Johnson Campaign Releases Financial Summary

The following email was sent to each member of the Libertarian National Committee earlier tonight:

23 October 2012

Ron asked that I forward the attached file summarizing campaign expenses from May through the end of September to each of you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me here, or call my direct number below, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

(One I’ve already had regarded the names of the 29 people working on the campaign. Ron and I were able to make a list, and I noted that I have personally worked with about 20 of them. We’re not planning on releasing individual names and salaries, but I can tell you from my personal experience that 1) there are 29 people working on the campaign here and 2) many of us, myself included, are doing this for well below going market rates (I just asked to have my approximate expenses covered (for travel to Dallas for the state LP convention, Vegas for Freedom Fest and later for the UNLV rally there, San Diego for Libertopia, Los Angeles for meetings with Paul Jensen (the attorney regarding the CPD lawsuit). I’m on a conference call daily with Charlie (campus coordinator and ballot access) and Chris (Fundraising); and Ron, and also work on a daily to weekly basis with Grant and Dianne (Gary and Jim’s schedulers), Ryan (social media), Evan (the videos/TV commercials) Apollo, Brenda, Kim and Alexis who work in the SLC office in accounting, reception and on various special projects, Jason (website and poster/sign mailings), Alicia (attorney/former mid-west director) — so I see first hand where much of that goes.)

I know everyone at the campaign is working to maximize the value and positive impact of each dollar donated to this campaign. Based on my personal experience, since I first met with Ron and Gary in Santa Fe late last year, I’ve been impressed with our ability to do just that.

I also know we all wish we had 100X what has been donated to run lots more television.

If you’ve not seen our latest television ad, due to start running on various cable news channels beginning tomorrow, it’s available online at

It’s my understanding that two more 30 second commercials are currently in development.

I’m watching Gary in the Chicago debate right now. He’s been under the weather and its showing in his voice tonight, but I think every third party voter must feel their candidate is far superior to anything we’ve seen from the duopoly candidate(s).

Finally, on behalf of Gary and Ron, I’d like to express our gratitude for all each of you are doing to advance the cause of Liberty, here in the US and across this planet.

We all hope you’ll be able to join us at the Governor’s party in Albuquerque two weeks from tonight. See:

With Liberty for all,


Joseph G. Buchman, PhD
Candidate Research and Development
Direct: 435 602 0798 Campaign HQ: 801 303 7926
731 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84102

GJ 2012 General Election Summary

56 thoughts on “Johnson Campaign Releases Financial Summary

  1. kathy smith

    Who is joe buchman? I have been involved with the campaign + never heard of him. Never seen him at the Libertarian events either???

    In an effort of full disclosure-why not disclose the staff and salaries? According to the FEC filings, the campaign has raised close to $2 Million-where has all that money gone if we are just barely taking out tv commercials?? Who is pocketing the $$?? Ron nailson??

  2. Reed E

    @2 I am Louisiana State Director and I have been involved with Joe. He is a great guy and has done a great job. Disclosing salaries is a huge violation of privacy. If you want to know where the money is going READ THE DAMN REPORT. The Campaign has done nothing but support the State Directors to the fullest extent possible. If you for even a split second think the Campaign has not supported the State Directors, you can call me anytime at 318-455-5333.

  3. kathy smith

    A financial disclosure should come from someone with some authority at the campaign- not a virtually unknown volunteer who asks us to believe him because he personally knows these employees, etc. This should come from come from someone with the reputation to back this up. Otherwise it smells like bs-why should we believe you when u wont report these numbers to the FEC where they would be submitted under penalty of perjury?

  4. kathy smith

    You really think disclosing salaries is a violation of privacy on a campaign that’s raised millions yet taken out no paid media?? The candidates themselves -for ANY race not just President–must disclose their financial status- so its fair to request that their top advisors be held to the same standard.

    And I have read the FEC filings. Most of the money going out states disbursements for tv + paid media-over $900k-where is that media? All being paid to companies owned by campaign manager, Ron Neilson.

  5. kathy smith

    The irony that disclosing salaries is a violation of privacy on a campaign that pushes for financial transparency is not lost on me

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    kathy @5,

    “A financial disclosure should come from someone with some authority at the campaign”

    Like, perhaps, the campaign treasurer? That’s who this financial disclosure is from.

  7. Jim Hasner

    Where are the TV ads???

    One TV spot is not enough to run a presidential election.

    Where did the money go???

    Someone needs to come clean and disclose where the money went.

  8. Wendy Frish

    Follow the money. I bet it is all going into the pockets of the campaign manager and his cohorts.

    I’ve heard that most of the campaign money is being funneled into businesses he controls.

    The Johnson campaign is ONLY getting print media attention but TV is critical in a national election.

    The greedy campaign manager is going to ruin the Libertarians chance to become recognized during this election. It’s a shame.

  9. Liberty Belle

    Fact: FEC regulations require that each expenditure is itemized. Just like each donor. While some may think disclosing individual salaries an “invasion” of privacy, the fact is it is a LEGAL requirement. Unfortunately, even if the money was spent appropriately, the filings are improper and carry severe penalties. For a campaign that has come such a long way on little-to-no finances, and for a campaign that prides itself on “transparency,” it is either a lack of leadership and professionalism that could allow such a careless neglect to occur, or its is thievery…. I ask, which is it? In either case, the Republicans and the Democrats will eat us alive over these improper FEC filings. How the campaign leadership / manager could allow this oversight to derail the fight for Liberty when we are in the home stretch really needs to be questioned.

  10. Ben Harrington

    Ron Neilson is a CROOK. Keep him away from all campaign money. Financial “irregularities” always seem to follow the election campaigns he is involved with – and he controls all the money. Hmmm.

  11. Stewart Flood

    Joe Buckman is certainly NOT an unknown volunteer. He is a member of the LP, has been active in his state party, and even ran for national treasurer at our most recent convention.

    Joe has been quite visible on IPR in the past, but is obviously inundated with campaign related tasks at this time.

  12. Leslie Shiller

    How much has Ron Nielson been paid by the campaign?

    Why won’t he disclose this number?

    He’s going to jail after the campaign is over!

  13. Executive Detractor

    Kathy Smith, Leslie Shiller, Ben Harrington, Jim Hasner, Wendy Frish, and Liberty Belle are clearly G.J. campaign operatives deliberately trying to do a failed job at complaining about where the money has gone in order to provoke people to support what the campaign has done. For a campaign that appears to have been run well and accomplished a lot compared to previous Libertarian Presidential campaigns, it’s a shame they’ve decided to stoop low enough to recruit fake enemies.

  14. Lindy Angel

    This cannot be the “attached file summarizing campaign expenses”! Joe, if you’re going to summarize campaign expenses you must include NUMBERS. Otherwise, this report is a load of BS. It’s a list of names. How is this a financial report?
    Does Ron Nielson think he can get away with this? Why aren’t the numbers disclosed here, particularly the amount of campaign money that went to Ron Nielson?

  15. George Phillies

    @16 …run well…accomplished a lot….”

    Do you have any evidence for your claims?

    I will happily agree that it was run better than Barr-Root, but that is not saying anything.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    LB @ 12,

    “FEC regulations require that each expenditure is itemized. Just like each donor. While some may think disclosing individual salaries an ‘invasion’ of privacy, the fact is it is a LEGAL requirement.”

    The first two sentences are correct.

    The third sentence is incorrect.

    If the Johnson campaign buys a plane ticket from American Airlines, it does not have to itemize how much of what it paid went to which ticket counter attendant, which luggage handler and which pilot and air crew members.

    If the Johnson campaign buys “campaign services” from Acme Political Consultants, it does not have to itemize how much Acme paid out, or to whom, in salaries and so forth. It just has to itemize/disclose its payments to Acme.

    If the Johnson campaign is hiding payments to individuals whose attachment to the campaign might be controversial by routing those payments through a third party, it will not be the first time that has happened.

  17. Thomas L. Knapp

    Clarifying addendum to @21:

    “If the Johnson campaign is hiding payments to individuals whose attachment to the campaign might be controversial by routing those payments through a third party, it will not be the first time a Libertarian presidential campaign has done so.”

  18. Lindy Angel

    Mea culpa. The “attached file summarizing campaign expenses” went unseen However, after a second cup of coffee, the details came to light. Two questions remain though. Where did $2Million go? and How much money was paid to Ron Nielson?

  19. Joe Buchman

    Hey everyone,

    I’ll do my best to answer any specific questions. I am not the campaign treasurer, was disgusted by Barr-Root, swore I’d never vote for another Republican seeking any LP position, but went to Santa Fe in December for Gary’s announcement that he was re-registering as a Libertarian. Emphasis on RE there.

    Then I looked at his record.

    In January I went down to SLC to meet with Ron Neilson in person and told him my concerns — which were similar to George’s and others raised here. I also told him that if they picked Wayne Allyn Root as their VP, I would not vote for Gary and would work to build the Boston Tea Party or some other organization.

    What Ron told me at that point is private, and I have been involved with the campaign ever since. I was paid $5,000.00 a few weeks ago as compensation for part-time work prior to May, full-time work during the convention (doing data analysis of our surveys of delegates), was a voting delegate myself (and like others who did not vote for our former vice-chair, supported NOTA, and gave Ron rather intense feedback on his letter of support for Rutherford over Hinkle.

    (BTW — That was Ron’s attempt, a sincere one I believe, to “move the pendulum back to neutral” after our VP candidate, Jim Gray, had endorsed Hinkle (something the other side in that chair’s race felt was unfair).

    I booed when Gary endorsed Root for LNC at large and almost left the campaign at that point, but later attended the fundraiser hosted at Wayne’s home during Freedom Fest. It was a lovely event and Wayne was the perfect host. However by then it was clear, based on his remarks at Freedom Fest (which are available as mp3s from their website) that he was leaving the LP and actively supporting Romney (I felt this was clear in the Bill Cunningham show remarks prior to May and still regret I didn’t print up “It’s Got To Be Romney/Root” signs. IMO Root did more harm than good to the LP.

    It’s my understanding the campaign is working to comply with all FEC regulations, to provide the detail they require, and everyone here wants. I’m doing my part, best I can, to see that happen as well.

    Ron and his company have invested in Gary and his campaign since the founding of Our American Initiative, through the Republican Primaries where Gary was in only two of their debates about a year ago right now.

    Their efforts to keep him out of those debates, as well as off the ballot in a dozen or more states as the Libertarian nominee are our common enemy here, IMO. Ron, as I understand it expected to be re-paid for years of unpaid work from the matching funds which will come from the expenses in the Republican Primary. All of the money donated to the campaign for the LP presidential race has gone to maximizing the number of votes for Gary 12 or so days from now. Lots of people have been working like crazy for months to make that happen. One I did not mention is Joe Hunter, our media guy, who lives here in Park City not far from my home. He’s been with Gary and Ron for years.

    As for the comments above about crimes associated with the campaign, for what it’s worth, I see no evidence of that.

    What I do see — and saw especially last night — is a Libertarian Presidential Candidate in a debate working through a fever having flown from a media event in LA to Chicago and hitting home run after home run. A guy who is working with a campaign manager he has known since his two successful runs for Governor in the 1990s who he, based on those results, trusts.

    That means far more to me than many of the clearly uninformed comments posted above.


    PS — THANKS Stewart!!

    PPS — ALL of you, including the critics above, are welcome to join us in Albuquerque for our party on November 6th. Cindy (my wife) and I are flying down that afternoon, and back on the 7th. I’d love to meet each of you (even Kathy, Wendy and Jim and others) and introduce you to Cindy, Ron, Grant, and the rest.

    (BTW Cindy and I are paying our own way down there.)

    Finally, if you didn’t open the PDF file that was linked above, please do so before posting about it here. That’s the document I got from our treasurer that I was asked to post here and elsewhere.

    The link was at the bottom of the above letter that was sent to the LNC. Here it is again —

  20. Executive Detractor

    It would be informative to compare Johnson to Barr and Badnarik on numerous metrics. Your Executive Detractor doesn’t have time at the moment to see what data is available and to present it. Probably the direct mail for Johnson is far lower than previous campaigns, while other things like campaign materials are much higher. I recall signs being hard to come by from the Barr campaign, and Badnarik doing something like 10,000 signs (but that’s just from memory and could be off). Johnson campaign reported:
    500,000 Palm Cards
    170,000 Flyers
    165,000 Bumper Stickers
    81,000 Posters
    60,000 Yard Signs
    26,000 Lapel Stickers

  21. Thomas L. Knapp

    Lindy @23,

    I don’t have answers to those questions. The Johnson campaign has chosen to hide its detailed disbursements as reported to the FEC by making most of them to Nielson’s company in large amounts marked simply “Media/Advertising buys, Candidate/Staff.”

    The financial statement attached to this article is somewhat more detailed in terms of categories, but not in terms of recipients’ names.

    Transparency is obviously not a priority for the campaign.

    Neither, it seems, is fiscal responsibility. The campaign’s October FEC filing claims that the campaign is debt to the tune of more than $400k.

  22. paulie


    Emails from Hardy Macia say that TV ads will start tomorrow. Seems a bit late in the game but there it is. I guess they wanted to raise a million first as well as they needed to cut the ads down to 30 seconds.

    I know Joe Buchman personally. He lives near the campaign HQ and is a full time volunteer there right now. He also writes for IPR. He forwarded the info directly from the campaign HQ.

    If anyone supports Johnson but has issues with the way Nielson is running the campaign, there are at least two superpacs I know of that you can donate to – and

    I think the campaign is just now starting to hit its stride and I am hearing rumors that it may continue non-stop through 2016 (note rumors, nothing official yet) – I hope the rumors are true.

  23. Executive Detractor

    From a Badnarik campaign report:
    “The campaign spent $318,000 on TV ads and $17,000 on radio ads. We distributed 15,000 lawn signs, 40,000 bumper stickers, and 200,000 literature pieces.”

    Anybody know if the Barr campaign ever reported things like this?

  24. Executive Detractor

    @16 Executive Detractor:

    Dear self, when you are especially sarcastic people don’t necessarily get at what your meaning.

    Just to be clear, Executive Detractor like Gary Johnson and thinks the campaign has done a great job. But, of course, wishes the campaign had raised $800 million.

  25. paulie

    By the way I heard rumors about another superpac that was going to be started by a famous and controversial consultant who is working with the Johnson campaign (as a volunteer, he says). What ever happened with that? As far as I know it never came together.

  26. paulie

    Off topic, but in case relevant ppl did not get the message thru email or the other thread….

    paulie // Oct 24, 2012 at 11:25 am

    “GJ didn’t mention his website or the LP. (in F & E debate)”


    Also, not seeing anything from Johnson campaign or LP to vote in the Free and Equal poll for the second round.

    Double doh.

    Just fired off an email.

    I got one from Stein.

    Less than half of the 24 hours left and we should NOT assume Johnson will automatically advance to the second debate, it is based on who turns out their supporters to vote in Free and Equal’s poll.

  27. paulie

    Sorry for the interruption. Please get back to the original topic in this thread; if anyone has further comments on @31 please post them in the debate comment thread, it is number 160-something there,

  28. Tim Doran

    @Kathy Smith,

    That’s funny that you have never heard of Joe B. because I have never heard of you and I have been with the campaign since March as both a State Director and later a regional Director.

    I met Joe at the convention and have been in communication with him throughout the campaign, especially in connection with candidate endorsements.

    I find so many people who complain are downright false or have no clue what it takes to run a campaign. Just one day of events here in Charlotte cost close to $7,000 to put on. It resulted in nearly $17,000 in donations but that was in a major metropolis and was raised over the two weeks before and two weeks after the events and required more time from myself and numerous volunteers than i can count.

    I have personally received and distributed over 1,000 yard signs for NC. I have unloaded the boxes (~50lbs each) from the truck and can’t imagine what it costs to ship when a box of 100 palm cards costs me $12 to ship with our gov. subsidized Post Office. My advice, get off the sidelines and get involved! Too many people like to complain but then don’t show up to volunteer efforts or open their wallets.

  29. paulie

    Kathy Smith and the other people commenting in this thread who are not regular IPR commenters or campaign staff are likely to be the same person. I am intentionally not checking, but I am pretty sure I know who it is, based on past posting patterns on some other articles.

  30. Tim Doran

    Gov. Johnson and Judge Gray fly coach, don’t even check bags because (in Gary’s own words) that $25 is someone’s donation,often stay in someone’s guest room to avoid hotel charges, has a son who is working for free after quitting his job, etc etc etc.

    I have seen this kind of frugality first hand and I highly doubt Gary would go to this trouble to let his campaign manager pocket everything.

    One county commissioner campaign I am working on has raised $20,000 and that bought us:
    2 billboards for two weeks,
    10,000 robo calls
    50 radio ads during rush hour
    250 yards signs and various campaign lit

    That’s it!! No paid staff, no travel expenses, hardly any shipping due to being a local race.

    Now, imagine what national radio buys, nation-wide shipping of materials (including 100K yard signs ) and full time travel for Gary and Jim cost.

    Methinks the people should a little something about things before accusing people of federal crimes.

  31. Tim Doran


    Thanks, Paulie. I’ll take your word for it. I shouldn’t let trolls ruin my day, but sometimes

    “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more !”

  32. Jill Pyeatt

    Kathy Smith, Leslie Shiller, Ben Harrington, Jim Hasner, Wendy Frish, and Liberty Belle : I haven’t heard of any of these people, either, and their timing is highly suspect. Why would GJ workers air their dirty laundry like this just before the election? My guess it’s just dirty tricks from the terrified GOP.

  33. Thomas L. Knapp

    JP @ 37,

    Not that I have any illusions about GOP practices, but this smells more like internal LP stuff, albeit pseudonymized.

    Could be an LPer or LPers who haven’t supported Johnson and don’t think much of his campaign, or disgruntled never-hired or let-go campaign staff, etc.

    The stated concerns also may not be entirely without merit, regardless of where they come from. Frankly, I haven’t seen any evidence of a $2 million campaign yet.

  34. paulie

    @37 and @38 : My guess is that both your guesses are somewhat correct, although it is all one person who frequently uses this strategy in comment threads. That is as specific as I will be.

  35. Jill Pyeatt

    Mr. Personality Karl Denninger is grinding his ax for Johnson on Facebook. Perhaps it is another faction within the LP.

    I look forward to a full accounting of the way GJ’s campaign dollars were spent after the election. Can we just get through two more weeks?

  36. paulie

    Joe Buchman and I will be interviewing Ron Nielson about campaign strategy for an IPR article in a few hours.

    If anyone has some specific questions for Mr. Nielson please ask them here or in the thread I will put up about this in a few minutes.

    Depending on his schedule, there may be a followup interview in a few days.

  37. Pingback: Questions for Gary Johnson Campaign Manager Ron Nielson? | Independent Political Report

  38. Wes Wagner

    This whole thing is “burn and churn” … classic roger stone tactic… and by modern standards I consider it quite kindergarten sh*t … of course it works at LP conventions because we have a very immature group of members, so it would also work to sabotage a libertarian presidential campaign.

  39. Joe Buchman

    Paulie —

    Glad to play a role in setting up some hard to find time from Ron for an IPR interview, but as for the interview for IPR itself, even though I LOVE writing here, given my status with the campaign, I think it’s best if you be the sole interviewer/reporter.

  40. Steve M

    I have put in $4900.00 to the Johnson campaign and am very comfortable with their activities.

    I have a Johnson sign in my front lawn, a good friend who would typically be supporting the Republican candidate has a Johnson sign in his front lawn.

  41. Matt Cholko

    Frankly, I feel like the GJ campaign has done a pretty damn good job with the very limited funds they’ve raised.

    I was not a GJ supporter prior to his nomination, and I continue to have the same policy disagreements with him that I had 6 months ago. However, I see no evidence that significant money has been wasted (simply not knowing EXACTLY what monies paid to a consultant/company were used for is not evidence of waste), and I have few complaints about his campaign.

  42. Steve M

    @48 we love you George because you are a purist and continue to be the conscience of the party. Are you getting Gary yard signs out in Massachusetts?

  43. Steve M

    I am pretty sure that Bob Barr is no Gary Johnson so who do you mean the same person twice? Wayne Allen Root?

  44. Steve M

    ahh you mean Harry Browne. Sure, I wouldn’t presume Gary is assured a second run. Unless. He earns it.

  45. Joe Buchman

    @ 49 — not sure when (or really if) garyjohnson2016 will be formed, but Our American Initiative is likely to keep going between now and then and beyond.

  46. Trent Hill

    Phillies–behind Ron Paul, Harry Browne is the libertarian politician who has converted the most libertarians according to a completely unscientific survey of my friends and fellow libertarians. His runs seem to have pretty effective.

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