Ferguson leaves post as Libertarian Party Communications Director

Donny Ferguson has left his position as Director of Communications for the national Libertarian Party after eight months. This is the latest big staff change for the LP this summer, following the arrival of new Executive Director Wes Benedict and the departure of Director of Outreach and Affiliate Relations Austin Petersen to take a post at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

42 thoughts on “Ferguson leaves post as Libertarian Party Communications Director

  1. NewFederalist

    Is this likely related to the party’s cash position? The recent appeal seemed more desperate than usual.

  2. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    What was Mr. Ferguson’s compensation? D.C. is an expensive place and the LP has always had a hard time affording staff unless they were extremely dedicated libertarians and/or singles with no family responsibilities. But D.C. is in the belly of the beast, so it makes little sense for a “serious” political party to be hq’d somewhere else where the cost of living is less.

  3. Robert Milnes

    No problem. Just get a few million of beloved Ron Paul’s 35 million…..no? 00ps. Can’t because he’s a friggin republican? Can’t because it is long gone to republican coffers? Oh….Nevermind. Maybe if Bob Barr held a fundraiser?….

  4. Robert Milnes

    Now, if beloved Mary Ruwart had bolted the party like I asked her & joined my Independent ticket & we had done well, maybe even won, everybody would be excited about 2012 & energized. Contributions would be pouring in. But no, everybody is dreading 2012. More of the same old losing crap & W.A.R. (OMG)is going to win. BTP is picking up from the LP. But that just literally splits the party rather than just figuritively with Barr’s nomination. Oh well. Nobody listens to me.

  5. JT

    Milnes, how the hell do you bring this topic around to Ron Paul and Bob Barr? You’re truly an obsessed lunatic.

    If I had to guess, I’d say Ferguson leaving is partially due to money, partially due to irritation with the harsh criticism of some Libertarians. I have no inside knowledge though.

  6. paulie

    This is from an LNC member who I will not name, as I did not ascertain that this person could be quoted on the record.

    This person went on to speculate, rather to my surprise, that the reason was because Donny had “begun to push pro-gay rights” issues and (according to my source) new LP Exec. Dir. Wes Benedict “has been overheard making disparaging remarks about gay people”. (I should note that I have talked to Wes many times, sometimes at length, and have never once heard him say anything of that nature). [the quotes are approximate, I did not use a tape recorder or take notes, and in fact had called about an entirely different issue]

    On a somewhat related note, Mr. Ferguson’s predecessor as Communications Director, Andrew Davis, also left amidst speculation that he may have been forced out due to an article that was critical of Israel; see https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/01/libertarian-party-on-chaos-in-gaza/. If you follow the link back to the original article at LP.org, it has been removed. Davis denied that he was pressured to resign.

    If both speculations are correct, however, it would be quite ironic if two consecutive communications directors frequently criticized for being too conservative/right leaning were in fact forced out due to, in turn, publishing anti-interventionist and pro-gay rights views.

    I don’t know what to make of all this, nor time to look into it really, but perhaps some of the rest of you may.

  7. Brian S.

    Someone either needs to give Robert Milnes some happy pill, or a tranquilizer dart. Either one would be wonderful.

  8. JT

    Paulie: “This person went on to speculate, rather to my surprise, that the reason was because Donny had “begun to push pro-gay rights” issues and (according to my source) new LP Exec. Dir. Wes Benedict “has been overheard making disparaging remarks about gay people”.”

    Eh, this isn’t something I’d repeat third-hand. If someone told you he or she actually overheard this, that’s different.

  9. paulie

    From a different thread:

    #

    HEARD DONNY wasn’t fired // Aug 25, 2009 at 9:56 am

    I heard Donny Fergerson wasn’t fired, but gave notice to move on to other things. So how was this confirmed. It was even said he wrote a nice goodby on the lp.org.
    #

    120 Arch Gossip // Aug 25, 2009 at 10:10 am

    It hasn’t. It’s all rumors at this point.

    Also, it now has its own separate thread.
    #

    121 Arch Gossip // Aug 25, 2009 at 10:27 am

    “It was even said he wrote a nice goodby on the lp.org.”

    If he has, it has not appeared yet. You may be thinking of Austin Petersen:

    http://www.lp.org/blogs/austin-petersen/my-goodbye-letter-to-the-libertarian-party

  10. Erik Geib

    Paulie,

    From working in the office I can strongly say that what you’ve heard is far from accurate. I’ve never heard Wes say anything like that (either about gays or firing everyone), and that certainly wasn’t the reason for Donny leaving.

    Let’s just say that party ‘irritation’ (as JT put it) had a lot more to do with it.

    Donny has another job though and should be fine.

  11. Erik Geib

    To clarify, the ‘irritation’ comment is pure speculation on my (personal) part.

    There is certainly no anti-gay agenda, and nobody has been threatened with a firing.

  12. Erik Geib

    Oh, also – Andrew left because he got another job. He didn’t leave under pressure to resign.

    That timing (with the article) was pure coincidence.

    Where do these awful rumors come from?

  13. John Famularo

    Due to the steady decline in “sustaining members” the gross revenue to the LP has declined to the point where 97% of the revenue is consumed in fund raising costs and administrative overhead.

    The DC location is only useful if the LNC staff were lobbying congress, participating in press conferences and public seminars.

    If membership continues to decline at the present rate, it will dip to 10,000 by next year. The last time membership was at 10,000 (Dec 94), The office administrative overhead was 1/5 its current level.

    The reports that the LNC uses are GAAP accounting and banking reports and don’t show what is really going on.

    Since the LNC refuses to address mission and strategy, a better reporting structure would be useless.

  14. Michael Seebeck

    Well, my own sources as of last night indicate that at least three LNC members were caught off-guard on this (and not all in the same ideological camp, either), and emails to Wes had not at that point been returned inquiring as to what was going on.

    That certainly could have changed since last night. It’d be nice to get at least an official statement and a reason from Wes or Donny.

  15. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    Mr. Famularo’s point is well taken regarding the LP’s non participation in lobbying, public seminars, etc. Note I said “Serious” party in my post above. Is the LP serious or not? Austin did have a table at the SFL conf. in Feb. and the LP has been seen at other events about town – it looked like things were changing. But would it really be better off in, say, the Houston suburbs or should the LP start doing things in Washington that other parties and serious activist groups do?

  16. Robert Milnes

    I repeat my proposal to form a peer review board to make judgements about individuals. That plus a LP bylaw requiring LP party officials & candidate to ACTUALLY BE LIBERTARIANS as judged by the peer review board. Anarchists would get an automatic pass. However one would still have to be judged an anarchist, not just self declare or assumed to be an anarchist -or libertarian- just by joining the party.

  17. Robert Milnes

    & joining or participating in the gop or CPAC or supporting their candidates or policies other than OUTREACH would be an automatic disqualifier to LP party employment or candidates. That might also solve the paid petitioner problem. ONLY LP members should be paid petitioners. They are better too. This can be verified from actual field reports of results.

  18. JT

    Paulie: “As I said, I am highly skeptical of the claim, and have not personally heard Wes say anything like that, ever.”

    I know. I wasn’t accusing you of substantiating it. I just said that, as a journalist myself, I wouldn’t even repeat something like that anywhere unless I had a credible, first-hand source. Sometimes, a false statement that’s repeated can become truth to others, even if the person repeating it doesn’t personally vouch for it. Not a crime though.

  19. Denver Delegate

    Log Cabin Republican sensibilities don’t necessarily make one a Libertarian.

    Fare thee well, Mr. Ferguson.

    Will the “The Libertarian Party” Facebook page be reclaimed by the LNC HQ?

  20. mdh

    Love him or hate him, Donny was doing stuff to actually drum up some publicity for the LP at the national office. I think we all need to commend that effort and thank him for his service!

  21. libertariangirl

    with all the love , thanks and support our employees and activists get from eachother and us ( LP members at large)it is a big surprise that anyone would want to leave such a warm embrace!

    oh wait…

  22. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    Who gets to judge the qualifications of members of your “peer review board?”

    I don’t know what the whole story is on Donny’s departure (if even that part is correct), but I wish him well in his future endeavors.

  23. paulie

    From an anonymous source via email: Donny told me this morning that he was “fired by the Executive Director” by email on Friday, and was told it was because he was not fulfilling the duties of his job. Donny said he wrote back asking for a specific list of tasks he was not completing properly. He does not seem to bear the LP in general any ill will, however.

  24. Robert Milnes

    lg., @26, LOL, agreed. But you are just the opposite, giving just about everbody praise & well wishes etc.(Austin Petersen)///T.K., @27, that is a very good question. Note that I came up with this proposal recently to address the issue of disparate rightist influence in the LP & candidates with questionable libertarian positions or past. Bann Bobb Barr, W.A.R. But if you want to give wayne a pass…How about whoever volunteers for the board & has the highest score on The Nolan Test AND highest score on a peer rating? AND concensus/majority vote in favor? Or some combination thereof. It could be done.

  25. Robert Milnes

    I remember mentioning to Prof. Phillies at the LP regional states convention in PA that I might endorse his candidacy. Watching the convention on CSPAN I sympathized with his candidacy but was hoping for Milnes/Ruwart or Gravel/Ruwart. Needless to say, Barr/Root was very disappointing. I never endorsed Phillies because I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not!

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “Note that I came up with this proposal recently to address the issue of disparate rightist influence in the LP & candidates with questionable libertarian positions or past.”

    Here’s a better proposal for addressing disparate influences, candidates with questionable libertarian positions, etc.:

    Realize that the party is the people who join it, that the party’s positions, nominations, etc. will be based on how active those joiners are, and either recruit and activate enough people who think like you do to get what you want done, done … or get over it.

  27. paulie

    with all the love , thanks and support our employees and activists get from eachother and us ( LP members at large)it is a big surprise that anyone would want to leave such a warm embrace!

    oh wait…

    yep…

  28. paulie

    Let’s focus on 2010 and the potential we have for capitalizing on the growing discontent with both tax-subsidized parties.

    Good idea.

  29. Robert Milnes

    Tom, that simplicity is a nice sound bite. & it fits so well with the BTP gaining strength at the expense of the LP. But Paulie & I have discussed this & agree & therefore since paulie agrees it must be correct-politically correct at least-there is disparate influence by the right in the Lp. & there also is the observation that Lp members have better petition signing results. So, anyone can join the LP. Anyone can say they are a libertarian. What to do if that causes way too much lean to the right & LP candidates that are questionably libertarian? & petition signing problems?

  30. paulie

    Robert,

    I don’t know where you got the idea about “petition signing problems.” I can get signatures equally well for any party, regardless of ideology; my pitch is very simply all about allowing people to vote for whichever party they want. X number of people will agree with that, completely regardless of whether they agree with any particular party or candidate or not.

    It’s true that I think the LP as currently constituted leans too far to the right, but that does not conflict with anything Tom said in the comment you are responding to.

  31. Robert Milnes

    Paulie, somebody credible said recently that LP petition signers get better results than non Lp members(mercenary). I’ll see if I can find it. Meanwhile politics 101-the more rightist the LP leans, the more alienated the left(radicals) get hence the whole post convention BTP phenomenon. etc. Barr v Ruwart indicates a nearly 50/50 split in half of the Lp between right & left. Who are these people(rightists)? Dixiecrat conservatives, paleos, theocrats etc. i.e. NOT LIBERTARIANS. Why SHOULDN’T the LP demand their party officials & candidates ACTUALLY BE LIBERTARIANS?

  32. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “somebody credible said recently that LP petition signers get better results than non Lp members(mercenary)”

    That sounds like either Andy Jacob or Gary Fincher. Their definition of “mercenary” is “anyone but US making money from petitioning.”

    You also write:

    “Why SHOULDN’T the LP demand their party officials & candidates ACTUALLY BE LIBERTARIANS?”

    The LP should demand that their party officials and candidates actually be libertarians. The way to do that is to pack the LP with libertarians, not to set up rinky-dink control committees which are at least as vulnerable to stuffing and gaming as anything else.

    If you don’t want the LP to lean so far to the right, recruit your left-leaning friends to join it, to stand for election to office and to party committees, and to attend conventions to choose the leadership you’d like to see.

  33. paulie

    In other news, someone else can post this to the main page if they get to it before me…

    This was also at Gold America Group

    http://goldamericagroup.com/diary/69/ferguson-leaves-lnc-staff

    Ferguson Leaves LNC Staff
    by: Forwarder
    Wed Aug 26, 2009 at 18:56:56 PM MDT
    (Here is real news about the National party. Expect to see an examination of their July finances, which were suboptimal, soon. – promoted by AuGeo)

    GoldAmericaGroup has had forwarded to it a memo from the LNC Executive Director to the LNC:

    “We’ve had two staff changes at the LP headquarters. Donny Ferguson has moved on from his position as Communications Director of the Libertarian Party and is resuming his focus as President of Donald E. Ferguson & Associates, L.L.C., a campaign management, fundraising, and lobbying business in the DC area. Mr. Ferguson has a had a long history with the Libertarian Party, including having served as a campaign consultant, a volunteer activist, and he ran as a 2005 Libertarian Party candidate for Virginia House of Delegates. I want to thank him for his service to the Libertarian Party and wish him well on future projects for liberty.

    “While I will be taking over some of Mr. Ferguson’s former responsibilities at least for a while, I have also hired Mr. Arthur DiBianca of Austin, Texas, to provide some contract consulting services for the LNC in areas that we need help.

    “Some of the projects and responsibilities for Mr. DiBianca:
    * Assist with generating, maintaining, and synchronizing with LP.org, a list of currently elected Libertarians and current candidates
    * Assist with updating information on LP.org
    * Assist with database cleanup and troubleshooting
    * Assist with writing and editing fundraising letters
    * Assist with writing and editing press releases
    * Assist with maintaining our press release and house broadcast email system
    * Assist with member and candidate recruitment
    * Other tasks and projects as needed

    “Mr. DiBianca worked for me for 3.5 years as Assistant Director while I was Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Texas, and he continues to serve part-time for the Libertarian Party of Texas as its Operations Manager. Mr. DiBianca will be working from Austin, Texas.

    “In Texas, Mr. DiBianca did the following for the LP Texas and still has some of these responsibilities:
    * In 2004, big-time ballot access helper (personally validated about half our 80,000 signatures)
    * Maintained the database
    * Maintained the website
    * Drafted press releases
    * Edited fundraising letters
    * Prepared and filed campaign finance reports with the Texas Ethics Commission
    * Printed and mailed lots of fundraising letters and daily inquiry packs
    * Made fundraising phone calls (more than anyone else in Texas for 2007 & 2008)
    * Made phone calls to recruit candidates (more than anyone else in Texas)
    * Assisted candidates with filing paperwork
    * Called candidates and elections offices to make sure the paperwork had been filed, and if not, chased the candidates down

    “I’ve been in the LP headquarters office for about a month now. Our databases and website, LP.org, have lots of information that needs to be cleaned-up, verified, corrected, and updated so that we are healthy and strong for the 2010 election season. In the short-term, you may see a small drop in the number of press releases and blog postings coming from the LP headquarters as we take care of some of these other essential areas.

    “I have been in frequent contact with Chair Redpath and am not expecting any other staff changes any time soon. I remain focused in the short term on membership and fundraising growth, and cleaning up these databases and our website are essential to efficiently achieving that growth.”

    Regards,


    Wes Benedict, Executive Director

  34. Howie

    Why do people respond to Milnes? He’s crazy. Seriously crazy. Its like talking to a hobo who has poop smeared on his face.

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