Johnson CPD Lawsuit Fundraising Goal: $30K in February, $200K in June

Alicia Dearn Photo Alicia Dearn, Founder, CEO and Managing Attorney of Bellatrix PC, Gary Johnson 2012 General Counsel, and counsel to “the Libertarian National Committee’s Ballot Access and Litigation Committee.”

In a February 2014 Fundraising Letter, available HERE, 2012 Libertarian Presidential Nominee Governor Gary Johnson wrote:

“Our America must raise $30,000 by March 15.”

The following screenshot from May 18 indicates that the initial goal of $30,000 had not been met:

May18

It also shows that the goal had been raised to $50,000. As of today (18 June 2014) the goal has been raised to $200,000.

June18

Other CPD lawsuit fundraising websites have been launched which show a variety of goals. For example, this fundly site with a goal of $20,000 and this one with a $30,000 goal.

Fundraising for a variety of other OAI initiatives on fundly can be found HERE and fundraising for Gary Johnson 2012 HERE.

In a radio interview on 22 May 2014, Judge Jim Gray reported that the lawsuit had not yet been refiled (see THIS).

A “Casino Night” fundraiser had been planned for June 27th, during the LP Convention in Columbus

Casino

but was cancelled “due to concerns with Ohio State law.” An alternative fundraising event with the fomer “Celebrity Blackjack Dealers” now serving as “Celebrity Hosts,” has been announced HERE.

Those wishing to contribute financially to OAI’s latest legal challenge may do so HERE.

Those wishing to sign a petition calling on the CPD to “allow more than two major party participants in the national Presidential debates” may do so HERE.

Prior IPR coverage: Gary Johnson Announces New CPD Lawsuit for 2016 Debates

56 thoughts on “Johnson CPD Lawsuit Fundraising Goal: $30K in February, $200K in June

  1. Wes Wagner

    I am still convinced that the Johnson campaign was a ruse to repay the debts to Ron, and that Ron, having not been repaid, continues to “extort” Johnson (who is obviously willing) to exploit libertarians and the general desperation that afflicts them in order to squeeze money out of them for Ron and the “debts” owed to him.

    Additionally, it does not go without notice by me, that Johnson originated his contact with the party via the people who are regularly somehow attached to everything that has the appearances of being a controlled opposition movement.

    I find all this highly suspect.

  2. Steven Wilson

    After what Ross Perot did in 92; Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would defecate coal ice cream before they get on stage with another third party candidate. I don’t care about any court ruling. Even if a judge made a decision, there is no law that states that debate “must” take place for a presidential vote to take place.

    American voters have never demanded an equal voice before: why start now?

    Any money donated to this is going to someone’s salary and benefits. Candidates should spend money on radio spots and commercials in October. Reach/impression is all that matters.

    Focus your funds and activities on: College campuses nationwide, Texas, and Virginia.

  3. Wes Wagner

    “Any money donated to this is going to someone’s salary and benefits.” QFT

  4. paulie

    Completely wrongheaded and sad cycnicism. The lawsuit is a great idea and everyone should donate to it if they can. Yes, organiations have overhead. Shocking, I know. And yes, sometimes we can’t know what a lawsuit will cost ahead of time, even though having a fundraising target helps raise money. Shocking again.

    The lawsuit will help build greater public awareness both of the issue and of Johnson regardless of whether it succeeds.

  5. Wes Wagner

    Except the part where the money won’t really get spent on the lawsuit, or if what does get spent will be spent ineffectively, and most of it will fall into Ron’s pocket … like everything else he is associate with.

    At some point it is not cynicism, it is wisdom.

  6. Andy

    Wes Wagner said: “Additionally, it does not go without notice by me, that Johnson originated his contact with the party via the people who are regularly somehow attached to everything that has the appearances of being a controlled opposition movement.

    I find all this highly suspect.”

    It does seem like there is a plan to neutralize the Libertarian Party, and to cram the Fair Tax down the throat of the Libertarian Party, even though most rank-and-file Libertarians do not support the Fair Tax.

    How about a resolution at this national convention coming up next week in Columbus, Ohio, to formally reject the Fair Tax? I’d second that motion.

  7. J.P.

    That fundraising goal won’t even go to covering the cost of Joe Hunter’s ego retainer.

  8. Andy

    “Steven Wilson June 20, 2014 at 11:03 am
    After what Ross Perot did in 92; Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would defecate coal ice cream before they get on stage with another third party candidate. I don’t care about any court ruling. Even if a judge made a decision, there is no law that states that debate ‘must’ take place for a presidential vote to take place.”

    This is one of those rare instances where I think that “there ought to be a law,” that is one that requires all candidates who are ballot qualified to be included in public debates against the other ballot qualified candidates, and any candidate who refuses to participate in such a debate is automatically removed from the ballot, and any write in votes that they may receive after this will not be counted in official election results.

    Debates are good for the process, and I am sick & tired of intellectual cowards who refuse to debate all of the candidates who are on the ballot.

    Another important point here is that these Presidential debates receive tax payer funding, and that they are for a public office, so it should be unconscionable to keep candidates out who are on enough ballots to theoretically have a chance to win the election.

    “American voters have never demanded an equal voice before: why start ”

    Surveys indicate that a majority of Americans would like to see minor party and independent candidates included in Presidential debates.

  9. Nicholas Sarwark

    I actually support the lawsuit and think it’s a very good idea. I contributed to OAI at the Colorado convention for exactly this purpose. It’s a worthwhile cause, but it is helpful to tell donors where their money went if you want them to donate more.

    That’s what I did for my run for LNC Chair and I intend to do so with regard to how the LNC spends donors’ money if I am elected Chair. Trust is a valuable commodity in politics and the Libertarian Party’s reserves of that commodity are nowhere near where they need to be.

  10. Andy

    “paulie June 20, 2014 at 12:32 pm
    Unfortunately, that probably will not pass.”

    The Libertarian Party is SUPPOSED to be the most anti-taxes political party that there is. It would be a pretty sad commentary on the current state of the Libertarian Party if the party did not pass a resolution to reject the Fair Tax.

    The Constitution Party passed a resolution to reject the Fair Tax. Do Libertarians really want to be outdone by the Constitution Party on this issue?

  11. Nicholas Sarwark

    The Constitution Party passed a resolution to reject the Fair Tax. Do Libertarians really want to be outdone by the Constitution Party on this issue?

    Given the relative strength of the Constitution and Libertarian parties, maybe we should let them win one here or there. Just to be good sports. 🙂

  12. Andy

    “Nicholas Sarwark June 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    ‘The Constitution Party passed a resolution to reject the Fair Tax. Do Libertarians really want to be outdone by the Constitution Party on this issue?’

    Given the relative strength of the Constitution and Libertarian parties, maybe we should let them win one here or there. Just to be good sports. :)”

    I assume that the smiley face means that you are joking here. The Constitution Party has a lot of other problems that are holding it back, plus the Constitution Party has not been around as long as the Libertarian Party, so the Constitution Party being smaller than the Libertarian Party has nothing to do with the Fair Tax.

    This is about principle. The Fair Tax is not consistent with the platform of the Libertarian Party, nor is it consistent with moving in the direction of the Libertarian Party platform through incremental steps.

    If the members of the Libertarian Party want the party to live up to its motto of being “the party of principle,” then it MUST REJECT the Fair Tax plan.

  13. Joseph Buchman Post author

    paulie @ June 20, 2014 at 11:47 am wrote:

    “The lawsuit is a great idea”

    I agree. It’s been a great idea since at least September 2012 when we were going to sue then. I support it wholeheartedly. It will generate, potentially, tons of earned media. It’s a stand that should be taken. Dr. Stein went to jail protesting; good move on her part IMO. But the lawsuit, as good an idea as it is, still has not been filed.

    “and everyone should donate to it if they can.”

    I AGREE, but the “IF THEY CAN” is the trick here isn’t it? As far as I can tell there is no way to donate to the LAWSUIT. There is a way to donate to a BLACK BOX that produces consistently underperforming results (namely OAI). These are the guys who have their state director suing the part of Oregon’s LP that has ballot access. Brilliant move! These are the guys who have state directors and other volunteers who are working against LP interests but send an official statement from their media director (with deep Republican Party ties) Joe Hunter stating that:

    “Many of Our America’s volunteers, including Mr. Burke, are of course active in politics in their home states and communities. Those individual activities, however, are not related to their work with Our America.”

    Of course they ARE related. The question is whether they are beneficial to OAIs goals or detrimental. Apparently having a state director who is suing the guy with ballot access IS in alignment with those goals; as is the breaking of a promise to correct that “as soon as the election (of November 2012) is over . . .

    So my problem is that I cannot donate directly to the lawsuit, but I can donate to the BLACK BOX that for two years now has been planning, threatening and promising to sue.

    “Completely wrongheaded and sad cynicism.”

    Not based on my experience.

  14. Joseph Buchman Post author

    paulie @ June 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm wrote:

    “None of that is true.”

    The concern is the utter lack of transparency, both in financial reports, which was, as you know, a concern during the campaign; but also now for fundraising. Where will the money go?

    There is a legitimate concern (not wrongheaded or cynical) that it will go to pay off past debts. I’ve spoken to three people just this afternoon who claim to be owed money by GJ2012/OAI going back months to years. George Phillies has partially explicated the lack of required transparency in the FEC filings (I went there looking for my own name and cannot find it; nor can I find the names of most of the people I worked with (Charles Frohman being the one exception)). I’ve heard wild claims about what some individuals received as compensation, but those reports just list bulk payments to “political advisors.”)

    So, Paulie, if you can prove that $1.00 donated to the lawsuit goes to the lawsuit and NOT to old debts or unreasonable overhead; do it. Otherwise the claim that “none of that is true” is just meaningless persiflage.

    I started giving directly to various charities and stopped giving to United Way after the William Aramony scandal. I suppose since then I’ve been a bit more vigilant in terms of demanding/expecting transparency from those who solicit contributions from me.

    So the question is, why is that transparency consistently missing here?

  15. Joseph Buchman Post author

    Nicholas Sarwark @ June 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    “I actually support the lawsuit and think it’s a very good idea.”

    I am not sure it is a “very” good idea (the novel basis of the lawsuit as I understand it is the (somewhat hypocritical nature of Libertarians using the) Sherman Anti-Trust Act). That said during the 2012 campaign I tried to make the case that the value of earned media would far exceed the cost of the lawsuit. I still believe that is true.

    It was also my understanding that the cost was relatively modest, with an attorney (or attorneys) including Judge Grey willing to do it for reputation enhancement and/or payment from the monetary damages they hoped to be awarded).

    AND, I’d like to be able to give directly to that effort OR have a transparent (trustworthy) accounting of where the money went.

    “I contributed to OAI at the Colorado convention for exactly this purpose.”

    So are you confident it went to the actual cause? Or is being held in trust to go toward that purpose?

    “it is helpful to tell donors where their money went if you want them to donate more.”

    “Helpful” is, I’m guessing, an intentional understatement here.

    “That’s what I did for my run for LNC Chair and I intend to do so with regard to how the LNC spends donors’ money if I am elected Chair.”

    HEAR, HEAR! I would hope as LNC Chair you would demand the same of any vendors you deal with; any investments made by the LNC in political campaigns, ballot access, etc. As a former member of the Audit Committee I can say that without that happening in the moment, it is impossible to recreate later (or at least to recreate in a way that garners universal trust in the results), and yes, I refer specifically to the Cloudy invoices and the culture that not only allowed that to happen, but didn’t even raise a red flag about it until the audit over a year after some of the events had occurred.

    “Trust is a valuable commodity in politics and the Libertarian Party’s reserves of that commodity are nowhere near where they need to be.”

    If you could explicate some of the reasons for that diminution of trust and then your proposed corrective actions, that might be helpful.

    One I would strongly urge is that no money from the LNC go toward this lawsuit without a full accounting of both how it is planned to be spent, and then of what actually happened.

    How is that for a start?

  16. Nicholas Sarwark

    So are you confident it went to the actual cause? Or is being held in trust to go toward that purpose?

    I am confident that their stated intention of filing the lawsuit is why I gave them money.

    Trust is earned by telling people what you are going to do and then doing it and acting with integrity. I’ll decline to cite any specific examples, but the LNC could do a better job and, in so doing, be able to raise a lot more money.

    As to LNC expenditures, I will do all I can to make sure it is clear what the money is being spent for and that we know after the fact how it was spent.

  17. George Phillies

    Joe Buchman wrote: ” I’ve heard wild claims about what some individuals received as compensation, but those reports just list bulk payments to “political advisors.”)”

    You have to go to the memo lines behind the bulk payment to “Political Advisors”. If you download the PDF versions,the memos are in form D, each memo following more or less immediately the corresponding debt. That’s where you find the $325 and $250 an hour rates.

    Nick Sarwark wrote “As to LNC expenditures, I will do all I can to make sure it is clear what the money is being spent for and that we know after the fact how it was spent.”

    The best thing that you can do is to get the LNC to approve an exception to the standard GAAP rules, as they are allowed to do under GAAP. namely that all financial reports tot eh LNC will be done in a form that matches up with the FEC reports.

  18. Joseph Buchman Post author

    George,

    My eyes still blear over reading FEC statements like this one:

    http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/725/13961072725/13961072725.pdf

    I see a few names I recognize in there and then page after page of payments to “Political Advisors” then the tiny print

    “Jan 2012 – Mid-Level Management Hours 612.43 Hrs/$76,553.75 Senior Political Advisor 50
    Hrs/$16,250 Creative Advertising 10 hrs/$2,250.00 Outside sub-contracts per agreement $8,824.25”

    “Feb 2012 – Mid-Level Management Hours 88.27 Hrs/$8,385.65 Mid-Level Management Hours 600.7/$75,087.50 Senior Political Advisor 50 Hrs/$16,250 General Clerical Hours 65.83 hrs/$1,876.16 Creative Advertising 10 hrs/$2,250.00 Outside sub-contracts per agreement $3,525.00”

    “March 2012 – Mid-Level Management Hours 80 Hrs/$7,600.00 Mid-Level Management Hours
    598.5/$74,812.50 Senior Political Advisor 50 Hrs/$16,250 General Clerical Hours 59.85 hrs/$1,705.73 Creative Advertising 10 hrs/$2,250.00 Outside sub-contracts per agreement $3,525.00”

    “April 2012 – Mid-Level Management Hours 296.05 Hrs/$28,124.75 Mid-Level Management Hours 663.85/$82,981.25 Senior Political Advisor 50 Hrs/$16,250 General Clerical Hours 48.9 hrs/$1,393.65 Creative Advertising 120 hrs/$27,000.00 Outside sub-contracts per agreement $31,023.53”

    “May 1-4, 2012 Mid-Level Management Hours 36.58 Hrs/$1,829.00 Mid-Level Management Hours 143.55/$10,766.25 Senior Political Advisor 10 Hrs/$3,250.00 Creative Advertising 30 hrs/$6,750.00 Outside sub-contracts per agreement $3,525.00”

    We can assume the “Senior Political Advisor” is Ron Nielson — who apparently received about $70,000.00 in 2012 from donations to the campaign prior to the LP National Convention. I’m guessing another staff member owns “Creative Advertising” but have no proof of that yet. I did search for “EH2 Consulting.” Apparently this business, like “Creative Advertising” above does not have a website?!? Doesn’t solicit business on the Internet??? But others seem to have been looking for it too:

    http://www.goldusagroup.com/diary/43/where-your-money-went-johnson-2012

    But when I see pages like this:

    http://docquery.fec.gov/pres/2012/M9/C00495622/B_PAYEE_C00495622.html

    “FEC Committee ID #: C00495622

    “Report type: September Monthly

    “This Report is an Amendment

    “Filed 02/25/2013

    “PAYEE SUM
    “Bydlak, Jonathan 52,969.35
    “Daines Goodwin and Co PC 4,435.00
    “EH2 Consulting 20,000.00
    “Frohmann (sic), Charles 2,000.00
    “Fundly 85.69
    “Media Temple 150.00
    “PayPal 75.00
    “Political Advisors 229,564.02
    “Wagon Works LLC 2,000.00
    “Zions Bank 7,050.39

    I’m just left . . .wondering is what I will say . . . who the “political advisors” are, why Charlie Frohman is the only name there that I recognize (no Chris Thrasher, Apollo Pazell, Grant Huihui, Joe Hunter, Ryan Shattuck, Evan Tweede, Dianne Thorne, Joe Buchman (me). . . etc; just “political advisors” — so why isn’t Charlie lumped in there with (apparently) the rest of us?

    Chris had the title of “National Fundraising Director/ GOTV National Coordinator”

    Is it common among the other parties and/or past campaigns not to list payments by individual, but to lump them under a generic name like “political advisors?”

  19. Andy

    “Joseph Buchman Post authorJune 20, 2014 at 5:38 pm
    paulie @ June 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm wrote:

    ‘None of that is true.’

    The concern is the utter lack of transparency, both in financial reports, which was, as you know, a concern during the campaign; but also now for fundraising. Where will the money go?”

    I do know that the Gary Johnson campaign paid for ballot access in a few states, when the LNC ran out of money that had been allocated for ballot access, and where the state party’s did not have any money. The Johnson campaign lumped these ballot access related payments in with Political Advisors. I’m not sure how much the Gary Johnson campaign paid out of ballot access, which includes signatures, miscellaneous expenses, legal fees, and filing fees. It could have been in the ballpark of $100,000-$200,000.

  20. paulie

    Nick:

    It’s a worthwhile cause, but it is helpful to tell donors where their money went if you want them to donate more.

    That’s what I did for my run for LNC Chair and I intend to do so with regard to how the LNC spends donors’ money if I am elected Chair. Trust is a valuable commodity in politics and the Libertarian Party’s reserves of that commodity are nowhere near where they need to be.

    I completely agree. I have told Ron that greater transparency would mean more money for OAI. He does not agree with me.

  21. paulie

    The concern is the utter lack of transparency, both in financial reports, which was, as you know, a concern during the campaign; but also now for fundraising. Where will the money go?

    The lawsuit is the biggest project OAI has going.

    While there is some organzational overhead I don’t think it is nearly as bad as has been made out here. Most people that I have known who have done any paid work for OAI/GJ12 report that their pay was/is low. As for Ron, while the FEC reports indicate he was paid large sums, what I was told (with you present, Joe, as well as other times) was that the amounts people were paid were padded on the reports to try to get FEC funds which fell trough, leaving Ron with a large debt owed to him which, while he can’t legally completely write it off, as a practical matter he has deemed that the chances of recovering that money are very low so he’s, shall we say, not very actively pursuing it. And the money is as far as I know owed to him by GJ12, not OAI. As I understand it they are legally separate entities. The same would hold true of anyone else still owed money by GJ12. If there is a GJ16, as I understand it, it will be yet another completely separate entity legally with no responsibility for debts owed by GJ12 (or by OAI, if there are any).

  22. paulie

    Of course I can’t prove and won’t claim that 100% of the money will go to the lawsuit. All organizations have fundraising and organizational overhead for every cause and project they raise money for. It’s a long way from that to the specific allegations Wes made, for which the evidence is at best circumstantial if even that, which prompted me saying that none of those specific statements were true.

  23. George Phillies

    Paulie writes: “…what I was told (with you present, Joe, as well as other times) was that the amounts people were paid were padded on the reports to try to get FEC funds…”

    Of course, some people think that using fraud for political purposes is not a Libertarian thing to do.

    If you recall correctly, Johnson’s campaign *does* think that using fraud for political purposes is a Libertarian thing to do.

    This is not good.

    More important, if you believe that the campaign is lying for political purposes, then the campaign’s claims are meaningless, because they might be lying to you rather than lying to the FEC. There would be no way to know. However, lying to you is legally a whole lot safer than is lying to the FEC.

  24. George Phillies

    Andy writes: “I do know that the Gary Johnson campaign paid for ballot access in a few states, when the LNC ran out of money that had been allocated for ballot access, and where the state party’s did not have any money. The Johnson campaign lumped these ballot access related payments in with Political Advisors.”

    The Johnson campaign broke down the Political Advisor Payments and debts into details. It’s in the PDF version of the FEC reports. I have been going through them in Liberty for America.

  25. Andy

    “George Phillies June 21, 2014 at 10:51 am
    Andy writes: ‘I do know that the Gary Johnson campaign paid for ballot access in a few states, when the LNC ran out of money that had been allocated for ballot access, and where the state party’s did not have any money. The Johnson campaign lumped these ballot access related payments in with Political Advisors.’

    The Johnson campaign broke down the Political Advisor Payments and debts into details. It’s in the PDF version of the FEC reports. I have been going through them in Liberty for America.”

    How much do they claim to have spent on ballot access, as in for petition signatures, expenses for petition drives, litigation costs in relation to ballot access, and filing fees?

  26. Andy

    “George Phillies June 21, 2014 at 10:48 am
    Paulie writes: ‘…what I was told (with you present, Joe, as well as other times) was that the amounts people were paid were padded on the reports to try to get FEC funds…’

    Of course, some people think that using fraud for political purposes is not a Libertarian thing to do.

    If you recall correctly, Johnson’s campaign *does* think that using fraud for political purposes is a Libertarian thing to do.”

    One could interpret this as taking money away from government and using it to promote liberty.

    One could also interpret this as being the equivalent of somebody lying in order to get a welfare check from the government.

  27. paulie

    I also know that in retrospect Johnson says he wishes he had never even tried to take any money from the FEC because they turned around and did not pay as expected and that this was money the campaign had been counting on. He says he would have rather done the Harry Browne thing and rejected FEC funds on principle if he knew then what he knows now.

  28. paulie

    The Johnson campaign broke down the Political Advisor Payments and debts into details. It’s in the PDF version of the FEC reports. I have been going through them in Liberty for America.

    If what I have been told is accurate, those numbers are not.

  29. Wes Wagner

    Given that is has been proven that they lie and break promises … I would not trust what they are telling you Paulie.

  30. paulie

    I do not necessarily trust it, but I do find it plausible, so I am not going to accept as facts claims that Ron lines his pockets, wastes money and so on. I do know that during the campaign, for example, many people were employed, a lot of materials of various sorts were produced and shipped all over the country, Gary and Jim as well as several vehicles with campaign staff were kept on the road, and material aid was given to petitioning and litigation – all from a fairly small budget. I saw evidence of all of these things as well as social media operations, interview scheduling, and so on. I know that youtube videos were produced as well as radio ads (Ron says there was a major radio ad buy at the end of the campaign and a smaller TV ad buy as well). None of those things are free.

    Post-campaign, Gary and Jim are indeed still getting out on the road as well as doing interviews and articles, a very small staff is still employed, and there is still a significant ongoing effort to keep up a social media presence. This also costs some money, although not as much as the larger effort during the campaign….but then again I don’t think they are raising nearly as much now. And the lawsuit will also cost something (and already did before it was dismissed due to being in the wrong venue).

    So the evidence that I know of leads me to believe that there is not much money available that could be being wasted or used to line anyone’s pockets given how much money there actually is and the different things I know of that are in fact being done with it.

  31. Joseph Buchman Post author

    Paulie,

    If you have sources at OAI, perhaps you can confirm what I have been told by three sources over the past four days — namely that the initial March 15 $30,000 goal for the lawsuit was not for the suit itself, but was the “prime the pump” money to spend on expenses for raising as much as possible after that (apparently $170,000 if the $200,000 goal is realistic).

    And if you can confirm, or correct that; could you also gain some insight into what those funds will be used for? For example, what it costs to file in DC, how many hours of time and at what rate they estimate the attorneys will be paid, and how much goes for actual overhead as well as fundraising costs?

    That’s the kind of information Cindy and I expect, for example, to see from the various other charities we donate to — homeless children in Mongolia, a handful of scholarships at the U. Utah, UVU, and Indiana University that we have funded. They seem both transparent and reasonable in their accounting of those expenditures.

    Can potential donors demand the same here? Is that somehow unfair or “working against Ron/OAI?”

    Because the answers I’ve run into so far are, “NO” and “YES” respectively,

    Joe

    (FYI I have attempted to interview Alicia Dearn about these issues for over six months now; she’s promised to schedule that a few times. I learned yesterday that she may be dealing with some significant personal health challenges.)

    And, to be clear, I’m not accusing anyone of anything here. I’m just attempting to find the facts on my own in the original FEC records (that George is much more adept at digging out (I suppose Aaron would be too if he were so inclined/motivated)) and point out the changing goals (and apparently dramatic increase in costs) of filing a lawsuit that was, to my understanding, being prepared in September 2012 or earlier. It was at about that time that we were contracting with various research firms to show that Governor Johnson had met, or exceeded, each of the criteria of the CPD, in order to have that data ready for the suit. I met,in person, with an attorney in LA, not Alicia, to review the results from those firms . . .

  32. paulie

    I doubt anyone knows what the lawsuit will cost or how long it will last. I am not in very regular contact with Ron or anyone at OAI. I agree that there should be better transparency, but from the fact that there isn’t I don’t automatically assume the worst, much less take it to be a fact that can be presumed.

  33. Joe

    Paulie,

    “I don’t automatically assume the worst, much less take it to be a fact that can be presumed.”

    “I am not in very regular contact with Ron or anyone at OAI.”

    No hurry; but the next time you, or others are; especially those who write here — (perhaps at the convention next week) — it might be useful, don’t you think, to have some questions and the associated facts at hand?

  34. Nicholas Sarwark

    I doubt anyone knows what the lawsuit will cost or how long it will last. I am not in very regular contact with Ron or anyone at OAI. I agree that there should be better transparency, but from the fact that there isn’t I don’t automatically assume the worst, much less take it to be a fact that can be presumed.

    I always tell my clients that, “things take longer than they do.” I can’t tell you how long a criminal case will last, but I can tell you how many days a trial in a particular case will take, which motions will need to be filed, what novel legal issues are present, and estimate how long I will need to spend to research, write, prepare, and try a criminal case.

    If you asked me to file, say, an anti-trust case in Federal court against a quasi-governmental organization regarding what will likely be deemed a “political question,” I wouldn’t be able to give you an estimate. But someone who has done Federal litigation, election law cases, and potentially anti-trust work, should be able to provide an estimate as to hours required, if not the actual time the lawsuit will take to get through the courts.

    If such an estimate exists, it’s really up to the organization planning to bring the suit whether they want to share that information with donors, both current and potential. My experience is that sharing such information, even at a high and somewhat fuzzy level, would benefit them in fundraising.

  35. Joe

    Nick,

    For what it’s worth the discussion in October 2012 was that the attorneys involved could expect to benefit from the recovery of financial damages that had been done, should they have won the case.

    Is this a case that would seem at first glance to be one where a contingency basis would make sense? Both in terms of career enhancement and possible financial payout?

    I hope you, as LNC Chair later later this month, and/or the delegates as a group can ask the questions I believe every libertarian donor would like answered during the convention. I believe all of the OAI staff will be there.

    On the one hand there are FEC requirements; but on the other hand there are also the expectations of the donors as a body. I agree with Paulie above in terms of his advice to the OAI folks that more transparency would result in more donations (assuming there’s nothing to hide).

  36. Joe

    I thought this post from:

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2012/10/johnson-campaign-releases-financial-summary/

    was worth repeating here . . .

    Thomas L. Knapp
    October 24, 2012 at 10:18 am
    LB @ 12,

    “FEC regulations require that each expenditure is itemized. Just like each donor. While some may think disclosing individual salaries an ‘invasion’ of privacy, the fact is it is a LEGAL requirement.”

    The first two sentences are correct.

    The third sentence is incorrect.

    If the Johnson campaign buys a plane ticket from American Airlines, it does not have to itemize how much of what it paid went to which ticket counter attendant, which luggage handler and which pilot and air crew members.

    If the Johnson campaign buys “campaign services” from Acme Political Consultants, it does not have to itemize how much Acme paid out, or to whom, in salaries and so forth. It just has to itemize/disclose its payments to Acme.

    If the Johnson campaign is hiding payments to individuals whose attachment to the campaign might be controversial by routing those payments through a third party, it will not be the first time a Libertarian presidential campaign has done so

  37. paulie

    My experience is that sharing such information, even at a high and somewhat fuzzy level, would benefit them in fundraising.

    I completely agree.

  38. Joseph Buchman Post author

    Paulie,

    As you, Nick and I’d guess almost all, if not all of our readers here, as well as almost all, if not all of the delegates at the convention, would agree on your comment directly above — the question is:

    What can we do to cause that and/or move things in that direction?

    Some of the questions I would have for this $200,000 fundraising goal (let’s assume they really only need half that — a common practice in fundraising) —

    Why another $100k given the lawsuit language is already in place?

    Was there some significant deficiency with the brief above (other than the CA court dismissing it as a wrong venue issue).?

    Is Judge Grey no longer going to argue the case himself?

    What will these new funds be used for?

    etc.

    I agree that the likelihood of donors responding favorably to the appeal for more cash would be enhanced by being less obtuse than the campaign was in their FEC reports, other disclosures and past IPR interviews (for example)!

  39. paulie

    For those who don’t like OAI – I am pretty sure that there will be other avenues to contribute to the lawsuit.

  40. George Phillies

    Suppose someone sues the “Commission on Presidential Debates” successfully.

    Nothing will happen.

    The CPD has no monopoly. It cannot compel candidates to appear. If Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney (you may insert your own choice of names here) do not want to debate third party candidates, which they probably do not, they need merely agree to ignore the CPD, hire a private hall, invite friends and the press, and do the Lincoln-Douglas thing on their own dime.

  41. Nicholas Sarwark

    For what it’s worth the discussion in October 2012 was that the attorneys involved could expect to benefit from the recovery of financial damages that had been done, should they have won the case.

    Is this a case that would seem at first glance to be one where a contingency basis would make sense? Both in terms of career enhancement and possible financial payout?

    Contingency is when a lawyer fronts the money for a lawsuit in exchange for a share of the recovery if the suit is won or settled favorably. Contingency practice is, at its core, betting (or if you prefer the more genteel term, investing). Lawyers that work on contingency who are not good at evaluating the strength of a case find themselves in a different line of work very quickly.

    Civil rights cases and some others have provisions for the defendant to pay attorney’s fees if the plaintiff prevails. An attorney familiar with the practice area may take civil rights suits on contingency if the facts are good, e.g. your client was beaten by a cop with no justification or was stopped from protesting in a clearly public area.

    Suing a quasi-governmental body with the novel application of anti-trust law is a long shot. There’s a term for taking long shot cases on contingency: pro bono.

  42. paulie

    Prior to the CPD there were cases where fairly strong non-duopoly candidates made it into presidential debates with the duopoly.

    The CPD has given the duopoly parties cover in making it look like it is out of their hands and that some impartial non-partisan group is making the determination, when in fact that is a ruse.

    Furthermore their tax-free status and the pretense under which they gain sponsorship from various corporations, foundations, universities and so on is part of that same ruse.

    The duopoly parties don’t want widespread knowledge of what really goes on with the CPD and they don’t want to be held directly accountable for who is in the debates. If they were, there might be significant public and news media pressure to include some of the stronger alternatives and one or the other duopoly candidate may refuse to debate unless a non-duopoly candidate or two is included or may even choose to debate a non-duopoly candidate or two without the other duopoly candidate – both of which have happened at the state level and (I’d have to look) possibly the presidential level further back in the past.

    It’s the CPD which has put a complete kibosh on that, which is exactly what it was designed to do.

  43. Joseph Buchman Post author

    George @ June 22, 2014 at 9:39pm wrote:

    “Nothing will happen.”

    On September 21, 2012 I wrote:

    “look at the cost verses likely free (earned) media aspect.”

    See:

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2012/09/breaking-news-johnson-campaign-files-antitrust-suit-against-rp-dp-and-cpd/

    If they could win this suit and/or generate significant positive media coverage, or even basic name recognition, then it’s a bargain independent of how the legal issues play out.

  44. paulie

    Joe, exactly.

    I think the publicity would make it harder for candidates of the establishment parties to wash their hands of their exclusion of other contenders.

  45. Joseph Buchman Post author

    Paulie,

    So then why such a long delay (this was going to be filed in DC at the same time it was filed in CA from what I remember) and why the significant additional cost? The PR value of this has dropped dramatically with time, IMO. At this point it’s probably better to wait another year or more before filing in DC . . .

    Or, what am I missing here?

  46. paulie

    They probably did not come up with enough money to file in both DC and CA at the same time would be my guess, but yours would be just as good as mine.

    I imagine delays since then have been about raising enough money to file.

    The lawsuit would probably drag on for quite a while so I wouldn’t wait a year if I had a choice, but who knows how long it will take to raise enough money to get started?

  47. Joseph Buchman Post author

    If it’s going to cost $100,000 or more for the lawsuit, then my comment above re earned media does not apply, IMO. It’s too much. And it seems unreasonable given the brief that was already filed and the claim that Jim Grey would argue the case . . .

    That said, if they raise the goal by an equivalent percentage ($30K to $200K is about 7X) to $1.5 million, you can count on me for another IPR article on it!

    But I gotta wonder if you’ll be explaining how reasonable that is then too?!?!

    🙂

  48. paulie

    I don’t think Judge Gray would be up for spending that much time in DC, if he is even licensed to practice law there. I think whatever they can reasonably hope to raise now will be worthwhile. 1.5 million, probably not. And I don’t think they could raise that anyway.

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