Chris Spangle: One Man Just Bought the LNC and More Shenanigans from Vegas

Posted on Chris Spangle’s blog:

Hoosier Mark Rutherford sought the Chairmanship on the Libertarian National Committee over the past weekend. He was anywhere from 1 to 7 votes shy on 6 ballots of getting 50% plus 1… Eventually, Texan Geoff Neale, who was only a declared candidate for the position starting Sunday morning when nominations re-opened, won the spot over NOTA (none of the above). Texan Lee Wrights is now Vice Chair.

Let me be clear, the following accounts have been pieced together from multiple sources and is as accurate and as fair as possible. I am not trying to throw people under the bus, but there were some things done this past weekend that need the sanitizing light of the sun placed on their actions.

I learned this morning that one man, William Sparkman, bought convention packages, travel expenses, hotel rooms and food for 34 Texan delegates. There were two vans from Texas that left the Red Rock the same time as Rupert’s RV, filled with Texans. If the supposed Root-controlled cabal had done the very same thing, it’s manipulation. When they do it, it’s principled activism.

One man just bought enough votes at our convention to put his friends in as Chair and Vice Chair. You can look at the two ways: 1. It’s horrible and sneaky, or 2. Why didn’t you think of it first? I’ll let you draw your own conclusion there.

Read more here.

64 thoughts on “Chris Spangle: One Man Just Bought the LNC and More Shenanigans from Vegas

  1. Chuck Moulton

    Sorry, in the process I probably broke links here from the Twitter and/or Facebook feed. But I thought correcting the author was too important to leave alone.

  2. paulie Post author

    You did not break any links. There’s a lot more to the original article, so people should go to the source which remains linked.

  3. Brian Holtz

    I don’t doubt that there would have been a firestorm if some other group had done this, but I applaud the idea of getting more activists involved in our conventions. We need to grow to the point where delegates are not merely self-selected, but actually have to compete to get chosen.

    Well played.

  4. Nicholas Sarwark

    Floor fee proponents can’t suggest in one breath that people should subsidize or otherwise support activists who can’t afford the fee and then in the next breath suggest that people who do so are engaging in “shenanigans.”

  5. Jill Pyeatt

    I continue to be stunned at what poor losers Rutherford and his supporters are being. What are they trying to accomplish with this nastiness continuing?

  6. Chuck Moulton

    Nick Sarwark wrote (@9):

    Floor fee proponents can’t suggest in one breath that people should subsidize or otherwise support activists who can’t afford the fee and then in the next breath suggest that people who do so are engaging in “shenanigans.”

    Well said!!

  7. Stewart Flood

    The method of “subsidizing” that was chosen at the convention is not the same as directly paying for a supporter to attend. Mr Dixon’s resolution is intended to reduce the cost equally for all delegates.

    I don’t know if the author’s accusation is true or false. Four separate groups informed me that they intended to pay for delegates to attend. I told all of them that it was my opinion, based on information I was given, that this was prohibited by FEC regulation.

    I have no idea if any of them paid for delegates to travel there, nor do I care. The FEC is the devil you don’t want to deal with. There may be a way to do it legally, and they may have followed the rules.

  8. Shawn Levasseur

    For the record Emily was only the source for the second update. I was the source of the first update, based on my attempts to get one of the displaced MO delegates seated in my delegation.

  9. Shawn Levasseur

    If any group of Libertarians were funding transport and fees for delegates to support a candidate, I have no problem with it. It’s called getting out the vote.

  10. Steven Berson

    Happy to report that I (yes ME) am the ONE person who “just bought the LNC” by bothering to show up at the Convention to vote “N.O.T.A” on the second ballot round for Chair enabling no majority for that ballot. Come to think of it though – there was 200-some others just like me. But it is fun to finally actually be part of an election where my one vote actually made a difference. 🙂

  11. Steven Berson

    The thing is that there was easily another 50 or so delegates there just to vote for Gary Johnson and Jim Gray that would have just gone with the flyer that was passed out with the GJ’s campaign endorsement of Rutherford written on it – but I’d say they left the Hall after the Pres and VP votes were done. So perhaps the Rutherford crowd should blame these folks for just wanting to leave and celebrate rather than stick around for some acrimony (which ultimately I think ended up with a great result).

  12. LibertarianGirl

    I payed the floor fees for 2 other people , and?? Barr packed the convention with people that had no intention of sticking around , at least the Texas contingent was packed with actual activists who just needed some help . I dont believe we should keep calling it the Rutherford faction , he’s a good man , following bad advice and his rep was tainted by his association with those control freaks that insist on top-down management….

    however , he should tell people to STFU , never have I seen anyone ( his supporters ) lose so sorely….

  13. Thomas L. Knapp


    “Barr packed the convention with people that had no intention of sticking around”

    I don’t believe that’s true.

    Many — probably most — of the faces I saw in Denver in 2008 were faces I had seen in Atlanta in 2004, Indianapolis in 2000, and Anaheim in 2000, and/or saw subsequently in St. Louis in 2010, or recognized from party activities other than national conventions.

    There was a RUMOR that Barr was bringing in four buses full of people from (IIRC) Ohio the morning of the presidential vote, but I never saw those buses, or those people, or any sudden large surge in delegate registrations reported for seating, and nobody I’ve talked with about it then or since ever said they did either.

    I suspected then that if a bunch of strangers had shown up at the door demanding to be delegates, they’d have been refused.

    THAT is the party’s security. Most “rent-a-delegation” types aren’t going to show up on Thursday and sit through three days of bylaws and platform crap unless they’re being paid VERY well, and most candidates wouldn’t be able to pay them that much. “Rent-a-delegations” are strange faces who arrive en masse by bus, get off the bus, register, vote the way they’re supposed to and then get back on the bus, and I doubt that the seated delegates will let them do that.

    Among actual real members, there will always be attempts to “pack,” and what of it?

    Is there a difference between a candidate telling a state’s delegation that he’ll rent a bus to get them to the convention, and that same candidate telling that same delegation he’ll pop $10k for their ballot access drive if he wins?

    If there is a difference, I’d say that the former is by its nature less damaging. The candidate has to front money instead of making an unenforceable promise, and the delegates have the whip hand (once they’ve got the bus ride, he has no way to make them vote the way he hopes they will, and chances are he didn’t even put it in those terms — he’s just trying to buy their good will).

    To the extent that delegates consider “packing” a problem, it has a simple solution: If state delegations won’t let out-of-staters fill their empty slots, there’s not really any way TO “pack” on a large scale.

  14. Brian Holtz

    LG@23: Barr packed the convention with people that had no intention of sticking around

    Ditto to every word of Tom’s takedown of this urban legend.

    Debra, why perpetuate this story? Do you know something we don’t? If there were actual evidence of that packing, we’d have all heard it by now, right?

    The freedom movement is too small for us to afford the luxury of non-fact-based criticisms of fellow freedom-fighters.

  15. Kevin Knedler

    @ Thomas # 25
    Ohio delegation in 2008.
    We had a whopping 11 people show up and we had about 44 seats in our delegation. There was plenty of room to move around. We had one young man ride an 883 Harley Sportster for 25 hours or so. We had another one ride a bus for about 30 hours with $5.00 in his pocket. So he was the only one that came via a bus. Just trying to confirm that we were not part of some “big bus trip” in 2008.

  16. Steven Wilson

    I would like to comment about the insinuations of dirty deeds done by Cisse Spragins of Missouri. She took on the MIAC report, protested against the TSA, has protested against red light cameras, the Missouri inclinations toward raising taxes on cigarettes, and is active with Norml and drug reform in Missouri.

    Just to get another perspective away from Vegas and look to the ground. She is a soldier for Freedom. Please keep this is mind.

  17. paulie Post author

    In no way would I want to take any of that away from her, but regardless of what I thought about how it impacted the outcome – which I was happy about – process still matters, and she should have released the delegates to be seated in other states or let them vote.

    It would have been a dirty tactic if the other side used it, and it’s a dirty tactic when our side uses it too, even if it produces an outcome I like.

    Being a fighter for freedom does not make anyone an angel or even a saint. Please keep this in mind, too.

  18. paulie Post author

    Tom is correct about the Barr “convention packing.” I’ve looked into it, and found no evidence.

  19. LibertarianGirl

    perhaps the Barr packing is a rumor I should not believe , the point still remains that getting as many delegates to convention to vote for your candidate is fairplay….

    also , where was LP Pres candidate extraordinairre Bob Barr this last weekend??

  20. paulie Post author

    Yep, I’m pro-packing.

    And Barr would probably not want to have been there after the Gingrich endorsement. He would have taken a lot of heat for that, I’m sure.

  21. Kevin Knedler

    And Paulie comment on # 29 is correct.
    It is not the voting or results, but the process and fairness in voting rights

    If those folks in Missouri were removed on Sunday, it was too late to reseat them with credential reports being done early in morning. If they were removed on Saturday, they could have joined other delegations. Of course they may have been frustrated and just left. I don’t know the situation but only hope they were removed on Saturday to at least give them an option. There were plenty of seats everywhere.

  22. LibertarianGirl

    I know for certain of a high profile LPNevada pro-Rutherford faction( hate this title) that went around after people had voted and figured it was over and asked them to challenge their states votes when pro-Nota people had left….i found that disgraceful but not illegal….what really fucked shit up was wasting 4 hrs on Sat. with bullshit….most folks that left neve imagined the chairs race would go so long……others left in disgust BECA– USE of the bullsit , the lady i brought with me could not have said it better when she walked out on me..”ill fight the enemy anytime , but i refuse to fight other libertarians”

  23. LibertarianGirl

    and I completely agree with the tactic in Missouri being used like that , it aint right no matter who does it , they should have come on down to GA , refugee delegation who voted differently and widely ranged on everything AND , imagine this , STILL MANAGED TO GET ALONG WITH ONE ANOTHER…go figure

  24. Libertarian Party

    The Johnson coordinators were stacking at the state level and no one said anything. I know for a fact at one state convention a known registered lobbyist was adding people who weren’t even present to the delegation list.

    Why complain now about this?

  25. paulie Post author

    Johnson was not in any danger of losing with or without stacking. People are complaining because the chair’s race was razor close.

  26. paulie Post author

    Nevada delegates who were locked out of Nevada were able to vote with other states.

    The issue with the 2, 3, 5 or however many people that joined MO was that they wanted to join other delegations and had other delegation that wanted to seat them, but MO would not release them specifically to prevent them from being able to vote elsewhere.

    That is a dirty tactic even if it led to an outcome I like.

    The packing/gotv thing, not so much; I see that as completely legitimate.

  27. paulie Post author


    They were not allowed to vote, but they were also not released for the purpose of being allowed to join other delegations that wanted to add them.

    Specifically because the MO delegation chair put winning ahead of fair play.

    Being on the winning side does not mean I think it is fair to win at the cost of fair play. I do not.

  28. Joe Buchman

    Am I missing something here? How does the chair of a delegation have the authority to refuse to report the votes of his/her delegation? Was there a rationale for this beyond only wanting votes for one candidate and not another?

    As for refusing to release them or not, that’s part of the rules in advance so I have no problem with it. You come with one state, and you want to go vote as a delegate with another state, you probably need to get released from the “contract” you had with the first state, yes?

  29. paulie Post author

    If they are not released they should have been allowed to vote. If they were not allowed to vote they should have been released. Neither one happened.

  30. Joe Buchman


    I’m still missing something here.

    “If they are not released they should have been allowed to vote.”

    I’m not sure how anyone could not allow another to vote. They CAN refuse to accept their vote, or refuse to allow then to cast their vote. But once a delegate of a delegation how can THAT happen?!? Were only some votes allowed to be cast and other votes disallowed? Or did the chair of the delegation refuse to report/collect any of the votes?

  31. Paulie

    She cancelled their delegate status but did not release them so they could be seated in other delegations. At least that is how I understand it.

  32. LibertarianGirl

    its bullshit , i imagine those were he previously placed rules with-in her state but my feelings are one should be able to resign if one wishes too…

  33. Paulie

    Just looked at the updated version of the article quoted above. Here is the update from Emily Salvette at the end that caused the confusion:

    UPDATE: Got this via email: “The Missouri delegation chair DID go to the chair of the credentials committee, but VERY late. Sometime during the first vote of the morning. Too late for any other delegation to seat Chris or any of the 5 displaced and disenfranchised delegates.”
    UPDATE 2: ““Sort of. There were 3 delegates, not 5. One had left already, so it turned out to affect 2 voters. Cisse had total authority to add and subtract delegates to the MO delegation. (Not a good way for a state to arrange things, btw.) The two couldn’t be re-seated because the last report of the credentials committee had already happened that morning. Timing was the problem. It had nothing to do with Cisse “releasing” them—I don’t even know what that means.
    This was procedurally permitted, but certainly not right. I wish I would have done more and tried to talk her out of it on ethical grounds.
    Emily Salvette

  34. Steven Wilson

    Cisse was voted to lead the Missouri LP. If the Libertarians in Missouri doubted her judgment then she would be gone.

    I supported her as Chair after Glenn. I support her now. Demons and angels are just titles.

    The utility is in function. Cisse and others did what had to be done to move forward. I have not spoken to her about it, but what she did is represent the Missouri LP as she decides is right.

    Those delegates were gifted a seat by a state with open seats. No one forced them to sit.

    When taking out the garbage, sometimes your hands get dirty. BOO HOO.


  35. paulie Post author

    Sounds like some pretty bad rationalizing, Steven. And I’m speaking as someone who liked the results.

  36. Thomas L. Knapp

    I only attended Libertarian National Conventions five times (2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010), but in all cases where I attended, Missouri’s policy was not to seat delegates who weren’t Missouri Libertarians.

    The main reason for that was to keep the Missouri LP from getting caught up in the various fights to pack delegations.

    And to be fair here, I recall that one of my primary frequent opponents within the Missouri LP, Bob Sullentrup, was a vocal advocate of that policy, more so than myself.

    It looks like Missouri managed to piss a lot of people off and get its own fingers burned by abandoning that policy and then trying to back out when the results weren’t what they liked. I hope they’ll go back to it from now on.

  37. paulie Post author

    I believe Steve is saying the ends justify the means ,


    Also, that you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

    I’ve seen too many bad things down that road, and unfortunately it is one that is all too often tempting to those who are most passionate in the fight for freedom.

  38. George Phillies

    Massachusetts has as a Bylaws requirement that you must have been a member 30 days before the state convention, which is in October. “member” requires that you live in Massachusetts.

  39. Kevin Knedler

    @ 40.

    I can’t believe a state chair would do that.
    People were disenfranchised from voting in Missouri?
    Isn’t this what we constantly are fighting for with ballot access petitions, law suits, etc.

    The simple thing would have been to release them on Saturday so they could come back in with credentials report– if they wanted to.

    Is it possible some states have become no better than the R’s or D’s ? Are we evolving?

  40. Jake Porter



    You don’t remember because it wasn’t buses. It was limousines filled with bobbarrians. They were so organized with their takeover it only took 6 ballots to win.

  41. Marc Montoni

    @56, you’ve got a lot of nerve asking that.

    Several expensive LP ballot drives have been destroyed because of D’s or R’s challenging the petitions. You did the same thing to the NOTA voters at the convention that those D’s and R’s did to the LP.

    Maybe you should have thought about the anger your actions would generate before screaming like a wild man into the microphone with your challenges. By the time you were done, people in the Virginia delegation — individuals who have long treated each other with collegiality and respect — were red-faced with rage and ready to throw down.

    I don’t think you were aware of how many people outside of your delegation heard the dialogue within your group, where some were virtually shaming their colleagues into changing their votes. It was one of the worst examples of a collective political tantrum I’ve ever seen at an LP convention.

    The tendency of people to respond to outrage with more outrage cannot be ignored. Insanity is often contagious.

    As far as I’m concerned, you cost delegates about $50,000 worth of their time with the 4-odd hours of BS that resulted from your temper tantrum.

    You want to make things better for next time? Then go to Ms Spragins and provide her with a heartfelt, personal apology. And then go to the two delegates who were disenfranchised, and give them a heartfelt apology. Maybe if you grow up a bit, the MO delegation chair will match you, and apologize to those two delegates also — and then we can all move on.

    But for you to sit there and feign offense at blowback is just hypocrisy.

  42. Steven Wilson

    If there is a price to pay by the members of the LP I will stand with her. I am so tired of people talking out of the sides of their mouth. Do something.

    With the activities of the national the last 18 months, someone crying about protocol and ethics is a joke. The credentials don’t have credibility.

    Politics is a pure battle fought by impure people. Realism is portrayed here as evil.

    If there is a price to pay Cisse will pay it. I have never picked up a sense of cowardice in her.

    To help you make better posts in the future, you might feel better if you take your idealism to Americans Elect or maybe that nutball with the fantasy government game with Luke Skywalker and Abe Vigoda.

    Politics are wars. Each person here should know that by now. If you don’t want realism stay here and post.

    Until Cisse tells me or anyone here exactly why she did what she did, reading another crap article won’t get anything accomplished.

    When she admits to fool play then punish her and call her out. But don’t project a conspiracy from the opinion of an article speaking of the ethical benefits of Mark Rutherford or the national LP.

  43. Michael H. Wilson

    re KK @ 56. Much worse things had been going on in Oregon since the early 1990s, but no one listened except a few from out of state who wanted to help control the Oregon party.

  44. Kevin Knedler

    Like I said Marc. I can’t believe a state chair would do that. Simple as that.

  45. Thomas L. Knapp


    My recollection is that at one time the requirements (not codified in a bylaw, just an established practice) to be a Missouri delegate included being a member of the Missouri LP, but that people who lived out of state could join the Missouri LP (the late RW Bradford, publisher of Liberty magazine, joined the Missouri LP in 2000 at the national convention because his own state’s LP required the pledge certification and Missouri’s doesn’t).

    But, once again to the best of my recollection, the Missouri LP changed its membership requirements in 2004, and I’m pretty sure the new requirements included Missouri residency and/or Missouri voter registration.

  46. paulie Post author

    With the activities of the national the last 18 months, someone crying about protocol and ethics is a joke.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. It is at times and in situations like this that protocol and ethics are most sorely needed.

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