Sunday, June 29, 2008

Does Allan Head know the truth when it bites him? North Carolina Bar Association spokesman admits Michael Munger exclusion was intentional

Two weeks ago I posted an update on the North Carolina Bar Association's decision to exclude Dr Michael Munger, the ballot-qualified Libertarian Party candidate for Governor, from their June 21 debate.

This included the response made by NCBA Executive Director Allan Head to an inquiry by NC attorney, Lenoir City Council Member, and Libertarian T. J. Rohr regarding the NCBA's decision not to invite Dr. Munger:

Mr. Head: With regard to the annual meeting, 10 months ago we invited all announced candidates, Those coming accepted our invitation. I believe Dr Munger did not qualify until May 22nd. By that time we had confirmed the other candidates and firmed up times for our convention Saturday morning that is full of award recognitions, elections, a Judicial candidate’s forum, as well as gubernatorial and senatorial forums. We could not add another award or candidate if we wanted to. So, I hope that speaks to your concerns about the forum. We did not decide “…..not to include him,” by the time he contacted us, rather late in the game, there was not enough time to accommodate him.

Now, in an article from the Greensboro News-Record posted at Crazy for Liberty, we discover that Mr. Head's answer was apparently not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth:

But a spokesman for the N.C. Bar Association, which is hosting the first nontelevised debate of the season, said Munger was intentionally not invited.

"The focal point all along has been on the candidates from the two major parties," said Russell Rawlings, a spokesman for the association, which is holding its forum June 21 in Atlantic Beach.

This had already been noticed by the intrepid T. J. Rohr, who points out

Hey, I'm the Libertarian/attorney/city councilmember who wrote Mr. Head. There was another article in the Greensboro News & Record that quoted the Bar Association's head of communications to the effect that they only ever looked at the two major parties for their debates. I called to talk to him (after Mr. Head refused to correspond with me anymore) to find out who had made that decision. He was very defensive and put out with all the criticism the NCBA had gotten. He said that I, and the other people who had been contacting them, were beating a dead horse and doing more harm than good. He said that we had raised their awareness of the Libertarian Party, and that if we'd just stop complaining, next time they might change their minds. What garbage.

I have to admit that, until Crazy for Liberty published the Greensboro News-Record story I didn't really get what T. J. was saying--hence this post to correct it.

And what better way to end it than to quote the self-serving statements of Mr. Head himself, as well as the obviously unimportant boiler-plate that appears on the NCBA website, which appeared in my open letter to the Executive Director:

I refer you to what was said, upon the instance of your installation as NABE President, to be one of your favorite quotations, from Elihu Root: “It is only through the power of association that those of any calling exercise due influence in their community.”

Your organization has denied that "power of association" to a qualified candidate with an important message for North Carolina voters.

I also refer you to your own statement upon accepting the NABE Presidency: "I try to live what I say is important.”

Here is what your own website suggests is important to the NC Bar Association:

While the public interest was not mentioned in the first draft of the constitution, the proposition was very soon recognized, and incorporated into the by-laws of this Association, so that programs and activities will include and acknowledge the public interest. It is my firm belief that this must always be foremost in our minds. Otherwise, we are but another trade group organized for self-centered and often selfish and provincial purposes.

How is the public interest served by the association representing more than 80% of the attorneys in North Carolina choosing to exclude one of the three ballot-qualified candidates for governor?

An open, democratic electoral process with reasonable ballot access and access to public forums will never exist in this country until people like Mr. Head, Mr. Rawlins, and everyone involved in the NCBA's despicable decision to exclude Dr. Munger from their debate--and then, apparently, to offer at least two conflicting versions of their decision-making process to the public--are repeatedly outed for their anti-democratic tactics.

1 comment:

Brian Shields said...

You'd think a lawyer's association would know how not to talk themselves into a corner when speaking a series of half truths.