Last year at this time BPOUs were having their conventions to elect officers and organize their house and senate districts. One of the most disturbing things at these conventions was the practice of charging insane registration fees to attend the conventions.
One BPOU in St Paul had reserved a library in Maplewood, Minnesota and then proceeded to have a pre-convention registration fee and then an “at-the-door” convention fee that was $10 higher than the previous one. This would have been okay, but a one time event at a Ramsey County Library is free for the event planner. So this BPOU was charging a fee that didn’t need to be charged, which is frankly quite outrageous. Though some people might counter this outrage by saying that paper, and pens, and copies of the rules and constitutions and refreshments are expensive. It is a bit of an expense but for the fees they were charging it was outrageous.
Essentially BPOUs are fundraising and turning away people who can’t really afford it. Our party should not be turning people away on the basis of being able to afford to attend. Those people who are turned away might actually have good ideas and organizing skills that are very much-needed in the Republican Party of Minnesota, especially in inner city BPOUs in St Paul and Minneapolis.
Well if you go to the Republican Party of Minnesota’s Constitution and look at Section 2 you’ll see that this practice of requiring a fee to attend a meeting is actually unconstitutional.
Membership and Dues
SECTION 1: Membership.
The membership of the party shall be composed of all citizens of the State of Minnesota who
desire to support the objectives of the party.
SECTION 2: Dues.
Payment of dues shall not be required as a condition of membership.
SECTION 3: Rights.
Nothing in this constitution shall be construed to deny or abridge the rights of any voter to
participate in any party caucus, primary or convention, where he/she is entitled by law to
Article II, Section 2 says that dues are not required as condition of membership and Section 3 says that a voter can’t have their rights abridged in any caucus, primary, or convention where they are entitled to participate. Isn’t charging a fee to raise funds at a BPOU Convention essentially violating the spirit of Article II Sections 2 & 3?
One of the areas this Party continues to falter on is how to help people who have been hit the hardest by an economy that is hurting them. Is our Party going to be a group of people who have the means but can’t relate to financially poor people? Or are we going to welcome these people in? These people might have the solution to improving the financial safety net by making it more efficient and stretching tax dollars further.
BPOUs and Congressional Districts (CDs) need to end this practice of having forced fundraisers. President Obama has forced fundraisers too, they are called higher taxes. Why is it okay for Republican groups to do it and not President Obama? Be consistent.
The Convention “Poll Taxes” need to stop.
The State Party Constitution needs to be followed all the time, not when it is convenient for some people.