Minutes of the America First National Committee
Monday, May 6, 2002
BE IT REMEMBERED that the America First National Committee met on Monday, May 6, 2002 at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, pursuant to the call issued by the Chairman and Secretary as provided for in the rules of the party.
The meeting was called to order by Mr. Charles at 9:06 p.m.
The Secretary called the roll of National Committee members:
- John Verser and Allan Hampton of Arkansas
- Marcel Dietze and Wanda Weatherford of Colorado
- O. Gene Lovell, Diane Lovell, and Phil Anderson of Georgia
- David Doyle of Iowa
- Guadalupe Lynch of Illinois
- Ryan Walters of Mississippi
- Francis Winters of New Hampshire
- James Edwards and James D. Jones of Tennessee
- Dan Charles of Colorado, Treasurer
- John Pittman Hey of Mississippi, Secretary
- Billie Deeter of Arkansas
- Jay Gardner of Iowa
- John Wassenaar and Maureen McHugh of Illinois
- Phillip Carnaggio and Trey Golmon of Mississippi
- Jean Martha Groves and Ted Maravelias of New Hampshire
John Fey of Tennessee and Patrick Dolan of Colorado joined the meeting after its call to order.
Romelle Winters, Public Relations Chairman, and other invited guests also attended the meeting as observers.
The National Committee meeting was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance. The Secretary delivered the invocation.
Mr. Hey presented the Certified List of National Committee members, as adopted at the April 20, 2002 meeting of the National Committee:
- Patrick Dolan, Marcel Dietze, and Wanda Weatherford of Colorado
- O. Gene Lovell, Dianne Lovell, and Phil Anderson of Georgia
- David Doyle and Jay Gardner of Iowa
- John Wassenaar, Guadalupe Lynch, and Maureen McHugh of Illinois
- Ryan Walters, Trey Golmon, and Phillip Carnaggio of Mississippi
- James Edwards, John Fey, and James D. Jones of Tennessee
- John Verser, Billie Deeter, and Allan Hampton of Arkansas
- Francis Winters, Jean Martha Groves, and Ted Maravelias of New Hampshire
- Dan Charles of Colorado, Chairman and Treasurer
- John Pittman Hey of Mississippi, Secretary
Mr. Hey moved the adoption of the Certified List of National Committee Members. His motion was seconded by Mrs. Lynch, and approved by unanimous vote.
Mr. Lovell moved that the previously circulated agenda be adopted. His motion was seconded by Mr. Doyle, and adopted by unanimous vote.
The Chairman delivered his report. He described the positive press attention that the party has received and the hundreds of contacts from interested persons.
The Secretary delivered his report. He described work on the party's web site, as well as the processing of hundreds of email contacts to the party. In all, persons from 34 states have contacted the party during the past two weeks via the party web site, and these contacts have been forwarded to their respective state party leaders. In addition, the Secretary reported work with various persons interested in starting state party organizations to affiliate with the America First Party.
The Secretary moved that the committee approve the minutes of the Party Founding Meeting which he had previously circulated. Mr. Lovell seconded the motion, and it was approved by unanimous vote.
The Secretary moved that the committee approve the minutes of the April 20, 2002 National Committee Meeting. Mr. Edwards seconded the motion, and it was approved by unanimous vote.
Mr. Lovell brought to the attention of the committee the need for help creating web sites for the state party organizations. The Chairman commented that, ultimately, each state should secure its own web-master to maintain its state site. The Secretary stated that all the state party subdomain names are already working, each pointing to either a state contact page or the state party web site. The Secretary announced he would issue a notice to state party leaders to provide feedback on items to include in a "cookie cutter" state party web site.
The Treasurer gave his report. The FEC has accepted the party's filing and the America First National Committee has been recognized. So far, $625 in donations has been received by the Treasurer, which he will deposit as soon as the EIN number is received from the IRS and the bank account is opened.
Mrs. Winters delivered the Public Relations Committee report, which focused on the good press the party has already received from the American Free Press and the WorldNetDaily internet news site. Plans were discussed to issue more press releases.
Mr. Hey delivered the Rules Committee report. In response to concern about misuse of the party reflectors, a set of rules governing behavior and usage of the reflectors was proposed and circulated to the national committee members. Mr. Hey moved that the rules be adopted. Mr. Jones seconded the motion.
Mr. Lovell moved to amend the proposed rules to strike a paragraph which prohibited "mere acknowledgments of other messages which do not advance the discussion." Mr. Doyle seconded the motion.
Mr. Lovell argued that mere expressions of agreement with proposed ideas may nevertheless help focus and direct the discussion by encouraging the maker of the proposal to further develop a nascent idea.
The amendment was adopted by unanimous vote.
A good deal of discussion was had regarding the critical need to avoid the extreme nastiness and disruption that has been experienced in other political parties. Mr. Hampton objected that party members should have the absolute right to free speech on the party reflectors.
Mr. Hey pointed out that the First Amendment prohibits government restriction of free speech, but that political parties, and indeed any voluntary organization, has the right to restrict the use of its forums and meetings. He argued that the party should adopt rules which require that its reflectors be used to promote and advance the party. Party members do not have a "right" to use party facilities for conduct that is injurious to the party's goals and activities.
The motion to adopt the proposed rules, as amended, was adopted by all members casting votes in the affirmative except Mr. Hampton, who cast the lone dissenting vote. The Rules for Reflectors as adopted are attached as Appendix "A" to these minutes.
The Chairman nominated Mr. Doyle to serve as moderator of the AmFirstLeaders party reflector. The nomination was seconded by Mrs. Weatherford.
Mr. Lovell and Mr. Dietze moved to close nominations. Nominations were closed, and Mr. Doyle was elected reflector moderator by unanimous vote.
Mr. Doyle had previously circulated a proposed resolution regarding proper behavior on the party reflectors. He withdrew his proposal based upon the adoption of the more comprehensive set of rules governing usage of the party reflectors.
Mr. Jones moved that the national committee create a Party Building Committee. Mr. Fey seconded his motion.
A discussion was had regarding the importance of following up on the numerous contacts by persons interested in joining the party. The Secretary stated that he was collecting all contacts and distributing them as appropriate. The need for regional party building coordinators for those states that do not yet have an affiliated state party was discussed. The Secretary stated that all prospects would be logged into a party building database, with regular reports and a follow-up plan to be implemented as soon as one is developed by the Party Building Committee.
The resolution to create a Party Building Committee was adopted by unanimous vote.
Mr. Dolan moved that the Chairman be permitted to appoint a chairman for Party Building at his discretion. Mr. Fey seconded the motion, which was approved by unanimous vote.
The committee discussed the need to begin work on a party platform for adoption at the founding convention. A reflector will be created for the circulation of proposed planks and general discussion of the proposed platform.
Mr. Jones delivered the Convention Committee report. He reported that the first week in August is the targeted date, and two cities are currently under consideration. A contract will be forthcoming from one site location, and a proposal should be ready to submit to the National Committee shortly.
Mr. Hampton moved to amend the Founding Principles by striking the section "Encourage the Traditional Values of Faith, Family, and Responsibility" in its entirety. Mr. Hampton argued that these items were inappropriate areas of concern for a political party, which should be focused only upon supporting the United States Constitution. Mr. Hampton's motion died for lack of a second.
Mr. Hampton moved to amend the Founding Principles by striking the paragraph which reads "Recognize the Judeo-Christian heritage of our shared values". Mr. Hampton's motion died for lack of a second.
The Chairman briefly discussed plans to prepare various literature and pamphlets commending the America First Party to the public, explaining why individuals should join the party, and outlining the comparative advantages of the America First Party in relation to other political organizations.
There being no further business, upon motion made by Mr. Hey, seconded by Mr. Lovell, and adopted by unanimous vote, the Chairman declared the meeting adjourned.
John Pittman Hey
America First National Committee
Rules for Reflectors
- Each Reflector will have a moderator.
- The Moderator will be elected by majority vote of the National Committee.
- The Moderator may be removed by majority vote of the National Committee.
- Between meetings of the National Committee, the Officers may appoint moderators to fill vacancies, but such appointments shall last only until the next meeting of the National Committee.
- No person shall be permitted to serve as moderator on more than three reflectors.
- The Moderator shall be responsible for membership management and enforcement of these rules.
- Each reflector or mailing list will have a stated purpose, approved by motion of the National Committee.
- Use of the reflectors is encouraged for the following purposes:
- Positive news about the America First Party.
- Constructive ideas for building the party and promoting its platform.
- Information about how the Republican and Democrat establishment are destroying America.
- Announcements of general interest to America Firsters.
- Success stories from state party organizations and candidates.
- Reports of America First Party member grassroots activism.
- Discussion and debate on the merits of ideas.
- The following activities are not permitted:
- False information about anybody, but especially other America Firsters.
- Sniping and clever retorts whose purpose is to hurt feelings and "get goats".
- Personal attacks or name calling or attacks based on race, religion, or gender.
- Discussions that are not relevant to the America First Party or the purpose of the reflector.
- Conduct which is disruptive to the purpose of the reflector.
- Cross-posting messages.
- Misuse of the reflectors shall carry the following ever increasing penalties:
- A warning will be issued to the user.
- Following a second warning, the user will be moderated for 2 weeks, and impermissible messages will be rejected.
- Following a third warning, the user will be removed from the reflector for 1 month.
- Following a fourth warning, the user will be permanently removed.
- To be a member of any reflector, a person must be a member of an affiliated America First State Party Organization, or where none exists, a member of an organizing committee for such State Party Organization.
- There will be a reflector for state and party leaders. There will also be reflectors for specific committees. Members who qualify cannot be removed from those reflectors but may be moderated.