LP’s Zero Dues Initiative Under Fire

We got the tipoff that the Libertarian Party’s Zero Dues initiative is being appealed to the Jucidiary Committee on the grounds that it violates the bylaws. Sean Haugh initially brought up the point that zero may not be a valid number and could be challenged:

Many who voted for zero dues subscribe to a logic that since zero is a number, and the range of numbers the LNC may use to set dues is not specified, then the LNC does indeed have the authority to set that number at zero. I respect the fact that they believe they are not violating the Bylaws with this action and so would not accuse them of deliberately flaunting them. Unfortunately they are incorrect.

We’re not going to pass along who we’ve heard has filed the appeal, but suffice to say I disagree with the spirit of the request.

While I am a strong supporter of zero dues and think it is a great way to increase membership numbers (with or without the replacement pledge system), I have to say it would be sad to see this initiative repealed on a technicality until a full ratification can be brought at the July ’06 Convention in Portland.

4 Comments
  1. To be honest, Vice Chair Lee Wrights is the main person on the LNC advancing the view I gave. I’m pretty sure he’s not the one appealing, otherwise he would’ve have told me. ;-)

    People who read my stuff know that I support Zero Dues as long as two things happen. One is that the convention approves of it in Portland, given the uncertainty (to say the least) that the Bylaws limit the LNC in implementing the plan. The other is that the national party actually develop other fundraising sources to replace membership dues.

    Thanks for the link!

  2. Well one can also use negative numbers too. hey, join and we’ll pay you. Ponzi scheme anyone?

    But seriously, dropping the dues down to 0 seems like a way to get around the bylaws unless they specify a floor. And yes, it would suck to have to wait until the next convention to dice this out, when time is of the essence.

  3. Some factiods:

    The matter was brought forward by Texas State Chair Pat Dixon at the bequest of the Texas Excom (known as SLECT).

    The Judicial Committee has not agreed to “hear the case” yet as it is unclear whether or not the submission passes the criteria established in the Bylaws for that to happen.
    It will take a week or two to hash that out first.

    Regardless of how this shakes out, it is clear that the LP Bylaws never anticipated zero dues and that there are a number of sections that need clarification (preferably before the zero dues model takes effect although I see no easy way to make that happen.)

    Robert “Rock” Howard
    Member, LP Judicial Committee

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