Mixed messages from Libertarian National Committee

As recently reported, the LNC has chosen St. Louis, MO as the site of its 2010 convention. Below is the congratulatory message sent by LNC member Michael Colley to the LNC, which Treasurer Bob Sullentrup then forwarded to the Missouri LP Executive Committee:

As recommended by the Convention Oversight Committee and approved by Chair Bill Redpath, the Renaissance St. Louis Grand and Suites Hotel has been chosen as the location for the 2010 LP Convention.

Dates will be over the Memorial Day weekend : Friday 28 May to Monday 31 May. Saturday and Sunday will be full business days with a half business day on Monday. Monday is a US holiday.

The considerations leading to this selection included: 1) a location in the center of the country relatively easy for travel, 2) a historic downtown hotel with good space for meetings, 3) able to walk to restaurants/ballpark/retail/the Arch, 3) a guaranteed 2010 room rate of $109, 4) discounted parking on site, 5) good dates, 6) all meeting space comped.

Throughout negotiations regarding the hotel’s proposal, it was clear that they wanted to be competitive. Actual contract workup will proceed shortly.

Best,
Michael C Colley
aut viam inveniam aut faciam

Shortly after posting this news, IPR received this message from Robert Kraus, who asked that it remain “private and confidential”:

We respectfully ask that you remove this posting. Not all the details have been worked out nor has a contract been signed. Polishing [sic] this information before the fact obviously hurts our negotiating position.

Thank you in advance,

Robert

Robert S. Kraus – Dir of Operations
Operations@LP.org
Libertarian National Committee
2600 Virginia Ave NW #200
Washington, DC 20037
Ph: 202.333.0008 x 231
Fx: 703.935.8015

After writing back to Kraus and explaining that we did not know the convention location was intended to be “confidential,” and that it had already been reported by Last Free Voice and and indexed and cached by Google News, we could not remove it without explaining that we had been asked to do so. Since his correspondence was labeled “private and confidential,” we were in a Catch-22.

Mr. Kraus never responded.

But later, we received this message from LNC alternate Scott Lieberman:

Saint Louis is one of the finalists for the location of the 2010 National LP Convention.

However, a final decision has not been made as to the location of that Convention.

I strongly suggest you contact Admiral Colley to confirm this, and then print a retraction.

Scott Lieberman
Region 2 Alternate, LNC

So to recap:

  1. Michael Colley sent the message to the LNC list, and Treasurer Sullentrup then forwarded it to the Missouri LP Executive Committee — by law, making it a public message at that point. Nowhere therein was the information requested to be kept “confidential,” nor was there any ambiguity in the statement that St. Louis had been chosen as the site for the 2010 convention.
  2. Robert Kraus then requested that we take down the story because “polishing” (publishing?) it hurt the LNC’s “negotiating position” — as if this were a legitimate reason for a news site to censor itself — but he did not deny the veracity of the story. We intended to keep this correspondence confidential until Mr. Lieberman forced our hand.
  3. Scott Lieberman, an alternate on the LNC, says that Colley and Sullentrup are wrong in the message and “strongly recommends” that IPR calls Colley to get the truth — as if he could be trusted if he were wrong earlier.

Then Mr. Lieberman sent us this message:

I stand by my original e-mail. Your headline: “2010 LP convention to be held in St. Louis” is not true.

No contract has been signed for the location of the 2010 National LP Convention. No convention location is final until a contract has been signed.

Admiral Colley would have been happy to verify that fact, if you called him or e-mailed him. Did you call him, as I suggested?

Scott Lieberman
Region 2 Alternate, LNC

It should be noted that IPR is owned and operated by its contributors, not the Barr campaign or the LNC.

70 thoughts on “Mixed messages from Libertarian National Committee

  1. Ross Levin

    As one of the “owners and operators”, this is the kind of story I was talking about over the past few days. It puts the whole story into perspective in a professional and understandable manner.

  2. lpoperations

    Dear “GE”

    As you all may know I do not normally post to outside blogs nor allow LP Staff to do so. However, in this case I must make an exception. Mainly because we do not consider them to be legitimate media outlets.

    First, LFV had removed this post as requested. Further, you could have simply requested an explanation that you could share with your readers or ask for permission to post something marked “Private and Confidential.” You did not.

    Thus, I think the only “mixed message” this sends out is that obviously IPR can not be trusted and is not a valid news gathering organization and doesn’t follow standard codes of journalism / media ethics such as those defined by the SPJ: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

    This is why IPR is not, in my judgement, a legitimate media outlet. At such time IPR wishes to subscribe to basic journalistic standards, we will consider answering your inquires.

    Thank you!

    Robert Kraus
    Acting ED
    Libertarian National Committee

  3. G.E. Post author

    Kraus – Stop lying. I did ask for an explanation.

    BTW: The article above was semi-inaccurate. The LNC leaker is Bob Sullentrup.

    We don’t care how real news affects your criminal operations.

  4. Trent Hill

    “Mainly because we do not consider them to be legitimate media outlets.”

    Every post here makes it onto the Google News feed, a host of RSS feeds, and our roughly 2500 visitors per day–I’d say that is fairly legitimate. News sources ranging from Reason Magazine to The Western Standard have linked here or quoted our people. If it werent legitimate, you’d ignore it.

  5. Trent Hill

    for the record, I’v no dog in this fight. But when these emails were forwarded to the Missouri LP email list–they became public domain. Because of Missouri’s laws governing political parties, that email list is open to the public and thus–everything sent through it is open to being discussed.

    Honestly though, after we wrote the article, Google cached it and it could never just be “deleted”.

  6. Michael Seebeck

    Funny, I saw Austin Petersen posting over on Daily Paul the other day, Kraus. Whatcha doing about that?

    And if this is NOT official, then why did Sullentrup leak it as such?

    And if it is supposed to be confidential and was leaked by Sullentrup, will he be receiving the same overzealous treatment that Keaton got two weeks ago? Or will he get a pass? We’re watching.

    And if it is official, when was the vote taken and what was the totals, and why was not at least one LNC member not told of it?

    And why are we, the membership, getting mixed stories from 4 different sources?

    Last, if St. Louis is only a finalist as Liebermann says, then who else is as well?

    NOW YOU KNOW why openness is important in party communication, Kraus. The closed communication here is what caused this confusion.

    And leave the insults about IPR not being a “legitiamte media outlet” aside. Just because they report what you don’t want reported doesn’t make them illegitimate, any more than just because you do stuff that is utterly stupid doesn’t make you not the acting (up) ED.

    BTW, also, don’t criticize IPR on “basic journalistic standards” when you can’t even get a press release issued on time because you’re too busy complaining over email lists and LNC member actions instead of doing real work.

  7. Michael Seebeck

    And I’m only pointing THAT out to point out Kraus’s hypocrisy and incompetence over his staff.

  8. coming on the back of the LP

    Dear “LP”

    I think that obviously “LP” can not be trusted and is not a valid libertarian party and doesn’t follow libertarian principles defined by the ISIL

    http://isil.org/resources/philosophy-of-liberty-english.swf

    This is why “LP” is not, in my judgement, a legitimate libertarian party. At such time LP wishes to subscribe to basic libertarian standards, we will consider answering your inquires about money and membership.

    Thank you!

    Coming on the back of the LP
    Acting UP
    SILENCE = DEATH

  9. hogarth

    Further, you could have simply requested an explanation that you could share with your readers or ask for permission to post something marked “Private and Confidential.”

    Whoa. I posted this at LFV, and removed it at Kraus’ request. However, I also told him that the information was in no way “marked “Private and Confidential.””. If it had been, I would not have posted it. And yet here you are – a full day later – accusing someone else of posting it without regard to confidentiality, knowing that it was not correctly labeled.

    The office’s beef is therefore with the person who released it unlabeled, or forwarded it after stripping such a label, not with people who shared something they had no idea was confidential.

    As for Lieberman: if StL is a ‘finalist’, then are you asserting that Mr. Sullentrup was (1) mistaken, or (2) lying when he used the words “has been chosen as the location”?

    This is almost comically ridiculous. Almost.

  10. lpoperations

    Thank you Peter, you are correct.

    Common decency, not too mention integrity and professional standards, dictate that when someone sends an email that is not for general distribution, that they do not share said email (or portions of) with the world without first obtaining permission.

    Robert

  11. hogarth

    Thanks, Peter! My bad. As Wes might say, I’m an idiot!

    Agree that GE should not have rushed to post Kraus’ letter if it was labeled that way. There was really no compelling reason to do so.

    GE – that’s the kind of thing that discourages people from sending you information. They get to the point where they can’t trust you.

    But I guess then you can rail against them for being ‘secretive’, so it’s all good.

    sigh.

  12. hogarth

    I’ve got to say, though, this makes (at least) Sullentrup look pretty bad. Unless I’m missing something, he at least posted something that wasn’t finalized as a ‘done deal’, and possibly released confidential information.

    Pretty bad for a Party secretary :-/

  13. paulie cannoli

    However, I also told him that the information was in no way “marked “Private and Confidential.”

    It was forwarded to us from the MO LP Exec comm list, which in fact carries the disclaimer “This is a private MOLP Executive Committee discussion list.” This disclaimer is, according to at least one member of said committee, in violation of state sunshine laws, and thus null and void.

    It was forwarded there from the (private) LNC email list, and it is also true that the subsequent email from Robert Kraus to IPR was marked “private and confidential.”

    if StL is a ‘finalist’, then are you asserting that Mr. Sullentrup was (1) mistaken, or (2) lying when he used the words “has been chosen as the location”?

    I’m going to venture a guess that this was going to be presented to the LNC as the winning proposal by their executive committee, and that Sullentrup only slightly jumped the gun by sharing it as a done deal with the MOLP before the LNC as a whole had voted.

    It is possible that by broadcasting it as widely as we have, we may have messed up their negotiations. It’s also true that if Kraus had not
    marked *his* correspondence about that “private and confidential,” GE offered to alter the post as LPHQ requested.

  14. Michael Seebeck

    Hey, Peter, I resemble that remark!

    Besides, nobody knows when my Cubbies will go into St. Louis and beat on the Cardinals in 2010 yet anyway. we have a World Series to win THIS YEAR first, anyway. 🙂

  15. Thomas M. Sipos

    “LFV had removed this post as requested. … At such time IPR wishes to subscribe to basic journalistic standards…”

    One of the problems with the internet is that it encourages Orwellian Memory Holes.

    Journalists traditionally offer a retraction or correction, but the original story remains on the record.

    But the internet encourages people to demand that stories be entirely removed, as though they never existed. This ability leaves room for much Orwellian mischief.

    (I say this without commenting on the specific merits of this particular incident.)

  16. lpoperations

    Last comment for the night:

    Thank you Paulie for your honest statement about this exchange.

    As the SPJ site says: “Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility.” I believe GE should have asked the author of what can be termed “a private list” if he had permission to report this matter. I am sure the LPMO would have loved the opportunity to have an official press release, once this information was made public. It is always better to ask permission than to seek forgiveness, however I think GE’s actions speak for itself. Hopefully all contributors to IPR will agree to more processional standards in the future.

    The SPJ says that true journalists should:

    — Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
    — Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
    — Never plagiarize.
    — Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
    — Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
    — Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
    — Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
    — Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
    — Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
    — Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
    — Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.

  17. hogarth

    Pete,
    There’s plenty of Wes to go around. Don’t be a hog!
    Have the Orioles really sunk so low? When I cared, they were in their glory days. I’m old enough to have heard Brooks Robinson play.

    Paulie,
    Just checked. Thanks. I think. I am an idiot. I am now slightly cranky at the person who shared it with *me*, and slightly cranky at myself. I am glad I removed it when requested.

    Sullentrup still is the main culprit here, it seems. What could he have been thinking?

  18. Michael Seebeck

    Susan, Brooks could play, no doubt. Maybe finally Santo, who was just as good, will finally get into the Hall to join Robinson, where they both belong.

    And way for Kraus to pass the buck. Still no explanation as to why information was coming from 4 different sources (Colley, Libermann, Sullentrup, and Kraus), and no explanation as to whether Sullentrup will be censured ala Keaton for his actions, as he should be if they are to be consistent and not follow Animal Farm Rules.

  19. G.E. Post author

    I felt I needed to post Kraus’s “confidential” email — which was already blasted to ten people — in order to expose Lieberman’s lies. And I did this only after Kraus didn’t respond for over 24 hours.

    Sullentrup is the leak, Lieberman is a liar, and Kraus is just another jerk on a power trip.

    Signed,

    Jason Seagraves

    I hope I’m not too late to say that I agree that there shouldn’t have been such a rush to post the information about St. Louis.

    Why the hell not? It was news. It got posted.

    The LP has zero credibility now, and they just keep piling on more and more evidence of their corruption.

  20. JimDavidson

    First, I wish to note that I personally find this thread very refreshing. It is a mistaken idea to suppose that information reported to the world cannot come from confidential sources, nor expose such sources. One of the greatest journalistic exposes ever, the publishing of the Pentagon Papers, took place in spite of extreme pressure brought by the government against those media outlets which chose to go forward with the news. It is because news reporters choose to put the truth out that they are revered and trusted by those who rely upon them for information.

    Second, I would like to officially support this news site as a credible source of information, in spite of previous comments to the contrary some months ago. It seems to me that the IPR team does a good job of reporting the news, ferreting out the truth, and getting relevant comments from those involved and those affected.

    Third, I should point out some of the things about the Boston Tea Party that eliminate this sort of shenanigans. We do all our deliberations in public. You can join the Yahoogroups where we post our discussions and read all about what we’re doing. We don’t have secret lists, ultra-secret executive sessions, and we don’t try to drum out those on the national committee of our party who see it as their duty to inform their constituents.

    Another aspect of this third point is that all our conventions are online at our http://www.bostontea.us web site. So there is never any wrangle about where to hold the convention. I do like meat space events, and we’ll probably have some, but they’ll continue to be informal.

    In the market for libertarian ideas and libertarian parties, more choices should provide more opportunities for more freedom. Until my term ends during the convention next month when a new chair is elected, I am going to continue to make the Boston Tea Party the best alternative for activists, candidates, and liberty minded individualists.

  21. G.E. Post author

    Agree that GE should not have rushed to post Kraus’ letter if it was labeled that way. There was really no compelling reason to do so.

    Compelling reason: Lieberman saying that the story was untrue. Kraus did not deny the story in the original request to remove the article. I did not “rush” to publish it — I waited for a response for 24 hours.

    GE – that’s the kind of thing that discourages people from sending you information. They get to the point where they can’t trust you.

    Don’t send me information I can’t post. Kraus wasn’t sending me “information” — he was requesting that a story be taken down for a partisan reason.

    But I guess then you can rail against them for being ’secretive’, so it’s all good.

    I don’t care.

  22. G.E. Post author

    We report news. This was not news?

    We’re not going to pull a TRUE story because it “hurts” the LNC. And if you pulled the story on LFV, then you are nothing but a tool for the current LNC leadership.

  23. Ross Levin

    GE – I think we should have waited until we had a more complete story, maybe something like the one posted above, before we posted the original item.

  24. hogarth

    And if you pulled the story on LFV, then you are nothing but a tool for the current LNC leadership.

    I think there might be some disagreement among said ‘leadership’ on that score.

    Regardless, I am frankly partisan and yes, concerned about the LP.

    And regardless of THAT, it was right to pull the story anyway, as it was clearly (in retrospect) not intended for release *and* I can see no compelling interest in the news coming out a day or so early.

  25. G.E. Post author

    Removing the article for a partisan reason negates any credibility you have in criticizing me for my “journalistic ethics.”

    The LP is dead. Put on black and get over it.

  26. Vin

    I find it quite ironic that the LP is citing and invoking the good name of the SPJ — a bastion of journalistic protection — while at the same time trying to bully a media outlet into pulling a story. If the LP has a problem, fine, but don’t site SPJ. It makes them look hypocritical and petty.

  27. hogarth

    Removing the article for a partisan reason negates any credibility you have in criticizing me for my “journalistic ethics.”

    (1) What do you think ‘regardless’ means?
    (2) When have I criticized your “journalistic ethics.”?
    (3) How does my frankly and forthrightly partisan bloggery affect my ability to criticize the “journalistic ethics” of another person?

    The LP is dead. Put on black and get over it.

    Melodramatic much?

  28. hogarth

    bully a media outlet into pulling a story

    Please define ‘bullying’. Because this:

    We respectfully ask that you remove this posting.

    Doesn’t sound like bullying to me.

    Are you all infected with the hysterical overreaction bug, or what?

  29. G.E. Post author

    When even LP Radical leaders are shilling for the corrupt regime, you can see that the party is fundamentally corrupt beyond repair.

    –Jason Seagraves

  30. Vin

    How is this overreacting when some LP higher-up (or at least one of the big fish in that little pond over there) makes some kind of statement like “I do not normally post to outside blogs nor allow LP Staff to do so” and then proceed to attack the editor. If the LP had a problem, again, they can do what they need to do. However, I have a problem with them citing SPJ while in the same breath attacking an editor. That is something the SPJ would frown upon and likely would agree that it is tacit bullying and against SPJ principles.

  31. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mr. Kraus,

    On one thing, we certainly agree — Go Cubs!

    As far as this goes, however:

    ” I believe GE should have asked the author of what can be termed ‘a private list’ if he had permission to report this matter.”

    GE received Admiral Colley’s message from a source he knows to be reliable — me.

    I received Admiral Colley’s message from a source I believed to be reliable within the relevant parameters — the secretary of the Libertarian National Committee.

    I just thought it was neat that St. Louis had been picked, and wanted to get the word out. I had no intention of making your job harder.

    But … how about making lemons out of lemonade

    The Renaissance has offered $109 a night and various sweeteners. Why not call the Regal and see if you can get $99 a night and even better sweeteners? The Regal used to be the Stouffer, which would make for a nostalgic convention — it’s the place where the libertarian and traditionalist factions of Young Americans for Freedom split up in 1969, ultimately leading to the founding of the LP a couple of years later. It’s less than a mile from the Renaissance.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  32. hogarth

    How is this overreacting when some LP higher-up … makes some kind of statement like “I do not normally post to outside blogs nor allow LP Staff to do so” and then proceed to attack the editor.

    Kraus’ post was not bullying. It was, however, superfluous and probably ill-advised. It might have made sense for Kraus to make his case, but the little lecture on journalistic ethics was silly. IMO. But I’m right.

    When even LP Radical leaders are shilling for the corrupt regime, you can see that the party is fundamentally corrupt beyond repair.

    Here’s a secret: I’m married to a man named “Bill”. if you’ll recall, the LP’s chair is named “Bill”. Oh! A conspiracy! Hogarth’s in bed with the LNC!

    Puh-leeze. My cred as someone who is committed to strengthening the LP and making it work as a radical political organization is not in any danger from you – though I am impressed you graced such a pronouncement with your full name.

    Just think, man! If you really see evil in every action a body as complex as the LNC takes, don’t you think there’s the teeniest possibility that your judgment might be a bit off?

  33. G.E. Post author

    Susan – You admitted you took down the post for partisan reasons; i.e. because it “hurt” the LP to have the post up.

    I don’t need to elaborate further.

    Good luck with the LP. You’re going to need it now that it has publicly renounced Ron Paul and his supporters.

  34. Gene Trosper

    Tom Knapp sayeth:

    The Renaissance has offered $109 a night and various sweeteners. Why not call the Regal and see if you can get $99 a night and even better sweeteners? The Regal used to be the Stouffer, which would make for a nostalgic convention — it’s the place where the libertarian and traditionalist factions of Young Americans for Freedom split up in 1969, ultimately leading to the founding of the LP a couple of years later. It’s less than a mile from the Renaissance.

    An ace idea if I ever heard one!

    I was liking St. Louis because of the YAF split, but having the convention at the exact site? fantastic!

  35. G.E. Post author

    You just can’t win, can you G.E.?

    Nope.

    But at least this time, most people are seeing my side of things. It’s only LNC members and those who aspire to join the club that are being irrational and/or sycophantic.

  36. Michael Seebeck

    Gene and Tom,

    They won’t do the Regal–there’s no place for quaint nostalgia with the Starrs ‘n Barrs Cabal.

    IMO, St. Louis isn’t the best place, but not the worst either (that would be on any cruise ship anywhere). It’s doable.

  37. Trent Hill

    I think Tom Knapp’s idea should be taken—have it at Stouffer’s. There is a piece of history.

  38. Michael Seebeck

    Trent, no worries about the history angle here. It would do the LP some good to get back to some its roots.

    But that would make sense, so it won’t happen.

  39. Trent Hill

    Michael,

    The events that happen at the Stouffer would probably be pretty dangerous to the current instability of the LP—so I could definetly understand why they WOULDNT.

  40. darren

    What a tempest in this little teapot! Leaking the LP’s “partisan” negotiations with a hotel may not quite rank with the Pentagon Papers, but thank God G.E. is here to reveal the LP’s dastardly schemes to obtain the best room rate. All this pissing contest does is make clear how petty and vindictive G.E. can be. Perhaps the LP can meet his level of professionalism by having a dozen pizzas delivered to his home.

  41. Thomas L. Knapp

    darren,

    I think you have it backward.

    GE reported a solidly sourced news tidbit. His decision to do so raises no questions whatsoever of “journalistic ethics,” nor is there any particular reason that the decision, or the story, should be controversial.

    I suppose he could have taken the story down when LPHQ requested that he do so, but there would have been no point in doing so, and doing so would have created more controversy than the story itself ever could have, and, well, GE doesn’t work for LPHQ.

    Contra someone else’s comment, the Internet is very much NOT conducive to “Orwellian memory holes.” The article had been indexed by the search engines, including Google News, within minutes of its posting, and was out there for good. What had been said could not be unsaid — the only thing that removing the story would have accomplished would have been to start people asking “why was that story removed?”

  42. G.E. Post author

    darren – Read the thread. There was nothing the least bit “vindictive” on my part. I reported a news story — I did NOT know it was a “leak” at the time. But I don’t work for LPHQ so I don’t take orders from them. Why do you have to be such an asshole? Everyone else who isn’t on/trying to get on the LNC can see the truth as clear as day. Your “vindictiveness” against me is truly, truly pathetic.

  43. G.E. Post author

    Why cut slack for corrupt officials and their enablers, Peter?

    Was it right for Kraus to behave as he did? Was it right for Susan to remove a valid article for partisan reasons?

    You know the answers.

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