Mark Hinkle Emails the LNC re: the Jud Com Ruling About Oregon

This correspondence was sent out yesterday regarding the recent developments in the LP Oregon. For background, read here, here, and here. There are actually a few more articles about it on this site, if the reader chooses to search “lp Oregon”.

From: Mark Hinkle
Date: September 5, 2011 1:15:20 AM EDT
To: lnc-discuss@hq.lp.org
Subject: Re: [Lnc-discuss] JC ruling…
Reply-To: lnc-discuss@hq.lp.org
>
Dear LNC,
>
I just re-read the JC’s decision and have come to another conclusion.
>
The LNC EC’s action never dis-affiliated the Oregon LP (and JC states exactly that in their ruling) and that was never part of the motion nor was it part of the EC’s discussion in the first place.
>
The JC’s decision, as I interpret it, is that the LPO (Libertarian Party of Oregon) has no leadership. Their Bylaws clearly state the term of office for the past LPO Chair, Wes Wagner, has ended along with the other past officers. The JC does not recognize the LPO leadership (Tim Reeves) that the LNC EC sought to recognize, therefor there is no leadership in the LPO.
>
The SOS there may still recognize Wes Wagner as LPO Chair (for life if he chooses), but we don’t.
>
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Party’s may handle their internal affairs as they see fit and are not subject to the laws of the states that may try and override internal decisions of the LP.
>
See: March Fong Eu vs. the San Francisco Democratic Central Committee (decision February 22, 1989).
>
To quote, in part, from that ruling:
>A State cannot justify regulating a party’s internal affairs without showing that such regulation is necessary to ensure that elections are orderly, fair, and honest, and California has made no such showing.
Until the LPO can elect someone per their Bylaws, my ruling is that there is no leadership in the LPO and thus we are not required, nor would it be prudent, to send any membership data to them, nor link our web site to any faction that claims to be the leadership of the LPO.
>
Our Policy manual states:
>Data Sharing with Affiliates
>LPHQ will provide all officially recognized state-level affiliates with a list of Constituents
>residing in the area covered by that affiliate, within the first 5 business days of the month to
>the affiliate chair, or his designee.
Since there is no affiliate chair, or his designee, there is no one to send the data to.
>
The JC has prevented the LNC EC from recognizing the Tim Reeves faction and the Oregon SOS has effectively done the same thing.
>
So, the only fair and equitable solution for the LNC is to treat the LPO as a dormant affiliate until they can resolve their issues.
>
We have been cautioned not to get involved in the internal affairs of the LPO and to recognize the Wagner group would be doing exactly that.
>
Therefor, the LNC should take a hand off approach and let them come to some sort of resolution and then bring that back to the LNC.
>
That is my ruling. The LNC, as always, can override my decision if they think my decision is in error.
>
Yours in liberty………………..Mark Hinkle, LNC Chair
>
P.S. I will instruct Wes Benedict and Robert Kraus to suspend any standard affiliate communication to the LPO until such time as they resolve their issues internally.

P.P.S. the LSLA is free to add, or not, Wes Wagner to it’s “state-chair” email list. The LNC has no jurisdiction there.

32 thoughts on “Mark Hinkle Emails the LNC re: the Jud Com Ruling About Oregon

  1. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    So, what does that mean, Chuck? Does Hinkle get to override the Judicial Committee’s opinion?

  2. Mike Seebeck

    The Chair’s interpretation is in error. So is the JudCom.

    It is a well-settled legal principle in political circles that when a political party’s structure and Bylaws come into conflict with applicable state or federal laws, the party trumps. See also Tashjian v. Republican Party of Connecticut, 1986. However, that ruling also states that when there is no such conflict and either one is silent, the other controls.

    Applying that properly to the LPOR case, the national Bylaws and the LPOR Bylaws are silent on this issue, therefore the laws of Oregon are in full effect, and to that end, Mr. Wagner is the dutifully-recognized chair of LPOR, per the legal recognition of the Oregon Secretary of State.

    Hence the JudCom got it wrong, and the Chair’s interpretation is also incorrect.

    Also, because the OR SoS’s ruling is legally binding, and the Judcom’s is not, the SoS ruling takes precedence, unless the LPUS is contending that they operate outside the law.

    Now, if the full LNC (NOT the LNC XC) had voted to disaffiliate the Wagner faction and then affiliate the Burke faction, and then notify the OR SoS of the change, then all of this Amateur Hour could have been avoided in the first place. Mr. Wiener got that one correct.

    But once again, like they did with Keaton and Wrights, they had to play cute with it and get it wrong.

    And then it is wondered why people snicker at the LPUS…

  3. Chuck Moulton

    Jill Pyeatt wrote (@2):

    So, what does that mean, Chuck? Does Hinkle get to override the Judicial Committee’s opinion?

    Nope.

    It means I think Hinkle should treat Wagner’s group as the affiliate until the LNC disaffiliates it and affiliates the Reeves group (by mail ballot).

  4. Brian Holtz

    The Oregon Secretary of State has explicitly declined to make a “ruling” on the merits of the dispute. For those who haven’t waded through the nearly 100+ pages of pleadings in the case, here are the major events leading to the current state of the OR SoS’s records about the LPOR:

    • According to Article XVI of the Libertarian Party of Oregon Bylaws in effect when the LPOR convened on March 12 of this year, amending the LPOR Bylaws requires a 2/3 vote in convention, and amendments require either 45 days’ advance notice or a request by 10% of convention delegates.
    • The LPOR on March 12 could not attain a quorum, and so the assembled LPOR members voted to adjourn to the same place on May 21 to continue the convention on that date, with notice to be sent if the place were changed.
    • On March 31 the LPOR State Committee met at Elmer’s restaurant where a motion was made to replace the LPOR Bylaws. A vote to table the consideration of replacement bylaws failed by 4-5. Five members then voted to replace the LPOR Bylaws with novel bylaws that would expand LPOR membership from ~150 to ~13000 and effectively expel any LPOR members who were not registered voters in the state of Oregon.
    • The reason that the OR SoS web site currently lists Wagner as Chair on a web page dated May 4 is that the LPOR leadership chosen at Elmer’s decided that the May 21 convention should be canceled, and instead they certified themselves and their novel bylaws to the SoS. 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. When the OR SoS was then asked to update their May 4 document to list the officers chosen on May 21, the OR SoS office replied on June 2 that “we are unable to process any changes without written approval from the current chair of record of the Libertarian Party of Oregon”.

    These facts seem to be undisputed, except that each side disputes whether the other side had the authority to do what they did at their respective March 31 and May 21 meetings.

  5. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Hinkle: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Party’s may handle their internal affairs as they see fit and are not subject to the laws of the states that may try and override internal decisions of the LP.

    Which LP? The state or national LP?

    I’ve not read the Supreme Court decision, but I’m guessing the SC said that a state may not override the internal decisions of one of its state parties.

    By contrast, the LNC is apparently saying that the state can’t interfere with the LNC’s interfering with the Oregon LP.

    However, as any minarchist would say, the State has a legitimate right to stop one private party from violating the rights of another private party.

    The LNC should stop its thuggish assault on the right of the Oregon LP to conduct its internal affairs as it sees fit.

    When one private party interferes with another private party’s rights, it’s in keeping with libertarian/minarchist principles to call upon the state for protection.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    It’s my habit to let popular television shows run a few seasons before watching them, so I just saw this yesterday, around the same time that I saw Mark Hinkle’s email … and for some reason they just seem to resemble each other.

  7. Fixed That For You

    The LNC should stop its thuggish assault on the right of a handful of lame-duck officers of the Oregon LP to rewrite the LPOR bylaws as they see fit.

  8. Sane LP member

    How can they rewrite, if they can’t meet quorum to do so? Round and round it goes.

    They need to implode themselves, start over, have a meeting, vote for the people to resubmit paperwork to national party, get OK from LNC, have a convention to reform, and then . . .
    THE BEST MAN or WOMAN wins !
    KJK

  9. Steven Wilson

    I find it laughable because a true response would be sane, and that would not fit the LNC.

    Words have meaning. Laws only exist when applied as written.

    Interpretations are for despots and morons.

    The SOS office controls whom shall be placed on the ballot. Thusly, if Oregon SOS identifies Wagner as the chair, and uses him to confirm official libertarian candidates, then Wagner is the chair of the LPO.

    The games played at the national illustrate why it should be shut down and a senate of state chairs be placed in charge.

    State chairs would “know” ballot access for their respective states. State chairs would “know” procedures of their own state parties.

    In a time of 2012 being a significant year of people looking for alternatives to vote for, the fine people of Oregon get to see Libertarian adults playing Uno at a summer camp for morons.

    The person chosen at Las Vegas will have to ask permisson from Wagner to be their Presidential ballot because Dr. Hinkle refuses to acknowledge the state party.

    Beauty, eh?

  10. Michael H. Wilson

    re 9 I read the bylaws and convention rules do I don’t recall a quorum being mentioned in either one. Please correct me if I am wrong. Will you please show me the specific paragraph in the 2009 by-laws or convention rules that mentions the quorum?
    Thank you.

  11. George Phillies

    Michael, the issue is that they made the mistake of adopting Roberts as their convention Bylaws and were then subject to a plague of Parliamentarians.

    The bylaws say Roberts, and the plague inflicted says this nonsense that they changed their quorum without noticing.

  12. Wes Wagner

    BH @5

    The vote to replace the bylaws was 7-0 with 2 abstentions, with those people abstaining still volunteering to sit on the new 9 member board.

    I don’t know why history keeps getting continually revised to make things seem worse than they are, but it seems a number of people at national have taken this personally because their republican ox got gored.

    A vote to table was defeated, however, after debate actually occurred post-parliamentary-shenanigan, and the relative merits of doing nothing and what that meant for the long-term viability of the organization, some people changed their mind.

  13. Brian Holtz

    WW) The vote to replace the bylaws was 7-0 with 2 abstentions (WW

    The minutes of the meeting say: “New bylaws and constitution is approved. 5 in favor, none dissenting with 2 abstaining.”

    WW) I don’t know why history keeps getting continually revised (WW

    Me neither.

  14. paulie

    Does Hinkle get to override the Judicial Committee’s opinion?

    Benedict and Kraus will do what the LNC tells them to do. As far as I know, the JudCom has no enforcement powers, whereas the LNC actually can fire LPHQ staff. If you were Wes B., what would you do?

    Oregon SOS will continue to recognize the Wagner group (unless and until the decide otherwise, which will probably not be due to whatever the LNC decides to do).

    Ballot access for whatever candidate is nominated in Las Vegas is a concern, but the LNC has time to fix that.

    As for who gets to select the Oregon delegates to the Vegas convention….well, the current position of the LNC is that there is no affiliate in Oregon, so I have to wonder about that. Anyone know?

  15. Brian Holtz

    @11 LPOR Bylaw 17 makes Robert’s the default rules for the LPOR. Robert’s says a quorum is 50% if the bylaws don’t say otherwise.

    @12 George, should the JudCom tell the LNC that it doesn’t have to follow rules it says it hasn’t “noticed”?

  16. George Phillies

    Hinkle’s claims are so bizarre that it is difficult to know where to begin. The Judicial Committee said the faction recognized by the secretary of state was the affiliate (NB they did not say that faction was the affiliate *because* it was recognized by the secretary of state). When you get that faction, you get their bylaws, which are not the bylaws Hinkle says are the bylaws, and you get their officers, Wagner et al.

    @15 The current position of the LNC Chair is that our affiliate has no officers. That’s not the same as being the LNC position, because the Judicial Committee has ruled to the contrary.

  17. Brian Holtz

    Michael, it’s p. 335.

    George, I was trying to get you to expand on your theory @12 that a rule isn’t binding if you don’t notice/understand its implications. I’ll give up now.

  18. Michael H. Wilson

    Sorry I couldn’t find my copy of RRONR 10th edition. I had buried it. I read that page differently. I am quoting from page 335 and hopefully have quoted it correctly.

    “3) In a body of delegates, such as a convention, the quorum is a majority of the number who have registered as attending, irrespective of whether some may have departed. This may differ greatly from the number elected or appointed.”

    4) reads “In any other deliberative assembly with enrolled membership whose bylaws do not specify a quorum, the quorum is a majority of all members.”

    Section 3) mentions conventions and section 4) specifically states “other deliberative assembly”. This was not some assembly other than a convention. Section 3) should have been the working position. It always was in prior conventions and I attended a bunch of Oregon conventions.

    Thanks.

  19. Steven Wilson

    Oxy Moronica, Home planet of LNC

    Dr. Mark Hinkle

    Libertarian Wayne Allen Foot

    Dry Water

    Vampire diabetic supplies

    Law that is applied when you feel like it–Libertarian Dr. Mark Hinkle

    Cheers. and don’t spill it.

  20. Brian Holtz

    Michael, I suspect the reasoning is that LPOR convention delegates aren’t “elected or appointed” as in (3), but rather are eligible just for being “enrolled members” as in (4). I’m not sure how compelling such an analysis is.

  21. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    SW @ 22: This most certainly is an upside-down world that we’re living in. LOL

  22. George Phillies

    Such a radical change in bylaws — meaning you can no longer hold conventions — was obviously not the intent of the OR delegates when they adopted their bylaws, and claims to the contrary are wrong. ‘Legislative intent’ dominates apparent meaning of wording.

    Hinkle’s claim to have determined which set of bylaws LPOregon uses — a parliamentary ruling if there ever was one — is being challenged on the LNC. At some date, not to distant, I would anticipate that Oregon will make a fresh appeal to the Judicial Committee.

  23. Brian Holtz

    The bylaws change did not “mean you can no longer hold conventions”, because the LPOR apparently was able to muster a quorum for its March 2010 convention.

    As I understand it, the ExCom’s identification of the LPOR bylaws consists merely of noting two facts:

    1. According to Article XVI of the Libertarian Party of Oregon Bylaws in effect when the LPOR convened on March 12 of this year, amending the LPOR Bylaws requires a 2/3 vote in convention, and amendments require either 45 days’ advance notice or a request by 10% of convention delegates.
    2. On March 31 the LPOR State Committee met at Elmer’s restaurant where a motion was made to replace the LPOR Bylaws. A vote to table the consideration of replacement bylaws failed by 4-5. Five members then voted to replace the LPOR Bylaws with novel bylaws that would expand LPOR membership from ~150 to ~13000 and effectively expel any LPOR members who were not registered voters in the state of Oregon.

    I’m curious to hear which of these two facts is in dispute.

  24. paulie

    LPOR apparently was able to muster a quorum for its March 2010 convention.

    How many people were there? Was the same interpretation of the bylaws which prevented a quorum the following year applied at that time?

  25. George Phillies

    Oregon has appealed Hinkle’s bizarre claims to the Judicial Committee, requesting a further interpretation of the JudComm findings. Most recently, Hinkle proposed that if the State Chair is not a member of the National Party, the Chair might not be able to make a valid appeal to the Judicial Committee.

  26. Pingback: Wagner side of Oregon Libertarian dispute appeals to Judicial Committee again | Independent Political Report

  27. Robert Capozzi

    28 gp: Most recently, Hinkle proposed that if the State Chair is not a member of the National Party, the Chair might not be able to make a valid appeal to the Judicial Committee.

    me: That’s actually an interesting point, although I’d think it should have been brought up before. On its face, if someone isn’t a member of an organization, it seems hard that they can have “standing” with the organization.

    I’m guessing that Wagner isn’t a national member…

  28. Brian Holtz

    Bylaw 5.1 says “Members of the Party shall be those persons who have certified in writing that they oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.”

    Bylaw 6.6 does not include the word “member” where it says “The affiliate party may challenge the revocation of its status by written appeal to the Judicial Committee”.

  29. Robert Capozzi

    31 bh, do people still sign the Pledge “in writing”?

    The appeal to Jud Com was titled “Wes Wagner vs. the LNC.” Wagner is not a/the LPO, only an officer in a/the LPO.

    Not a big hairsplitter, but I wonder whether this all was properly done.

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