected delegates attending the Libertarian Party’s National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri over Memorial Day Weekend, the payment of which is being treated as a mandatory prerequisite to the Credentials Committee seating said delegates who wish to attend and vote exclusively at the business sessions of the Libertarian Party National Convention.

The Libertarian Party of California calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to adopt a policy of strict yearly budgeting from membership dues received for the provision of meeting facilities for its national conventions;

The Libertarian Party of California further calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to require that activities and facilities related to the party’s national conventions but not part of the by-laws-mandated business sessions be self-supporting on the basis of payments from willing customers or sponsors rather than on the basis of subsidies extracted from delegates.

Elsewhere, Debra Dedmon has said she will introduce a similar resolution at the Nevada convention on Feb. 20, and Scott Williamson said he will introduce one in Tennessee if the LNC fails to reverse the floor fee at its upcoming meeting in Austin.

18 thoughts on “Missouri, California, Tennessee, Nevada Libertarian Party members to introduce resolutions for their state parties to oppose national convention floor fees

  1. LP Observer

    Aaron Starr, M Carling, Alicia Mattson et al are banking on the hope that the povertarians will not be able to muster the resources to mount a legal challenge to the imposition of a floor fee.

    What they have not counted on is the possibility that someone will file a complaint against the Libertarian National Committee with the Federal Elections Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union, and/or election officials in the State of Missouri seeking an injunction against the imposition of this unauthorized fee.

    Starr et al need a reminder that the LNC is not a mere organization, but a political party that must abide by rules other than Roberts.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    Ah … it seems someone has finally noticed section 1(b) of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia!

    Personally, I think that all measures short of bringing litigation or other government intervention into play should be tried first.

  3. Bruce Cohen

    @1 Hey LP Observer, or whoever I am guessing you are…

    While you are filing your lawsuit, do you want to do a freebie for the LP of California?

    They are charging $99 also for this weekend’s Convention. The ‘radicals’, the extremists who have had the California LP for three years now.

    Irony Alert: The same folks running the convention and the LPCA are in large part, we hear, supporting an anti-floor fee resolution.

    They will perhaps be party to the suit and be both litigant and appelant?

    Yeah, go sue yourselves, you weirdotarians.

  4. Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia

    (b) The Act’s language and structure compel the conclusion that §5 of its own force covers changes such as the Party’s filing fee when the electoral practice at issue is a nominating convention. This Court has consistently construed the Act to require preclearance of any change bearing on the “effectiveness” of a vote cast in a primary, special, or general election, including changes in the composition of the electorate that votes for a particular office. See, e.g., Allen v. State Bd. of Elections, 393 U.S. 544, 570. By limiting the opportunity for voters to participate in the convention, the Party’s filing fee undercuts their influence on the field of candidates whose names will appear on the ballot, and thus weakens the “effectiveness” of their votes cast in the general election itself. That §5 covers nonprimary nomination methods is also supported by Whitley v. Williams, decided with Allen, supra; by the text and legislative history of §14, which defines the terms “vote” or “voting” to include “all action necessary to make a vote effective in any . . . election,” including the selection of persons for “party office”; and by the text of §2, which bans any racially discriminatory voting qualification or prerequisite if “the political processes leading to nomination or election . . . are not equally open to . . . [protected group] members.” (Emphasis added.)

  5. LibertarianGirl

    I already introduced it to the excom , normally we would vote via online or conference call , but since our convention is so close and the impacted will be the delegates , which we will be choosing at our convention , we decided to wait on a vote from the floor.

    I used Carolyns wording with Nevada as a substitute for Cali of course and we are wordsmithing it currently.

  6. paulie Post author

    Ah … it seems someone has finally noticed section 1(b) of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia!

    Personally, I think that all measures short of bringing litigation or other government intervention into play should be tried first.

    I agree, let’s hold off on the lawsuits please.

  7. Carolyn Marbry

    Who are you talking about, BC? Starr was chair when the floor fee was first imposed, not Takenaga. He simply inherited it.

    Zander Collier is the Southern Vice Chair, and planning the convention was his baby. As far as I know, he hasn’t weighed in on floor fees one way or the other.

    I wrote the resolution, but I’m in no way involved in the convention planning or execution.

    So… are you just making stuff up again, or do you have someone else in mind as “running the convention” and being against floor fees?

  8. Carolyn Marbry

    By the way, this is the final version of the text that I submitted to Gale Morgan last night.

    Whereas National Party By-laws, article 11.3, states that delegates to the National Convention are selected by the state affiliates; and

    Whereas Party By-Laws neither require nor allow the National Committee to impose additional requirements upon these delegates to the National Convention over and above their respective states’ requirements; and

    Whereas, the delegate apportionment formula specified in the By-laws is primarily based on the number of sustaining national party members in each state;

    Be it therefore resolved, that the Libertarian Party of California opposes in principle the imposition of a mandatory registration fee
    upon all duly elected delegates attending the Libertarian Party’s National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri over Memorial Day Weekend,
    the payment of which would be a mandatory prerequisite to the Credentials Committee seating said delegates who wish to attend and
    vote exclusively at the business sessions of the Libertarian Party National Convention; and

    Be it further resolved, that the Libertarian Party of California calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to adopt a policy of strict yearly budgeting from membership dues in order that it may provide meeting facilities for its National Conventions; and

    Be it further resolved, that the Libertarian Party of California further calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to require that activities and facilities related to the party’s national conventions but not part of the by-laws-mandated business sessions be self-supporting on the basis of payments from willing customers or sponsors rather than on the basis of subsidies extracted from delegates.

  9. Bruce Cohen

    That’s just bad business sense, that resolution.

    You can’t take one potential business plan off the table.

    Come on, you guys run a ‘free’ Convention.

    YOU do it.
    Don’t try to get someone else to do it.

    You.

    You guys, the Board of Directors of the Libertarian Party of California are ‘running’ it, as much as Kevin is, because the buck stops there and it’s one of your responsibilities when you volunteered for the job.

    The ‘you’ was a royal you, a you in general, as in your team, you guys, you all, you you you.

    Don’t blame Zander, and thank Beau for picking up the pieces, too.

    You guys in California should run a no floor fee Convention like you say you want.

    Just because you spent all the money Aaron left you in the checkbook and you’re broke doesn’t somehow make it ok for you to charge, but then to point fingers at NatCom for charging.

    Blatant hipocracy and circular logic.

    I love it.

    Will someone else please throw up a clay?
    PULL!

  10. Carolyn Marbry

    Again with the “you.” I’m not on the excomm. I’m not serving in any capacity in CA other than as a member.

    YES, we should run a no-floor-fee convention because quite honestly, I tend to think the same principle applies. The people at the convention are there to do the party’s business. But we aren’t going floor-fee-free, for reasons I already mentioned. Once it’s in place, it’s virtually impossible to get rid of.

    That’s something else that another person suggested we address. But that’s a separate issue. We’re talking about National here.

  11. Bruce Cohen

    Why once it’s in place, it’s impossible?

    Kevin and Company have been in charge for three years.

    How about they plan next years to be free?

    Should be no problemo.

    I just don’t get it why you winnertarians can’t change course a year ahead, much less three or four.

  12. Carolyn Marbry

    Great idea, BC. Why don’t you go ahead and craft that resolution and present it at the convention?

  13. Bruce Cohen

    I’m not there anymore.

    I’m just watching Kevin’s train wreck.

    You’re the insider, with influence and prestige.
    Go for it, you fundraising and recruiting dynamo!

    Show us your stuff, Miss Marbry.

  14. Thomas L. Knapp

    There’s no such thing as a “free” convention — nor has anyone claimed that there is or can be any such thing.

    The first thing to understand is what the convention IS.

    The convention is the business meeting. Period. Full stop.

    The breakfasts and snacks and banquets and receptions and fundraisers and donor honors events and so forth are not the convention. They are auxiliary activities centered around the convention.

    I know of no one who objects in principle to these auxiliary activities.

    It makes perfect sense to hold such activities in the same timeframe and in the same locale as the convention for the obvious reason that the convention is the one time every two years when it’s reasonably certain that a whole bunch of Libertarian Party members from around the country are going to be in the same place.

    It might even make sense to leverage the choice of convention venue to make it cheaper to put on those auxiliary events, or the prospective profitability of hosting the auxiliary events to swing a cheaper price on the convention venue or whatever.

    What makes no sense at all is holding the convention hostage to the willingness of the delegates to plunk down $100 or more to subsidize those auxiliary events.

    The membership already paid for the convention. The LNC collects the dues, and the LNC is responsible for making certain things happen with those dues, one of those things being the convention.

    If the LNC didn’t budget properly, that’s on the LNC, not on the delegates.

    If the LNC prefers a luxury hotel venue to a cheap meeting hall because it makes the auxiliary events more attractive to well-heeled donors, that’s on the LNC, not on the delegates.

    The more comfortable the meeting venue the better, of course, but it should be one that’s within the means the LNC has to work with instead of subsidized through extortion of a poll tax from the delegates.

  15. Marc Montoni

    I’ve been speaking against a “no floor fee” since the beginning, and I am also helping set up the state convention for the Libertarian Party of Virginia. Our business session is free to all members. Period.

    How does that make me a hypocrite? How can you generalize like that?

    We do charge for the “auxiliary”, or “nonessential” activities. We generally make enough on these to pay for the business session room rental.

    The *only* people who must pay to attend the Business Session are NONMEMBERS.

    The Libertarian Party of Virginia is not under any obligation to allow nonmembers access to our business meeting, so we do charge them an admission fee if they wish to attend & observe the business session. Nonmembers must also obtain the permission of the members to sit in on our convention. If a nonmember wishes to sit in and has paid the noinmember fee, the members are asked if they wish to admit that person.

    Alternatively, nonmembers can simply join and obtain all the privileges of membership.

    But in any case, a member of the Libertarian Party of Virginia is entitled to attend the business session at no charge. We verify membership status at the registration table, give each his voting credential and name tag, and off he goes.

    Here are my feelings about floor fees:

    1) We don’t need any more divisive decisions.
    2) The floor fee is divisive, and its proponents knew very well that it would be.
    3) Given the washout in attendance compared to the 1996-2004 period, perhaps the convention organizers should think about doing things to encourage attendance, rather than discourage it.
    4) The qualifications for getting onto the business floor are listed in the bylaws, and they do not include a floor fee.
    5) The delegates should be asked to impose a floor fee on themselves; it should not be imposed by fiat.
    6) It won’t hurt the LP one bit to delay the implementation of a floor fee for a few months until the delegates can make the decision for themselves.
    7) I would support a floor fee if it was agreed to by the delegates in convention.
    8) The alleged need for a floor fee to pay for convention materials and the room required could have been avoided with saner budgeting.
    9) I’d rather see substantially higher dues + in-kind credit for work towards dues, than a floor fee. Being allowed to muck about in the Libertarian Party’s business should require a rather large investment of either money or time.
    10) Most important of all, the D’s and R’s do not charge a floor fee, because they know how to raise money from outside sources. I have asked the LNC may times in the past to investigate the possibility of obtaining corporate sponsorships of our convention committee (entirely legal!), but the majority is so wrapped around the axle in their march to charge floor fees and eliminate the povertarians that they have apparently chosen to remain willfully ignorant about this legal source of money. Frankly I do not understand the insistence on keeping the LP mired in amateur hour.

    Some additional explanation of how corporations and other groups could help fund our convention is here.

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