Signal Intelligence About The LP

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Monday, December 8, 2008

LNC Tightens Belt, Defuses Keaton Bomb

At its meeting in San Diego on Saturday Dec. 6 and Sunday Dec. 7, the Libertarian National Committee tightened its budgetary belt, targeted the LPWA top-two primary lawsuit, mulled the Barr-Root campaign, deferred action on the mission statement and on accusations against Angela Keaton, annointed a 2010 convention site, and appointed its half of the Platform Committee.

A gallery of more than 20 gathered in anticipation of the "discipline of Angela Keaton" over Stewart Flood's long list of charges that she had sabotaged the LP and harassed colleagues and staff.  A motion by R. Lee Wrights to remove the item from the agenda was defended by Dr. Mary Ruwart on the grounds that Keaton needed more time to answer the charges, but as it turned out Keaton clearly didn't think she needed any more time. The motion garnered only five votes, suggesting LNC just wanted to get this matter over with.  However, they seemed to have a different view after the 30-minute agenda item had stretched to more than an hour, with Flood going over every single page of his 23pp indictment, and Keaton angrily and sarcastically interrupting him numerous times. By the time that Dan Karlan moved to divide the question, the more trivial of the 11 charges had seemingly tainted the most serious ones, and it seemed unlikely that the LNC would demand apologies on any of them.  Aaron Starr reiterated that the goal was just to get the "bad behavior" to stop, and the board overwhelmingly approved a motion by Michael Jingozian to refer the matter to a special dispute resolution committee.

Tony Ryan introduced a resolution on behalf of LP founder David Nolan that criticized the Barr campaign. The resolution failed, but many were concerned that the Barr campaign says it won't be sharing its supporter contact data until it can settle its campaign debt. A letter from Russ Verney explains that Barr is back at work trying to rebuild his law practice and so could not attend.  Vice-Presidential candidate Wayne Root gave a passionate and forthright pitch on the successes and shortcomings of his campaign.  He said he has become much more radical during his time in the LP, but seeks to present a moderate image to the public.

There was a lengthy presentation and discussion about the budget.  Starr stressed the importance of fund-raising.  Ruwart questioned the emphasis on expensive direct-mail attempts to grow membership, when web-based techniques are cheaper. On the question of economizing on LP News by making it quarterly, the board took many comments from the gallery but no consensus emerged on what to do.  The budget was approved, but the board resolved to consider by month's end a cost-savings proposal being developed by Jingozian, as a way to avoid some budget tightening discussed in executive session.

LNC considered a new mission statement presented by David Nolan and saying that the LP's mission is to "build a network of pro-freedom activists" who will use the political process to move policy in a libertarian direction on an issue-by-issue basis.  Nolan criticized the existing LP mission statement as focusing on something the LP is not good at: electing Libertarians to office.  Mark Hinkle offered a substitute drafted by Brian Holtz: "to unite voters who want more personal liberty and more economic liberty behind the electoral choices that will most effectively move public policy in a libertarian direction".  After further discussion, LNC deferred action on this topic.

Pat Dixon led a discussion of a proposed LNC process for setting, measuring, and championing specific goals for this term. Adm. Michael Colley confirmed that the 2010 NatCon will be in St. Louis on Memorial Day weekend.  Alicia Mattson agreed to defer her demo of an electronic NatCon voting system until the next meeting. Rachel Hawkridge and R. Lee Wrights questioned Mattson on why the Libertarian National Congressional Committee focused its support this cycle for state legislative candidates (e.g. e.g. Radical Caucus co-leader Morey Straus in N.H.), and Mattson explained that the LNCC donors preferred to target the most winnable races. LNC Chair Bill Redpath appointed M Carling as the LNC's parliamentarian, and the LNC also added Vicki Kirkland, M Carling, and Starchild as Bylaws Committee alternates.

LNC decided to allocate $15K to support litigation by the LPWA challenging Washington's "top-two" primary system. Everyone was concerned that this might be the new way that the incumbent parties try to keep alternatives off of the general election ballot.  The board unanimously passed a resolution condemning the domestic use of the U.S. military in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.

LNC chose its 10 representatives to the 2010 LPUS Platform Committee via approval voting.  Number of approvals is in parentheses:
  • Rebecca Sink-Burris (13) IN - LNC rep for KT/MI/OH/IN; board member of Atlas!Liberty PAC
  • Adam Mayer (13) OR - champion of environmental pragmatism on the 2008 PlatCom
  • Richard Randall (12) CO - LPCO Media Coordinator, excerpts the LPCO values statement on his MySpace page
  • Alicia Mattson (11) TN - 2008 PlatCom Chair, 1st runner-up in 2008 LNC at-large voting
  • Brian Holtz (11) CA - 2008 PlatCom Secretary, 2010 application is here
  • Stephen Gordon (10) AL - LPAL Chair; Bob Barr for President eCampaign Manager
  • Jon Roland (10) TX - 2004-2006 PlatCom veteran; erudite leader of the Constitution Society
  • Rob Power (9) CA - Outright Libertarians Chair; lead author of 2008 PlatCom minority report
  • Joe Hauptmann (9) IN - 2002 PlatCom vet; regional rep to LNC c. 1996
  • Susan Hogarth (8) NC - 2nd runner-up in 2008 LNC at-large voting; 2010 application here; founder of current Radical Caucus
  • Chris Barber (8) GA - 1st alternate, after 9-5 vote broke tie with Hogarth
LNC chose Mattson as Interim Chair -- a choice condemned by David Nolan, who in public comments blamed such choices for problems in LP finances and membership totals. (It wasn't clear how Nolan reconciled this claim with the Denver delegates' lop-sided choice of the Platform Mattson shepherded over the alternative that Nolan had backed.)  The 10 members above include 3 Reform Caucus leaders (Mattson, Holtz, Roland) and two radical leaders (Hogarth, Power).  The other five have not taken part in the caucus debates of the last four years.  However, Gordon and Mayer are known for nuts-and-bolts political pragmatism, as is the LPIN.


mdh said...

Rob Power is not, as far as I know, associated with the LP Radical Caucus. The leadership of the Radical Caucus consists of Susan, Marc Montoni, and Morey Straus. I can't honestly even remember having ever seen Rob Power post to the Radical Caucus email list.
- Matt

Brian Holtz said...

I didn't write that Rob was associated with the Radical Caucus, although he once was on their Yahoo Group. However, Rob led the radical effort on the 2008 Platform Committee, and presented their report on the stage in Denver.