Chp. 1: Birth of a Resolution
Inspiration: Early April – One of the authors is inspired to write a Resolution to denounce money’s corrupt influence because it was not being addressed by the Democratic Party (There was one, however, about requesting congressional representatives to “immediately pursue … an independent commission to investigate Russian intervention in the American democratic process…”)
The Feel the Bern Resolution is Born: April 23- The Club publicly endorsed the Resolution to denounce money in politics and approves, by request of a member, $250 toward making necessary photocopies for a possible floor fight at the convention if the committee rejects it. It was even talked about on the Jimmy Dore Show (watch video below). No doubt word got back to the Party about possible plans.
Nearly 200 signatures are gathered: April 23– May 10 – Club gets nearly 200 delegate signatures, including from Congressman Ro Khanna and Christine Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi’s daughter. (Watch our Facebook interview with Congressman Ro Khanna at the convention.)
Chp 2. The Democratic Party Gets Nervous – Pressure to Withdraw
Pressure to withdraw from Lenore Albert: Wed, May 17- 2 days before the state convention, one of the authors received a message from Lenore Albert (running for Chair of the party) on Facebook, advising that the Feel the Bern Resolution be withdrawn as per party Chair John Burton.
Albert continued: “What I’m asking is instead of being heard during this convention, we wait for the new administration to be put in place and then we circulate so all of the delegates can weigh in on it when we travel with the Finance Committee next year. This is John Burton’s plan. If you’re not on board with it, the current Resolutions committee will decide on it. I guess I should also state that.”
Pressure to Withdraw from Christine Pelosi, who removes her name: Thurs. May 18: After a series of emails go out to the signers of the Resolution as well as a video about the resolution, the Feel the Bern Club got an email from Christine Pelosi, claiming she never signed the Resolution. (See “Chp. 1: Birth of a Resolution.”)
- Note: This resolution in no way precluded others from being submitted or approved. In fact, it only strengthens other ones. Indeed, this resolution sets the stage for any future resolutions in other states and nationally at the DNC.
Pressure to withdraw from Kimberly Ellis Campaign: Friday, May 20, a few hours before the Resolutions Committee hearing, Karen Bernal of the Kimberly Ellis camp, left a message for the authors, letting them know that the Ellis campaign wanted the authors to agree to send it to the finance committee to “analyze the financial impact and how to make it feasible”, with the idea being that Bernie folks might eventually join the finance committee and have input.
All Money out of Politics resolution writers got pressure to withdraw: For example, the Riverside County Young Dems wrote a resolution called “Reducing the Influence of Corporate and PAC Money in the CDP”. The author had also been called and also told to withdraw. That resolution had been deemed out of order, but after talking with him at the Resolutions Committee meeting, the committee changed its designation.
Chp. 3: Killing the Feel the Bern Resolution
May 19, 4:30pm – Without negotiating with the committee or committing to any withdrawal, the authors prepared to testify to the Resolution at the convention When they arrived at the Resolutions Committee, they noticed on the agenda that the Resolutions Committee had already designated it “out of order.” Other Resolution writers had been consulted and had already had the opportunity to re-work their resolutions; ours had not been given that chance before.
If a Resolution is out of order, there is no way, according to the Bylaws, to take it to an entire delegation floor vote. This was Party’s way of making sure the entire Delegation would never be able to vote on it.
So why did they claim it out of order?
Chair John Hanna never “explicitly” cited why his committee had designated the Resolution ‘out of order’, except that “it implicitly and explicitly” mandated the finances of politicians, which was not true. Watch video to decipher.
Note: This Resolution was not about the spending of party’s finances, which would have made it out of order. Rather, it was about corporations financing the Party and its members, and whether or not it’s ethical for our party members to be accepting them. Doing so violates the Party’s platform, according to the resolution. The resolution in no way “restricts spending by the CDP” as per the Rules (Section IV; see below), as the Chair claimed.
- must refer to the California Democratic Party.
- must not call for action by a local Democratic organization or county Democratic central committee.
- must be statements of principles.
- not reference specific bill numbers or legislation. A resolution that references specific legislation will normally be returned to the sponsor contact to be rewritten as a statement of principle.
- not support, oppose or recommend a neutral position on a ballot measure is necessary and none will be considered.
- not call for a change in the CDP Bylaws or platform; nor state the endorsement of, support of a candidate for public office, nor opposition to a candidate who is a registered Democrat;
- not mandate or restrict the spending of money by the CDP (CA Dem. Party).
Complete Gibberish from Chair John Hanna – Summary of Testimony
Watch complete video footage of the gibberish from the chair John Hanna as he explains why his committee ruled the resolution out of order.
During the testimony, one co-author explained why this Resolution was urgent: because the party needs to regain the trust of the American People by committing to this resolution and following its own platform since the Party
- is losing members fast, citing a Gallup Poll 31% of voters identified themselves as Democrats before the General Election but 28% as of May 2017
- has lost the Congress and the White House to Republicans
- has recently admitted in court that they rigged the primary in favor of Hillary Clinton
The Chair’s response: CA is doing just fine with Democrats in high office and so there’s no urgency.
The other co-author insisted that the Resolution no way violated the Bylaws (i.e.: does not restrict or mandate the spending of CDP money), and therefore should not be even deemed “out of order”. The chair cut off the time and never answered why they weren’t given the chance to amend the language with the committee’s input.
Chp. 4: Prologue
- The Feel the Bern Resolution writers never engaged in negotiations with the Resolutions Committee, nor were they contacted by members of the committee directly to make amendments ahead of the hearing – not even former Bernie Sanders delegate Daraka Larimore-Hall, who serves on that committee.
- The Resolutions Committee was obviously nervous about letting resolutions see the light of day on the Convention floor. On one resolution, the Chair made the authors promise, if the committee were to change its designation as “amended”, they would not take bring it to the floor. Only resolutions designated as “amended, defeated, tabled, postponed, referred, re-written, merged, substituted or not prioritized” can be brought to the full delegation for a vote.
- The Feel the Bern Resolution writers were told it should be referred to the financial committee for some kind of analysis and to supposedly make the resolution palatable. The fact is, if the Committee wanted to change its designation after hearing from the authors, they could have, just as they did with other resolutions. Resolutions are statements of support. They are not biding rules. The committee knew the only way to keep it from a vote of all the delegates at the convention on Sunday was if it was designated “out of order,” and if they kept it that way. They were not open to any discussion with the authors.
- All red herrings: The reasoning about taking it to the rules committee or the finances committee, or waiting for the future chair of the Party to assign different chairs to committees who may or may not be sympathetic to this topic, or getting more input from others, are all red herrings to make the authors withdraw the Resolution.