Libertarian National Committee budget controversy

In Lee Wrights: ‘The seduction of silence’, I quoted LNC member Lee Wrights saying that the LNC budget was being kept from him unless he signed a non-disclosure agreement.

I wondered how that was possible, since it has already been posted at IPR
and in the draft minutes from the December LNC meeting which have also been posted at IPR.

In response, in the comments at Liberty for All, Mr. Wrights wrote

No, what you have posted are only preliminary numbers from November. I, and several others, have been asking for the details we actually passed in San Diego in December. So far, I have not been allowed to see those numbers since I refuse to agree to Mr. Starr’s requirement of secrecy.

In IPR comments, Aaron Starr replies,

The original posting is unfortunately misleading. I assume that was not intentional on the part of the author.

The budget that was presented before and during the meeting is the same budget that was adopted at the meeting.

No amendments were made, so what everyone has seen already is exactly what was passed at the meeting.

In addition, advance copies of the proposed budget were e-mailed to the LNC almost two weeks prior to the meeting and printed copies of the same proposed budget were included in each LNC member’s packet at the meeting.

The adopted budget is identical to the proposed budget Paulie states he posted at IPR.

Lastly, the budget that was adopted (which — once again — is identical to the proposed budget) is reflected in the draft minutes prepared by the Secretary. When those minutes are eventually adopted, they will be posted onto the LP.org website just like previous minutes.

Aaron Starr
LNC Treasurer

Posted to IPR by Paulie

208 thoughts on “Libertarian National Committee budget controversy

  1. R. Lee Wrights

    The original posting [http://www.libertyforall.net/?p=1929] was not misleading at all, and Mr. Starr knows it. He knows I have told the truth about what is going on. We have asked for “details” and he is refusing that request unless we pledge to join his conspiracy of silence.

    In my opinion, the best we can say about what has been published so far is that we have an “executive summary” of our budget. I am still waiting for the details.

    Lee Wrights, At-large

  2. Aaron Starr

    I believe you are confused.

    What has been published IS the budget and it is in the exact same format as the previous year’s budget.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  3. R. Lee Wrights

    I am not confused at all, despite your constant attempts to confuse this issue.

    Are you ready to say you have “not” refused to release “details” of our budget as I have described? Have you or have you not refused numerous requests to share the “details” I speak of?

    Lee Wrights, At-large

  4. Aaron Starr

    You are confused.

    You want something other than the budget the LNC adopted.

    You want the proprietary tools that the Treasurer used to create the proposed budget.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  5. Michael Seebeck

    Aaron, if that is true, then as a member of the governing board, Lee is entitled to see those tools. He not has a “need-to-know”, but a RIGHT to know.

  6. Andy

    “R. Lee Wrights // Jan 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    The original posting [http://www.libertyforall.net/?p=1929] was not misleading at all,”

    If you want to see an example of misleading, consider the fact that the disgraced ex-Political Director Sean Haugh posted an article full of lies on Lee Wrights’ website, and that whenever anyone tried to post a rebuttal in the comments section refuting Sean Haugh’s lies, the weasel Lee Wrights took the posts down. Lee Wrights took down posts from myself, Gary, Paul, and Jake Witmer, and he even took down posts from Richard Winger and Steve Dasbach that refuted Sean Haugh’s lies. This illustrates that Lee Wrights and Sean Haugh are not interested in the truth and only want to spread disinformation. Lee Wrights has low integrity and does not belong on the LNC.

  7. paulie cannoli Post author

    Andy,

    I never posted any replies to Sean’s article at LFA.

    I know that Lee Wrights denies taking down comments and says the problem was due to a technical glitch with his forum software.

    I suppose, if you really care, that you could attempt to test that theory by trying to post comments to the article in question now.

    I don’t think your emotional language is helping anything. My reply to Sean’s article is at

    http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/2008/12/22/personal-note-of-saints-and-sinners/

    And furthermore, I would like to note that the work you, me and Gary did in Ohio in 2007 helped several parties, starting with the LP, get ballot access due to a lawsuit for 2008 and 2009, and that a ballot access contractor that Sean is particularly fond of was used as the legal precedent to remove petitioner access from storefronts in Oregon before I ever went on my drugs-and-hookers binge there.

  8. R. Lee Wrights

    I have never asked for any tools at all, and the Treasurer knows it. I have asked for the “details” of the budget, and have been refused unless I agree to support his conspiracy of silence. Once again, Mr. Starr attempts to cloud the issue.

    I will pose my questions once again: Mr. Starr, are you ready to say you have “not” refused to release “details” of our budget as I have described? Have you or have you not refused numerous requests to share the “details” I speak of?

    Lee Wrights, At-large

  9. Andy

    “paulie cannoli // Jan 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Andy,

    I never posted any replies to Sean’s article at LFA.”

    OK, but the fact of the matter is that I did, Gary did, Jake did, and Richard Winger and Steve Dasbach did.

    “I know that Lee Wrights denies taking down comments and says the problem was due to a technical glitch with his forum software.”

    This is a LIE. Notice that a comment from Roger Pope where he attacked Gary miraculously survived the “technical glitch” yet anytime any of us tried to post a rebuttal the post got taken down.

    If it were really just a “techincal glitch” why is it that Wrights has refused to post any rebuttals to Sean Haugh’s lies?

    Wrights is a liar, a phony, a coward, and a hotheaded jackass who dose not belong on the LNC.

  10. Andy

    “Alternative Running Mate // Jan 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Andy,

    Maybe you need to STFU and not be apart of the LP anymore. Go ahead burn your membership card and BTW “eat a dick, asshole”.”

    So says that COWARD who hides behind a fake name.

    The Libertarian Party is better off with me than chickenshit weasels like this clown and Lee Wrights.

  11. paulie cannoli Post author

    The Libertarian Party would be many times better off if we did not go around calling each other chickenshit weasels and clowns. Who in their right mind wants to be involved with a group of people that treat each other like that?

  12. Alternative Running Mate

    This so-called clown is NOT a member of the LP, thank goodness. I don’t want to be associated with whinny,pathetic, idiotic petitioners like YOU. Take your complaints elsewhere, some of us are sick of your assholery against other assholes that are no longer relevant in an irrelevant party.

  13. Andy

    “paulie cannoli // Jan 18, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Roger’s comment did not survive the technical glitch. It was later on. Try commenting there now and see what happens.”

    We tried posting there multiple times and comments were e-mailed directly to Lee Wrights from Steve Dasbach and Wrights still did not post them. Wrights knows exactly what he’s doing. This is further illustrated by Lee Wrights’ recent e-mail response to Gary after Gary suggested that Wrights post this:

    http://libertycrusader.wordpress.com/political-consulting/prosecuting-enemies-of-liberty-spotlight-on-sean-haugh/

    Why is it OK for Sean Haugh to post smears about people but it is not OK to post rebuttals to Sean Haugh’s smear which refute them and show that Sean Haugh is a liar?

    Wrights and Haugh = Two losers with low integrity.

  14. Andy

    “Alternative Running Mate // Jan 18, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    This so-called clown is NOT a member of the LP, thank goodness. I don’t want to be associated with whinny,pathetic, idiotic petitioners like YOU. Take your complaints elsewhere, some of us are sick of your assholery against other assholes that are no longer relevant in an irrelevant party.”

    I’m far from pathetic since I can out work just about anybody.

    The only pathetic that I see is a coward who hides behind a fake name.

    I don’t hide behind fact names. I don’t say things about people behind their backs and run away like a coward.

    I’ll tell you what I think of you right to your face.

    I’ve confronted Wrights and Haugh in person and both of them ran away from me like the COWARDS that they are.

  15. George Phillies

    Of course, one of these people could publish the prior correspondence, hopefully completely and chronologically, but that would be a bit different.

    With respect to “The budget” I would remind readers and discussants of an important event at the last LNC meeting.

    There was a vote to approve or reject “the budget”. No one asked the chair in advance to clarify what was being voted on as “the budget”. There were 6 votes against. The motion thus did not have a 2/3 vote, since the current LNC has only 8 regional representatives. [ and, to correct something I said earlier, and I thank Mr. Carling for reminding me of the correction, the prior LNC also had only 8 Regional Representatives.]

    Mr. Wrights (iirc) rose to a point of order, saying that the motion had not been passed, because it involved new material. The Chair rules that it did not, i.e., the “budget” the LNC had passed was only the not-quite-a-dozen numbers that appeared on the LNC spread sheet as distributed in advance of the meeting.

    In particular, the detailed numbers that Mr. Starr displayed at the meeting were ruled by the chair not to be part of the budget.

    No one tried to appeal to the body the chair’s ruling.

    If the detailed numebr had been part of the budget, the LNC budget would have been rejected.

    Now, why any LPUS member is sending the LNC money, for a budget that spends ca. $5000 out of ca. $ 1 million on real politics, and an unspecified amount on press relations, is unclear.

    And, as I said above, perhaps one of the people who has the information — this seems to be one of the few items not yet leaked to me — would care to reveal the actual correspondence on which the did to — did not is based.

  16. Andy

    “I don’t hide behind fact names.”

    Should read fake. “Alternative Running Mate” = COWARD who hides behind a fake name.

    “paulie cannoli // Jan 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    ARM,

    Then why waste your time commenting about it?”

    Because I want to EXPOSE Lee Wrights and Sean Haugh for the COWARDS and FRAUDS that they really are.

  17. Steven Druckenmiller

    Andy, relax. Clearly when paulie said “ARM”, he meant “Alternative Running Mate”, not “Andy”.

    good grief. Somebody bust out the Paxil, please.

  18. Andy

    Anyone that has a website with a comments section and who posts a hatchet job on people and then does not allow for rebuttals, even after they are e-mailed about it several times, is a person with low integrity.

    This is exactly what Lee Wrights has done and it proves that Lee Wrights does not like to let the truth get in the way of a good smear.

  19. Jere Shocly**+ **

    This is worse than a group of jr high girls or a tv soap opera. Paulie you stirred this pot, buddy! This should have stayed in private until official action was taken.

    I didn’t understand before, but now do. A tresurer is required to furnish a detailed summary of all expenditures. If they refuse to do so, a full audit should be required immediately. I have known of an entire account disappearing and was never recovered. I don’t know Starr and I’m not accusing him of anything, but when you are a Tres. of a million dollar org you must answer to the officials and also the membership openly. No hemhawing allowed.

  20. Andy

    Here’s the latest e-mail exchange between Gary and Lee Wrights. This proves my point.

    Re: helpful constructive criticismSunday, January 18, 2009 3:15 PM
    From: This sender is DomainKeys verified “Gary Fincher” Add sender to Contacts To: “R. Lee Wrights” LOL. “Likes of me”? I’ve been looking at IPR today and what people are saying about you and well, apparently, you’ve got a very poor reputation in the party. So I don’t take anything you say very seriously. You apparently also don’t believe in freedom of speech, as you pick and choose who gets posted on your site, and then turn around and lie about it. I don’t like liars. Sorry.

    — On Sat, 1/17/09, R. Lee Wrights wrote:

    From: R. Lee Wrights
    Subject: Re: helpful constructive criticism
    To: garyfincher@yahoo.com
    Date: Saturday, January 17, 2009, 2:22 PM

    ‘I wasn’t. I was just trying to improve your journalistic skills, after observing over the last few weeks how sorely in need of improvement they are.’

    Yes well, the last thing I need is help from the likes of you. Thanks for nothing.

  21. Prospective Advertiser

    The treasurer, Aaron Starr, is taking a stand against openness and transparency. He has secrets to keep from the members of the Libertarian Party. He used the resources of the members of the Libertarian Party to develop certain techniques and to compile certain information, and now he is determined to hide that information from the members of the party.

    The rest of the discussion is just a lot of silly name calling. “You are confused.” “No, you are confused.”

    The essential issue is that the members of the LNC are the governing body of the Libertarian Party, and as such are entitled to all the information about the party so that they may deliberate on what policies to authorise, what choices to take. Aaron Starr and others in the inner clique have determined to demand secrecy agreements from the members of the LNC, such as R. Lee Wrights, not only to deny them insight into how the information is compiled and what the summary of the information that has been published actually means, but also to gain a hook to further abuse power.

    You see, once a confidentiality agreement has been signed, then each of those members of the LNC who choose to uphold their fiduciary responsibility to tell the members things that embarrass Aaron Starr and make him look like a simpleton, or expose his GOP sympathies, or make his corrupt and disgusting behavior more widely known, can be sued for breach of contract. The purpose of the confidentiality agreements is to coerce the members of the LNC, force them in line, make them do what neo-conservative, pro-war fascists want.

    I am very proud that R. Lee Wrights and others on the LNC are willing to stand up for freedom. Openness and transparency are the right things to fight for.

    If the Libertarian Party cannot operate in the light of day, then why should anyone believe that a government of Libertarians would ever do so? And if we aren’t libertarians for the purpose of exposing government corruption and shining a light on the dark, evil things done in the name of the people of this country, if we aren’t going to get rid of tyranny, why bother?

    If all you want, Aaron, is power to corruptly allocate money and privileges, then you belong in the Democrat party. They have all the seats in Congress, all the executive branch departments, all the sleaze and filth and money and power you could possibly want. Get on your knees and crawl over to their headquarters.

  22. paulie cannoli Post author

    “paulie cannoli // Jan 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    ARM,

    Then why waste your time commenting about it?”

    Because I want to EXPOSE Lee Wrights and Sean Haugh for the COWARDS and FRAUDS that they really are.

    I was asking ARM, not you. Since he has stated his opinion that “This so-called clown is NOT a member of the LP, thank goodness…..your assholery against other assholes that are no longer relevant in an irrelevant party.” I was asking why he would spend time on it at all.

  23. Andy

    “paulie cannoli // Jan 18, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    ‘I’ll tell you what I think of you right to your face.’

    I should warn you, Andy, that ARM is a rather unusually large man.”

    I don’t give a damn who it is. People who talk shit and hide behind fake names are cowards. I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m not the asshole here. I haven’t talked shit and hid behind a phony name. I haven’t posted lies about people. I haven’t screwed up ballot access and held the party back.

    If this character doesn’t care then why is this person here and why are they posting about it? How is any of this any of their business?

    I engage in actual facts. I challenge anyone to prove that anything that I said is wrong.

  24. Aaron Starr

    My goodness.

    It is precisely the sort of anonymous uncivil comments made @ 26 that make a volunteer wonder why he would ever want to hold any position of responsibility in this party.

    Does it occur to you that there is a human being reading this that is the object of your ire? Or am I just a bunch of anonymous bits on your computer screen?

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  25. George Phillies

    @24

    Jere: Actual expenditures are on the FEC web pages, with about a month delay, and not secret at all. The argument is about the fine detail analysis that supported the misfortunate budget that the LNC passed.

    Incidentally, that fine detail was presented in the open session. It went on screen, where much of it was read out loud. That’s not proprietary.

  26. paulie cannoli Post author

    As I’ve noted elsewhere, Aaron Starr and I disagree on a variety of matters of party strategy and tactics, and some ideological issues – although we are in the same political party, and our ideological differences are still small compared with either one of us on the one hand and your typical Democrat or Republican on the other.

    This being the case, I see no reason why he and I can not discuss such differences as we have in a civil manner. I think libertarians – whether party members or not – who heap endless and vile abuse on each other are hurting our cause more than most statists ever have.

    Whatever our differences, Aaron Starr deserves our thanks for taking on a large and time consuming volunteer task that very few want, as well as being generous with his own money on many occasions.

    The same holds true for Mr. Wrights, Andy, and many others. If only they would all save their heavy fire for the real enemy, I think we would all be far better off.

    Aside from the unfortunate and unnecessary personal invective and hyperbole, Prospective Advertiser is correct in a larger sense about the value of openness and transparency, as I have also stated elsewhere.

  27. Andy

    “The same holds true for Mr. Wrights, Andy, and many others. If only they would all save their heavy fire for the real enemy, I think we would all be far better off.”

    Wrights and Haugh started this stuff. I was acting in self defense. Gary also attacked in unprovoked manner. Wrights and Haugh also attacked you in an uprovoked attack.

    The same goes for this “Alternative Running Mate” character. I did nothing to them. This was another unprovoked attack, and it was not even based on any logic or facts, it was just name calling. Pathetic.

  28. paulie cannoli Post author

    Andy,

    Lots of people have done me wrong, and I’ve done lots of people wrong. So what?

    I could spend all my time fixating on these things, or on the other hand I can try to do and better myself going forward, and I could try to make things better in the world in some way. I’d rather do the latter.

    By the way, to date, Wrights has never attacked me, to my knowledge. He did publish Sean’s article, but I have yet to see him comment on it, or otherwise comment on me.

  29. Aaron Starr

    @ 34

    Paulie, thank you for your kind words.

    People in this party are going to disagree sometimes, just as people do in all walks of life.

    I do not believe that the people who disagree with me are evil. I start off with the premise that they simply have a different perspective or possess different facts than I do.

    I simply do not understand what it is about human nature that enables a person to engage in antagonistic conversations online. Most people would never dream of speaking this way face-to-face with another person.

    When I post something online or send out an e-mail, I aim to not state something that I would not say in person. I also ask myself whether I would want to be on the receiving end of the communication. I may have to rewrite it several times, and even then it is never perfect.

    Almost every e-mail I have ever sent out includes my home and mobile phone numbers.

    People are surprised at how reachable I am and in my willingness to engage in civil, constructive conversations over the phone. Sometimes I change my mind as a result of the dialogue, sometimes the other person does. At the very least, we are usually left with a better understanding of the other person’s position.

    We are all allies standing in opposition against an overbearing, tyrannical state.

    Can we win this fight? I’m not sure. But I am certain of this. If we lose perspective and a sense of proportionality, if we spend an enormous amount of time abusing hard-working volunteers in this party and equating them to [insert your choice of evil group here], if we transform what should be productive communication into a blood sport, then we certainly won’t win. And that would be a shame.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  30. Andy

    “paulie cannoli // Jan 18, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Andy,

    Lots of people have done me wrong, and I’ve done lots of people wrong. So what?”

    I have not done anybody wrong. If somebody stabs me in the back and screws me over my response is NOT to bend over and take it, my response is to fight back. This is why I got into politics in the first place.

    “I could spend all my time fixating on these things, or on the other hand I can try to do and better myself going forward, and I could try to make things better in the world in some way. I’d rather do the latter.”

    I’m making the world a better place by exposing FRAUDS like Lee Wrights and Sean Haugh.

    “By the way, to date, Wrights has never attacked me, to my knowledge. He did publish Sean’s article, but I have yet to see him comment on it, or otherwise comment on me.”

    Oh bullshit. Wrights gave Sean Haugh a forum to post his SMEARS and you were included in those smears. I tried to set the record straight – which included posting responses to things that Haugh said about you – and Lee Wrights took the posts down. He also took down rebuttals that were posted by Gary and Jake, and he even took down posts where Richard Winger and Steve Dasbach tried to set the record straight. He was e-mailed about this by Gary and by Steve Dasbach and he continued to refuse to allow rebuttals to be posted.

    By not allowing rebuttals to be posted Wrights screwed you over.

  31. Andy

    “Alternative Running Mate // Jan 18, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Boo hoo!!!!! Whine, bitch and moan. Jeez get a fucking life already!”

    LOL!!!! You ought to take your own advice.

  32. Prospective Advertiser

    Paulie, you can discuss whatever you please in whatever tone you like. I don’t like Aaron Starr, I don’t trust him, I don’t regard him as libertarian, and I object to his behavior. I think he’s a worthless GOP sneaky slime ball, and as such is not deserving of respect.

    He supported Bob Barr’s nomination. He worked for Barr’s election. I don’t need any further evidence to convince me that Starr is for compulsion, coercion, obedience to the state, war wherever it can be excused or contrived, death to collect taxes when necessary (and it always finds a way to be necessary), and an ongoing, international drug cartel war against competition.

    Everyone has choices to take, Paulie. You can choose to work with guys like Aaron Starr. I choose not to. I don’t choose for you how to react to betrayal of the party’s principles. Evidently, you are accustomed to a certain amount of betrayal that many of us aren’t yet used to.

    I realize that standing on principle isn’t comfortable for everyone. And vehemence has become unfashionable. So what?

    The fight for liberty is vigorous. If you aren’t comfortable with a vigorous discussion, how exactly do you plan to respond to the state when it confronts you?

  33. Prospective Advertiser

    Aaron writes, “It is precisely the sort of anonymous uncivil comments made @ 26 that make a volunteer wonder why he would ever want to hold any position of responsibility in this party.”

    If you are afraid of a few vigorous comments, then go. Who needs you? I certainly wouldn’t mind if you stopped volunteering because I said some things on this site. I don’t think the liberty movement needs conservative war mongering drug warrior USAPATRIOT act approving filth like your guy Barr, and I suspect nearly every criticism that applies to him goes for you, too.

    “Does it occur to you that there is a human being reading this that is the object of your ire?”

    It occurs to me that I have written just what I think and expressed just how I feel about it. If you don’t like it, tough.

    “Or am I just a bunch of anonymous bits on your computer screen?”

    No, we’ve met, face to face, in Denver. I didn’t like you then, I don’t like you now. I didn’t see you as an ally for the defense of liberty then, and it seems even more abundantly clear, now.

    Perhaps you should examine whether the work you are doing as treasurer is motivating people to contribute money to the party, and, if not, get out.

    The fight for freedom is intense, it is vigorous, it is emotional, and if you aren’t up for it, go work on Wall Street or something. Start a hedge fund. Maybe you’d be more comfortable with a Ponzi scheme or some sort of offshore investment extravaganza. Knock yourself out.

    Are you upset, Aaron? Do you remember upsetting anyone in Denver? I remember you sitting on that sofa like a jerk being totally unresponsive to the emotions pouring out of a friend of mine. I hated you for it. I still do.

    Seriously, go sleaze around with the Democrats, or what’s left of the GOP. Get a uniform and throw in your lot with the Major Strassers of the world. Round up the usual suspects.

  34. Chad P

    Ladies (?) and Gentlemen,

    The comments sections of this story is a great example of why I choose to stay uninvolved when it comes to the national LP. People call the national LP unprofessional… and you know what? They’re right.

    You all have the ability to act civilly to solve these problems. There are procedures in place (through Robert’s Rules, if no where else) to deal with Executive Committee issues, should they arise. Perhaps the time you’ve spent bickering on the internet would be better spent actually pursuing solutions.

    Just a thought.

  35. Chuck Moulton

    I’m a little confused at what is being debated here and would appreciate some clarification.

    Is the difference between the “detailed budget” and the “budget” that the former provides a finer granularity of how the money will be broken down and spent within each budget line? Or is something different in play here?

    Is the “detailed budget” binding on staff? Or is just the “budget” binding? If the latter, is the “detailed budget” just suggestions?

    What is meant by “proprietary”? Is the information contained in the “detailed budget” proprietary? Or is the computer file format proprietary?

  36. paulie cannoli Post author

    Prospective,

    The fight for liberty is vigorous. If you aren’t comfortable with a vigorous discussion, how exactly do you plan to respond to the state when it confronts you?

    I’m quite comfortable with a vigorous discussion, and used to the state confronting me. I’ve had a bullet whiz one inch from my ear, another one hit and kill a kid I knew standing next to me. I’ve been in jail in seven states – some deserved, some not. I’ve been beaten and left for dead, came very close to starving to death once, have been questioned by police more times than I can count, have been held at gun and knife point many times, and much more. I’ve also many of these same things to others, of which I am now ashamed.

    Being comfortable with a vigorous discussion is not nearly the same thing as condoning engaging in name-calling and abuse. It’s counterproductive to any good cause, and drives good people away from wanting to have anything to do with the participants.

    Bob Barr, like me, is a man who has done some things which were bad in the past, and he has said he changed his mind about some of them since, while continuing to equivocate too much for my taste. His ideological evolution toward hardcore libertarianism continues. Some people, understandably, still question his sincerity, but I think doing so impolitely is nevertheless counterproductive.

    I stand by my view that I would have much preferred former Congressman Barr to have spent longer in the Libertarian Party, run for lower office as a Libertarian and fleshed out his ideological evolution as a libertarian more thoroughly before becoming the presidential nominee. Given that he was the nominee, I stand by my views that the ticket would have been better balanced with Steve Kubby for Vice President, and better managed if Steve Gordon was the campaign manager rather than Russ Verney.

    I know many sincere Libertarians who supported Barr’s nomination because they believed he would substantially increase the vote totals and membership of the party. The fact that I disagreed with them then, and now, does not mean I have to condemn them – or for that matter Bob Barr – as some kind of nazi filth. In fact, doing so closes down any chance for meaningful and productive dialogue.

    Also, it is my understanding that Aaron Starr backed Wayne Root for the nomination, not Bob Barr.

    You can choose to be as nasty as you want to be, and maybe it makes you feel like you are accomplishing something, but the only thing you are really accomplishing is visible from Chad P.’s comment, and from many comments that lurkers could have left but didn’t.

    And before you answer with a rejoinder that it is good that you are driving people away from participating in the LP, consider that this sort of attack rhetoric isn’t helping the BTP either. Yes, I know the BTP’s free membership is growing, but what about any real political activities?

  37. paulie cannoli Post author

    Andy,

    I have not done anybody wrong.

    Ever, in your life?


    If somebody stabs me in the back and screws me over my response is NOT to bend over and take it, my response is to fight back. This is why I got into politics in the first place.

    Then you got into the wrong thing, because politics consists of people continuously stabbing each other in the back and screwing each other over, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, in ways both big and small. Continuously fixating on who has screwed you over does not help make this country or world more free. In most cases, it just drags you down.


    I’m making the world a better place by exposing FRAUDS like Lee Wrights and Sean Haugh.

    Really Andy, Sean Haugh and Lee Wrights are the biggest detriment to our freedom in your view? You don’t think we have bigger problems?


    Oh bullshit. Wrights gave Sean Haugh a forum to post his SMEARS and you were included in those smears.

    Unfortunately, the factual part of what Sean said about me is correct. I don’t think his interpretation and analysis of it is correct, and there are many things I can say to put it into a different context, and I thank you for saying some of them in your comments which were erased at LFA. If I recall correctly, they are still posted in the comments here at IPR.

    I tried to set the record straight – which included posting responses to things that Haugh said about you – and Lee Wrights took the posts down. He also took down rebuttals that were posted by Gary and Jake, and he even took down posts where Richard Winger and Steve Dasbach tried to set the record straight. He was e-mailed about this by Gary and by Steve Dasbach and he continued to refuse to allow rebuttals to be posted.

    By not allowing rebuttals to be posted Wrights screwed you over.

    So you keep saying. When was the last time you tried to post comments to that article? You can cut and paste your comments from the IPR thread about Sean being fired over to his article in question at LFA, for example today, and tell us you have done it. Wait a little while for them to appear. If they don’t appear, or then disappear again afterwards, your analysis that Lee is purposely removing comments will be harder to deny.

  38. paulie cannoli Post author

    Chuck,

    I’m a little confused at what is being debated here and would appreciate some clarification.

    Is the difference between the “detailed budget” and the “budget” that the former provides a finer granularity of how the money will be broken down and spent within each budget line? Or is something different in play here?

    Is the “detailed budget” binding on staff? Or is just the “budget” binding? If the latter, is the “detailed budget” just suggestions?

    What is meant by “proprietary”? Is the information contained in the “detailed budget” proprietary? Or is the computer file format proprietary?

    Good questions. I would be interested in the answers as well.

  39. Jeff Wartman

    It’s really disheartening to see comments like the one from “Prospective Advertiser”

    While it’s obvious that there is a wide range of opinions within the Libertarian Party, to state that Aaron Starr is a warmonger, or “right-wing” is silly.

    The LP will never be able to fight outward for liberty if it cannot have some semblance of relative unity within.

    You’re not going to agree with everyone in the party, but to assume that the enemies of liberty are within the LP is the most significant mistake you could make. When you start thinking that the enemies of the liberty are in the LP as opposed to the actual fascists, you’ve already lost.

  40. ATM

    I’ve been following this comments thread for a while, and I think it demonstrates both the weaknesses and the potential of established, nationally organized parties like the LP. On the one hand, I am disheartened but not really surprised by the rudeness and senseless anger expressed in many of the posts. On the other hand, these same posts show just how much everyone cares.

    Also on the plus side, I think it’s nice from an accountability perspective that LNC members and the LNC treasurer himself are willing to post here in the open at IPR. No major party officials would ever engage in this kind of free-flowing and angry dialogue.

  41. Trent Hill

    ATM,

    We’re glad the Libertarians like IPR–if only the Greens and CPers posted here as often. But, about 4-5 LNC reps post here semi-regularly, as well as staffers and former staffers. The CP has been known to post here too, Gary Odom and Mary Starrett are two of the CP’s four paid employees and they have posted here. The GP is waaay behind, as are all others. This is not because of a rightwing-slant on the part of IPR, but because we cant find people who are interested. Which seems odd to me…this blog is google-indexed, making it far more powerful (from an influence perspective) than most blogs.

  42. Andy

    “Ever, in your life?”

    I don’t make it a practice to screw people over. I don’t think that I’ve ever screwed anyone over in politics. Beyond that, if I’ve ever done anything to anyone outside of politics it was either unintentional or minor.

    “Then you got into the wrong thing, because politics consists of people continuously stabbing each other in the back and screwing each other over, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, in ways both big and small.”

    I expect to be stabbed in the back by most Democrats and Republicans, I do not expect to be stabbed in the back by people who claim to be Libertarians. Libertarians SHOULD BE supportive of other Libertarians. I have no respect for backstabbing, lying, theiving “Libertarians”. They should be regarded as LINOs (Libertarians In Name Only).

    “Continuously fixating on who has screwed you over does not help make this country or world more free. In most cases, it just drags you down.”

    The destruction of my enemies is a good thing, including the few who exsist in the Libertarian Party as they are just dead weight who are holding the party back anyway.

  43. Leymann Feldenstein

    I wonder if they were having discussions like this at Lehman Brothers a few months ago.

    This is like watching a water fight on the Titanic.

  44. Prospective Advertiser

    Paulie, I don’t wish to have a dialog with Barr nor with any of his supporters. He is authoritarian filth. The dividing line is compulsion versus consent. Barr and his ilk stand on the other side of that line, and they use compulsion in their policy positions and in their choices in running the LP. I cannot respect them. I do not wish to work with them. Compulsion and coercion are wrong, and are the persistent thread of wrongdoing in their policy positions and in their operation of the LP.

    You seem to be aware that I doubt the sincerity of Barr’s supposed ideological evolution. His repeated calls for military intervention in Colombia subsequent to his slight moderation of his position on medical marijuana, taken together with his determination to have states which choose to fight the drug war at the state level supported by the national government seem, to me, to illustrate his continued drug warrior authoritarianism as explicitly as possible. If you think he’s changed his mind on the drug war, I don’t think you’ve looked at all the things he’s said.

    The argument that sincere and principled libertarians supported Barr because they expected him to raise tens of millions of dollars and gather in five or ten percent of the popular vote is not one that I find compelling. I find it difficult for two basic reasons. First, it is an argument based on expedience: if only the LP would give up all its principles, it could really gain power, have some elected offices, get lots of money from donors, and be able to do all sorts of corrupt things with that money and power. I’m not impressed with arguments based on the shifting sands of expedience. As you know, in the event, Barr raised about the same as Harry Browne or so, quite a lot less in inflation adjusted dollars depending on whose figures you like for inflation. And he didn’t do so well in the popular vote – for some reason the millions of online gamblers did not come out for Barr-Root. Huh.

    The second reason I don’t find this argument compelling is because I know a lot of these guys. I know a bit about many of them. None of the people who were supporting Barr in Denver were sincere and principled libertarians, in my view. Admittedly, I do have actual standards, and I don’t cut much slack.

    You say that Starr did not support Barr. This statement is false. When Angela and I approached Starr in the lobby of the hotel in Denver, he was wearing a Barr insignia, and I believe he had with him a Barr sign. So, at least on the final ballot, when it was Barr or Ruwart, I think very clearly Starr was with Barr.

    Paulie, I’m here representing myself. I’m here presenting my views. I don’t ask that you like them. I will always argue against smarmy pseudo-intellectuals who argue for compulsion and coercion.

    In terms of real political activity, the Boston Tea Party continues to grow not only in membership but also in state affiliates. Since its political activities take place at the state level, I regard that as an indication of action. A few resolutions by the national committee are of some interest to some people.

    I realize that many people don’t like to look directly at things. They’ll turn their heads when they see a car crash is imminent, or duck down behind the wheel when it seems like they may be about to hit an animal on the street. Other people are less timid, and would like to see others standing up and making clear and principled arguments against compulsion and coercion. Which I continue to do.

    You can be as sensitive to other people’s feelings as you please. I’m not. I write what I think and I express how I feel, and if someone interprets that to mean that they ought to feel badly, that person has to be responsible for his interpretation and his feelings. Writing is not aggression, especially writing that contains no threat of violence.

  45. Prospective Advertiser

    Jeff, I left the LP many years ago because it had given up on principle, was corrupt, and failed to capture the imaginations of freedom enthusiasts. I continue to stay away from the LP as far as contributing money or time goes for the very same reasons.

    Yes, there are enemies of liberty within the LP. There are neo-conservatives who think it is funny that they have taken over the party of principle and converted it to support their war monger candidates. I think Starr has taken their side, yes.

    There were unprincipled, corrupt and high profile people in the LP screwing over the membership for a little money as far back as the Perry Willis scandal, and very likely even earlier. I didn’t like it then, I spoke out against it, and I have seen nothing to lead me to believe that the LP now operates in an open, transparent, and ethical manner today.

    You say that the LP can only succeed if it has unity. I say that there can be no compromise on principle, there can be no agreement between coercion and consent, there can be no reasoning with the ugly minds who would use brutality to impose a government by force.

    Presumably your next argument will be that there aren’t enough people who want a government based on consent to make it work. To which my response is: prove it.

  46. Prospective Advertiser

    ATM, “senseless anger…”.

    Many people who are very upset about the current direction and insider clique of the LP are angry for very sensible reasons. Many of us worked for many years to support the LP. Rather a great many of us felt betrayed by the 2006 platform evisceration, and rather a great many people were betrayed by the nomination of Bob Barr.

    The LP insider clique doesn’t want to do anything for the people it has betrayed. One of the reasons your party is going broke is because the insider clique that runs it keeps offending broad constituencies.

    I guess none of you have learned anything from the witch hunt to get rid of Angela Keaton. Kinda sad.

  47. paulie cannoli Post author


    Paulie, I don’t wish to have a dialog with Barr nor with any of his supporters. He is authoritarian filth.

    So the idea of someone changing their mind gradually towards becoming a libertarian, or a more consistent libertarian, is entirely impossible as far as you are concerned?


    You seem to be aware that I doubt the sincerity of Barr’s supposed ideological evolution. His repeated calls for military intervention in Colombia subsequent to his slight moderation of his position on medical marijuana, taken together with his determination to have states which choose to fight the drug war at the state level supported by the national government seem, to me, to illustrate his continued drug warrior authoritarianism as explicitly as possible. If you think he’s changed his mind on the drug war, I don’t think you’ve looked at all the things he’s said.

    I have seen many things he has said, and I don’t think he has changed his mind nearly enough, which was I did not vote for his nomination. In fact, I have never voted for Bob Barr in my life. As far as Colombia goes, I’m only aware of one article. I know that a lot of delegates who voted for Barr believed, or hoped, that his conversion was more complete than it was. I don’t necessarily hold it against them.


    The argument that sincere and principled libertarians supported Barr because they expected him to raise tens of millions of dollars and gather in five or ten percent of the popular vote is not one that I find compelling. I find it difficult for two basic reasons. First, it is an argument based on expedience: if only the LP would give up all its principles, it could really gain power, have some elected offices, get lots of money from donors, and be able to do all sorts of corrupt things with that money and power.

    That’s not the argument they were making.
    The argument they were making was that Barr’s conversion was sincere and complete, and that his experience as a Congressman would propel the party to new heights without sacrificing principle. I disagreed with them, and I believe the conduct of the campaign and election results prove me to have been correct. But that does not mean that everyone who voted for Barr in Denver was ill-motivated.


    The second reason I don’t find this argument compelling is because I know a lot of these guys. I know a bit about many of them. None of the people who were supporting Barr in Denver were sincere and principled libertarians, in my view.

    I disagree, because I happen to know some that did.


    You say that Starr did not support Barr. This statement is false. When Angela and I approached Starr in the lobby of the hotel in Denver, he was wearing a Barr insignia, and I believe he had with him a Barr sign. So, at least on the final ballot, when it was Barr or Ruwart, I think very clearly Starr was with Barr.

    Yes, as with most Root supporters, he sided with Barr over Ruwart.


    Paulie, I’m here representing myself. I’m here presenting my views.

    Same here.

    In terms of real political activity, the Boston Tea Party continues to grow not only in membership but also in state affiliates. Since its political activities take place at the state level, I regard that as an indication of action.

    What actions are taking place at state levels?


    A few resolutions by the national committee are of some interest to some people.

    Yes, but then you have to ask of how much interest to how many people.


    I realize that many people don’t like to look directly at things. They’ll turn their heads when they see a car crash is imminent, or duck down behind the wheel when it seems like they may be about to hit an animal on the street. Other people are less timid, and would like to see others standing up and making clear and principled arguments against compulsion and coercion. Which I continue to do.

    As do I.

    Writing is not aggression, especially writing that contains no threat of violence.

    Writing is not aggression, but it can certainly be aggressive. There is a difference.

  48. Chad P

    Prospective Advertiser,

    My experiences with the Boston Tea Party have been uniformly negative. When I asked the BTP leadership about certain statements (article: http://www.nolanchart.com/article5286.html ), I was met with accusations and blatant avoidance of the issues. That’s not how I expect a viable political party to act.

  49. paulie cannoli Post author

    Oops, this section in comment 59 should have been in italics

    “In terms of real political activity, the Boston Tea Party continues to grow not only in membership but also in state affiliates. Since its political activities take place at the state level, I regard that as an indication of action.”

  50. Aaron Starr

    “You say that Starr did not support Barr. This statement is false. When Angela and I approached Starr in the lobby of the hotel in Denver, he was wearing a Barr insignia, and I believe he had with him a Barr sign. So, at least on the final ballot, when it was Barr or Ruwart, I think very clearly Starr was with Barr.”

    You don’t understand the way I think.

    I believe I was sitting with Rowan Wilson at the time, who was a big-time Barr supporter. I seem to recall her putting a Barr sticker on me, but I would have worn the sticker of anyone who was our nominee at that point, even if it was Phillies.

    I believe in coming together to support whoever the convention selects. I recognized Michael Badnarik in 2004 as being our party’s nominee, even though he was a distant third choice for me. My first choice was Gary Nolan , followed by Aaron Russo.

    I don’t remember the Barr sign, not that it matters, but it would not have been mine anyway. I don’t believe much in signs. I believe they are a waste of resources. They make your supporters feel good, but they do absolutely zero to persuade people to vote for your candidate. At best, they might help a voter stay in your camp who might have been wavering.

    As far as my first preference for the nomination in 2008, you are sadly misinformed.

    Outside of an LP event, I doubt that I’ve had more than two conversations with Bob Barr.

    Everyone who knows me knows that I am a solid Wayne Root fan. I was involved very early on in his campaign. I had him studying books by Rothbard, Ruwart and other libertarians to hone him on philosophy. I proofread much of his campaign material and helped with some of the writing.

    Since the nomination I continue to work with him, having proofread about 90% of his upcoming book The Conscience of Libertarian, which is being published by a major publisher, Wiley & Sons, and is coming out in bookstores this May. He and I have become very good friends and I even spent New Year’s Eve with him and his family in Las Vegas.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  51. Aaron Starr

    While I’m singing Wayne Root’s praises, let me tell you what else I find appealing about Wayne Root. He has the ability to communicate in a way that appeals to the mainstream public. He is bright, but he doesn’t go out of way to make you know that. He’s willing to listen and learn.

    When I first spoke with Wayne about seeking our nomination, I knew that it was going to take some work to make him into a “solid” libertarian. He was about 70% there, when I first met him. After spending well over a year-and-a-half working with him and getting him to study our writings and speak with a lot of folks, he’s now at 95%.

    When it comes to candidates, I’ll normally back a good marketer over a good philosopher. I can teach a good marketer who is open to our ideas to become a 95%+ libertarian. I can’t teach someone who is a 100% libertarian to become a good marketer.

    Our candidates – bless their hearts for trying – who don’t know how to reach people are like the proverbial tree falling down in the middle of the forest. No matter how wonderful a sound it might make, it doesn’t matter very much if no one ever hears it.

    Most of our VP candidates are never heard from even during the campaign. For Wayne Root, the campaign has never ended. Just today, he was on the radio in Madison, Wisconsin promoting our party. Since the official end of the campaign, he’s been on Fox News maybe twenty times; Michael Savage, which has 12 million listeners; the Jerry Doyle Show, which I believe is the eighth most popular political talk show in the nation. He is on the air almost every day promoting our party and our message.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  52. Chuck Moulton

    I agree with Aaron with regards to Wayne Root. I voted for Root on all ballots except the last one. He’s not perfect (his emails about the war and Ron Paul early on were terrible and his Reason interview was embarrassing), but he did bring a lot to the table and he was one of the few candidates who genuinely listened, took suggestions, and improved himself.

    I’m thankful that Aaron has put so much time into educating Root about libertarianism. Too many libertarians focus on outreach and purging, forgetting that inreach is a powerful tool in our arsenal.

    On a completely different subject, I hope Aaron will address some of the questions above clarifying the apparent controversy with the budget.

  53. R. Lee Wrights

    Sorry Chuck, but it is obvious that the last thing Mr. Starr wants to do is clarify the budget. He has been given numerous chances to do so and refuses unless those of us asking him to do so promise not to tell anyone. Let’s face it, if his fellow committee members cannot get information from him, what chance does the membership have of getting anything from him?

    He has made it quite clear that he does not believe in openness and transparency; and, that he will use any means possible to deflect, distort and dodge the issue.

    Lee Wrights, At-large

  54. libertariangirl

    Oh geez , you should know Aaron that Nevada has come around to Root as well .
    We didnt like him one bit as evidenced of the vote at National . But he has proven himself and we are looking forward to working with him . We want him to take the Sounthern Regional Rep excomm seat for Nevada at our state convention. He has said yes and paid his dues. . once we replace our current chair with Joe Silvestri , we should have a great team here in Nevada.
    Do you know anything of the rumor about the 2012 convention being in Las Vegas?

  55. paulie cannoli Post author

    LG

    Wayne should be able to do great with local media, given what he has been doing with national media.
    It would be interesting to try to organize the LP at the precinct level in the Las Vegas area. Have you guys given that any thought?

  56. libertariangirl

    Not really we did try it at a district level . thats a great idea..
    What i really really wish is that Root would run for an office he could win like State Assembly or city council . but that probably wont happen .
    he’d also do pretty ok as a Mayoral candidate being that he’s got a strong character like the out-going mayor. But we also have a governers race , senate and congress . we in Nevada will pretty mch give him his choice of running for whatever . in Nevada we nominate our candiates at convention only.

  57. Brian Miller

    You want the proprietary tools that the Treasurer used to create the proposed budget.

    Hohohohoho! This has to be the funniest thing I’ve read in ages!

    Don’t worry, Aaron, nobody wants to steal your “trade secrets.”

    Meanwhile, if anybody has confidence in the LNC’s budget (or anything else), more the fool he.

    it is obvious that the last thing Mr. Starr wants to do is clarify the budget

    This isn’t news, and the only thing that is possibly more hilarious than Starr’s dithering and whiny “woe is me, why are you so mean to me” schtick is the fact that the lack of transparency has been an issue for some time.

    Even sadder still is the circular ass-kissing and demands for “civility” in the face of manifest incompetence.

    Seriously — the LNC was about to create a “special committee” to investigate baseless grievances against a former member, but hasn’t yet created a forensic audit committee to find out what “proprietary tools” (dodgy spending?) make up a detailed budget?

    I’ve seen North Philly news-stands with better accounting practices. Sad stuff.

    Is it any wonder why nobody — not even longtime Libertarians — takes the LNC seriously anymore?

  58. Brian Miller

    Too many libertarians focus on outreach and purging, forgetting that inreach is a powerful tool in our arsenal.

    “Inreach?”

    I would hope that a Libertarian candidate — especially one who wants to top the party ticket — wouldn’t need to be “educated” about the platform of the party he seeks to lead in a general election.

    I guess that’s another “unreasonable expectation,” along with productive LNC meetings, consistent LNC statements on major issues of the day as they are happening, and competent transparent accounting.

  59. Michael Seebeck

    I’m still waiting for that used Fiat quote from Root. If fake, blustery enthusiasm were a disease he’d be a one-man pandemic.

    Sorry, he’s got a lot to go to prove things to me, the first being to quit coming across like an overfriendly hyperactive pound dog. He needs to quit acting like Billy May’s half-brother and be a little more collected and calm. Once we get past that then maybe we can get to issue evolution.

    He has potential, but his presentation sucks.

  60. Aaron Starr

    “Do you know anything of the rumor about the 2012 convention being in Las Vegas?”

    Libertariangirl, please give me a call to talk about this. If you don’t have my number, send me an e-mail with your phone number to starrcpaATpacbell.net.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  61. Ladies Beware

    I would advise Libertariangirl (or any girl for that matter) to NOT send Aaron Starr your phone number. Unfortunately, he has a history of treating the fairer sex less than gentlemanly.

  62. Prospective Advertiser

    Brian wrote, “Don’t worry, Aaron, nobody wants to steal your ‘trade secrets.’”

    Actually, if he can balance the LP budget without revenues, or pull a few million out of his ass, maybe somebody would want those secrets. Driving the party into bankruptcy doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment.

  63. Prospective Advertiser

    “He has made it quite clear that he does not believe in openness and transparency; and, that he will use any means possible to deflect, distort and dodge the issue.”

    Good one, Lee.

  64. Aaron Starr

    “On a completely different subject, I hope Aaron will address some of the questions above clarifying the apparent controversy with the budget.”

    I hope you will bear with me during this long response.

    For those of you who don’t know me, allow me to introduce myself. I am a life-long resident of Southern California. I first started volunteering for our party when I was only 16 (that was 29 years ago). In 1980 I read Robert Ringer’s book “Restoring the American Dream” and was hooked forever. I then proceeded to mine the book’s bibliography, reading the works of Rothbard, Hospers, Von Mises, Hayek, Spooner, Bastiat, etc. I became your typical, young lapel-grabbing libertarian.

    I have been a registered Libertarian voter since I was 18. I have been an anarchist and a minarchist. In my early years I was the type who would seek out where others disagreed with me. Today, I look for where we agree. I ran for State Senate. I’ve been a successful campaign manager (actually electing Libertarians to office). I served as state chairman of the Libertarian Party of California and was apparently so unpopular that I served six years (elected to a record three consecutive two-year terms).

    By profession, I am a CPA. I serve as the controller of an $800 million manufacturer of machine tools. When I started with the company five years ago, our sales were around $280 million. Today, we are the largest machine tool manufacturer in the world. I have a wonderful staff, work with great people and I enjoy what I do.

    Regarding the question on the budget, I’ll do my best to explain my thoughts on this.

    The budget that was passed at the December meeting is on a single page.

    It is composed of broad categories of activity with the exception of compensation, which is a separate category of its own. I prefer this approach to budgeting because I generally oppose micro-managing staff and this gives the Chair and the Executive Director more flexibility.

    The exact same format was used the prior year, and it wasn’t considered controversial.

    (Several people have asked for and received copies of this budget. I have no objection to it being distributed to any member who wants to see it.)

    The next level below the broad categories mentioned above are individual general ledger accounts (think of them as classification categories). I tend to add more general ledger accounts over time in order to better analyze the data and prepare various charts. Typically, you wouldn’t want to create financial statements based on this level of data because it would tend to overwhelm the reader.

    The next level below that are models I developed that feed information into the general ledger accounts. The models combine historical information with future projections, and include some rather granular and sensitive organization data (e.g. salaries by employee, the cost of a fundraising letter, response rates, expected attrition rates of new and existing donors, etc.).

    As part of my oral presentation to the LNC on the budget, I shared on a computer screen the assumptions that I used to compile the figures for the budget. There was over two hours allotted to answer questions.

    In addition, in the weeks prior to the meeting I gave two advance presentations (approximately 3 hours a piece) to the EC and the LNC — Mr. Wrights did not attend — where many questions were asked and answered.

    I have spent a lot of time in my personal career developing spreadsheet formats and formulas that assist me with presenting financial information. These were developed long before I took on the duties of Treasurer.

    These models were developed for my convenience, so that I could present a reasonable budget. I own these and I am not inclined to simply give such work away, any more than a programmer wouldn’t want to give away his software tools that he developed prior to taking on a job.

    Mr. Wrights is presenting an argument that I am not being “transparent,” while I insist that I retain ownership of my intellectual property.

    I suppose I can commend Mr. Wrights on his great political framing. His position is much easier to put forward in a short sound bite.

    But I realize that this “controversy” is just a manifestation of a deeper political disagreement between me and Mr. Wrights. I doubt that any of this manufactured controversy would matter to him if he and I shared the same outlook.

    Mr. Wrights and I have a basic conflict in visions for how an organization should be operated and managed. I believe he also perceives ideological differences between us, though we’re probably much closer in thinking than he realizes.

    He believes that staff should be managed with a very short leash; I believe they should be given broad goals and metrics and a lot of latitude as to how to accomplish them.

    He believes staff should be criticized publicly; I believe staff should be praised publicly and corrected privately in a dignified way.

    There are other differences, but I won’t belabor the point.

    It’s unfortunate that we allow such differences to devolve to this point. I prefer to see the bigger picture and recognize that most all of us have something to contribute to bringing about more liberty to this world.

    I’ll continue to strive to be agreeable (while disagreeing). Hopefully, Mr. Wrights and I will find more opportunities to agree and work constructively together. I find that I get a lot more done with honey, than I do with vinegar.

    Anyway, anyone can e-mail me to get a copy of the budget that was actually adopted, which is the only set of measurements that the board has agreed to use for financial comparison purposes during the year.

    I have offered and will continue to offer to spend as much time as any board member may require to understand any figure of this budget. I have done so for other members of the board.

    And if it doesn’t involve sharing confidential operating data of the party, I’m happy to spend time explaining the budget with any other member of this party.

    I generally enjoy teaching and interacting with people, so it’s not really a burden to me.

    Best regards to all,

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  65. Calling Dibs

    Ladies Beware,

    If Mr. Starr is as awful as you say he is, why are you still obsessed with him? Sounds like he was so good that you can’t cope with the loss. I’m a member of the fairer sex, so maybe I’ll follow LibertarianGirl’s lead and email him my phone number…

    I’ve met him frequently over the years in the LP, and he seems to be intelligent, competent, credible, capable, and always a gentleman even in the face of verbal abuse. Plus he looks great in a tuxedo!! Certainly in this discussion, he seems to be the only one who knows what he’s talking about.

  66. Prospective Advertiser

    Starr writes, “And if it doesn’t involve sharing confidential operating data of the party, I’m happy to spend time explaining the budget with any other member of this party.”

    This sounds as though confidential information of the party is being kept from Lee, who is a member of the governing body of the party. It certainly seems consistent with Lee’s complaint, which is that he wants to understand the budget, and is being told to first sign a confidentiality agreement.

    If the staff of the party had been trustworthy during 2008, one could argue for a free rein. As it is, there were numerous instances where staff were completely out of line. I suspect that Lee is not advocating a micro management of every conceivable staff member ever, but seeks to re-assert the control of the governing body over staff which have run wild.

    The Shane Cory and Andrew Davis press release on increasing the federal budget for child porn comes to mind, as does Kraus demanding confidentiality agreements from LNC members as if they were mere volunteers, as does his role in the witch hunt against Angela Keaton. There have been numerous complaints about Andrew Davis and various LP polls, as well as a continuing complaint about disappeared archives and an absence of openness and transparency. Staff have a lot to answer for.

    Staff that were actually responsive to the LNC, that were actually libertarians, might be given some freedom to act within broad policy guidelines. Perhaps the large number of people relieved of their positions in 2008 or who have resigned in 2008-09 is indicative of this problem. One doesn’t get rid of good people who are doing their jobs and growing the party’s revenues and earnings.

    Someone does need to explain to me how this guy with the wizard formulas and nifty spreadsheet tricks is overseeing one of the worst budgets in years. What happened, Starr, didja lose your best fundraiser? Alienate a bunch of donors by nominating a bozo?

    Didja notice that your presidential nominee didn’t attract tens of millions in contributions, had to be arm twisted to link to the LP or even mention the party’s name, distributed funds through his PAC to GOP opponents of LP candidates, and tried to saddle the party with his campaign debt?

  67. paulie cannoli Post author

    Aaron,

    Thanks again for taking your time here, and for the explanation. I think I am starting to get a better understanding of the issues here.

    The next level below the broad categories mentioned above are individual general ledger accounts (think of them as classification categories). I tend to add more general ledger accounts over time in order to better analyze the data and prepare various charts. Typically, you wouldn’t want to create financial statements based on this level of data because it would tend to overwhelm the reader.

    Would you be willing to share that information with us? I can understand that many readers would be overwhelmed, and I’m sure I would probably be one of those, but there seems to be a demand for this information. I think that if you made this available, it would go a long way towards addressing the concerns many people have, even if very few people would want to actually read it all, or would understand what they are reading.

    anyone can e-mail me to get a copy of the budget that was actually adopted, which is the only set of measurements that the board has agreed to use for financial comparison purposes during the year.

    No need for that – as noted previously above, we’ve already publicly posted it at IPR. Twice.

    The next level below that are models I developed that feed information into the general ledger accounts. The models combine historical information with future projections, and include some rather granular and sensitive organization data (e.g. salaries by employee, the cost of a fundraising letter, response rates, expected attrition rates of new and existing donors, etc.).

    Employee salaries are public information – they are in the FEC reports that anyone, LP member or not, can download for free from government websites. I recall much of the rest of what you allude to being made available in the binder that is given out to interested party members in attendance at LNC meetings.

    I was never asked to sign any confidentiality agreement about information such as the cost of fund raising letters, response rates, and the like. I could have very easily scanned all that stuff in and published it here, for example; as could anyone else.

    In fact, during the period of time when the LP was most successful in attracting members and donations during the time I have been in the party – about ten years ago – I seem to recall the party regularly publishing such information as response rates to fund raising letters for wide public distribution.

    The more of this kind of information you can make available, the more you will dispel the concerns of some that something untoward is being done behind closed doors with their money, or money they are being asked to contribute. I think a general policy of sunshine, openness and transparency would do the party well – even if, in the short run, it would mean biting the bullet and facing some unpleasant realities. Also, I think it would serve as a good example in action of how we would behave in government office. After all, actions speak louder than words.


    As part of my oral presentation to the LNC on the budget, I shared on a computer screen the assumptions that I used to compile the figures for the budget. There was over two hours allotted to answer questions.

    Then there should be no problem with making this information public, right? After all, you already shared it during a public meeting.


    I have spent a lot of time in my personal career developing spreadsheet formats and formulas that assist me with presenting financial information. These were developed long before I took on the duties of Treasurer.

    These models were developed for my convenience, so that I could present a reasonable budget. I own these and I am not inclined to simply give such work away, any more than a programmer wouldn’t want to give away his software tools that he developed prior to taking on a job.

    I understand that you have a legitimate concern there. I trust that these formats and formulas were not part of your public presentation which you made at the last LNC meeting, and which we have both videotaped and broadcast live?

    Basically, I think that what we are advocating is that you make public as much information as you can make without giving away your trade secrets.


    Mr. Wrights is presenting an argument that I am not being “transparent,” while I insist that I retain ownership of my intellectual property.

    As best I can understand what you both and others have written here, you both have a legitimate point to some degree. Perhaps we could find some middle ground that would make more information available to interested party members while allowing you to retain ownership of your intellectual property?

    I and IPR would be happy to be of service here.

  68. paulie cannoli Post author

    Calling Dibs,

    I’m a member of the fairer sex, so maybe I’ll follow LibertarianGirl’s lead and email him my phone number…

    I’ve met him frequently over the years in the LP, and he seems to be intelligent, competent, credible, capable, and always a gentleman even in the face of verbal abuse. Plus he looks great in a tuxedo!! Certainly in this discussion, he seems to be the only one who knows what he’s talking about.

    Hey, you can email me your number too!

    I’m pretty much a dumb ass, can’t find my ass with both hands, you never know what I’m capable of, and I’m usually verbally abusive, even in the face of gentlemen.

    I have no idea what I would look like in a tuxedo, since I’ve never worn one as far as I can remember (but then, I don’t remember a good chunk of the 1980s – because as someone said about the 1960s, I was really there) – but I imagine it would be sort of like the Penguin in Batman, short, fat, and clumsy.

    I have no idea what I’m talking about, in this discussion or most of the rest of the time.

    I enjoy Max Hardcore movies and other gonzo porn, candle lit dinners, long walks on the beach, leaping tall buildings in a single bound, sex on the beach, fighting supervillains, and smoking crack responsibly.

    If we hook up, I promise to treat you like absolute crap, behave like a total jerk, make you pull out your hair, tickle your funny bone on a regular basis, lie frequently, pout, be an ignorant know-it-all smart ass, and smile like Alfred E. Neuman from Mad a lot. From my interactions with women, I’ve gathered that’s what they generally like.

    I’m enclosing a couple of pictures, and hope to hear from you soon……

  69. paulie cannoli Post author

    LG,

    I can take it im thick skinned. Ill email you my number.

    My kind of woman. You can conference me in on a three way if you’re into that. I prefer FFM, but I don’t mind MMF so long as there’s a chick in the middle.

  70. paulie cannoli Post author

    Brian,

    Even sadder still is the circular ass-kissing and demands for “civility”…..

    What is it exactly that you think we gain by behaving like fetal alcohol syndrome afflicted rodeo clowns on meth? Does childish name calling, bickering, and generally acting like two year olds overdue for a diaper change help advance any of the goals you name?

  71. R. Lee Wrights

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Treasurer for demonstrating so profoundly exactly the kind of self-aggrandizing political double-speak he offers my colleagues and I on the national committee any time we try to get a straight answer out of him. Mr. Starr can go on as long as it takes to wear most folks down so that he NEVER has to actually answer the question being asked.

    He has also demonstrated once again his unwillingness to be open and transparent with the budget. He actually claims it is his property! I would laugh if it weren’t so very sad.

    Surely we can do better than this in 2010.

    Lee Wrights, At-large

  72. Robert Capozzi

    Lee, question:

    If you wrote notes for yourself, and then made a motion at the LNC, would you release your notes to the full LNC?

    Further, if the LNC demanded you take a polygraph to ascertain your thought process regarding your motion, would you accede to the polygraph?

    “Transparency” is a wonderful value, but I wonder how far you’d like to push it?

  73. Chuck Moulton

    Aaron Starr wrote:

    [The budget] is composed of broad categories of activity with the exception of compensation, which is a separate category of its own. I prefer this approach to budgeting because I generally oppose micro-managing staff and this gives the Chair and the Executive Director more flexibility. […]

    The next level below the broad categories mentioned above are individual general ledger accounts (think of them as classification categories). I tend to add more general ledger accounts over time in order to better analyze the data and prepare various charts. Typically, you wouldn’t want to create financial statements based on this level of data because it would tend to overwhelm the reader.

    The next level below that are models I developed that feed information into the general ledger accounts. The models combine historical information with future projections, and include some rather granular and sensitive organization data (e.g. salaries by employee, the cost of a fundraising letter, response rates, expected attrition rates of new and existing donors, etc.).

    Thank you for the clarification, Aaron. I am much clearer on the issues involved now.

    Although I am an attorney I don’t profess expertise in corporate law and lack the time to research this issue myself, so I would appreciate it if someone would clarify something for me: by law do all members of a board of directors have a right to examine the general ledger of a corporation for auditing purposes, or does the presence of an audit committee procedure limit such access to the audit committee itself and any entity contracted to implement the audit?

    I can see a lot of advantages to allowing board members to conduct audits of financial statements and budgets (at their own expense of course) using tools such as the general ledger. I am open to being convinced the costs of allowing such a thing would exceed the benefits.

    I can certainly understand why Aaron is reticent to share models and formats he has come up with on his own time prior to his tenure. However, I believe there should be a distinction between the underlying numbers (historical data and estimates) and the methods used to arrive at those numbers. I would think the former should be made available.

    It seems to me that sending information in PDF format rather than spreadsheet format could mitigate concerns about a proprietary format. In addition, the presence of confidentiality concerns about some numbers (e.g., staff salaries) should not prevent all the non-confidential numbers from being made available to board members. Whether such numbers should be confidential or not is a separate issue… what I’m focusing on is that the prospect of releasing all or nothing seems to be a false dichotomy.

    Perhaps a motion could be made to add Lee Wrights to the audit committee.

  74. Jeff Wartman

    ProspectiveAdvertiser: This sounds as though confidential information of the party is being kept from Lee, who is a member of the governing body of the party. It certainly seems consistent with Lee’s complaint, which is that he wants to understand the budget, and is being told to first sign a confidentiality agreement.

    I think you need to look up and understand the word ‘proprietary’. No information of the party is being withheld. A system of formulas developed by Mr. Starr for his own reference is not property of the LP. What you’re doing is the equivalent of asking Terra Eclipse for every piece of code and the tools they used to develop the LP website. For a party that supports property rights, you seem to have a socialist idea of sharing private property.

  75. Jeff Wartman

    He has also demonstrated once again his unwillingness to be open and transparent with the budget. He actually claims it is his property! I would laugh if it weren’t so very sad.

    Why is it so hard for you to distinguish between the numbers in the actual budget and the process by which those numbers were derived?

  76. paulie cannoli Post author

    Jeff,

    As Mr. Starr noted in his message, there is at least one middle layer of information between what has been made public and his proprietary trade tools.

    Thus far, the only reason we’ve seen for not making general ledger information available is that it would overwhelm the readers. I think that should be up to readers to decide for themselves, although I agree with Mr. Starr that most readers would probably find it overwhelming – there are exceptions.

    It’s not yet clear to me whether this covers all the information that he put up on the screen at the last LNC meeting. It seems to me to be information that is already in the public realm, since it was broadcast during a public meeting.

    I think it is reasonable that anything that is said, distributed or shown on a projector of some sort during the public part of an LNC meeting can not be considered proprietary or secret. After all, the public is invited to attend – I’ve never even been asked to prove that I am a party member the times I have observed. And, with today’s modern technology, I see no reason why access to any information made public at such a meeting would only be made public to those who can afford to be there in person.

    I don’t see how information that is already public on government websites, like HQ staff salaries and the costs of printing and mailing, can be a secret. I also don’t recall any harm coming to the party when it was open about things like response rates to fund raising letters – quite the opposite, this is when I remember the party doing the best within my memory in terms of membership, money, number of candidates running for office, number of Libertarians known to be in office, and so on.

    I think it is reasonable that we ask Mr. Starr to publish what he has already made available publicly. We can make IPR available for this purpose.

    It’s certainly possible, and probable, that there are still aspects of this issue that I have not understood. If so, I would be happy to continue to evolve in my understanding.

  77. robert capozzi

    IMO, there are two very sound reasons to NOT release too much granularity on the LP’s budget:

    1 COMPETITIVE REASONS. If the LP starts to release too much detail on its plans, other parties and organizations can use that information to the LP’s detriment.

    2 ANALYSIS PARALYSIS. When the budget was first released, there was widespread ignorance and misrepresentation by leading figures in the LP. There’s a thread on LAST FREE VOICE in which WILD accusations were made about “red ink” on sub-categories on the balance sheet, accruals that SHOULD have been negative numbers.

    Static based on ignorance of rather basic accounting is a profound waste of valuable time and resources. If the LP’s financial leadership has to spend HOURS of time educating members about rather obscure accounting theory, I’d suggest that’s an excellent prescription for an ineffective organization.

  78. libertariangirl

    P:_I enjoy Max Hardcore movies

    he is my absolute favorite , i got his autograph at the last AVN show

  79. paulie cannoli Post author

    P:_I enjoy Max Hardcore movies

    he is my absolute favorite , i got his autograph at the last AVN show

    Would you like to star in a fan tribute movie to Max, little girl? I can make you famous, and I’ll give you a lollipop. Yeah!

    We can use some of the profits of the video to help with Max’s legal defense fund.

    http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/free-max-hardcore/

    http://maxhardcoretv.com/FreeMaxHardcore.htm

    http://pornstarsafterhours.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/max-hardcore-reports-for-jail-january-29/

  80. libertariangirl

    your speaking my language Paulie:)

    poor Max , I didnt know he went to prison , how unfair !!!

  81. paulie cannoli Post author

    Robert,


    IMO, there are two very sound reasons to NOT release too much granularity on the LP’s budget:

    1 COMPETITIVE REASONS. If the LP starts to release too much detail on its plans, other parties and organizations can use that information to the LP’s detriment.

    I think the lack of information acts even more to the LP’s detriment. Lack of information leads to people thinking there is something to hide and assuming the worst. Sunshine is the best disinfectant!


    2 ANALYSIS PARALYSIS. When the budget was first released, there was widespread ignorance and misrepresentation by leading figures in the LP. There’s a thread on LAST FREE VOICE in which WILD accusations were made about “red ink” on sub-categories on the balance sheet, accruals that SHOULD have been negative numbers.

    Ignorance on Least Free Voice (AKA Lost Free Voice) is to be expected. Sorry, I couldn’t resist
    that gratuitous dig. More seriously…


    Static based on ignorance of rather basic accounting is a profound waste of valuable time and resources. If the LP’s financial leadership has to spend HOURS of time educating members about rather obscure accounting theory, I’d suggest that’s an excellent prescription for an ineffective organization.

    Perhaps. But there is no denying that the LP is having some financial difficulties right now, and I think that members feeling like they are being kept in the dark is definitely a part of the problem.

    If I was in a position to consider a substantial donation to the party, I would want to feel confident that I know how my money would be spent, and could find out details upon request. I’m not in such a position now, and don’t expect to be imminently, but I’d be surprised if there aren’t people who are, who feel the same way.

  82. paulie cannoli Post author

    LG,


    your speaking my language Paulie:)

    I knew you had something… special… about you. A real star quality. 🙂

    Seriously, I think this could work. The national LP is probably too busy trying to sell itself as an alternative for conservatives right now to consider this, but a forward thinking state party – say Nevada – could probably benefit from the portion of the proceeds of a friendly porn company. Maybe the company logo could involve the statue of liberty somehow.

    Give me your wired, your poor young women on all fours,
    Your huddled lasses yearning to breathe free (because their mouth is stuffed with man meat),
    My wretched refuse on you teaming whores.
    Send these, the homeless, salad-tossers, to me
    (I need a place to rest my feet):
    I lift my video camera beside their back door.

    It could also advertise on the tapes and websites of more established porno producers. After all what other party would? Then we could also have product tie-ins like, for example, LP Nevada tank tops and thongs. We could sell them, and also when we have enough money, let’s say go on a strip club crawl and give some out to strippers. Make a few friends, find a few
    new party members/movie stars, and have some fun….sounds like a win/win to me.

    There’s quite a few businesses like this which the LP should be making friends with, given a little bit of forward vision. Ones that government busybodies tend to target…


    poor Max , I didnt know he went to prison , how unfair !!!

    Yes, it’s absolutely ridiculous. LPs could be helping bring publicity to the fact that we have a man about to go to prison for several years for obscenity (yes, that was the official charge) involving consenting adults in today’s America.

    I’d like to lobby the Free Speech Coalition to get involved. I’ve read that Stagliano is an active LP member. However, I’ve also heard they think that Max is bad for the image of the industry, so they are not standing up for him.

    Of course, they always come for the easy targets first…

    “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

    And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

    And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

    And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came

    check your email paulie

    Looks good from what I can tell, but 2 KB? Daddy must be getting old…I need a magnifying glass or something, LOL.

  83. paulie cannoli Post author

    Anyway, back on topic …

    If I was in a position to consider a substantial donation to the party, I would want to feel confident that I know how my money would be spent, and could find out details upon request.

    It occurs to me that just the idea that I can’t see budget details might well preclude me from donating to an organization, if I was in a position to make that decision, although it is far less likely that I would want to actually see and examine such details.

  84. libertariangirl

    were gonna be good friends Paulie:)

    Ive always said the entire porn industry is politically homeless , and has money . They need a champion . We had a booth at the AVN 2 years ago but ammounted to littlde more than my guys standing around awe-faced.
    Stagliono was the Chair of his college LP , but you are correct the porn industry is hanging Max out to dry.

  85. Steven R Linnabary

    IIRC, one of the heavy hitters in the adult industry (Screw magazine magnate) DID make some fairly substantial investments in the LP and the Marrou campaign back in ’91.

    He didn’t see much return for his investment.

    PEACE

  86. Calling Dibs

    Paulie,

    Is that a picture of yourself on your shirt? Seems like a narcissist – no thanks.

    Or maybe you’re afraid there will be a mass decapitation, and you want to make sure your face gets reuinted with the right body for burial…

  87. paulie cannoli Post author

    Is that a picture of yourself on your shirt?

    No, John Belushi. Everyone always asks me that, LOL. I have close to 100 of those t-shirts left from a credit card promotion.

  88. paulie cannoli Post author

    Or maybe you’re afraid there will be a mass decapitation,

    Deathly afraid. What’s even creepier is that I have a picture of the back of my head on the back of my t-shirt. (psych).

  89. paulie cannoli Post author

    were gonna be good friends Paulie:)

    Sounds good. I need a Little Debbie in my life to make daddy rich again.


    Ive always said the entire porn industry is politically homeless , and has money . They need a champion . We had a booth at the AVN 2 years ago but ammounted to littlde more than my guys standing around awe-faced.

    That’s why you need a traveling circus man like me there.

    😛

  90. Prospective Advertiser

    Wartman writes, “I think you need to look up and understand the word ‘proprietary’. No information of the party is being withheld.”

    Yes, proprietary information belonging to the LP is being withheld, as Lee makes very clear in his statements and questions. A budget which is not allowed to be audited is not a budget, it is a fiction.

    What you are saying, Wartman, is that you like the idea of a fictional budget, and because you like Starr, you are happy to let him tell you a bedtime story. Don’t forget to lick his boot.

    What Lee is saying is that the budget inputs and material information going into figuring the budget is information required by members of the governing body of the party in order to do their work. Since I trust Lee, and since I don’t trust Starr, I’m utterly opposed to the contemptuous fashion in which Starr is behaving.

    Openness and transparency obviously come at some price. A member of the national committee is standing up for openness and transparency. I’m amused that the so-called transparency caucus isn’t supporting him in his demand for information. I guess that’s because the transparency caucus are Summer soldiers and Sunshine patriots, and the weather outside is cold.

    Kinda sad to see the transparency caucus flush itself down the toilet so soon.

  91. morey

    For a party that supports property rights, you seem to have a socialist idea of sharing private property.

    Certainly not intellectual property “rights”, but we do honor the sanctity of contract.

    Back on topic, my reaction is the same as Chuck’s. Aaron should release a PDF file. If the “code” can be derived from that, then there really isn’t much to it.

  92. Aaron Starr

    @87 Chuck Moulton writes:

    “Although I am an attorney I don’t profess expertise in corporate law and lack the time to research this issue myself, so I would appreciate it if someone would clarify something for me: by law do all members of a board of directors have a right to examine the general ledger of a corporation for auditing purposes, or does the presence of an audit committee procedure limit such access to the audit committee itself and any entity contracted to implement the audit?

    “I can see a lot of advantages to allowing board members to conduct audits of financial statements and budgets (at their own expense of course) using tools such as the general ledger. I am open to being convinced the costs of allowing such a thing would exceed the benefits.”

    I am not a lawyer and do not profess to know the laws of the District of Columbia, which is where the LNC is incorporated. But it is my belief that any member of the board can make arrangements to go to the national headquarters during normal business hours and ask to view most any financial record created by staff.

    For example, if a board member in the performance of his fiduciary duties wanted to see any executed contracts, invoices and copies of cancelled checks, there probably wouldn’t be a problem. If that same board member wanted to publish such information to the world at-large, this might very well be a problem.

    It might be more problematic if the board member wanted to view personnel records. Where I work, there are huge concerns about the legal exposure from disclosing information about individual salaries to those who have no business knowing this. For us to release such information, it would most likely subject us to huge legal liabilities and I do not believe our insurance covers us for Employment Practices Liability, which is typically very expensive insurance due to the high risk of their being an award for damages.

    I understand that some will assert that the personnel costs by employee are already disclosed on FEC reports, but that’s not accurate. What you will see on an FEC report are the net payroll checks after any payroll tax withholdings. And since each individual employee’s withholdings will differ, depending on the employee’s marital status and the number of allowances one claims on their W4 form, you can never actually be certain as to the amount of that employee’s compensation. At best, you can only be sure that the compensation must be greater than the net check.

    The LNC’s audit committee has a very limited role. They recommend who we select as an auditor and they are tasked with explaining the accountant’s findings to the board.

    I have been insisting that the LNC’s financial statements be audited every year and I actually helped draft language submitted to the Bylaws Committee to require that such audits be conducted annually. An outside CPA has already been engaged to audit our books for 2008.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  93. Aaron Starr

    @90 Paulie Cannoli writes:

    “As Mr. Starr noted in his message, there is at least one middle layer of information between what has been made public and his proprietary trade tools.

    “Thus far, the only reason we’ve seen for not making general ledger information available is that it would overwhelm the readers. I think that should be up to readers to decide for themselves, although I agree with Mr. Starr that most readers would probably find it overwhelming – there are exceptions.”

    Paulie, I believe you offer a legitimate position here.

    My challenge with Mr. Wrights is that he insists on access to everything I do, with an absolute right to forward the information to anyone he sees fit, and that anything less than that is simply not going to satisfy him. There is no attempt to address my concerns (though to be fair to him, I do believe he now understands the legal problems of not keeping compensation information confidential).

    That has not been my experience with other members of the board, including those who disagree with me on some matters. When other members of the board agreed to not forward the information to anyone else, they were given complete access to any of my spreadsheets (after I converted all the formulas to values). I then made myself available to answer any questions because it is rather cumbersome to grasp how the figures roll up without seeing the actual formulas.

    I was able to come to a satisfactory compromise that worked with other members of the board, but I can do nothing to satisfy Mr. Wrights, short of a complete capitulation of my sincerely held values. In my experience with Mr. Wrights, I get the sense that any opinion of mine that differs from his own is simply illegitimate, as far as he’s concerned.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  94. Aaron Starr

    @90 Paulie Cannoli writes:

    “It’s not yet clear to me whether this covers all the information that he put up on the screen at the last LNC meeting. It seems to me to be information that is already in the public realm, since it was broadcast during a public meeting.

    “I think it is reasonable that anything that is said, distributed or shown on a projector of some sort during the public part of an LNC meeting can not be considered proprietary or secret. After all, the public is invited to attend – I’ve never even been asked to prove that I am a party member the times I have observed. And, with today’s modern technology, I see no reason why access to any information made public at such a meeting would only be made public to those who can afford to be there in person.

    “I don’t see how information that is already public on government websites, like HQ staff salaries and the costs of printing and mailing, can be a secret. I also don’t recall any harm coming to the party when it was open about things like response rates to fund raising letters – quite the opposite, this is when I remember the party doing the best within my memory in terms of membership, money, number of candidates running for office, number of Libertarians known to be in office, and so on.”

    Paulie, I believe you offer a legitimate position here. Let me attempt to address it.

    There is an unintended consequence you create by staking out such a position.

    The Treasurer is under no obligation to create information in such a granular form. In fact, almost no volunteer treasurer would for an organization, especially for an organization as small as ours. They will simply take last year’s figures, make a few adjustments for those items that change based on the size of the revenues, and be done.

    Even my sharpest critics will concede that I put a lot more dedication and care into fulfilling my duties than would a typical volunteer treasurer.

    And lest you think that this is just boasting on my part, I encourage you to ask Mark Hinkle, past chairman of the LP of California. I crafted budgets and financial statements for the state party in the past and he will tell you (just as he has told me) that he has never seen anything as comprehensive from any other treasurer in his over 30 years with the party. I have the deepest of respect for Mr. Hinkle. We are able to work very well together and he has very different ideas on how a party should be run than I do. If he believes I’m holding an incorrect position, he doesn’t attack me. He presents a persuasive argument, and if it has sufficient merit (and it often does), I’ll change my mind. Incidentally, I spent a couple of nights with him and his wife Linda at their home during the holidays. They were wonderful hosts.

    Anyway, back to my point. We’ve all witnessed many examples where there is a tendency in this party for some to excoriate those with whom they disagree politically. In this environment, one tends to say few words and write even less. And, ironically, the demand for “transparency” results in less useful information being created because the motivation of whomever sits in my position would be to not go beyond the call of duty.

    I don’t believe that’s an outcome anyone wants.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  95. Aaron Starr

    @81 Paulie Cannoli writes:

    “Aaron,

    “Thanks again for taking your time here, and for the explanation. I think I am starting to get a better understanding of the issues here.

    “‘The next level below the broad categories mentioned above are individual general ledger accounts (think of them as classification categories). I tend to add more general ledger accounts over time in order to better analyze the data and prepare various charts. Typically, you wouldn’t want to create financial statements based on this level of data because it would tend to overwhelm the reader.’

    “Would you be willing to share that information with us? I can understand that many readers would be overwhelmed, and I’m sure I would probably be one of those, but there seems to be a demand for this information. I think that if you made this available, it would go a long way towards addressing the concerns many people have, even if very few people would want to actually read it all, or would understand what they are reading.”

    Paulie,

    I am somewhat leaning towards doing that, but it will require some additional work on my part.

    When I put together my supporting information for the budget, it was not designed to be published and it would be hard for someone besides me to decipher.

    It’s analogous to a computer programmer who writes his own code for his own personal use, versus writing it in such a way that it can be reviewed by a team of programmers later. When you write a program for someone else you need to include extensive comments so that others can follow the logic.

    Think of it as function versus form.

    For those of you who are writers by trade, it would be the difference between writing your thoughts down for your own reference versus publishing a paper with footnotes and a bibliography.

    Or for an inventor, it would be the difference between jotting down some ideas versus submitting a patent application with technical specifications.

    Anyway, with some effort, I’d be willing to volunteer more of my time to put the general ledger level of information into a format that would be easier for the reader to understand. I am willing to go the extra mile to bring more clarity to those who want that, provided the requesters are both civil and can be satisfied by the extra effort.

    However, before I do this extra work to make people happy, I would first want to see a consensus of opinion posted here that this would be a reasonable and satisfactory solution.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  96. John Famularo

    People involved in this debate should read a book called “Parkinson’s law”, especially the chapter called “The Finance Committee”.

  97. volvoice

    Aaron,

    If you would, please expound upon the liabilities of having the LP employee’s salary known by the general membership. Here in my part Tennessee and southwest Virginia the salary of every public servant is printed in the newspaper once a year. If the local government does it why can’t we? It appears to me that this salary secrecy is a big problem for a lot of folks, I for one am a skeptic of all this secrecy and whether it is actually needed or is one part of a bigger smokescreen. By the way, since you have not answered my past email I will post the question here, seeing how this article has your attention. What is the current account balance of the LP as of, say, last friday?

  98. libertariangirl

    I must be the only one who would rather eat broken glass than look at all those numbers.

  99. R. Lee Wrights

    The Treasurer misrepresents me as follows:

    “My challenge with Mr. Wrights is that he insists on access to everything I do, with an absolute right to forward the information to anyone he sees fit, and that anything less than that is simply not going to satisfy him.”

    This is not true and Mr. Starr knows it. My request has been simple and straight-forward. I want the “details” of our budget as shown to us, and the rest of the world, in San Diego. There is no reason to hold information that has already been made public knowledge as confidential, and I refuse to take part in your conspiracy of silence concerning the budget and its “details.” I don’t give a flying fudge pop about your tools!

    All I am asking for, in fact all I have ever asked for, is information that already belongs to the LNC. Information you refuse to release to us without a promise of silence. All your dancing around the truth and verbal nonsense do not change these simple facts.

    Lee Wrights, At-large

  100. George Phillies

    “And since each individual employee’s withholdings will differ, depending on the employee’s marital status and the number of allowances one claims on their W4 form, you can never actually be certain as to the amount of that employee’s compensation. At best, you can only be sure that the compensation must be greater than the net check.”

    Readers will not that the various taxes must also be disclosed to the FEC, and they are.

  101. Prospective Advertiser

    At 118, R. Lee Wrights states what he wants. Where is the Transparency Caucus when they are needed?

    So, the lonely member of the LNC calls for openness and transparency, and the LPTC can’t be bothered to write a resolution in support. Wow.

    Well, Lee, I guess you have to know it is coming at you like a freight train, now. They are going to do to you what they just got done doing to Angela.

  102. Michael Seebeck

    “It’s analogous to a computer programmer who writes his own code for his own personal use, versus writing it in such a way that it can be reviewed by a team of programmers later. When you write a program for someone else you need to include extensive comments so that others can follow the logic.”

    HAHAHAHA! Shows you how much Mr. Starr knows about proper software development, who owns what based on use, open source, and so on, in my world.

    Aaron, extensive comments, proper design documentation, and proper flow documentation are necessary for ALL good programming. In fact, it is not only industry standard, but company policy in most places these days. Since you’re a CPA and nothing resembling a CMMI expert, you really have no idea what you are saying.

    Come to think of it, applying some CMMI to the LP practices might not be a bad idea…

    BTW, use of personal software or programming or algorithms by an organization gives the organization fair use claim to them, unless the organization agrees in writing to the contrary. Most employment contracts indicate the opposite, that those things produced for the company are owned by the company.

    So that means that either the LNC is licensing Mr. Starr’s proprietary work for its use, and if so the license and/or compensation should be easily produced as part of the Party records, or else Mr. Starr is engaging in a highly questionable set of ethics in applying personal or another company’s assets to LNC, Inc. without properly recording the in-kind donation by the producer. OTOH, if it is recorded, it should be in the ledger and part of the records as well. The only other option is that the proprietary materials are in fact shareware or freeware in nature, in which case anyone who asks for it should receive a copy.

    “I’d be willing to volunteer more of my time to put the general ledger level of information into a format that would be easier for the reader to understand.”

    You mean you’re not using the standard double-entry accrual method with balance sheets, income statements, and so on? Fascinating. I would think that would be the logical and orderly way to do it in the first place. Of course, my tenure as my county’s Treasurer we just kept it all on one big balance sheet, and it was easily readable and open to any member who desired to see it, because our accounting methods were the standard industry practices a CPA taught me back in high school.

  103. Michael Seebeck

    Jim @121,

    The LPTC is working on other realms than this at the moment. Getting organized for Charleston, for example. Interfacing with other groups like AntiWar.com, for another example. It’s safe to say Mr. Wrights is representing the LPTC position rather well, without our asking and with our thanks. And believe me, he’s just the man out in front. Other LNC members have the same concerns. Just because YOU don’t see us doing anything doesn’t mean it isn’t being done.

  104. Michael Seebeck

    “I would first want to see a consensus of opinion posted here that this would be a reasonable and satisfactory solution.”

    The reasonable and satisfactory solution is to give Lee what he has asked for, not to mention your own Chair. If your act is together, all you need to do is PDF the pages and email them to him. If you’re not staying organized, well, then y’all gots bigger problems.

  105. Michael Seebeck

    “And, ironically, the demand for “transparency” results in less useful information being created because the motivation of whomever sits in my position would be to not go beyond the call of duty.”

    That’s only true if the requests for transparency are met with hostility like you have done–hostility as in trying to mess with my web cam in San Diego, trying to ban filming and broadcasting of the meetings, and stonewalling on budget numbers.

    Look in the mirror. If you don’t like transparency, then perhaps the reason why is looking back at you.

  106. Wes Benedict

    I combined Aaron’s tactic of writing a long long description about all the great work he’s done, with the openness that Lee Wright and others are requesting, bundled them into a fund raising letter, and raised a ton of money in 2007. 48K in two months for a STATE party. It was right after the Badnarik for Congress campaign had left some people concerned about how their donations were spent so I erred on the side of openness. I gave a less than 51% chance we’d make it, and I was fine either way because working that job was tough for low pay. But when everyone came through, I felt I ought to stay two more years and give it my best which is what I did. Here’s the big money-raising letter: http://lptexas.org/docs/EDLetter2007-01.pdf

  107. Michael H. Wilson

    Aaron writes: These models were developed for my convenience, so that I could present a reasonable budget. I own these and I am not inclined to simply give such work away, …”

    Then why not use a standard accounting format to present these? How much different is this than?

  108. Prospective Advertiser

    @123 Michael, just because I don’t see you doing anything, no one sees you doing anything. You might be doing something, but there isn’t any evidence of it. Which means that I think you are full of crap when you claim to be doing something. You are doing nothing. Which is what you are good at. Go team.

  109. Michael H. Wilson

    Aaron also writes: “By profession, I am a CPA. I serve as the controller of an $800 million manufacturer of machine tools. When I started with the company five years ago, our sales were around $280 million. Today, we are the largest machine tool manufacturer in the world.”

    At $800 million Haas Automation may be the largest maker of CNC machines, but the last time I looked DMG at $2.8 billion was the largest machine tool maker in the world. Is that not correct?

  110. Aaron Starr

    “At $800 million Haas Automation may be the largest maker of CNC machines, but the last time I looked DMG at $2.8 billion was the largest machine tool maker in the world. Is that not correct?”

    Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

    We are the largest in the Western World when measured by the number of CNC units sold each year. DMG has more revenues because they sell more expensive machines.

    I’m not in the marketing department, so here is what you’ll find on our company’s website.

    http://www.haascnc.com/about_main.asp#about

    The largest CNC machine tool builder in the Western World, Haas Automation manufactures a full line of CNC vertical and horizontal machining centers, CNC lathes, rotary tables and 5C indexers. Haas machine tools and rotary products are built to the exacting specifications of Gene Haas to deliver higher accuracy, repeatability and durability than any other machine tools on the market.

    Founded by Gene Haas in 1983, Haas Automation has always produced top-quality products at affordable prices. By relying on volume sales rather than per-unit profits to build the company, Haas Automation delivers more standard features, high-tech innovations and rock-solid engineering than perhaps any other CNC manufacturer in the world – and at better prices!

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  111. Aaron Starr

    @ 166

    “What is the current account balance of the LP as of, say, last friday?”

    The balance in our bank account is provided for on each FEC report we file. These can be viewed online.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

  112. Prospective Advertiser

    @131 That should be 116. There is not yet a comment 166 on this thread. Heh.

    Starr’s answer is: read the FEC report. The bank balance won’t be viewable online until it is stale information. Hurray for openness and transparency!

  113. NDRealWorld

    Prospective Advertiser @ 109 writes:

    “A budget which is not allowed to be audited is not a budget, it is a fiction.”

    Ummm..how exactly does one audit a BUDGET? Do you know what a budget is? Do you know what an audit is?

    A financial audit is to see if financial reports (like balance sheet and profit/loss statements) accurately represent the transactions that happened. A budget is just an income/expenditure plan for the future. What’s to audit for accuracy with a budget? Of course it’s not accurate. A budget is an educated guess.

    VolVoice @ 116 writes:

    “If you would, please expound upon the liabilities of having the LP employee’s salary known by the general membership. Here in my part Tennessee and southwest Virginia the salary of every public servant is printed in the newspaper once a year. If the local government does it why can’t we?”

    Ummm…the LP is not the government. The LP is a voluntary organization. Can you really not see the difference? Rock-throwers never believe anything spoken by the rock-throwee, so go ask a third party. Go to the HR/payroll people in your company and ask them why all the employee salaries aren’t published on the internet.

  114. OhPlease

    Michael Seebeck @ 122 writes:

    “Aaron, extensive comments, proper design documentation, and proper flow documentation are necessary for ALL good programming.”

    That’s just absurdly false. Software can be well designed, efficient, and give the correct result without a single internal comment and with no documentation. I was addicted to a competitive online word game, so I wrote a program to analyze certain patterns in certain word pools to help my improve my techniques. Do you think I made extensive comments, wrote flowcharts and a user’s manual for it? No, Einstein, I did not. Was it a good program? No, Einstein, it was a GREAT program. Made me so good at the game that I won a tournament against hundreds of others.

    And it’s a strawman argument that completely ignores the valid point the Treasurer is making with the analogy. He tried explaining it to you several different ways, yet you still don’t get it. Or maybe you do get it but you’re bored sitting in your mommy’s basement all day, so you blog all day.

    BTW, use of personal software or programming or algorithms by an organization gives the organization fair use claim to them, unless the organization agrees in writing to the contrary. Most employment contracts indicate the opposite, that those things produced for the company are owned by the company…

    Had to snip the quote. That was a long post of malarkey. I’ll have to just pick a couple of the best fragments.

    The Treasurer is not an employee. He’s a volunteer. There is no employer much less an employment relationship or an employment contract (implied or codified). Employment law would not apply even if what you said was really the case, which it isn’t.

  115. OhPlease

    NDRealWorld @ 133 writes:

    Ummm..how exactly does one audit a BUDGET?

    Sure, you could audit a budget. If someone gave you a copy of it, and you wanted to make sure it was accurate, you could compare it with the one in the meeting minutes to see if it was really the same numbers. Then you could have confidence that you had the real budget.

  116. Prospective Advertiser

    NDRW, I do financial auditing all the time for clients. I do financial planning, financial analysis, and all kinds of budgeting. Yes, it is possible to audit a budget. One of the key things to look at is the realism of the numbers, especially the projections.

    Very often in budgets there are fudge factors, where a number isn’t known. That can be okay, but it ought to be understood by those who are expected to approve of the budget. There are also sometimes projections based on fantasy. (“In month 12 the revenues increase by 300%.”)

    A budget might be an educated guess, or a set of guesses. Or it might be a fabrication.

    Whether or not that budget is thoroughly annotated, yes, an audit of the formulas and assumptions would be a valid exercise. And a budget which cannot be evaluated, nor audited, is just a bed time story. Sleep well.

  117. NDRealWorld

    OhPlease @ 135 writes:

    Sure, you could audit a budget. If someone gave you a copy of it, and you wanted to make sure it was accurate, you could compare it with the one in the meeting minutes to see if it was really the same numbers. Then you could have confidence that you had the real budget.

    Ummm…sure, I guess you COULD do that, but why? Perhaps in the broad definition of “audit” that would qualify, but that’s more of an edit than an audit. And you’re missing the point. Are you Michael Seebeck?

    If there’s that type of error in a copy of the budget, so what? As long as the staff has the right copy to know what can be spent, then all is well. And budgets are amendable, not etched in stone. You could make a correction. In fact, if reality later proves to be different than your budget predictions, you can even modify the original budget. Voila!

    I’m surprised you didn’t also pick up on this gem of his in 122:

    You mean you’re not using the standard double-entry accrual method with balance sheets, income statements, and so on? Fascinating. I would think that would be the logical and orderly way to do it in the first place. Of course, my tenure as my county’s Treasurer we just kept it all on one big balance sheet, and it was easily readable and open to any member who desired to see it, because our accounting methods were the standard industry practices a CPA taught me back in high school.

    Huh? He kept his BUDGET on a balance sheet? And he has a double-entry BUDGET? Fascinating, indeed. And what difference does it make to this discussion if LP financials are reported on accrual or cash basis? Explain to me again how sheep’s bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes. If this is what his high school taught, it just adds to the LP argument that public schools are a complete failure.

  118. OhPlease

    NDRealWorld,

    No point in us bickering about “audit” definitions. At least we can agree on one thing: Michael Seebeck is an idiot who is neither an accountant, nor does he play one on TV.

  119. NDRealWorld

    OhPlease @ 138 writes:

    No point in us bickering about “audit” definitions. At least we can agree on one thing: Michael Seebeck is an idiot who is neither an accountant, nor does he play one on TV.

    Agreed.

    Prospective Advertiser @ 136:

    Very often in budgets there are fudge factors, where a number isn’t known. That can be okay, but it ought to be understood by those who are expected to approve of the budget.

    Above Mr. Starr said he spent many hours going over these sorts of things with the people who approved the budget. If most of them didn’t think it was reasonable, they wouldn’t have voted for it. Whose opinion on these educated guesses should carry more weight, a CPA who knows how the organization works plus most of the managerial board, or an outsider like you who plugs another political party and admits to not being or wanting to be involved in the LP, or Mr. Wrights who seems to have no particular accounting/financial skills?

    Like I said, if halfway through the year they see that the real income/expenditures aren’t what was expected, then they just amend the budget. Not hard. Not controversial.

    And didn’t Mr. Wrights say he was paranoid that money could be secretly spent in some other way than was being told to him? That’s not addressed with a review of the budget assumptions. It’s addressed with an audit of the financial statements by an outside firm, which I believe Mr. Starr said does happen because he insists on it. Mr. Wrights is demanding something that doesn’t even address what he’s afraid of.

  120. Robert Capozzi

    PC: If I was in a position to consider a substantial donation to the party, I would want to feel confident that I know how my money would be spent, and could find out details upon request. I’m not in such a position now, and don’t expect to be imminently, but I’d be surprised if there aren’t people who are, who feel the same way.

    Me: Hmm, OK, I respect that’d be your wish. The LP’s published budget is VERY detailed as it is. It’s just as detailed as most non-profits I’m familiar with.

    If a donor wished to view any non-profit’s GL, I suspect most organizations would take a pass on the prospective donation. If a donor is THAT suspicious, they should probably go elsewhere.

    Sometimes, donors are asked to fund projects, and those are sometimes a bit more detailed.

  121. paulie cannoli Post author

    @90 Paulie Cannoli writes:

    “It’s not yet clear to me whether this covers all the information that he put up on the screen at the last LNC meeting. It seems to me to be information that is already in the public realm, since it was broadcast during a public meeting.

    “I think it is reasonable that anything that is said, distributed or shown on a projector of some sort during the public part of an LNC meeting can not be considered proprietary or secret. After all, the public is invited to attend – I’ve never even been asked to prove that I am a party member the times I have observed. And, with today’s modern technology, I see no reason why access to any information made public at such a meeting would only be made public to those who can afford to be there in person.

    “I don’t see how information that is already public on government websites, like HQ staff salaries and the costs of printing and mailing, can be a secret. I also don’t recall any harm coming to the party when it was open about things like response rates to fund raising letters – quite the opposite, this is when I remember the party doing the best within my memory in terms of membership, money, number of candidates running for office, number of Libertarians known to be in office, and so on.”

    Paulie, I believe you offer a legitimate position here. Let me attempt to address it.

    There is an unintended consequence you create by staking out such a position.

    The Treasurer is under no obligation to create information in such a granular form. In fact, almost no volunteer treasurer would for an organization, especially for an organization as small as ours. They will simply take last year’s figures, make a few adjustments for those items that change based on the size of the revenues, and be done.

    Even my sharpest critics will concede that I put a lot more dedication and care into fulfilling my duties than would a typical volunteer treasurer.

    And lest you think that this is just boasting on my part, I encourage you to ask Mark Hinkle, past chairman of the LP of California. I crafted budgets and financial statements for the state party in the past and he will tell you (just as he has told me) that he has never seen anything as comprehensive from any other treasurer in his over 30 years with the party. I have the deepest of respect for Mr. Hinkle. We are able to work very well together and he has very different ideas on how a party should be run than I do. If he believes I’m holding an incorrect position, he doesn’t attack me. He presents a persuasive argument, and if it has sufficient merit (and it often does), I’ll change my mind. Incidentally, I spent a couple of nights with him and his wife Linda at their home during the holidays. They were wonderful hosts.

    Anyway, back to my point. We’ve all witnessed many examples where there is a tendency in this party for some to excoriate those with whom they disagree politically. In this environment, one tends to say few words and write even less. And, ironically, the demand for “transparency” results in less useful information being created because the motivation of whomever sits in my position would be to not go beyond the call of duty.

    I don’t believe that’s an outcome anyone wants.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

    I’m with Mark Hinkle (as reported by Aaron Starr – I didn’t actually contact Mr. Hinkle, but I trust this is correct) on this: whatever my differences with Aaron Starr on the best strategy and tactics for the party, and (when compared to the actual public policy implemented by parties in power, minor) differences on matters of ideology, it is important that we at least do our best to discuss them in a civil and mutually respectful way.

    Mr. Starr is correct that he is under no obligation (as far as I know) to provide the kind of budget detail he does, or to come on to public fora such as this one to answer his critics – particularly when they are so vociferous and unwilling to give him any benefit of the doubt or common courtesy, or even act with a modicum of civilized behavior in their words.

    I can certainly understand why any volunteer would hesitate to subject him or herself to continued public abuse.

    I for one think that a call for transparency is far more effective when combined with the practice of civility. Unfortunately, I am in no position to lecture others on this issue, as I have engaged in the worst kinds of attacks against fellow activists before, and still fail to control my temper all too often. But, I am trying, and I hope others will too.

    It is very important that we do so, otherwise serious concerns we have may be dismissed out of hand due to style rather than substance. Nothing is gained by treating each other with contempt. It does not add to any case we try to make, but only takes away from it.

    At the same time, I hope that everyone understands the abusive behavior of some libertarians towards others for what it is: frustration at the powerlessness we feel in making the changes we feel are so important in the world. We don’t get to take out our frustrations on those who deserve them most, so all too often our fellow libertarians become our targets of opportunity.

    In other words, we should both make an effort to moderate our tendency to lash out at fellow libertarians or respond in kind to attacks of this sort, as well as make an effort not to take such attacks too personally or seriously. The more we give in to the temptation to attack each other, the more we drive people away – including ones who never speak up to tell us about it in the first place. Conversely, the more we give in to such attacks and let them drive us away, the more we let the bad drive out the good, and as the party becomes smaller, it becomes more cannibalistic.

    I think the process can work in the opposite direction as well, as Mr. Benedict illustrates in comment 126:

    Wes Benedict // Jan 22, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    I combined Aaron’s tactic of writing a long long description about all the great work he’s done, with the openness that Lee Wright and others are requesting, bundled them into a fund raising letter, and raised a ton of money in 2007. 48K in two months for a STATE party. It was right after the Badnarik for Congress campaign had left some people concerned about how their donations were spent so I erred on the side of openness. I gave a less than 51% chance we’d make it, and I was fine either way because working that job was tough for low pay. But when everyone came through, I felt I ought to stay two more years and give it my best which is what I did. Here’s the big money-raising letter: http://lptexas.org/docs/EDLetter2007-01.pdf

    I read this .pdf file, and recommend others do so as well.

    Wes explains that when he took over as the executive director of the Texas LP, the state party was small, disorganized, and filled with infighting and incivility. As he made the party better organized, it grew by steps, and people began to work together instead of against each other.

    Transparency was a part of this process. So was the willingness to roll with the punches, accept the attacks of others in stride without getting caught in a vicious cycle of replies in kind and escalation, learn and teach from both failures and successes, and resisting the urge to give up in the face of ingratitude and hostility from fellow party members.

    By following these procedures at the state level, the situation there gradually improved, and they are now, I think, our best organized and most effective state party, and at the very least among the top two or three. We should learn these lessons and apply them at the national level as well.

    I once again thank Aaron for his hard work and his willingness to face his critics here.

  122. paulie cannoli Post author

    @81 Paulie Cannoli writes:

    “Aaron,

    “Thanks again for taking your time here, and for the explanation. I think I am starting to get a better understanding of the issues here.

    “‘The next level below the broad categories mentioned above are individual general ledger accounts (think of them as classification categories). I tend to add more general ledger accounts over time in order to better analyze the data and prepare various charts. Typically, you wouldn’t want to create financial statements based on this level of data because it would tend to overwhelm the reader.’

    “Would you be willing to share that information with us? I can understand that many readers would be overwhelmed, and I’m sure I would probably be one of those, but there seems to be a demand for this information. I think that if you made this available, it would go a long way towards addressing the concerns many people have, even if very few people would want to actually read it all, or would understand what they are reading.”

    Paulie,

    I am somewhat leaning towards doing that, but it will require some additional work on my part.

    When I put together my supporting information for the budget, it was not designed to be published and it would be hard for someone besides me to decipher.

    It’s analogous to a computer programmer who writes his own code for his own personal use, versus writing it in such a way that it can be reviewed by a team of programmers later. When you write a program for someone else you need to include extensive comments so that others can follow the logic.

    Think of it as function versus form.

    For those of you who are writers by trade, it would be the difference between writing your thoughts down for your own reference versus publishing a paper with footnotes and a bibliography.

    Or for an inventor, it would be the difference between jotting down some ideas versus submitting a patent application with technical specifications.

    Anyway, with some effort, I’d be willing to volunteer more of my time to put the general ledger level of information into a format that would be easier for the reader to understand. I am willing to go the extra mile to bring more clarity to those who want that, provided the requesters are both civil and can be satisfied by the extra effort.

    However, before I do this extra work to make people happy, I would first want to see a consensus of opinion posted here that this would be a reasonable and satisfactory solution.

    Aaron Starr, Treasurer

    Unfortunately, I don’t know of any way to create a concensus here. I can speak only for myself, and this is not my field by a long shot.

    I think that there are likely to be some people who will always find some reason to raise complaints, whether legitimate or not.

    However, I am reasonably sure that making such an effort in response to criticism and questions would improve overall donor confidence in the party, which seems to be lacking at the moment.

    There seems to be a perception among many people that any money that they are being asked to contribute is not being spent wisely, and that the details of such spending are being kept from them, so they don’t donate, or donate less than they might otherwise.

    There may not be anything untoward being done behind closed doors, but when people get the sense that something is being hidden from them, they tend to imagine the worst. I think that any steps taken in the direction of addressing such concerns would help our current situation, although we may always have a few people for whom nothing can be enough.

    One point I still have not understood clearly is whether the presentation shown at the LNC meeting on a screen or projection of some sort was more, less or the same as the general ledger. I would appreciate understanding that more clearly for the purpose of this discussion.

  123. paulie cannoli Post author

    LG

    I must be the only one who would rather eat broken glass than look at all those numbers.

    I’m not sure. It would be a tough call for me. But you just aren’t a good example. I happen to know you actually like eating broken glass.

  124. paulie cannoli Post author

    Aaron Starr: “And since each individual employee’s withholdings will differ, depending on the employee’s marital status and the number of allowances one claims on their W4 form, you can never actually be certain as to the amount of that employee’s compensation. At best, you can only be sure that the compensation must be greater than the net check.”

    George Phillies: Readers will note that the various taxes must also be disclosed to the FEC, and they are.

    Paul: However, unless I am missing something,

    http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/dcdev/forms/C00255695/389231/sb/ALL

    It appears that the withholding is bundled by the state in which taxes are withheld, rather than the individual employee.

    I want to be as fair as possible to all side in this discussion.

    Are there additional details available somewhere else, or reasons this would or would not be germane?

  125. paulie cannoli Post author

    Michael Seebeck,

    Come to think of it, applying some CMMI to the LP practices might not be a bad idea…

    What is CMMI and how would it be applied to the LP?

  126. paulie cannoli Post author

    The LPTC is working on other realms than this at the moment. Getting organized for Charleston, for example. Interfacing with other groups like AntiWar.com, for another example. It’s safe to say Mr. Wrights is representing the LPTC position rather well, without our asking and with our thanks. And believe me, he’s just the man out in front. Other LNC members have the same concerns. Just because YOU don’t see us doing anything doesn’t mean it isn’t being done.

    I don’t see it either.

    There’s nothing new at

    http://lptc.org/

    And very little at

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lptcwg/

    I also note that this yahoo group now moderates my messages, and that they do not get approved for the list, even though they are on topic; and that I have not been informed of any of these alleged caucus activities, even though I was one of its founders and most active members, and have asked that everything we do as a caucus be public.

    I renew my call that the transparency caucus should be a working model of the openness we seek from the party, which in turn would be a working model of the openness we seek from government in its operations.

    Instead, as best I can tell from Mr. Seebeck’s message here, some inside clique of the transparency caucus has elected to transact its affairs in secret. Of course, I may be missing some other place online where these activities are taking place. If I am, please let me know where it is.

    If, however, I am correct, I think it may very well be time for a real Sunshine Caucus that operates 100% above board, does not engage in secret discussions or keep on topic messages from being published to its lists.

    If at least two more people (besides me) agree with me on this, I’ll put up a wordpress blog and a yahoo group.

    They won’t be as pretty as the ones for the transparency caucus, but function is more important than form.

  127. paulie cannoli Post author

    Look in the mirror. If you don’t like transparency, then perhaps the reason why is looking back at you.

    And the same goes for the transparency caucus itself as well.

  128. Robert Capozzi

    Paulie, methinks we should found the Rodney King caucus before the Sunshine Caucus.

    Your magnanimity is very welcome, encouraged, and supported.

  129. paulie cannoli Post author

    North Dakota Real World (where real worlds stop being trendy and start getting really real)…….

    Ummm…the LP is not the government. The LP is a voluntary organization. Can you really not see the difference? Rock-throwers never believe anything spoken by the rock-throwee, so go ask a third party. Go to the HR/payroll people in your company and ask them why all the employee salaries aren’t published on the internet.

    The LP is not the government, but it is also not a company. It is a voluntary organization which
    seeks to take control of government. As such, it can help increase the confidence of those it seeks to aid it in achieving that goal by demonstrating it in action. It seems we have Far2Go in creating donor confidence, although probably not north of Far(2)go.

    Prospective,

    @123 Michael, just because I don’t see you doing anything, no one sees you doing anything. You might be doing something, but there isn’t any evidence of it. Which means that I think you are full of crap when you claim to be doing something. You are doing nothing.

    I see no reason to assume that. However, just as the LP looks hypocritical if it seeks transparency from government but itself fails to practice it, so too does the transparency caucus if it seeks transparency from the LP while failing to practice transparency itself.

  130. paulie cannoli Post author

    Paulie, methinks we should found the Rodney King caucus before the Sunshine Caucus.

    Your magnanimity is very welcome, encouraged, and supported.

    Thanks Robert, and I’ll help co-found whichever one(s) other people wish to help work on.

    What I will not do is hang out a shingle calling myself a caucus. My personal criteria is a minimum of three founding members.

    Yes, you too can be a triumvir (TM)!

  131. volvoice

    NDRealWorld @133 writes:

    Ummm…the LP is not the government. The LP is a voluntary organization.

    …That’s right my friend and nearly all revenues come from donations from the membership, not from enterprise in the private sector. I still have not seen any reasonable liabilities for not publishing salaries of employees beyond the fact that some will not be happy with what some are paid.

  132. paulie cannoli Post author

    Robert,

    If a donor wished to view any non-profit’s GL, I suspect most organizations would take a pass on the prospective donation. If a donor is THAT suspicious, they should probably go elsewhere.

    I don’t think many donors will actually want to see the general ledger, but I think that some may wish to feel that they could if they wanted to. Does that make sense?


    Sometimes, donors are asked to fund projects, and those are sometimes a bit more detailed.

    And I think they should be asked to fund projects more frequently.

    I think that is another one of those things, like increased transparency, that would improve our overall fundraising.

  133. paulie cannoli Post author

    You know whose opinion I would really love to hear here, is Less Antman.

    If anyone is in touch with Mr. Antman on a regular basis, please ask Lesssss to stop by if he has time, or Less, if you are lurking – please speak up.

    If neither of those works, I will look through my old emails later, I have contact info somewhere.

  134. R. Lee Wrights

    From @ 140 and an anonymous poster:

    “And didn’t Mr. Wrights say he was paranoid that money could be secretly spent in some other way than was being told to him?”

    No, he did not. Mr. Wrights is only trying to get a copy of the budget, and its details, recently passed by the committee he serves upon.

    Lee Wrights, At-large

  135. paulie cannoli Post author

    New comment yesterday on the original article by Lee Wrights which set off this discussion

    http://www.libertyforall.net/?p=1929#comments

    Comment is by Mike Seebeck

    Michael Seebeck said,
    January 22, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

    Considering that at San Diego that same Treasurer attempted to tamper with my private property in the broadcasting equipment, only to be stopped by Angela in the act, yes, he should be tossed. Messing with someone else’s private property is indeed an initiation of force, a violation of the SoP, and clear grounds for removal.

    Angela herself removed the webcam and got it to me later, and at one point she covered the cam for me while I was in the john. The difference is that she had by complete consent and blessings to do so. Starr never has and never will have such.

    FWIW, the jumble of figures were not broadcast that day because the display was unreadable from screen glare and tiny fonts and horrible colors. Had that been distributed in advance I would have published a copy to accompany the broadcast, but that was not possible.

    I understand that the Nevada LP also videotaped portions of the meeting. I don’t know whether this was one of the portions, and if so whether their tape would have Mr. Starr’s budget presentation in a legible format.

    I’ve never seen any of this videotape from the Nevada LP.

    Also, one of the Genes (my apologies, I’d have to go back to the archives to see if it was Trosper or Berkman) shot some video, but the only part I ever saw was Wayne Root’s speech.

    As with the Nevada LP tape, I don’t know which parts of the meeting were filmed, or whether they were ever converted into an internet-playable format, etc.

    This comment (by me) is not for the purpose of taking sides or judging anyone, just trying to further the discussion.

  136. Calling Dibs

    Paulie,

    From this discussion, you seem like a nice, pleasant, civil guy. I may have to re-think emailing you my phone number. 🙂

  137. Michael H. Wilson

    Aaron how about answering the question I ask in post # 128? Why not present this in the format that is established by FASB?

    MHW

  138. NDRealWorld

    MHW @ 160,

    I don’t work in the accounting industry right now, so I don’t really follow changes at FASB. I’m not aware of an FASB standard for internal documents such as budgets, much less scratch work used to assemble budgets. Would you please point me to info about it?

  139. Michael Seebeck

    “What is CMMI and how would it be applied to the LP?”

    Capabality and Maturity Model Interface. It’s a software industry standard that encourages and enforces proper documentation of processes, development, legacy recordkeeping, and peer review standards. Like ISO in nature.

    IOW, it creates comprehensive documentation and makes transitions between personnel, as well as cross-project interaction, much easier. It can be applied to more than just software, though.

  140. Michael Seebeck

    Seems that Mr. OhPlease, whomever that is, lacks a basis in reality. I know that if he tried to program like that in my business, he’d be fired PDQ. And if he handed me code like that I’d shred the print, drop the shred on the desk in his shared cube, and tell him to do something better than junior-level work.

    Sorry, this “idiot” knows quite a bit more than you realize, and has forgotten more than you probably will ever learn. The fact you have to resort to bad logic, ignorance, and namecalling and attacking the person ad homenin just proves the point.

  141. Michael Seebeck

    “I see no reason to assume that. However, just as the LP looks hypocritical if it seeks transparency from government but itself fails to practice it, so too does the transparency caucus if it seeks transparency from the LP while failing to practice transparency itself.”

    Fine, I’ll talk to the billboard companies in your neck of the woods and take out an ad. Would THAT suffice for transparency?

  142. Michael Seebeck

    Paulie, I don’t know who’s moderating you over there, but it isn’t me. Furthermore, people DO go off and do things on their own without posting everything to that list. I don’t go off posting everything I do to fight MSN for the LP nationwide on here, and there’s no reason to. But you need to get past the obvious that there a LOT of things going on this party that you are not aware of. The same is true for all of us. That’s not a lack of transparency–that’s delegation and segmentation of tasks, and it’s perfectly normal. Lack of transparency is when someone asks and is told to buzz off.

    In my case, before you ask the answer is, It’s not ready yet. I’m also not confident in certain players’ ability to work with other players, so those conflicts are kept deliberately isolated to keep it from undermining the effort.

  143. Michael Seebeck

    NDRW misses the point as well:

    “Huh? He kept his BUDGET on a balance sheet? And he has a double-entry BUDGET? Fascinating, indeed. And what difference does it make to this discussion if LP financials are reported on accrual or cash basis? Explain to me again how sheep’s bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes. If this is what his high school taught, it just adds to the LP argument that public schools are a complete failure.”

    It doesn’t matter whether it is on a cash or accrual basis, and I never said it did.

    And yes, I DID keep a budget on a balance sheet. I added two columns for “budgeted/projected” and “difference” and it made thing crystal clear. That way we knew where we were and where we needed to get to, and it worked.

    But you miss the point entirely. The point was that if the Treasurer was using some exotic non-standard system for the books and budget, and refusing to disclose it, then there’s a problem.

    And some people don’t know squat about proprietary rules, either.

  144. Michael Seebeck

    Paulie, the problem with being unable to broadcast the figures is simply technical–the camera picked up only screen glare from the projector. It’s the same problem that happens when one tries to photograph a TV screen in improper lighting. I have no idea if others were getting the tiny screen numbers on film or not–I was sorta busy at the time. While Gene Trosper did film the Root speech, I have no recollection if he did anything with the budget part of the meeting, but I don’t think he did.

  145. NDRealWorld

    In response to : “What is CMMI and how would it be applied to the LP?”

    Michael Seebeck @ 162 replies: “Capabality and Maturity Model Interface.”

    I presume that by “Capabality” you mean “Capability”

  146. NDRealWorld

    Michael Seebeck @ 166:

    And yes, I DID keep a budget on a balance sheet. I added two columns for “budgeted/projected” and “difference” and it made thing crystal clear. That way we knew where we were and where we needed to get to, and it worked.

    No, you didn’t. You’ve got problems with basic accounting definitions here.

    If it had a budget on it, it wasn’t a balance sheet. A balance sheet is a specific type of report that demonstrates that a basic accounting equation:

    Assets = Liabilities + Equity

    is in balance at a particular point in time.

    Just because something has two columns doesn’t mean it’s double-entry accounting. Double-entry accounting isn’t just two columns of something. The two columns are Debit and Credit.

    When making journal/ledger entries (for actual transactions, not a budget), when you enter a debit for one or more accounts, you must enter a credit totaling the same amount in one or more other accounts, to keep the Assets = Liabilities + Equity equation in balance.

    To increase one asset (like office furniture), you must decrease another asset (like a checking account) or increase a liability (loan for the furniture) or equity by the same amount. You specify those increases/decreases in those accounts with debits and credits.

  147. Prospective Advertiser

    @147 Paulie “I renew my call that the transparency caucus should be a working model of the openness we seek from the party, which in turn would be a working model of the openness we seek from government in its operations.”

    I concur. Openness and transparency ought to start somewhere. If the LP cannot provide it, then the Sunshine caucus, or the members, or someone, ought to shine a bright light at it. Watch the cockroaches scurry.

  148. Michael H. Wilson

    That last was a bit rude of me. Let me make this point clear.

    As I understand it Mr. Starr developed a method, system or whathaveyou for his work and presently has used it for work on the LP budget. If Mr. Starr did not wish to make this process public then he should not have used it for LP work. Especially when we know damn well and good that someone was going to ask questions.

    Mr Starr should take the time to reformat his work using standard accounting tools.

  149. Prospective Advertiser

    Starr should answer all the questions from each of the members of the LNC with as much information as they seek, and not stop giving them information until they are done asking. The Treasurer of the party has no proper authority to withhold any information about the budget of the party from the governing body of the party.

    Because he has chosen to refuse to answer questions and provide information on request, he has taken station with the other authoritarians in the party who don’t want to allow the LNC to govern the party. Since the LNC is chosen by the members, it ought to take the opportunity to replace Starr just as soon as possible.

    Or, perhaps, though unlikely, Starr could do the right thing and resign.

  150. OhPlease

    Michael Seebeck @ 163:

    “Seems that Mr. OhPlease, whomever that is, lacks a basis in reality. I know that if he tried to program like that in my business, he’d be fired PDQ. And if he handed me code like that I’d shred the print, drop the shred on the desk in his shared cube, and tell him to do something better than junior-level work.”

    Oh, you forgot to eat some of the shred and then poop it on my desk! If you’d said THAT, it would REALLY prove that you’re smarter than I am. But you didn’t say it. Oh, well.

    Let’s not get so wrapped up in the analogy that you miss the point. You were trying to say that if the Treasurer’s scratch notes weren’t documented as extensively as Microsoft Windows source-code is, then his resulting budget couldn’t possibly be correct. It’s a ridiculous assertion, and you’ll look ridiculous pooping on my desk.

    Sorry, this “idiot” knows quite a bit more than you realize, and has forgotten more than you probably will ever learn. The fact you have to resort to bad logic, ignorance, and namecalling and attacking the person ad homenin just proves the point.

    Yes, we’ve seen you do it repeatedly in this thread, and we got the point. Did you?

  151. NDRealWorld

    MHW @ 172:
    NDRealWorld I don’t answer question from sock puppets.

    Nice attempt to dodge. In other words, you tried to throw some accounting lingo around, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s what I thought. Thanks for clarifying.

  152. paulie cannoli Post author

    Capabality and Maturity Model Interface. It’s a software industry standard that encourages and enforces proper documentation of processes, development, legacy recordkeeping, and peer review standards. Like ISO in nature.

    IOW, it creates comprehensive documentation and makes transitions between personnel, as well as cross-project interaction, much easier. It can be applied to more than just software, though.

    Sounds like something the LP should implement, from the brief description you provide here. If you get time, I recommend you write up the details.

    You can post them at NFV, etc.

  153. paulie cannoli Post author

    Fine, I’ll talk to the billboard companies in your neck of the woods and take out an ad. Would THAT suffice for transparency?

    My woods have no neck.

    What would suffice would be keeping the caucus activities and discussions in a public place.

    Paulie, I don’t know who’s moderating you over there, but it isn’t me.

    Mr. Donnelly, I presume.

  154. paulie cannoli Post author

    I don’t go off posting everything I do to fight MSN for the LP nationwide on here, and there’s no reason to.

    Microsoft Network? Or did you mean MSM (mainstream media?) Actually, if the latter, I think there is reason for you to document what you are doing. Not so you can brag about it, but so others can learn from it and do it as well. Something like that CMMI stuff you were talking about, if I understood you correctly.


    But you need to get past the obvious that there a LOT of things going on this party that you are not aware of. The same is true for all of us. That’s not a lack of transparency–that’s delegation and segmentation of tasks, and it’s perfectly normal. Lack of transparency is when someone asks and is told to buzz off.

    I’ve asked. I haven’t been told.


    In my case, before you ask the answer is, It’s not ready yet. I’m also not confident in certain players’ ability to work with other players, so those conflicts are kept deliberately isolated to keep it from undermining the effort.

    They don’t need to work with me personally. Messages can be conveyed through a neutral mutual friend/acquaintance.

    For my own part, I can put personal grudges aside and work with people I don’t like on a personal level if there is work to be done. If they can’t do the same, they should really question how important that work is to them if they can’t prioritize it above what people refer to as middle and high school clique politics (I have to take their word for it, since I missed out on that due to living as an adult at the time).

  155. paulie cannoli Post author

    #

    Michael Seebeck // Jan 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Paulie, the problem with being unable to broadcast the figures is simply technical–the camera picked up only screen glare from the projector. It’s the same problem that happens when one tries to photograph a TV screen in improper lighting. I have no idea if others were getting the tiny screen numbers on film or not–I was sorta busy at the time. While Gene Trosper did film the Root speech, I have no recollection if he did anything with the budget part of the meeting, but I don’t think he did.
    #

    168 Gene Trosper // Jan 24, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    I tried to film what was on the screen, but it did not come out well enough to use.

    That leaves Nevada LP.

  156. Robert Capozzi

    Prospective Advertiser: Starr should answer all the questions from each of the members of the LNC with as much information as they seek, and not stop giving them information until they are done asking. The Treasurer of the party has no proper authority to withhold any information about the budget of the party from the governing body of the party.

    Me: That doesn’t sound entirely unreasonable. But, then, would that apply to ALL members of the LNC? Do they ALL have to answer ALL from any LNC members?

    My goodness, that’d be the heighth of dysfunction, yes? Nonstop grilling.

  157. Michael H. Wilson

    NDRealWorld nice of you to comment, but it would help if you had a real name and weren’t afraid of being known. Apparently you don’t have much of a grasp of the problem.

    MHW

  158. libertariangirl

    ok guys , I was up North at our northern affiliate re-organizing convention.

    I am ashamed to admit I had 2 tapes only and chose to tape the entertaining spectacle of THE DISCIPLINE OF ANGELA and other interesting moments .
    I have a question , why does everyone think AAron is withholding info? Everybodys got speculation but noone is willing to stake a claim. Are you accusing him of a crime or do you think he does this for fun?
    Im not sure theres really a huge issue here like you all are making it.

  159. Robert Capozzi

    LG,

    I assume he’s “hiding” nothing. Rather, he’s protecting exposing too much information to competitors, and his own work product.

  160. libertariangirl

    ProAd:_. Since the LNC is chosen by the members, it ought to take the opportunity to replace Starr just as soon as possible.

    it was ‘the people’ who voted for Aaron in Denver. There was at least 1 other candidate but the majority of people voted for him.
    the next opportunity would be at convention or are you suggesting he’s done something to warrant removal sooner?
    theres procedure for dealing with excomm or LNC members who violate their positions but I hear nothing of it. Everyone makes a big deal but im gathering he hasnt actually broken any rules

    It reminds me of all the folks who swore up and down that Root was guilty of Fraud , they claimed to know for sure but when pressed had to admt he wasnt under investigation nor had he been charged.

    put up or shut up guys

  161. libertariangirl

    now having said that I think he should give Lee what he asks for because its nice and the right thing to do:)

  162. paulie cannoli Post author

    I am ashamed to admit I had 2 tapes only and chose to tape the entertaining spectacle of THE DISCIPLINE OF ANGELA and other interesting moments .

    You’ll have to be dsiciplined as well. As we discussed earlier on the issue of appropriate pubishment, it should involve tape, and possibly video.


    I have a question , why does everyone think AAron is withholding info? Everybodys got speculation but noone is willing to stake a claim. Are you accusing him of a crime or do you think he does this for fun?

    Personally, I am not making any assumptions about anything bad being hidden, except possibly not wanting to publicize too widely just how bad the party’s revenue stream is falling off – and even that is speculation. My sole interest in this to make sure that interested party members feel confident that they can see how their money is being spent, and planned to be spent, if they want to. I think it will do good for the party’s ability to raise money.

    Im not sure theres really a huge issue here like you all are making it.

    I’m not sure of anything.

    You are correct in 185 and 186 as well.

    Call me if you would like to make arrangements for that discipline tape.

    It will be an X-rated B& D story based on the December LNC meeting.

    You can play Angela, and I’ll play Stewart Flood.

    I already have a soundtrack I’ve been working on:

    http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/video-montage-for-lnc-in-sandy-eggo/

  163. Michael H. Wilson

    Frankly at this stage I think the by-laws committee needs to get involved and write some clarifying rules so that info is presented in a manner that is understood using acceptable standards.

    MHW

  164. libertariangirl

    AMEN !! thats the name of the game . if it aint in the bylaws then you dont gotta do it .

  165. NDRealWorld

    Prospective Advertiser @ 174:

    “Starr should answer all the questions from each of the members of the LNC with as much information as they seek, and not stop giving them information until they are done asking.”

    Previously in this thread, Mr. Starr explained that prior to the budget-adoption meeting, he spent three hours answering detailed questions from LNC members, but Mr. Wrights did not bother to participate. Nor does it appear that Mr. Wrights asked these questions of Mr. Starr during the discussion and adoption of the budget (let me know if that’s incorrect). So Mr. Wrights didn’t take advantage of at least two opportunities given to him. The board was satisfied and adopted the budget.

    Mr. Wrights didn’t do his job in advance, lost the vote, and now disgruntled, he wants to hold the organization hostage, renaming his vengeance as “principle”.

  166. libertariangirl

    bylaws , bylaws , bylaws .
    They are the most boring and the most important . why everyone was worrying about our Pres candidate, the status of our platform , LNC elections etc , the bylaws committee was writing the rules that govern officers actions.

    Im starting to think thats where we should focus our future planning as Rads , transparancy caucus and all those who oppose the direction the party is taking.

    we MUST get on the bylaws committee.

    until then Aaron doesnt HAVE to do anything Quite frankly he has been so villified w/in the party by so many that if I were him I might be a little spiteful as well .

    I think he should share it to Im just saying. BYLAWS BYLAWS BYLAWS

    BTW i remember his presentation , it was liong and datailed and on ahuge screen. Many people moved close and took notes . When questions were asked , hed enlarge the particular portion being questioned , and then try to explain .

    Anyone could have videotaped for future reasons but noone did.
    I dont agree with confidentiality forms but do we really need to publish all over the web what a bad financial state were in. What good would it do but drive away more potential donors

  167. NDRealWorld

    Let me summarize what this thread has demonstrated:

    This discussion is not about facts or data. It’s about people who have a personal dislike for Mr. Starr and just wish to ruin his reputation.

    The harshest critics on this forum aren’t even current members of the LP but demand to see our detailed financial records. They don’t know what they’re talking about, aren’t willing to try to learn, grasp at straws by throwing around lingo they don’t understand, and demand nonsense things that don’t even exist.

    Let me make a prediction. If given everything they asked for, the perpetual critics still wouldn’t understand it or make a genuine effort to learn what they’re looking at.

    All they know how to do is attack people’s reputations, play the victim, blow smoke, cry foul, feign superiority, assume the worst with no evidence, make noise, and demand to be appeased in exchange for false promises of “peace”. Pick your name for it: blackmail, taking hostages, terrorism… Remember that at next convention when they come in from their Boston Tea Party meeting to ask for your vote to be a leader in the LP.

  168. paulie cannoli Post author

    LG

    Im starting to think thats where we should focus our future planning as Rads , transparancy caucus and all those who oppose the direction the party is taking.

    we MUST get on the bylaws committee.

    Isn’t that already picked for 2010?

    I dont agree with confidentiality forms but do we really need to publish all over the web what a bad financial state were in. What good would it do but drive away more potential donors

    Ever been in a 12 step program? Admitting you have a problem is the first step. In other words honesty is the best policy.

  169. paulie cannoli Post author

    Let me summarize what this thread has demonstrated:

    This discussion is not about facts or data. It’s about people who have a personal dislike for Mr. Starr and just wish to ruin his reputation.

    The harshest critics on this forum aren’t even current members of the LP but demand to see our detailed financial records. They don’t know what they’re talking about, aren’t willing to try to learn, grasp at straws by throwing around lingo they don’t understand, and demand nonsense things that don’t even exist.

    Let me make a prediction. If given everything they asked for, the perpetual critics still wouldn’t understand it or make a genuine effort to learn what they’re looking at.

    All they know how to do is attack people’s reputations, play the victim, blow smoke, cry foul, feign superiority, assume the worst with no evidence, make noise, and demand to be appeased in exchange for false promises of “peace”. Pick your name for it: blackmail, taking hostages, terrorism… Remember that at next convention when they come in from their Boston Tea Party meeting to ask for your vote to be a leader in the LP.

    I can only think of one active participant in this discussion who is not a member of the national LP (although he still works with some state LPs at times). And while it is true that he is involved with the BTP, he is not going to be asking for anyone’s votes to be a leader of the LP.

    Is there someone who has posted to this discussion who fits your description that I have overlooked or forgotten?

    If so, what comments specifically are you referring to?

  170. libertariangirl

    i meant bylaws for the next convention , in 2012. I have been in a 12 step program , my parents made me go when I was 15 and they busted me smoking weed . they freaked and took me to a place where the counselor advised them to admit me for I was ‘at risk’. miraculously when my insurance ran out I was cured , but I did have to go to NA , and when I got out , being brainwashed I continued to go and even served on boards and spoke at schools .

    you say admitting we have a problem , and thats true . Is anyone not admitting we are hurting for money.
    The thing I remember about the 12 step program are the principles ecsp this one:
    ANONYMITY IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL OUR PRINCIPLES EVER REMINDING US TO PUT PRINCIPLES BEFORE PERSONALITIES

  171. libertariangirl

    i think the Aaron is probably scared not about the LNC members viewing material , nor afraid some indiscretion will be discovered.

    I think hes worried about it being published all over the web and then used to discourage even more donors and quite simply making things worse .
    consider this , if that happened and more people quit contributing , then we got the new leadership everyone is always talking about , then what? Do you think all that money will automatically start flowing back in?
    We dont need to discourage donors because we do t like the way the money is spent . thats cutting off your nose to spite your face.
    we need to win at convention and install the people who we feel will best use our resources and represent us as we wish .

  172. John Famularo

    “Do you think all that money will automatically start flowing back in? (if we disclose what is being done with it}

    Isn’t soliciting money under false pretenses fraud?

    Isn’t fraud against libertarian principles?

    Or should we utilize the concept that the Moonies use, “Heavenly deception”.

  173. Less Antman

    @154

    Paulie,

    I received your invitation to read and comment. I suppose this is because I’m a CPA, and perhaps also because Aaron Starr attended CPA review classes that I taught in his preparation for passing the exam (he got terrific scores, proving what a wonderful teacher I am).

    I’ll keep it as brief as I can:

    As I see it, any numbers displayed on the computer screen in the discussion of the budget prior to its approval form a “basis of the bargain” (remember that term from class, Aaron?) even if the formal budget was approved at a higher aggregation, and LNC members have a reasonable expectation that displayed numbers are already in a form that could easily be displayed again or printed to a PDF file.

    In my opinion. Aaron is obligated to provide Lee, without conditions, the information he displayed on the computer screen in San Diego prior to the vote.

    I don’t think he is obliged to provide any details he didn’t provide then, especially given the speculative nature of budgets (which CPAs usually describe in the obscure jargon of our profession as “wild guesses”).

    So, if it hasn’t already been done, I would limit my request to the reasonable: what was displayed on screen in San Diego. And that should be provided unconditionally, just as it was in San Diego.

  174. Libertarian Joseph

    I say we setup an organization as an mlm. The mission. Memberships. A fee is collected by the organization, before the person becomes a member of the LP. This violates no political party laws.

  175. paulie cannoli Post author

    Less, thank you very much for the input. As I said somewhere above, I’m still trying to figure out if the numbers on the screen in San Diego were less, more or the same as the General Ledger that was discussed as the intermediate step between the formulas and the one page summary.

  176. libertariangirl

    “Do you think all that money will automatically start flowing back in? (if we disclose what is being done with it}

    Isn’t soliciting money under false pretenses fraud?

    Isn’t fraud against libertarian principles?

    Or should we utilize the concept that the Moonies use, “Heavenly deception”.

    the question was do you think the money will start flowing back in after we get the leadership we want. please dont add on to the end of my statements making it totally out of context and not what I asked at all.

    whom the hell is soliciting money under false pretenses? who the hell is committing fraud? those are serious charges John and you should really watch what you accuse people of when there is no merit.

  177. paulie cannoli Post author

    Email about this from Bruce Cohen…

    In this and other forums, there have been some attacks on Mister Starr, personally, and professionally.

    I’m not going to address the siliness of the personal attacks, but the professional attacks are mainly from Lee Wrights, an LNC Board Member, and all around firebrand Libertarian.

    Lee has it in his head that Aaron is keeping some kind of secrets that Aaron is hiding something about the budget, I’m not really clear about his allegations. (Probably because they are not clear.)

    Besides the needed disclaimer that Aaron and I are long time friends and I am certainly a steadfast supporter of his, he’s basically an open book, about the budget, or any other Libertarian thing.

    Like him or not, he’s honest to a fault and will take anyone’s phone call or email.

    There is zero secrecy about the budget, and no
    need for any. This is all just an emotional blowup, without foundation, and a waste of time.

    I only address it so it won’t go unanswered and become another of the numerous false urban legends of the LP.

    There is nothing secret about the National LP Budget. All the money spent, and all the plans for it are open and reportable after the money is spent to the FEC.

    I highly doubt Mister Starr would risk time in jail for a volunteer post we stuck him with by electing him as our Treasurer.

    He’s not taking trips to overseas casinos or buying himself Hawaiian hot stone massages and MaiTais with the LPs money.

    It’s just craziness from the hater extremists.

  178. S.H.M.

    Starr has no criminal or internal charges against him.

    CALIFORNIA BOARD OF ACCOUNTANCY

    Licensee Name: AARON BRIAN STARR
    License Type: Certified Public Accountant
    License Number: 55867
    License Status: INACTIVE Definition
    Experience Completed: A Definition
    Expiration Date: March 31, 2010
    Issue Date: May 11, 1990
    Address: 4048 TUCSON ST
    City: SIMI VALLEY
    State: CA
    Zip: 93063
    County: VENTURA
    Disciplinary Actions/License Restrictions: No

    No records returned

  179. paulie cannoli Post author

    I don’t think anyone has alleged that he does. Read through the discussion we have already have had above – admittedly, it’s long, and veered off topic many times – to see what actually is in dispute, and what is not.

  180. The Pattern

    I would like to thank John Famularo for his concise and principled statements for transparency and openness in the Libertarian Party’s finances. There is nothing about these finances that ought to be going on which should be hidden from the general membership and the general public – who are people we’d like to have join the LP if only it weren’t such a mess.

    Libertariangirl’s view that we ought to hide information from each other and the public is very disreputable. Yes, there have been false pretenses. For example, money raised by the LP in 2007 and 2008 was expected to go to support actual libertarians running for office, rather than conservative Republicans such as Bob Barr.

  181. Pingback: George Phillies reviews recent Libertarian National Committee meeting in St. Louis | Independent Political Report

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