Mar 05 2012

Moulton: Open Letter To LNC Regarding Floor Fees

Source: Independent Political Report

Chuck Moulton, the new chairman of the Libertarian Party of Virginia, today released an Open Letter to the National Committee regarding floor fees.

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Libertarian National Committee,

I strongly object to a mandatory floor fee for delegates and urge the full LNC to overturn the convention oversight committee’s imposition of such a fee.

A floor fee is not explicitly authorized by the bylaws and is implicitly prohibited by lack of authorization. I will dedicate my full efforts to fighting any attempt by the LNC to circumvent the bylaws, including a judicial committee challenge and/or a credentials fight on the floor of the convention if necessary — even though I hate wasting valuable time on matters such as this.

I say this not as a so-called “povertarian” (in fact I purchased a gold package for both the 2012 and 2010 conventions) or as a contrarian, but rather as a longtime libertarian activist, current Virginia state chair, former LNC vice-chair, current bylaws committee member, professional registered parliamentarian, and an attorney. Voting rights in an organization are fundamental; I vigorously oppose depriving people of their right to vote on party business.

I’ll address the arguments in several broad sections, drawing on my past writings successfully opposing the mandatory floor fee in 2007 and 2010 and on points I’ve seen from others with whom I agree.

BYLAWS

I find the interpretation authorizing a mandatory floor fee a stretch of the letter of the bylaws and a clear violation of their spirit. A more appropriate way to transition to a mandatory floor fee system would be to introduce a bylaws change unambiguously authorizing or requiring a floor fee or a registration fee for each delegate covering the cost of renting the room, etc., rather than departing from 40 years of LP history in which there was no mandatory floor fee.

According to the LP bylaws the affiliate parties have the exclusive privilege of selecting delegates and the autonomy of the affiliate parties (including the selection of its delegates) shall not be abridged by the LNC except as provided by the bylaws. Delegates are accredited members of the state or national party who have registered at the convention. I see no language that empowers the LNC to require a fee for that registration. Doing so would abridge the autonomy of the affiliates in delegate selection and I seek clear unambiguous language when that is done.

The right to vote is rendered meaningless if the LNC is allowed to set some arbitrary fee or other barrier to floor access. Under the logic of those who assert a floor fee is authorized, what prevents the LNC from setting the floor fee at $10,000?

Continue reading at Independent Political Report.

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