Bylaws of the Boston Tea Party

Bylaws of the Boston Tea Party
Adopted in Convention, August 21st, 2006

ARTICLE 1: NAME

These articles shall govern the association known as the "Boston Tea Party," hereinafter referred to as the "Party."

ARTICLE 2: PERIOD OF DURATION

The duration of the Party shall be perpetual.

ARTICLE 3: PURPOSES

The purposes of the Boston Tea Party are: To empower lovers of freedom to reduce the size, scope and power of government through various means, including but not limited to: Nominating and/or endorsing candidates for election and appointment to public office; affecting public policy through information, education and advocacy campaigns; and supporting the diverse and important work of the individuals and organizations comprising the libertarian movement.

ARTICLE 4: PLATFORM

a) The Party's platform is as follows:

The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.

b) Notwithstanding any other or subsequent provisions for amendment to these bylaws, the Party's platform, and the entirety of this article, shall be perpetual and unmodifiable.

c) Notwithstanding various election laws which compel the acceptance of candidates on a particular party's ballot line, the Party does not and shall not endorse or voluntarily materially support any candidate for election or appointment to any public office who has not endorsed the Party's platform. The National Committee shall have the authority to publicly repudiate, and if possible remove from the Party's ballot line, any candidate whose name appears on the Party's ballot line in any jurisdiction, who declines to endorse the platform or whose policy positions are repugnant to the platform.

ARTICLE 5: PROGRAM

a) The Party's program shall be adopted biennially in convention in even-numbered years in synchronicity with the election cycle of elections to the US House of Representatives and shall expire with the adoption of the subsequent program.

b) The program shall consist of no more than five specific policy recommendations relevant to the election cycle for which it is adopted.

ARTICLE 6: MEMBERSHIP

a) Members of the Party shall be those persons who have certified in writing or via electronic registration that they support the Party's platform.

b) No dues or other payment shall be required for membership in the Party.

ARTICLE 7: AFFILIATE PARTIES

a) The National Committee may recognize, and accept affiliation with the Party of, new or previously existing state or local political parties. Such recognition shall be predicated upon the unanimous consent of the National Committee and upon adoption by the prospective affiliate of the Party's platform and acceptance by the prospective affiliate of the obligation to run the Party's presidential and vice-presidential candidates, nominated in convention, as its own candidates for those offices on its ballot line.

b) The National Committee may disaffiliate an affiliated state or local political party only upon:

1. Written statement of cause, defined only as repudiation or betrayal of the Party's platform or program, denial of its ballot line to the Party's presidential and/or vice-presidential candidate, or irremediable fraud or corruption in the affiliate's organization. Said statement shall include particulars and supporting evidence, and shall be provided to the affiliate party's chair at least 30 days prior to the National Committee's action to disaffiliate.

2. Unanimous consent of the National Committee.

3. Publication of the Committee's action to the membership via its web site and/or electronic mailing lists, within 72 hours of the action.

c) Any decision of the National Committee with respect to affiliation or disaffiliation may be appealed to the Party's membership by the actual or prospective affiliate party as follows:

1. Said appeal must be directed to the National Committee within 30 days of the Committee's action, from the chair or another officer of the actual or prospective affiliate party or by 10 or more members of that party.

2. Within 72 hours of receipt of the appeal, the National Committee shall publish notice of the appeal to the Party's membership via its web site and/or electronic mailings lists, and shall include notification of and information on accessing the poll described in section 3 of this article.

3. The National Committee shall open an electronic poll of the membership, said poll to remain open for 30 days and to include the options of sustaining or overturning the Committee's action.

4. The National Committee's action shall be overturned by a vote of 2/3 or more among voting members.

ARTICLE 8: OFFICERS

a) The officers of the Party shall include a Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary. Officers shall be members of the Party.

b) Prior to the Party's organizational convention, interim officers shall be appointed by the Party's founder.

c) Prior to the beginning of the Party's organizational convention, and on January 1st of the year of each subsequent regular national convention, notice of elections to these offices shall be published on the Party's web site and nominations shall be opened, to be made through the appended comments form. All candidates who are nominated by two or more members of the Party, and who accept the nomination (also through the comments form) prior to the opening of the convention shall be listed on a poll on the Party's web site as soon as practicable after the opening of the convention, with one poll for each office to be filled. This poll shall include the option "None of the Above" (hereinafter referred to as "NOTA"). This poll shall run in 24-hour cycles. At the end of each cycle, if any candidate has polled a majority of voting members, he or she shall be declared the winner of the office. If no candidate has achieved a majority, and if NOTA has likewise not achieved a majority, the poll will be renewed with the candidate receiving the fewest votes on the previous iteration removed.

d) The officers so elected shall take office at the close of the convention and remain in office until the close of the following regular convention.

e) The Chair shall preside at all Party conventions and meetings of the National Committee and act as Chief Executive Officer of the Party subject to the direction of the National Committee. The Chair shall make, or appoint others to make, all official public statements on the Party's behalf, excepting when the National Committee or the membership in convention shall make, or appoint others to make, such statements.

f) The Vice-Chair shall assist the Chair and act as Chair Pro Tem in the Chair's absence or incapacity.

g) The Secretary shall act as the official recorder of the proceedings of the National Committee and national conventions. He or she shall maintain accurate minutes of all National Committee meetings. Each meeting's minutes shall be submitted for acceptance at the following meeting, and shall be published to the Party's web site in a timely manner upon their acceptance. National convention minutes shall be submitted to the National Committee within 30 days of each conventions close, and published to the Party's web site in a timely manner upon their acceptance by the National Committee, to be modified or removed in accordance with the actions of the subsequent convention.

h) The National Committee may, for cause specified in writing and including particulars, suspend any officer by unanimous consent of the entire National Committee excepting the officer whose suspension is under consideration. The suspended officer, or any Party member, may challenge the suspension by an appeal in writing or electronically transmitted to the chair within seven days of the Committee's action. Failure to appeal within seven days shall confirm the suspension and bar any later challenge or appeal. In the case of such appeal the Party's membership shall be polled on the question of whether to sustain or uphold the Committee's action to suspend. The poll shall remain open for 30 days, and the National Committee's action shall be overturned by a vote of 2/3 or more among voting members. If the Committee's action is not overturned, the office shall be deemed vacant and filled by the membership in a special election, the method of election being identical to that described in section (c) above, with the exception that nominations shall open within three days of the appeal outcome and remain open for three days, and that the member poll shall begin at the close of nominations and remain open for seven days.

ARTICLE 9: NATIONAL COMMITTEE

a) The National Committee shall have control and management of the affairs of the Party consistent with these bylaws. The Committee shall adopt rules of procedure for the conduct of its meetings and the carrying out of its duties and responsibilities. The Committee may delegate such tasks as it deems necessary to subcommittees or volunteer staff, to be composed entirely of Party members. Neither the Party nor the Committee shall claim or exercise ownership or control of any monies or physical assets with the exceptions of those outlined in Article 10 of these bylaws.

b) The National Committee shall be composed of seven members, including the officers referred to in Article 8 and four members elected at-large by the membership. National Committee members shall be a members of the Party.

c) Prior to the beginning of the Party's organizational convention, and on January 1st of the year of each subsequent regular convention, notice of the election of at-large National Committee members shall be published on the Party's web site and nominations shall be opened, to be made through the appended comments form. All candidates who are nominated by two or more members of the Party, and who accept nomination (also through the comments form) prior to the opening of the convention shall be listed on a poll on the Party's web site. The poll shall remain open throughout the convention and end with the convention's adjournment. The method of election shall be "approval voting" -- each voting Party member may cast votes for all nominees whom he or she deems acceptable, and the four nominees who poll the largest number of total votes shall be elected. In the event of a tie, all nominees to whom the tie is applicable shall submit to a random selection process chosen and administered by the chair, with the Vice-Chair and Secretary attesting to the fairness and honesty of results of said process.

d) The Committee Members so elected shall take office at the adjournment of the convention at which they are elected (or, in the event of one or more tie votes, the conclusion of any tie-breaking processes), and shall remain in office until the close of the following regular national convention.

e) The National Committee may, for cause specified in writing and including particulars, suspend any member by unanimous consent of the entire National Committee excepting the member whose suspension is under consideration. The suspended member, or any Party member, may challenge the suspension by an appeal in writing to the Party's membership within seven days of the Committee's action. Failure to appeal within seven days shall confirm the suspension and bar any later challenge or appeal. In the case of such appeal the Party's membership shall be polled on the question of whether to sustain or uphold the Committee's action to suspend. The poll shall remain open for 30 days, and National Committee's action shall be overturned by a vote of 2/3 or more among voting members. If the Committee's action is not overturned, the Committee member's position shall be deemed vacant and filled by the membership in a special election, the method of election being identical to that described in section (c) above, with the exception that nominations shall open within three days of the appeal outcome and remain open for three days, and that the member poll shall begin at the close of nominations and remain open for seven days.

f) The National Committee may, and in the usual course things shall, conduct its business via Internet. It shall be the affirmative obligation of the Committee to conduct its business in a manner consistent with transparency, openness to member and public input, and availability to the membership and the public of archives of its proceedings. The use of "executive session" shall be limited to discussion of actual litigation which the Committee has previously publicly affirmed its intention to undertake, or which it has previously publicly acknowledged its status as party to. The Committee shall establish its own rules of parliamentary procedure. The Chair shall appoint a parliamentarian, subject to confirmation of 4/7ths of the National Committee, and who may or may not be a member of the Committee (but must be a member of the Party), to advise the Committee on parliamentary matters in accordance with the Committee's established rules or, where no rule is applicable, in accordance with the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order.

g) A majority of the membership of the National Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business; in proceedings conducted via the Internet, the existence of a quorum shall be assumed on each issue of discussion unless the existence of a quorum is questioned by a member of the Committee, in which case the chair shall call for a public affirmation of the "presence"/participation of each member in the proceedings.

h) Any action of the National Committee may be appealed by Party members comprising 5% or more of the membership, said appeal to be transmitted or called to the attention of both the Chair and the Secretary. In the case of such appeal, the appeal shall be published to the Party's web site and the Party's membership shall be polled on the question of whether to sustain or uphold the Committee's action to suspend. The poll shall open within 10 days of the appeal's publication, and shall remain open for 10 days. The National Committee's action shall be overturned by a vote of 2/3 or more among voting members.

ARTICLE 10: MONIES AND PHYSICAL ASSETS

a) The Party and/or National Committee shall not maintain a bank account or treasury, solicit or accept financial contributions, or make expenditures for any purpose, except as provided for in this article.

b) The Party's web site shall be located at www.bostontea.us and at such other domains as any person may choose to direct to that URL, and shall be owned and maintained by the Party's founder. For the consideration of $1 and service fees to be limited by subsequent sections of this article, donated to the Party by the founder and disbursed to himself in payment in his role as founder prior to the appointment of interim officers, the founder has agreed to lease the domain www.bostontea.us to the Party for 99 years commencing July 4th, 2006 and to, within the constraints of his ability, operate the Party's site at that domain under the direction of, and in accordance with the policies of, the National Committee.

c) The National Committee may, at its discretion and with the founder's agreement, solicit in-kind contributions to be directed to the founder to provide site administration and maintenance (including but not limited to domain name registration and renewal, hosting, bandwidth and technical support costs).

d) The National Committee may, at its discretion, undertake additional solicitation of in-kind contributions to the founder or other individuals or organizations to provide for other Internet services for the good and benefit of the Party.

e) Under no circumstances shall the National Committee solicit, accept or spend financial or in-kind contributions which in total exceed the amount, less one dollar, which would require the National Committee or the Party to register with or report to the Federal Elections Commission. The record of the Party's revenues and expenditures shall be maintained by the Secretary in the National Committee's minutes and the Secretary shall notify the National Committee when and if the Party's total revenues and/or expenditures reach half that figure, and afterward at such times as may be necessary for keeping the National Committee informed of its status in relation to this section.

f) The National Committee shall not request, promote, solicit; conspire to request, promote, solicit; or in any way, shape, manner or form accept any connection with or any responsibility for independent expenditures made on its behalf or contributions made to those engaging in such expenditures. This section shall in no way be construed to forbid any Party member or member or officer of the National Committee, from making independent expenditures in the interest of promoting or advancing the Party's interests.

ARTICLE 11: CONVENTIONS

a) The Party shall hold a regular Convention in every even-numbered year after 2006, at a time selected by the National Committee, opening prior to Memorial Day and not exceeding seven days in duration.

b) The National Committee may schedule additional conventions, which may serve more limited functions than a regular convention. Such additional conventions shall commence no earlier than ten days after publication of the National Committee's convention announcement (which shall include the date and time of opening and the intended function(s) of the convention) on the Party's web site.

c) Conventions shall be held via the Internet, on, or on facilities prominently linked to and accessible from, the Party's web site.

d) All Party members shall be eligible to participate and vote in all Party conventions.

e) No later than six months prior to each regular convention, the National Committee shall solicit applications for appointment to a Bylaws Committee. No later than three months prior to the regular convention, the National Committee shall have selected, appointed and announced the composition of the Bylaws Committee composed of seven members. The Bylaws Committee shall elect its chair from among its members and shall choose its own methods of deliberation, provided that its operations are conducted in a manner consistent with transparency, openness to member and public input, and availability to the membership and the public of archives of its proceedings. The Bylaws Committee's task shall be to publish, prior to the opening of the convention, a list of bylaws amendment proposals to be voted on by the Party's members.

f) No later than six months prior to each regular convention, the National Committee shall solicit applications for appointment to a Program Committee. No later than three months prior to the regular convention, the National Committee shall have selected, appointed and announced the composition of the Program Committee composed of seven members. The Program Committee shall elect its chair from among its members and shall choose its own methods of deliberation, provided that its operations are conducted in a manner consistent with transparency, openness to member and public input, and availability to the membership and the public of archives of its proceedings. The Program Committee's task shall be to publish, prior to the opening of the convention, a list of public policy proposals, not to exceed five in number, to be voted on by the Party's members.

g) The national convention being held in a natural "multi-tasking" environment, many of its orders of business will run concurrently. This process may evolve, but must do so within the parameters described in subsequent sections of this article.

h) As soon as practicable after the published opening date and time for the convention, the proposals of the Bylaws and Program Committees shall be put to member polling, where they shall remain for 24 hours; with the exception that any proposal to amend Article 4 of these bylaws shall be deemed out of order and not polled. At the expiration of the polls, each proposal which has received the support of 2/3 or more of the voting members shall be deemed adopted. Adopted bylaws amendments shall become effective at the adjournment of the convention. Adopted program points will be considered adopted in the order in, and listed in the order in which they appeared in the Program Committee's list.

i) After the adoption or rejection of the Bylaws Committee's proposals, bylaws proposals shall be solicited from the membership in a post on the Party's web site. Proposals shall be submitted via the appended comment form. Each proposal moved and seconded in this manner, within 24 hours of the solicitation posting, shall be considered concurrently with all others, and shall be put to member polling, with all polling opened as quickly as practicable; with the exception that any proposal to amend Article 4 of these bylaws shall be deemed out of order and not polled. All bylaws proposal polls shall remain open for 24 hours. Each proposal receives the support of 2/3 or more of the voting members shall be deemed adopted.

j) If, at the close of the polling described in section (i), any member notifies the Chair that conflicting bylaws proposals have been adopted (including all bylaws proposals from either the Bylaws Committee or the membership), it shall be the responsibility of the Chair to take official notice, to rule on the issue and to order a member poll on conflicting proposals. The National Committee may, on a vote of five or more Committee members and officers, overrule the Chair's finding with respect to whether or not proposals conflict, and in so doing either forbid or require the Chair to order a poll on the issue. Polls on conflicting proposals shall run concurrently with all other polls on conflicting proposals, and shall remain open for 12 hours. For each poll, the choices shall consist of the conflicting proposals and "None of the Above." In each poll, the proposal receiving the support of a simple majority of voting members shall be deemed adopted. In the event that no proposal receives a simple majority, or that "None of the Above" receives a simple majority, neither and/or none of the conflicting proposals shall be deemed adopted.

k) After the adoption or rejection of the Program Committee's proposals, if less than five proposals are adopted, proposals shall be solicited from the membership in a post on the Party's web site. Proposals will be submitted via the appended comment form. Each proposal moved and seconded in this manner shall be considered in the order seconded. The proposals shall be put to member polling, with no more proposals in polling at any given time than would, if all were adopted, result in a maximum of five total program points (including those earlier adopted on the basis of the Program Committee's recommendations). The polls shall remain open for 12 hours, and each proposal which has received the support of 2/3 or more of the voting members shall be deemed adopted. Such proposals shall appear in the Party's program in the order seconded following the points adopted pursuant to the Program Committee's recommendations. At such time as five points have been adopted for the Party's program, the program shall be deemed complete and further motions and polling on it shall be closed. If the program includes less than five points as of the close of polling for election of party officers and National Committee members, then the program shall be deemed complete, and futher motions and polling on it closed, at the expiration of (and including the results from) any polls running as of that time.

l) If, at the close of the polling described in section (k), any member notifies the Chair that program proposals conflicting with the platform (including all program proposals from either the Program Committee or the membership), it shall be the responsibility of the Chair to take official notice and to rule on the issue. The National Committee may, on a vote of five or more Committee members and officers, overrule the Chair's finding with respect to whether or not a proposal conflicts with the platform, and in so doing either forbid or require the Chair to order a poll on the issue. Polls on proposals which the chair or National Committee have ruled to be in conflict withthe platform shall run concurrently with all other polls on such proposals, and shall remain open for 12 hours. For each poll, the choices shall be to affirm or delete the program proposal In each poll, a vote of 3/4 of the voting membership to affirm the plank shall affirm it, and any lesser vote shall cause it to be removed from the program without replacement.

m) On January 1st of presidential election years, notice of the party's intent to nominate candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency of the United States shall be published on the Party's web site and nominations shall be opened, to be made through the appended comments form. All candidates who are nominated by two or more Party members, who meet the qualifications of office listed in the Constitution of the United States of America, and who affirm their support for the Party's platform and their willingness to accept the Party's nomination to the presidency and/or vice-presidency of the United States, shall be considered eligible nominees, any affiliations they may have with other political parties notwithstanding. All nominations and candidate affirmations must be received prior to the opening of that year's regular convention. The Chair shall take official notice of any candidate affirmations which may be fraudulent, and shall investigate, and issue a ruling as to the legitimacy of, such affirmations. The National Committee may, by a vote of four or more members, override the Chair's ruling. It is the affirmative responsibility of the Chair and the National Committee to verify, to the greatest degree possible, the integrity of the nomination process.

n) As soon as practicable after the published opening date and time for the convention, the National Committee shall publish to the Party's web site lists of all eligible nominees for the Party's nomination to election to the office of the presidency and the vice-presidency of the United States. The list for each office shall be in alphabetical order, and shall include, at each prospective nominee's request, a single "link" to a URL of that prospective nominee's choice.

o) As soon as practicable after the published opening date and time for the convention, member polls for the Party's nominations to the presidency and vice-presidency of the United States shall open and remain open for 24 hours. These polls shall include each of the prospective nominees, as well as "None of the Above," in alphabetical order. The method of voting shall be "approval voting." Each voting member may cast one vote for every candidate which he or she deems an acceptable nominee to the office. At the close of the poll, the candidate receiving the most votes, provided that he or she has also received a vote from a majority of voting members, shall be the nominee of the Party to the office. If no candidate has received a vote from a majority of voting members, then successive 24-hour polls shall be conducted in the same manner, with the candidate receiving the fewest votes in the previous poll eliminated, until such time as a candidate emerges with both the largest number of votes and votes from a majority of voting members. If, at the conclusion of any poll in this process, "None of the Above" receives both the largest number of votes and receives votes from a majority of voting members, the process shall end and the Party shall not nominate a candidate to the office in question for that election.

p) As soon as practicable after the published opening date and time for the convention, proposals on resolutions or other business not addressed in other sections of this article shall be solicited from the membership in a post on the Party's web site. Proposals shall be submitted via the appended comment form. Each proposal moved and seconded in this manner, within 24 hours of the solicitation posting, shall be considered concurrently with all others, and shall be put to member polling, with all polling opened as quickly as practicable. All proposal polls shall remain open for 24 hours. Each proposal which receives the support of 2/3 or more of the voting members shall be deemed adopted.

q) If, at the close of the polling described in section (m), any member notifies the Chair that conflicting proposals have been adopted, it shall be the responsibility of the Chair to take official notice, to rule on the issue and to order a member poll on conflicting proposals. The National Committee may, on a vote of five or more Committee members and officers, overrule the Chair's finding with respect to whether or not proposals conflict, and in so doing either forbid or require the Chair to order a poll on the issue. Polls on conflicting proposals shall run concurrently with all other polls on conflicting proposals, and shall remain open for 12 hours. For each poll, the choices shall consist of the conflicting proposals and "None of the Above." In each poll, the proposal receiving the support of a simple majority of voting members shall be deemed adopted. In the event that no proposal receives a simple majority, or that "None of the Above" receives a simple majority, neither and/or none of the conflicting proposals shall be deemed adopted.

r) At such time as all publications, solicitations and polling required in this section have been completed, the convention shall be considered adjourned.