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Links in the chain – Part 1

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The Oregon Republican Party (ORP) is governed by a set of rules.  These deal with most aspects of how the party is organized, run and how it conducts business.  No surprise there; any organization has or will develop rules so everyone knows the right way to do things.

As is the case with civil and criminal law, ignorance of the rules is no excuse.  Just as you’re not going to get very far arguing with a cop that you didn’t know it was illegal to do something, not knowing the organization’s rules isn’t going to gain you much credibility with that organization.  And just like telling a cop you don’t think he has the authority to enforce the speed limit, telling the organization or its leadership it can’t enforce a rule isn’t going to get you very far.

One of the areas governed by these rules is the process of selecting Delegates to the Republican National Convention.   The Republican National Committee (RNC) and, specifically, the Committee on Credentials at the National Convention has final say on whether the rules in place have been followed and whether a delegation from any given state will be given credentials and allowed to participate.  You can think of the process as a short chain with specific links; if one or more of the links are missing or broken, the result is likely to be your delegation is not seated.

There’s a specific hierarchy to these rules; those higher trump those lower, but they are intended to work as a cohesive whole.  If a higher rule is silent on an issue, you go to the next lower level and see if it’s covered there.  If not, you keep going through increasingly finer sieves until you get to the last, which should catch everything that remains.

In the case of the National Convention, the hierarchy is pretty straight-forward.  Going from top to bottom:

  1. Republican National Committee Rules (RNC Rules)
  2. Oregon Republican Party Bylaws (ORP Bylaws)
  3. Oregon Republican Party Standing Rules (SR)
  4. Oregon Republican Party District Convention Rules (CR)
  5. Oregon Republican Party traditions and precedents
  6. Robert’s Rules of Order (Robert’s)

RNC Rules establish that the various states can field a delegation and gives limits on the number of Delegates and Alternates from each, which is why Oregon has 25 of each going to the 2012 National Convention.  In addition to these, there are three so-called “super-delegates”; the RNC members from Oregon, which are the state Party Chair, the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman.  They are silent, however, on the process to be used to select those Delegates and Alternates, so most of the applicable rules are found in the lower levels of the hierarchy.  Bear in mind that being seated, then, requires that the ORP follow its own Rules and Bylaws, so it’s there we’ll focus our attention.

ORP Bylaws Article XIV set the general parameters of the District Convention, particularly that the State Chairman convenes it at a time and place he designates (Section A).  The general outlines of the process are defined by the Convention Rules, adopted by the ORP State Central Committee before the Convention is held.

It should be pointed out that, from the language use and description of the process, that the District Convention is a single meeting taking place in multiple locations at the same time.  English doesn’t have a word or sentence structure that says “one in many places” so you’ll find both singular and plural uses of the word “convention” in both the Bylaws and the Convention Rules.  Generally speaking, it tends to be singular (Convention) when talking about the meeting as a whole and plural (conventions) when talking about the individual meetings taking place in each Congressional District.

Under the Convention Rules, a single agenda binds the individual conventions, worked out in advance by the Congressional District (CD) Chairs, the ORP Chairman and the party staff.  This, year, it was decided in advance that we needed to adjourn by 5:00pm.  There were two key reasons for this:

  1. Two of the District meetings had to be out of their venue by 5:00pm, and at least one other had a deadline of 6:00pm.
  2. Reports of delay tactics used in other states to manipulate the process there made us think they could happen here and a published deadline should limit any such effort by making it pointless.

Under Robert’s Rules of Order, a published adjournment time fixes that time under “Orders of the Day”.  Once that time is reached, the meeting is over.  Only a properly presented and adopted “Motion to Extend” can extend the meeting; everything else is literally “out of order” and, by definition, invalid.  Since the District Convention communicates election results between the Districts (CR 7.1), any District meeting adjourned without extension would prevent the other Districts from continuing.

There’s a precedent for this.  In 2008, CD1 had to be completely out of their venue no later than 5:00pm, so the agenda for the entire state was set to adjourn by 4:00pm.  CD1 successfully met the deadline, in part by making use of a precedent set by CD3 in 2004, and the other Districts adjourned shortly thereafter.  There was no Motion to Extend as the Convention was able to complete all business within the time constraints.

In 2012, only one District – CD2 – clearly followed the proper procedure for extending the meeting.  CD1 adjourned without a Motion to Extend, CD3 voted on the Motion but failed to get the 2/3 majority needed to extend.  CD4 apparently had a vote to extend take place about 4:00pm but Adjournment nullifies any motion made before it and there’s no evidence a properly moved and adopted Motion to Extend was made afterwards.  There’s also no evidence CD5 took the steps specified by Robert’s after the Adjournment.

As a result, the positions of At-Large Alternate and CD Alternate were not voted on by the entire Convention statewide, and even the vote in CD2 didn’t have the results from the other CD to correct their ballots.  These positions were therefore vacant, and needed to be filled by other means.

In 2004, disputes within Oregon’s National Convention Delegation caused the creation the next year of SR11, detailing some specifics of the conduct and construction of the delegation.  This was also an opportunity to codify some long-standing traditions regarding appointment of replacement Alternates when someone wasn’t able to attend for one reason or another.  With the Alternate positions vacant, it became the obligation of the ORP Executive Committee (per SR 11.3) to appoint those replacements.

There’s a precedent for this as well.  In 2008, CD4 didn’t field enough Delegate and Alternate candidates to fill all the positions available, so the Executive Committee met to appoint people to fill those vacancies.  In that case, there were only a few people interested in filling the one or two vacancies, so no vote was taken but, with so many positions vacant, they used a ballot process, very similar to that used during the District Convention, to elect those Alternates this year.  So, whether you want to call them “duly-appointed” or “duly-elected”, the Alternates were all selected according to published procedure.

RNC Rules establish that each state’s Delegation select a Chair plus two people (one man and one woman) for each of the four Committees of the National Convention.  They require that these positions be filled by Delegates only, but both they and the ORP Bylaws are silent on how to do so.  Prior to 2005, there was no fixed rule on whether Oregon’s Alternates could vote on these positions and, in fact, it changed from one election to the next.

In 1996, for example, multiple ballots failed to elect a Delegation Chair and the impasse probably would have continued if an Alternate moved (and the body approved) that the Alternates not vote.  Up to that point, they had.  In 2004, the Alternates didn’t vote, which was one of the internal disputes that year. The Central Committee adopted SR11 the next year, which specifies that both Alternates and Delegates vote on all matters before the Delegation and it’s been fixed at that ever since.

So, then, here’s the chain…

  • The election of At-Large Delegates and Alternates occurred in compliance with all applicable Rules and Bylaws.  Everyone seems to agree on this.
  • Under the provisions of Robert’s “Orders of the Day”, the Convention was adjourned.  There was a published agenda specifying 5:00pm as the approximate time of adjournment and all Districts did, in fact, adjourn at approximately 5:00pm.
  • Under CR 7.3, no further elections were possible, so the At-Large Alternate and CD Alternate positions were left vacant.
  • Under SR 11.3, the ORP Executive Committee appointed qualified candidates to the At-Large and CD Alternate positions.
  • Under SR 11, Oregon’s Delegation to the Republican National Convention elected its Chairman as well as its male and female representatives on the four Committees.

As you probably know, there are those who dispute every link in the chain starting with the Adjournment, and they’ll be allowed to present their case to the Committee on Credentials at the National Convention this August in Tampa, FL.  However, the above shows an unbroken chain of compliance with the applicable rules, and those who dispute it will have to submit an alternate and stronger chain in order to be credentialed.

Coming next, Links in the chain – Part 2, will take a look at that chain.

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Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

17 July 2012 at 10:48 am

9 Responses

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  1. […] note: once again, reposted from The Whitestick Papers. Part 1 can be found […]

  2. You are mostly right. The RNC rules trump everything, they are the source of all the authority, and anything that conflicts with them is invalid. There are specific sections of the RNC rules that grant to the State Republican Party the authority to act on behalf of the RNC for some things (always with the caveat that nothing the state party does is in violation of the RNC rules). For example Rule 15a states that “Delegates at large and their alternate delegates and delegates from Congressional districts and their alternate delegates to the national convention shall be elected, selected, allocated, or bound in the following manner: In accordance with any applicable Republican Party rules of a state, insofar as the same are not inconsistent with these rules.” The State Republican Party has no authority as to the national convention or the delegates outside the powers granted to it by the RNC Rules. Within those powers granted by the RNC though, it cascades down as you say.

    The RNC rule 41a grant the power to the select the chairman and committeeman to the delegates, in whatever manner the delegates want (majority vote is assumed). “The delegates elected or selected to the convention from each state, promptly once all such delegates are elected or selected, shall elect from the delegation a delegation chairman and their members of the Committees ..“ The ORP has zero authority to in any way interfere with this process, as such no ORP rule applies to this selection.

    Lastly, even assuming there is a single state wide convention as well as a separate district convention in each district, under what rule do you believe the state wide convention must end as soon as a single district convention adjourns? I was told that a person can vote for someone even though they had already been elected and that was not an invalid vote, but just that person could not win the seat as they had already been elected and as such it would be ignored. Given that the CD districts DID remove all elected at-large delegates (there were none as the votes couldn’t be aggregated), I don’t see why they couldn’t have voted on the CD specific alternates.

    I watched the video as to CD4, they did properly make a motion to extend the time and voted on that in a manner that was valid under Roberts Rules of Order just as much as CD2. (I wont speak as to CD3, which the ron paul supporters say there was enough votes but they were miscounted and have video of it, nor for CD5 in which people say a motion was made but ignored as I was not there).

    Devin Watkins

    17 July 2012 at 1:46 pm

  3. Since this part 2 deals mostly with questions of fact, this should be easy to handle. My comments for part 1 were lengthy primarily because I went over the rules in detail there too. I will try to incorporate this into my comment below with more word economy, but for those of you who have not seen it; here is a link to the other article for you to reference my other comments on these matters: http://5440fight.com/2012/07/16/disenfranchised-an-examination-of-the-oregon-conventions-of-june-23/ I think Jeff Reynolds deserves a lot of credit for hosting this conversation, because we need to have it.

    First you made a major error in your hierarchy. Past practice does not override Roberts Rules. Those other four rule authorities you mention above “traditions” explicitly defer to Roberts, and Roberts explicitly defines when and when not past practice has authority. It is important to remember that the only way past practice is relevant, is the fact that every time these conventions have gone past their suggested variable time of adjournment, there has never been an effort to shut them down. They have always finished their business; there has never been an effort to prevent them from doing so, and when they extend under the rules, discard their legitimate votes. I find it ironic that you mention that there was a concern that the PCPs who belong to this Republican Liberty Caucus would engage in delay tactics, when it is not only a fact they never planned to do so, there is much evidence that the ORP leadership did.

    Even though their is room for debate about the need for the 2/3rds majority to extend, in my view fairness dictates the right thing to do is to treat that explicitly “approximate” time for adjournment as a published 5pm deadline. This is of course at variance to Allen Alley’s position that there was an explicit rule mandating a 5pm adjournment. Solomon Yue has done the right thing in contradicting Alley in this regard.

    Remarkably Jeff (Smith), you got your facts wrong on what happened at these conventions at 5pm. Indeed in your own article you contradict yourself. First you claim one convention voted to extend: “only one District – CD2 – clearly followed the proper procedure for extending the meeting.” Then later on you claim none of them did: “There was a published agenda specifying 5:00pm as the approximate time of adjournment and all Districts did, in fact, adjourn at approximately 5:00pm.” It’s like you are getting some info from Yue, some from Alley, but little from people who were actual there or even take advantage of all the publicly available video evidence.

    Three conventions went WAY past 5pm after legally extending their meeting with a motion to adjourn that received more than 2/3. To what extent are you making an effort to vet facts here? You acknowledge CD4 made their motion to extend (which was unanimous by the way) well before 5pm, but you claim they were adjourned anyway? At 5pm a motion to adjourn was made and it overwhelmingly failed. Watch the video yourself; it’s publicly available. Regarding CD5 your claim that “There’s also no evidence CD5 took the steps specified by Robert’s after the Adjournment” is a remarkable thing to say when there is so much evidence of what actually happened. Its chair Jeff Kubler violated the rules by refusing to recognize motions to extend. He simply declared the convention adjourned in an illegal, nonbinding way and left the building. The Vice Chair Marilyn Shannon then became the Chair and she immediately took on the duty to legally adjourn by recognizing a motion to extend which passed by 2/3. These are all easy facts to vet. Marilyn Shannon is not even allied to this caucus. She is just a rule abiding, fair person who remembers the way Craig Berkman’s ORP leadership treated her twenty years ago. You have her phone number right? CD1 and CD3 did not extend, so it is the case we have six legitimate vacancies for the executive committee to fill since these two conventions’ district alternates were never legally voted on.

    You did not mention quorum. Somehow you must have thought this game of semantics where the rules refer to all five conventions in the PLURAL, but Team Alley now tries to assert their singularity covers this critical rule. This was one or several conventions a moot point regarding quorum rules, but I will address it anyway since it only goes to show what kind of nonsense the ORP leadership will spout to justify their rule breaking. Roberts Rules defines a convention very clearly, included in that definition are a series of officers that all conventions must have, among them being a chair, vice chair, time keeper etc. The convention rules explicitly identify those offices for the five district chairs. There are no such offices for a single convention. The ORP chairman’s role is explicitly limited to setting the time and place for these conventions to convene. He is not even given the authority to adjourn them for goodness sake!

    Since we had (under your own acknowledgement) at least one convention extend, what really matters here is a rule you have ignored: quorum, and it is not vague in the slightest. In your own hierarchy of authority, nothing above Roberts defined a quorum, thus Robert’s Rules of Order governs this matter. Thankfully it is very clear: “In meetings of a convention, unless the bylaws of the organization provide otherwise, the quorum is a majority of the delegates who have been registered at the convention as in attendance, irrespective of whether some may have departed.” So if four conventions departed and only one voted to extend, that one convention in attendance would decide ALL the at large alternates “irrespective of whether some may have departed.” When you admit that: “one District – CD2 – clearly followed the proper procedure for extending the meeting.” You must also accept the actual results of their at large alternate vote as binding under the ORP’s own rules. It met the quorum requirement. You must acknowledge then that those at large alternates voted on were duly elected as were some district alternates. Their positions were not vacant.

    These votes were intentionally set aside illegally. Is this the kind of party we want to be? Notice that Devin Watkins himself would lose his seat at the convention if these legitimate votes were counted, but he cares more about the rule of law in our own party than to defend this kind of behavior at the highest levels of the ORP leadership. We need more young men like him. You spent much time responding to Devin’s point that RNC rules do not allow the alternates to vote on delegation offices, and of course in your own hierarchy, RNC rules indeed override ORP bylaws and standing rules. I am going to ignore this issue, because I don’t think it would be one if the executive committee had merely filled alternate positions that were truly vacant. They had six, but they had too long a list of people they deemed entitled to go. Again I ask you what kind of a party do we want to be?

    Eric Shierman

    17 July 2012 at 3:09 pm

    • Eric, I’ve been a PCP since May 1994, and a member of the ORP Central Committee since November 1996. In all that time, I’ve never heard your name in any context associated with the ORP. As a result, it’s more than a little interesting to me that you style yourself an expert on how we structure ourselves and the hierarchy of rules within the organization. In point of fact, the ORP does consider its traditions and precedents before consulting Robert’s. To simply declare it isn’t true doesn’t make it untrue.

      As it happens, most of those traditions turn into official rules eventually; nearly all the Standing Rules started as traditions, and both the State Convention and District Convention Rules include elements that were at one time unwritten. It’s been my experience that most organizations follow the same pattern; the Toastmasters club I belong to, even though it’s just two years old, has a number of unwritten procedures unique to itself, and I think you’ll find the same within nearly any body – including, say, the Republican Liberty Caucus.

      That having been said, it should be noted that none of the links in the chain in the article depend upon tradition or precedent. In each case, a reference is given to a written rule. Precedents are used to bolster the argument, including one you seem to have missed. A precedent to using Robert’s “Orders of the Day” to adjourn the 2008 District Convention was provided, but you claimed – without evidence, I might add – that it didn’t exist.

      One other clarification seems to be in order. An Adjournment happened at each of the five District Conventions. Under Robert’s “Orders of the Day”, all a presiding officer has to do is declare the time set in the published agenda has been reached and the meeting is, at that moment, over. It’s clear it was handled differently in each District – a motion or vote on adjournment is out of order under “Orders of the Day” – but the declaration was clearly made in each.

      We can, and clearly do, disagree on the validity of what happened after that point in some of the locations, but the Adjournment happened. Thus, there’s no inconsistency between saying all five adjourned and acknowledging that CD2 extended their meeting.

      It should be noted that, while your comments present an alternative to the links in the chain in the article, you don’t counter the links as presented except, of course, to declare unilaterally the 5:00pm Adjournment was invalid. No reference to any rule in the hierarchy is given; just an appeal to fairness. Can we take it, then, that while you disagree with the validity of the chain you’ll agree that is the chain the ORP will present to the Committee on Credentials?

      And would you agree that, to win your case for other members of the Oregon Delegation being credentialed in Tampa, a stronger chain with greater adherence to the hierarchy of rules – with or without traditions – will need to be presented?

      Jeffrey S. Smith

      19 July 2012 at 4:52 am

      • Precedent is in NO WAY binding upon the conventions. It is NOT higher than Roberts Rules of Order. Roberts Rules of Order is binding upon the conventions as per rule 10 of the convention rules: “Roberts Rules of Order, latest revised edition shall be the rules of this Convention so far as they are applicable and not in conflict with the Rules set forth herein, or the Bylaws of the Oregon Republican Party. The Bylaws and Rules of the Oregon Republican party otherwise take precedence.” Without this rule a majority of the delegates could run the meeting any way they want (including excluding minorities in ways that Roberts Rules of Order does not allow). There is nothing in there about precedent. Can you claim any rule as to why precedent is higher authority then Roberts Rules of Order (or that it has any authority at all)? Now it is true that I suspect many of the convention chairs look to precedent when deciding how they want to run the conventions, and Roberts Rules of Order gives to the chair a large degree of freedom to choose to run the meeting as they wish and follow that precedent. But that precedent is NOT binding upon the convention, and can be appealed if a rule is not broken by the decision of the chair (the bylaws/rules cannot be changed by appealed the decision of the chair).

        I am sure that president has persuasive authority (people can try to use precedent to ask people to agree to follow a specific rule), but it has no binding authority (they don’t HAVE to follow it). I am sure that most rules were at one time precedents, but that does not in any way make precedents rules.

        I don’t know what Roberts Rules of Order your reading but mine says: “A Call for the Orders of the Day is a privileged motion by which a member can require the assembly to conform to its agenda, program, or order of business, or to take up a general or special order that is due to come up at the time, unless two thirds of those voting wish to do otherwise.”.. “When the orders of the day are called for, the chair can, and ordinarily should, immediately announce as the newly pending business the subject that is then in order. But sometimes the chair or a member may sense that the assembly would prefer to continue consideration of the presently pending question or take up another matter first. In such cases, the assembly by a two-thirds vote can set aside the orders of the day, as follows:… b) At the initiative of a member: When the orders of the day are called for or announced, a member can move (depending on the case) “that the time for considering the pending question be extended”” It is quite clear from this that if 2/3s of the people choose to override an call for orders of the day, it can be overridden. A motion to extend the time is not out of order.

        We reject that an adjournment happened at CD2 and CD4. And we find persuasive evidence that an adjournment did not occur at CD3 and CD5 (although that can clearly be in dispute).

        We accept your chain of rules (with the removal of precedent which has no authority) for the selection of delegates and alternates, we just disagree as to if Roberts Rules of Order was properly followed in adjourning the meetings. And if it was not, then the meeting continued, and the voting was valid. We do make specific reference to the rules of Roberts Rules of Order (the authority according to the district convention rule 10). I find it hard to understand how you can say CD2 or CD4 adjourned, we have full video recordings of them extending their meeting and voting on the issues. I am quite confident that the ORP will present their evidence to the credentials committee, they may very well even win, but we are just trying to make sure the rules are followed as we understand them.

        Devin Watkins

        19 July 2012 at 12:57 pm

      • When did anyone say tradition is binding on the Convention? In fact, the traditions are clearly BELOW Rules in the hierarchy, and I made no appeals to traditions as determining factor in anything that happened.

        Why make counter-arguments to statements that were never made?

        Jeffrey S. Smith

        19 July 2012 at 6:36 pm

      • One does not need to be established as a good old boys to be “an expert on how we structure ourselves and the hierarchy of rules within the organization.” One simply has to take the time to read the rules and confirm facts from primary sources. Indeed, perhaps the longer one has been involved with a sloppily managed organization like the ORP that has known little more than defeat for the past decade, perhaps your very experience is your liability. This is of course all non sequitur. What matters is that your premises lead to your conclusions and the truth value of your premises. When it comes to your credibility in the eyes of the public who reads our conversation, perhaps you need to worry less about how long you have been a PCP and more about how prone you have been to tell whoppers like the claim that CD2 recessed for a two hour lunch break. Carelessly making such an easily falsifiable claim in a public forum like this does wonders in impeaching one’s credibility. I am slow to call anyone dishonest, but your tendency to make outrageous claims about both the rules and what actually transpired on June 23rd at a minimum raises questions about your ability to fact check and your commitment to present an accurate account of what happened, perhaps since an accurate account will probably end the political careers of many of your fellow good old boys.

        When you claim that it is a point of fact that the ORP does consider tradition as an authority, if it does not do so in the rules, it is not an authority. Perhaps what you are really trying to say is that in your long experience, the ORP has not consistently followed its own rules. I was most certainly not trying to declare that point of yours untrue. Devin and I are making claims about what the rules are. We are making no claims about the ORP’s history of complying with them, beyond my observation that things did get better in 1998 when the social conservatives consolidated their hold on power from the Packwood caucus, putting the bad old days of Craig Berkman behind them. Clearly, in terms of ethics things are in decline again at the ORP – just ask Lauren Later or John Lee. The incentives for this behavior arise when a new caucus emerges to challenge the good old boys.

        When you observe that every organization has informal traditions, you are engaging in equivocation when you use the term “rule” to describe them. As any student of Max Weber would know, there is a continuum between charismatic authority and a rules based organization. A successful political party is the later not the former. And then there are organizations with lower stakes: the lower the stakes the less rules there are. Thus behavior gets channeled into non binding custom that can be changed rather arbitrarily. I spend some time with informal organizations too, and certainly the Republican Liberty Caucus is one of them, but my day job finds me sitting in shareholder meetings and the like where the rules define everything, and the catch all rule is always a reference to Roberts Rules of Order for anything not mentioned. Electing delegates to a national convention is more akin to electing a board of directors than choosing who will speak at the next Toastmasters. To compare the ORP to such an organization speaks volumes to how seriously you take all this. Given the ORP has had little impact on public policy in our state, who can blame you? Devin and I intend to change that, but first we have to hold our own leadership accountable to its own rules.

        You keep saying your argument does not rely on precedent, and then you spend so much time talking about precedent. Let’s examine your latest whopper, your claim that a Call of the Orders of the Day was used in 2008. It makes me think you are confusing Call of the Orders of the Day with adjournment. Call of the Orders of the Day is hardly ever associated with adjournment. In fact you will not even find the term “published deadline” in all the 716 pages of Robert’s Rules of Order. Indeed, if you google any real term from Roberts, you find all manner of links on the web from wikipedia to law journal articles. Go ahead and google “Call for the Orders of the Day published deadline” you will get nothing. It is a contrived strategy, so rarely employed you don’t find it written much about. It is an attempt to require a super majority for a deliberative body to go over time. Devin and I both accept its validity as a concept, but one reason you don’t find much written about what the ORP pulled last month, is that it is very rare for an organization’s leadership to intentionally hatch a rare parliamentary strategy like that to force an adjournment before business is finished.

        So as to not harm your credibility any further, perhaps you need to rethink your claim that in 2008 the conventions were all adjourned using a call for the orders of the day. A call for the orders of the day nothing more than a procedure where a member can demand that a rule be followed. The two thirds majority comes from the same ratio to suspend a rule. It has a special name because in some cases it can be packaged into a privileged motion if done correctly. In your blog post above you claimed that in 2008 there “was no Motion to Extend as the Convention was able to complete all business within the time constraints.” Well of course there was no motion to extend; they completed all their business! So I ask you Mr. Smith, why on earth did anyone need to claim that a rule was being violated? All someone had to do in 2008, when all the business was completed on time was to call for an adjournment that no doubt passed unanimously. And that is exactly what happened in 2008. There was no motion to call for the orders of the day. Your claim that a motion to call for the orders of the day was used sounds about as likely as your claim that CD2 broke for a two hour lunch! Let’s compare this to what I said. I did not ignore you claim; I put it in its proper perspective. I said that if past practice is any guide, the ORP has never shut down these conventions before they finished their business. Even Craig Berkman didn’t think of that one!

        Now let’s examine your attempt to dig yourself out of that contradiction between your claim that all five adjourned at five and your other claim that CD2 “clearly followed the PROPER PROCEDURE for extending the meeting.” If they adjourned at 5, then their extension would not have been a proper procedure would it? They did vote a valid 2/3 extension. That is a fact; pat yourself on the back you got one right. It is also a fact that they did not adjourn at five. Here is the video. Unlike that UFO like footage from CD3, this one is very clear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=JgC8-TVakLs Notice that not only was there no adjournment, but there was no motion made for a call for the orders of the day either. An ORP staff member got up and advised them of the rules, telling them something that was factually untrue, that under the rules if one convention failed to extend, then the other four’s at large alternate votes would be invalid.

        In CD3, I have rejected claims that there was a miscount. That shaky camera does not appear to me to cover the whole room well enough. However, it is also the case that there was no motion made for a call for the orders of the day. Indeed, given what actually transpired that day, the procedure seems to have come in vogue after June 23rd.

        CD4’s video is just as clear. A motion to adjourn failed at five. They had already made their motion to extend well before five, and more importantly no motion was ever made to call for the orders of the day.

        Regarding CD5, we can address it along with your apparent fantasy that the gavel is some kind of a magic wand that the chairman can wield in a way that everything he does is valid, legal, and binding. Apparently you have never sat in on a corporate boardroom before. If there was a published agenda calling for an adjournment of approximately 5pm for a board meeting that was to discus a take it or leave it merger that had to be decided that day, and the chairman of the board opposed the merger so as the board’s debate reached 5pm without a vote, he simply slammed the gavel down declaring the meeting adjourned and walked out of the building, do you really think that would prevent the board from legally voting on that merger? Of course not – for several reasons. 1) he can motion for adjournment as the chair, but he has to get a second just like everyone else. 2) Even if he tried to utter your magic spell and make a motion for a call for the orders of the day, his obligation to recognize a motion to extend is not optional. Ignore a motion to suspend a rule and the call for the orders of the day is invalid which is explicitly spelled out in Roberts Rules of Order which I suggest you crack open some day for the first time.

        The requirement to entertain a motion to reject the orders of the day comes when it is initiated by a member; if the motion is initiated by the chair himself, HE IS REQUIRED TO CALL THE QUESTION HIMSELF: (from the 11th edition) “At the initiative of the chair: Instead of announcing the orders of the day when they are called for, the chair can put the proceeding to the: ‘The orders of the day are [identifying the business that is in order]. The question is: Will the assembly proceed to the orders of the day? As many as are in favor of proceeding to the orders of the day [take a rising vote].’ Since to refuse to proceed to the orders of the day is an interference with the order of business similar to suspending the rules, two thirds in the negative are required to vote down this question and refuse to take up the orders of the day.” Slapping down the gavel and uttering “call for the orders of the day” like it is a magic spell does not legally adjourn a convention.

        If you read the entire chapter on this procedure, you will note it is never mentioned in reference to adjournment. That is because this procedures references the skipping of scheduled votes (the skipping of BUSINESS!). This procedure is all about completing business, not trying to adjourn without doing so. It is a bit contrived to say that adjournment constitutes “business,” but I accept the theory behind it. The fact that Jeff Kubler failed to call the question, that is unacceptable, and thus his illegal attempt to adjourn was invalid. I don’t suppose you called the question in CD1 either did you?

        At CD5 Jeff Kubler simply declared his convention adjourned – no second no anything. If your experience tells you this was legally binding, it shows you have little experience beyond the sloppiness of the ORP. At a corporation a lot of money is spend to make more money so the stakes are high and the rules must be followed to avoid litigation. At the ORP a lot of money is spend on candidates that always lose, so I suppose the stakes are low and in your long experience no one cares much about the rules. The ORP has become an elks lodge like fraternal organization for rural white men over the age of 50 to complain about Portland and Salem without any power to do anything about it. What you saw on June 23rd was a disciplined new generation of Republicans that are in this to win, who see that much change is needed in our party, and it probably must start by complying with our own rules.

        A disagreement about the validity of an adjournment means that if the person who says the adjournment was not valid is correct, then the adjournment did not happen. I am not declaring unilaterally that the 5pm adjournments did not happen, Devin and I are showing you how they were invalid under the rules. Your magic wand theory of the chair, now that is unilateral. Indeed, Devin and I have been so specific about the actual rules and the actual events as they did in fact occur that to say that from us “No reference to any rule in the hierarchy is given; just an appeal to fairness” could only be said by someone who did not really read what we have posted. You clearly have not been reading the rules either. Your posts look like a collection of cut and pastes from talking point memos from the desk of Allen Alley. If you did not notice our clarity, be sure the public has.

        Since today’s RNC is actually even worse than the ORP, I have even less expectations of a rules based decision in Tampa. It will be a kangaroo court, but that does not matter because none of the liberty caucus’ slate ever cared about rubbing shoulders with the powerful. The true victory is in the court of public opinion and this blatant rule breaking has provided a greater accomplishment than a mere sweep of the alternates. This has ended Allen Alley’s political career in Oregon. One liberal down, a few more to go.

        Eric Shierman

        20 July 2012 at 3:17 am

      • You said “There’s a specific hierarchy to these rules; those higher trump those lower…” You had “Oregon Republican Party traditions and precedents” as #5 in your hierarchy, and you had “Robert’s Rules of Order (Robert’s)” as #6. Clearly this means you said that traditions and precedents “trump those lower” and as Roberts Rules of Order is lower in your hierarchy that means you were saying that traditions and precedents trump Roberts Rules of Order. And as Roberts Rules of Order is binding upon the convention (I think we all agree on that, you cant just ignore Roberts Rules of Order), that would mean you were also saying traditions and precedent are binding upon the convention.

        Devin Watkins

        20 July 2012 at 1:22 pm


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