CLUBS RULE

February 19, 2010

UPDATE 04.14.12: As of today, neither the Texas Democratic Party nor the Republican Party of Texas is registered with the Secretary of State as a corporation; limited partnership; or limited liability company. In other words, they remain private clubs.


NOTE: Reading this article in conjunction with TEXAS TWO-STEP enhances its significance.

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In the summer of 2008, before I knew half as much about the political process as I have learned since that time, I submitted a comment to the PUMA PAC blog, containing this epiphany:  the Democratic Party is only a club.

See, I had just ‘learned’ there exists a category of states I dubbed ‘vote binding states,’ which are those states that have enacted laws essentially saying, ‘In our state, being a “pledged delegate” means, you must vote for the person voters elected you to represent, on the roll call vote on the floor of the party Convention.’  (Did you know, DNC rules only require pledged delegates to use their “good conscience”?)  (“All delegates to the National Convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”)  (http://s3.amazonaws.com/apache.3cdn.net/fb3fa279c88bf1094b_qom6bei0o.pdf, p. 23.)

I saw that BO’s people were harassing HRC pledged delegates to change their votes to him, in advance of the Convention.  In other words, in these vote binding states, BO’s people were enticing HRC’s people to break the law.  So, I drafted letters to state Attorneys General in the 13 (thirteen) vote binding states I identified, complaining about this illegal conduct from BO’s camp.  Next, I needed to recruit voters from those vote binding states to send these letters.  But first, I had to explain to these recruits, in lay terms, what I was talking about.  For this, I developed a primer.  And in the primer, here is how I summarized the hierarchy of commandments applying to pledged delegates: state laws trump the rules made up by the political party, every time.  https://jbjd.wordpress.com/to-stop-harassment-of-clinton-pledged-delegates-in-vote-binding-states/

That’s when it hit me: the Democrats (and Republicans) are nothing more than private clubs.

#309 jbjd on 08.18.08 at 3:59 am

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMENT I HAVE EVER WRITTEN OR WILL EVER WRITE ON THIS BLOG… PLEASE REFER OTHERS TO THIS COMMENT THROUGHOUT THE DAY, IN SUBSEQUENT COMMENTS… I AM BUSY WRITING YOUR STATE-SPECIFIC LETTERS TO THE ATTORNEYS GENERAL, TO BE COPIED TO OUR DEAR STATE DELEGATES PLEDGED TO HRC, TO LET THEM KNOW, WE HAVE THEIR BACKS…

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DECONSTRUCTING DEMOCRACY AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

My Dear Fellow PUMAs,

If you are going crazy trying to figure out what’s happening with the Democratic Party, join the club. I’m not kidding. Join the club. Because it just hit me, the way to understand this Democratic nominating process is to think of The Democratic Party as what it is – a club. And the only thing that makes this club so special is that it was able to get permission from each of the 50 states to collect campaign contributions and put the names of the candidates it wants to hold office onto the state’s election ballot. That’s it. That’s all there is. Let me explain.

According to Party – or rather, club rules, presidential candidates are chosen at the club’s nominating convention. Afterward, the club submits the name of its candidate for POTUS to the appropriate state official in each state – usually the Secretary of State – as part of an application to get onto the state’s general election ballot, in compliance with that state’s laws. In fact, states only allow the candidate for POTUS chosen by a “major political party” to submit ballot papers so late in the game because club rules and by-laws require their candidates to be chosen at a “nominating convention.”

The club determines who will be its candidate for POTUS on the general election ballot through a vote at the convention by people it calls “delegates,” which delegates obtained that status through an allocation process set by the club. That is, the club places the names of its proposed candidates on state ballots in the primary and caucus elections and then, in exchange for receiving a specific number of votes in that process, the candidates are assigned a delegate to vote for them at the convention. Most state delegates are given a special status, called “pledged.” According to club rules, when these pledged delegates cast their votes at the convention, they should use their best judgment to represent the wishes of the voters based on whose votes they were elected. Historically, by counting these delegates pledged to each candidate, the club has usually been able to predict which of its candidates will end up with the nomination at the end of the primary and caucus process, since one candidate usually garners enough pledged delegates to surpass the number the club set as the requirement at the convention. But not this year. Neither club candidate – BO or HRC – was assigned enough delegates through the primary and caucus process to secure the nomination at the convention. Luckily, the club had in place rules whereby this deficit in delegates could be made up by special delegates commonly referred to as super delegates who get to cast their votes for either candidate at the convention.

The Democratic Party set up volumes of rules and by-laws that govern all these operations, with auspicious sounding titles like “Charter,” “Constitution,” “Model Rules to Delegate Selection Process,” and “Call to the Convention.” But here’s the thing about all these club rules: they can be changed at any time. According to club rules. So, if like me, you have read club rules and believe, as I do, that members of the club have not played fair throughout this presidential nominating process, am I saying there is nothing you can do about it? Hardly.

Remember what I said in the beginning: the state only lets the club get onto official state ballots as long as they follow state rules. And unlike club rules, when states make rules, they’re called laws. (TO BE CONTINUED…)
©jbjd

(In the interest of full disclosure, let me say, I was banned from that blog just days after this comment was posted.)

In the 1 1/2 years since I experienced this 3:00 AM epiphany that ‘club’ is just another word for ‘political party,’ I have learned (and written) volumes about the DNC.  Now, I know it by its official name:  the Democratic National Committee Services Corporation.  That’s right; it’s a corporation.  That’s why I now regularly refer to this business entity as the D Corporation (in case you hadn’t noticed).

Before I initiated the present campaign to submit document requests to the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”) under the Texas open records law, I had to determine whether the TDP was a covered entity under that law.  First, I tried to ascertain its legal construct. I hit a brick wall.  Luckily, through other means, I was able to conclude, the TDP is subject to provisions of the open records law, regardless of its organizational construct.  Then, after the campaign to obtain records was underway, a loyal Texan and I continued to research the nature of the TDP until we got answers.

So, what is the legal construct of the TDP?  Let me give you a hint what it’s not.

Here are the documents returned by the TX Secretary of State web site after a paid on-line search of documents held by that office, for an entity called Texas Democratic Party (“Find Entity Name Search”).  (Recall that the Certification of BO’s Nomination signed by TDP Chair, Attorney Boyd Richie, and submitted to state election officials to get them to print the name of Barack Obama next to the D on the general election ballot; was printed on letterhead showing the name, “Texas Democratic Party.”) (See this document and Mr. Richie’s accompanying letter, also on TDP letterhead, on p. 3 of the citizen complaint of election fraud to AG, in REMEMBER the ALAMO )

Did you notice what name is missing?  Yep; the Texas Democratic  Party.  In the words of Randall Dillard, Director of Communications, Office of the TX SoS:  “There is no requirement in state law that political parties organize as a business entity and since the parties are not found in a search of our records, they are not organized as corporations, limited partnerships or limited liability companies.”

Whoa!  If the TDP is none of these then, what is it?

Well, I tried a Google search for “clubs in Texas.”  And look at what showed up at the bottom of page 6  (not to be confused with Page Six, the NY Post scandal column, http://www.nypost.com/pagesix): Clubs and Organizations:  Texas Democratic Party

So, I clicked on that link, which led me to all of the Clubs and Organizations organized under the big top of the TDP.

I clicked on the link in the lower right-hand corner, txdemocrats.org.  Look who was staring me in the face.

Boyd Richie, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party.

In sum, here is the answer to the question, what is the TDP.  It is the club mystically possessed with the power to get TX election officials to print the name of Barack Obama next to the D on the state’s 2008 general election ballot based only on the word of its Chair that he is Constitutionally eligible for POTUS, notwithstanding no one in the club is willing to disclose, why.

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Freedom costs.


TEXAS TWO-STEP

February 14, 2010

(UPDATE 02.22.10: See follow-up post at CLUBS RULE.)

NOTE: Before you read this article, please read REMEMBER the ALAMO, which sets up the campaign to obtain from the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”) any records that were the basis for the Certification by TDP Chair, Attorney Boyd Richie: Barack Obama is Constitutionally qualified for the job of POTUS.  Because in TX, it was this Certification, submitted to TX state election officials, which persuaded those officials to place Mr. Obama’s name next to the “D” on that state’s general election ballot, a ballot only open to candidates who are eligible for the job.

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Here is the introduction to the TX Open Government law under which citizens of TX are trying to obtain records from Boyd Richie, Chair, Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”).  (All emphasis is mine.)  Keep these words in mind as you read the update to those citizen efforts, following.

GOVERNMENT CODE

TITLE 5. OPEN GOVERNMENT; ETHICS

SUBTITLE A. OPEN GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER 552. PUBLIC INFORMATION

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 552.001.  POLICY; CONSTRUCTION.  (a)  Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy.

(b)  This chapter shall be liberally construed in favor of granting a request for information.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/GV/htm/GV.552.htm

There is much to report.  I have now received 2 (two) proofs of transmission of the Open Records Request to Mr. Richie.  (This one shows the confirmation AND the page sent.)

Under the TX open records law, Mr. Richie was obligated to respond to such requests within 10 (ten) business days.  (Technically, even assuming he felt he was not obligated under that law to produce the requested records, he still had only 10 days to request, in writing, an opinion from the AG as to whether for reasons listed in the law, he was exempted from producing the requested records.  And he had only up to 5 (five) days after that to present any additional arguments to the AG, to inform the decision issuing from that office.  For example, Mr. Richie could assert he is not a “public official” under the law; or that, the documents requested are not “public records”; or that the TDP is not a “political subdivision.”)  Before those 10 days expire, Requestors are entitled to either the records requested or, written notice from the Holder of the Records – in this case, this would be Mr. Richie – as to the status of the request for Records, usually in the form of copies of the Request for AG Opinion. Even in a case where Mr. Richie might assert he does not have to present these records because they implicate some rights of a 3rd party, notice of a request for an AG opinion as to whether these records must be produced, must still be copied to the Requestor, appropriately redacted to preserve in advance of such AG decision, the rights, if any, of that 3rd party.

Based on the prior refusal of the TDP to produce such records after an informal request, https://jbjd.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/never-less-than-a-treason-2-of-2/#comment-979 I anticipated they would similarly refuse to produce any records after this formal request pursuant to TX open records law.  So, I tried to elicit help for ‘my’ Texans, both in writing and by phone, from an organization expressing dedication to the nature of this mission; and located much closer to home.

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas (“FOIFT”) – “Protecting the Public’s Right to Know Since 1978” – is an organization purportedly dedicated to the proposition that citizens are entitled to an “open government.”  http://www.foift.org/index.php Recently, they moved their offices to Austin, the capital city, “to assume a more active and more visible role in advocating for, and preserving, open government.”  http://www.foift.org/index.php?page_id=16 For example, they are holding an “Open Government Seminar,” attendance at the afternoon session of which costs $50, covering “handbooks,” “handouts,” and access to “[o]ne or more of Texas’ leading attorneys on these laws will be on hand to answer your questions.” http://www.foift.org/index.php?page_id=98 And they post videos featuring the Executive Director, Keith Elkins, explaining various provision of the Texas open records law.  http://www.foift.org/index.php?p=144

First, I tried to get their attention.  On Thursday, February 4, 2010, I submitted this comment to the FOIFT blog site, and awaited a response.

February 4th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Dear Texans,

In every other state and the District of Columbia, Certifications of Nomination signed by The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, acting in the non-governmental role of Chair of the 2008 DNC Services Corporation Convention, were forwarded to election officials to get them to print the name of Barack Obama next to the “D” on the 2008 general election ballot.* But not in TX. Nope; in TX, only Mr. Richie signed those Certifications. And for all of the citizens in those states where only the names of qualified candidates may be printed on the ballot, who filed charges of election fraud with their state A’sG charging members of the D party swore to state election officials BO was Constitutionally eligible for the job to get them to print his name on the ballot but failed to ascertain beforehand whether he is a NBC; the fact that NP did not sign the TX Certification but BR did, makes all the difference in the world.

Citizens of TX also asked BR to identify these documents that were the basis of his eligibility determination. And he also refused to say. But turns out, in TX, when it comes to defining the meaning of public documents; and avoiding having to disclose such documents, this same ‘get out of jail free’ card that applied to the DNC Corporation, does not apply to Chairman Richie and the state D party. On the contrary, under TX law, in certain circumstances, documents in the custody of political parties can be ‘discoverable’ as public records. (Not only that but, the court can compel officers of these parties to hand over these records under a cause of action called ‘mandamus,’ a process which is usually reserved to get government officials to do their jobs.)

Know what this means?

For the rest of the story and documents requests for download, see, “REMEMBER the ALAMO?” at https://jbjd.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/remember-the-alamo/

Not unexpectedly, this comment from a newcomer to the blog, was placed in moderation.  But when I checked the next day, Friday, February 5, it had disappeared.  (This is virtually the same comment I submitted to the Boston Globe, which was posted (without moderation) and then ‘disappeared.’ See, for example, “jbjd” BANNED in BOSTON.)  So, on Friday, February 5, I called the FOIFT, and spoke for some time with Pamela Mayo Clark, Director of Education and Special Projects.  As for the ‘disappeared’ comment, well, she referenced the comment while we were on the phone, even accessing my web page through the link provided in that comment.  In other words, somehow, my comment, while no longer visible to me on the FOIFT web site, was visible to her.  She attributed its disappearance on the web site to the fact, the blog had recently undergone dramatic re-design (this is true); and the missing comment was probably just a glitch (this proved to be untrue).  Here is an email I sent afterward, summarizing that conversation.  (Pay special attention to the “P.S.”)

Pamela,

Thank you again for devoting time on Friday to understanding the details of my request for assistance from the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas (“FOIFT”), which request I extended on behalf of the several citizens of Texas who had filed formal complaints of election fraud with Attorney General Abbott in conjunction with requests for records under the Texas open records law, with Boyd Richie, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party.  You confirmed you had read the comment I submitted to the FOIFT web site on Thursday, and had accessed the link to an accompanying article posted on my blog, https://jbjd.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/remember-the-alamo/ which provide the background for these current actions. You also assured me, you took “copious notes” of my narrative, promising to pass on to your Executive Director, Keith Elkins, the information I provided, along with my request on behalf of your fellow Texans, for assistance from your organization.  For your convenience, I have summarized the salient points of our lengthy conversation.

This groundswell of citizen activism began with an examination of Texas election law, which only allows the names of eligible candidates to appear on the state ballot.  In August 2008, Mr. Richie Certified the Nomination of Barack Obama as the Constitutionally eligible candidate for President of the D party in papers he submitted to Texas election officials to cause them to print Mr. Obama’s name next to the D on the general election ballot.  Subsequently, citizens asked Mr. Richie, on what documentary basis he had ascertained such eligibility for the job.  (I was informed in September 2009 such requests had been made.) He did not respond.  Resulting in part on this refusal to identify the basis for his Certification, Texans suspected he had sworn the candidate was eligible without determining beforehand this was true.  Consequently, in September 2009, they began filing formal complaints of election fraud with Attorney General Abbott, which complaints detailed the overwhelming circumstantial case that supports their allegations, referencing these unsuccessful efforts to obtain relevant records on their own.

The AG still has issued no official ruling on these complaints of election fraud.  Meanwhile, citizens became aware they may be entitled to access to any such eligibility documentation under the Texas open records law.  Last week – specifically, on January 27, at 6:52 PM – citizens began submitting new requests for records to Mr. Richie, under this law.  (As I pointed out to you, both the citizen complaints of election fraud to AG Abbott; and the requests for records to Mr. Richie can be easily downloaded from my blog.  Citizens need only fill in their names and addresses.)

Given the stated mission of your organization – “Protecting the Public’s Right to Know” – and your geographic proximity to the petitioners – I am in New England – I hoped that you could provide guidance to your fellow Texans, and that I could send them to you for help.  You indicated you would pass on this request to Mr. Elkins.

As I said, the time for Mr. Richie’s response is tolling.  The 10 (ten) days allowed in the statute for an initial response expire in a few days.  I trust your response to my request for help will issue before that time.

I hope this summary aids your recollection.  Thanks again for all your help.

jbjd

P.S.  During our conversation, you asked whether I was saying, Barack Obama was (Constitutionally) ineligible to be President.  I replied, his eligibility was outside of the scope of the concerns held by the citizens of Texas engaged in these activities to preserve the sanctity of their ballots.  However, I failed to mention, this disclaimer appears in the introduction to the citizen complaints of election fraud.  Note:  This Complaint takes no position on whether Mr. Obama is a NBC. I also want to point out that, having viewed the FOIFT video in which Mr. Elkins instructs would be seekers of public records, the holder of these records is prohibited by law from asking you why you want these records, or what you intend to do with them ( http://www.foift.org/index.php?p=144 ); I was surprised that you seemed to question my motives for wanting to access these particular records from Mr. Richie.  I must tell you, I could easily imagine circumstances under which being hit with that kind of question might have a “chilling” effect on the pursuit of records to which citizens would otherwise be entitled access, under the law.

I forwarded a copy of this email to Brian Collister, an Emmy award winning investigative reporter from WOAI TV, San Antonio, who is on FOIFT’s Board of Directors; and left a voicemail message for him at the t.v. station.

I never heard from Keith Elkins, Brian Collister, Pamela, or anyone else affiliated with FOIFT. The original comment I had submitted to the FOIFT web site never re-appeared.

Using a liberal count of the timetable prescribed by law, by the end of business on Thursday, February 11, 2010, the TDP was required either to produce the records sought by Requestors or to seek an opinion from the AG as to whether these were required to be released.  Plus, Requestors should have been notified in writing by the TDP (the Holder of Records) as to the status of these requests .  As the deadline approached, we had more work to do.

I asked Erica Thunderpaws and redhank to email to me evidence that the fax to Boyd Richie had been sent.  Then, on the 10th day, I asked them to telephone the TDP, to ask whether the requested records would be forthcoming.  Both redhank and Erica Thunderpaws called the TDP and were referred to Mark Corcoran, Special Assistant to the Chair (Boyd Richie).  A summary of those exchanges can be found in the Comments section to REMEMBER the ALAMO.  But I want to emphasize a couple of points from those exchanges.

First, Mr. Corcoran repeatedly pressed redhank to identify the name of her attorney.  And he insisted to Erica Thunderpaws, ‘Our legal counsel advised us, we don’t have to respond (to your request for records), even with a letter informing you, we believe, we don’t have to.’  As I stated in REMEMBER the ALAMO, the web site of the TX AG contains a primer on how citizens can obtain public records under the TX open records law.  http://www.oag.state.tx.us/open/requestors.shtml Any citizen could access this information and compose an appropriate request for records.  Indeed, any citizen SHOULD be able to access such information.  After all, we are talking about legislation passed by state senators and representatives elected by the citizens; signed into law by their elected Governor; and published on a web site paid for by their tax dollars, under the auspices of the person they chose as the chief law enforcement officer of the state.  What good is a law  ostensibly intended to keep government open to the people, if the only way people can access its provisions is to have the means to hire an attorney!  But judging by the tone he used when pressing the one caller to identify her lawyer; and insisting to the other caller that TDP counsel said they don’t have to respond, I suspect Mr. Corcoran was trying to intimidate both callers into backing off of their request for records.  Just like Ms. Mayo Clark from the FOIFT, had tried with me.

If that was the goal, neither of them was successful.

Second, Mr. Corcoran was essentially saying, ‘The TDP has determined we need not comply with that aspect of the law which requires us to obtain waivers from its provision, through the Office of the AG.  No; we will consult with our attorneys to determine whether to obey the law.’  It is this hubris which adds insult to the injury of not being able to obtain those records to which citizens have a good faith belief they are legally entitled access in the first place.

Even assuming for the sake of argument the TDP can lawfully substitute its legal opinion for that of the AG, determining it is not compelled by law to produce the requested records, the question remains.  If BR had ascertained that BO is Constitutionally eligible for POTUS before submitting to TX state election officials his signed Certification of Nomination, in order to cause these officials to print his name next to the D on the general election ballot; then why does he refuse to disclose voluntarily the documentary basis for that Certification? To my 9th graders, the answer was self-evident.  OUT of the MOUTHS of BABES

Now, to get AG Abbott to ask that question.

And several options remain to get AG Abbott to ask that question, in the context of investigating the citizen complaints of election fraud against Boyd Richie already filed with his office.  But my recommendation as to best ‘next steps’ depends in part on how many people have requested (or intend to request) these documents; and how many have filed the complaints of election fraud.  So, I need you to let me know who of you have already filed these requests for records to BR and, the citizen complaints.  (I cannot get even a ‘ballpark’ count based on downloads because not everyone who downloaded sent these documents; and some people copied the documents they downloaded to distribute to others.)  Also, where possible, please send along redacted proofs of transmission.  (That is, make sure your identifying information is blocked out before sending.)  (Don’t send confirmations that do not in some way attach themselves to the document sent, for example, that copy the first paragraph of text in the fax transmittal confirmation.)

Finally, I want you to know, creating this post, which includes doing the leg work documented herein – research, emails; phone calls; file conversions; and layout and design, for example –  has taken over 24 hours.  I am compelled to offer my services because I have solutions to some of the unresolved problems that arose during the 2008 election cycle.  While I appreciate your many words of thanks, psychic benefits do not pay the rent; and sleep is not the only valuable commodity I have sacrificed in order to resolve these problems.  There is no such thing as a ‘free lunch.’  Please, take the work; feed the kitty.

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Freedom costs.


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