Home Virginia Politics Ben Tribbett’s Attorneys Respond to DPVA: “contrary to…Democratic values and common sense”

Ben Tribbett’s Attorneys Respond to DPVA: “contrary to…Democratic values and common sense”


The saga continues…

The Honorable Brian Moran

Chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party

1710 East Franklin St. 2nd Floor

Richmond, VA 23223

Dear Brian:

On behalf of Mr. Tribbett, rank and file Democrats across the Commonwealth, and especially the many concerned delegates to the recent DPVA Convention [hereinafter referred to as the People], we convey to you our astonishment at the official DPVA position as detailed in Fred Hudson’s Friday, June 29 email to Mr. Tribbett.

The DPVA position is that whatever may have happened at the Convention, even if demonstrably invalid, cannot be reviewed through an appeal process, much less overturned by the Central Committee or any other “DPVA body.” Because that is the position you are taking, we are assuming that Fred’s email was never approved by the DPVA Steering Committee, but we hereby request that you confirm specifically that the DPVA Steering Committee never approved Fred’s email.  As you know, Ben appealed this ruling to the Steering Committee, and we do expect that we will have a hearing on Fred’s ruling in the immediate future.

For the record, we have never been offered even the courtesy of a brief conversation prior to this ruling.  We therefore feel it both necessary and appropriate to respond.


The DPVA leadership has adopted a position claiming that its own Central Committee is powerless after a DPVA Convention is adjourned, even assuming, for instance, election violations during the Convention, other DPVA Party Plan (hereinafter the “Plan”)violations at the Convention, evidence of fraud, racial animus, anti-gay bias, or any other conditions violating Democratic Party principles.

This is contrary to state law, the Plan not to mention Democratic values and common sense.

Section 24.2-508 of the Code of Virginia gives the Central Committee full power over all party affairs. Thus, as a matter of state law, the Central Committee can conduct whatever inquiry it decides relative to the Convention. The fact that the Plan details no specific procedure relative to the People’s inquiry on that score in no way limits the Central Committee’s inherent powers. This is basic: Since the Central Committee created the Plan, it retains all powers not specifically denied or limited therein. Moreover, there is nothing in the Charter and Bylaws of the National Democratic Party which limits this authority either.

The “Call” to the 2012 DPVA Convention says the “Plan…[is] hereby incorporated into this Call, and shall govern where applicable.” According to Section 4.16, the Plan may only be amended by the “Central Committee.” Fred’s letter cites provisions of Roberts Rules of Order to justify your position that their adoption by the Convention trumps the Plan. But as the Call makes clear, this DPVA theory is not valid.

Section 4.9 of the Plan reflects the Code of Virginia giving the party’s governing body – the Central Committee – full authority over all matters when the Party is not in Convention. Section 5.2 of the Plan gives said authority to the Steering Committee, except as noted, between meetings of the Central Committee. Section 4.6 of the Plan says the Central Committee”shall fill any vacancy in the offices set forth in …Section 4.5.” This is a reference to the Section 4.5 which covers the election of members to the Democratic National Committee. By logical extension, this means the Central Committee has the obligation [shall] to determine if such a vacancy exists.


The concerns of the People, as embodied in Mr. Tribbett’s formal appeal, are aimed at”challenging, or direct[ing] a recount concerning, the announced election result” as claimed by the DPVA in footnote [1] of Fred’s email. The DPVA position presupposes there was a valid election result according to the requirements of the Plan. But what the People through Mr. Tribbett’s appeal are pointing out is this: Based on the conduct of the election, there never was a valid election


We understand that you might disagree with our position that there was no valid election, but the theory on which you have based your disagreement is itself invalid, contrary to state law, and contrary to the Plan. Since DPVA does have the power to investigate the merits of Mr. Tribbett’s claim, it is unfair and illegal to reject that claim without interviewing witnesses and conducting a hearing at which all parties (including Mr. Tribbett) have the opportunity to present evidence.


The DPVA’s position is ironically the Republican Party’s position on law and governing that Democrats rightly have long rejected. Ideally, the Plan should have detailed an appeal procedure in this area as it does for others. The DPVA leadership says this omission waives the Central Committee’s power to inquire into the circumstances of the DNC election.

On an historic note, this is sadly a throwback to the days when the Byrd Machine ran the Democratic Party and always found novel ways to justify disenfranchising the People.

With due respect, we humbly point out the DPVA leadership position runs counter to state law, the Plan, the respect owed rank and file Democrats doing the hard work of winning the 2012 elections, and the basic values of the modern-day Democratic Party.

We look forward to the required hearing and urge the Central Committee to adopt procedures consistent with others already specified in the Plan that provide sufficient notice to all interested Democrats.

Submitted for Ben Tribbett:

Joe Morrissey and Paul Goldman

Morrissey and Goldman LLC

605 E Nine Mile Road

Highland Springs, VA 23075


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