(Chuck Muth) – From the Department of Fighting Fire with Fire comes a new political party in Nevada, the “Organized Labor Party” – a direct response to the creation of the faux “Tea Party of Nevada” earlier this year.
To refresh your memory, a huckster named Scott Ashjian registered the name “Tea Party of Nevada” (TPN) with the Nevada Secretary of State as a third party last January despite having no known ties to or involvement with the tea party movement. As authentic Nevada tea party activist Debbie Landis put it, “Scott Ashjian is no more a tea party leader than I am a Tunisian princess. Period.”
Subsequently, there has been no Tea Party “party” activity whatsoever. It’s never held a convention. It’s never held a membership meeting. It’s never conducted a political rally. More importantly, though, the party failed to obtain and submit the approximately 9,000 signatures needed to qualify as a legitimate party for the ballot.
This was pointed out in a letter to Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller immediately after the deadline to submit those signatures. Longtime conservative activist Dan Burdish pointed out that NRS requires the Secretary to strike a party from the ballot if said party has not qualified for ballot status. Secretary Miller refused to do so. So a lawsuit was filed asking the court to direct Miller to do his job.
Alas, a district court rejected the lawsuit over a technicality having to do with a deadline for filing the challenge even though the delay was caused by the Secretary of State’s office itself.
The bottom line is that if candidates gathering a minimal number of signatures can run under a party name even though the party itself has neither qualified as a party nor operated in any way, shape, form or fashion as a party….well, two can play that game.
With that in mind, Mr. Burdish and I, along with Tony Warren, a genuine tea party activist, officially formed and registered the Organized Labor Party of Nevada with the Nevada Secretary of State on October 4, 2010. Here’s our Statement of Principles as outlined in the new party’s bylaws:
• We believe it is the right of all employees to organize a union with a secret ballot.
• We believe it is the right of all employees to decertify a union with a secret ballot.
• We believe it is the right of all employees represented by a union to have the option to opt in to all dues not directly related to collective bargaining.
• No union dues shall be applied to any political activity without the expressed written consent of any employee.
• We believe it is the right of all employees represented by a union to have a true open and transparent accounting of all dues collected by their union, including dues transferred to a parent union and all wages as well as all forms of compensation to union officials and officers.
• We believe a union may be decertified by a “Card Check” if it was formed by a “Card Check.”
• We believe all public employee Collective Bargaining Agreements should be certified by a vote of the people.
• We believe Nevada should remain a Right to Work State and no Collective Bargaining Agreement covering government employees should require membership or dues in a union.
• We believe all unions should be required to offer both Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution plans.
• We oppose any prevailing wage language in any union contract covering government employees.
And yes, I suppose it’s true that candidates running under the Organized Labor banner might take votes away from Democrat candidates just as Tea Party candidates might take votes away from Republicans. But hey, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?
There’s still time for Nevada’s Supreme Court to strike down both the Tea Party and Organized Labor Party, affirming the requirement to gather and submit signatures for ballot status. Short of that, however, it’ll be opening an electoral Pandora’s box of ballot box mischief. Can the Beer Drinkers Party be far behind?
In fact, Organized Labor might even endorse some candidates from other parties in this election since it’s too late to field our own. I wonder if Republican Secretary of State candidate Rob Lauer might benefit from getting Organized Labor’s endorsement?