April 26, 2019
Contact: Larry Taylor
For Immediate Release Contact: Lawrence Taylor
April 26, 2019 (c) 971-235-7164 firstname.lastname@example.org
“Malfeasance Plagues Democratic Party of Oregon”
2020 Democratic Convention Delegate Selection Plan Shenanigans
Portland, Oregon…The Democratic Party of Oregon released its Draft Delegate Selection Plan for the 2020 Democratic National Convention on April 1, 2019. The plan was illegally developed in an “ad hoc” committee established by former DPO Chair Jeanne Atkins.Flaws contained in the 2016 plan caused a near riot at the June 18, 2016 State Delegate Selection Convention. The Draft 2020 Plan is worse.
The DPO Chair ignored warnings that the ad hoc committee was in conflict with the bylaws of the Democratic Party of Oregon, which grants writing convention rules to the Standing Rules Committee. The DPO Chair announced the committee in her Chair’s Report on December 2, 2018 at the 4th Quarter meeting of the State Central Committee. The Chair cited that the recent past practice was to have the affirmative action plan developed by an ad hoc committee. Members of the Rules Committee allowed the ruling to stand, trusting the Chair to follow the bylaws on the development of the balance of the 2020 Delegate Selection Plan, which defined the processes for electing delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Convention..
Robert’s Rules of Order, the parliamentary authority used by the Democratic Party of Oregon, explicitly disallows the creation of ad hoc committees to undertake the functions of a Standing Committee. The Rules Standing Committee in Article XIV, section 5(D)(2) states “Proposes the rules and procedures for state conventions”. Robert’s Rules classifies actions like the creation of an affirmative action ad hoc committee to be a “custom”, but when customs are identified as in violation of the organization’s bylaws, they “fall to the ground”, becoming invalid.
In early 2019, The DPO Rules Committee established a sub-committee to develop the Delegate Selection Plan. The DPO Chair received guidelines from the Democratic National Party in November 2018, but failed to pass the guidelines to the Rules sub-committee. The sub-committee still convened, identifying several problem areas from the 2016 Plan, and submitted a report at the Rules Committee meeting on March 17, 2019. At the same meeting, a motion to limit the ad hoc plan to just affirmative action items in Rules 6 & 7 of the DNC guidelines was defeated, in part because the chair of the ad hoc committee stated his committee was only addressing Rules 6 & 7.
When the Delegate Selection Plan was released on April 1, 2018, members of the State Central Committee learned that it was the entire plan, including specifications for the district and statewide conventions.
The proposed 2020 Plan allows Congressional District 2 delegates to attend electronically in addition to attending in person. Hybrid meetings are not allowed by the DPO bylaws, and there are no standing rules to govern electronic meetings. Other questionable practices such as plurality voting was specified, a practice that allows delegates to be elected with less than a majority vote.
Two significant omissions in the proposed 2020 Delegate Selection Plan were the rules governing the election of the at-large and PLEO (Party Leader - Elected Official) delegates and rules governing the congressional district and state conventions. In the past, 300 delegates were elected at the district conventions, who comprised the delegation of the state convention. These rules had been included in previous delegate selection plans. By not specifying the rules, the processes are left open to future definition. This is the same tactic used in 2016, where broad language was used to describe the processes and was used against the majority. Hence the near riots.
“It is unfortunate that the former DPO Chair failed to nominate any member of the Rules Committee to work with the ac hoc committee” says Rules Committee member and former DNC Delegate Larry Taylor. “It is also unfortunate that the current chair has done nothing to correct the bylaws violations. Because of the number of bylaws and rules violations racked up by the DPO leadership over the development of these rules, it isn’t clear how Oregon’s plan will fair when presented to the Rules Committee of the Democratic national Committee”.
Addressing the details of the draft delegate selection plan will be difficult. The Ad Hoc committee amends the draft plan on May 1. The Executive Committee is scheduled to approve the plan on May 2, with less than 24 hours to review changes made the previous day. The plan is due at the DNC on May 3.
The Oregon Delegate Selection Plan is available for public comment on the website of the Democratic Party of Oregon - www.DPO.ORG. Acceptance of comments will end on April 30, 2019. Public comments on the DPO website are to be included with the proposed plan sent to the DNC Rules committee.