The required post-convention meeting of the RLCWA Board was held as a Facebook Chat Session. Board Members were notified by email, but not given the required 3 day lead, preventing some board members from being present, not having seen the email in time. Absent members were only able to review the chat session, too late to participate. Holding a private Facebook Chat didn’t begin to satisfy the requirement to notify ALL RLCWA members and allow them to attend the meeting. Official “minutes” of that meeting were sent out to all members, but RLCWA “minutes” are so highly redacted of what actually went on you will be amazed at the difference between the actual chats and the “official” (falsified) “minutes.” And this was the only meeting that even made any semblance of following the required Bylaws by the Board that RLC members elected to represent them.
But it gets worse. Sandi called another meeting for May 17, 2013. This one was just announced on the Facebook Board Page with no (required) email announcement at all. The purpose of the meeting was to plan action against Doug Parris for writing things some Board Members didn’t like and to make a motion to revoke his membership in the RLC for ReaganWing articles reviewing the Republican Liberty Caucus. None of the purportedly 300 (secret) members in the 15 (unlisted) Counties were notified or invited although selected County Chairs were invited to attend. Doug himself was not present to defend himself from the accusations, as required by the rules. Republican Establishment agent, Dani Bolyard, who Sandi had appointed as “Media Communications Director” and who is not a Board Member (but according to Reagan Wing sources has been invited to every meeting) participated in all debate, and even occasionally voted, acting as a Board Member.
Elected Board member Michele St Pierre was attending a meeting with Pamela Leslie, another Board member, May 17, and because she expected an email notice of any Board meetings, and had not been monitoring the RLCWA Board Facebook page that evening, she was unaware of the meeting. Michele did review it and acquired a complete transcript of that meeting after the fact.
There were a number of serious rules violations during that first “emergency” meeting. A proxy was given to Dani (not a board member) to vote, even though proxies are specifically prohibited by the Roberts Rules provisions of the Bylaws. Conversely, Anthony Bosworth, an elected Board alternate who should have voted, was never seated or allowed to vote, even though two board members (Michele and Tony Stephens) were not present. Anthony did speak up several times on this and was silenced by Chairman Brendale. Dani, by contrast, was given full floor privileges, participated fully in debate, and then proceeded to vote after (illegally) receiving Pam Leslie’s proxy.
Matt Dubin left the meeting before it was adjourned. He made an (illegal) motion to remove Doug Parris as a member. [It is not practical to here enumerate all the violations]. He then gave an (illegal) proxy to Sandi to vote on his behalf who subsequently and presumably exercised TWO votes. Sandi then somehow “acquired possession” of his motion, simultaneously holding the floor, presiding over the floor, holding the right to close debate on a motion about which she is prohibited from addressing, and holding two votes. (!!!) Brian Landsberger (Snohomish County RLCWA Chair) had been invited to the meeting and also took part in debate on the motion although, as a non-board member (like Dani), he had no right to the floor of any kind and Sandi had no right to bequeath it to him. After a lot of lengthy chat, where finally the question was called on the motion, Sandi arbitrarily decided that the Board would not vote on the motion (completely out of order, had the motion actually been a legal one) and that instead Brian Landsberger should try and resolve the issue by meeting with Doug.
According to Michele St Pierre, such rules violations characterized the entire meeting. Considering that this meeting was illegitimate from the start due to lack of notice, lack of member notification and participation, it would, by itself, cause serious concerns about the direction of the RLCWA.
According to Reagan Wing sources, the RLCWA Board Facebook page has been from the beginning an open ended, twenty-four hour revolving discussion page where board members have illegitimately made decisions in open violation of the bylaws. In other words, the RLCWA board has been meeting in secret, almost continually, without notice to members and without recording minutes.
Recently, Sandi announced on the RLCWA Board Facebook page (a private page limited to Board Members and a few privileged people like Dani Bolyard) another [formal, face to face] Board Meeting. Some chat went back and forth about where and when it would be held and food and coffee service and such and suddenly, to the astonishment of members such as Michele and Anthony, a vote was being taken on whether to include members! The Bylaws state clearly that all Board Meetings are open to members and that members must be notified at least a week prior to these meetings.
A Board may not take actions against its organization’s Bylaws.
When notified that her ChatBook meetings were not legally held, Sandi first claimed that this was not “the Board,” but the “Executive Board.” When notified that there was no “Executive Board” empowered to make any decisions, she complained people were quibbling about language, and began to claim that the “meeting” was a Facebook Chat, not a formal Meeting.
Upshot? The Board has no authority without holding a legal meeting, particularly to ban members from any future meeting. But they tried and tried anyway, being corrected, at every turn, by more ethical members.
In a comical note, Matt Dubin decided to change his vote after the fact (he originally voted to allow members) in order to join Sandi (and (illegally) ban members). That is against the rules under Roberts, but then the meeting itself was illegitimate, so why quibble? Perhaps at some future meeting he may decide to change it back again.
Then Sandi pronounced a ban on videotaping, although RLCWA members passed, in convention, a bylaw that all State Meetings can and ought to be videotaped. Sandi chose to interpret this to mean that she could videotape and give it to the Secretary for safe keeping, rather than have an open meeting where members could tape it. The Chair has no authority to arbitrarily decree anything about a Board Meeting.
There was another surreal interlude where arguments were made over how much to charge members, if they attended. This is also against the Bylaws, which say we can’t charge anything. Anthony Bosworth tried to point that out. But pointing out the rules (in the new RLC, just as in the old GOP,) is considered “disruptive.”
Michele St Pierre attempted to bring order out of this parliamentary chaos:
Point of Order. The problem with not having a formal meeting and establishing a quorum or with having a fixed adjournment time is that you cannot follow Robert’s Rules. You have things like the Chair voting when the vote count is not established (Under RROR, the Chair does not get to vote unless it is to break a tie, or to establish or break a 2/3 vote). No one gets to change his vote after the vote has been taken. But normally,
- there would have been a motion,
- debate would have been commenced and concluded, everyone having weighed in, and
- then the vote would be taken and a tally would be given.
In this case, with no time set, no formal meeting, people just dropping casually in and out, none of that happened. So what could possibly have been legitimately decided?
In a real deliberative body the Chair does not get to arbitrarily decide things without the BODY. The Chair would certainly be able to suggest a time and place for the normal, BYLAW-mandated quarterly meeting, but any particulars about the meeting have to be decided by the body, IN A LEGITIMATE MEETING. The Board can’t vote to violate the Bylaws (and not allow our members to attend the meeting) PERIOD. END OF STORY.
It was the Chair who made that motion and that was not a legal motion and the Chair shouldn’t be making motions anyways. I am not doing this to be disruptive, argumentative or to be disrespectful of anyone. I am pointing this out because I was elected to serve the interests of the DELEGATES who elected me and I think it is in their best interests if we follow the rules and allow them to participate and that we operate as their representatives with honesty and transparency and within the rules they voted for. I am certainly all for friendliness. But when “friendliness” only extends to people agreeing with you, then I think it is being misused. That is why we have Robert’s Rules. If you honestly think that our membership wants us to have secret meetings where they are excluded, with no recording and without following the rules and violating the Bylaws, then have at it.
According to Michele,
At this point I wondered what to do about it. Clearly there was a meeting going on and people were voting, so I decided to make a motion to protect the member’s interests and point out that we couldn’t vote against our own Bylaws. Also I thought that it would force the Chair to acknowledge that yes, this was a meeting or no, it wasn’t.
I posted this:
“In support of my post (above). I believe that an informal Board meeting has been called and is in session and motions are in order. We are not allowed under Robert’s to make motions which violate our own Bylaws, so must revisit certain below voted upon issues in the proper manner.”
Therefore, I made a motion that we have a Regular Board Meeting in Yakima, or wherever it is agreed upon) on Sunday, August 11th at 10 AM, of which all Regular members will be notified and allowed to attend (per the Bylaws). Also, videotaping and recording of such meeting shall be allowed unless 2/3 of the Board votes to go into a closed session.
This motion was ruled out of order. [Unbelievably (!!!) ~Ed.] Sandi stated: “There is no formal meeting here, just a gathering of the minds. This motion is moot.” And later: “Perhaps if you would participate more as a board member, you would discover that much is done in an informal way”. [In other words “done illegally” ~Ed.]
The Chairman of the RLCWA announced in private conversations, preconvention, that Board meetings would take place over FaceBook (FB). She was enamored of the apparent efficiency of such meetings at the national level and determined to use the “technology” in Washington. We are not aware of any significant disagreement with her decision, although there was some talk of board members needing to have FB and the implication thereby. The unforeseen difficulty with the decision and the unthinking acquiescence of members to Sandi’s folly have become apparent in the ensuing months. All communication of the board takes place via FB, requiring board members to constantly monitor FB even to see notification of meetings, which are announced in the chat venue, not even as private messages to board members. If members do not follow Facebook Chat frequently, not only are they in danger of missing meetings, they are in danger of appearing to not participate, as Michele was accused of by Sandi. Not everyone has time to be a Facebook hobbyist.
The Oracle of Delphi
According to Anthony and Michele, the Board (in these unlimited, unchecked, open-ended meetings that are not really meetings) is generally steered toward the chairman’s ultimate goal. These discussions might be characterized as sessions where members can “collectively cogitate” until some sort of warm and fuzzy consensus appears to gel enough that Sandi feels they have reached a “nirvana” of sorts and then decrees something to be done. [In other contexts this is called the “Delphi Technique”]
On August 1, Matt Dubin (not three board members as required by the bylaws) called another “chat” to discuss what to do about the open State Republican Chair seat and who the RLCWA should endorse.
Once again, this was supposed to “just be a discussion.” A number of names were discussed until after about 48 hours it became clear that Sandi, Matt, and Dani Bolyard were pushing Jim Walsh as “their favorite candidate.”
Then, lo and behold Sandi jumped in and said, that yes, the RLCWA WOULD be supporting Jim Walsh.
There was no vote (not that it would be binding since this was not a legitimate Board Meeting). A few people said Yes! and Yeah! If they happened to still be monitoring the seemingly endless session which went on for days.
This is the kind of decision making process that is in direct violation of the RLCWA Bylaws.
The Board of Directors cannot make decisions without holding a meeting. They cannot hold a meeting in continual violation of the parliamentary rules specified in their bylaws. The reason Roberts Rules of Order is so detailed and explicit about procedure is NOT just to engage in formality. It’s the same reason it is the most widely used source of rules in world history (other than the Bible)… because it was developed and has been carefully revised – over the last 137 years:
- To protect the right of the minority to be heard while maintaining the right of the majority to decide;
- To provide a structure for fairness in consideration of contested issues;
- To guide full, open, and orderly discussion of issues.
When a group adopts Roberts – and then starts regularly violating it – it’s almost always because they’re pulling something blatantly unethical. This is the way Luke Esser did business. This is the way Lori Sotelo does business. This is the way Jack Hamilton did business. This is the way Dani Bolyard gave the Romney team the ability to seat 533 illegally elected delegates at the 2012 Washington State convention.
There are rules in the RLCWA bylaws for endorsing candidates, but they were not followed. Sandi has lobbied heavily to make sure that behind the scenes there is a foregone conclusion before the vote on Sunday at the Board Meeting in Ellensberg, where some WSRP Chair candidates have been invited to address the RLCWA board.
Board members Anthony and Michele would like to see the RLCWA endorse a candidate for Chair, but insist the board has an obligation to follow the Bylaws to properly endorse someone. Announcing the winner before the vote could not possibly be more prejudicial. This is the way John Boehner ran the 2012 GOP national convention.
It is damaging and unethical to jump the gun on this and raise expectations, or present as a foregone conclusion something that hasn’t happened. This is in no way meant to disparage Jim Walsh, who might very well be a good candidate. It is harmful to him that while he is already announcing that he has RLCWA support, that vote hasn’t taken place, nor has RLCWA membership been consulted.
The RLCWA as it is operating now is not recognizable as the organization that was created by a Delegation with a set of Bylaws.
It is run as a social club, where decisions are made by group-think directed by Sandi and the board members who go along to get along and anyone that shows any inclination to an alternate opinion with how things are done is subjected to verbal attack or banished from participation or both. This is not an organization that is going to set an example to the GOP as to how political organizations should be run. It is in fact worse than the GOP Counties.
The Bylaws, state that “The Board shall ensure the effective implementation of these Bylaws” and “The Board shall have full power and authority to govern all the affairs of the Charter.” They also state that the “Chairman…shall ensure the administration of all provisions of these Bylaws.” In these duties, Sandi and most members of the board have been entirely derelict.
Liberty as the enemy
In fact, Anthony Bosworth, who has spent all of the considerable hours he has devoted to these board chats and meetings attempting to encourage (and eventually demand) that the board conduct itself according to rules, and has been verbally attacked by Sandi and others for doing so, was this week banned by the chairman from these discussions.
Just like a whistle-blower at the Federal level, Anthony is being demonized for exposing corruption as if exposing it is worse than the corruption, itself.
We are convinced it has been the continual violation of Republican parliamentary rules by the GOP Establishment that has thwarted every Liberty Candidate for President for the last quarter century.
If we are to succeed as a movement we must re-establish fair process that follows the Republican Party’s own rules and calls them out when they break them, NOT replicate the unfair methods ourselves, that have defeated us and subjugate ourselves to corruption.
The question before Liberty activists, if the RLCWA won’t change, is whether they they want to have anything to do with an organization that has duplicated the most corrupt methods of the GOP Establishment, secret meetings, manipulated votes, misrepresentation and personal slander.
[Ed Note: At least seven (7) ReaganWing authors contributed to this article and its predecessor, Lord of the RLC #17: Part One.]