Why Is the DNC Ignoring MI’s Citizens’ Legal Complaints about the Cluster$%@#?

The Democratic Party’s charter requires that the Party:

Establish standards and rules of procedure to afford all members of the Democratic Party full, timely and equal opportunities to participate in decisions concerning the selection of candidates, … and further, to promote fair campaign practices and the fair adjudication of disputes. (Charter, Article I, Section 4)

Yet both the Democratic National Committee and the Michigan Democratic Party appear to be violating that requirement in their selection of which challenges to the MI Clusterfuck to hear at the May 31 Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting.

At least one group of ordinary Michigan citizens submitted a complaint that appears to fulfill all legal requirements. Yet the MDP has failed to follow its own rules on how to assist with and respond to that complaint–and it also did not comply with the requirement that it publish the names of those selected in the April 19 district conventions (which triggers a deadline for the submission of complaints). And the DNC will only hear the two state party-led complaints at the May 31 Rules and Bylaw Committee, thereby violating the requirement that "all members" of the party be able "to participate in decisions concerning the selection of candidates."

This complaint is similar to the petition I launched in April, in that its solution would reflect a compromise number between the results of the January 15 Clusterfuck and a 50-50 split: it works out to be the same 69-59 that the "Blue Ribbon Commission" has proposed. Also, like my petition, this complaint calls for the super-delegates to receive no vote.

But it’s different in two ways. First, it advocates giving MI’s elected delegates just half a vote each, not the full vote I suggested (in that respect, I like mine better, but then I didn’t get off my ass and file an official complaint; though this complaint has the advantage that it matches what the rules call for). More importantly, the complaint justifies its solution based on the MDP’s and the DNC’s own rules.

My favorite part of the petition is that it notes that, on March 26, a Court ruled the January 15 primary unconstitutional. That meant, the petition asserts, that the,

Michigan Presidential Primary of January 15, 2008, was "invalid, inoperable, and without effect." The result was non-binding.

And since the DNC’s own rules stipulate that,

Delegates shall be allocated in a fashion that fairly reflects the expressed presidential preference or uncommitted status of the primary voters or, if there is no binding primary, the convention and/or caucus participants. [my emphasis]

In the absence of a binding primary, the presidential preference must be judged by the preferences of the participants in "the convention and/or caucus." MI had district conventions, on April 19. And Obama supporters vastly outnumbered Hillary supporters–generally by at least 2 to 1, and in places by much greater margins. In other words, the legal preference of MI’s voters is that Obama–not Hillary–get the larger proportion of delegates.

Now, I don’t actually think that solution–any more than accepting the results of the Clusterfuck–is fair, though it does make for good legalese. The other proposed solutions, based on the fact that the MDP delegation allotments provide Hillary a much greater percentage of the delegates than her 55% vote total would dictate (for example, the allocation gave Hillary 80% of all alternate slots), are actually quite reasonable.

But the MDP and the DNC ignored it, in violation of their own rules.

Here’s the complaint and here are the rules on which it is based. I’ve seen a group of the notarized signatures to the petition. I won’t post those, since they include home addresses, but I will say at least one (I think two, actually) are officers in the 15th Congressional District Democratic Party, so this is not just a bunch of DFHs whning.

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31 replies
  1. WilliamOckham says:

    Are there two separate state party complaints or just one that will be heard twice?

      • BillE says:

        It was the R’s in Florida who set primary day ( they control legislature and gov. ) The Dems down there didn’t object very much though.

        • emptywheel says:

          Right, but that’s unrelated to this post.

          In MI, it is uncontested that the Dems led the push to move MI up, and that Gov Granholm had the opportunity to veto it and chose not to.

          And there’s the obvious difference that Obama wasn’t on the ballot in MI.

          Which is probably one of the reasons why there state plans are different.

  2. falasafa says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen a satisfactory explanation yet as to why FL and MI decided to hold their primaries when they did. Could it have been a decision calculated to nullify Clinton, I guess is what I’m wondering. Or what was the advantage? and are we sure it isn’t working out the way it was planned?

    • emptywheel says:

      It was definitely NOT a decision to nullify Clinton. Gov Granholm, who did not veto the bill moving the primary up, is a huge Hillary supporter, as is Mark Brewer, MDP Chair, Debbie Dingell, and Carl Levin, the others pushing for this.

      The biggest reason they moved up is bc Dingell and Levin have been in a pissing contest with the DNC for years about moving MI up.

      • emptywheel says:

        I don’t think one needs to assume MI’s leaders were that calculating when they moved the primary up–I actually don’t think they were.

        But I do know a few of them HAVE been that calculating since then, validating Hillary’s complaints about Hillary “winning” the MI “primary,” which has really soured things here.

        • randiego says:

          One of things we hate most about Bush/Republicans is that if they don’t like a rule or law, they either change it or ignore it. There’s no such thing as fair play or a level playing field.

          One would think that the Hillary camp would recognize this fundamental thing about what is supposed to separate us from the Republicans.

          I don’t know Obama well, but I DO get the sense that he would have the honor (or at least the smarts to not be a transparent hypocrite) to follow the damn rules!

            • randiego says:

              We’re getting it too, including rain. Technically speaking, it’s the trough of low pressure bringing it to you, but if you need me to take on responsibility, I can handle it.

              In other news, I leave next thursday for 2 weeks on a boat in Indonesia.

              • bmaz says:

                Heh, well you know I have been blaming you folks for a lot of narly weather lately….
                Boat trip sounds way cool, watch out for tsunamis and typhoons! You going to have any toobz with you?

                • randiego says:

                  I don’t think we’ll have any toobz… does a satellite phone count?

                  If I run across something, I’ll drop in and say hello from the other side of the world.

      • bmaz says:

        I think they were just jockeying for position and product placement with the sacred cows of Iowa and New Hampshire initially when this was done. Sometimes, things really are what they seem. Hey, don’t we have a fella around here who evinces that in his name or something?

  3. dosido says:

    Hey Marcy,

    is anyone planning to liveblog the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting on May 31st?

    • skdadl says:

      Holy mackerel. How many times did we hear Sara Taylor lauding Tim Griffin in that appalling appearance of hers before the SJC?

    • behindthefall says:

      Well, well. Small world. Same Griffin who was plugged into Arkansas as prosecutor as part of the DOJ USA purge, it turns out. The same one who ‘tearfully’ withdrew his nomination, saying that “public service is just not worth it”! The same slime-digging, self-proclaimed ‘bullet-maker’ who dug up old footage on Kerry, etc., etc.. What a busy life. Do they clone these clowns?

        • behindthefall says:

          OTOH, if they are making one clown-clone do double duty as USA and bullet-maker, maybe there aren’t that many of them. Maybe a lot of those heads moving around behind the earthworks over there are just hats being held up on sticks and moved around. If this is another Gilded Age, and the Repugs are the gilt, remember, gilt is vurry, vurry thin.

  4. Audrey says:

    This is why we need to take the party back. We had a similar situation here in Texas but it was about what would be included on the primary ballot. John Courage and Ronnie Earle traveled to attend only to discover the petitions had been rejected in subcommittee without ever being heard in committee in direct violation of the rules. BIG behind the scenes scruffle about it.

  5. Audrey says:

    It’s important to get this stuff out in the open. Good idea, IMO to have the Supers lose their vote. The parties responsible for this should pay a price, not the voters.

  6. bmaz says:

    From the AP via Atrios:

    Bush dealt defeat on Iraq bill

    Senate Republicans have broken with President Bush to help Democrats add help for veterans and the unemployed to a bill paying for another year of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

    The 75-22 vote also adds billions of dollars in other domestic funds such as heating subsidies for the poor and money for fighting wildfires to the $165 billion for the military operations overseas.

    The vote is a rebuke to Bush, who has promised to veto the measure if it contains the domestic measures. However, the president still has enough GOP support to sustain a veto.

    So let me get this straight. There were 75 votes to pass, but enough Goops will toe Bush’s line to sustain a veto? They are going to be for this before they were against it? In an election year? Really?

  7. garak says:

    Maybe I’m wrong, but this court opinion does not seem to be saying that the election itself was invalid. All it says is that

    Mich. Comp. Laws § 168.615c, which requires the Michigan Secretary of State to provide to the chairpersons of the two major political parties, but to no one else, a file containing all of the political party preference declarations of the persons who voted in the January 15, 2008 Michigan Presidential Primary

    deny third parties equal protection under the law. Here was the conclusion:

    The State is not required to provide the party preference information to any party. When it chooses to do so, however, it may not provide the information only to the major political parties.

    Now someone with an actual law degree tell me if I’m wrong, but this does not mean that the election itself was “invalid.”

  8. bmaz says:

    Oh Marcy – I am watching the late, late rerun of Dan Abrams. Your BFF Mikey Isikoff is pretty much rolling his eyes and laughing at Conyers and basically saying ain’t jack gonna happen to Rover and this is all much ado about nothing political puppet theater. It really pains me to agree with Iski, but….

    • Leen says:

      Isikoff a fair and balanced reporter. A premiere example of high quality journalism. (Choke) With journalist like this who needs Bush official spinners

    • emptywheel says:

      Was he saying that 1) Rove was never going to testify (I agree that he won’t testify before January 20, 2009, but who knows about after that)? or 2) Rove did nothing wrong?

      Both are possibilities, given that it’s Isikoff and given that Isikoff still melts every time he thinks of Rove.

      • bmaz says:

        I wasn’t paying that good of attention at first, so I am not positive of the whole effect; however, what I saw he was constantly evincing that dopey smirk where he is kind of rolling his eyes and was saying not either of your options, but just that nothing would come of this. It struck me more as a slam on Conyers and the Democratic committees. He sure wasn’t hammering Rover, that is for sure, because part of the eye rolling was during the times Siegalman was talking. Iski (I think it was him) was talking about how they (Congress) had been through this with Miers etc and nothing was happening. Abrams would press the subject, but Iski just stuck to the “nuthins gonna happen” tact. Sorry, wish I had paid better attention, but it was pretty late.

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