Transparency Concerns

TransparencyAs many are aware, I was one of the LNC appointees to the Bylaws Committee and have been an advocate for transparency along with Kim Ruff, Chuck Moulton, and David Pratt Demarest. Here is my last email to the LNC on this matter for your information:

We had a discussion about this before on the list, but I was waiting until we had our adjourned meeting.

Minutes are in fact NOT going to be public unless decided on a case by case basis and it was made clear that certain members will always vote no on minutes if any of us ask for, as is our right, and win – a roll call vote. This is silly since the meetings were decided to be open which means that anyone attending can take notes about who voted which way.

Meetings will be open and can be recorded by any party member. However, emails will not be. So this means that emails are not meetings or we are having secret meetings in which we can vote from which no one disclose how anyone else voted unlike the “public meetings.”

But if emails are not meetings then there is no authority to tell any member what they can or cannot talk about that was talked about in emails. Yet we were. So either there was an instruction given without any authority or we are having secret deliberations. It cannot go both ways.

I am not writing this because I expect the LNC to get involved or do anything. I am writing this because members came to our public hearing and clearly wanted transparency and it is not being given to them – it is partially given and easy to circumvent. It is an illusion of transparency. I believe the LNC should know that members are not happy with the conduct of the procedures of the Bylaws committee.

It will be said that I want to sabotage the committee as has been accused. That is silly. I am spending hours and hours on this and I have other things I could do and that is an attack upon my integrity. That is fine if anyone wants to do that but my work ethic in this Party speaks for itself and such an attack speaks about the accuser, not me. I want us to propose great measures that pass, and I think we will. But if a culture of secrecy is not what we want, and not what the members want, this should be kept in mind at future appointments. What happens this time lays the groundwork for next convention- that is why I am firm in my position- there is precedent for the future.

Asking for the same level of transparency as the LNC is not some crazy idea of transparency that requires cameras in the bathroom. It is wanting what we do here …. and I for one don’t think that is unreasonable.

I have another reason for writing. So it is definite now that there are things I am not supposed to talk about prior to the convention (presumably after it as well). There isn’t anything particular now that I think I need to – but perhaps one day there will be. My duty to the members and my firm belief that there is no authority for this silencing rule overweighs that.

The Bylaws Committee has no disciplinary power. I would certainly hope this LNC would not discipline any Bylaws Committee members that simply decide to reveal to members the content of our deliberations and how appointees voted. They cannot measure our judgment in making appointments etc without that information. Robert’s has been cited that no “allusion can be made in the assembly” about the deliberations. That is not referring to discussions with members prior to the assembly – which is the convention – and are emails “delibertarions”? If so, then we ARE having secret delibertarions despite having “open meetings.” Does that make sense to you? No, it doesn’t to me either. I think everyone agrees that once reports are issued and presented to the convention, no one can get up to the mic and say “so and so” said as part of their argument. But that does not keep me from updating Region 1 members or my own affiliate who DOES want to know these details contemporaneously prior to the issuance of reports.

I would like to know if the LNC has any intention of enforcing what amounts to a silencing order on certain details of email discussions.

Applications Being Accepted for National Platform and Bylaws Committees…

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his is a copy of the email you likely received from the National Party (read through the end for my thoughts):

The Libertarian National Committee (LNC) is seeking applicants to serve on the Platform Committee and on the Bylaws and Rules Committee for the July 1-3, 2018 Libertarian Party National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. The LNC expects to make the appointments during its April 15-16, 2017 meeting so as to give the committees plenty of time to complete their tasks before the convention.

The LNC appoints all 10 of the Bylaws and Rules Committee members, and 5 of the 20 Platform Committee members. The committees propose changes to the party’s bylaws/rules or platform, respectively, and convention delegates vote on whether to approve those proposals.

Both committees typically have in-person meetings at least once, several months in advance of the national convention, and then a final meeting on the day before the national convention begins.

Committee members will be expected to invest an appreciable amount of their time into doing their jobs. Any travel costs incurred will be at personal expense.

It is often helpful when applicants draft and submit sample platform/bylaw proposals with their applications.

If you are willing to serve in these LNC-appointed positions, apply by completing this webform no later than April 5, 2017.

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Joshua Katz made an excellent post about what he would look for in a Platform or Bylaws Committee application, and I don’t wish to reinvent the wheel when he expressed nearly exactly how I fee with one addition below:

In response to the posts about applying for committees: thank you for applying. Last term, I received a lot of emails, mostly around the time applications were due (and quite a few after that) asking what the committees do, and what makes a good application. The short answer to the second is that I don’t know, we each have our own way of screening them, but I’m happy to say what I look for – and I know several other LNC members look for very similar things. I figured I’d get ahead of the questions and put up a post about that. I also got emails supporting various people for the committee, as has been discussed here. I can tell you that such emails matter to me primarily when I know the person they come from, I believe that person can judge the qualities below, and they tell me what they think about these qualities. A generic “Vote for X” from a person I’ve never heard of doesn’t register all that much with me.

1. I want to know that you’ll do the work. This is, by far, the most important item. You have to determine how you can demonstrate this (not just say it). The majority of the work isn’t sexy. A lot of it is working on proposals you might not agree with – helping to wordsmith them for passage, and working to amend them to make them more acceptable to you. Grammar and “working right” are highly important, but not all that interesting to most people. There’s a lot of collaboration via email in addition to the meetings. The committees strive to have everyone participating: every term, though, there are members who do nothing but show up to vote.

2. Figure out why you want to be on the committee, and show it throughout your application. I’m less interested in a one-line statement somewhere that says why you want to be on the committee, and more interested in what leaps off the page at me. Spend some time thinking about this, and whatever the answer is, own it. Maybe you just want to be more involved with the national party – that’s fine. I can’t promise I’ll vote for you, but I can promise that the best way to get my vote is to own that, not to try and convince me that you love bylaws when you a) haven’t submitted a proposal, b) have no experience with bylaws, c) don’t seem clear on what bylaws are. If I don’t believe the things you say, I’m not likely to vote for you.

3. Include a proposal. While it’s optional, it shows that you are actually interested in doing the work. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something you “own” and will introduce in committee; you could choose something just to show your skill in drafting. You’re not committed to using what you include. Think it through carefully, and include a well-written rationale. A good portion of the work is writing rationales – including for proposals the committee has accepted, even if you oppose them.

4. Proofread your application. The majority of the committee work is double and triple checking proposals for consistency, workability, and grammar. If I find jarring typos in the application, I find it less persuasive.

5. Don’t just include your standard resume. A quick list of relevant things you’ve done is more effective.

6. Feel free to include items from other groups to establish your interest and experience, as well as relevant portions of your work and education.

7. Know what the committee does, and demonstrate it.

I would add that since the Secretary decided not to include information that multiple LNC members would have liked to have have (a brief summary of the applicant’s understanding of Libertarian principles), I will make an attempt to contact via telephone some applicants that I might not know enough of through personal knowledge or the application or have a clarifying question. I didn’t need to have to spend this additional time if the request of some of us were honoured, but so be it, and I will share my findings with any other LNC members if they wish. Any applicant may call me as well if they wish. 561.523.2250 or write at Caryn.Ann.Harlos@LP.org

Judicial Committee Adopted Revised Rules of Appellate Procedure

judges-gavel-640x480111121111-130894-640x480From the Judicial Committee Chair Chuck Moulton:

The Judicial Committee has adopted the attached Rules of Appellate Procedure by email ballot (7-0 vote). We are hereby submitting these rules to the Libertarian National Committee for approval pursuant to LP Bylaw 8.3.

I am including two PDF documents:
1) Our proposed Judicial Committee Rules of Appellate Procedure for the 2016 term.
2) Changes between the 2014 and the 2016 Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Chuck Moulton, Chair
Michael Badnarik
John Buttrick
Alicia Dearn
Bill Hall
Gary Johnson
Rob Latham


My Thoughts:The proposed changes offer a much greater level of transparency for membership to understand and review the matters being reviewed by the Judicial Committee. The lack of transparency and an out-of-control Judicial Committee has been a complaint in the past, and I believe these go a long way towards alleviating that potential concern–real or perceived.