LNC Secretary: Will Not Submit POTUS Nominee From Any Online “Convention”


“If (the LNC) forces an online convention, I will not be signing any Certificates of Nomination.”
Caryn Ann Harlos, LNC Secretary, 9 May 2020.

In a statement released earlier today, LNC Secretary Caryn Ann Harolos stated:

“To the members writing to ask for an online convention, you are asking me to commit perjury. And I will not do that for anyone, not (sic) matter how many people ask. If this Party forces an online convention, I will not be signing any Certificates of Nomination, and some states require them. Why? Because that Certificate requires me to swear that a convention was duly held. An online convention is illegal under our bylaws and I cannot so swear.

“Before you say then we will just get someone else to be convention secretary, those bylaws get in your way again. I am the elected Secretary and per the bylaws I am the Convention Secretary. And I will protect this party from perjury by me or anyone else. I am supported by my predecessor Ms. Alicia Mattson who alerted me to this issue.

“I am truly sorry if this makes you angry, but you are not the one having to commit perjury which has implications not just for my conscience but my day job as a legal professional.
I will not do it.

“I can support a bifurcated convention. However, I cannot sign the Certificates until after ratification. <strike>Our Chair has indicated likewise.</strike> He has said I misunderstood him on that point.”

29 thoughts on “LNC Secretary: Will Not Submit POTUS Nominee From Any Online “Convention”

  1. Joseph Buchman Post author

    I find it interesting, and perhaps revealing, that the verb “force” was used by the LNC secretary to characterize any successful vote by the LNC to hold an online convention as a bylaws compliant alternative to the cancelled, previously scheduled, convention in Austin, TX.

    There appear to be differences among LNC members as to how to interpret the word “place” in the bylaws (similar to “arms” in the second amendment, does “place” mean only what it meant in 1972, or can it include a virtual space?) and “impossible.” Apparently it’s seen as “possible” by some on the LNC for 1,000+ elected delegates to just show up anywhere, anytime with minimal notice and a relatively high probability of government agencies or host convention venues to cancel at the last minute.

  2. Joseph Buchman Post author

    The secretary states: “An online convention is illegal under our bylaws . . .”

    I’d like a citation to something other than her own opinion (apparently speaking in her profession as a paralegal here) regarding the “illegality.” As far as I am aware no courts have made such a ruling, and even Roberts released the following statement regarding Parlementary Proceedure allowing for online conventions during pandemics:

    “The authors of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised have issued three Official Interpretations (2020-1, 2020-2, and 2020-3) relating to specific questions that may be especially pertinent to organizations having difficulty conducting business amid restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Official Interpretations are not technically binding on an organization that has adopted Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised as its parliamentary authority, but are nonetheless definitive interpretations of the work by the current authors and should therefore be treated as highly persuasive. While those now being issued concern application of the current 11th edition, they are based in part on clarifications that will be explicit in the forthcoming 12th edition.”

    The 2020-1, -2, and -3 statements are as follows:

    2020-1 ELECTRONIC MEETINGS AND RATIFICATION
    Q. Our bylaws do not authorize electronic meetings, and the rules in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) are controlling. If we nevertheless hold an electronic meeting, can actions taken by our officers to carry out decisions made at that meeting be ratified during a subsequent in-person meeting?

    A. Yes, an assembly can ratify “action taken by officers, committees, delegates, or subordinate bodies in excess of their instructions or authority.” [RONR (11th ed.), p. 124, ll. 34-35.] This includes the ability to ratify action to carry out decisions made at an electronic meeting of a body for which such meetings are not authorized. Similar actions taken by an organization’s staff can also be ratified. However, those who carry out decisions made at an unauthorized electronic meeting do so at their own risk; although the assembly can later ratify their actions at a proper meeting of the organization, it is under no obligation to do so. [Cf. p. 348, ll. 19-23.]

    2020-2 INSTRUCTING A PREVIOUSLY APPOINTED COMMITTEE TO MEET ELECTRONICALLY
    Q. Our executive board is responsible for selecting the location of our next convention. At its regular March meeting, the board adopted a motion appointing a special committee to investigate potential sites and report on them. So far, this committee has been unable to meet in person.

    Fortunately, our bylaws authorize the executive board to conduct its own meetings by telephone. When the board meets again in April, can the board authorize the committee to meet electronically?

    A. Yes. After the board has appointed a special committee and before the committee submits its report, the board can adopt a motion, by majority vote, authorizing the committee to meet electronically.

    As explained in RONR (11th ed.) on page 98, ll. 21-28, when a committee is expressly established by the bylaws, it cannot hold a valid electronic meeting unless the bylaws authorize it to do so. But when a committee is not expressly established by the bylaws, the committee may be authorized to hold electronic meetings by a standing rule of the parent body or by the motion establishing the committee. RONR further notes that

    After a question has been referred to a committee and at any time before the committee submits its report, even at another session, the assembly by a majority vote can give the committee additional instructions in reference to the referred question. [RONR (11th ed.), p. 177, ll. 13-17.]
    Since the special committee to investigate potential convention sites is not established in the bylaws, its parent body-the executive board-can authorize the committee by majority vote to meet electronically while considering the matter referred to it.

    Even if the committee is not authorized to meet electronically, its members might do so in order to determine whether they can come to a unanimous agreement on what to include in the committee’s report, which can include whatever has been agreed to by every one of its members. [RONR (11th ed.), p. 503, ll. 24-28.]

    2020-3 VACANCIES AND LATE ELECTIONS
    Q. According to our bylaws, officers are “elected at the annual meeting in March to serve for two years,” and “their term of office shall begin on April 1.” This year, the offices of vice-president and treasurer were due for election; all other officers have another year remaining on their terms. But we were unable to hold our March meeting, and it may be quite a while before any membership meeting can be held.

    The bylaws do not have any specific provisions about filling vacancies, but they give the executive board “full power and authority over the affairs of the Society between its business meetings.”

    Are the offices now vacant? If so, can the board fill the vacancies? Should the membership conduct elections at the next meeting of the assembly?

    A. Because your bylaws provide for a term of office of “two years” without providing that officers remain until their successors are elected, the offices of vice-president and treasurer became vacant on the date specified in the bylaws for the beginning of the new term. In recommending against such a fixed term of office, RONR (11th ed.), p. 573, l. 33 to p. 574, l. 3, states that at the end of such a term, “there would be no officers if new ones had not been elected.”

    However, RONR also states, “In the case of a society whose bylaws confer upon its executive board full power and authority over the society’s affairs between meetings of the society’s assembly … without reserving to the society itself the exclusive right to fill vacancies, the executive board is empowered to accept resignations and fill vacancies between meetings of the society’s assembly.” [RONR (11th ed.), p. 467, ll. 28-35.] Therefore it would be prudent for the board, which has the power to fill the vacancies created by the expiration of the previous term of office, to do so as soon as it can.

    If the bylaws had provided that the board may elect or appoint officers to fill vacancies “for the remainder of the term” or “until the expiration of the term”, or words to that effect, any board-appointed officers would remain in office for the remainder of the term and no further election would be held by the assembly. However, without such language, the general power of the board to fill vacancies in office as described in RONR does not supersede the membership’s power to regularly elect new officers. The two relevant bylaw provisions-giving the membership the responsibility of holding annual elections, while giving the board enough power between meetings so that it may fill any vacancies that arise-must be implemented in harmony with each other.

    So the assembly should hold elections at its next meeting, and it may do so at any time until the expiration of the term the election is to fill. As each election is completed, the person elected replaces anyone that had been appointed by the board to fill a vacancy. The principle is that an assembly’s failure to hold or to complete an election at the scheduled time does not deprive the membership of its right to elect the officers of its choice.

    See: https://www.robertsrules.com

  3. Joseph Buchman Post author

    While the current LNC secretary has publically stated opposition to an online convention – insisting that only in-person meetings are valid – previsously she called for a balloting by mail from a prior convention’s delegates.

    “There is one way out of this that honours the spirit of our Bylaws and that is to send a mail ballot to the delegates that were present at adjournment. Let them decide.”

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2018/07/caryn-ann-harlos-the-parliamentary-gordian-knot-that-the-lp-faces/

  4. NewFederalist

    Well hell… let’s just take 2020 off. This is just too hard!

  5. Ryan Phillips

    On Thursday, I upgraded by monthly donation and donated to the ballot access fund. Now I’m really, really regretting that. She’s about to ruin our 2020 presidential campaign, she’s going to hurt our down ballot candidates, and she’s making our party look like a joke. All because rather than listen to the attorneys, the guys who studied law for decades and went to school for it, she’d rather wing it with her uninformed and uneducated opinion and use a former secretary’s opinion to justify it. Wish I could have that money back.

  6. NewFederalist

    I wonder if it ever occurred to her she could resign if she’s so concerned about perjury?

  7. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    “Before you say then we will just get someone else to be convention secretary, those bylaws get in your way again. …

    Not if you resign. I’m sure the bylaws permit you to resign. You’re not a slave.

    “I am truly sorry if this makes you angry, but you are not the one having to commit perjury which has implications not just for my conscience but my day job as a legal professional.

    You’re not “truly sorry,” or else you’d resign. Then the LP could have an online convention and your “day job as a legal professional” would be safe from “perjury.”

  8. Joseph Buchman Post author

    Can someone explain to me, on the basis of **principle,** what the difference is between me sitting in a convention hall watching the giant projection TV and listening to the amplified sound v. being at home watching my somewhat smaller computer screen listening to the amplified sound? Aside from two things:

    1) Fewer distractions at home and the ability to listen in while say going to the bathroom.

    2) The size of the tape measure used to measure my distance from the screen.

    At what point on that tape measure am I not in the same “place?” As a matter of principle.

  9. Joseph Buchman Post author

    Remember even the courts of Oregon did not find the (claimed) violation of bylaws there to be “illegal.” (I’d cite prior IPR coverage of that, but, well . . . just no). (And by “claimed” I mean “proudly proclaimed” – yes Wes?)

  10. Steven Berson

    Dear delegates – please oh please – when an LP Convention actually takes place – vote Harlos out of every possible position on the LNC. She is an absolute impediment to the efficient functioning of the Libertarian Party in its goal to effect positive change of greater liberty out in the real world (and not just within a circular firing squad debate squad). Thank you very much.

  11. BARRY SHORT

    This is all so ridiculous. Bylaws are like any form of government – an occasionally useful servant and a terrible master.

  12. Cody Quirk

    Looks like the LNC voted to adopt a hybrid split online/in-person convention. I read the passed resolution and personally am ok with it & agree with it.

    Now we can cross the next bridge- getting on all 50 state ballots.

  13. Caryn Ann Harlos

    The headline is misleading. If anyone cares what my actual position was (I say was because it is a dead issue as Winger told me NO states require the oath – that it was a “customary” form the LP used and not a required one and I have no qualms with what we passed). But I am embarrassed that that IPR used such a misleading headline and didn’t even bother to ask me for comment.

    Jill, we are friends, ask me personally if you have questions. My position is far more nuanced than this and as I said, resolved.

    I am absolutely embarrassed for the LP when the response to a concern for perjury is “just resign and let someone else commit perjury” rather than trying to resolve the issue. So much for the Party of “Principle.” It is in reality these days very much the Party of Slander and Dirty Politics. Never thought I’d find it here.

  14. Caryn Ann Harlos

    and when I am not on the road, I will answer Dr. Buchman’s completely wrenching of my words out of context. Again, embarrassing. Who says at 51 years old you don’t learn hard life lessons? I have learned to be more particular about who I trust to be an actual friend in disagreement. Water under the bridge, I spent yesterday mourning that lost friendship for the third and last time over several years. I wish Dr. Buchman all the best but my mental health cannot handle the mercurial nature of his friendship. My needs are different. I do hope he continues to be a force for liberty and government transparency on the issue of UFOs…. no matter what they are/were. I used to blow that whole subject off, but I am indebted to Dr. Buchman for kindling my interest.

    But as a matter of public record I will respond. Dr. Buchman should reach back to my Oregon posts as well to get a very complete picture. I have. And I am surprised at how consistent I have been despite my lack of RONR knowledge back then. Principle remains principle.

    I would hope the editorial decisions at IPR at least say that if the person is someone pretty accessible that they be asked directly if they wish to comment further. When I wrote about the post made by Jeff Wood I contacted both him and Kim McCurry for their comments. And made a very good friend out of the deal in Kim who was pleasantly surprised that an amateur blogger did the professional thing. We are all amateur bloggers but we can at least be humanly decent ones. Leave the dirty dirty smear mongering to the professionals.

    Thank you Roger. You and I agree at times and disagree at times, but each time there is no doubt that each of us is operating from fundamental principle. I respect you immensely.

  15. Jill Pyeatt

    Caryn Ann, we’re cool. My three word comment was actually that a complicated situation was getting more complicated.

    I listened to the last few hours of the meeting and I’m sure it was difficult for all of you. I’m glad you picked Orlando because my son lives there now, although I wouldn’t put money down that an in-person convention will actually happen. The next couple of months will be interesting.

  16. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Oh thank you. I am glad. Friends are more valuable than gold in times of stress believe you me.

  17. paulie

    Hi Caryn Ann, sorry William didn’t ask you for comment. You are more than welcome to submit a rebuttal whenever you have time, although I know you’re very busy. As far as I know we’re still friends too, even though we don’t talk much.

  18. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Paulie yes we are. And William didn’t write this. Buchman did. The same Buchman who was just emailing me the other day and has my phone number and the prior privilege of calling me at any time. If it were William I would not be quite so peeved. And yes Paulie we are friends. You have never been anything but a model of integrity to me. You are the type of friend that knows how to respect and honour friends even in harsh disagreement of which you and I have had several. I planned on rebutting today but my workload in getting reading for the online convention portion will be taking my top priority. A rebutall will not cure the lost friendship and betrayal, though, and that is what hurts the most.

  19. paulie

    Sorry, I meant Joe. My apologies to William. I know what you mean about these disagreements going too far. It definitely happens.

    I do my best to keep perspective. Going thru some of the things I have, especially earlier in my life, helps with that. I still get caught up in stupid crap but I try to step out of the moment and keep an outside view, and remember we are flecks of dust for a moment in time and take account of all the good things. I’m thankful just to still be here and even have the luxury to think about these sorts of things, unlike so many other people.

  20. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Dr. Buchman wanted me to post additional information claiming I lied that he never contacted me. Untrue. He wrote me as a friend to talk about various personal issues. I do not squabble with friends. It is a quick way to lose friends due to politics. He never once disclosed he was writing an article and put on his “blogger” hat to ask for an official comment. I would have given him one. Not once did he give me a heads up. I mentioned right in my comment that he had just written me as a friend so OBVIOUSLY I was making a distinction.

    He was also baffled as to how the headline was confusing. Okay, I will spill the beans. I NEVER SAID THAT. I said I would not sign an oath than an LNC all-online forced convention was legitimate. I said I did not not know if any states required that. I said I would sign any certificate that did not require such an oath. I NEVER SAID THAT I WOULD SIMPLY NOT SIGN ANYTHING. It was very specific language I objected to. Now hoepfully it is clear how this yellow journalism title is misleading.

    and as it turns out, Mr. Winger let me know that no states will require this oath, therefore, no issue. Several attorneys also advised me that there would be disclamatory language I could add to such an oath legally.

    My position was not some tantrum to try to fuck up our nomination. It was the OH SO UNREASONABLE desire not to commit perjury and lose my day job. If Dr. Buchman had bothered to ask me for an official comment he would have known that. He was more intersted in salaciously digging through old article to try to find an inconsistency – another thing he never bothered to ask me for a comment on.

    So that is my additional commentary and five minutes I will never get back throwing good time after bad.

    Yes, I am upset. Not really about the article. Public figures get untrue crap written all the time. I am upset that it came from someone I trusted as a friend. That is what I am upset about. As I told Dr. Buchman, I hope whatever joy he got out of whatever “gotcha” he though he found was worth it to him. The demunization of politics will destroy us all.

    People before politics. And FFS at least give a friend a heads up before writing a hit piece on them.

  21. paulie

    I’m open to a mutually agreeable headline. Suggestions welcome. If there’s anything Joe and Caryn Ann can agree on, it’s A-OK with me.

  22. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Caryn Ann Harlos: “I am absolutely embarrassed for the LP when the response to a concern for perjury is “just resign and let someone else commit perjury”

    You are wrong to assume that is the reasoning of we who suggested you resign. Rather, we do not necessarily agree that the action discussed would be perjury.

    But if that’s your worry, it’s reasonable to ask that you step aside for someone less worried about it.

  23. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I understand you don’t agree, but from my point of view that is exactly what it would be, and it is unreasonable to expect I would think that is proper.

    But my bringing it up solved the issue and saved us from potential lawsuits. But the shoot first ask question circular firing squad is going circular.

  24. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Caryn Ann Harlso: I understand you don’t agree, but from my point of view that is exactly what it would be, and it is unreasonable to expect I would think that is proper.

    Which doesn’t address my point. I’ll try again. You raised TWO separate issues:

    1. You thought signing it would be “perjury.”

    2. You think it “unprincipled for the party of principle” to ask you to resign so someone else could commit “perjury.”

    On the SECOND point, it is not “unprincipled” to ask you to resign, if that someone else does not think it’s perjury.

  25. paulie

    If I was in a position of trust in an organization and the organization required me to do something I thought was illegal or unethical, I can see either resigning or refusing to resign so someone else can’t commit what I see as illegal or unethical acts as options. I wouldn’t necessarily fault someone for exercising either option.

  26. Joseph Buchman Post author

    I stand by the headline. In the online convention when challenged about signing the secertary initially responded with a statement declaring a “refusal to mine the subjunctive” and information that she had retained legal counsel – meaning no blanket declaration that she would sign no matter “What if.” The following day she when challenged again she declared an intent to sign no matter what. Nonetheless I believe the headline IS consistent with her initial written declaration, provided in full in the initial article. In short, her position changed over time.

    I also stand by my statement that I tried to reach out to her both by phone and email before posting this article. I thank her for confirming that in her comments above. I did not indeed communicate that I was attempting to communicate by phone in regards to this or any other article. At the time that was indeed not the case. I hadn’t posted on IPR in several months. Given her reply about being unavailable by phone, it did not occur to me to retry a request to talk with a”threat” of an article as something that might cause her to change her prior refusal. My shortcomming no doubt; I’m not a full time editor here.

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