Sunday, August 14, 2005

LNC Meeting Report pt 1: Zero Dues debate and votes

I will be serializing the August LNC Meeting Report in pieces over the next few days. The full version will appear in Liberty For All next weekend.

Part 1: Zero Dues debate and votes

BetteRose Ryan submitted a four part proposal to amend the policy manual to establish the zero dues proposal advanced by George Squyres. A summary of the four parts:

1) to set membership dues at zero effective 1/1/06;

2) to end the Unified Membership Program (UMP) effective 9/30/05 and offer UMP states a choice of either 6 months of full payments or 12 months decreasing by 1/12th each month beginning 10/1/05;

3) to develop programs and budget lines for training programs for state level activists, covering at minimum the following areas: ballot access, FEC compliance, fundraising, database usage, member recruitment, and candidate recruitment and training; and,

4) to develop a formal national-state affiliate agreement to be approved at the November meeting, which shall cover at least the following areas: ballot access, database sharing, LP News and material sales, an integrity clause, FEC compliance and adherence to common purpose.

Aaron Starr asked who would receive LP News and where that is covered in the policy manual. Ryan replied that this is not addressed in the policy manual and that LP News would be sold by subscription in a somewhat similar fashion to current practices, although much of this would be up to the LP News editor.

Jim Lark asked if everyone who signed the pledge would be considered current members, and how do we plan to count people with old contact information. Communications Director and acting Chief of Staff Shane Cory referred to the current process of correcting all the addresses in our database. However under this proposal there is no requirement to supply us with current contact information for membership.

Bill Redpath asked Cory how much lead time staff would need to implement such a major change. Cory replied it would require a minimum of one month.

Squyres stated that this proposal is culturally far reaching, not only setting the dues amount of zero but also completely rewriting the national-state party relationship.

Lee Wrights said that zero is not an amount of dues which would be compliant with the Bylaws. This comment inspired a round of applause from the California delegation.

M Carling moved to postpone indefinitely with Wrights seconding. This failed on a voice vote.

Starr argued that under Roberts’ Rules this was a motion to amend a previous action and thus required two thirds approval. Dixon ruled against Starr and Starr’s motion to appeal the ruling of the Chair was defeated.

Starr moved to divide the question into seven parts. After some debate, Chair Michael Dixon ruled the division should be in four parts according to the structure of the motion. Starr suggested the order of the vote should be in this order: abolishing UMP, setting zero dues, establishing training programs and instituting an affiliate agreement. The vote for division failed. Starr then cited a provision of Roberts’ Rules which states that a single member can require division, and Dixon agreed. A roll call was requested for each part, which went as follows:

Vote 1: eliminate UMP, passed 10-5

Yes: Treasurer Mark Nelson, Secretary Bob Sullentrup, At large Representatives Michael Colley, Rick McGinnis, Mark Rutherford and BetteRose Ryan, and Regional Representatives Dena Breudigam (Region 2 - Ohio), Ed Hoch (Region 1W - Alaska), Tony Ryan (Region 5W - South Dakota) and George Squyres (Region 6 - Arizona).

No: Vice Chair Lee Wrights, At large Representative Bill Redpath, and Regional Representatives Jim Lark (Region 5E - Virginia), Trevor Southerland (Region 4 - Tennessee) and Aaron Starr (Region 2 - California).

Not Voting: Chair Michael Dixon, Regional Representative M Carling (Region 2 - California).

Not Present: Regional Representative Dan Karlan (Region 1E - New Jersey).

Vote 2: zero dues, passed 8-7-1

Yes: Breudigam, Colley, Hoch, Nelson, B Ryan, T Ryan, Squyres and Sullentrup.

No: Carling, Lark, McGinnis, Redpath, Southerland, Starr and Wrights.

Abstaining: Rutherford. Not Voting: Dixon.

Vote 3: training programs, passed 14-0-2

Yes: Breudigam, Colley, Hoch, Lark, McGinnis, Nelson, Redpath, Rutherford, B Ryan, T Ryan, Southerland, Squyres, Sullentrup and Wrights.

No: None.

Abstaining: Carling, Starr. Not Voting: Dixon.

Vote 4: affiliate agreement, passes 11-4

Yes: Breudigam, Colley, Hoch, McGinnis, Nelson, Redpath, Rutherford, B Ryan, T Ryan, Squyres and Sullentrup.

No: Carling, Southerland, Starr and Wrights.

Not Voting: Dixon.


Anonymous phillies said...

Zero Dues approaches being a distinction without a difference. Now instead of recruiting members, we are to be recruiting donors. We are still basing the party on 'the "member" is viewed as a cash source'.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous GregD said...

Yes, I agree. That's why I am keeping an open mind on the issue -- because it is not significantly different.

I don't think the proposal was well-defined at all. Much of its success or failure depends on the implementation which was never defined.

Clearly you envision more of a paradigm shift. What would that be?

9:22 AM  
Anonymous phillies said...


I agree that the proposal needed thinking through after its first steps. It may also be true that the FEC is going to ask how we spent no money in March.

The paradigm shift I have suggested is a movement from an organization that tries to generate members who will become donors, or just plain donors, to an organization that actually does politics, and supports people who are doing politics, and thereby inspires people to become active, and also give money. I rate the activism higher though not infinitely higher than the money, because replacing good supported volunteers can get expensive.

For details see my book Stand Up for Liberty! and in electronic form at under publications. (Also available in Spanish at the CMLC site.)

I agree that the proposal was not well-defined. It may work financially because it will save the LNC about $15 per member for UMP (though only in UMP states) and about $8 per member for LP News ($4 per member for direct costs, and a slightly lesser amount for per capita share of fixed costs, assuming that a nonparty LP News can raise enough ad money to be selfsustaining. It also may not work financially.

4:03 PM  

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