Steve G.

Voices from Comments: Tom Knapp explains how things work at LPHQ

In Libertarian on July 5, 2008 at 2:26 pm

The following comment was posted in the thread “Gary Fincher sends letter to Judicial Committee re Sean Haugh”:

LPHQ staff answers to the executive director. The executive director answers to the chair. The chair answers to the LNC. The LNC answers to itself except for every two years (elections) or when it does something that is appealed by x% of the membership.

If in Mr. Fincher’s opinion the political director, executive director and chair have all failed to respond appropriately to his concerns, then the next avenue would be to lobby the LNC for satisfactory action. The only way it gets to the Judicial Committee is if the LNC actually does something, and if Mr. Fincher can enroll x% of the membership to appeal whatever the LNC did (if it’s something he wants to appeal).

For example, Mr. Fincher could lobby the LNC to direct the chair to dismiss Mr. Haugh for some stated cause. I suspect he might be able to find a sponsor for such a motion, but it might be difficult for that LNC member to even get the motion to the floor (does it have to be on the agenda? What if the chair rules it out of order? etc.), and it’s unlikely to pass (the LNC traditionally gives the chair a great deal of latitude as CEO, and the chair traditionally gives the executive director similar latitude as COO).

Regards,
Tom Knapp

  1. Libertarians play hardball bylaw. 3/4 vote to suspend a nomination sets that bar pretty high too.

  2. “and the chair traditionally gives the executive director similar latitude as COO).”

    However, in this case, there is evidence that the Executive Director may be a co-conspirator.

  3. If the LNC does nothing, can its failure to act be appealed as well?

  4. Gary,

    I’m not sure what the “however” you’re implying here is. Whether or not the (current, acting) executive director is a “co-conspirator” [1] has no bearing on the factual claim that the chair traditionally gives the executive director a high degree of autonomy as COO.

    Paulie,

    I doubt that a “failure to act” is appealable per se. The bylaws specify that it is actions which are appealed, not inactions.

    If we want to start getting into novel legalities, however, there might be a way. The thing to do would be to cut the “chain of command” logic (political director answers to executive director, executive director answers to chair, chair answers to LNC) and assert that, as an operational arm of the LNC, LPHQ and its employees are answerable for their actions in the same manner as the LNC proper — e.g. that when the political director acts, it is in fact the LNC which is acting and therefore the actions are appealable to the Judicial Committee.

    Would the Judicial Committee accept a petition from x% of the members appealing Mr. Haugh’s actions? I don’t know.

    Would the chair/LNC attempt to quash such a petition on the grounds that an action of an LPHQ staffer is not, in fact, an action of the LNC? I don’t know.

    But it might be interesting to try. Of course, the most the Judicial Committee could do would be to determine that Mr. Haugh’s actions violated the bylaws or Statement of Principles. They can’t put him in stocks and let people throw melons at him or anything. As far as I can’t tell, they couldn’t fire him or discipline him in any way. All they could really do is hand down an opinion as to whether or not Mr. Haugh’s actions violated the bylaws. Seems like an awful lot of iffy work for the prospective result.,

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

    1. “Co-conspirator” implies a crime and criminals. So far as I can tell, no crime has been committed, nor were the alleged criminals in any position to commit the crime allegedly contemplated. I’ve heard of no petitions being destroyed, nor of anyone with actual opportunity to commit such a crime making any overt act to attempt it.

  5. So far as I can tell, no crime has been committed, nor were the alleged criminals in any position to commit the crime allegedly contemplated.

    See discussion in the comments on the previous thread(s):

    Incitement to commit a crime is a crime.

  6. Paulie,

    Someone not even in the state, and with no authority to compel or likelihood of persuading, someone to burn a petition is no more “inciting” a crime by saying “burn those petitions” than I would be yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre if I whispered it in my home.

    The reality of what allegedly happened is of sufficient gravity that the chair and/or LNC should act on it. Making it into a crime when it isn’t plausibly even close to being one is exactly the kind of mistake that gives them an opening to NOT act on it. It lets them make Gary into a bad or crazy guy, and then treat the whole thing as an “us/them” adversarial situation instead of as an internal call for staff self-discipline.

  7. Fair enough, but I could certainly see another state party acting on Sean’s directive.

    It’s true that George and Carol would have never done that. But someone else may well have.

  8. The reality of what allegedly happened

    Which part of what happened is being disputed?

  9. IMHO a senior official in LPHQ calling in his official capacity, and giving instructions to a state party officer might well be considered to be having authority, especially since that officer was calling from the party that LPMA is affiliated with, on a matter that is at least partially being funded by the LNC/LPHQ…

    It is NOT as if Haugh was some random stranger – there was a definite relationship between him and Carol, which he apparently felt gave him enough seniority to tell her what to do…

    ART

  10. Or, since the national political director over state party affairs, the state party can tell the national political director to pound sand.

  11. Which they did. Another state party may have been more deferential to someone apparently in authority.

  12. Paulie,

    You write:

    “Which part of what happened is being disputed?”

    So far as I know, none of it is being disputed. All of it, however, is (believably) alleged rather than actually proven. Since words and phrases like “crime” and “co-conspirator” and “Attorney General” have been included in the conversation, it’s worth noting the difference.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  13. It appears that my last post here somehow got goofed up. Probably my fault. It should have read, “Or, since the national political director HAS NO AUTHORITY over state party affairs, the state party can tell the national political director to pound sand.”

  14. […] Voices from Comments: Tom Knapp explains […]

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