Wes Benedict of Libertarian Party Discusses Sarvis “Democratic” Donation

sarvis-family
Posted to Breitbart
By Michael Patrick Leahy
November 5, 2013

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday, Wes Benedict, co-founder and President of the Libertarian Booster PAC that spent $11,454 to circulate petitions necessary to get Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis on the ballot in Virginia said “[w]e probably wouldn’t have spent the $11,000 on Sarvis if we had not received the $150,000 from him [major Democratic donor Joseph Liemandt].”

Benedict told Breitbart that Liemandt, a software entrepreneur from Texas who had a net worth of $1.5 billion in 2000 , gave the Libertarian Booster PAC $150,000 in January 2013. Breitbart News searched Federal Election Commission records and discovered that Liemandt donated $4,090 to the Virginia Democratic Party just three months earlier on October 17, 2012.

Until 2013, the Libertarian Booster PAC had focused on Texas, but Benedict told Breitbart that Liemandt knew of his intention to get involved in the Virginia gubernatorial race if he had the money. “I met with Mr. Liemandt several times. I told him we were going to expand to a few other states, including Virginia, before he put the money in, It was in the report I gave to him before he made his investment.”

“We’ve gotten support from the right and the left,” Benedict said, adding that “I don’t think the intention was to make Cuccinelli lose but I have no problem if the perception is Sarvis caused Cuccinelli to lose. Republicans deserve to lose lots of election for supporting bailouts and for supporting a nominee for president whose Romneycare plan helped deliver Obamacare.”

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40 thoughts on “Wes Benedict of Libertarian Party Discusses Sarvis “Democratic” Donation

  1. George Phillies

    Perhaps also “Republicans deserve to lose for banning abortions. Republicans deserve to lose for wanting our daughters to die of back alley abortions. Republicans deserve to lose for being bigots who oppose immigrants if their skin is the wrong color. Republicans deserve to lose for being idiots who deny global warming, evolution, vaccinations, and the ability of the state of Hawaii to record births reliably. Republicans deserve to lose by threatening to blow up the economy over the ACA. Republicans deserve to lose for torturing prisoners of war, fighting the war crimes campaign against the people of Iraq, and spying on all our phone calls and emails.”

    I mean, like, stop sounding like a Republican in your issue choices.

  2. Steve M

    The Republican Party wrote the rules for to get on the ballot and they wrote the rules to make it difficult for 3rd party candidates. The Republicans tried to ban using out of state petitioners (Libertarian Party of Va. v Judd, 12-1996). The Republican party requires that Libertarians collect 10,000 signatures from registered voters. The Republican party has to collect zero.

    The Republican Party wrote the rules for who gets included in the debates and they wrote the rule to keep competition out. Proving that Republicans don’t respect a market place for ideas. Its their closed minded bigoted ideas or none.

    The Republican party spent 18 million dollars to the 500 thousand that the libertarians spent. That is 36 times more and you only received a little over 7 times the number of votes that Sarvis won.

    To recap. You wrote the rules to keep us off the ballot. And to get on and compete we had to fight lawsuits against the Government of the State of Virginia. The Republicans didn’t. We had to use resources to get upwards of 18,000 signatures to insure that 10,000 would pass muster. The Republicans didn’t. We were excluded from all the debates. Because of the Rules the Republicans wrote.

    Despite all of these unfair challenges put in our path by the Republicans. Despite the Republican spending 36 times more then we spent. Despite a last minute smear campaign which is still on going. Despite all of these difficulties, we did remarkably well.

    See you all next year. We are coming back for more because Virginia deserves more then this existing slimy corrupt Republican government.

  3. paulie

    LOL, and Sarvis didn’t even help McAuliffe at all. Oh well, some people will never grasp that no matter how much evidence there is. Or that we don’t care if he had.

  4. Thomas Knapp

    Quoth Paulie:

    “LOL, and Sarvis didn’t even help McAuliffe at all.”

    If the exit poll data I’ve seen quoted is correct, he actually hurt McAuliffe in one way: He prevented McAuliffe from winning with a majority instead of a plurality. Even a majority isn’t necessarily a mandate, but not being able to get one starts one off in a weakened position vis a vis “political capital.”

    Quoth George:

    “Republicans deserve to lose for banning abortions. Republicans deserve to lose for wanting our daughters to die of back alley abortions.”

    Voters who wanted a pro-abortion candidate had McAuliffe. Voters who wanted an anti-abortion candidate had Cuccinelli. On that particular issue, Sarvis was just white noise: “The absolutism on the issue is ruining our political discourse. I think most voters would like some relief from the demonization and over-the-top rhetoric coming from both sides.”

    “Republicans deserve to lose by threatening to blow up the economy over the ACA.”

    If you’re talking about the “shutdown,” there was precisely zero likelihood that it would have had such an effect. As long as it was temporary saber-rattling, it did have a very slight “regime uncertainty” effect on markets. Had it been legislatively made permanent it would have helped, not harmed the economy.

  5. paulie

    “If the exit poll data I’ve seen quoted is correct, he actually hurt McAuliffe in one way: He prevented McAuliffe from winning with a majority instead of a plurality. Even a majority isn’t necessarily a mandate, but not being able to get one starts one off in a weakened position vis a vis “political capital.””

    True – and that’s a good thing. Less of a mandate means less ability to inflict his ideas into policy. On balance, the less mandates politicians of either big box party feel they have or are perceived to have the better we are.

    “Voters who wanted a pro-abortion candidate had McAuliffe.”

    I know McAuliffe is a slimy crony corporatist politician, but I didn’t realize he was a Chinese Communist 🙂

    “If you’re talking about the “shutdown,” there was precisely zero likelihood that it would have had such an effect. As long as it was temporary saber-rattling, it did have a very slight “regime uncertainty” effect on markets. Had it been legislatively made permanent it would have helped, not harmed the economy.”

    In the long run, yes. But in the short run it is likely it would have been disruptive, although probably less disruptive than the TV hype claimed.

  6. George Phillies

    Blocking the national debt renewal had a 100% certainty of crashing the economy, almost instantaneously, starting by crashing the repo market. It would have been like the Lehman bankruptcy, only many times more spectacular. Note that major investment houses had, rather in advance, ceased to hold Federal debt instruments due the month after the deadline.

  7. Thomas Knapp

    “Blocking the national debt renewal had a 100% certainty of crashing the economy”

    Well, yes — but that’s just a matter of timing. The debt will, to a near-100% certainty, be defaulted upon. It will also, to not quite but nearly as high a certainty, be formally repudiated. And yes, there will be an economic crash because of that.

    The longer this takes to happen, the worse the crash will be, because the crash will essentially be a dam breaking and letting all the stuff kept behind it out. The longer it takes, the more stuff behind the dam, the higher the pressure and the bigger the explosion.

    Therefore, pushing for default/repudiation sooner rather than later isn’t “threatening to blow up the economy.” It’s “offering to minimize the damage of the inevitable explosion.”

  8. Mark Axinn

    On the issue of a majority mandate, just watch de Blasio in NYC.

    He’s already talking about higher taxes on the rich (whomever that might be as the definition changes daily), more regulation on real estate development, etc. etc.

    I live on an island that voted 85% for Obama and 75% for de Blasio. The sheeple get the government they deserve.

  9. paulie

    On the issue of a majority mandate, just watch de Blasio in NYC.

    He’s already talking about higher taxes on the rich (whomever that might be as the definition changes daily), more regulation on real estate development, etc. etc.

    Exactly. So, Sarvis gets undue credit for keeping out a reactionary theocrat/fiscal moderate, but has little known credit for keeping the governor-elect on a little bit of a leash. That’s a win, and exactly why it’s good that we run candidates even when they can’t realistically hope to get elected.

  10. Shawn Levasseur

    This was Wes’ PAC?

    Now I’m even more pissed at the GOP crybabies.

    It couldn’t have been much of a campaign if it was foiled with a mere $11,000 of money supposedly infected with liberal cooties.

    The whining is even more rich coming from some GOP fanboys here in Maine. Here, the GOP governor won 3 years ago by only because of independents being in the race.

  11. Richard Winger

    We should press Republican and Democratic state legislators in Virginia to introduce bills for ranked-choice voting, or approval voting. If any legislator complains about “spoiling”, put him or her on the spot and challenge that legislator to take that action.

  12. LibertarianGirl

    I don’t think Ive said today what a pimp-master playa Wes Benedict is. He’s straight got the midas touch , could not be happier we reeled him back in before he swam off to way better oceans than us!

  13. Steve Scheetz

    If I could simplify… Republicans have terrible candidates who focus on a great number of terrible ideas. If this was NOT the case, the Republican candidate would have won whether Sarvis was in the race or not. This blaming their loss on anyone other than themselves is evidence that they do not get it.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  14. Gene Berkman

    In most states, Republican candidates for state-wide office receive at least part of their campaign funds, and often a major part, from businesses and special interest groups that also contribute to the Democrat candidate as well. That is politics as usual.

    If Wes Benedict can get a liberal who agrees with us on social issues to make a 6 figure contribution to a Libertarian PAC, he has done a real service.

    Mr Liemandt is not unique. Richard Dennis, a commodities broker in Chicago, was a major contributor to Democrat candidates, and also gave significant money to the Cato Institute. He even served on Cato’s Board of Directors.

  15. Pingback: Wes Benedict of Libertarian Party Discusses Sarvis “Democratic” Donation | Libertarian Hippie

  16. Electoral Watch

    @Knapp — Sarvis was clearly a pro-abortion candidate, and that helped him in the end. He picked up pro-abortion voters who didn’t like McAuliffe’s corruption. Anti-abortion liberty voters broke to Cuccinelli in the final stretch.

    @paulie — Terry McAuliffe was the conduit for millions of dollars of Chinese Communist cash to the Clintons; in return the Clinton White House made sure the Chinese Communists got highly-advanced missle technology. Cf http://www.rightsidenews.com/2013102933408/editorial/us-opinion-and-editorial/mcauliffe-china-connection.html for a primer if you don’t remember any of this from the 90s.

  17. Gene Berkman

    Electoral Watch brings up an important point – President Clinton raised funds from Communist Chinese sources. What he does not mention is that the initial Chinese contributions went to Newt Gingrich, Republican leader in the House of Reprsentatives.

    So more proof that Republicans rely on contributors who also back Democrats.

  18. paulie

    Press Release
    For Immediate Release
    Thursday, November 7, 2013
    With Libertarian Sarvis — mission accomplished

    In the wake of Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s defeat in the race for Virginia Governor, speculation is running rampant in right-wing media that Libertarian Robert Sarvis was a Democratic plant designed to help Terry McAuliffe.

    See the article by Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal, and others like it at The Blaze, Breitbart, and this from Rush Limbaugh.

    Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Wes Benedict issued the following statement:

    I realize that, no matter what I say, paranoid right-wingers will think I’m a sneaky operative trying to help Democrats beat Republicans. This message is for the rational people out there.

    I founded the Texas-based Libertarian Booster PAC in late 2011. Its purpose was to recruit and assist Libertarian Party candidates for public office. You can read more about it here.

    In 2012, the PAC focused solely on non-federal races in Texas. With satisfactory accomplishments, and no partisan election happening in Texas in 2013, I looked to expand to other states where permitted by law. Virginia was one of two states with a gubernatorial election in 2013 plus state legislative elections, so it was an obvious choice.

    Back at the end of 2008, a man contacted me expressing interest in the Libertarian Party. It turned out he was a successful high-tech entrepreneur. One of his comments was along the lines of, “What could the Libertarian Party do if it had a million dollars?” Naturally, I contact this man whenever I think I have a good idea that needs funding.

    I’ve raised $300,000 from this donor for the Libertarian Booster PAC. He has provided very little in the way of instruction or advice regarding use of the money. The one strong suggestion he made was that we should try to build the Libertarian Party by recruiting Hispanics. He thought Democrats were taking Hispanics for granted, and Republicans were often hostile, and perhaps a massive wave of Hispanics could be convinced to join the Libertarian Party since we have a pro-immigration platform.

    His suggestion, which I liked, did influence my decision to include a “Liberty for Latinos” issues plank in Texas.

    Most political experts would probably say that recruiting Hispanics into the Libertarian Party would hurt Democrats rather than Republicans, since Hispanics lean more Democratic than Republican. So I’m skeptical that this donor is trying to use me to hurt Republicans.

    It was my idea, and my decision, to have the Libertarian Booster PAC help recruit Libertarian Party candidates in 2013 in Virginia. I even advertised about it in February.

    According to The Blaze, “[Rush] Limbaugh said the Democrats enlisted a ‘fake Libertarian candidate’ who was ‘bought and paid for by an Obama bundler.'” That’s an outright lie, and Limbaugh should retract his claim.

    My strategies and tactics have never been secret. They are common strategies in the Libertarian Party, and they are the same strategies promoted at the founding of the Libertarian Party. I try to publicize them any way I can. I’ve even written a book about them and included a chapter about PACs.

    I want Libertarians to win elections. But I also want them to run for office even when they’re unlikely to win. Why? To get the public to discuss and consider libertarian principles.

    Our liberties will not be secure until Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians are all fighting over the best ways to implement libertarian principles.

    If I wanted to hurt the Republican in Virginia, I would have supported a right-wing candidate who sounded like a Tea Partier — who only talked about cutting welfare, Obamacare, and how bad Democrats are. I would never have helped someone like Robert Sarvis, who talked a lot about social issues that appeal to liberal voters. As it turned out, polls show that if Sarvis weren’t in the race, McAuliffe would probably have won by a slightly bigger margin.

    My hope with the Robert Sarvis campaign was for the election to be close between the Democrat and Republican, with the Libertarian getting more votes than in previous elections, and lots of press to follow. Imagine my excitement when the results came in with Sarvis getting 6.5 percent (eight times the previous record in Virginia for a Libertarian for governor), and a narrow spread between the Republican and Democrat.

    With Robert Sarvis’s outstanding campaign for governor, mission accomplished.

  19. J.D.

    EW, with all due respect, I find the phrase “anti-abortion liberty voters” strange and possibly contradictory considering you also add that they voted for a fellow that opposes non-vaginal sex in any form. Let’s not forget that many of those same people also voted for Jackson and Obenshain who have, arguably, even stranger and less liberty based ideas.

    GP and TK I think you both bring up excellent points on this one.

  20. paulie

    I find the phrase “anti-abortion liberty voters” strange and possibly contradictory considering you also add that they voted for a fellow that opposes non-vaginal sex in any form.

    Yep.

    And I still haven’t seen these mythical “pro abortion” people, at least in the US. Well, maybe Doug Stanhope:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmgbSjLT1xE

  21. J.D.

    Paulie, you are correct. Frankly, my wife and I are strict in our anti-abortion views but it angers us more that no one, on either side of the issue, has really made a new argument about it in almost 40 years, except maybe the crazy God supports rape whack jobs. I am so sick of hearing the same thing over and over again.

    To be perfectly honest I really wish the LP were not perceived as being a right wing or conservative party. I wish Libertarianism, in general, were looked at more honestly. I was brought up in a left wing household, not commie, but still very left wing. Now my mom, my brother, and myself all vote Libertarian Party. My dad, a grey panther, even stated that he respects the Libertarians and could vote for them. So it doesnt surprise me if the LP can have some appeal amongst the left.

    Maybe the LP should dust off some form of the “Low-Tax Liberalism” quote. I would personally have classified the LP as representing ” Low-Cost Liberalism” if I had to give the quick, quick answer Clark had been pressed for.

    Also in the interest of full disclosure I would like to say that while I despise both the Dems and the Republicans, I really really vehemently dispise the Republicans. They make my blood boil.

  22. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Curiously, I despise Republicans more, also, despite the fact that I was a life-long Republican until Dubya (around 2002), and the company I work for is 90 % Republican. I think it’s because they’ve disappointed me so much. I just feel they should understand things better, and if they did, they’d at least stay true to Republican ideals, if not switch oveer to the LP. This Sarvis thing made them look absolutely desperate and pathetic.

  23. J.D.

    Does anyone think that maybe some of this confusion could have been abated if the LP nominated Russell Means instead of Ron Paul for 1988? Or if the LP had nominated Gravel instead of Barr in 2008?

  24. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    There’s no way Gravel would have been nominated in 2008. Barr was a bad choice, but there’s no way the LP body would have nominated Gravel. I wasn’t around in 1988 for Russell Means, RIP.

  25. J.D.

    I didn’t really mean that Gravel should have been nominated or that he could have been. I was really digging that maybe the LP has done itself no favors by running guys that are pretty darn conservative sometimes. Means and Gravel aren’t ideal for the purpose of the discussion they just happened to be the bigger names that were actually there at the conventions.

  26. BruceMajors

    The GOP, Ron and Rand Paul to Virginia Libertarian voters: we’d like to mandate that you buy a party platform that provides you with more coverage than that shoddy platform you want to buy.

  27. Sarvis Watch

    @JD — anti-abortion liberty voters aren’t that much more remarkable than anti-murder liberty voters. As to the sodomy issue, right-libertarians had to weigh the probabilty Virginia under Cuccinelli would prosecute everyday non-childmolesters for sodomy (vanishingly low) vs the chance Cuccinelli would be the most pro-federalism, pro-10th Amendment governor in the nation (rather high). The Paul endorsements pushed most of these right-libertarian voters to Cuccinelli in the home stretch.

    Left-libertarian voters who are pro-abortion and culturally identifiy with anti-Christians and atheism were never going to be persuaded to vote for Cuccinelli, and Sarvis did very well with this group.

  28. paulie

    …Watch, please stop with the trolling, it’s not funny, or clever, or interesting, and it has long since gotten old. This personality of yours is no more interesting or clever than your “concerned citizen” persona.

  29. paulie

    Just in case anyone else is confused though,

    1) Child molesting is already illegal, and prosecuting it does not require the revival of sodomy laws,
    2) Cooch’s coercive socially reactionary agenda involves a lot more than just only sodomy laws,
    3) Virtually no one is pro abortion, just like virtually no one is pro-amputation or pro-chemotherapy. Since almost no one is pro-abortion, the policy debate isn’t between those who are pro-abortion and those who are anti-abortion, it is between those who are pro-choice and those who are anti-choice. The vast majority of those who are pro-choice are anti-abortion, they just don’t believe the government should deny women that right.

  30. Thomas Knapp

    “the policy debate isn’t between those who are pro-abortion and those who are anti-abortion, it is between those who are pro-choice and those who are anti-choice”

    Not really.

    “Pro-choice” and “pro-life” are rhetorical devices of dubious content, intended to get onlookers on their side of the debate before the arguments have even been made.

    While it might be more accurate to call one side “anti-restrictions-on-abortion” than “pro-abortion,” the fact is that abortion, not “choice” or “life,” is the issue in question.

  31. Andy

    “J.D. November 7, 2013 at 11:09 pm
    I didn’t really mean that Gravel should have been nominated or that he could have been. I was really digging that maybe the LP has done itself no favors by running guys that are pretty darn conservative sometimes. Means and Gravel aren’t ideal for the purpose of the discussion they just happened to be the bigger names that were actually there at the conventions.”

    Mike Gravel was not a good fit for the Libertarian Party. He’d have been a better fit for the Green Party. It is a good thing that he did not get the LP nomination.

    I think that Russell Means was a Libertarian, but he had some problems as a candidate. I heard some stories about his aborted run for Governor of New Mexico, and let’s just say that it was probably a good thing that the LP did not nominate him for President.

  32. paulie

    Anti-restriction…etc is too clunky, but otherwise correct. However, the vast majority of pro-choice folks don’t see abortion as some great thing. Many oppose it personally but feel government should butt out. Others are not especially opposed to it, but wouldn’t really wish it on themselves or anyone they care about. There are some who really don’t care about it, and see it as only an inconvenience were they or someone they know faced with the choice of getting one. Very, very few people have some weird fetish for abortion, or think it’s a positive good, or believe it should be mandatory in some cases, or seriously take the position that Doug Stanhope expressed in his bit, (this may not be an exact quote…) “the reason we had one was to see what it felt like to kill a baby.” Such people do exist, but they are a tiny slice of the pro-choice bloc.

    That someone is pro-choice on abortion does not tell you what their personal view is about abortion, so I think it is more accurate to call the positions pro-choice and anti-choice. Most pro-choice people are not pro-abortion. As for pro-life and anti-life …anyone who is not suicidal, homicidal and an adherent of the human extinction movement is pro-life. Even when it comes to the fetus only, some pro-choice people are pro-life. They only feel that the woman’s right to choose trumps fetal rights. In a sense none of these terms are perfect, but the policy question is whether abortion should be a legal choice, not whether it is a good thing or not. And not whether life itself is a good thing, or whether on balance it should be better for fetuses to live or die regardless of the mother’s wishes, or even whether a fetus is a life or a separate life (pro-choice people can disagree on this, as long as they believe the mother’s choice is paramount).

  33. paulie

    Mike Gravel was not a good fit for the Libertarian Party. He’d have been a better fit for the Green Party. It is a good thing that he did not get the LP nomination.

    Yes and JD said already said I didn’t really mean that Gravel should have been nominated or that he could have been. I was really digging that maybe the LP has done itself no favors by running guys that are pretty darn conservative sometimes. Means and Gravel aren’t ideal for the purpose of the discussion they just happened to be the bigger names that were actually there at the conventions. In other words that these were just names used to make a point, not saying they would have been good candidates for us.

    As far as it goes, Barr and Root have already established that they are a better fit with the Republican Party by going back to it. Johnson has even hinted he might. So have several other past LP nominees. So, I think the point was that it may be better to counter-balance that with someone with more of an affinity for the left to counter the impression that we are just right wingers and disgruntled Republicans.

    I think that Russell Means was a Libertarian, but he had some problems as a candidate. I heard some stories about his aborted run for Governor of New Mexico, and let’s just say that it was probably a good thing that the LP did not nominate him for President.

    Not sure what you mean by rumors. I seem to remember charges of domestic violence. Wikipedia says

    Means was married five times; the first four marriages ended in divorce. He was married to his fifth wife, Pearl Means until his death.[12] He had a total of ten children.

    On December 29, 1997, Means was arrested for assault and battery of his 56-year-old (then) father-in-law Leon Grant, a member of the Diné (Navajo) Nation.

    That doesn’t mean he was necessarily guilty or, if he was guilty, that it was behavior he was engaged in back in 1987/88.

    The only other thing I can think of is that he went independent rather than LP. And, that close to the end of his life he was engaged in patrols that worked to keep alcohol off the rez. But I don’t know that any of that was anything he was doing in the 1980s.

    As far as his positions then, I do remember hearing that Jim Peron circulated a pamphlet called “The ends don’t justify Means” or something like that, but I haven’t been able to get a copy of it or any detailed explanation of what the arguments were. The closest I have received to an explanation as far as I can remember is that he spoke out against corporations. I don’t know exactly what he said, but many libertarians are against corporations and big business. Perhaps he adhered to a more Native American concept of property ownership than a Western one (I don’t know that for a fact, but let’s say he did), again that is not necessarily incompatible with libertarianism.

    So, if you know some other reason he shouldn’t have been the LP nominee, or more details than what I know, please let me know.

  34. Thomas Knapp

    “That someone is pro-choice on abortion does not tell you what their personal view is about abortion, so I think it is more accurate to call the positions pro-choice and anti-choice.”

    That someone is against restrictions on abortion doesn’t tell you that they’re “pro-choice.” They may very well think that there shouldn’t be freedom of choice on e.g. shooting heroin into your veins, spending your money on things you want instead of on things the state wants, or killing a human being that happens to be located outside, rather than inside, a womb.

    Ditto for those who want restrictions on abortion. They may very well support the death penalty, oppose life-creating technologies like in vitro fertilization, and have other attitudes that are not, strictly speaking, “pro-life.”

    “Pro-choice” and “pro-life” are extraordinarily concise polemics intended to sway opinion, not accurate descriptors of position.

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