TEXT OF E-MAIL from Florida DNC
Member Joe Ausman
26 April 2008
I am pleased to report the Co-Chairs of the Democratic National
Committee (DNC) Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC), Alexis Herman and
James Roosevelt, have called a meeting of the DNC RBC for Saturday, 31
May 2008, to hear and decide the two appeals filed from Florida and the
appeal from Michigan. A copy of the Co-Chairs’ memo calling the
meeting is attached as a Word document.
Florida’s appeals are twofold: one, the Charter of the Democratic
Party of the United States contains language stating persons holding
certain positions (DNC Members, US Senators, US Representatives, DNC
Officers, former DNC Chairs, etc.) “shall” be delegates to the 2008
Democratic National Convention and this supreme document (the Charter)
requires that all rules be consistent with the Charter; and, two, the
appropriate penalty for a state violating the timing rule (Rule 11 of
the Delegate Selection Rules) is contained in Rule 20.C.1 which states
a timing violation “shall” result in a 50% reduction in the pledged
delegates (not 49%, not 51% and certainly not 100%).
Two other sections of Rule 20.C were cited by the RBC last 25 August
2008 when it penalized Florida by reducing its delegation 100%.
Rule 20.C.6 was cited to justify the higher penalty but 20.C.6
specifically states it cannot be used if a state is subject to the
timing penalty in Rule 20.C.1. The other section cited, 20.C.5,
states that additional penalties referenced in 20.C.6 can be imposed
(though remember, 20.C.6 states no additional penalties can be added
onto the timing penalty reduction of 50%.
The DNC RBC staff in its written report, and as available on
CSPAN (a copy of CSPAN’s coverage of the Florida hearing is in my
possession), clearly shows that the ONLY issue of NON-COMPLIANCE was
the timing of Florida’s Primary (passed by a Republican State House and
Republican State Senate and signed by a Republican Governor).
I am very appreciative to the Co-Chairs for their openness and
willingness to hear both Florida’s and Michigan’s appeals (a copy of
the Michigan appeal is attached, Florida’s having been sent out some
I am also thankful to two specific staff members of the DNC who have
been willing to respond to a large number of questions: DNC
General Counsel Joe Sandler and DNC Delegate Director Phil McNamara.
Independent polling in Florida, previously sent out, clearly indicates
that Floridians are very concerned about the 100% penalty. Over
62% of Florida Democrats believe that the appeals should be granted and
that a 50% penalty is appropriate.
Let me repeat this point. My arguments in my appeals filed on
behalf of Florida accept that fact that a penalty for the timing
violation is appropriate and should be imposed. However, the
penalty should have been 50% of the pledged delegates, not 100% of the
The whole purpose of Rule 20.C was to protect the first four states
designated to select delegates before 5 February 2008 – Iowa, New
Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. This goal was achieved.
Even if the RBC gave Florida back 100% of its delegates – an outcome I
would welcome even though I support the 50% penalty – the first four
states were protect and Florida was severely punished. No
candidates campaigned in Florida, no recognition by the main stream
media or all the internet bloggers has been given to Florida, we do no
even have a designated hotel, Florida does not have a welcoming event
scheduled to greet a delegation from our state even though every other
delegation (but Michigan) does have one, and we certainly have been
ridiculed, minimized and ignored.
Frankly, Florida has been “shunned” and in some societies that is one
of the most severe penalties that can be imposed.
We would like to be welcomed back into the Democratic community,
chastised and embarrassed though we may be, so we can work to heal our
heartache and take the fight to Republican John McCain and his plans to
continue Bush’s war in Iraq and failed domestic policies.
I would much rather spend the remainder of the year fighting
Republicans than working to achieve a delegation to Denver (and yes, I
did spend a lot of time last year trying to stop the Florida
Legislature from moving the primary forward and in trying to find
an alternative delegate selection method once they did).
Attached is a copy of the DNC RBC Membership. I am aware that not
everyone agrees with me that Florida should have delegates. Most
Democrats who have contacted me have been very encouraging and
supportive of my efforts to bring this appeal forward. Some have
Regardless, I attach the membership of the DNC RBC so that those who
want can directly write to the members and express their opinions.
I believe in an inclusionary decision-making model and I believe in
persuasion as the way to influence people rather than manipulation or
If you want to attend the meeting in Washington you are welcome to do
so. It may be broadcast on CSPAN but I am not the CSPAN
programmer so they will decide whether to do so or not.
Finally, I have asked Raul Martinez of Miami-Dade and Janee
Murphy of Tampa to assist me in presenting my appeals. Raul
Martinez is running for Congress against an incumbent
Republican. He has already raised a large treasury and is a
very credible candidate. He has endorsed Hillary Clinton.
Janee Murphy is the Secretary of the Florida Democratic Party and the
former party leader of Tampa. She has donated $2,300 to Barack
As for myself, since more than a few have asked in their emails, I am
uncommitted. I had originally supported Dennis Kucinich both
because of his policy beliefs and because he saved my Mom’s life.
Since he has dropped out I have not made another selection yet.
If you have any questions please write to me at ___________________ or call me at
With respect, I am,
Jon M. Ausman, Member
Democratic National Committee