Exchange between LNC Chair Mark Hinkle and Judicial Committee Chair Bill Hall on Wagner vs. LNC

Emailed to IPR by a member of the Judicial Committee (not Bill Hall). For background and links to even earlier stories, see here.

From Mark Hinkle:

Dear JC Chairman Bill Hall,

I’ve read the clarification of the LP JC decision regarding Wagner vs. the LNC.

I have a question for the entire JC regarding this statement:

“Until such time as that occurs, the LNC must continue to treat the
Wagner group of LPO officers similar to other LP state-level affiliate
officers (for example, by providing monthly data dumps, and
recognition on the lp.org website as the official LP state affiliate
in Oregon)”.

Please show me in the LP Bylaws where the JC has the authority to
issue such a statement.

Data Sharing with affiliates, as far as I can determine, is not
codified in the Bylaws. So, it would seem to be outside the authority
of the JC to issue such a ruling.

Likewise, there is no mention of our web site in the LP Bylaws. So,
again it would seem to be outside the authority of the JC to issue
such a ruling.

According to our current Bylaws, Article 9: Judicial Committee, Section 2:

2. 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).

The line “2.a suspension of affiliate parties (Article 6, Section 6)”
seems to be the only relevant rule here.

Since there are affiliates that we don’t, currently, send data dumps
to for reasons other than disaffiliation, i.e. there’s no one to send
the data to, there is no connection between data dumps and
disaffiliation.

And since there is nothing in our Bylaws that require the LNC to link
our web site to affiliate party web sites, that too seems to be
outside the jurisdiction of the JC.

Would you please confer with the entire JC and let me know your
thoughts on this matter.

Yours in liberty……………………Mark Hinkle, LNC Chair

“It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless
minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

– Samuel Adams

Response from Bill Hall:

Dear Mr. Hinkle:

The Judicial Committee is not willing to issue any further
clarification of its opinion in the Wagner matter, or engage in an
ongoing argument over the basis for its decision.

Personally, I feel that our decision could not have been clearer, and
it is now up to the Libertarian National Committee to decide whether
it will comply with the Libertarian Party Bylaws, as duly interpreted
by the Judicial Committee.

Very truly yours,

Bill Hall

135 thoughts on “Exchange between LNC Chair Mark Hinkle and Judicial Committee Chair Bill Hall on Wagner vs. LNC

  1. Jill Pyeatt

    Has Hinkle gone crazy? He’s worked hard for the LP for years; surely he knows he’s destroying his credibility with this chapter of LNC 2011. Will any possible gain be worth it? I can’t imagine it will.

  2. R. Lee Wrights

    In the interest of full disclosure (since one of my colleagues on the JC has obvious seen fit to forward this exchange) I will share with you my response to the Judicial Committee, on which I copied the national chair. Also in the interest of full disclosure, I was the only JC member to answer the national chair in a response; and, my response was made before Mr. Hall issued his response. This is what I had to say:

    “Gentlemen,

    “Our National Chair claims (please notice I have copied him on this response):

    “According to our current Bylaws, Article 9: Judicial Committee, Section 2:

    “2. 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).
    “The line ‘2.a suspension of affiliate parties (Article 6, Section 6)’ seems to be the only relevant rule here.

    [End of the natioanl chair’s quote]

    [My remarks continue here.]

    “Absolutely 100% wrong. The relevant rule here is ‘2d. voiding of National Committee decisions (Article 8, Section 13).’

    “This is exactly what has happened. The JC has voided a National Committee decision. We made that clear in our decision and our clarification.

    “In my opinion, this as an attempt to circumvent our ruling, and thereby, it is also an attempt to once again circumvent our By-laws.

    “I would ask our National Chair to please cite the By-law that allows a national chair to ignore or defy a Judicial Committee ruling.”

    Lee Wrights

  3. Aaron Starr

    @4

    That is extraordinarily interesting.

    I didn’t know that the basis of the decision was Article 8, Section 13, which states:

    “Upon appeal by ten percent of the delegates credentialed at the most recent Regular Convention or one percent of the Party sustaining members the Judicial Committee shall consider the question of whether or not a decision of the National Committee contravenes specified sections of the Bylaws. If the decision is vetoed by the Judicial Committee, it shall be declared null and void.”

    I must be out of the loop on that one. I did not notice the petition and the hearing based on Article 8, Section 13.

    How many signatures were there on the petition and who signed them?

    When did the hearing take place based on this petition?

    Which bylaw was cited as being violated in the decision based on the Article 8, Section 13 hearing?

  4. Nicholas Sarwark

    I believe that was a mistake in Lee’s email. While the JC did void a National Committee decision, the appeal was based on a disaffiliation under Art. 6, Sec. 6.

  5. Aaron Starr

    @6

    I believe Lee is quite capable of defending his own statements. He’s very precise with words because he is a professional writer/editor. And according to Lee, this is the second time he has published this position — the first time to the Chair and JC directly, the second time to this blog.

    Lee, let’s look at what you wrote:

    The Chair wrote: “The line ’2.a suspension of affiliate parties (Article 6, Section 6)’ seems to be the only relevant rule here.”

    Lee wrote: “Absolutely 100% wrong. The relevant rule here is ’2d. voiding of National Committee decisions (Article 8, Section 13).’

    “This is exactly what has happened. The JC has voided a National Committee decision. We made that clear in our decision and our clarification.”

    The very essence of your point was to deny that the decision and clarification were based on 6.6, and you stated that with unwavering certainty and conviction.

    Lee, do you stand by what you wrote at least twice?

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    Actually, all three cited rules are relevant. It’s just that 6.6 adds a procedural appellate avenue to get to 8.13, and 9.2 further boxes in both.

    The Judicial Committee, within its jurisdiction as defined by 9.2, applied 8.13 as invoked through 6.6.

    Not that it needs to be that complicated. Wrights’s main point …

    The JC has voided a National Committee decision.

    … is the final output of the process, and should have been where the whole thing ended.

  7. R. Lee Wrights

    Thanks Nick. You are correct in that we decided that the LNC had effectively disaffiliated Oregon without due process. That is why we voided their decision.

    Mr. Starr, if you think for one minute that I am going to debate this with you, you are sadly mistaken. I will only ask you for the same information I have asked the national chair repeatedly for, and received no answer at all:

    Please, cite the LP By-law that states a national chair can ignore or defy a Judicial Committee ruling.

  8. R. Lee Wrights

    “ARTICLE 16: PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
    The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern
    the Party in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with
    these bylaws and any special rules of order adopted by the Party.”

    Sorry Mr. Starr. You’ll have to do better than that. Parliamentary posturing will not get it this time. If that is the only card you have left to play, you lose.

  9. Robert Capozzi

    hmm, so if the JC’s opinion also said that they have the parliamentary authority to make their ruling, then what would MH’s view be? Lack of jurisdiction? Please! Spare us! This doesn’t pass the red-face test…

    This starts to go to a Marbury v. Madison place, where judicial review was questioned for similar reasons, as I recall. If there is to be a judicial function, the judiciary has to have enforcement authority. If not, why bother having a judiciary?

  10. Kanye East

    MH: Since there are affiliates that we don’t, currently, send data dumps
    to for reasons other than disaffiliation, i.e. there’s no one to send
    the data to, there is no connection between data dumps and
    disaffiliation.

    KE: But there is someone to send data dumps to.
    How is that not specious reasoning? Does this mean that the LNC can instruct LPHQ to not send data dumps to other active affiliates due to factional differences? If an active affiliate is denied data dumps — are they then able to determine who is eligible to be a delegate to the national convention?
    Or, can LNC/HQ summarily decide that an affiliate does not get a delegation seated at the convention at all?

    MH: And since there is nothing in our Bylaws that require the LNC to link
    our web site to affiliate party web sites, that too seems to be
    outside the jurisdiction of the JC.

    KE: That may be the case. However, do we really want to go to a place where LNC/HQ decides on a case by case basis which actively maintained state websites to link to and which ones not to link to? While that may not technically be disaffiliation in and of itself, it seems to be at least an act of partial de facto disaffiliation.

    For some reason I would think that a national committee/HQ should be more impartial than that, and that a national committee/HQ that starts deciding on a case by case basis which active affiliates to send membership data to and link to the websites of, and which ones not to, is a recipe for disaster.

    Is that really the kind of precedent we want to set here?

  11. wolfefan

    I am not a member of the party – just an interested observer. Based solely on Mr. Hinkle’s e-mail and Mr. Starr’s responses here, the LNC looks pretty bad. Whatever one’s position, people really need to think about whether or not what they say and do provides a picture of a party whose candidates are actually ready to govern anything. I include both sides of the LPO itself in this criticism; if people cannot competently run a small state party organization, why should I as a voter trust them to be able to implement their policies and govern on a large scale?

  12. George Phillies

    What is affiliation if not the supplying of services and seats at NatCon? The position of the LNC Executive Committee is in my opinion remarkably dishonest.

  13. Robert Capozzi

    gp, it appears that this particular message is MH only, not the LNC-EC, yes?

    I prefer the word “confused” rather than “dishonest” for obvious reasons…

  14. Barry Silverwater

    How is that not specious reasoning? Does this mean that the LNC can instruct LPHQ to not send data dumps to other active affiliates due to factional differences? If an active affiliate is denied data dumps — are they then able to determine who is eligible to be a delegate to the national convention?
    Or, can LNC/HQ summarily decide that an affiliate does not get a delegation seated at the convention at all?

    There are states that get no delegations at NatCon already. That is states with no delegates. So not allowing an affiliate that sends delegates to have a delegation seated is not an act of disaffiliation.

    Right?

  15. Robert Capozzi

    19 bs: So not allowing an affiliate that sends delegates to have a delegation seated is not an act of disaffiliation.

    me: Is it just me, or does this sound like double talk? If a state IS an affiliate, not allowing its delegation is constructive disaffiliation. The JC has said LPO, led by WW, is an affiliate. If the case can be made that they should be disaffiliated, the LNC should do so. If they don’t have the votes to do so, they should suck it up.

    Kiss it simple stupid is an excellent rule of thumb.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@20,

    It seems to me that treating an affiliate differently from other affiliates in any substantial/discriminatory way can reasonably be considered an act of “constructive disaffiliation.”

    Obviously there are various circumstances that require different treatment — the example given being “we don’t send data dumps to states that aren’t set up to receive them” — and that’s the small area of wiggle room that Hinkle is trying to use to shoehorn Oregon into.

    I don’t think that it works. If LPHQ sends data dumps to active affiliates that are set up to receive them, and Oregon is set up to receive them, then “Mark Hinkle has a bug up his ass” is not a valid reason for not sending them; not sending them is an attempt at constructive disaffiliation.

    Ditto for web links from LP.org, etc.

    It’s come to my attention that Mr. Hinkle has released a video outlining his position on Oregon and the Judicial Committee ruling:

  17. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, yes, my bad, “keep”…it equals “kiss”.

    tk, yes, I tend to agree. This turn of events eclipses the attempt to get Wrights off the LNC, where there at least was something of a reason — a childish one, though, as it appeared to me. From what I’ve seen here, it looks like a pathetic word game that is utterly unpersuasive.

    I can’t off the top of my head even imagine a face-saving way to fix this except, perhaps, an outright disaffiliation vote, if they can get one (and which my opinion is from what I’ve seen a good case can be made, at least one that is coherent, even if one disagreed). I guess it’s possible that a full, candid explanation that has integrity could be crafted, but it’s surely not obvious.

  18. Barry Silverwater

    “Kiss it simple stupid”

    I believe that may have been a line Bill Clinton has had occasion to use…

  19. George Phillies

    @19 No, there are not states that get no delegations. There are states that have no one who wants to go, or that choose not to send anyone, but every state is entitled to a delegation of some non-zero size.

    @24 You appear to be correct, but optimistic.

  20. George Phillies

    @27 Welcome to IPR…you seem to be a new poster.

    I’m afraid sarcasm needs an emoticon or needs to be a bit more obvious. Your rationale after all, was more sensible than the LNC’s. More obvious? e.g.,

    LNC Announces New Headquarters Plan.

    Building to be shared with “Revolutionary Communist Party of the United States (Maoist)”.

    “Their ideas on party leadership and democratic centralism are just like ours,” says LNC chair.

    is perhaps obvious enough.

  21. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@24,

    Actually, I think you put your finger on the only real “face-saving” way out for Hinkle specifically and the LNC in general:

    Move disaffiliation, second disaffiliation, state cause, take the vote …

    … and then live with the result.

    This is really one of those situations where the line “you don’t have to like it, you just have to do it” comes to mind.

  22. Robert Capozzi

    30 tk, that, or resignation. I don’t advocate that he resign, but there is a case for it when someone steps in it like this. Someone is very confused here…

  23. paulie Post author

    I have been lead to believe there are not enough votes for formal disaffiliation, hence the “creative” interpretations being employed.

    Does anyone know who besides the 4 authors of the motion to “reaffiliate” is against disaffiliation, or on the fence, and be willing to share that information here?

  24. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie @ 32,

    “I have been lead to believe there are not enough votes for formal disaffiliation”

    That’s probably correct … but taking the vote is the way for Hinkle to save face.

    He really made himself look bad with his attempt at Bush-style “signing statement” / Clinton-style “depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is” fuckery with the Judicial Committee’s ruling.

    Now the whole LNC is looking even more stupid and dishonest with the “re-affiliate” crap.

    But if someone makes a motion to disaffiliate LPO, and that motion is seconded, and a vote is taken, all that stuff can at least somewhat “go away” — Hinkle can start treating the LPO correctly “because the motion to disaffiliate failed” instead of “because I lost a pissing match with the Judicial Committee.”

    It probably won’t be enough to get him another term as chair, but it might be enough to keep him from being outright shunned by all right-thinking people.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    33 tk, yep. At this point, this “creativity” is highly destructive on a number of levels.

    As for shunning, I can’t recommend that. It looks very possible that MH’s simply gotten carried away with events as they unfolded. He probably initially thought he was doing his fiduciary duty. During the many machinations of this drama, it’s also possible/probable he’s lost perspective and descended into Clintonian is/is-land…at sea.

    I’d say the Wagner group has also lost perspective, leading them to send wrong-minded flaming-middle-finger missives. Justifying THAT — to this day — seems to be the output of confused minds.

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@34,

    The “shunning” thing was just over-the-top rhetoric in good fun, and intended to be so clearly that that it would be difficult to take it for anything else.

    Now, while you might be correct that the LPO’s executive committee “has also lost perspective,” there’s more involved than perspective here.

    To put it bluntly, it is fast becoming, if it wasn’t from the beginning, a matter of good faith versus willingness to do anything, no matter how corrupt, to get one’s way.

    The SMC faction — which the evidence seems to indicate has fully absorbed Hinkle at this point — showed up in Oregon in November, attempting to get their way by delivering “parliamentary advice.”

    When that didn’t get them what they wanted, they went to the LNC’s executive committee to have it do something it had no authority to do (disaffiliate the LPO because it remained under the control of a faction they wanted out).

    When the EC’s illegal action was appealed to the Judicial Committee, they claimed that they hadn’t done what they’d done, and that the matter thus wasn’t in the Judicial Committee’s jurisdiction.

    When that didn’t work, they filed an extensive brief with the Judicial Committee claiming that since p. 283 of RONR includes the word “the,” they can do anything they want.

    When that didn’t work, Hinkle started playing catch-me-fuck-me with the ruling’s clear intent, and entertained a motion for an out-of-order vote on whether or not to abide by the bylaws.

    “Lost perspective” doesn’t cover this. It’s clear action in bad faith from beginning to end something that neither LPO nor the Judicial Committee have been credibly accused of.

  27. Pingback: Joe Tabor: ‘The Oregon Conflict, and LNC’s upcoming major embarrassment’ | Independent Political Report

  28. Robert Capozzi

    35 tk: …good faith versus willingness to do anything, no matter how corrupt, to get one’s way.

    me: Well stated. It’s been my observation that much of human history involves a GRADUAL corruption of good faith toward full-blown corruption. Whether SCM, now in your mind SCMH (H for Hinkle), are fully corrupt, fully psychopathic, or something like this, I doubt. I have every reason to believe that these are minor steps away from good faith, just as I find LPO’s leadership are just steps away, too. My default position is to see the good in all, but I also notice serial steps away.

    You may well have a different worldview and a different interpretation of the narrative we’re watching.

    As for the JC, while I didn’t quite buy their reasoning, it had all the signs of being safely in the “good faith” zone. They’ve handled this with class and clarity. Nice to see that…gives me some faith…

  29. George Phillies

    Readers are encouraged to examine Mr. Tabor’s letter, posted on IPR as an article. The letter was circulated to close to 100 state party officials, with other forwards doubtless in the works.

    Based on what I have read, the LP Oregon position is that the LNC is waging war on the lawful Oregon affiliate. Unsurprisingly, since appeals to the Judicial Committee led to decisions that the LNC leadership is ignoring, LP Oregon is visibly taking other steps to diminish the ability of the LNC to attack Oregon Libertarians.

    While presenting their position, so that other people know about it, is an aspect of the steps they are taking, a reasonable expectation might be that by and by LP Oregon will launch a vigorous campaign encouraging people to send their money to their state parties or to individual libertarian campaigns, instead of wasting it on the National Committee. Encouraging people to make their one dues-paying membership their state or local party, and not the national party, also comes to mind as a possibility.

    The possibility that LP Oregon will adhere to an alternative libertarian political group, and encourage other state parties to do the same, should not be overlooked as a longer-term possibility.

  30. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@37,

    “It’s been my observation that much of human history involves a GRADUAL corruption of good faith toward full-blown corruption.”

    Agreed, but I’m not even sure I’d go so far as “corruption,” given that term’s association with venality.

    I don’t recall that I’ve ever accused Starr, Carling, Mattson or (now) Hinkle of being motivated by material greed.

    I don’t think — or at least I’ve seen nothing to make me think — that they’re just looking for an angle that moves money from the party’s coffers to their pockets, for example.

    My assumption, in the absence of evidence otherwise, is that they genuinely believe the course they desire for the party (whatever that course is — it’s never been especially clear from where I sit) is the right course for the party.

    It’s just that at some point they arrived at an “end justifies the means” approach that justifies dishonesty.

    Bad faith often grows from good intentions.

  31. David Terry, McMinnville, OR

    Jill Pyeatt on Oct 4, 2011 at 11:43 pm Wrote:

    Has Hinkle gone crazy? He’s worked hard for the LP for years; surely he knows he’s destroying his credibility with this chapter of LNC 2011. Will any possible gain be worth it? I can’t imagine it will.

    The credibility of “this chapter” not withstanding, Hinkle has taken a brave stand on behalf of moderate mainstream libertarians and against the rule or ruin Wagner faction of “true believers. I applaud his efforts.
    regards,
    Dave Terry

  32. Steven Wilson

    The one thing that makes this pathetic sad moronic…
    is that in a blogsphere supposedly filled with people who love freedom, not one person has admitted to the amount of force that is being used to play Roberts Rules against the book club.

    Mother May I please be a party?

    Little bo peep lost his sheep.

    Parties, a waste of labor and raw material.

    Cheers. and yes, have another.

  33. Michael H. Wilson

    David you and I have been at it before and I have kept my opinion to myself on this issue between Mr. Hinkle and Wagner, etc. and I suggest you do the same.

    There is an interesting comment in Joe Tabor’s letter that you may wish to read. It has to do with a physical altercation that happened and I understand you were part of.

  34. Jill Pyeatt

    David Terry @ 41: The Oregon situation has been going on for months. I’ve read most things posted here on IPR about it–and that’s quite a bit. I also know several of the parties involved.

    Maybe you can explain to me why the Wes Wagner faction needed to be replaced? I would truly like to know, but your side hasn’t made the case well. There must be a major piece of the puzzle missing, because I’m really not getting it. Can you bring us up to speed?

  35. Wes Wagner

    Mr. Terry physically assaulted our party treasurer on March 31st, 2011. Mr. Vetanen, thus far has not pressed charges since it would be the preference to not have to deal with such matters.

    Fortunately Mr. Terry has not been at any of our events since that time so it has been possible to allow the issue to be set aside, for now.

  36. Ex Offender

    Multnomah County Detention Center is definitely not the worst jail I have been in. Most inmates I talked to preferred Multnomah County Inverness Jail, but I did not care for the “open dorm” style with 60-70 inmates in one big room being all loud and obnoxious. Relatively speaking, I myself rate the downtown Portland facilities higher. There, two inmates would share a cell about 23 hours a day. Of course, I guess I was lucky that my celly was not the worst either (Moroccan guy being held for federal trial in a bank loan swindling case). The Multnomah County Public defender was also by far the best I have ever had, although maybe I was just lucky. I heard bad things about Oregon State Prison, but the judge was too nice to me so I can’t
    say for sure.

  37. Robert Capozzi

    40 tk: It’s just that at some point they arrived at an “end justifies the means” approach that justifies dishonesty. Bad faith often grows from good intentions.

    me: Yes, I see your point. My question is: When MH wrote this latest email to BH, can we imagine that he — in his mind — did not think he was exercising “bad faith”? My guess is that he still thought he was doing the right thing.

    When AS posted what he did @ 10, was he being sincere? My guess is he believes that.

    I can share that, in my life, I’ve said and done things that, if I was more conscious at the time, I would not have done. I think that what happens with me and probably everyone is that we get so wrapped up in the conflict du jour, we lose perspective. Most people would say the ends DON’T justify the means, BUT that’s the way the game is played, so I’ll play the game by the rules as I understand them. Things get blurry, lines get grayer and grayer.

    This is why I find the counsel The truth shall set you free is so powerful. It takes a LOT of discipline to constantly check back in with one’s conscience, to keep asking Is this next step the right thing, regardless of likely outcome?

    I suggest that competitiveness, the desire to “win,” is the corrupting force here. It’s not always obvious, but we DO “win” when we consistently do the right thing, no matter whether it seems to be to our short term disadvantage.

  38. George Phillies

    The LNC Chair has issued what is identified as a legal opinion from an Oregon law firm, based on a statement of facts whose accuracy will I suspect be disputed by the Oregon Party.

  39. Wes Wagner

    NS@50

    The best part is that no input or facts were solicited from the current officers so it is a completely worthless letter… except to dupe people into doing something incredibly stupid.

  40. R. Lee Wrights

    As I wrote on another thread yesterday:

    I was in my local bank today and I noticed a poster that I thought would send a good message to our national leaders on the LNC. They would be wise to heed this simple message. The poster is a close-up of a friendly handshake with a caption that reads:

    “If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”

  41. paulie Post author

    Good to see that the LNC is sufficiently flush with cash to spend money on soliciting legal opinion letters.

    Now available at

    https://secureservercdn.net/104.238.69.231/qkc.c33.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/LP-Advice-Letter.pdf

    I’m not sure if/when I will be able to put up an article, but it has also been forwarded to other IPR writers, so hopefully they will be able to get to it if I can’t.

    It is marked confidential lawyer-client communication.

    However, the following was also attached (emphasis added):


    From: lnc-discuss-bounces@hq.lp.org [mailto:lnc-discuss-bounces@hq.lp.org] On Behalf Of Mark Hinkle
    Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 1:04 AM
    To: lnc discuss; statechairs@hq.lp.org
    Subject: [Lnc-discuss] LNC sponsored legal analysis of the Libertarian Party of Oregon (LPO)

    Dear LNC and Affiliate Chairs,

    As you know there has been a fair amount of discussion regarding the problems with the LPO and the two factions both claiming to be the real LPO leadership.

    To help get a handle on the situation, the LNC has engaged an Oregon law firm that specializes in election law.

    Attached is the legal opinion of Tyler Smith & Associates that has been also reviewed by our staff attorney: Gary Sinawski.

    Mr. Sinawski wrote: ” I have carefully reviewed Tyler Smith’s letter to Mark Hinkle dated October 4, 2011 and agree with the analysis set forth in the letter.”

    As you would normally suspect, communications between the LNC and legal counsel are often kept confidential to assure proper client/attorney privilege.

    However, due to the massive amounts of misinformation and disinformation floating around the Internet on this topic, I thought we should set the record straight and attempt to clear the air.

    Thus, you are free to share this with any interested party.

    Please read the attached document carefully. There is a lot to absorb.

    Once everyone on the LNC has had a chance to digest it, there may be one or more motions forthcoming.

    As always, I’m open to your thoughts and suggestions to resolve this problem.

    Yours in liberty………………..Mark Hinkle, LNC Chair

    “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

    – Samuel Adams

  42. Thomas L. Knapp

    @49,

    What possible bearing could a legal opinion from an Oregon law firm have?

    The Judicial Committee has issued its ruling. End of story. If the chair doesn’t conform to it, the chair needs to be removed, or the group styling itself the “Libertarian National Committee” needs to just admit that it has split from the Libertarian Party insofar as it is no longer the organization described in the bylaws.

  43. Thomas L. Knapp

    @54,

    Summary in English:

    The LNC has solicited (presumably, but not necessarily misusing membership funds for the purpose) a legal opinion advising it to initiate force to achieve his preferences versus the bylaws and the Judicial Committee’s ruling.

    If the first agenda item for the next LNC meeting isn’t removal of the chair, the state parties should call an emergency meeting to deem the LNC a rogue organization, strip it of its authority, repossess the party’s assets from it, and create a provisional national committee to administer those assets until the next regular convention.

  44. paulie Post author

    From the .pdf, excerpt:


    “2. LP Judicial Committee Actions

    The LP Bylaws expressly create and limit the authority of the Judicial Committee. Based
    upon the facts presented, the Judicial Committee lacked jurisdiction to hear the Wagner faction’s
    complaint. First, it is apparent under the 2009 LPO Bylaws that it was impossible for the
    Wagner faction to be legitimate leadership of the LPO, and therefore the Wagner Faction lacked
    standing to initiate the appeal. Second, the judicial committee has jurisdiction over matter of
    disaffiliation, this is true, but it is tenuous and highly problematic to hold that the LPO was
    effectively disaffiliated.

    First, and most troubling, if there was an effective disaffiliation, the LPO’s minor party status and ballot access are in jeopardy. Second, the dispute has merely been about who represents the legitimate leadership of the LPO and which LPO bylaws are in force, it was not about disaffiliation in the formal sense. The dispute is not about choosing between two
    organizations, but rather, who represents the legitimate leadership of one organization. A
    decision by the LNC to recognize the officers properly selected under the LPO’s 2009 Bylaws is
    not a disaffiliation of the entity that is the LPO.

    Most importantly, the LP’s Judiciary Committee acted outside the scope of its authority.
    LP Bylaws do not give any authority to the Judicial Committee to determine matters of state
    party leadership. None of the other areas of jurisdiction apply, therefore, any involvement by the
    Judicial Committee is also invalid, the ruling is simply moot or superfluous since it violated the
    bylaws. Any actions taken by the Judicial Committee that conflict with bylaws are invalid, and,
    could subject the LNC to legal action if an LP member chooses to go to court to have the LP
    bylaws enforced by having a judge declare the actions of the LP Judicial Committee invalid.

    If the Libertarian Party National Committee were to follow the ruling of the Judicial
    Committee, not only could it be subject to a lawsuit from one of its members for failing to follow
    the bylaws, but the minor party and ballot access status of the LPO would be immediately
    jeopardized. The Oregon Secretary of State has made it very clear that disaffiliation would
    require any subsequent Libertarian affiliate in Oregon to re-qualify for minor party status and
    ballot access. More tragically, all 13,000+ Oregon Libertarians would become non-affiliated. To
    fully protect the ballot access and registration pool of the LPO, as well as shield the LNC from
    legal challenge, it absolutely is essential that the LNC declare the actions of the judicial
    committee in this matter null and void.

    If the LNC does declare the LP Judicial Committee
    actions invalid and expressly chooses not to follow the decision of the LP Judicial Committee, any lawsuit brought by a member to enforce LNC bylaws would likely be moot, as the LNC
    would have already done precisely what the litigious member would be asking of a judge.”

  45. Wes Wagner

    You kind of have to question the pedigree and honesty of a lawyer who doesn’t even understand that the legal entity known as the Libertarian Party of Oregon and its electors, and those electors’ status, will persist regardless of any action the LNC Inc. takes or if it (the LNC) were to burn down fall over and sink into the swamp.

    What more can you expect from a puerile attempt at intimidation and fear-mongering. Almost as silly as that cease and desist letter.

  46. Robert Capozzi

    Engaging an outside attorney to assess this (toxic) situation seems entirely proper. It’s money well spent, as it is dispassionate and reasonably comprehensive.

    If WW has a beef with the analysis, he could lay it out for others to consider WITHOUT flaming middle fingers and recitations of criminal histories and other diversions.

    However, non-lawyer that I am, this really doesn’t ring true:

    “The LNC must disavow the “effective disaffiliation” ruling of the LP Judicial Committee, it simply was not an authorized decision of the Judicial Committee, and must be expressly invalidated to ensure there is no question as to the LPO’s minor party status and ballot access in Oregon.”

    I note the break from dispassion when the attorney says “must.” Since when does outside counsel tell the client this? I find this argument highly semantical, since the Bylaws use the word “suspension” as opposed to “not recognize due to improper affiliate representation.”

    Strikes me that the LNC has effectively already accepted that the JC has jurisdiction. If they didn’t accept jurisdiction, that should have been done BEFORE the JC met. Yes, the issue is somewhat gray, but the horse is out of the barn.

    This statement seems absurd on its face, btw: “If the Libertarian Party National Committee were to follow the ruling of the Judicial
    Committee, not only could it be subject to a lawsuit from one of its members for failing to follow the bylaws, but the minor party and ballot access status of the LPO would be immediately jeopardized.” I’d like to hear what CM or NS say about it.

    Vote for disaffiliation. If that fails, resign if this is so offensive. (Were I on the LNC, I would vote to disaffiliate, to be clear.)

    Or perhaps Reeves should file suit. That seems reasonable, too.

  47. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    I’m curious whether the Bylaws say that the LNC can determine whether the JC has jurisdiction or not? Is that expressly laid out somewhere?

  48. paulie Post author

    I need to get off computer. Not sure for how long.

    Forwarded some correspondence between Wagner, OSOS elections division and law firm in the pdf above to other IPR writers.

    Mr. Wagner and others are also free to post it in the comments here. f

  49. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@39,

    “Engaging an outside attorney to assess this (toxic) situation seems entirely proper.”

    The situation may have initially been “toxic” due to affairs in Oregon (and any or all parties in Oregon may have been due the blame for that toxicity).

    But:

    The matter has been appealed to the Judicial Committee.

    The Judicial Committee has ruled.

    The Judicial Committee has been queried as to the intent of its ruling, and has responded.

    Any “toxicity” now obtaining is entirely the responsibility of a chair who keeps fucking around trying to find a way to get what he wants instead of what the appropriate process says he gets.

  50. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@60,

    The bylaws expressly lay out the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee.

    The bylaws do not provide for the LNC to determine anything with respect to that jurisdiction.

    At issue is that the appellant claimed, and the Judicial Committee accepted the claim, that the question put before the Judicial Committee, met the definition of one of the areas in which the Judicial Committee has jurisdiction, while the LNC disagrees.

    Since the bylaws don’t specifically address such an issue, it might seem irreconcilable on its face, but it isn’t …

    …. because ultimately any action of the LNC is appealable to the Judicial Committee under the bylaws.

    The questions involved are questions of form (was it disaffiliation or an action other than disaffiliation?) and standing (who can appeal?), not of substance (can the Judicial Committee reverse the LNC?, to which the answer is an unalloyed “yes”).

    If the chair continues to push his attempts to wriggle out of the ruling, I have little doubt that the question will simply be appealed to Judicial Committee again, in different form (reversal of a decision whether that decision constituted disaffilation or not) and with different standing (petition by party members, etc.) …

    … and then it will be right back around to where it started, with the Judicial Committee reversing the action and Hinkle pissed off about it.

  51. Chuck Moulton

    OH MY GOD!

    This is getting unreal!

    I agree with the attorney’s analysis that a LP of Oregon member in the Reeves faction ought to sue in court under non-profit law based on the bylaws violation as its remedy.

    The section on the judicial committee is ridiculous and offensive. There is not another level of appeal above the JC to a random law firm. The JC is the highest body of appeal under the LP bylaws. The LNC is flagrantly violating the bylaws by refusing to accept and implement the JC’s ruling.

    This is getting crazy. I feel like I am in the twilight zone.

  52. Jill Pyeatt

    I learned long ago that anyone can find an attorney to say just about anything. The legal opinion seems desperate to me. The members of the LNC involved in the JC’s disregard are looking more and more foolish with each day that goes by. May 2012 can’t come soon enough.

  53. Robert Capozzi

    62 tk: Any “toxicity” now obtaining is entirely the responsibility of a chair who keeps fucking around trying to find a way to get what he wants instead of what the appropriate process says he gets.

    me: Clarifying my take, I have no particular problem and indeed support MH reaching out to outside counsel to make sense of all this. Indeed, I’d say it’s the fiduciary thing to do, especially because this situation is highly complex. Pausing to get a level set makes sense.

    I agree with MH that there is “misinformation and disinformation floating around the Internet on this topic.” I noticed that Tabor and Wagner keep bringing up character issues in this thread about the Reeves folks that may or may not be true, but which have nothing to do with the substance of the matter at hand that I can see.

    In that sense, this issue has become controversial enough that it needs its own “9/11 Commission.”

    Where this effort careens off the rails for me is that the outside counsel gins up barely-semi-plausible conclusions about what MIGHT happen if the JC’s findings are enforced.

    I disagree with you that MH is the only source of toxicity here. But I do think that this hyper-hyper-technical semi-justification about “standing” and “jurisdiction” misses the forest for the trees, big time. Even if it somehow prevails, it will fail. Throwing more dust in the air is the wrong direction. IMO.

  54. JT

    Thanks for uploading that memo! It’s brief, clear, and logical. The facts support the conclusion. If someone disputes an actual point in the analysis, I’d like to know which one and why.

  55. JT

    Knapp: “Any “toxicity” now obtaining is entirely the responsibility of a chair who keeps fucking around trying to find a way to get what he wants instead of what the appropriate process says he gets.”

    The opinion says the JC deciding the matter wasn’t “the appropriate process” under the bylaws. I agree.

  56. Jill Pyeatt

    JT @ 68: “The opinion says the JC deciding the matter wasn’t “the appropriate process” under the bylaws. I agree.”

    Then the topic shouldn’t have been taken to the Judicial Committee in the first place. Perhaps the parties involved should have tried to resolve things in a reasonable manner first; since that didn’t happen, the LNC should have been prepared for the Wagner faction to fight back.

  57. JT

    Jill: “Then the topic shouldn’t have been taken to the Judicial Committee in the first place.”

    Right, I don’t think it should’ve been. The Wagner faction took it to the JC, and the JC ruled on it anyway.

    Jill: “Perhaps the parties involved should have tried to resolve things in a reasonable manner first; since that didn’t happen, the LNC should have been prepared for the Wagner faction to fight back.”

    Neither of the original parties involved (the two Oregon factions) were resolving the situation in a reasonable manner. All the LNC did was try to know who the real officers of the affiliate party are.

  58. DC

    Paulie #46,

    Thanks for the video peace. Can you post the video of the whole mtg instead of just part of it?

  59. George Phillies

    The Chair of the National Party Judiciary Committee has now advised the Oregon Party that the Judiciary Committee has no ability to make the LNC obey the party’s Bylaws, given that they have chosen to violate the bylaws.

  60. George Phillies

    The Judicial Committee could rule that the actual of the LNC violated the party of bylaws because it was an act of force and fraud by the National Committee Executive Committee Corrupt Six, and note they had voided their party memberships.

  61. Michael H. Wilson

    Having spent 15 years of my life in Oregon and dealt with this and related problems for 10 of those years I can assure people that this is not going to stop until national backs away and tells the people in Oregon to solve their own problems. And if you do not live in the state then stay the hell out of the problem!

  62. RC Please Explain

    RC in #72,

    I don’t understand your both ways comment. In the document you linked, they do argue that WW was not the proper party to bring the appeal. So they did argue up front that the JC didn’t have authority to even hear the case, but then in case the JC decided to hear it anyway they argued it wasn’t a disaffiliation.

  63. JT

    Capozzi: “Looks to me like MH wants it both ways. He and most of the LNC seemed to think the JC was worth communicating with on this matter: https://secureservercdn.net/104.238.69.231/qkc.c33.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Document-1-of-Response-by-LNC.pdf
    Now they seem to argue the JC doesn?t have jurisdiction. Hmm?”

    Did you even read the document you linked to, Robert? It’s all about how Wagner has no standing to bring the matter to the JC and the JC has no jurisdiction to rule on it. So there’s no inconsistency between then and now on behalf of the LNC.

    Phillies: “The Chair of the National Party Judiciary Committee has now advised the Oregon Party that the Judiciary Committee has no ability to make the LNC obey the party?s Bylaws, given that they have chosen to violate the bylaws.”

    Which bylaw states that the LNC has to obey the ruling of the JC on an issue that the JC had no authority to rule on?

    Phillies: “The Judicial Committee could rule that the actual of the LNC violated the party of bylaws because it was an act of force and fraud by the National Committee Executive Committee Corrupt Six, and note they had voided their party memberships.”

    If I thought you had a sense of humor, George, I’d say you must be joking.

  64. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT @ 68,

    “The opinion says the JC deciding the matter wasn’t ‘the appropriate process’ under the bylaws. I agree.”

    I’m willing to chip in to get you a remedial reading course and a copy of the bylaws, if that’s what you’re hinting at.

  65. Thomas L. Knapp

    GP @ 75,

    The bylaws empower the Judicial Committee to reverse actions of the LNC.

    The bylaws do not empower the Judicial Committee or anyone else to administratively “void memberships.”

    That would be no different than the shit this same crowd pulled with Wrights.

    If the LNC refuses to be bound by the bylaws, then the handling of the matter passes outside the parameters of the bylaws.

    The best thing would be for the state chairs to get together and send notice to Hinkle that he has X days to get the LNC’s collective cranium extracted from its collective rectum, or the states will create a new national apparatus to administer their joint affairs (and, naturally, repossess the party’s property from Hinkle’s rogue splinter faction).

  66. Hinkle and Ruwart Debate

    Thanks to my several LNC sources:

    Hinkle:**********
    Dear LNC and Affiliate Chairs,

    As you know there has been a fair amount of discussion regarding the problems with the LPO and the two factions both claiming to be the real LPO leadership.

    To help get a handle on the situation, the LNC has engaged an Oregon law firm that specializes in election law.

    Attached is the legal opinion of Tyler Smith & Associates that has been also reviewed by our staff attorney: Gary Sinawski.

    Mr. Sinawski wrote: ” I have carefully reviewed Tyler Smith’s letter to Mark Hinkle dated October 4, 2011 and agree with the analysis set forth in the letter.”

    As you would normally suspect, communications between the LNC and legal counsel are often kept confidential to assure proper client/attorney privilege.

    However, due to the massive amounts of misinformation and disinformation floating around the Internet on this topic, I thought we should set the record straight and attempt to clear the air.

    Thus, you are free to share this with any interested party.

    Please read the attached document carefully. There is a lot to absorb.

    Once everyone on the LNC has had a chance to digest it, there may be one or more motions forthcoming.

    As always, I’m open to your thoughts and suggestions to resolve this problem.

    Yours in liberty………………..Mark Hinkle, LNC Chair

    ************************************************

    Ruwart:**********************
    Mary Ruwart wrote:

    As usual, our Chair has solicited this opinion without any input from the other side. Had he asked the EC for advice, I, as one of the EC members, would have suggested that he allow Mr. Wagner et al. to produce information for the attorneys to consider as well.

    According to Mr. Wagner:

    “Their legal counsel does not address the issues of ORS 248.072, nor the fact that it has been upheld by governing authorities in Oregon repeatedly to apply to both major and minor parties.” This section of law is what Mr. Wagner believes gives him authority to do what he and his fellow officers was done.

    As long as we keep getting opinions without input from both sides, they are questionable at best and a waste of our donors’ money at worst.

    Our JC has made its opinion on this matter known to us, and we are bound by our bylaws to defer to it. Our JC has clearly stated that the LNC does not have the authority to evaluate and decide which set of officers in the Oregon LP followed their own bylaws. Our JC has clearly stated that we must recognize Wagner et al. as our Oregon affiliate until the LNC votes to disaffiliate it for cause by a ¾ vote.

    Instead of setting us up for a costly court battle, our Chair should indicate that he is ready to entertain a disaffiliation motion. If he feels that he does not have the necessary votes, then he needs to recognize Wagner et al. and move on.

    Instead of building affiliates, we seem intent on tearing them down. Are we going to spend the rest of our term this way?

    **************************************************************

    Hinkle************************************

    Mary,

    I’m not willing to entertain any disaffiliation vote concerning Oregon.

    That was never the intent of the LNC EC’s 6 to 1 vote that recognized the Reeves group as the legitimate leadership of the LPO.

    It’s clear to me that any disaffiliation vote would jeopardize ballot status in Oregon, as Wes Wagner has threatened to “yank” ballot status.

    That in turn would re-assign 13K+ voters to “no party affiliation” and obviously risk having no presidential or vice-presidential candidate on the ballot there in 2012.

    And that also would eliminate any Libertarians from running in partisan races as libertarians.

    It’s clear to me that the Wagner faction is the one “intent on tearing them down”, not the LNC.

    Over 50 LPO members have requested disaffiliation as a way to reboot the LPO and their dysfunctional Bylaws.

    That is more LPO members than have attended any LPO convention for the last 10 years I’m told.

    Sadly, because of the Oregon SOS ruling on disaffiliation, that would effective disqualify the LPO from the ballot. So, that is not an option.

    In order to rebuild the LPO, the Wagner faction must be removed.

    In order to secure LPO ballot status for Oregon, the Wagner faction must be removed.

    In order to insure that our presidential candidate has a place on the November 2012 ballot in Oregon, the Wagner faction must be removed.

    In order to protect LPO’s contractual obligation to our members, the Wagner faction must be removed.

    In order to protect the LPO’s Bylaws and the rule of law, the Wagner faction must be removed.

    And I must take exception to the statement “As usual, our Chair has solicited this opinion without any input from the other side. ”

    Not only did I solicit opinions from all sides, I actually went up to Oregon to attend their special convention last year to observe in person what was reportedly going on.

    No one on the LNC, other than perhaps Alicia Mattson, has more knowledge of the LPO situation than I.

    I’ve talked with Wes Wagner, Tim Reeves, Richard Burke, Christina Mayer, Mike Jingozian, Mark Vetanen, Jim Wilson, David Perkins and M Carling. I was unsuccessful in reaching Alfredo Torrejon (who I understand was their web-master). All LPO members.

    Additionally I’ve spoken with their regional LNC rep. Dan Karlan, Oregon election law attorney Tyler Smith, Richard Winger, and LNC Counsel Gary Sinawki.

    And I’ve spoke to Steve Trout in the Oregon Secretary of States office.

    As for Wes Wagner’s comment that “There legal counsel does not address the issues of ORS 248.072)” well, here it is:

    248.072¹
    Authority of state central committee

    The state central committee is the highest party authority in the state and may adopt rules or resolutions for any matter of party government which is not controlled by the laws of this state. [1979 c.190 §84]
    Does anyone think this gives Wes Wagner the power to ignore LPO Bylaws? To violate membership contracts?

    Does anyone think this gives Wes Wagner the power to ignore the law (ORS 248.004) which requires Oregon non-profits to follow their bylaws?

    Clearly, no. He doesn’t have that authority nor that power.

    It’s time for Wes Wagner to go.

    Yours in liberty………………….Mark Hinkle, LNC Chair

    ****************************************
    We gather that Ruwart has responded. We have also seen what Trout said in writing.

  67. George Phillies

    Inquiring minds wonder:

    When Hinkle says he will not entertain a disaffiliation motion, does he mean he will rule it out of order if it comes from the wrong side?

    As Chair, it’s not that he has a choice.

  68. paulie Post author

    If someone disputes an actual point in the analysis, I’d like to know which one and why.

    Point of dispute #1, that the people who voted at the meeting that approved the Reeves officers were all eligible to vote, and that a quorum of the committee was present. I have seen conflicting claims on this so I would like more evidence.

    Point of dispute #2, that disaffiliation under LP bylaws would threaten the status of Oregon registered Libertarians. According to the correspondence with OSOS elections division forwarded to me by Wes Wagner that is simply not the case. Their recognition of registered Libertarians is not contingent on what the LNC does or does not do.

    Point of dispute #3 is that the LNC has the authority to decide whether the JC followed LP bylaws. If that is the case then having a JC is useless, since it is then up to the LNC to decide whether they think the JC acts properly.

    If an executive branch can decide whether the judiciary is correct or not, the judiciary may as well not exist.

  69. paulie Post author

    #4 ballot access. Wagner et al have ballot access regardless of what the LNC does or does not do. If the committee does not disaffiliate them and allows them to choose the delegates to Vegas, Wagner has stated here that they will put the candidate chosen by that convention on the ballot. If they do disaffiliate, the LNC could get the candidate on the ballot separately. My understanding is that right now there are not enough votes to disaffiliate on the LNC.

  70. paulie Post author

    Can you post the video of the whole mtg instead of just part of it?

    I could if someone sent it to me. So far that has not happened.

  71. paulie Post author

    Forwarded by Wes Wagner:


    Tyler Smith (law firm in .pdf above) to Steve Trout at OSOS elections division, Sept 27

    Steve,

    I appreciate your taking to time to talk with me about this issue. As I expressed on the phone, my law firm represents the Libertarian National Committee (LNC) on this matter. The question to you is:

    1. If the LNC officially disaffiliates the Oregon affiliate known as the LPO (Libertarian Party of Oregon), and the re-affiliates a new state-level affiliate, would that new affiliate need to file for a new ORS 248.008 “qualification as a minor political party” or would they be able to simply use the existing qualification that exists presently to nominate candidates for the coming elections?

    Thank you for responding promptly.

    Best wishes,
    Tyler


    Reply:

    Tyler,

    To confirm our conversation this morning, there is no requirement that a state political party be affiliated with a national party. If the LNC disaffiliates the LPO there will be no change of status in Oregon. The LPO will still be an official political party in the state. The only way we can remove the qualification of the LPO is if we were presented with a valid Oregon court order stating that the LPO can no longer exist because the LNC will not allow their use of the name Libertarian. In that instance all voters currently affiliated with the LPO would be placed in the registration category of “Other” and they would be treated as non-affiliated voters unless and until they re-register with a qualified party. Any new Libertarian Party headed by the LNC or others would need to qualify as a new minor party pursuant to ORS 248.008.

    Let me know if you have any further questions.

    Stephen N. Trout

    Director of Elections


    Hi Steve, thank you for your quick response.

    I guess the only remaining question I can think of for interpretation by the SOS or Elections Division is what is the current status? If there is no change in status with the SOS, that does not solve the problem that there are two sets of independently operating organizations calling themselves the LPO, one set of officers newly elected, and one set of officers (officer) heldover from the past administration, who do you then take future instructions from, which one of those groups has the registered Libertarians attached to them?

    I guess that is why it will be important for the Secretary to establish whom she sees as the rightful LPO, under her interpretation of state law. Assuming the SOS and Elections Division does not want to weigh in on the internal disputes about bylaw violations, meeting notice violations etc., then the question for the SOS to answer is “Does state law or SOS Rules allow an outgoing party chair retain power by withholding acknowledgement of newly elected officers”?

    Best wishes,

    Tyler


    Oct 6 from Trout to Wagner

    Mr. Wagner;

    [above] is an email string between Tyler Smith and myself. As you can see, we see the Libertarian Party of Oregon as an entity independent of any other organization. No matter what the LNC does it will not impact the standing of the Libertarian Party of Oregon. The only way the Libertarian Party of Oregon could be affected is if we were presented a binding court decision that the Libertarian Party of Oregon could no longer use the word Libertarian in their party name if a court were to decide that the LNC has exclusive rights to the use of the word Libertarian.

    I hope this clarifies our position. Let me know if you have any further questions or concerns. We will be expecting nominations for the 1st Congressional Special Election from you as Chair of the LPO.

    Stephen N. Trout

    Director of Elections

  72. paulie Post author

    Dave Terry elsewhere:

    “Mr. Wagner simply can’t help himself, being a compulsive liar. I did take a swing at Mr. Vetanen, but not until he violated my personal space and screamed obscenities
    in my face – a clear provocation. A fact to which other people present will testify to.

    If Mr. Wilson is attempting to silence me through blackmail, it won’t work. Fact is, since from my perspective at the time, I couldn’t actually see if I landed a solid blow or not, perhaps seeing this alledged video might be a pleasant experience.

    However (unless the video is edited) it will clearly show that Mr. Vetanen provoked me. “

  73. Thomas L. Knapp

    @90,

    So in other words:

    1) It’s not a question of ballot access for LPO, it’s a question of ballot access for the LNC’s presidential candidate — and that question is up in the air only because Mark Hinkle continues to insist that he and Alicia Matson, not LPO, get to choose LPO’s executive committee.

    2) The only way the Hinkle/Matson coup attempt can made to work through disaffiliation is if the LNC’s fraudulent trademark claim passes muster with a court, which is about as likely as unicorns and fairies descending on Portland with a decree from Jeebus on the subject.

  74. George Phillies

    @92 #1

    That’s somewhat like Oregon in 2000, except that the LNC only seemed to worry about their ballot access after they kneecapped themselves, and this time there is some awareness that ballot access is an issue.

  75. paulie Post author

    The brief from Tyler Smith makes several claims as to what would happen if the LNC accepts the JC ruling by formerly disaffiliating, or by not disaffiliating, the LPO (Wagner et al).

    One is that registered Libertarians would no longer be registered Libertarians. Not so, per Trout above.

    If the LNC does not disaffiliate (and I understand they don’t have the votes at present – someone correct me if I’m wrong), Wagner group is acknowledged as the legitimate affiliate and allowed to pick delegates to Vegas, then registered Libertarians remain registered Libertarians and the candidate picked in Vegas has access to the Oregon ballot by virtue of Wagner et al already having access.

    If the LNC does muster the votes to disaffiliate, the registered Libertarians still remain registered Libertarians, but the LNC then has to shell out some money to qualify its presidential candidate, perhaps as an independent (as is done in some states) or under a new label – say National Libertarian, if that is allowed.

    Next is the claim that the LNC members could be sued.

    It is true that they could be sued, but they can be sued by either side.

    If they abide by the JC decision, they will have the excuse that internal LP authority (JC) as well as external authority (OSOS) dictated their actions.

    If they do not, they have no such “cover.”

    That is how I understand the correspondence between Smith, Trout and Wagner.

    What remains is the question of whether the meeting that appointed Reeves et al had a legitimate quorum or not. That is not IMO relevant to what the LNC should be doing at this point, but is an interesting question nevertheless.

  76. George Phillies

    @94

    There is also the options that Wagner’s supporters on the LNC make a motion to disaffiliate, to force a vote. This is a potential idea only if they are entirely confident on how many votes they have to defeat their own motion (a standard parliamentary procedure).

    The other option — to rephrase Hinkle — is that the ExComm 6 must go.

    As a front end, persuading State Chairs to replace bad regional representatives is an option.

  77. paulie Post author

    There is also the options that Wagner’s supporters on the LNC make a motion to disaffiliate, to force a vote. This is a potential idea only if they are entirely confident on how many votes they have to defeat their own motion (a standard parliamentary procedure).

    If you quoted Hinkle accurately above, and if I understood him correctly, he said he would rule that out of order.

    The other option — to rephrase Hinkle — is that the ExComm 6 must go.

    That would be up to the delegates in Vegas. To that end, you may wish to consider a number of questions, such as who is on the credentials committee.

    As a front end, persuading State Chairs to replace bad regional representatives is an option.

    I’ve asked you and others here on the likelihood of that succeeding. Having heard little in the way of reply, I am still of the opinion that state chairs will defer to the national convention next year.

    If there is some new information to change my prediction, I would love to hear it.

  78. George Phillies

    @96 “That would be up to the delegates in Vegas.”

    Ummh, no, there is also the ‘motion to suspend’. Ask Angela to tell you about this.

    wrto ‘Hinkle would rule it out of order’, at some point you actually need a reason to do so. Ask Alicia about this.

    The alternative is a motion to object to consideration of suspension, but that has its own consequences.

    Historically, the dominant people in ORegon solved matters by striking at the weak point of the other faction, namely membership and fund raising. Operations with large fixed costs respond poorly to targeting their wallet.

  79. paulie Post author

    Ummh, no, there is also the ‘motion to suspend’. Ask Angela to tell you about this.

    Angela and I have not been on speaking terms in quite some time, but I already know what a motion to suspend is. And I don’t believe any such motion will have enough votes, unless perhaps it will be one in the wrong direction.

    wrto ‘Hinkle would rule it out of order’, at some point you actually need a reason to do so. Ask Alicia about this.

    I am confident that he will come up with one. I’m sure you won’t think it will be valid.

    Historically, the dominant people in ORegon solved matters by striking at the weak point of the other faction, namely membership and fund raising. Operations with large fixed costs respond poorly to targeting their wallet.

    That may happen. However, their ability to reach enough national donors with information, and persuade them, may be more limited. In Oregon, they actually had access to lists of all such people. We shall see.

  80. Wes Wagner

    paulie @98

    We have lists of all the ones that mattered, and dropped fundraising by 80%+ in Oregon in only 30 days.

    Those were the days.

  81. JT

    Me: “The opinion says the JC deciding the matter wasn’t ‘the appropriate process’ under the bylaws. I agree.”

    Knapp: “I’m willing to chip in to get you a remedial reading course and a copy of the bylaws, if that’s what you’re hinting at.”

    LOL. I earn a living by writing, which is difficult to do if you read poorly (something I didn’t like about that memo was the typos). I suspect you need that money more than I do anyway. But thank you, Tom.

    Thanks for listing those points in post 87, Paulie.

    Regarding Point 1: I didn’t realize that was a point of contention here. Who’s contending otherwise and what evidence is there?

    Regarding Points 2, 4: I’m inclined to believe what you say, but both of these points deal with outcomes and not with process. It’s how this whole thing unfolded that determines which side is right or wrong.

    Regarding Point 3: But if the JC can rule on whatever it wants with no check as long as someone asks, then limiting the JC’s scope in the bylaws is useless, isn’t it?

  82. Thomas L. Knapp

    JT @ 101,

    “I earn a living by writing, which is difficult to do if you read poorly”

    And I earn a living by writing and editing. I apologize for insulting you in that manner.

    Let me try putting all this a different way, in reference to your question “if the JC can rule on whatever it wants with no check as long as someone asks, then limiting the JC’s scope in the bylaws is useless, isn’t it?”

    The JC can’t rule on anything it wants.

    However, the JC can reverse any action of the LNC (and EC actions are administratively actions of the LNC).

    That is the substance of its power, and it has done so.

    The questions about how it got to the point of exercising that power are relevant, but they are questions of form and standing, not of substance.

    To the extent that they are relevant, let’s look at them:

    1) If the matter at issue (form) was a disaffiliation, then the correct appellant (standing) was the disaffiliated affiliate. That’s who the appellant claimed to be, and the JC accepted the claim.

    Who else but the JC would evaluate standing and form?

    If it’s the LNC that gets to do that, then any time someone appeals an LNC action, all the LNC has to do is say “the act being appealed is not the kind of act the appellant says it is, and/or the appellant isn’t who/what he/she/it says it is.” Why have a Judicial Committee if the LNC can prevent it from ever hearing an appeal?

    2) If the matter at issue was not a disaffiliation (form), that doesn’t mean the JC can’t reverse it.

    The JC can reverse any action of the LNC on appeal from specified percentages of the membership (standing).

    Looking at the record of recent LNC/JC interactions, there’s little doubt that such an appeal could have been, and would have been, mounted had the JC found the LNC’s action to not be a disaffiliation, or the appellant to not be the affiliate.

    So, even thought the JC’s review authority appears to be valid, and even though it seems to have exercised that review authority carefully and with due attention to the facts, it’s unlikely that any other route would have led to any other destination than the place we are right here, right now:

    The JC has reversed the LNC, as it has the authority to do, and the chair is saying “whatevah — I do what I want,” to which the only proper response on the part of the LNC is to overrule (or if necessary remove) the chair.

  83. paulie Post author

    I didn’t realize that was a point of contention here. Who’s contending otherwise and what evidence is there?

    MHW, Wes W and others have said on previous threads that some of the people that voted had resigned from the committee a year earlier.

    They also claimed that some people claimed to represent counties that did not have a record of selecting such a person as the county chair or representative. Of course, that could just mean that someone is the only person in a county interested in such a position (been there, done that). Or it could be what they are alleging, some individuals who are not interested in having anyone else be allowed to challenge them for a county leadership position.

    They may have provided evidence for this in previous threads, or not. I don’t remember, and I am curious, but not curious enough to go back and read what is possibly a thousand or more comments between all the different threads by now.

    Therefore, I asked for more evidence on that to be posted here.

    I’m inclined to believe what you say, but both of these points deal with outcomes and not with process. It’s how this whole thing unfolded that determines which side is right or wrong.

    One of the main reasons the Tyler Smith brief cites for not following the JC decision is that if the LNC does so, they would lose presidential ballot access and ~13k Libertarian registered voters.

    But if the JC can rule on whatever it wants with no check as long as someone asks, then limiting the JC’s scope in the bylaws is useless, isn’t it?

    I agree that this could present a problem.

    On the other hand, folks like Bill Hall and Judge Gray don’t strike me as either unreasonable or radical people by any estimation.

    I’m also taking into consideration that Chuck Moulton, a licensed attorney and someone who believes the Reeves faction is the legitimate LPO, nevertheless believes that it is now time for the LNC to follow the ruling of the JC. So do some other people who are or are inclined to be more on the Reeves side, such as Robert Capozzi.

    So, weighing this all, I am not inclined to believe that the JC overstepped its bounds, nor that the LNC should be deciding that this is so, nor that outside counsel hired by the LNC should make that determination.

    I’m also not persuaded by the brief that the catastrophic consequences it claims will befall the LNC if it abides by the JC decision are really in play.

    Both the LNC and the JC will be up for election in Vegas.

    Until then, it seems to me to be perfectly reasonable and relatively consequence-free for the LNC to recognize the Wagner faction, and let Oregon courts decide otherwise if that is what they in fact decide.

    If they muster the votes, it also seems only slightly less consequence-free for them to formally disaffiliate LPO and then qualify the presidential ticket separately.

    Ignoring the JC on the advice of outside counsel, using spurious threats of consequences that are unrealistic to scare LNC members into doing so, seems to be a really bad precedent to set. IMO, of course, but clearly I am not alone in that view, nor is my view limited to those siding with Wagner et al in the Oregon dispute per se.

  84. LibertyDave

    For all those who truly wish to help the LPO out of this problem it’s simple, move to Oregon, register Libertarian, and start or join a county party.

    With the bylaws as they are now to be a voting member of the LPO all you have to do is register Libertarian in Oregon. If Mr. Reeve’s group is as big as Mr. Hinkle seems to think it is then it should be no problem for them to take over the LPO under the new bylaws.

    Right now there are only 2 active county parties out of 36 counties in Oregon. The new bylaws actually give a chance to grow the party by making it easier for people to get involved. All they have to do is start meeting up and start spreading the message.

    Trying to force the LPO to follow the old bylaws which Mr. Hinkle’s group has said were the worst bylaw they have seen just so some people who no longer live in Oregon won’t feel disenfranchised is a load of crap.

    If you don’t live in Oregon you have no business choosing who represents and leads the Libertarian Party of Oregon. Just like we here in Oregon have no business choosing who represents and leads the Libertarian Parties in other states.

    @86 The problem with quorum in the old bylaws as explained to me is this bylaw:

    Article XVII – Parliamentary Authority
    SEC. 1. The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall
    govern the LPO in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with
    the LPO Constitution and these bylaws and any special rules of order the LPO may adopt.

    Because the bylaw says the RRO will apply unless the conflict with the LPO Constitution “AND” these bylaws “AND” any special rules of order the LPO may adopt, means that RRO would have to conflict with all three of the documents stated above in order not to apply. This means that the quorum requirements in RRO apply as interpreted by Alica Mattson and M. Carling.

    I was told that if the word “and” was replaced with the word “or” then RRO would conflict the the other bylaws about conventions and wouldn’t apply.

    It is this playing of word games to prevent the Libertarians in Oregon from conducting business that I am going to support the LPO with Mr. Wagner as the chair with the new bylaws.

    For those who wish to help the LPO and work with us to spread the message of Liberty, I live in Clackamas County in Oregon. My email address is dave@libertydave.com

    To the LNC, please give over and work with us. As long as you try to interfere and force your way with us the longer the problem is going to go on.

    If Mr. Reeves feels that he cant work with all the libertarian in Oregon under the new bylaws the place to settle this in in the Oregon courts, not the LNC.

    David Perkins

  85. Michael H. Wilson

    Dave as a one time member of the LPO I spent about 15 years dealing with this mess.

    I asked the question because everything seems to me to have started over the quorum and I don’t see on mentioned in the bylaws or convention rules. I could be wrong. Then going to Robert’s I find this statement which we had always used when I was in Oregon.

    RRONR page 335 “3) In a body of delegates, such as a convention, the quorum is a majority of the number attending, irrespective of whether some may have departed. This may differ greatly from the number elected or appointed.”

    Cheers.

  86. Robert Capozzi

    80 jt, so sorry, my point was definitely not well put. For me, it’s one thing to say, “You don’t have jurisdiction,” it’s another thing to say “We won’t abide by your decision if you disagree.”

    If that linked communication was intended to be a threat, then go ahead and make the threat, I say. Don’t beat around the bush. Be efficient.

    This drama may well be irreconcilable, certainly neatly so. Clinging to hyper-technicalities probably only makes things worse.

  87. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    So, by not making clear upfront that they would not abide by the JC in this case, these individual LNCers could be assumed to abide by the JC, EVEN IF the JC went ahead and heard the case, and EVEN IF the JC found in favor of Wagner.

  88. Steven Wilson

    Good morning children,

    Still at it?

    If the LNC had no authority, the Libertarians of Oregon would be free.

  89. Robert Capozzi

    83 mh: It’s clear to me that any disaffiliation vote would jeopardize ballot status in Oregon, as Wes Wagner has threatened to “yank” ballot status.

    me: Right. A fiduciary perspective, which is his job. But say that happens: Then at least all would see WW’s ill-will if he followed through on that threat.

    Balance that against defying the JC. The fiduciary perspective is undermined on another front, big time.

  90. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@109,

    It’s not a matter of “threats” or “ill will.”

    LPO is either an affiliate of LNC, or it isn’t.

    If it is, then the LNC’s presidential candidate gets to use LPO’s ballot line.

    If it isn’t, then the LNC’s presidential candidate doesn’t get to use LPO’s ballot line.

    That’s why Hinkle & Co. don’t want to formally disaffiliate LPO.

    The question is why they keep trying to constructively disaffiliate LPO, even in defiance of the Judicial Committee’s ruling, and secondarily why they either don’t understand, or else refuse to acknowledge, that any consequences of doing so will be down to them, not anyone else.

  91. George Phillies

    I shall repeat what Wes Wagner said
    “paulie @98
    We have lists of all the ones that mattered, and dropped fundraising by 80%+ in Oregon in only 30 days.
    Those were the days.”

    The National Party is in the same boat as a target.

  92. Michael H. Wilson

    One point that has not been brought up in this problem relates to the other state parties. If Oregon’s bylaws were deficient in the first place then what about the other states?

  93. Robert Capozzi

    110 tk, thanks, it may be just that simple, I dunno. I’m mostly interested in the optics of this situation than the technicalities. If disaffiliation happens, and then there was some way to RE-affiliate per the LPO bylaws, and maintain ballot access, I’d be for that. I was under the impression that in that case, WW would have to cooperate.

    But, perhaps there is NO way to pull that off. If so, I agree with Paulie: “If they muster the votes, it also seems only slightly less consequence-free for them to formally disaffiliate LPO and then qualify the presidential ticket separately.”

    Defying the JC seems like a really bad idea on a lot of levels. If their decision was somehow so beyond the pale, that might be one thing. But, even if one disagrees with the JC’s decision, it was well within the reasonable zone.

    I wonder what the cost of getting back on the OR ballot would be, and how many votes LP prez nominees get there, historically. 10-20K, maybe? Is it REALLY worth going to the wall over a technicality when the stakes are so low? What are financial and good will costs to pressing this technicality in comparison?

  94. Wes Wagner

    MHW @114

    No, he actually said after the Oregon convention that he needed to go review all the other state bylaws to see if they have problems.

    The intent behind it is my speculation based on personal experience.

  95. Paulie

    The National Party is in the same boat as a target.

    Is it? Do Wagner and friends have national donor lists equivalent to the ones they had for Oregon? Are national donors as likely to care?

  96. Oregon Libertarian

    I was also at the Oregon convention where Mark Hinkle showed up, and what Wes is saying is true about what Hinkle said about need to check the bylaws of the other states.

    Lots of eyebrows where raised in question about over the statements from Hinkle.

  97. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie @18:

    “Do Wagner and friends have national donor lists equivalent to the ones they had for Oregon? Are national donors as likely to care?”

    You might be surprised at how easy it would be to build such lists.

    The LNC’s biggest donors are publicly named in LP News as “Torch Club” members and so forth.

    And while there might be some questions as to legality — probably easily skirted by just confirming the data from other sources — every donor who’s contributed more than $200 is listed in FEC reports.

    No, every donor wouldn’t care, and of those who do some might come down on the other side of the question.

    However, I suspect that a lot of donors would care to know that the organization they donate to, and that’s always complaining it needs more money, has plenty of time, energy and money to waste on lawyers, etc., trying to dictate to its state parties who their officers will be, even after being told by its Judicial Committee twice to knock it the fuck off.

  98. Robert Capozzi

    Given the controversy this LPO situation has stirred up, it is abundantly reasonable and fiduciary to review other state bylaws.

  99. Wes Wagner

    MHW @122

    I suspect it is a wholly independent action of individuals who will then use the LNC apparatus for their personal political ends.

    I have experienced a little of that lately… if anyone has noticed.

  100. JT

    Knapp: “And I earn a living by writing and editing. I apologize for insulting you in that manner.”

    Accepted.

    Knapp: “The JC has reversed the LNC, as it has the authority to do, and the chair is saying “whatevah — I do what I want,” to which the only proper response on the part of the LNC is to overrule (or if necessary remove) the chair.”

    Under the bylaws, the JC is empowered to a) “void” actions of the LNC that b) conflict with specific sections of the bylaws c) if a matter is brought to it by a certain number of Libertarians. All of those conditions must be met.

    Paulie: “One of the main reasons the Tyler Smith brief cites for not following the JC decision is that if the LNC does so, they would lose presidential ballot access and ~13k Libertarian registered voters.”

    Yes, it does. I think it’s unfortunate the memo even says that, because it’s irrelevant as to who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s still a point made in the brief and so it may still be disputed, but it’s not one germane to the question of who acted improperly.

    Robert: “If that linked communication was intended to be a threat, then go ahead and make the threat, I say. Don’t beat around the bush.”

    It wasn’t intended to be a threat. First, Mark Hinkle isn’t a man who makes threats like that. Second, it only says (with respect) why the JC has no authority to consider the matter.

  101. paulie Post author

    JT,

    Paulie: “One of the main reasons the Tyler Smith brief cites for not following the JC decision is that if the LNC does so, they would lose presidential ballot access and ~13k Libertarian registered voters.”

    Yes, it does. I think it’s unfortunate the memo even says that, because it’s irrelevant as to who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s still a point made in the brief and so it may still be disputed, but it’s not one germane to the question of who acted improperly.

    It may well be relevant to why some LNC members are voting the way they are on ignoring the JC ruling.

    The question of who acted properly – do you mean in Oregon, or in the LNC/JC controversy? Your opinion of one does not necessarily dictate your opinion of the other.

    For example, Chuck Moulton sides with Reeves and friends in the Oregon matter, but with JC in the LNC vs JC matter. I suspect there are others who take this view as well.

    Off hand, I don’t know anyone who sides with Wagner and friends in the Oregon matter, but with the LNC in the matter of whether it should follow the JC ruling.

    If, as I suspect, you mean who acted properly in Oregon, I am still interested in seeing additional information as to whether the committee members who met to select Reeves et al formed a proper quorum or not.

    Mark Hinkle isn’t a man who makes threats like that.

    Yeah, I don’t get that impression of him either.

    Of course, I may have gotten the wrong impression up til now.

    It does seem that a majority of the LNC agrees with Hinkle on this, so Hinkle is not the problem – at least, not all or most of it.

    The one time that I know of him standing up to the LNC – on the Republican Wall of Shame ad controversy – I fully agreed with and encouraged his action, and still do.

  102. Robert Capozzi

    90 snt: If the LNC disaffiliates the LPO there will be no change of status in Oregon. The LPO will still be an official political party in the state.

    me: I’m confused and in the weeds. If Trout says this, why is there a problem with disaffiliating/reaffiliating the rightful, bylaws-compliant LPO leadership, at least according to some on the LNC?

    Maybe a flowchart is in order…

  103. Robert Capozzi

    125 jt: It wasn’t intended to be a threat. First, Mark Hinkle isn’t a man who makes threats like that. Second, it only says (with respect) why the JC has no authority to consider the matter.

    me: Ya know, “threat” is not quite the correct word. What I mean is that those LNC members could have said something to the effect that IF you take this case, we will forced to consider whether the JC has the power to render such a ruling under these circumstances. We the undersigned are inclined to disregard your ruling UNLESS the JC can make a compelling case that the JC is so authorized.

    Or something….

  104. Wes Wagner

    LD @104

    Strange… your personal comments don’t seem to line up with the implications of Hinkle’s letter… then there is Mr. Vetanen who claims he never had a conversation about these matters with Hinkle:

    “I have never spoke to Mark Hinkle about this situation. The only words I ever had with him was in Portland for our special convention and those words where very short and to the effect of, “thank you for coming and I hope you enjoy your stay””

    I keep seeing Hinkle making claims he has a pulse on this state, yet nothing in his actions or writings seem to indicate that.

    Did he actually have a conversation with you on these matters, or is this puffery like in the case with Vetanen ?

  105. Robert Capozzi

    125 jt: First, Mark Hinkle isn’t a man who makes threats like that.

    me: Really?

    83 mh: It’s time for Wes Wagner to go.

    me: Assuming that email is accurate, while I guess that’s not quite a “threat,” either, I do happen to think that’s an unwise thing to say. Making it personal seems unChair-like.

  106. paulie Post author

    That’s not a threat. It’s a statement of opinion and annoyance/frustration. Something there is too much of on all sides of this.

  107. Mark Vetanen

    I only talked to LNC Chair Hinkle at the Special Convention when he flew to Portland about why he showed up. He said he was here to visit a friend in Hillsboro, but was also concerned about the 14 Libertarians that Jeff Weston would not let in the party. The LPO was still operating under the 2009 bylaws then.

    I here by testify that I have not spoken to LNC Chair Mark Hinkle, emailed, or otherwise communicated with him since that day when he was in Portland.

    I cannot speak for the other officers of the LPO, but none of them have said they have spoken to or been contacted by Mark Hinkle.

    Sincerely,
    Mark Vetanen
    Libertarian Party of Oregon Treasurer
    Contact me via my website if you need to.

  108. Pingback: Updates in conflict over the Libertarian Party of Oregon | Independent Political Report

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