Crunch Time In The Fight To Stop An Article V Convention Call In The Old Dominion

I ruffled some feathers when I opined a few weeks ago about the possibility of a Article V convention. Now that several bills have advanced to the floor of the General Assembly calling for an Article V convention, there seems to be a real chance of passage of such a thing for the first time since Speaker Howell and the General Assembly wisely revoked Virginia’s previous call for an Article V convention over ten years ago. Many good conservatives like Ken Cuccinelli support such an idea. Nevertheless, the more I learn about not just the concept itself, but those behind it, the worse an idea it seems.

The people, and the money, behind the push for an Article V convention, are, shall we say, suspect. Mark Meckler, the President of the Convention of States project, was, of all things, a distributor with Herbalife, the purveyor of dietary supplements that works through a Mary Kay/Amway-style pyramid scheme. Mr. Meckler apparently made quite a killing, being near the top of the Herbalife pyramid. Meckler had never shown any real inclination to be involved in politics. This changed when he suddenly jumped into politics, co-founding Tea Party Patriots (TPP) with Jenny Beth Martin. For brevity’s sake, I won’t rehash the issues with TPP becoming a cash cow for its leadership here, but Google will quickly turn up a number of references should readers require them. Oddly enough, TPP, like Herbalife, distributed what it took in (initially through membership fees, then later contracted a large fundraising firm which kept up to 70% of every dollar taken in for TPP) through a pyramid-like scheme. I don’t believe in that sort of coincidence. Mr. Meckler then left TPP for the Convention of States project. It’s unknown how much they pay their employees, of course, but it is VERY well-funded. Here in Virginia, it is allied to the Middle Resolution PAC, which is bankrolled by Bob Bailie, an establishment Republican megadonor. In the interests of brevity, I also won’t get into the longstanding issues with Middle Resolution and conservatives, but like with regard to TPP, Google will be your friend.
There is one last tidbit regarding Mr. Meckler. He recently joined up with Living Room Conversations, a group that, based on their site, is very left-leaning. Their other public representatives include a co-founder of MoveOn.org, a former organizer of the Coffee Party, and Van Jones (!). I am not making this up.

The advocates of the Convention of States project have still failed to demonstrate how an Article V convention could be limited once called, or how they could guarantee the “one state, one vote” structure they propose, or how they could guarantee that the delegates would be strict constructionist Constitutional conservatives. Their constitutional law expert, Robert Natelson, argues that state legislatures have such power. As it turns out, he’s wrong. Given the political makeup of Virginia, does anyone think that, even granting the CoS advocates that they could set up the convention exactly the way they propose, that our delegate would be a Ken Cuccinelli or Dave Brat? It’s far more likely that the General Assembly would select, if not a Howell or Norment themselves, someone like… oh, Frank Wagner or Barry Knight, or if we roll snake eyes, Bill Bolling. Consider that. Then consider the delegates that states like, say, New York might choose. If we are lucky, they’d send Michael Bloomberg. It is highly unlikely that an Article V convention would be led by conservatives, and extremely likely that it would yield exceedingly dangerous proposed amendments, which would then have considerable momentum for passage through the state legislatures, by the same Congress that constructed the convention in the first place. This is why the left is pushing for an Article V convention through Move To Amend and Wolf PAC. Some suggest that penalties could be imposed on delegates who exceed the instructions of a state which appointed them to an Article V convention, but there is no case law supporting that such a thing would stand. None. Once the convention is called, it’s anyone’s ballgame. Some CoS advocates even insist that an Article V convention is not a constitutional convention. Black’s Law Dictionary says otherwise. It’s also worth noting that at the 1787 convention, every delegate other than George Mason and Elbridge Gerry, and one other gentleman (whose name escapes me at the moment) wanted to leave the convention option out of Article V completely, yet these three threatened to leave the convention unless a convention to propose amendments was added, and ended up doing so anyhow because it didn’t go far enough to suit them (they wanted the convention model that CoS advocates, and didn’t get it). A convention simply wasn’t among the vehicles the framers had in mind to restrain an overarching federal leviathan. Tremendous and unnecessary danger awaits the republic if an Article V convention should come to pass.

To sum up, it is desperately important for the General Assembly to defeat HJ497 and HJ499 on the floor of the House of Delegates, and SJ252 and SJ269 on the floor of the Senate of Virginia this week. Delegate Bob Marshall and Senator Dick Black have been absolute heroes on this issue. They need YOUR help! Contact your legislators (politely and concisely) and let them know you oppose these bills, and any call for an Article V convention.


4 thoughts on “Crunch Time In The Fight To Stop An Article V Convention Call In The Old Dominion

  1. Rob: We should vote against a “Convention of the States” for all these reasons and more.

    However, to bash fund-raising companies, people who make money, or Tea Party Patriots is neither right nor a persuasive line of argument.

    To start with, one of the biggest errors in the whiny, small-minded complaints about fund-raisers…

    …. is that most of the money goes to THE UNITED STATE POSTAL SERVICE.

    When people whine and snivel about fund-raisers, and say that the fund-raising company keeps X% of the money raised.

    The betray their lack of understanding about all of these issues.

    To mail out fund-raising letters:

    — The project has a massive educational value.

    So if you mail 100,000 letters informing people about what is going on,
    and 3,000 people respond with a donation,
    that’s 97,000 people who were informed and educated without donating any money
    That 3% response would be on the high side.

    We can send information direct to people without being filtered through the liberal news media

    — Most of the money goes to the U.S. Post Office for POSTAGE

    — Much of the money goes to the PRINTER

    — Some of the money goes to the LABOR of folding and stuffing envelopes, printing addresses on each envelope, SORTING the letters by zip code, etc.

    — Some of the money goes to the LABOR of OPENING the responses that come back, keying in the data on computer, etc.

    — Some of the money goes to computer processing services to manage the lists, choose the best addressees, etc.

    So when you say that 70% of the money goes to a fund-raising company, THAT IS FALSE AND MISLEADING.

    It might be 5% goes to the fund-raising company…. and 65% goes to THIRD PARTIES for EXPENSES.

    Come on, we need to grow up and stop engaging in this silliness.

    When a liberal goes on NPR or MSNBC or gets quoted in the New York Times, do you count the costs of getting the liberal message out through the news media?

    When conservatives go AROUND the news media — and have to spend the money to reach American citizens directly — we need to stop doing the liberals’ work for them by attacking groups that don’t depend upon the liberal news media, and make ourselves vulnerable to and subservient to the liberal news media.

  2. It is amazing to me how proponents of an Article V Convention just wish things were true and assert them to be true with no basis whatsoever.

    On a thread today — with no comments enabled — Thad Hunter just proclaims confidently:

    An Article V convention has three multi-year hurdles:
    •34 state legislatures must want to participate;
    •Legislature-selected delegates must pass amendments with a majority vote;
    •Then 38 state legislatures must ratify the amendments.

    By design the entire process is state driven and Congress’s only role is to pick the date and time. Furthermore, states can simply disengage if the convention’s objective or their directives change.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    However, there is no legal requirement the delegates will be selected by State legislatures.

    There is no legal requirement that amendments pass the convention by a majority vote. It could be by voice vote “in the opinion of the chair” such as Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi.

    There is no legal requirement that the process is state driven.

    There is no legal requirement that Congress’ only role is to pick the date and time.

    There is certainly no legal requirement that states can disengage. That is absurd. Once the Convention is called, if a State pulls out, they will simply forfeit their vote. The convention will go on without them.

    Why is it that Article V Convention proponents confidently assert things to be true with no legal basis whatsoever?

    Where are any of those assertions backed up by anything?

    Jon Moseley

  3. These are sham arguments against the best hope we have to regain control of our government. Most of the arguments are simply false. The only people who could be against the Convention of States would be people who want big government to get bigger and more oppressive. Go to: conventionofstates.com and get the facts. Our freedoms and rights are as safe or SAFER at the Convention of States as they are in the hands of Congress and the Supreme Court.

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