It is marked confidential lawyer-client communication.
However, the following was also attached (emphasis added):
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Mark Hinkle
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2011 1:04 AM
To: lnc discuss; firstname.lastname@example.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
According to George Phillies, Mary Ruwart wrote in response to the above:
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?
Mark Hinkle allegedly replied:
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:
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
Forwarded by Wes Wagner in response to the claim that disaffiliation could endanger Libertarian voter registration:
Tyler Smith (law firm in .pdf above) to Steve Trout at OSOS elections division, Sept 27
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.
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”?
Oct 6 from Trout to 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
According to George Phillies in IPR comments, votes in favor of not following the Judicial Committee decision (not officially public yet, so you will have to decide for yourself whether to trust his sources):
Mark Rutherford sounds like he is on this side, but I don’t see a report of him voting yet
Mark Hinkle sounds like he would vote on this side, but he may not vote unless his vote is needed to break a tie
Votes in favor of recognizing the Judicial Committee’s decision:
Presumably, Doug Craig as a co-sponsor of the motion, but he may not have voted yet
Brad Ploeger (alternate, if Flood or Craig don’t vote it would count)
Unless I have missed them, I have not seen reports on the following having voted or indications on how they will vote:
All alternates other than Ploeger