October 13-14, 2001
Present: Jim Lark (VA), Chair
Ken Bisson (IN), Vice-Chair
Deryl Martin (TN) - Treasurer
Steve Givot (CO), Secretary
Lorenzo Gaztanaga (MD), At Large Representative (joined meeting during Setting of Agenda)
Elias Israel (MA), At Large Representative
Lois Kaneshiki (PA), At Large Representative
Ed Hoch (AK), Region 1 Representative
Mark Nelson (IA), Region 1 Representative
Joe Dehn (CA), Region 2 Representative
Tim Hagan (NV), Region 2 Alternate
Michael "MG" Gilson de Lemos (FL), Region 4 (joined the meeting during the Treasurer's Report, was not present on October 14)
Ben Scherrey (GA), Region 4 Alternate
Dan Karlan (NJ), Region 6 Representative
Mike Dixon (IL), Region 7 Representative
Absent: Don Gorman (NH), At Large Representative
Jim Turney (VA), At Large Representative
Jim Dexter (UT), Region 1 Alternate
Tom Knapp (MO), Region 1 Alternate
Scott Lieberman (CA), Region 2 Representative
Dan Wisnosky (NV), Region 2 Alternate
Mark Rutherford (IN), Region 3 Representative
Greg Holmes (MI), Region 3 Alternate Representative
Richard Schwarz (PA), Region 5 Representative
Carl Milsted, Jr. (VA) - Region 5 Alternate
Mark Cenci (ME) - Region 6 Alternate
Mary Ruwart (TX) - Region 7 Alternate
Staff: Steve Dasbach, National Director
Ron Crickenberger, Political Director
Bill Winter, Communications Director
Nick Dunbar, Operations Director
Lark called the meeting to order at approximately 10:12 AM EDT.
Givot reported that there are no vacancies on the Committee. He said that At-Large Representatives Gorman and Turney are not present. He said that there is no representation at the meeting from Region 3 or Region 5.
Item: Check of Paperwork
Dasbach reviewed the paperwork in each member's notebook.
Item: Setting of Agenda
Givot proposed adding consideration of a change to the LNC Policy Manual regarding disclosure procedures for potential conflict of interest.
Givot proposed adding consideration of a request by ALF to rent the party's mailing list.
Dixon proposed adding discussion of whether the party should participate in the FEC lawsuit.
The Committee approved adding these items to the agenda.
Lark said that since the last LNC meeting, the world has changed much for the worse. He said that these changes have made it difficult for the party to present its agenda. He said that these are dangerous times. He said that - while our job is made more difficult - there are still opportunities.
Lark thanked LPMS outgoing chair Dwight Baker and welcomed incoming LPMS chair Wayne Parker.
Lark thanked LPCT outgoing chair James Madison and welcomed incoming LPCT chair Lenny Rash.
Lark thanked LPMA for its hospitality on his recent visit.
Lark thanked colleagues in Jacksonville for their hospitality on his recent visit.
Lark thanked the national office staff for their good work done in recent weeks. He extended particular thanks to Dasbach, Winter, Getz, and Trager for assisting him in preparing the statement he released after the September 11th attacks.
Lark thanked the members of the Committee for their ongoing efforts.
Gaztanaga said that shortly after September 11th he concluded that these attacks have created an opportunity for the party to convince people that the United States must put behind it entangling alliances overseas.
Karlan said that - now, more than ever - our message is important.
Martin said that he wants to commend staff on "walking a fine line" with regard to the various news releases that have been issued since the terrorist attacks.
Israel thanked Lark for coming to MA so soon after the attacks.
Item: Treasurer's Report
Martin updated the Committee on the party's current financial position.
Martin said that the current policy is that $150,000 would be accumulated in the form of interest-bearing deposits. He said that $25,000 was to be accumulated in each of the first six months of the current year.
Martin said that shortly after being appointed Treasurer, it became necessary to suspend that process due to insufficient revenues. He said that as a result of poor revenue in June, one $25,000 certificate of deposit was cashed to pay bills. He said that certificate of deposit was replaced with the purchase of another $25,000 in August.
Martin said that it became necessary to cash two $25,000 certificates of deposit in September due to low levels of revenue.
Martin said that he sees the current financial difficulties as a temporary, interim problem. He said that Dasbach and he have developed a plan under which revenues of $171,000 during October will restore the party to a position where all bills are current - that is, less than 30 days. He said that this includes paying the postage for the 250,000 piece mailing to be sent in October.
Martin said that the this is a different world. He said the mailing going out is being sent to proven lists. He said that the events of September 11th may have an impact on the success of the mailing. He reviewed revenue flows year to date.
Martin said that staff has been contacting major donors as well. He said that - thus far - $20,000 has been pledged which should arrive soon and another $10,000 should arrive later.
Martin said that he concludes that the very recent problems the party has been experiencing are temporary in nature.
Martin said that party revenues are highly correlated to the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index.
Martin said that - in his opinion - the downturn in revenue that began in Spring 2001 is probably also temporary in nature.
Martin said that to avoid getting overzealous in spending, funds that come in as deposits for the 2002 national convention will not be used to finance other spending in the months prior to the convention.
Martin introduced his proposal for omnibus treasury procedures. He said that there have been some changes made since the initial draft was circulated several weeks ago. He said that the changes relate to excluding funds on deposit for special events such as the national convention from available cash.
Martin said that passing the previous motion relating to establishing a Reserve Fund does not constitute establishing a policy. He said that this is the case because the previously passed motion was not complete. He said that it did not provide a means to draw upon the reserves when needed or how to repay any such drawings.
Martin said that his proposal calls for calculating the amount of reserve every month. He said that the proposal calls for having the calculated reserve - computed at the end of each month - average 2.5% of the annual budget over the course of the year. He said that 90% of this amount should be kept in interest bearing deposits.
Dasbach asked whether the 2.5% is applied to the annual revenue budget including or excluding budgeted convention revenue.
Givot suggested that with convention revenue running about $350,000, including convention revenue in the calculation would increase the reserve by about $8,000. He said that - given the history of losing money on national conventions - it would be prudent to calculate the expected average reserve based on all revenues. He said that this would provide an extra cushion in the reserve during years where there are national conventions.
Martin said the prior reserve policy was not scaled to operations and was rigid. He said that this policy is scaled and provides flexibility.
Martin spoke of several possible uses of a reserve. He said that these include: (1) to cover a short term downturn in revenues, (2) to cover an intermediate term downturn in revenues, (3) to provide cash to exploit an unforeseen opportunity that arises, and (4) to save for a major future investments such as purchasing a headquarters facility.
Kaneshiki asked whether the reserve would be reflected in the monthly balance sheet.
Martin said that it would be.
Knapp asked what bounds would be placed on use of the reserve funds.
Martin said that the funds would have to be used for party purposes.
Givot asked about the period during which the average reserve amount will be calculated. He asked what safeguards there are to avoid spending the reserve earlier in the year in a way that it will be difficult to reach the average by year end.
Martin said that the 2% year end requirement should address this.
Dehn said that there a problems with the proposed average measurement of 2.5% methodology.
Dixon suggested a moving average measurement be used.
Martin said that he does not support use of a moving average measurement because it hamstrings the staff.
MG said that ideally there should be different reserves for different purposes. He said that once we demonstrate that we are serious about these different reserves, we can raise money to fund the various reserves. He said that LPFL has such reserves. He said that as new members join the LPFL Executive Committee, they need to be educated by these reserves.
Dehn said that we keep revising the reserve plan when the current plan fails to achieve the desired results. He said that he would prefer to see a continuous measurement so that we don't keep changing measurements.
Israel moved adopted of the proposals made by the Treasurer.
Scherrey asked if the four parts of the proposal would be considered together or separately.
Israel said that was the intention of his motion to consider them together. He said that he prefers to defer to experts. He said that Martin is an expert.
Givot asked Martin to explain how the transition would take place from a situation where there is little reserve to start to a situation where the 2.5% requirement can be met.
Martin said that the measurements would not be made until the second half of 2002. He said that this will allow until June, 2002 to build up a starting reserve of about 2.5%.
Lark asked whether this will be incorporated into the LNC Policy Manual and thereby require the LNC elected at the 2002 convention to adhere to this policy or to formally change it.
Martin said that he does not want this incorporated into the LNC Policy Manual at this time. He said that if this needs to be changed, it should be easy to do so.
Dasbach said that the numbers can be measured immediately even though the formal use of those measurements may not come into play until July, 2002.
Scherrey asked Martin whether the current policy was too aggressive. He asked what policy would be in place until July, 2002. He asked Martin to compare the 2% proposal to the current policy.
Martin said that the 2% applied to projected 2001 revenues would be $60,000. He said that the current policy calls for $150,000, but that the $150,000 was not a true reserve.
Martin said that he is proposing that the current policy be kept in place until the new policy goes fully into effect in July, 2002.
MG said that it might be advisable to tighten up spending in the short term in order to get the reserve funded soon and minimize the transition period.
Dehn moved to amend the proposal to change the first sentence of the reserve policy proposal to read:
Effective July 1, 2002, the average of the last six monthly reserve levels, expressed as a percentage of annual budgeted revenue for that year, shall be at least 2.5.
Dehn said that this will make the proposal effective in 9 months instead of 15 months without forcing the party into a new crisis in the next few months. He said that the current situation requires time to achieve a recovery. He said that his intention is that the measurements will enter into the calculation in January 2002. He said that this gives the party another three months to complete a financial recovery. He said that where the party was a few months ago was not where the party planned to be in terms of having a $150,000 Reserve Fund in place by mid-year 2001.
Givot said he agrees with Dehn that the party is not where it planned to be. He said that he believes that this has nothing to do with the Reserve Fund. He said that it is a direct consequence of revenues being below expectation.
Givot said that the current reserve policy has done what it was intended to do. He said that the proof of that is that the Reserve Fund has provided for the actual shortfall in revenue during the current year, which is exactly what it was intended to do.
Givot said that he believes that Martin's proposal is an improvement over the current reserve policy. He said that Dasbach's suggestion that various alternative measurements should be provided on a monthly basis to give the Committee the best possible understanding of how each of these measurement helps to monitor the party's financial position.
Martin said that he does not see Dehn's proposal as different from his proposal.
The amendment failed on a vote of four to eight with two abstentions. Dehn, Hagan, Kaneshiki, and MG voted for the amendment. Bisson, Dixon, Givot, Hoch, Israel, Karlan, and Martin, Nelson voted against the amendment. Gaztanaga and Lark abstained.
The main motion passed on voice vote.
The Committee recessed at 12:03 PM EDT.
The Committee reconvened at 1:44 PM EDT.
Item: National Director's Report
Dasbach said that the financial position of the party has already been discussed. He said that - like Martin - he assesses the current situation as temporary. He said that it is not as serious as problems which have been encountered in the past.
Dasbach presented a draft article for LP News which includes statistics from a recent poll on how those on the party's email announcement list feel about the recent attacks on New York and Washington.
MG raised concerns as to whether the organization is conveying the message of the LP Platform regarding such matters.
Dasbach said that the LP Platform does not take a position on what to do if the United States is attacked.
Dehn agreed that the LP Platform does not address some of these matters. He said that he is concerned about running the article without clarifying what the LP Platform says about related issues. He said that there is an overall statist approach that is begin taken by the government in response to the attacks. He said that the party should stress its general opposition to government solutions.
Winter said that - although he does not have the exact text available - the Platform plank on defense can be paraphrased as saying that any military policy can have as its goal defending Americans in the United States against the risk of attack by a foreign power.
Hoch said that the party tends to believe that we can take better care of ourselves than the government. He said that we now have good evidence that the government cannot take care of us. He said that we should use this example publicly.
Crickenberger said that LPCA has recruited 51 candidates for 53 congressional seats in CA. He said that - overall - more than 130 candidates have been recruited for all levels of office. He said that the national party will probably not have any money to aid these candidates.
Kaneshiki asked whether the fundraising letter that was sent regarding the strategic plan provided people with information as to where to go to obtain a copy of the entire strategic plan document.
Dasbach said that it this was not included because the plan document was still being refined at the time the letter was sent.
Kaneshiki asked about information on how many members come up for renewal during each month.
Dasbach said that this would provide some additional information, but that it is not of great benefit.
Dixon said that Liberty Magazine has reported that one of the party's largest affiliate parties is on the verge of disaffiliating. He asked if anyone had knowledge of an affiliate which is discussing this.
Kaneshiki said that there has been some discussion of this within LPPA, but that it is not a serious discussion.
Lark asked Dasbach about concerns raised by LPMI regarding ballot access.
Crickenberger said that the national party has made efforts to address these concerns. He said that when the subject of assisting LPMI with their ballot drive was discussed, there was mention that the national party might provide $10,000 to $15,000 in support for the LPMI ballot drive. He said that this mention appears to have been considered by some to be a commitment by the national party to LPMI. He said that, upon reflection, LPMI probably should not need such assistance. He said that with the recent budgetary problems, he communicated that the $5,000 already given to LPMI by the national party would probably be all that could be provided at least until the LPMI ballot drive was over. He said that another $5,000 was sent to LPMI this week to make sure that LPMI does not believe that the national party had reneged on a commitment.
Dehn said that activists in MA had recently put out a fundraising letter which claimed that national party contributions collapsed by as much as 70% during the Gulf War. He asked Dasbach for clarification.
Dasbach said that there was a poor response to the fundraising letter sent by the national party immediately prior to the Gulf War. He said that revenues were down about 50% on that particular letter but that revenues were back up to expected levels by the time the next national fundraising letter was sent.
Dehn asked Dasbach the statement that there was a significant decrease in national fundraising results which lasted for six months during the Gulf War is "at all accurate."
Dasbach said that the statement is not accurate.
Dehn asked Dasbach if the national office had provided such information to Michael Cloud.
Dasbach said that the national office had not provided numbers to Cloud.
Dunbar said that Cloud and he had recently discussed the situation during the Gulf War. He said that he did not discuss any specific numbers with Cloud.
Crickenberger said that when the national party told LPMI - some time ago - that the national party could not provide any additional funding for their ballot drive in the near term, he felt that it would not jeopardize the ballot drive in MI.
Dehn said that if someone at the national office gave Cloud reason to make the claims that he made, then some clarification of the facts should be provided to Cloud. He said that if the national office did not provide such reason to Cloud, then other action should be considered.
Nelson asked for a brief explanation of the mailing list rental policy. He said that LPWI has attempted to rent the national party's mailing list. He said that they were told that they have to wait in line.
Dunbar said that the list is rented to organizations that relate to the mission of the LP. He said that there are categories of list renters which includes those selling things and those raising money. He said that if two gubernatorial campaigns want to rent the list, for example, he tries to spread those out over time. He said that he prefers to keep them 10 days apart, but in busy times they can be as close as 7 days. He said that the Thompson gubernatorial campaign wanted to rent the list at a time when the party was already sending a letter, the Howell campaign wanted to rent the list, Michael Cloud wanted to rent the list, and a request was in from Harry Browne's organization which also wanted to rent the list. He said that he handles these on a first come-first served basis with house mailings from the national party given priority to keep on the national party's schedule.
Item: Proposed Change to LNC Policy Manual
Givot moved that the following changes to the LNC Policy Manual be made:
Proposed new section III 2 F:
The Secretary shall enter into the minutes of an LNC meeting the exact text of any disclosure statement read at that meeting by an LNC member, officer, or employee making a disclosure pursuant to LNC Policy I 3.
Proposed text to add as a new Section I 3 B with relabeling of subsequent sections appropriately:
It shall be the affirmative obligation of any person making such a disclosure to provide the Secretary with a written copy of the disclosure statement. It shall be the further affirmative obligation of any person making such a disclosure to request that the Chair place reading of the disclosure statement on the agenda of the next LNC meeting and read the disclosure statement into the minutes of that meeting. Nothing in this section shall modify the requirements of Section I 3 A to provide such a disclosure at the earliest possible moment.
Givot said that Kaneshiki had asked some questions regarding who keeps track of disclosures of potential conflicts of interest. He said that there was no policy calling for such record keeping. He said that he drafted the proposed change to the LNC Policy Manual to provide a policy for recording such disclosures.
Karlan proposed changing the word "moment" to "opportunity."
Givot and MG accepted the change as friendly.
Israel asked whether it was Givot's intention that such disclosures be available online other than in the minutes.
Givot said that it was his intention that they be available in the minutes.
Kaneshiki moved to add the following language to the proposed new section III 2 F:
A separate list of all disclosures made from this date forward will be maintained by the Secretary. This list will be public information as are LNC meeting minutes. The list will be maintained in chronological order by date submitted.
Kaneshiki said that the purpose of her amendment is to have such a list available, for example, for new LNC members.
Dasbach cautioned the Committee not to specify how to do things, as opposed to what needs to be done.
Dasbach said that he understands that when each new LNC is formed, there is a obligation to re-disclose any conflict to the new LNC.
Givot moved to substitute the following language for Kaneshiki's amendment:
The National Director shall maintain a file of all applicable disclosures.
The substitute language passed on a voice vote.
The amendment passed on a voice vote.
The main motion passed on a voice vote.
Dasbach asked the Committee if there are any current disclosures that he should currently have in the file.
Givot asked Lark to ask all LNC members to provide him with such disclosures statements to initiate this procedure.
Lark said that he would do so.
Bisson raised the question of whether LNC members need to disclose their personal contributions to candidates for office.
Givot suggested these matters should be referred to the upcoming review of governance issues called for in the strategic plan.
The Committee recessed at 3:08 PM EDT.
The Committee reconvened at 3:27 PM EDT.
Item: Discussion of Strategic Plan
Givot moved to suspend the rules to enter into a discussion of the proposed strategic plan during which no motions relating to the strategic plan will be made and during which all LNC members, alternates, and staff may participate.
Givot said that the purpose of the motion was to operate in a discussion mode, to attempt to build consensus, and then to return to parliamentary mode on a motion to suspend the rules.
The motion passed on a voice vote.
Bisson said that eventually the budget will be prepared before the next LNC meeting. He said that in prioritizing what portions of the strategic plan should be implemented, that he hopes that the Committee will remain at a high level of detail.
Lark said that he would like to begin by hearing feedback from members and affiliate parties. He said that he would like the Committee to determine whether the feedback gives rise to suggest changes to the strategic plan. He said that he would like some discussion of whether or not to prioritize the goals. He said that he would like some discussion of what resources are required to implement various strategies. He said that he would like some discussion of those strategies which are specifically assigned to the LNC. He said that he would like some discussion of possible prioritization of strategies.
Dasbach presented the responses of a survey of the party's announcement list regarding the proposed strategic plan. He said that the results were broken down between donors and non-donors to the fundraising letter than accompanied the survey. He said that - for the most part - the responses from the two groups are similar.
The Committee discussed the responses and how they could be put to constructive use in the future.
Lark asked for those who have met with affiliate parties to report on how the plan is being received by those groups.
Hoch said that as his meetings progressed, more and more people tended to attend. He said that the feedback he received was that the plan is too big for affiliate parties to implement alone and that national should help with these things. He said that LPOR has a three panel brochure that is very good. He said that LPWA has developed a CD for outreach. He said that he heard a suggestion that proposed developing a television commercial for use in school board elections.
Israel said that Karlan and he had visited with LPME and LPCT and that trips are scheduled to visit LPMA, LPNJ, and LPNH. He said that LPME people were very enthusiastic.
Dixon said that he has given the presentation twice - to LPNM and LPTX. He said that both affiliates were friendly. He said that the size of the plan was of concern. He said that there were questions about specific terminology. He said that there was strong enthusiasm for the branding strategy. He said that the chairs in those states encouraged the LNC to follow through and pursue the plan. Nelson said that he presented the plan to the LPMN Executive Committee. He said that their response was that the plan has too many aspects and lacks focus. He said that he presented the plan to the LPMO Executive Committee. He said that he feels the presentation had no impact on anyone there.
Knapp said that LPMO does not see how to get from where we are to where the strategic plan takes them. He said that LPMO is not sure what is intended by Goal 6 and Strategies 3 and 14.
Nelson said that he has plans to visit LPWI at the end of this month. He said that he hopes to meeting with LPNE in November. He said that other states in his region have been slow to respond.
Scherrey said that he has not given a formal presentation of the plan to LPGA. He said that he has given presentations to two local groups. He said that student/campus outreach is of great interest within those groups. He said that making the war on drugs a signature issue was also very popular. The said that developing the LP brand was also very popular.
Lark said that his meeting with LPWV was cancelled. He said that the people in WV feel that if the national party can do anything productive with this plan, it will be good for LPWV. He said that there is interest in developing the LP brand. He said that there is support for focusing on the war on drugs as an issue.
Dehn said that he made a presentation to the LPCA Executive Committee. He said that he didn't have a chance to make a full presentation. He said that they seemed "detached." He said that they seemed excited about developing the LP brand. He said that the one negative reaction he got was there was nothing new in the strategic plan. He said that this resulted in some disappointment.
Martin said that he is meeting with LPAL and LPTN in the coming weeks.
Gaztanaga said that he presented the strategic plan to the LPMD Central Committee. He said that he covered the plan in about 15 minutes. He said that he does not recall being asked any questions. He said that some people from DE, DC, and VA were also in attendance. He said that he believes that LPMD will use what has been developed by the strategic plan. He said that he hopes to present the strategic plan to DE and DC soon.
Karlan said that he hopes to invite LPRI to attend either the LPMA or LPCT meetings. He said that LPVT wants to wait until its new officers are elected. He said that the chair of LPNY feels that his party is largely intellectual in nature and not likely to move forward with the strategic plan.
MG said that buy-in is essential. He said that at some point it is important to get the affiliates to buy in to the strategic plan and make it their own. He said that some of the comments brought back to the Committee - that the plan is too large or that the plan does not contain much new - are typical and to be expected in this situation. He said that LPFL needs to do work to tie this into their own strategic plan.
Nelson said that he is disappointed about how many people think on a tactical level.
Karlan said that part of the concrete nature of many Libertarians reflects an "engineering background" in which we make something work having been given a goal.
Lark said that sometimes people start to think about how they will implement something, which drives them to specific, tactical solutions rather than to focus on the higher level goals and strategies.
Givot said that he is not surprised that most people are thinking on a tactical level. He said that this was the same level of thinking that was typical during the SPT brainstorming session in Indianapolis. He said that he does not thin it is an "engineering background" that is causing this. He said that when presenting a relatively high-level plan to people who are truly doer, that it is typical that they would translate the plan into what they can do to implement the plan.
Givot said that MG's point that people have to make this plan their own is one he agrees with. He said that by presenting the strategic plan as a toolbox for affiliate parties. He said that this invites the doers within the party to pick and choose things that they want to do. This is an important part of buy-in.
Givot said that he is encouraged by two things he is hearing. First, he is encouraged by reports that the strategic plan is not being rejected - that people are finding interesting and exciting parts of the strategic plan. Second, he is glad to hear that people want to talk about the strategic plan. He said that both of these lead him to conclude that the LNC has not reason to change any of the goals or strategies recommended by SPT. He said that he also sees no reason to conclude that SPT missing some major goal or strategy.
Dehn said that the sense of detachment he is perceiving is one which leads him to conclude that people already feel that they have a mission and a plan. He said that some people may find that what they are seeing how they fit into the strategic plan.
Dehn took exception to the notion that people are not saying that the strategic plan is "stupid." He said that he has heard criticism that the plan consumed too many resources and provided too little in response. He said that he has also heard some suggest that there is little new in the strategic plan. He said that these are minority views that are being expressed.
Karlan said that we have an opportunity to test Givot's theory with LPNY where the leadership has not been involved at the tactical level.
Scherrey said that we will not really know if the affiliates buy into the strategic plan until the national party sets priorities and implements the strategic plan.
Nelson said that Karlan's comments about LPNY probably are applicable to the membership as a whole. He said that the membership is probably more interested in the goals and strategies and not as much concern about the detailed tactics of the strategic plan.
Martin said that the response from the membership is very much unlike how he would have responded.
Israel said that the membership survey should be used more to tell us how to sell what we want to do rather than to decide what we do.
Karlan said that most LNC members went through the strategic planning process and learned a lot about themselves and the process along the way.
Givot asked whether the Committee is at a point where - except for possible wording changes - the six goals and twenty strategies should be retained.
Nelson said that he is at that point.
Gaztanaga said that he is at that point as well.
Dasbach said that there was little in the survey feedback to suggest that any significant changes should be made.
Dehn suggested possibly adding a strategy relating to the terrorist attacks on the United States.
Lark said that Dasbach and he have discussed what opportunities may arise as a result of these events.
Dasbach said that recent talk about the era of big government returning may create opportunities.
Hagan asked whether SPT had considered the use of initiatives and referenda.
Dasbach said that they appear at the tactical level.
Givot said that it appears to him that there is consensus to proceed with the plan with six goals and twenty strategies, recognizing that a strategic plan is a living document and that new opportunities - such as the one noted by Dehn - can be considered as they will inevitably arise.
The Committee proceeded to discuss what resources would be required to implement various portions of the strategic plan.
Dasbach set forth a list of metrics for the strategic plan. He said that affiliate parties should have the ability to raise additional funds to support the costs associated with implementing elements of the strategic plan at their level. He said that to do everything required to implement the strategic plan at the national level, an additional six people working for the national party will be required. He said that adequate office space exists in the current national headquarters, although when all six new people are brought on, things would be "chummy" at the office.
Dasbach outlined the six new staff positions. He said that the first new person would work on tracking data - having the ability to extract data from various sources to answer questions. He said that the second new person would head the development effort. He said that the third new person would work with Crickenberger to help candidates and campaigns to increase the number of elected Libertarians. He said that Marc Brandl would be reassigned to work on the campus effort full time. He said that the first new person - who is working on tracking data - would free up Dianne Pilscher who would work with affiliate parties to track their performance and improvement plans.
Dasbach said that we do not have someone on our communications staff to do all the work being done now plus the incremental work involved with the branding strategy. He said that a consultant will be brought in to help with the branding effort. He said that the fourth person to be added would be in the communications department. He said the fifth person would work specifically on the war on drugs signature issue. He said that the sixth person would be added to handle increased clerical needs resulting from growth.
The Committee recessed at 6:33 PM EDT.
The Committee reconvened on Sunday, October 14 at 9:11 AM EDT.
Item: Approval of Minutes of the August 2001 LNC meeting
Givot apologized for the late distribution of minutes which resulted from his absence on August 25, delays in receiving tapes of the meeting, and his recent illness.
Givot recommended postponing consideration of the minutes because of their late distribution.
The Committee agreed to postpone consideration of the August 2001 LNC meeting minutes until the December 2001 LNC meeting.
Item: Consideration of ALP Request to Rent LP Mailing List
Givot said that the resolution relating to permitting ALF to rent the party's mailing list that was passed at the August 2001 meeting requires the LNC to determine whether ALF - which has recently requested renting the party's mailing list again - has met the terms set in that resolution.
Lark said that based on his notes - without access to the meeting tapes - believes that ALF is not currently a "Willis organization." He said that Willis has not been a director of ALF. He said that he believes that ALF should be permitted to rent the party's mailing list under the current resolution.
Lark said that some LNC members disagree with that opinion. He said that at least two people have come to him saying that they feel that the LNC is setting a bad precedent by continuing to do business with an organization controlled by people who did not respond to the LNC's inquiry.
Lark said that there is need to have some finality in this matter. He said that he feels sorry that we have not been able to be more quickly responsive to Jim Babka. He said that there is a sense among some that the LNC is setting a "moving target" for ALF.
Lark said that Art Matsko of LiamWorks has submitted a request to license certain promotional materials from the party. He said that some people are concerned about doing business with Matsko because of his pervious association with Browne.
Bisson said that he recalls Art Matsko responding to the Chair's inquiry.
Martin said that he also recalls that Matsko responded.
Martin moved that the LNC confirms that there be no repercussions whatsoever regarding Art Matsko or LiamWorks and that the LNC should do business with them as it would with anyone else.
Gaztanaga asked whether Matsko was just an independent contractor who happened to do business with Browne.
Dasbach confirmed that this is the case.
Bisson said that when any opposition to this would be reminiscent of the McCarthy witch hunt.
Scherrey said that he supports the motion.
The motion passed on a voice vote.
Israel said that he has tried to understand why people have not replied to the Chair's requests for information. He said that this discussion could be used as an example of a moving target which the LNC has given to these people. He said that he believes that presenting a moving target may be the reason that they have not replied.
Karlan said that he disagrees with Israel. He said that he believes that the non-responsiveness of some more likely reflects that they are guilty. He said that some stationary targets have been given to these people and that they have yet to reply to the inquiry.
Gaztanaga said that some people who have done a great deal of good for the party are involved. He said that these people probably believe that because they have done a great deal of good, they should be able to get away with having done something bad. He said that this is the message he got from Willis' lengthy response to the Chair. He said that all these people have to do is answer the Chair's inquiry. He said that if the Committee permits the party to do business with people who are unresponsive to a Chair's inquiry, we are setting up future LNC's and Chairs for worse problems.
Knapp disclosed that he as a working relationship with LiamWorks.
(Secretary's note: Subsequent to the meeting, Knapp presented the Secretary with the following written statement which is intended to comply with the new policy adopted during this meeting. The statement reads:
"As managing editor and director of partner services for Free-Market.Net / Henry Hazlitt Foundation, I have a working relationship with the company known as LiamWorks and with that company's owner, Art Matsko. LiamWorks is a Free-Market.Net partner organization. Mr. Matsko and myself are the primary contacts between LiamWorks and Free-Market.Net. This disclosure is made pursuant to the discussion of LiamWorks by the LNC.")
that the LNC declines to do further business with ALF until such time that those who are in a position of responsibility with ALF who have so far declined to respond to questions posed in the Chair's inquiry do so and comply with the resolution of August 26, 2001 relating to denouncing the actions of Perry Willis. At such time as these requirements have been met, ALF may resubmit its request.
Scherrey said that writing to acknowledge receipt of the inquiry letter but declining to answer the questions is not an acceptable response. He said that it would set a terrible precedent if the LNC were not to act in response to their failure to be responsive to the Chair's inquiry.
Israel said that this is an example of a moving target. He said that if we do not want to do business with ALF, we should just decide that right now.
Bisson said that he opposes this motion. He predicted that if this passes and if these people do answer the questions posed by the Chair, that they will find that they are being asked even more questions.
Scherrey said that - while he understands the concerns of Bisson - these people have put themselves in this position by their actions. He said that we must proceed appropriately.
Gaztanaga said that it would be satisfactory to him if they respond in detail to the Chair's questions. He said that if these people did nothing wrong, that they should have no problem saying that Willis has done something wrong.
Dehn said that ALF's website says that the co-founders are Harry Browne and Perry Willis. He said that the following are listed as board members: David Bergland, Jack Williams, and Jack Dean. He said that Williams did not receive a letter as part of the Chair's inquiry although he was a part of the Browne 1996 campaign.
Karlan said that another potentially satisfactory resolution of this matter might be if these people respond, acknowledge their guilt, and apologize to the Committee, that he believes that the Committee would look favorably on that as a resolution of the matter.
Hagan said that he believes that any resolution we pass on this subject should relate to any organizations run or led by individuals who did not respond to the Chair's inquiry.
Kaneshiki said that this is not an issue of a moving target. She said that this is why she objected to this sort of language in the first instance. She said that "the market will adjust" to whatever language we adopt. She said that this is our list and that the LNC has an absolute right to determine who can use it.
Crickenberger said that his reputation has been damaged by Willis' actions. He said that some people believe that he has lied to protect his job.
Givot moved to substitute: that the LNC will not do business with any organization which has any director or any officer who has not responded to an inquiry by the Chair by answering each question that such inquiry posed.
Givot said that the way to avoid a moving target is to set a general policy for the staff to follow. He said that passing a motion relating to only one organization will result in having to bring this matter up again if another organization with one of these people on its board or as an officer wants to do business with the party.
Dasbach asked whether the staff would have to ask every organization doing business with the party whether any of these people is on its board or an officer.
Givot said that he would think that would be advisable. He said it is a short list of people.
Scherrey said that he opposes the substitute motion. He said that the Committee staff has done a good job of bringing to the Committee requests which the Committee would want to review.
Gaztanaga said that he is a lover, not a fighter. He said that he is not a pushover for a big name.
The motion to substitute failed.
Dixon said that ALF has done what we told them to do. He said that - having done so - it seems that we should now rent them the list. He said that at the prior meeting, the LNC did not get to a point of discussing what, if anything, should be done regarding people who did not respond to the Chair's inquiry.
Dixon moved to amend the motion to change the word "and" to "or" and change the words "these requirements" to "this requirement." The motion would then read:
that the LNC declines to do further business with ALF until such time as those who are in a position of responsibility with ALF who have so far declined to respond to questions posed in the Chair's inquiry do so or comply with the resolution of August 26, 2001 relating to denouncing the actions of Perry Willis. At such time as this requirements have been met, ALF may resubmit its request.
Kaneshiki said that she hopes that this motion is construed to mean that the LNC will have an opportunity to consider the response of these people and take that into consideration in deciding whether or not to subsequently do business with ALF.
Israel said that this is a good example of presenting a moving target.
Gaztanaga said that neither he nor most of those supporting this motion want to extract a "pound of flesh."
Bisson said he agrees with Kaneshiki that the LNC has the right to decide who can rent the party's mailing list. He said that he believes that if this motion passes, ALF will never be able to qualify to rent the list because whatever answers these people subsequently supply, they will be confronted with even more questions.
Scherrey said that he believes that both requirements should be met, so he opposes the proposed amendment. He said that he regrets having to take this action. He said that he has had to change his perception about some of the people who led him to join the party.
Dixon said that his intention is to make it clear that meeting either condition constitutes an "end point" that, if achieved, would permit renting the party's mailing list.
Israel said that the people who have not responded should respond. He said that this would be good for the party and wise of them to respond. He said that neither the main motion, nor the main motion if amended, would be a good thing to do.
The amended failed on a vote of 3 to 10. Dixon, Hagan and Nelson voted in favor. Bisson, Dehn, Gaztanaga, Givot, Hoch, Israel, Kaneshiki, Karlan, Martin, and Scherrey voted against. Lark abstained.
The main motion passed on a vote of 9 to 4. Dehn, Dixon, Gaztanaga, Givot, Hagan, Kaneshiki, Karlan, Nelson, and Scherrey voted in favor. Bisson, Hoch, Israel, Hoch, and Martin voted against. Lark abstained.
Item: Reconsideration of Participation in FEC Lawsuit
Dixon said that at the presentation of the strategic plan to LPTX, he was asked to report on why the LNC had decided not to participate in the FEC lawsuit. He said that as they discussed the matter, they felt strongly that the national party should participate in this lawsuit. He said that he asked that this be placed on the agenda because LPTX passed a resolution urging the LNC to reconsider its position. He said the resolution read:
The SLEC resolves that the Libertarian Party of Texas recommends that the Libertarian National Committee become a plaintiff in the RCR, Inc's lawsuit against the FEC.
Lark said that Babka had withdrawn Real Campaign Reform's request that the national party join in the lawsuit.
Bisson moved that the LNC should consider participation in the FEC lawsuit only after we are asked.
Bisson said that we should move on. He said that, in light of the motion just passed, we should consider such things only when they are brought to us.
Israel said that it is probably unwise to consider participation in the lawsuit until the issues just discussed are resolved.
Gaztanaga said that he believes that Bisson is being fair and that his motion is appropriate.
Dehn said when we took action at the last meeting, the primary factor being discussed was the involvement of Perry Willis. He said that previous discussions covered more issues. He said that he will not support the motion because it invites something that he would vote against anyway. The motion passed on a voice vote.
The Committee recessed at 10:23 AM EDT.
The Committee reconvened at 10:38 AM EDT.
Item: Consideration of Contract for National Director
Dixon moved that the LNC forms a Compensation Committee review address the procedures issues related to the employment of the National Director and related issues and that Scherrey, Rutherford, and he be appointed to that committee.
Lark said that a motion is not required. He said that in his capacity as Chair he will ask that those individuals to form a Compensation Committee and proceed to work on such matters as performance reviews, bonus programs, and compensation for the National Director.
Karlan said that either the Chair or the National Director can appoint such a committee.
Dixon said that this group would report back on issues relating to a staff bonus plan in December and with regard to other issues in April.
Gaztanaga said that this is an excellent start to resolve such matters so that there will not be problems in the future.
Karlan asked whether Dixon's efforts would be helpful in developing the contract with the National Director. He asked whether it would, therefore, be advantageous to postpone consideration of a contract for the National Director.
Gaztanaga said that this is an issue that stands alone and should not delay consideration of the contract with the National Director.
The motion passed on a voice vote.
Givot moved adoption of the contract with the National Director.
Givot said that it has been a long time since our National Director has had a contract, that the proposed contract is reasonable, and that he sees no reason to delay approval of the proposed contract.
Scherrey asked if the contract included an increase in compensation for the National Director.
Givot said that it did not do so.
Kaneshiki said that it would be a breach of fiduciary duty to approve the contract. She said that the party's current financial circumstances are such that there is great uncertainty. She said that she had previously sent the Chair a detailed list of questions which were answered by the Chair and the Secretary. She asked that the questions and the responses given be appended to the minutes of the meeting.
Kaneshiki said that a recurring theme in the Secretary's comments was that the Secretary has known the National Director for a long time and trusts him. She said that if the National Director trusts the LNC, why can he not continue to work without a contract. She said that she prefers that consideration of the contract be postponed until the December LNC meeting.
Scherrey asked Kaneshiki what additional costs or liabilities she perceives arise from approving the contract.
Kaneshiki said that under the terms of the contract the party is obligated to up to six months of termination pay. She cited potential COBRA obligations as well. She said that if the contract were contested, there is the potential for legal costs as well.
Bisson asked Kaneshiki which of these costs the LNC would be liable for if there is no contract and if Dasbach were to be terminated.
Dasbach said that the LNC offers fully paid health insurance to its employees. He said that if the employee is terminated, it is the employee who must pay for the continuation of health insurance under COBRA. Dasbach said that - in his case - his health insurance comes through his wife, so that the party does not supply his health insurance in any case.
Gaztanaga said that he has read the information provided by Don Gorman. He said that he believes that it may be advantageous to delay consideration of this contract until December.
Dasbach asked Gaztanaga what bearing Gorman's letter has on signing a new contract. He said that he was Chair at the time and had no knowledge at the time that Willis had granted preferential treatment to the Browne campaign.
Dasbach said that it is standard policy that the party requires prepaying for first time list renters. He said that campaigns are notorious for going out of existence without paying their bills. He said that campaigns are generally asked to prepay for list rentals. He said that the Browne 1996 campaign was billed on a regular basis for the list rental. He said that he - in his capacity as Chair - was not aware at the time that these bills were not being paid in a timely manner.
Dunbar informed the Committee of many of the standard practices in the renting of the mailing list.
Dasbach said that the $62.50 rate being charged at the same time that the full rate ($125) indicates to him that there was something special going on regarding this series of list rentals.
Martin said that he would like to rely on Dixon's expertise. He asked whether the practices related by Dunbar seem consistent with Dixon's experience.
Dixon said that some do and some do not.
Dehn said that he has a different concern about the contract. He said it relates to the terms of severance. He said that it seems to be a "linear descendent" of a contract that Dasbach made with his predecessor Perry Willis. He said that, in this regard, the contract is "tainted by its history." He said that - in view of the fact that the National Director has been working without a contract for some time and in view of the fact that a Compensation Committee has just been appointed - he would prefer to wait until that committee has reported before considering this contract.
Gaztanaga said that he believes that the work of the Compensation Committee and the approval of the contract should not be linked.
Nelson said that he does not see how approving this contract today sets any precedents.
Givot said that if the contract is not approved and if the National Director were dismissed before August, and if the LNC did not provide a reasonable severance package, that he believes it would be very difficult to hire another qualified individual as National Director because of the way of those decisions by the Committee.
Givot said that Kaneshiki has advocated postponing consideration of the National Director's contract until the Compensation Committee has concluded its work. He said that this would necessitate postponing consideration of a contract for the National Director until April. He said that considering such a contract in April - with the contract expiring in August - that the Committee should recognize that it might as well postpone consideration of the contract until June and have a one month contract. He said that treating the National Director in this manner would make it difficult to find a new National Director when the time to do so comes.
Kaneshiki said that she did not say that there should be no severance pay for the National Director.
Dehn said that he did not say that there should be no severance pay for the National Director. He said that he does not anticipate firing the National Director prior to the National Convention. He said that he is concerned with the symbolism of permitting "this process to continue from the Willis era."
The motion passed.
Kaneshiki voted against the motion.
The meeting recessed at 11:10 AM EDT.
The meeting reconvened at 12:38 PM EDT.
Item: Discussion of Strategic Plan (Continued)
Crickenberger presented his document on the strategy relating to the war on drugs. He said that this document is intended to be used both within the party and to present what the party is doing to those outside the party where we are seeking support. He said that today the Committee needs to address the initial tactics and budgets for this strategy for 2002.
Crickenberger reviewed the potential to use the spoiler strategy as it relates to this issue for 2002. He said that if the intention is to target some of the worst drug warriors in Congress, then it should be directed towards those people who are in the closest races. He said that he hopes that there are at least four such races to target - hopefully two where the Democrat will be targeted and two where the Republican will be targeted. He said that the party can spend up to $40,000 in each of these races. He said that there is a considerable potential for fundraising for this - both from sources with the party and from new, outside sources of funding.
Givot proposed establishing metrics for 2002 and 2004 today and deferring establishing 2008 metrics until a future meeting.
A discussion ensued in which it was determined that it would be better for the Committee to wait to have the staff propose metrics as part of its budget proposal.
Lark said that he had hoped that the discussion would result in a prioritization of goals and a determination as to which strategies are most likely to be most effective.
Dasbach said that he assumes that the Committee wants to pursue all of the goals. He said that prioritization would only affect the level of resources which would be devoted to each of the goals.
Israel said that he understands that the Committee wants to see efforts relating to each goal and strategy.
Lark said that the he agrees with Israel's understand. He said that what must be determined is what the staff needs to present a plan that will meet the Committee's expectations.
Dasbach said that what he wants is confirmation that 500 elected Libertarians by 2004 is the target he LNC wants to set, guidance on how much information the Committee wants to gather from affiliate parties about core and critical activities at the state level, and confirmation that the Committee wants to target 50,000 members and revenues of $5.5 million in 2004.
Israel said that he believes that the Committee should sign off on the basic targets that the National Director has presented and ask him to present a budget which includes all metrics for 2002 and 2004.
Givot said that he supports Israel's suggestion. He said that he would like the budget to include a multi-year staff build up plan which will tell the Committee when significant additional resources will be made available to implement each strategy and work toward achieving each goal.
Dehn said that he feels that the Committee is not in a position to answer the questions set forth by Dasbach. He said that only Goals 1 and 3 have been given numerical metrics by staff and there is no indication from staff as to how increasing or decreasing resources would affect the expected level of the corresponding metrics.
Dehn said that Goal 2 has been watered down to the point where it is meaningless.
Dehn said that at the present time there is no way for the Committee to make tradeoffs because there is insufficient information.
Nelson said that he was expecting a more detailed discussion of tradeoffs between strategies. He said that he is frustrated. He said that - like Dehn - he believes that there was a lack of substance in the presentation regarding Goal 2 in the prior day's presentation.
Israel said that his suggestion that the staff should now develop a budget does not mean that he believes that the budget that is presented will be perfect.
Martin said that Dasbach and others may be making different assumptions. He said that he believes that the LNC should set numbers, have staff develop a budget, and then have the Committee respond to that proposed budget.
Dasbach said that the work relating to Goal 2 will be significant. He outlined the process he expects to use to improve core and critical activities. He outlined a program to bring work with new state chairs as they are elected.
Kaneshiki said that she believes that there is too much on the plate of the national office. She said that Goal 1 can be taken off the plate of the national office entirely. She outlined a program of regional coaches to help states work toward this goal. She suggested that the regional coaches could report to Crickenberger. She said that this would be the national office's only involvement regarding Goal 1.
Bisson said that Goal 2 - which got the lowest response in the membership survey - should focus on states where the states seem interested in participating.
Scherrey said that - given the lack of time available today - the Committee is short-circuiting the strategic planning process. He said that in strategic planning, goals and solutions must be separated. He said that it is clearly the role of the Committee to define the goals. He said that priorities are set by establishing metrics. He said that the values assigned to the metrics define the priorities of the organization.
After considerable discussion the Committee formed consensus regarding the metrics be given to staff as the basis of building the 2002 budget.
Additionally there was consensus that the effort to develop the LP brand must be prioritized in 2002.
The Committee voted to return to its normal, parliamentary mode.
Givot moved that the staff be asked to develop a budget proposal for 2002 which is intended to achieve the following metrics: 500 elected Libertarians in office in 2004, 5000 volunteers in 2004, 50,000 members in 2004, $5.5 million in national party revenues in 2004, achieving a market share of 3.5% youth in 2002, and begin implementation of a tracking system relating to Goal 6 in 2002; that the budget proposal prioritize developing the LP brand as soon as possible; that the budget proposal should include proposed values for all metrics for 2002 and 2004; that the budget proposal should identify the champion for each strategy; that the budget proposal should include a multi-year staffing plan; and that the budget proposal be made available to LNC members no later than November 10, 2001.
Dehn asked whether the purpose for this meeting was to fill in the metrics for the strategic plan, but that the result of the meeting is that we are directing staff to fill in those metrics as part of their proposed budget.
Givot said that this seems to be the case.
Dehn said that he didn't need to spend $500 to attend a meeting that delegated this responsibility to staff.
Martin said that the budget proposal should also include alternative means and costs to achieve these metrics other than exclusively direct mail.
There was consensus that the Committee wanted the budget proposal to include the alternatives that Martin suggested.
The motion passed on a voice vote.
Kaneshiki voted against the motion.
The Committee then sought individuals to volunteer to champion each strategy which is assigned to the LNC for implementation.
Nelson volunteered to champion Strategy 5: Define and codify relationships between (and expectations among) national, state, local, and campus Libertarian Party organizations.
Gaztanaga volunteered to champion Strategy 3: Redevelop the Libertarian Party Platform, presenting both direction and destination, with an eye toward electoral success without compromising core beliefs .
Knapp volunteered to champion Strategy 19: Develop an awareness that success requires adequate resources of all sorts.
Lark volunteered to champion Strategy 20: Motivate the Libertarian Party support base to increase activism by recognizing and rewarding both effort and success and by making involvement in the Libertarian Party an enjoyable, positive experience.
It was agreed that Lark would ask Ruwart champion Strategy 14: Develop and implement an internal program of ideological education.
Givot said that there were three metrics for 2002 which do not readily fall into the 20 strategies. He said that the Committee should also seek champions for each of these three metrics to assure that they are met sometime in 2002.
Bisson volunteered to champion achiving the metric: Request and get feedback from state chairs on several issues.
It was agreed that Lark will ask MG to champion achieving the metric: Development of a formal improvement/feedback program to get feedback from members on how to improve the LP.
Givot volunteered to champion achieving the metric: Completion of a review of internal governance and election issues.
Item: Setting of Future Meetings
Israel moved to hold the first meeting in 2002 in Denver on March 16-17, 2002.
The motion passed on a voice vote.
Item: Appearance of Sandra Lance
Sandra Lance, gubernatorial candidate of the LPGA addressed the LNC.
Lance asked the members of the Committee to spend some time with her after the meeting to discuss matters of concern to her.
Item: Consideration of a Resolution Regarding Military Action in Afghanistan
Winter asked the Committee to consider establishing a position regarding military action in Afghanistan. He said that the LP Platform provides no guidance regarding such matters.
It was determined that no Committee member had yet drafted a proposed statement of the party's position regarding this matter. At the request of the Committee, Givot read the following statement drafted by Winter:
The following statement was adopted by the Libertarian National Committee at its meeting in Atlanta, Georgia on October 14, 2001:
On Sunday, October 7, the United States launched military action against Osama bin Laden, the terrorist believed to be responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The U.S. military also struck military bases controlled by the Taliban regime of Afghanistan, which has sheltered and reportedly assisted bin Laden.
While the Libertarian Party has been a consistent voice against reckless foreign interventionism by the U.S. government, we support action against the perpetrators responsible for the terrorist attacks. The vicious and barbaric attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which bin Laden allegedly masterminded, cost 5,000 innocent Americans their lives. Such horrific crimes cannot go unpunished.
A fundamental role of the United States government, as defined in the U.S. Constitution, is to protect American citizens against foreign attack. Therefore, it is proper for the government to take forceful action against terrorists who have already killed thousands of Americans, and who have threatened to kill more. Such criminals must be rooted out and destroyed before more innocent people die. Their training camps and weapons must be eliminated. Their supply infrastructure must be shattered.
At the same time, the United States' response must be appropriate and measured. Every precaution must be taken to minimize injury or death to innocent civilians and non-combatants -- in Afghanistan and in other nations. To do otherwise is not only a violation of America's ideals, it would also create future enemies for our nation and continue the cycle of violence and revenge.
We also call on the United States government to publicly reveal the evidence that conclusively links bin Laden and his terrorist network to the September 11 terrorist attacks. While much circumstantial evidence is available, and while bin Laden has made statements condoning the September 11 attacks, the U.S. government has an obligation to conclusively demonstrate that he is guilty of mass murder. Such evidence would not only help swing world opinion firmly behind the United States' actions, it would make a clear and compelling case that justice is being served by the recent military actions.
The Libertarian Party must take a more cautious stance about the military attacks on Afghanistan's Taliban government. Yes, there is considerable evidence that this totalitarian regime has aided bin Laden, and, yes, it refuses to assist the U.S. government in bringing bin Laden to justice. But it is a sovereign nation, and a military strike against it is an act of war.
According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, only the United States Congress has the power to declare war.
If military action against the government of Afghanistan is indeed appropriate, then the U.S. Congress should establish this by debating and passing an official declaration of war. Such an action would make the attack constitutionally legitimate, and protect the vital separation of powers upon which this nation's government was founded.
The United States government should also announce clear, measurable, and finite goals for this War on Terrorism. Any military action must not be allowed to turn into an endless, global war against numberless, shadowy targets. America's best interests will be served by decisive action that targets the guilty, spares the innocent, and ends as quickly as possible.
Finally, the United States has an obligation to consider a new, positive approach to foreign policy for the future.
Years ago, President Thomas Jefferson articulated a foreign policy that consisted of "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." Such a foreign policy -- deeply rooted in American tradition and principle -- would reduce the chance that terrorists will ever again want to strike a bloody blow at America.
As our nation embarks on this new war, the words of Thomas Jefferson echo down the centuries, and point in the direction of an America that can be at peace with the world -- and have less to fear from foreign enemies.
(Secretary's Note: At the request of the Committee, copies of the statement drafted by Winter were made and distributed to aid in discussion.)
Israel said that his stance - which he would not force on the Committee - is somewhat hawkish. He said that Bisson has a more moderate viewpoint. Yet, he said, both he and Bisson support this statement.
Gaztanaga said that the statement is fundamentally sound, but needs to be tweaked. He said that the statement is somewhat broad.
Bisson moved that the Committee approve the statement as the party's position on this issue.
Dehn said that there is a good reason that the LP Platform does not speak about retaliation. He said that is because he does not think that retaliation is a good idea. He said that he looked up "retaliation" in the dictionary. He said that the definition involves giving back what one has got, particularly evil for evil. He said that he does not support that.
Karlan said that perhaps substituting the word "justice" for "retaliation" might address the concern expressed.
Karlan said that a statement has already been issued by the Chair. He said that it is important that the LNC review this statement if it is to go out in LNC's name. He said that it is the Committee's responsibility to review and approve such a statement.
Bisson said that he had hoped that this would be a statement issued by the Chair, not the Committee.
Lark said that he was personally hesitant to set forth the statement as coming from the Libertarian Party because it includes statement about which good Libertarians can disagree.
Several Committee members indicated that they object to the statement as presented.
Nelson said that he objects because he believes that the United States has no moral basis to respond to the attacks. He said that he is a pacifist. He said that he understands that he is in the minority.
Lark said that he does not feel that the LNC can adopt such a statement until the Committee knows exactly what is being done by the US government. He said that there is something about this statement that leaves him very cold.
Dehn said that there is an inconsistency in the second paragraph. He said that the paragraph expresses both uncertainty about who did is responsible for the attacks of September 11 and support for going after Osama bin Laden. He proposed changing, "we support action against bin Laden and his terrorist network" to "we support action against the perpetrators of these attacks."
Dehn proposed that the reference in the third paragraph to "The most fundamental role" be changed to "A fundamental role."
Dehn proposed that the phrase "upon which this nation was founded" be changed to "upon which this nation's government was founded."
Bisson and Martin accepted these changes as friendly.
The motion passed on a voice vote without objection.
The Committee adjourned at 3:05 PM EDT.