RBC Violations of DNC Charter "Sunshine" Provisions
The “Magic Number” is still 2025, or 2209. But its not 2118.
That’s because, in violation of the DNC charter, a secret meeting was held, and secret votes were taken -- violations of specific Charter “sunshine rules” provisions. A deal was struck among Obama supporters on the committee to completely ignore what is known as the “fair reflection” rule (see note below), and to treat the constituency groups that had provided Hillary Clinton with considerable margins in two states (Hispanic/Latino voters, older voters, women, Jewish voters in Florida, older voters, working class voters, rural voters, and women in Michigan) as “half voters”.
(Cross-posted from The Confluence )
These violations occurred with the direct knowledge and involvement of Party Secretary Alice Germond, and Co-chairs James Roosevelt and Alexis Herman. Because of their knowing and willful violation of Party rules, they should be stripped of all authority in the Party organization, and removed from the DNC entirely. And if Howard Dean or any other party official was cognizant of the violation of the Rules, they too should lose their jobs.
The Democratic Party Charter (Article 9, section 12) states “All meetings of…official party committees…shall be open to the public and votes shall not be taken by secret ballot.” Yet a two hour closed meeting in which business before the committee was discussed was held, and secret votes were taken during that meeting.
Here is the sequence of events:
1) When the morning session was begun, an agenda for the afternoon session was announced. That agenda was not followed, but no vote was taken in public to change the agenda – that vote had to have been taken in secret, in violation of the rules.
2) Throughout the morning session, members were admonished to use their time to focus on questions to those who made presentations because there would be time for discussion of the issues raised during the afternoon session. (At one point, after letting Donna Brazile make an extended statement that had no question, the chairs cut off Harold Ickes when he began to respond with his own statement, because it was not a question.)
3) When the meeting was reconvened, co-chair James Roosevelt announced that “Members over lunch have reviewed the testimony and oral arguments that were made/given this morning and are ready to proceed to motions….” No public vote was taken to proceed to motions, which means that a vote had to have been taken in secret for Roosevelt to make that announcement
4) One member of the committee noted in regard to Michigan that “this resolution was not my first choice.” This is significant, because the challenge brought before the committee by the State of Michigan was for full voter representation, yet there was no discussion whatsoever of that aspect of the actual challenge brought forth by Michigan. A vote of some kind had to have been taken to not consider the “first choice” resolution, which was consistent with the challenge brought before the committee.
5) Co-Chair Alexis Herman announced that three resolutions would be offered, and debate limited to 10 minutes on each resolution. No vote was taken in public to limit the number of resolutions to be offered, or to limit debate. A secret vote had to have been taken to allow that to happen.
6) At the end of the morning session, a one hour lunch period was announced, the time for the meeting to reconvene was announced, and the public, which has a right to be present for all meetings, was instructed to be back in their seats in an hour.
7) The public showed up on time. Neither Party Secretary Germond, nor Co-Chairs Roosevelt or Herman, showed up to reconvene at the appointed time. It was their responsibility as party officials to reconvene the meeting as announced. Their failure to show up is indisputable evidence that they were active participants in the violation of the DNC Charter provisions.
8) According to various news reports, and a personal conversation I had with Germond, business before the committee was discussed in the two hour period after lunch, and before the meeting reconvened. (Note that there is nothing wrong with discussions held during the one hour lunch period – it is the two hour period after the announced one hour lunch that violated the Charter.)
9) When the meeting was finally reconvened, the agenda was ignored, and resolutions and debate were restricted by executive fiat in violation of Roberts Rules of Order, which is the guide for how meetings are supposed to proceed.
10) Herman stated that she was “really ready to go home” even before any discussion of the first motion was permitted.
11) Herman announced the people who would be permitted to speak to the first motion, and announced it will be time for a vote.
12) When asked why there was no extended discussion in the afternoon, Germond told me that the extended morning session had resolved the members’ questions. Yet, Germond also acknowledges that business before the committee was discussed during the two hour period between the end of lunch, and the reconvening of the meeting. Germond is clearly prevaricating, because both statements cannot be true.
13) At the meeting two members of the committee made it clear that a vote had been taken, and the results predetermined before the afternoon session had convened. One member knew that her resolution “has no chance of passing this body”. Another stated “there is no deal.” Neither statement could have been made absent some kind of vote in private.
14) After the meeting, one member (Katz) of the RBC stated that Obama “had the votes” to impose his 50-50 split in Michigan. Clearly, some kind of secret vote had been taken at the secret meeting.
What all this adds up to is that the resolutions passed at the afternoon session can have no effect because the decisions themselves were made in secret in a corrupt manner that Obama’s supporters could not have done in public. The corruption of Alice Germond, James Roosevelt, and Alexis Herman, all of whom had a responsibility to stop the private “illegal” meeting and reconvene in public as scheduled, disqualifies them from any further participation in Democratic Party affairs.
Barack Obama and his supporters on the committee engineered a deal in secret to treat constituency groups that have consistently supported Democrats – and who have consistently supported Hillary Clinton during this primary season. Key constituencies that have consistently voted for Democrats were treated as “half citizens” in Florida and Michigan.
And there can be no question that it was the intent of Barack Obama to provide different treatment to different voters. In Michigan, Obama had his representative demand that the delegates in Michigan be provided with full voting power, (while completely ignoring their votes, and demanding a 50-50 split) while demanding that Floridians – a state with large number of Jewish voters, Latino/Hispanic voters, and older voters –were to be given only half-representation. Obama’s position was so internally inconsistent that it can only be seen as an effort to disenfranchise those constituencies that have consistently supported HillaryClinton, and provided her with a considerable margin in Florida among both delegates and the popular vote.
And “the rules” is no excuse. If “the rules” compel you to treat some Americans as being unequal to all other Americans, then there is something wrong with the rules. Anyone with an ounce of human dignity would recognize this, and take the easy an appropriate step of resigning from the RBC rather than enforce a provision of the rules that is an insult to human dignity.
Indeed, resignation wasn’t necessary – any member of that committee that truly believed in equality had another option –just have a sufficient number of these principled members leave the meeting before the vote to maintain a quorum, but assure that those members who were willing to treat Jewish, Latino, and women voters as deserving of full human rights would prevail. At that point, a quorum call could have been made, a new “majority” established based on the quorum, and the voting rights of Florida citizens could have been restored.
The impact of the contempt displayed by Barack Obama toward not merely Hillary Clinton voters in general, but the women, Jewish voters, Hispanic/Latino voters, and older voters who have consistently provided far greater support to Clinton, cannot be underestimated. These voters are key to victory in November, and by insisting that these voters be treated as second class citizens, Barack Obama and the Rules and Bylaws Committee have signaled to those voters that the Democratic Party is more concerned with power politics than with representing their interests.
A NOTE ABOUT “FAIR REFLECTION”
It should be noted that the concept of “fair reflection” is related to the actions of the voter – it is not, and cannot be interpreted as, “what the voter wished he could have done under other circumstances”. Rather, it is a requirement that delegates be apportioned by states based on the votes as they were cast.
Rule 13 A of the “Delegate Selection Rules” is entitled “FAIR REFLECTION OF PRSIDENTIAL PREFERENCES” and it states:
“Delegates shall be allocated in a fashion that fairly reflects the expressed presidential preference or uncommitted status of the primary voters or, if there is no binding primary, the convention and/or caucus participants.” [emphasis added]
The rest of rule 13 provides detailed information as to how to allocate delegates based on the results of the primary election. In no way can it be interpreted as being about “who people would have voted for if other peoples names were on the ballot”. The RBC had two choices – either accept the Michigan primary as a “fair reflection of the expressed presidential preferences” of the voters in Michigan, or deny Michigan any delegates whatsoever.
Obama’s supporters talked a lot about how important “the rules” were when disenfranchising Jewish, Latino/Hispanic, seniors, and women voters, but felt free to completely ignore the rules when it came to Michigan by literally stealing delegates that Michigan votes has awarded to Hillary Clinton, and giving them to Barack Obama. There is no greater evidence that it was not “the rules” that governed the RBC; instead, it was simply a power play designed to ensure that Barack Obama could declare victory on June 2.
This could not have been accomplished in public – the gross hypocrisy of the Donna Brazile and the rest of Obama’s corrupt supporters could not have withstood the “sunlight” that the “open meetings” provisions demand. This kind of corruption can only occur behind closed doors.
Finally,a personal note: it would be intellectually dishonest to pretend that the corruption is merely among Obama’s supporters – Harold Ickes and other Clinton supporters had an obligation to not merely go on the record in opposition to this corruption, but to be impassioned advocates for open and honest governance of the Democratic Party. Obama and his supporters are corrupt, but Harold Ickes and the Clinton supporters acted as enablers of this corruption, and cannot be held blameless for what happened. It may have been the “politically expedient” thing to do at the time, but “collegiality” and “unity” should never trump principles. Thus, personally, if Barack Obama is the nominee, I will leave the Democratic Party with no regrets.