My friend Tom Seeman sent me the following account of his evening with the Loudoun County Democrats and gave me permission to post his synopsis. It brought up a lot of questions on whether the Loudoun Democrats were following their own by-laws or trying to hide something?
Feel free to comment:
“Last night I thrown out of a meeting of the Loudoun Democrats! That’s right, I went to a meeting of the Loudoun County Democrat Committee (LCDC) and was asked to leave by Chairman Evan MacBeth. Apparently I’m such a threat they’re afraid l’ll steal all their “secrets.” Note that this was not a meeting of their Executive Committee, but a full meeting of the LCDC at the Ashburn Fire House on Thursday, July 12, 7pm.
What happened was that about 20-25 minutes into the meeting, after formalities and a series of “two minute rants” their chairman called for an “executive meeting” and said that all non-LCDC and non-Democrats had to leave. He had told me he was going to do it right before the meeting started so it wasn’t unexpected, but it was still more than a little off-putting. Of course I got up and left without a fuss. I was the only one who left.
It seemed clear to me that this business of an “executive meeting” was a plan they hatched after I went to their Feb 2 meeting as a means of keeping me from reporting on this one. Yes; I admit I took notes at the February meeting and forwarded them to the leadership of the Loudoun Republicans. If their meetings are open to the public, as I assumed they were, then there is or should be nothing that forbids taking notes.
As with my presence at their February meeting, my presence there last night created something of a sensation. In February Chairman MacBeth called me out at the start of the meeting, introducing me to everyone as “our friend from the Loudoun Republicans,” this to applause from the audience. Last night he asked me to come up and lead them in the pledge of allegiance, introducing me as the “LCRC First Vice Chair!”…and yes I corrected him. At both meetings I was recognized by many people, many of whom made a point of speaking to me and were really quite nice.
Which is exactly why the behavior of their chairman in having me removed is so disturbing and perplexing. Apparently I am such a threat to the Loudoun Democrats that I cannot be allowed to observe their meetings. Please note that at the Feb 2 meeting, and at last night’s meeting, I sat quietly and did not speak during the meeting except those times when the chairman addressed me directly.
Section C Paragraph 11 of the bylaws of the Loudoun County Republican Committee clearly state that
11. All County Committee meetings shall be held in a building appropriate for public use and shall be open to the public.
I see nothing in our bylaws which allow for any sort of “executive meeting” or private or secret meeting. I have been a member of the LCRC since 2007 and have never seen any secret or private meetings of the full committee nor have I heard anyone mention such a thing.
The Loudoun Democrats have their bylaws posted on their website. Article IV Section 4 states
Section 4. All regular and special meetings of the LCDC shall be open to the public for observation. The time and place of all meetings of the LCDC shall be publicized fully and in such manner as to assure timely notice (at least seven (7) days before said meeting date) to all interested persons. Such meetings shall be held in places easily accessible to all Democrats and large enough to accommodate all interested persons.
I see no provision for a special “executive meeting” whereby non-Democrats and/or non-LCDC members may be asked to leave. Perhaps Chairman MacBeth would be good enough to explain his legal reasoning and point to the section of their bylaws justifying his “executive meeting.” -Tom Seeman
Kudos to Tom for sharing!