the whitestick papers

looking at politics from a different perspective

Links in the chain – Part 2

with 4 comments

In Part 1 of this linked blog post, we looked at the hierarchy of applicable rules and how they will be used by the Republican National Convention’s Committee on Credentials to determine which Delegates and Alternates to seat from Oregon.  A case was made for the links in the chain underlying the Oregon Republican Party’s (ORP) actions and claim to being the official delegation.  That’s pretty well laid out there so it won’t be repeated here.  The point of this blog is to examine the claims of an alternate Delegation as they’ve been presented in email, social media, online blogs and news magazines.

There’s little, if any, dispute that the election of At-Large Delegates, Congressional District (CD) Delegates, Electors and CD Officers were done according to the applicable rules.  No matter which side of the dispute you’re on, those votes are accepted without question, even if they weren’t the ones you might have preferred.  Since all seem to be in agreement here, we’ll move on to the point of divergence.

That is, of course, the adjournment of the District Convention at 5:00pm June 23.

The principle claim is that Allen Alley, Chairman of the ORP, doesn’t have the authority to set an arbitrary time for Adjournment.  The claim is it was done in response to Ron Paul supporters having won a majority of the Delegate positions and a last-ditch attempt to protect the apparent nominee, Mitt Romney.  A plethora of conspiracy theories, rumors and the like surround this claim, and some or all of them may be true.

Remember, however, that the point of this is to gain credentials at the Republican National Convention different than that presented by the ORP.  Just claiming something is invalid doesn’t automatically mean it is; you’re going to have to prove it to the Committee on Credentials.  So, the question comes down to what facts support this fundamental claim.

Most of the rules-based rationale for claiming the adjournment was illegal seems to derive from Congressional District Rules (CR) 1.1, which reads:

The only business of the Conventions shall be the selection/election of Oregon delegates to the Republican National Convention and the election of officers of the Congressional Districts and the nomination Presidential Electors. No issues or other matters shall be formally considered.

The argument goes that, since the District Convention didn’t complete the process, any effort to close the meeting before the business is accomplished is therefore invalid.  This, of course, declares that the Convention Rules aren’t silent on the issue of when the meeting adjourns and, as a result, Robert’s doesn’t apply.

Following this assertion, then, is the conclusion that elections held in the various Districts after the Adjournment were, therefore, valid and in full force.  Only these people, therefore, are legitimately “duly elected” the proper Alternates for Oregon to send to Tampa.

The next link, then, is to review the election process of the Districts after the Adjournment.

  • CD1 adjourned having completed the Delegate, Officer and Elector elections.  No further elections were held, and no reports were sent to the other Districts concerning which people had been elected in the CD Delegate election, as required by CR 7.1.1 through 7.1.4.
  • CD2 voted to extend the meeting and conducted elections.  However, it neither received results from nor released results to the other Districts.
  • CD3 failed to pass a motion to extend and stopped conducting elections.  No reports were sent to the other Districts concerning which people had been elected in the CD Delegate election.
  • CD4 was adjourned by the presiding officer and then re-convened by the 2008-2012 Vice Chair.  It should be noted that, according to CR 9.4, the newly-elected officers assumed office upon adjournment so there’s some question as to whether he could preside over the extended meeting.  Elections were held, but it neither received results from nor released results to the other Districts.
  • CD5 was adjourned and the people left the building as the venue needed to be cleared by 5:00pm.  In the parking lot, the 2008-2012 Vice Chair conducted elections, but it neither received results from nor released results to the other Districts.  The Vice Chair was also replaced during elections and, as a result, was no longer a CD officer at the time she was conducting the elections.  There is also some question as to how ballot security (required by RNC Rules and ORP Bylaws) was maintained in a parking lot and whether a quorum (per Robert’s Rules of Order, 50% + 1 of those credentialed) was still present and, therefore, whether business could be conducted.

The lack of communication between the Districts during balloting after the Adjournment is problematic.  As mentioned, the Convention Rules clearly require that those elected on an earlier ballot be removed from subsequent ballots.  But, because the link between them was broken at about 5:00pm, none of those Districts which extended their local meeting received the results of the CD Delegate elections, much less those of the At-Large Alternate elections.

Spelling out the links in this chain, it comes down to this:

  • The election of At-Large Delegates and Alternates occurred in compliance with all applicable Rules and Bylaws.  Again, everyone seems to agree on this.
  • Under CR 1.1, the Adjournment was invalid.
  • Alternate elections in three of the five Districts are the only valid ones (there doesn’t seem to be any position on who’s legitimately elected as Alternates in the other two).  There are issues with the presiding officers in two of these three and no cross-communication between the voting Districts as required by CR7.1.

At the risk of being dismissed as an “Establishment hack”, this writer has to say the chain seems weak at best, and badly broken at the point of the elections themselves.  It’s also possible this doesn’t really reflect the argument being presented by those claiming the PCP – well, at least 40-45% of them – were “disenfranchised” by Team Romney and/or ORP Chair Allen Alley.  If so, they’re welcome to respond.

Until then, though, this looks to have a poor chance of being accepted by the Republican National Convention Committee on Credentials.  Maybe these folks need to work on a stronger presentation.   And that, at the bottom line, is the point of the discussion.

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Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

19 July 2012 at 5:27 am

4 Responses

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  1. It is true that some of the people (especially at the time the adjournment was occurring) believed the meeting could not adjourn until all the business was completed. Most of the ron paul people I have talked to don’t make the argument that the CD’s CANT adjourn without completing the business but that no adjournment was actually done according to the rules.
    • CD1 everyone agrees adjourned according to proper Roberts Rules of Order (PS good job Jeff Smith in being the chair in one of the only CDs that is undisputed).
    • CD2: Just about everyone agrees that CD2 voted to extend their meeting according to Roberts Rules of Order, and voted on the at-large alts and CD alts.
    • CD3: There are several Ron Paul supporters that dispute if the motion to extend actually failed or not. As I was not there so I cannot give any testimony myself as to if this occurred, but I will link you to the video record: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=83lz9Lrn8IM#t=356s
    As you know if the participants were objecting to the meeting results as incorrect Roberts Rules of Order has methods of dealing with that. And if the motions are ignored the meeting has not yet completed until they are dealt with.
    • CD4: A motion was made to extend the time of the meeting until all the votes were counted at was made at 4:45PM the motion passed by unanimous consent (37 minutes and 40 seconds into this video: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23519310) “Motion is adopted” is what the chair said. At 5:49PM a motion to adjourn was made (3 minutes and 20 seconds into this video: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23521125), that motion failed, “Motion has failed” the chair said. CD4 did not switch chairs at all as far as I could see, the whole convention just refused to adjourn. So I have no idea where you are coming up with this stuff about switching chairs and the newly elected officers.
    • CD5: I have no video from CD5 right now, however I am told a motion was made but was ignored and the chair left the room. At that time with the chair vacant the Vice Chair assumed the role of chair acknowledged the motion to extend the time which passed and they continued from there. I do not know if they made sure that enough people didn’t leave to maintain quorum or not. If that’s the case though, and the meeting had not yet adjourned she would still be the vice chair (but regardless anyone can step up for the chair if the chair just leaves part way through a meeting without adjourning). The only question is was a motion made to extend the meeting but ignored by the chair. I was not there so I cant answer that question.

    If you consider the at-large alt delegate votes to have been taken (they did vote on it as required in the rules), but that no at-large alt delegates were elected (because they couldn’t aggregate the votes), then they did properly remove all elected at-large delegates from the 4th round of voting (there were none and they removed none). So the CD specific alt-delegates do seem to be valid votes as there was no aggregation problem for those votes. Now this applies to CD2 and CD4, there is also the question in CD3 and CD5 if the conventions actually adjourned or not.

    Devin Watkins

    19 July 2012 at 7:40 am

  2. I think that a good title for this third installment could be “asked and answered,” because Jeff, you are repeating claims that were falsified by the arguments presented in comments below the previous blogs of yours, but rather than engage them specifically, you simply repeat your conclusions like no one ever scrolled down to read the more accurate and detailed analyses of the rules that Devin and I have given you. You left a comment on your second one claiming all kinds of authority from experience about the traditions of the ORP, but with all that experience you show remarkably little knowledge of the actual rules. Rules to you seem to be urban legends that get mentioned at high level ORP meetings without anyone ever taking the time to read them themselves.

    Regarding the matter of adjournment, nobody is citing CR1.1. That argument would indeed go nowhere. So when you say: “Most of the rules-based rationale for claiming the adjournment was illegal seems to derive from Congressional District Rules (CR) 1.1” this is the classic example of a straw man argument. The comments below your previous two blogs are what you really need to be responding to. For those who missed them the first can be found here:http://5440fight.com/2012/07/16/disenfranchised-an-examination-of-the-oregon-conventions-of-june-23/ The second can be found here: http://5440fight.com/2012/07/16/disenfranchised-an-examination-of-the-oregon-conventions-of-june-23/

    This is your third blog post, yet it is the first time you mentioned one of the most important rules, quorum. Notice how differently you make your argument from the way Devin and I do. You simply declare what the quorum rule is while we quote from Roberts Rules of Order itself. If you forced yourself to back up your assertion with supporting material, you would find that the quorum you mention, 50% + 1, is explicitly set for a parliament.The quorum for a convention is different. I quoted the exact language from Roberts on my comments under your previous two posts, but rather than simply cut and paste them again, let’s pretend for sake of argument that you were right. Let’s use the higher threshold parliaments are subject to. The two largest conventions, CD2 and CD4 together could very well have met that majority for voting on at large alternates, while three of them, CD2, CD4, and CD5 together are overkill. CD2 and CD4 certainly meet it for their own district alternates. I’m not sure about CD5; we would have to count; indeed that is ultimately the problem: the failure to even count votes in the rush to appoint.

    I think Devin sums up what really happened at these conventions just fine, but what is remarkable is that you keep insisting that CD4 adjourned at five. Its like no mater how blue the sky is you keep calling it orange. Devin provided you the video link for goodness sake watch it and vet your facts. And remember, a motion from the chair calling for the orders of the day requires HIM to call the question. If he fails to do so it is invalid. (Devin provided you a google books link to this chapter: read it!)

    I noticed that there are two additional things you are attempting cite this time around to, as a rule, invalidate the votes of these conventions that extended. The first is the practice of removing names from the district alternate vote, something that was not done because regardless of whether or not every district extended, it was clear the ORP state staff needed to aggregate the vote went on strike at five which is a good indication of the intentionality of all this. Its not like it was “awe shucks, sorry it’s taking so long guys but we’ll stay if you stay.” I could see every convention voting unanimously to finish their business but Team Alley still would have run for the hills with the hopes that the failure to remove winners’ names would invalidate the vote.

    Fortunately, that is not the case. When you say: “As mentioned, the Convention Rules clearly require that those elected on an earlier ballot be removed from subsequent ballots.” It is but another example of making things up as you go along or not vetting a claim made by someone else supplying you with talking points. Here is a link to the convention rules: http://www.oregonrepublicanparty.org/sites/default/files/ORP_Congressional_District_Convention_Rules_Updated_2012.pdf Look through them for a rule saying that failure to remove names of the winners from a previous ballot invalidate the next vote. There is none. Better yet, why don’t you search the rules for any mention of any kind that names should be removed at all? OMG there is none! The entire concept itself is not even mentioned in the rules. This is an example where there is a practice that is neither mandated nor prohibited. There is nothing wrong with doing it if no one objects, but a failure to do so invalidates nothing.

    Thus here you find yourself Mr. Smith making arguments from fairness rather than the rules. Or are you? The only people penalized by the failure to remove these names are THE WINNERS, and who was winning? The liberty slate. Who stood to benefit from not removing these names? The people who were losing like Kevin Mannix and Andrew Miller. Obvious the reason this advantage is being sold as a disqualification is that Mannix and Miller where much more likely to get the privilege of going to Tampa by appointment, and they were probably destined to lose even with an advantage. That’s sort of been the story of Mannixes’ life since he switched parties hasn’t it?

    The other issue is ballot security. This is not a problem for CD2. Because some PCPs at CD4 caught Terri Moffett trying to take off with the ballots before they adjourned which was in violation of “7.3. At the time of adjournment, all ballot envelopes shall be placed in a box provided by the Oregon Republican Party, sealed and signed by both the outgoing and newly elected district chairman and delivered by the newly elected chairman to the Oregon Republican Party Chairman within seven (7) days.” It was not a problem at CD4 either. It is only a problem with CD5 because nobody caught the ORP staff violating this rule. Thus it begs a question: if it was the ORP staff that caused the violation by taking the ballots and ballot box, does this poison the fruit of these votes? Rather than rack our brains about notions of fairness, as a matter of law there is an easier weighing mechanism. Yes or No: do the rules say that not using the ballot box “provided by the Oregon Republican Party” will invalidate a vote? No. At the executive committee a week later, the new CD5 alternate vice chair presented the carefully “sealed and signed” ballots in a different container than the officially issued one that was taken from them. There are no grounds in the rules to reject them. The only grounds are political, to afford Kevin Mannix the opportunity to hang out with the Romney guy that is taking down names for future DOJ appointments. How else will Kevin retire in dignity?

    When it comes to just basic knowledge of the rules, the way one comes off as sounding like an “establishment hack” is when one makes them up as he goes along, not even bothering himself to read the actual language the way a guy like Devin does. Fortunately Devin represents the future of our party and the guy who tried to rig these conventions to appoint his friends and supporters now appears to have little future in Oregon Politics, dog catcher? maybe, governor? not a chance. Nobody expects any compliance with the rules from the RNC either, and hopefully nobody tries to sue their own party or file a complaint with the Secretary of State’s office. The remedy of this case is entirely political.

    Eric Shierman

    20 July 2012 at 5:49 am

  3. […] note: the last in the series of examinations of the Oregon Conventions, cross posted from The Whitestick Papers. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is […]

  4. […] Links in the chain Part 2, the problem regarding Convention Rule 7.1.1 through 7.1.4; that is, that those elected after the […]


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