LNC Candidate Brad Ploeger unendorses Phillies, endorses NOTA for chair after reading Barber’s letter

Emailed to contact.ipr@gmail.com:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Atlanta, Georgia, May 20, 2010 — As many of you may have heard, it has recently come to light that the candidate for National Chair I supported, George Phillies, filed a secret criminal complaint with the Federal Election Commission concerning an alleged irregular transaction between the Libertarian National Committee and the Barr 2008 Presidential Committee. The complaint has subsequently been dismissed by the Federal Election Commission. To make matters worse, Phillies pursued these charges with the government after the Party’s independent auditors stated that there were no errors in our financial disclosures.

I was unaware of this Federal complaint until Christopher Barber’s letter. While I understand that Phillies was working within the law and his rights to lodge a complaint; I believe that his methods demonstrated a severe lapse in judgment. The Chairman of our Party should be working to increase the size of the Party and not run their opponents out of town. It is wrong to use the force of law to attack political opponents–even those with whom you disagree. We must work together to handle matters internally and not risk destroying the Party to settle our disagreements. I signed on to the New Path slate because I felt the leadership of the New Path would be able to move our party past the internecine warfare that has crippled the National Committee and consumed critical resources that were already in short supply.

In light of these revelations, I am no longer able to support George Phillies for National Chair. At this time I do not see a suitable candidate for Chair and will instead support None of the Above for Chairman of our Party. While I believe the remainder of the New Path candidates were unaware of this matter; I will repudiate any candidate on the slate that knew about this prior to Barber’s letter. We are the Party of Principal and it is time that the leaders of our Party demonstrate that they will provide us with more than hollow promises.

Politics is frequently a choice between the unpalatable and the disastrous. We will always face disagreements between factions in our Party; however, I cannot support anyone who advocates methods meant to destroy their opposition within the Party and risk our long-term viability. We must remember that our stated goal is to ensure that Libertarians are elected to public office. I cannot and will not support Party leadership that does not make electing Libertarians their primary focus.

# # #

Brad Ploeger is a resident of Atlanta, Georgia and is running as a Region Representative for the Libertarian National Committee. He is a founding member and current Vice Chair of Communications of the Libertarian Party of Atlanta, a 2010 Representative to the Libertarian Party of Georgia Executive Committee and the 2010 Libertarian Nominee for Georgia State House District 59.


IPR’s previous coverage here.

42 thoughts on “LNC Candidate Brad Ploeger unendorses Phillies, endorses NOTA for chair after reading Barber’s letter

  1. Thomas L. Knapp

    I’ve read this release three times, and can’t find the part where Ploeger quits the New Path Slate. Was it edited out, or is the source some other uncited letter or release?

  2. paulie Post author

    In light of these revelations, I am no longer able to support George Phillies for National Chair. At this time I do not see a suitable candidate for Chair and will instead support None of the Above for Chairman of our Party. While I believe the remainder of the New Path candidates were unaware of this matter; I will repudiate any candidate on the slate that knew about this prior to Barber’s letter.

    It seems to me that a slate means candidates who endorse each other. If he is explicitly not endorsing the candidate for chair, and may repudiate the other candidates on the slate, that he is not really part of the slate. Do you disagree?

  3. Nicholas Sarwark

    The headline goes too far. Mr. Ploeger has apparently withdrawn his endorsement of Phillies.

    The confusion comes from him deciding that he will withdraw the endorsement of other slate members who did know about Phillies’ FEC complaint, but not that of those who didn’t.

    Looks like if the whole slate knew, he’s quitting, but has not quit yet.

  4. Pingback: George Phillies responds to Chris Barber’s letter | Independent Political Report

  5. Pingback: Rachel Hawkridge responds to Chris Barber’s letter about George Phillies | Independent Political Report

  6. Brian Holtz

    For each member of the slate, this delegate would like to know:

    1) When did he or she learn of Phillies filing a criminal complaint against the LP?

    2) If a member has a question about something discussed in executive session, should the member take the question to the rest of the membership, or should the member invoke the power of the State against the LP?

  7. The Power of the State

    Holtz: “or should the member invoke the power of the State against the LP?”

    Power of the State! GASP! Certainly not that!

    The power of the State should only be used to drop liberventionist bombs on foreign women and children!

  8. Brian Holtz

    Only a chronological child would believe that the State never does anything bad. Only a mental child would believe that the State never does anything good.

    Besides Ploeger, which members of the New Path slate have addressed this topic so far?

  9. paulie Post author

    I have yet to see any comments from any of them, besides Phillies and Hawkridge. Carolyn Marbry did comment in the original thread, but only about a privacy issue about David Chastain’s phone number being included in one of the comments, as far as I can see.

  10. Carolyn Marbry

    I will answer your questions, Holtz. Bear in mind that I’m answering for myself as the New Path vice chair candidate, not for the whole slate.

    1. I found out about this literally hours before it broke on IPR, via the letter from Barber. I did not receive the letter myself but was told about it by someone who did. I was completely blindsided by this, as there was never any mention of any complaints or pending action.

    2. This question is very leading and doesn’t really touch on the particulars of the situation, but I’ll answer anyway.

    I would never go to law enforcement over something as silly as not being allowed to know the details of an executive session to which I was not privy. Neither would I take the question to the rest of the membership because those who were in the executive session couldn’t talk about it anyway, and those who were not would know no more about it than I. So neither offered option is valid. The issue isn’t “finding out what was said in executive session” as you seem to think but finding out specific information about what you believe to be an inconsistency or error.

    The question didn’t really get you the information you wanted, did it? Let me offer you what I think you really are asking.

    Do I think it’s legitimate to bring what might be considered a financial inconsistency or filing error to the attention of the government, potentially putting the party and its leadership in danger of legal liability? Not until all other avenues within the party have been exhausted and all other options shut down.

  11. Brian Holtz

    Not until all other avenues within the party have been exhausted and all other options shut down.

    So why does “taking the question to the rest of the membership” (as I asked in my second question) not count among “all other avenues within the party”?

  12. Carolyn Marbry

    That was in reply to your original question, which was whether he should seek to find out what happened in executive session by asking the other members, and I already answered that. Those who were in executive session can’t talk about it, and those who were not don’t know any more about it than he.

    In answer to exhausting all options within the party to find the cause of an inconsistency or error, asking those members who could reasonably be expected to know something about it absolutely DOES count.

    Unless you would suggest that he needed to send a letter to every member of the party asking about it. I believe had he done so you would be accusing him of smearing the Barr campaigns and the LNC, though.

  13. Brian Holtz

    I said nothing about sending a letter to every member of the party. I was trying to ask about 1) putting the LP and its officers at legal risk vs. 2) asking the membership to put pressure on the officers to clarify an alleged apparent discrepency.

  14. Robert Capozzi

    as we’re learning, cm, these Internet sites facilitate intra-party communication quite nicely. George COULD have posted in a number of places that are well read: I found this entry in the Barr FEC filing. It seems inappropriate. I brought it to an LNC member, who could not give me a conclusive explanation about the $10K, as the matter was dealt with in ES. Do other LPers find this of concern?

    I’d find such a missive respectful, on point, and appropriate. And effective, as we can be pretty sure the truth would come out and if a bad decision was made, it’d be corrected. And not the words of a person who has sour grapes and is on a vendetta looking for validation however he can get it.

  15. Carolyn Marbry

    Then perhaps that’s what you should have asked. 🙂

    To recap:

    1. I had no idea about this complaint until the letter broke.

    2. I believe all other avenues within the party should be exhausted when it comes to possible inconsistencies or errors before invoking law enforcement. Reasonable avenues, that is.

    How exactly one would approach “the membership” to put pressure on the officers without making the issue public and potentially bringing down law enforcement, I’m not sure.

    Speaking of such things, it’s interesting to me that while everyone is climbing on Phillies for having taken this to the FEC, nobody’s upset with the LNC, specifically with Starr, or the Barr campaign for stonewalling Phillies on this point and refusing to answer his questions. Had they done so, none of this would have happened.

    WHY SHOULD HE HAVE HAD TO GET THE MEMBERSHIP TO PUT PRESSURE ON THE OFFICERS TO ANSWER HIS QUESTIONS?

    The LNC is there to serve the party, not the other way around. They seem to keep forgetting that. If someone brings a discrepancy to their attention, they should JUMP to sort it out and be grateful that it was a party member who pointed it out and *not* the FEC.

    So that’s my question, and I’m not asking it rhetorically. I really want to know why the LNC didn’t respond to his concerns, to the point where he had to look elsewhere for answers, be it the membership or the FEC?

    You can say he should have asked the members, he should have asked God, he should have asked the stars and the moon, but it doesn’t answer that fundamental issue: Why couldn’t he just ask the LNC and get an answer?

  16. Carolyn Marbry

    Capozzi @ 17: Such a message would have been public, and might well have brought it to the attention of the FEC, either directly or through someone else “snitching” that they saw the Libertarians had issues.

    I’m not saying he didn’t have other options to address this, but taking it public on the internet is definitely not one.

    Discussing it in closed email lists is a better choice, less likely to be considered “public.” As I said, since I only found out about this a couple of days ago, I’m still finding out what did happen and what didn’t.

  17. Brian Holtz

    might well have brought it to the attention of the FEC

    As opposed to filing a criminal complaint with them directly?

    The criminal complaint is an undenied brute fact. The alleged stonewalling is (to me) a fact not in evidence, as I haven’t dis-entangled all the claims about executive session and alleged non-responses to forwarded questions etc.

    If you’re asserting that Phillies did all you think he should have done before filing a criminal complaint against the Party, that pretty much tells me what I wanted to know.

    he should have asked the members, he should have asked God, he should have asked the stars and the moon

    Recent events in the LPCA demonstrate that it’s quite possible to mobilize membership pressure in response to a suboptimal performance by an LP Executive Committee. No gods, stars, or moons were involved.

  18. Carolyn Marbry

    Holtz @20: “If you’re asserting that Phillies did all you think he should have done before filing a criminal complaint against the Party, that pretty much tells me what I wanted to know”

    Actually, I did not say any such thing. You’ve been trying to stuff those words into my mouth for a while now, but no. The question I answered was hypothetical — I do not believe it’s appropriate in a “victimless” or “numbers on a spreadsheet” situation to invoke law enforcement before exhausting internal mechanisms.

    In this instance, like you, I’m still sorting through all the he-said-she-said, so I honestly cannot say whether I believe he exhausted all internal options before taking it to the FEC.

    Holtz: “As opposed to filing a criminal complaint with them directly?”

    False dichotomy. The choices were not between making it public and taking it to the FEC. The question was whether or not all reasonable avenues had been explored.

    I asked what you meant by taking it to the membership and suggested that that was ALSO a potentially dangerous choice as it would make the issue public.

  19. Robert Capozzi

    cm, what bh said. Plus, I’d really like to know how hard GP pushed RH on this matter. Even before enlisting the rank-and-file, did he impress on her that he was dissatisfied with her non-answer? Did he tell her that he thought a crime was committed, and that he would go to the FEC (or the membership)?

    I’d note that RH is on the New Path slate, so presumably GP is still on good terms with her.

    Sorry, GP’s cover story just ain’t washing. It might hurt the other New Pathers, which seems unfair, but a reality.

    If I were GP, I’d seriously be considering dropping out of this race.

  20. Nicholas Sarwark

    Plus, I’d really like to know how hard GP pushed RH on this matter. Even before enlisting the rank-and-file, did he impress on her that he was dissatisfied with her non-answer? Did he tell her that he thought a crime was committed, and that he would go to the FEC (or the membership)?

    What I want to know first is whether the letter Starr allegedly got from the auditors was given to the LNC, Hawkridge, and/or Phillies. You’re skipping right past the treasurer here.

  21. Nicholas Sarwark

    If I were GP, I’d seriously be considering dropping out of this race.

    Why? Because of slanted attacks from allies of his opponents in the race?

    If that’s enough to get you to drop out of a race, you shouldn’t get in the race in the first place.

    BTW, RC, are you going to the convention as a delegate?

  22. Robert Capozzi

    ns, can’t make it.

    yes, the machinations around the ES now seem to need to be exposed. I have to presume that those LNCers who are not Starr fans will recall this incident, look into it, get to the bottom of it, etc.

    The bald facts…complain to the FEC before other avenues have been exhausted….get turned down…have the accusations come to light a week before convention…not liking GP’s chances there, expect this issue will become a distraction to the substance of his campaign, may hurt his fellow New Pathers, etc.

    Note, however, that I said I’d CONSIDER it if it were me. George will do what George will do.

  23. Brian Holtz

    I do not believe it’s appropriate in a “victimless” or “numbers on a spreadsheet” situation to invoke law enforcement before exhausting internal mechanisms.

    like you, I’m still sorting through all the he-said-she-said, so I honestly cannot say whether I believe he exhausted all internal options before taking it to the FEC.

    Then it sounds like we might be on the same page — except insofar as I’m not running to be the Vice-Chair on George’s slate. I tend to think that if George had indeed exhausted all internal optons before taking it to the FEC, then at least some of us would have heard that he was considering taking this to the FEC. Can anybody say they heard that?

    It would help me understand this whole brouhaha better if somebody produced a list of all the people for whom there is evidence George went to them first before calling 9-1-1. I would hope that list would be more than just a selected handful of LNC members.

    On a related note, the New Path book complains that “the LNC spends its time dreaming about Robert’s Rules of Order”. How does that compare to spending time on nightmares about the Federal Election Campaign Act?

  24. Grab the barf bag ????????? .......... Lake

    Non LP: told ya so, told ya so, since AT LEAST 2008! Same with Thomas Knappster!

    The reform/ deform movement killed their own national blog and [MY] national monthly print house organ to protect Israeli interest in 2005!

    MY (‘beloved) Reform Party’ (—– sneakie Cody Quirk), oh, the folks I have sued and filed formal complaint[s] upon, THAT beloved reform / deform party ??????????

    About the same time the California Peace and Freedom Party was rescued from Schwarzenegger prompted oblivion! This was lead by secular saint Richard Winger with dozens of primarily non PFP types. When the ballot access was restored, PFP ‘leaders’ awoke from their slumber and were highly embarrassed with the photo graphs of the [TRUE] heroic action!

    Taking a hint from their icon, Josef Stalin, they tried to paint them selves into the existent pictures. (Now if only that &#%$@#$# truth teller Lake would shut up!)

    Liar and Chief: ctweber

    Apologist Extrodinare: Philip Sawyer

    I am in the phone book; oh the stories I could tell on ‘reformers’, Libs, greens, CP, NLP ……….

    2000: reform / deform movement

    2004: Natural Law Party

    2008: Constitution Party

    It almost makes the Democans and Republicrats look tolerable ………..

  25. Carolyn Marbry

    Capozzi @25 and Holtz @ 30: There’s really only one person who can answer these questions for you, and that’s Phillies. As I’ve made clear, I know no more about this than you, and I believe this is true of most if not all of the rest of the slate, as well.

    I will have a formal statement once I have more of this sorted out. In the meantime, please address your concerns to the person who knows the most about why George did what he did: George.

  26. Brian Holtz

    Ms. Marbry, my two inquiries @30 about sorting out the the FEC narrative were aimed at “anybody” and “somebody”, not to you specifically. I’m glad you’re engaging this issue and will have a formal statement. I hope it addresses the apparent inconsistency between 1) New Path complaints about invocation of Robert’s Rules of Order (by which we voluntarily agree to be bound) and 2) George’s invocation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (which none of us agreed to).

  27. Thomas L. Knapp

    “George’s invocation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (which none of us agreed to).”

    This is first time I’ve heard that the Libertarian National Committee has never filed a statement of organization with the Federal Elections Commission. That claim seems to be at variance with reality insofar as the FEC’s web site displays alleged amendments to such a statement dating back to 1993.

  28. Carolyn Marbry

    Whether we “agree” to a law or not, the reality is, it applies to us, and our officers, particularly our treasurer, will surely feel the swift kick of that law in the backside if they choose to ignore it. That’s just reality, and that’s why this party needs people on the LNC who will take these responsibilities seriously.

    Change the laws, absolutely. Abolish them, even better. But short of condemning our treasurer to prison time for non-compliance, we can’t just ignore them. Likewise, it makes no sense to ignore potential red flags raised by the membership when it comes to these laws. Goodness knows, if the membership can spot it, the FEC surely can.

    As far as “invoking” the FEC or the “power of the STATE (State, state, state…)”, if doing so is an initiation of force, is it any less an initiation of force for him to THREATEN to go to the FEC, as you’ve recommended, Holtz? I don’t see blackmail as non-initiation of force. Would you really have applauded the action you suggested? REALLY?

    Again, I must ask, why should he have had to make such threats in order to get the LNC to answer his concerns? Is that the standard procedure? Raise a question, pester the LNC, get the membership to put pressure on the LNC, attempt to blackmail them with a threat to go to the appropriate authorities and THEN expect an answer? Hell of a way to run a railroad. All he should have had to do is raise the concern to them.

  29. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    Has the LNC in any way attempted to not be voluntarily associated with the FEC?

    Did it litigate against the laws requiring it to file with and report to the FEC?

    Did it engage in civil disobedience versus FEC regultions?

    Did it even submit its FEC filings with “under protest” notations?

    There is precedent in the LP environment for non-compliance with FEC regulations. At least one 2004 pre-nomination presidential campaign’s treasurer opened the books on the campaign with a curt letter to the FEC informing them they’d be receiving no statement of organization, no financial reports, etc., and tht if they didn’t like it they could feel free to pisss up a rope (I was that treasurer).

    In point of fact, earrly on in the BCRA era, one LNC vice-chair’s repeated statement vis a vis what the LNC should do to comply with it was “SCREW BCRA.” He lost that debate. The LNC voted to comply with BCRA.

    The LNC agreed to be bound by the FEC requirements when it decided to comply with those requirements rather than to resist them.

    Every contributor to the LP agrees to the FEC requirements when he or she contributes — because teh boilerplate disclosure language on the form makes it clear that contributions are made under the FEC regime, and because nobody’s forcing them to contribute.

    The idea that Phillies was invoking the intervention of a government agency which the LNC doesn’t have a long, voluntary, damn near toadying relationship is a ludicrous fiction.

  30. Brian Holtz

    Tom, what percent of 1040s are filed with an “‘under protest’ notation”? Again: if not-constantly-protesting compliance with a law is consent to it, then that’s an epic fail for anarchism.

    Carolyn, do you consider it equivalent for George to have 1) filed a criminal complaint against the LP, versus 2) advised the LP that he is concerned they are creating legal risks for the LP?

    All he should have had to do is raise the concern to them.

    I’m still not clear on who precisely he raised the concern with. But whoever it was, one wonders whether George’s history with the LNC had a role here — e.g. his saying that most of the LNC should be expelled from it for the crime of inviting Ron Paul to seek the LP nomination.

  31. Carolyn Marbry

    Holtz @ 39: “…do you consider it equivalent for George to have 1) filed a criminal complaint against the LP, versus 2) advised the LP that he is concerned they are creating legal risks for the LP?”

    Holtz, you were the one who used the word “threaten” with regard to going to the FEC and who suggested that the whole point of a nuclear weapon was to SAY you have it, not use it. Now you’re changing it up again since maybe you realize how unpalatable that might sound to those of us who actually don’t agree with initiation of force.

    Instead now of saying that he should have blackmailed them with the threat, you’re saying he should have advised them that there was a potential problem.

    From what I’ve read in the chronology, he did so advise them by bringing to their attention an inconsistency in their FEC reports. That doesn’t seem to be disputed by either side. Did he explicitly say, “If you don’t deal with this I will take it to the FEC?” This I do not know.

    Once again: Should he have needed to make such a threat to get them off their collective butts to look at this legally dangerous problem? Absolutely not. And that is STILL a point nobody will address.

  32. Robert Capozzi

    cm: Should he have needed to make such a threat to get them off their collective butts to look at this legally dangerous problem? Absolutely not. And that is STILL a point nobody will address.

    me: No, but I was under the impression that the LNC did look at it when it was brought to their attention via RH and it was dealt with, although information on what was done is scanty to nonexistent. I’d personally be grateful if GP flagged an error in a filing that potentially could have exposed the LP in some manner had he not taken the further step of escalating the matter in the form of a legal complaint when other reasonable steps were available to him. Instead of being a team player, he continued to play the role of aggrieved gadfly, and in so doing DIRECTLY exposed the LP to jeopardy with the FEC.

    And now he wants to be Chair?

  33. Carolyn Marbry

    RC @ 41: “me: No, but I was under the impression that the LNC did look at it when it was brought to their attention via RH and it was dealt with, although information on what was done is scanty to nonexistent.”

    Me: So how exactly can anyone have considered it resolved, if the information about its resolution is scanty to nonexistent? Were he and Ms. Hawkridge supposed to GUESS that it was resolved? Maybe HOPE that it was? Bear in mind that Ms Hawkridge, being on the LNC herself, had a responsibility not to let it go until she SAW it resolved, which the powers that be were making very very difficult.

    RC: ” I’d personally be grateful if GP flagged an error in a filing that potentially could have exposed the LP in some manner had he not taken the further step of escalating the matter in the form of a legal complaint when other reasonable steps were available to him.”

    Ah, THAT is the part that remains unclear, the part about whether any other reasonable steps were available to him, that and whether running for chair while this was pending demonstrates a conflict of interest.

    Once those questions are answered to everyone’s satisfaction, I imagine the whole thing will make a lot more sense to everyone.

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