Press "Enter" to skip to content

LNC Intervenes in Second Michigan Lawsuit

Secret Meeting Was Closed to Other LNC Members

Now with meeting results appended

The LP Executive Committee has voted, following a secret meeting, to send $5000 to Michigan in support of the LP Michigan Chadderdon faction. Contrary to usual practice, LNC members who are not members of the Executive Committee were barred from attending the secret part of the meeting. The Chadderdon faction is being sued by Michigan delegates to the Libertarian National Convention. The plaintiffs, who were elected by the Michigan State Convention as delegates, are suing to compel the Michigan State Party officers to transmit to the LNC the full list of elected Michigan delegates.

The call to the meeting came from the LNC Secretary who posted to the LNC’s Public list a message: “This meeting is noticed to consider assistance in second state court suit filed in Michigan. It is intended that this meeting will be in Executive Session (votes will be public) with only Executive Committee members in Executive Session.”

There was a prompt response from the new litigation committee, one of whose members had not been invited to the meeting:

From Meredith Hayes
Question for Madam Chair,
Am I supposed to be present at this meeting? I am not on the Executive Committee but am on the Litigation Committee. Please advise, thank you!

The National Chair responded:

I’d appreciate it if you can make it. We’ll need your input.
Angela McArdle
LNC Chair

The exclusion of non-Executive Committee members from the Executive Committee meeting was promptly protested by Mark Tuniewicz, who wrote

Madam Chair,

I just wanted to get on the record that I strongly object to the LNC being excluded from the upcoming executive committee meeting where Michigan litigation will be discussed. Since the LNC as a whole is ultimately responsible for this litigation it is only right that all of us should be on the call and get up to speed.

And for the information of the Executive Committee, you should be aware that there will be an agenda item brought forward FOR our upcoming LNC meeting on April 7th 2024 to “immediately stop all support and end any LNC litigation involving Michigan.”

The reasons are easy to understand. Suing other libertarians is one of the biggest mistakes this body has made. It has dramatically dried up our major donor fundraising. It has alienated libertarian activists across the country. It has negatively impacted our national convention finances.

Over time and with the benefit of hindsight I have concluded that it was a mistake, couched as trademark protection, but really simply a factional legal attack to benefit a particular caucus as they have sought to take control of our state affiliates with the help of our national officers.

It is time for this farce to end, and only a majority vote of the LNC can end it.

I hope we can do that in April.

Mark Tuniewicz

The National Chair responded:

Angela McArdle

I cannot procedurally force the excom to allow your attendance.

Thanks for the heads up on April. Can you clarify if you’re bringing that motion at the direction of your chairs or on your own initiative?

LNC Member Beth Vest commented:

Mr. Tuniewicz,

The LNC as a body can override the decision of the EC to exclude the rest of the committee. Which I also find improper under the circumstances.

and further wrote:

Greetings to my fellow committee members,

In the interest of transparency, I am tendering my opinion here as an LNC member regarding the proposal that the Executive Committee consider the currently filed lawsuit by Michigan delegates.

Madam secretary has called this meeting with a public announcement that she wishes for the executive committee to “consider assistance in second state court suit filed in Michigan.” I would assume this means by helping pay the defendants’ legal defense. I am not sure why this should even be discussed in executive session since the substance of the discussion is now public. However, the substance in the call of the meeting is to offer assistance, so that is what I am addressing here,

The way I understand this issue, on March 9, 2024, Andrew Chadderdon, the chair of the recognized affiliate of the LNC, called a convention. At that convention, the members in attendance chose a slate of delegates to send to the national convention in May. The Michigan chair, and Secretary Danile Ziemba have refused to submit that list of delegates to the LNC. There are additional defendants in this suit but listing the parties is not my point, this is a simple narrative to give everyone a basic idea of what this internal dispute is about.

Without getting into further details about this action, I think most people can agree that this is an internal matter for the Michigan Libertarian party to sort out. The LNC should pay heed to Article 5.5 of its own by-laws, and also to the fact that the LNC has no standing here, even as a defendant. Where the LNC has no standing, and where article 5.5 applies, the LNC should do its duty and refrain from either comment or sending assistance to either of the parties. By not doing so, the LNC is declaring who they think the winner should be in this contest, which is tantamount to an unfair action against the plaintiffs, who are also members of the party of which we are merely stewards.

Standing is the principle that parties in a lawsuit have a legitimate reason to be there. Standing is defined as a plaintiff who has a particularized injury, which has already occurred, and which can be remedied by the lawsuit at hand. The members and delegates who are the plaintiffs in Michigan feel as if they have been injured and seek a remedy. The defendants, Mr. Chadderdon and the Secretary, are the parties who took the action for which the plaintiffs are suing and likely feel they too have a defensible position. My opinion here is not about who is right or wrong in this situation, but who are the rightful parties in this suit in relation to the LNC, and the LNC is not a rightful party and has no standing here. Even if the LNC feel this impinges upon their trademark lawsuit, somehow, they still do not have standing here, and will have to address that in their own lawsuit as best they can.

Article 5.5 says, “The autonomy of the affiliate and sub-affiliate parties shall not be abridged by the National Committee or any other committee of the Party, except as provided by these bylaws.” The delegates at a convention make up the affiliate party. There is no distinction between the chair and secretary, and the rest of the delegate members. They are all members. While members in affiliates often come into conflict, these conflicts are the purview of the affiliate. The LNC should never presume to send support to intervene for particular members in a state party conflict. To do so breaches the autonomy of the affiliate by giving the national membership’s funds, or other resources, if that is what is proposed, to one side over the other creating an unfair advantage for one side. There is a good reason for Article 5.5.

No matter the opinion of various LNC members as to who they wish to prevail here, this is an internal matter. Considering the current trademark lawsuit in Michigan enjoined by the LNC, committee members may wish to discuss this in light of the current lawsuit, but I want to put it on the record that in light of the above-mentioned points, I believe it would be improper for the committee to take any action on this matter that supports either side. I hope the committee will not vote to send more of the national membership’s donations or any other kinds of national party resources to assist either side in this matter. Thank you.

The LNC Executive Committee nonetheless voted to expend the $5000.

Minutes of the meeting:

The Executive Committee, LPMI Chair Chadderdon, and litigation committee member Meredith Hayes were present. There was an executive session event that lasted 53 minutes. Ms. Harlow withdrew and did not participate in the Executive Session.

After the Executive Session, Mr. Malagon moved to allocate $5K to Saliba v Chadderdon, Case Number 24-9034-CZ, in order to protect member rights according to our bylaws at our national convention.

For: Malagon, Nekhaila, Watkins, Yeniscavich
Against: Hagopian
Abstaining: Harlos, McArdle

One Comment

  1. Nicholas Sarwark Nicholas Sarwark March 26, 2024

    Excluding members of the national committee from the Executive Committee meeting is exceedingly improper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eleven + one =