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Letter to National Executive Committee from the Ohio Executive Committee- A short history of the Nevada Independent American Party (IAP) situation

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Nevada Disaffiliation Archives

March 9, 2005

Mr. Jim Clymer, Chairman

Constitution Party

11111 place place

Anywhere, USSA 8052480

Mr. Michael Peroutka

Constitution Party Presidential Candidate

Mr. William Shearer, Chairman Emeritus

Constitution Party

Mr. Howard Phillips, past Presidential candidate

US Taxpayers Party, Constitution Party

Dear Constitution Party officials:

Recently the National Committee of the Constitution Party met in Nashville, Tennessee.  An issue was debated during that meeting, and a decision made, which could have significant long term consequences for the future stability of the party.

The Constitution Party of Ohio, whose delegation to the National Committee represented the views and opinions of the officers and members of the Constitution Party of Ohio, is very concerned regarding the outcome of the discussion of this issue, and would like to share with you a number of observations and suggestions relative to this issue.

With that, please read the following information with the understanding that our intent is to encourage the upholding of the principles which give the Constitution Party its definitive nature.

History and background

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one People (political party) to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth (or major parties), the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God (the Bible) entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.” ~Declaration of Independence, paragraph one

Throughout its history, the Constitution Party (formerly US Taxpayers Party) has declared clearly and concisely that the overarching cause impelling this one People (members of the CP) to “the Separation” with (mainly) the Republican Party and (secondarily) the Libertarians is the issue of the sanctity of life. That cause, based squarely on the foundation of the Laws of Nature’s God, the Holy Scriptures, has been one that sets apart the Constitution Party as, and has been stated as a theme for the Constitution Party, the ONLY 100% “Pro-life” political party in the United States.

This cause, this principle, has been a cornerstone on which the building of the CP has taken place. As all of the other political parties in America either reject outright this foundational principle, or have paid lipservice to the same while winking and nodding to those in favor with that party who have the blood of innocents on their hands and their consciences, good men and women have dissolved those Political Bands with those apostate and murderous Powers of the Earth. The resulting exodus gave birth to the US Taxpayers Party, now known as the Constitution Party.

The national Constitution Party’s own governing Constitution, in Article IID, states in part that the purpose of the Party is to “Promote allegiance to the principles and objectives of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America….the Declaration of Independence occupies a primary and defining relationship to and equality with the Constitution of the United States…” The Declaration of Independence, of which the Party has been formed and organized to promote allegiance to, states in part: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…”

The bylaws of the national Constitution Party have been set forth and speak to both the structure of the national party, and of the affiliation of state parties under the banner of the national Constitution Party. Article II of the Bylaws, section 2.2, states in part that “The National Committee shall have the power to grant state affiliate status by majority vote and to revoke state affiliate status by no less than two-thirds (2/3) vote of the entire committee registered at the meeting.” Paragraph 2 of this section states that the granting of state affiliate status shall be based upon “a determination of preliminary qualifications upon finding that the state party or organization has: a. Pledged an adherence to the Constitution Party platform….”

In a statement of principle and belief known as a party platform, the Constitution Party has consistently put at the forefront not only the acknowledgement of Almighty God, but also the acknowledgement of His justice to all created life. This platform’s plank dealing with life states in part: “We affirm the God given legal personhood of all unborn human beings, without exception. As to matters of rape and incest, it is unconscionable to take the life of an innocent child for the crimes of his father.”

Furthermore, this strong statement of belief was further expanded when in 1998, the language of the “San Antonio Resolution” was adopted at the National Committee meeting of the Constitution Party. The salient passage states: “Be it therefore Resolved, The U.S. Taxpayers Party National Committee shall not endorse or distribute, allocate, contribute to or solicit funds for, or support in any way whatsoever, any candidate who does not pledge and act to defend and promote the inviolable right to life of innocent human beings, from the moment of conception to natural death-without exception.”

The current situation

In 2004, an issue that had been developing over an extended period of time came to the forefront of the business of the Constitution Party National Committee meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. Propelled by the offering of a resolution to address the situation, delegates made determinations which will have long-term implications for the health and growth of the Constitution Party and its state affiliates.

The issue is that of state affiliate leaders and candidates specifically and vocally denying their responsibility to adhere to the Party’s platform plank on the sanctity of life. In a series of exchanges, there has been clear and convincing evidence of at least one state party Chairman advocating abortion for such reasons up to and including “severe fetal deformity.” This chairman has also stood for office under the banner of that state’s CP affiliate. Other individuals, running under the banner of the state affiliates of the Constitution Party, have indicated their allowance of exceptions to the sanctity of life issue in their responses to candidate questionnaires. It is understood that each of these state affiliates, in order to become and remain a CP affiliate state political party, has pledged adherence to the CP platform.

Given the dichotomy that currently exists between thought and action in this situation, a number of members of the CP have sought to bring forth a resolution establishing clear procedural guidelines to address the situation. An analysis of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Constitution Party reveals that there exists no just, clear or objective mechanism to investigate and process the veracity of such situations, or a means of establishing the record of violation to move toward action of disaffiliation by the two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the National Committee.

This “Lefemine Resolution,” named after sponsor and former CP South Carolina officer and candidate for public office Steve Lefemine, stated as its intention to create a mechanism for party disciplinary action against a state affiliate, officer or candidate who will not pledge adherence to the Sanctity of Life plank of the Platform. Lefemine’s resolution is conscious of the ethical and philosophical, as well as operational dichotomy of the current problem, or as has been stated succinctly, “The CP National cannot honestly continue to claim to be 100% pro-life while failing to discipline state leaders or candidates that advocate abortion.” Even the CP’s presidential candidate, Michael Anthony Peroutka, understands the difficulty that having state affiliates running contrary to the party’s Platform creates for a national candidate or campaign that does stand firmly upon the 100% pro-life plank, and he offered words to that effect, given to the supporters of the resolution.

An analysis of the events of the meeting has been offered by Cal Zastrow, one of the supporters of the resolution.  We will not expand on the events at this time. It is vital to note some observations:

1. This resolution did not call for the immediate disaffiliation of any state party or officer; in keeping with Biblical justice and principles of correcting error, a mechanism in keeping with Matthew 18 was to be instituted, under the control and oversight of the national chairman.

2. There was nothing in the resolution that would violate (or sought to violate) the principle of states’ rights. Each state may set its own standards, and the resolution did not change this. However, to be an affiliate of the national Constitution Party, a state must, as has been spelled out in the Constitution and Bylaws, adhere to the party platform. The Sanctity of Life plank of the Platform is the only plank in which the “no exceptions” clause is stated. It is the only plank of the platform to which total adherence is vital to the party’s identity.

3. A state party, its officers, or candidates would have full opportunity to respond to the concern, and a resolution of the matter would take place within a reasonable time frame.

4. The matter would not be left up to the decision of one person (the national chairman) or to the debating abilities of certain members of the party (those not either part of the problem or part of the proposed committee to investigate the claims). This would ensure just decision-making, keeping principle and truth at the forefront, and setting aside personalities, emotional appeals, or mischaracterizations of the situation to be widely broadcast either at the National Committee meetings or through other channels.

Unfortunately, much disinformation, mischaracterization, character attacks and appeals to fear and emotionalism marked the “debate” on the proposed resolution. Never addressed was the actual logic of the matter, the mechanics of the resolution, or the admission of the need for there to be limited national standards for CP affiliated officers and candidates.

Noted elsewhere, Bill Shearer (the former CP National chairman) loudly, angrily referred to those who brought forth this resolution as: “thought police,” members of the “Hitler youth movement” and guilty of “travesty of the worst order,” “shameful,” and other similar things.  However, Mr. Shearer must have forgotten the logic of his own words, which he wrote in May of 2004 in the California Statesman (regarding the platform plank on “religious freedom”) that “Their (the Founding Fathers’) principles are affirmed in the ‘Religious freedom’ plank of the Constitution Party platform. It would be difficult to be “The Constitution Party” and not adhere to the fundamental precepts of that document (the Constitution of the United States with Amendments).” If so with the religious freedom plank, even more so with the Sanctity of Life plank, developed directly from the Declaration of Independence’s claim of the truth of the inalienable right to Life, the same Declaration to which our party Constitution recognizes primacy over even the said Constitution of the United States!

Nashville and beyond

The resolution itself was turned down by a vote of 14-44. What remains turned up however is the realization that there is a potential crossroads of which the Constitution Party must decide which fork to follow. The irresolution of the matter has created unnecessary rancor, confusion and delay among the members, and has harmed the objectives of the Constitution Party. A continued attack upon the character and intentions of those supporting the resolution is now seeing print from one of the state affiliate parties, which was not directly under the question which led to the resolution. Such distortions and vitriol have NO PLACE in a party of principle and character.

Should the national chairman or the national executive committee fail to actively address the immediate situation of the adherence to the life plank, and begin a dialogue on the underlying problems of the party which has been laid bare by the debate, there will be more direct efforts to call for principle to take precedent over politics.

If numbers are the ultimate goal of the Constitution Party, then greater compromise of the party’s Constitution, Bylaws, platform and standards will become commonplace.  In the paraphrased words of Zell Miller, the Constitution Party will cease to be a national party unless and until we self-consciously embrace our stated Biblical foundations and hold to a consistent and principled ethic of life and truth.

Anything less would be a denial of our stated beliefs, and marks the CP as being truly no different from the “Powers of the Earth” from which we severed the “Political Bands” that held us captive. If acknowledgement of and submission to God and our Lord Jesus Christ is our standard, then He who is sovereign over all will give the necessary increase, or will use the Constitution Party as a Gideon’s band or a David and his faithful men to achieve God’s purpose, advance His standards in the public arena, and turn our nation to Him.

May God grant us the wisdom and the courage to do what is principled and right, not what is pragmatic and “right now.”

Respectfully submitted,

James Burkhamer, Chairman

Constitution Party of Ohio

Dr. Patrick Johnston, Vice-Chairman

Constitution Party of Ohio

Charles Michaelis, Secretary

Constitution Party of Ohio

Beverly Bressler, Treasurer

Constitution Party of Ohio

Nathan Radcliffe, Executive Committee member

Constitution Party of Ohio

Barry Sheets, Executive Committee member

Constitution Party of Ohio

Bruce Purdy, Chaplain

Constitution Party of Ohio

Joseph Rogers, delegate to the National Committee

Constitution Party of Ohio

Series NavigationIntroduction and Analysis of the Situation

Posted in Ohio Constitution Party Archives.