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.


  1. Daniel Hayes


    The quoted provision from RONR regarding allusions during deliberations of the assembly is in the nature of a Rule of Order. Rules of Order can be suspended by a two-thirds vote of the assembly..

    • Daniel Hayes


      They are completely off base with this stuff. There will be no discipline for you over this. I have been telling you since the start to ignore these silly instructions.

  2. D. Frank Robinson


    Why oh why would anyone want to make bylaws discussions and votes secret? It may not be venal, but it seems stupid.

  3. Reply

    If this sort of thing becomes well known, it is highly likely that once again the Bylaws Committee proposals will go down like a submarine diving with all hatches open. That’s unfortunate.

    Mind you, I was totally not surprised that some problem would arise, so soon as I saw the Bylaws Committee membership.

  4. George Carpenter


    Secret meetings, *not* involving a strictly confidential personnel matter, often have an ulterior motive. Not a 100% guarantee?
    I want to censure Arvin, without appearing to censure Arvin.
    Secret Bylaw Proposal: Eliminate the position of Vice Chair.
    “It’s NOT about Arvin… it’s about ‘streamlining’ the organization”.

    I want to shift the LP strongly radical. I therefore, by Secret Bylaw Proposal, institute a litmus test of radical anarchy.
    “All persons, actually or claiming membership in the Libertarian Party, must actively endeavor towards the complete dismantling of all forms of statist government.”

    Either example would initiate a shit-storm of controversy, and face strong internal opposition while in-committee. IF I can pass these measures by control of a voting cabal? Then I win.

    Even if I’m defeated at Convention – I win.
    I and my agenda passed in secret, obtains the spotlight.
    I put my stamp on the next Convention, I’ll be national news.
    My brand, my vision of Libertarian, will be seen as the Convention theme.

    Otherwise, what’s the controversy requiring secrecy? Elimination of the Oxford, comma?

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