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David Colborne: Wayne Root Votes In Favor of Big Government

On May 5, 2011, at 7:54 pm, the Libertarian Party of Nevada had over sixty members, three active county-level affiliates, and enjoyed constantly increasing momentum month after month. Each local affiliate proudly hosted events at least once a month. With the weather improving and convention season beginning, each local affiliate was putting its booth staffing plans into place, purchasing outreach brochures, printing membership packets, and generally doing all of the little things necessary to get the word out. Less than an hour later, the Libertarian Party of Nevada had under twenty members, no county-level affiliates, and had granted its Chair the power to manage its funds in whatever manner he deemed fit, devoid of any and all oversight.

How could this happen? How could the state that is planning to host the national Libertarian Party convention in less than a year lose over two-thirds of its membership and abandon all future activity throughout the state?

It was all because of two motions passed by the LP Nevada’s Executive Committee over the course of a half hour meeting. The first motion, proposed by Irv Hopkins, At-Large Representative, though almost certainly not authored by him was:

“I move to consolidate the Libertarian Party in Nevada by revoking the affiliate status of all Nevada county based chapters of the Libertarian Party, including the Libertarian Party of Clark County, Nevada Capital Libertarian Party, and Nye County Libertarian Party, thereby folding them into one cohesive state organization until such time as membership levels warrant the re-chartering of county organizations.”

According to state bylaws, members in affiliated counties have their dues set by the affiliate. Most affiliates in Nevada had abandoned the practice of collecting mandatory dues, reflecting Nevada’s status as the worst-hit state in the country, economically speaking, with the worst unemployment rate in the country. Also, if you’re a member of an existing affiliate, you’re a member of the state LP, provided your affiliate paid a minimum of $10 for each person it declared a member of the state party. However, that membership is not transferable if your affiliate suddenly ceases to exist. If you suddenly find yourself living in an unaffiliated area, you’re only a member if you directly contributed at least $50 ($25 to the national LP, $25 to the state LP) within the past calendar year. The only people in affiliated areas that would have any reason to do this would be “1776 Brigade” members, who donate $17.76 a month to the state LP. At the time this motion was considered, there were fewer than twenty Brigade members.

One of those members was Wayne Allyn Root, Nevada’s own champion of small government guided through individual responsibility.

Time after time Wayne had spoken in favor of lower taxes, decreased centralization of our government, and the importance of letting local people make local decisions. Yet, when it came time to put those words to action, he instead chose to raise fees, lower the number of fully franchised libertarians in his state to a third of its original number, and “consolidate” all power in the hands of an eight member committee that meets by telephone once a quarter. Sadly, his abandonment of the principles that he so forcefully and routinely advocated didn’t end there. He also voted in favor of this gem:

“Irv moves to authorize the Chair the use of any LPN funds for such functions as outreach, campaigns, fundraising, and the annual convention.”

In short, Wayne Allyn Root, champion of small, transparent, open government, voted in favor of abdicating all responsibility and oversight over the funds of the Libertarian Party of Nevada to the Chair to use on whatever he can justify as “outreach, campaigns, fundraising, and the annual convention.” Since this is every single conceivable legitimate expenditure the Libertarian Party of Nevada could possibly make, it effectively grants Wayne’s good friend Joe Silvestri complete and total discretion over the party’s funds.

The trouble with accepting responsibility and accepting a position as a voting officer in an organization like the Libertarian Party is that, sooner or later, you’re bound to develop a voting record. When you do, people will be able to see clearly and transparently whether your words match your actions. In the case of Wayne Allyn Root, as much as I enjoy his words from time to time, his actions speak louder and I find them disappointing.

And so does Nevada.

See minutes here:  lpnminutes032511corrected


  1. David Colborne David Colborne May 18, 2011

    @21: Sounds good to me. Tell you what, you get your friends to show up to some LP events, I’ll get my friends to show up to some LP events, and, between the two of us, we’ll outnumber those who’d rather change the subject.

    Y’know, the old-fashioned way.

  2. Warm Glass of Milk Warm Glass of Milk May 17, 2011

    Root’s strategy is to keep out as many presidential candidates as possible, and then to limit their free speech time at the national convention to as little time as possible.

  3. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson May 17, 2011

    Crap David, I’d be happy if we could focus on bringing the troops home from around the world. But then I am f*#king crazy about focusing on one issue at a time.

  4. David Colborne David Colborne May 17, 2011

    @16 and @17: Yes, pretty much.

    I get the instinct. Like any political party, we have a few people that view the LP as a contest to see who’s the most “libertarian”, or at least who can sound the most “libertarian”. Though that does lead to some truly… fascinating conversation (and some absolutely hilarious event ideas), the approach can be a turn-off to those that would rather focus on meaningfully helping advocates of smaller government win elections, instead of spending time and energy arguing over how their personal libertarian utopia is more libertarian than someone else’s personal libertarian utopia. Naturally, those who would rather focus on getting people elected would prefer those that are engaged in ideological pissing contests to stay out of the way and not sabotage their efforts through Westboro-style attention whoring. So, what’s the simplest way to keep the attention whores at bay? Right – purge them! Scream to high heavens that they’re not with you!

    The trouble with the simplest solution to any problem is that it’s often wrong. Since the LP is a political movement, it’s not the LP that defines who’s in and who’s out – it’s who self-identifies as a member of the LP and presents themselves accordingly. Consequently, if you want your faction to win, the only way to do it is the old-fashioned way – outnumber them, preferably overwhelmingly. Addition by subtraction is impossible because it’s impossible to subtract.

  5. L party over, turn out the lites L party over, turn out the lites May 17, 2011

    County organizations in Nevada – continue to meet. Then organize a convention of county organizations. Then formally elect an executive committee of the county organization convention. Then petition the LP national to recognize you instead of the Nevada LP.

    good idea, but the problem is that the current lnc is controlled by allies of the nv republican hijackers of the lp, so it won’t work.

    the place of the next lp convention ensures the next lnc will be even worse and with back to back barr and root presidential candidacies, libertarians will have no home left in lp.

    party over…time to turn out the lites.

  6. Ayn R. Key Ayn R. Key May 17, 2011

    @ 15 Basically, they’re hoping to flush away some of the more extreme elements from the LPNV…

    Hmm, the “purists” and “radicals” are always accused of wanting purges, yet it is the Reformists and Rootists who did the purge.

  7. David Colborne // May 17, 2011:

    [Lake: oh Lordie, it is always what they DON’T say that is at the heart of the matter!]

    “….. they’re hoping to flush away some of the more extreme elements from the LPNV so they can position the party better to appeal to a broader audience [Lake: of GOP minded voters].”

  8. Root's Purge Root's Purge May 17, 2011

    @ 15 Basically, they’re hoping to flush away some of the more extreme elements from the LPNV…

    Sounds like Root & Co. are engaging in an attempted purge.

    This, from so-called Big Tent Reformers.

  9. David Colborne David Colborne May 17, 2011

    All that being said, after talking with Wayne since I originally wrote this article, as well as talking with others in the LPNV, I have a better understanding of what they’re trying to accomplish with disaffiliation. Basically, they’re hoping to flush away some of the more extreme elements from the LPNV so they can position the party better to appeal to a broader audience. I have no problem with the goal of broadening the LPNV’s appeal – in fact, if we ever want to get more than 2% of the vote, we absolutely need to. That’s almost a tautology at this point. However, I think this move works against their goals because the extreme elements of the LPNV have nowhere else to go, so they’re always going to stick around, one way or another. If you really want to reduce the impact of the fringe, you have to reduce barriers of entry to a low enough point where those who are not already “sold” on the LPNV will still be willing to participate at their leisure. Put another way, 100 people each giving you 1 hour a month will always beat 1 person giving you 80 hours a month.

    Besides, the LPNV has always been lukewarm to local organizations, so we can’t really say “it’s not working” because it hasn’t really been tried. Reno’s been dis- and re-affiliated twice in the past 10 years, and Nye County was only recently affiliated as well. As for Las Vegas and its suburbs, the attention is going to be there whether there are local affiliates or not because that’s where most of the people are.

  10. David Colborne David Colborne May 17, 2011

    Brandon @8: What Carol said, though I’ll freely admit there’s a matter of perspective and degree here. Basically, Wayne’s vote of support for disaffiliation was rather… counterintuitive for someone who repeatedly mentions the benefits of state’s rights and the hazards of a strong central state. Of course, the LPNV isn’t a state – it’s a voluntary political organization, so the rules are a little different. Not much different, though, since it is a political organization, which means it should be, at least in theory, somewhat accountable to those that choose to label themselves as its constituents.

    “Prospective” (sic) @9: First, it’s my perspective, not my “prospective”. Second, this move pulls us further from the organizational manner of the major parties (i.e. “winning parties”) that actually, y’know, win elections. Major parties have county and precinct level organizations – they’re required by law, in fact (see NRS 293.130 and NRS 293.135). They also don’t charge dues as a condition for participation – this is also mandated by law (see NRS 293.161). They are allowed to charge reasonable door fees; to put that clause in perspective, the Nevada GOP charge a door fee of… oh wait, they didn’t charge one at all. Instead, they asked for donations to cover convention expenses. Same holds true with the Nevada Democratic Party.

    How many elections has the GOP won in Nevada? How many elections has the Democratic Party won in Nevada? Now, how many has the LP won in Nevada?


    As for the “resistance”, there is absolutely nothing in the bylaws, nor anything in RRoR, nor anything anywhere else that prevents libertarians from meeting, talking, and otherwise advancing the cause of the LP with or without a supporting county or regional affiliate. The only thing we lose by not having local affiliates is the ability to choose local candidates for partisan office locally; instead, local candidates will have to go to the State Convention (presumably somewhere in or very near Las Vegas) and ask for support there. Consequently, those of us who are still interested in contributing to the LP at the local level will continue to do so to the best of our abilities.

  11. Ayn R. Key Ayn R. Key May 17, 2011

    County organizations in Nevada – continue to meet. Then organize a convention of county organizations. Then formally elect an executive committee of the county organization convention. Then petition the LP national to recognize you instead of the Nevada LP.

  12. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson May 17, 2011

    re # 10 I have always doubted people who have to hide behind a fake name on this list. Do you have a problem?

  13. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt Post author | May 16, 2011

    Sure, #9, whatever you say.

  14. @9 that is your prospective @9 that is your prospective May 16, 2011

    Since this party did very poorly the last 40 years and now we have a chance to do what might be good, you call it big government. No, it just better organized/structurally to get this to be a winning party for a chance instead of the LOSERTARIANS that it has been the last 40 years.
    But I don’t expect for you to see that, because it is hard for you to see that far.

  15. Carol Moore Carol Moore May 16, 2011

    When you transfer all decision making from a lower political entity to a higher one, you are showing the centralizing tendencies of big government. ANY UPDATES? on resisting the coup??

  16. Brandon Moreno Brandon Moreno May 14, 2011

    I’m confused by the title of the post. How did Root vote for “Big Government”? Is he comparing voting to disband county affiliates of the Nevada LP with championing a large federal government?

  17. Jim Harley Jim Harley May 13, 2011

    I was referred to vote for David Colborne for Washoe County commissioner as he was in my district.

    This posting is very uncalled for and very unprofessional. David in my opinion didn’t do a professional job of promoting himself, or the Northern LP, whether that was deliberate or not it doesn’t matter.

    For him to put a posting of such distaste against Wayne Root shows poor quality in the judgment
    of David Colborne

  18. D. Lou Shenol D. Lou Shenol May 13, 2011

    By-Laws are the rules you go by. If they aren’t followed to the letter then the action is NULL and VOID.

    I would continue my activities as before and keep recruiting and be ready for the next convention (make sure you are state members who can vote @ the state convention) and REMOVE the problems from positions of authority.

    “An unarmed people are subject to slavery at any time” Huey P. Newton

    “One party has totally dominated American politics for at least a century: the Socialist War Party. No matter who wins the elections, America gets endless socialism and endless war.” Doug Newman.

    Make a change.

    Do it for your children.

    “I sincerely believe… that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816. ME 15:23

    “Then I say, the earth belongs to each of these generations during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and incumbrances of the first, the third of the second, and so on. For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation. Then, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789. ME 7:455, Papers 15:393

    “The conclusion then, is, that neither the representatives of a nation, nor the whole nation itself assembled, can validly engage debts beyond what they may pay in their own time.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789. ME 7:457, Papers 15:398n

    “[The natural right to be free of the debts of a previous generation is] a salutary curb on the spirit of war and indebtment, which, since the modern theory of the perpetuation of debt, has drenched the earth with blood, and crushed its inhabitants under burdens ever accumulating.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 1813. ME 13:272

    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” — Thomas Jefferson

  19. Darryl W. Perry Darryl W. Perry May 11, 2011

    LG – I invite you, Jim Duensing & all members of the LP in Nevada that have been “disaffiliated” to join the BTP if you support the platform & wish to join! We would welcome you with open arms!

  20. LibertarianGirl LibertarianGirl May 11, 2011

    the release is bullshit and still in violation of the bylaws , each member voting to de-affiliate much present , in writing to the counties. not 1 man and not a god damned press release

  21. Wayne Allyn Root Is A MARXIST! Wayne Allyn Root Is A MARXIST! May 11, 2011

    That would be Root’s accusation had Obama done the same thing.

  22. S. Rowan Wilson, MBA S. Rowan Wilson, MBA May 11, 2011

    The statement from the LP press release ‘explaining’ the consolidation/de-affiliation is the height of propaganda and spin. It is classic right out of a George Orwell novel = “War is Peace” et al.

    May we, the Libertarian party of Nevada grow and prosper in ways completely unintended given the actions of the few of the NV Excom.


  23. David Colborne David Colborne May 11, 2011

    I originally wrote this immediately after the vote for disaffiliation. If I had to do it over again, I would’ve proofread it a little better and cleaned up some of the ambiguous sentences, like this passage:

    At the time this motion was considered, there were fewer than twenty Brigade members.

    One of those members was Wayne Allyn Root, Nevada’s own champion of small government guided through individual responsibility.

    When I was referring to “those members” in relation to Wayne, I was attempting to emphasize his membership in the Executive Committee, not his membership in the Brigade (though he is a member a both, I believe).

    Still, for an essay that was written in the heat of the moment immediately before I went to bed, it could’ve gone a lot worse.

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