Michael Johnston Resigns as LSLA Chair, YLNA Board Member

Michael Johnston via Libertarian State Chairs List:

State Chairs & LSLA Executive Board,

Since the Las Vegas Meeting in May, the LSLA has been used to attack me personally for questioning the ethics and conflict of interest of certain members of the LNC. This statement was so urgent that it required an emergency board meeting with only 8 hours notice, despite the fact that the situation was also so delicate that the Ohio Central Committee took a full month to review and deliberate. The LSLA undertook no investigation of the matter prior to issuing a statement, and the LPO Central Committee, which did conduct such an investigation, was unable to find any evidence that I had made any statements. During the course of that incident, I remained publicly silent, under constant threat of legal action from the private company run by two members of the LNC, while they distributed false and offensive statements and accusations about me to wider and wider groups, including the State Chairs List and the LNC.

The LSLA has been used to “endorse” the activities of a private company run by those same LNC members, an action which I consider to be inappropriate at best given the LP philosophy of market intervention. However, since this precedent has been set, the door has been opened for every LP business owner to request LSLA endorsement of their business activities that may support our party.

As LSLA Chair, I have made inquiries about how the State Chairs list is maintained and how participation in that list is managed. In particular, I questioned the inequality of allowing one faction of the Oregon LP to have access to the list while not allowing the other the same access, thereby inserting the LSLA into this divisive issue. My requests for a list of the State Chairs list participants have been denied and the Oregon matter was removed from the agenda with no mention, continuing the inequality with no discussion. My attempt to resolve the issue by directing that both sides of Oregon be allowed 2 participants with read only access to the list was flatly refused.

This brings me to my final LSLA-related point, which is that the position of LSLA Chair and the LSLA organization, in my opinion, have become totally irrelevant. A body that gives a Chair no decision-making authority does not need a Chair in order to function, and any Chair whose every decision is immediately questioned and overturned by the rest of the board is ineffective. The LSLA has become incapable of meeting its stated goals, and thus is no longer worth my time.

I would encourage every State Chair to question the actions of the LSLA that are being taken in your names.

For these reasons, and others not listed here, I am hereby resigning as LSLA Chair effective immediately.

I will continue to focus on the Franklin County LP here in Columbus and will see many of you at the 2014 Convention.


Thank you,

Michael Johnston
Executive Committee Chair – Franklin County Libertarian Party
(http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/)
Central Committee Vice Chair – Libertarian Party of Ohio (www.LPO.org)
Michael.Johnston@LPO.org

And:

YLNA Officers,

When the Young Libertarian National Alliance was formed, I was asked to participate on the Executive Board thereof. A great deal of trumpeting the new organization was in evidence at the Las Vegas Convention.

Since that Convention, there has been to my knowledge only one phone conference held late at night, scheduled with only an hour’s notice, and no other communication. Given what is either the total lack of leadership and activity or the deliberate decision by the YLNA leadership to shut out someone they chose to invite to participate, I have no confidence that the YLNA is capable of meeting any of its stated goals and hereby resign, effective immediately, from my association with the YLNA.


Thank you,

Michael Johnston
Executive Committee Chair – Franklin County Libertarian Party
(http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/)
Central Committee Vice Chair – Libertarian Party of Ohio (www.LPO.org)
Michael.Johnston@LPO.org

68 thoughts on “Michael Johnston Resigns as LSLA Chair, YLNA Board Member

  1. paulie Post author


    In light of the resignation by Michael Johnston, Patrick Dixon is now Chair of the LSLA.

    Please convey best wishes to Mr. Dixon in his new role.

    Aaron Starr, Secretary
    Libertarian State Leadership Alliance

  2. Wobbly Rails

    I think his feud is mostly with Jillian since they are both from Ohio…just a guess.

  3. Wobbly Rails

    Sometimes people get that way when they feud, to where they can’t or won’t even say the other person’s name.

  4. George Phillies

    Liberty for America covered the background in its September 2012 issue. For a free subscription to Liberty for America magazine, dispatched as a PDF to your mailbox every month, LibertyForAmerica.Com

    Here is the article as reprinted at Liberty for America.com

    More on Saratoga

    Readers will recall our report on the issues arising within the Ohio Libertarian Party with respect to the Saratoga information technology project. We have had supplied to us three resolutions said to have been passed by the Ohio party’s governing structure, namely

    #1 WHEREAS, certain allegations have been made concerning the conduct of Michael Johnston; and WHEREAS, if the allegations contain truth, these alleged actions tend to injure the good name of the Libertarian Party of Ohio, disturb its well-being, and hamper it in its work; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that an Investigative Committee be formed to investigate these allegations, and report back to the Central Committee resolutions covering its recommendations.

    #2 WHEREAS, certain allegations have been made concerning the conduct of Jillian Mack; and WHEREAS, if the allegations contain truth, these alleged actions tend to injure the good name of the Libertarian Party of Ohio, disturb its well-being, and hamper it in its work; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that an Investigative Committee be formed to investigate these allegations, and report back to the Central Committee resolutions covering its recommendations.

    and #3 WHEREAS, all allegations concerning the conduct of both Jillian Mack and Michael Johnston are related to each other by a single set of events and separate committees to investigate them would be redundant and wasteful; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the investigative committee be formed with the same body of members for the both parties being investigated.

    In an entirely separate but related communication, we had inquiry from Ohio asking us who our source was on the Johnston/Saratoga matters. Like all newspapers, we refuse to disclose our sources.

    We have also had supplied to us the minutes of the LSLA Executive Committee for August 11, 2012. The meeting was called with almost no notice. The Chair ruled Roberts does not allow this. Roberts was inconvenient, so Aaron Starr moved to ste aside the clear meaning of Roberts’ on timely notice of special meetings. Starr was supported by his three cronies on the LSLA Board, namely Patrick Dixon, Shawn Levasseur, and Brett Bittner.

    On the teleconference call were Chair Michael Johnston, Vice Chair Patrick Dixon, Secretary Aaron Starr, Treasurer Shawn Levasseur, and At-Large Member Brett Bittner, as well as invited guests Cisse Spragins, Brett H. Pojunis, Jillian A. Mack, and Glenn Nielsen. We quote from the meeting minutes:

    The agenda adopted is

    I. Call to Order
    II. Review & Approve Agenda
    III. Consideration of Resolution of the LSLA Concerning Saratoga
    IV. Approval of Minutes and Adjournment

    The Chair stated he received written requests for a special meeting of the LSLA Executive Board from 3 of the 5 LSLA officers this afternoon, and that this is in compliance with our Bylaws. He stated that the issue of appropriate timing was raised by multiple LSLA members on the State Chairs list. In the current edition of Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised, the timing of Special Meetings is addressed thusly:

    Chapter IV, Section 9; Special Meetings:
    A special meeting is a separate session of a society held at a time different from that of any regular meeting and convened only to consider one or more items of business specified in the call of the meeting. Notice of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting clearly and specifically describing the subject matter of the motions or items of business to be brought up must be sent to all members a reasonable number of days in advance.

    In the absence of any specified notification requirement in the LSLA Bylaws, the Chair rules that neither the 2 hour 47 minute notice between receiving all written requests nor the initial notification presented approximately 8 hours before the proposed meeting meets the RONR test of being “a reasonable number of days in advance”. As this meeting does not meet the standards for reasonable notification required under Roberts Rules, I will add this item to the agenda for 19 August 2012.

    Aaron Starr challenges the ruling of the Chair stating that the particular section of Roberts does not apply to a board meeting and that all participants were present. Mr. Bittner seconds the challenge of the ruling of the Chair. Motion made to adjourn by Patrick Dixon. Motion fails for lack of a second. After debate of the ruling of the chair, the motion came to a vote to sustain the ruling of the chair.

    Patrick Dixon – No
    Aaron Starr – No
    Shawn Levasseur – No
    Brett Bittner – No
    The ruling of the Chair has been overturned.

    Adoption of Agenda
    The motion to adopt the agenda was adopted without objection.

    Consideration of Resolution
    Due to potential pending litigation surrounding accusations about questions the Chair raised in the past few weeks, the Chair has decided to recuse himself from running of tonight’s
    session. The Chair hereby reserves the right to participate in the discussion if directly asked to participate, to provide factual information, and to provide amendments during the debate. As LSLA Vice Chair, the responsibility to run this Special Meeting thus falls to Pat Dixon of Texas.

    Mr. Dixon assumed the position of presiding chair for the balance of the meeting. Motion was made by Aaron Starr to consider the Resolution of the LSLA Concerning Saratoga.
    Michael Johnston proposed a substitute motion, the details of which are included as an exhibit at the request of the board. The motion failed for lack of a second.

    After debate, the main motion without amendment came to a vote.

    Patrick Dixon – No
    Aaron Starr – Yes
    Shawn Levasseur – Yes
    Brett Bittner – Yes
    Michael Johnston – No
    The motion was adopted.

    Approval of minutes and adjourning of meeting
    The minutes were approved without objection at 5:47 pm, whereupon the meeting adjourned.
    Aaron Starr, Secretary

    RESOLUTION OF THE LIBERTARIAN STATE
    LEADERSHIP ALLIANCE CONCERNING SARATOGA

    Whereas, Members of the Executive Board of the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance (LSLA) have received inquiries as to what our role is in the development of a combination content management system and customer relationship management platform by the name of Saratoga; and

    Whereas, The Board desires to make clear its role and clarify any misconceptions that may exist;

    now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Board of the LSLA issues the following statement on the matter:

    On June 17, 2012 at a meeting of the LSLA Executive Board, former LSLA Treasurer Brett H. Pojunis spoke of the need to handle the development of Saratoga without the involvement of the Libertarian National Committee and that he will take on the project as a private venture as spelled out in an email authored by Brett H. Pojunis and Jillian A. Mack sent to the LSLA state chairs list on June 16 (attached for reference purposes). As a result of the information provided by Mr. Pojunis and Ms. Mack fully disclosing their intention to develop Saratoga as a private venture with private funds, the LSLA adopted without objection a motion to return to the Libertarian National Committee their $33,333 initial installment for the LSLA to develop the Saratoga project. The LSLA no longer has the resources or a champion to develop Saratoga, and claims no ownership to the technical specifications developed principally by Mr. Pojunis and Ms. Mack with the input of LSLA state chairs.

    We look forward to the private development of this software, which we believe is very much needed by our state affiliates and candidates, and wish the principals success in their endeavor.

    And while we stand willing to provide any feedback to the developers should they request it, the LSLA recognizes that it has no ownership in this software and will not interfere with any business transactions anticipated between the developers and those to whom they wish to market the software.

    Furthermore, any other statements made by a member of the Board on this project not in keeping with the above were not authorized by the Board and are not representative of its
    views.

    And be it further resolved, That the LSLA Secretary is instructed to distribute this resolution and its attached exhibit to the LSLA state chairs, the Libertarian National Committee and to anyone else who may have a misunderstanding of our position.
    Adopted this 11th day of August, 2012
    Aaron Starr, LSLA Secretary

    Exhibit – June 16, 2012 letter from Brett Pojunis and Jillian Mack addressed to State Chairs and Libertarian National Committee

    LP Leadership;

    We know that you all have a lot of responsibilities, but please do not skip over this email as it could affect some of the things you are doing in your state/region/party. As most of you know, Brett H. Pojunis and Jillian A. Mack have been working very hard on developing a piece of technology that will enable each state affiliate to have a website (CMS) with a tied in membership platform (CRM) for their State, Counties, Cities, Candidates and more. We named this technology Saratoga. This project has been supported by over 25 affiliates and is continuing to gain support, which we thank you for! Here is the quick background of what has happened with Saratoga:

    Through the LSLA, we started this project by creating the Online Technology Standardization Committee to identify and select the best technologies to accomplish the goal. The selected technologies were Joomla for the CMS and CiviCRM for the CRM.

    The LSLA presented to the LNC at the December 2011 meeting in Las Vegas and a motion was made to budget $50,000 towards this project with the conditions that Randy Eshelman (former LNC At-Large Member and Vice Chair of Nebraska) would be the liaison between the LNC and the LSLA. The LSLA IT Committee had to develop a technical specification document and satisfy Mr. Eshelman in order to receive funding.

    The LSLA created the LSLA IT Committee consisting of LP members from Ohio, California, Nebraska, Kentucky, Texas, Colorado, Missouri, and Nevada. We were pleased to see the talent we have on this committee! We named this project Saratoga 1.0. · We worked very hard to determine the full scope of this project and put together a requirements specification to document that scope. We then spent literally 12 hours one week on conference calls with state chairs (or their appointees) to understand the needs for all of the states. We incorporated all of your ideas and drafted a Tech Spec.

    We knew that if we started promptly, there was a good chance that we could complete the project in time for the National Convention.

    As we were nearing the completion of our technical specifications document, both Mr. Eshelman and Brett H. Pojunis sent messages to then LNC Chairman Mark Hinkle and HQ informing them of our progress and provided the LSLA’s banking information to ensure that we promptly received the down payment required to start development on schedule.

    We were then attacked and criticized for many weeks by Staff and Chairman Hinkle, who was a vocal opponent of the project from the beginning. The supporters of this project on the LNC responded by adopting 4 (four) motions before the LSLA finally received the down payment 7 (seven) weeks late.

    By the time payment was finally received, the project schedule had been thrown so far off track that we were unable to move the project forward at that time due to our other LP commitments (namely our state conventions and preparations for the national convention).

    After the National Convention, three of us – Brett H. Pojunis (NV), Jillian A. Mack (OH) and Flavio Fiumerodo (CA) – stayed in town specifically to work on this project. Given the experience with the last administration and noting that a number of the project’s supporters on the last LNC were not returned for another term of office, we made the decision to hold off development on this project until we received assurances that the remaining budgeted funds would be distributed to the LSLA upon completion of the project. We had not received such assurances from the LNC as a whole and, as you might imagine, we were unwilling to take the risk that we would personally owe the developers money if the LNC were to not honor the agreement made the prior term. As such, we had NOT started development and all of the seed money from the LNC is still in the LSLA bank account. We firmly believe that Saratoga is desperately needed to help this party get organized and grow. However, those of us working on the project are frustrated with the continual struggles getting this project 100% approved. And, frankly, we don’t look forward to the prospect of encountering repeated pushback from the LNC each time we want to upgrade and improve upon the technology.

    Therefore, about three and a half weeks ago we made the decision that we couldn’t develop and support Saratoga in an environment where we lacked confidence the LNC would honor the current agreement and support future enhancements without needless drama and delays. Furthermore, most states supported Saratoga under one condition: they did not want any involvement from the LNC, period. More than ever, we have an appreciation for why state affiliates have that concern. Thus far, the tone of the conversations about Saratoga on the LNC indicates the LNC should and wants to play a major role. That approach does not work for us or the state affiliates. The solution to this problem is to develop Saratoga as a separate private venture that will offer the program to the States, Counties, Cities and Candidates directly. We have decided to go this route and we will not be accepting funds from the LNC or the LSLA to accomplish this; we will be using our own funds.

    Brett H. Pojunis is planning on funding this entire development of Saratoga himself and if it gets too expensive, we have some other people willing to help out. We will work with Affiliates directly. Our intent is to initially roll out Saratoga to all Affiliates who want to use it. As part of the initial sign-up, it will be made available for free for the first few months, the number depending on the total costs incurred.

    Based on how many States, Counties, Cities and Candidates want to use it, we will put together very reasonable monthly payment packages so we can cover the costs of monthly hosting and hopefully over time, recoup the investment to develop it, as well as accumulate funds for platform support and future upgrades. Obviously, the more participants who use the platform, the less we will need to charge. Our intention is to keep the costs very low so state parties can save money even while they are getting more functionality than what they presently have.

    Currently, there are 8 states that have either requested and/or agreed to use Saratoga offered by a separate venture not associated with the LNC or any other politically run body. We expect a realistic launch date of Saratoga to be sometime mid to late July, followed by an aggressive roll out to the States. At this point, the three of us – Brett H. Pojunis, Jillian Mack, and Flavio Fiumerodo – are no longer involved in the LSLA or the LSLA IT Committee. Our involvement in this project will be outside the auspices of the LSLA and the LNC. Therefore, we request that the LSLA board return to the LNC the funds that have been advanced to them. Thank you again for your continued support and we look forward to keeping you updated as the project progresses this summer.

    P.S. We just launched http://www.GoLibertarian.Com, which is the first social network for Libertarians. Use Facebook Connect to Login and start using GoLibertarian.Com!

    Sincerely,
    Brett H. Pojunis
    Libertarian National Committee (LNC) – Regional Representative Libertarian Party of Nevada – Secretary & Executive Committee Young Libertarian National Alliance – Co-Founder, Co-Chair Ph: 202.505.3606 M: 702.325.7426 brett.pojunis@lp.org
    &
    Jillian A. Mack
    (513) 549-6248 [mobile/text]
    Jillian.Mack@LP.org Libertarian National Committee (www.LP.org): Region 3 Representative for Kentucky, Indiana,
    Michigan, Ohio (elected) Libertarian Party of Ohio (www.LPO.org): Finance Director, Central Committee Member (elected), Executive Committee At-Large (elected) Young Libertarian National Alliance (www.ylna.org): Co-Founder, Co-Chair

    Exhibit – Proposed Substitute Motion by Michael Johnston placed in the minutes at the request of the board. The motion failed for lack of a second.

    Whereas, The Board desires to make clear its role;
    now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Board of the LSLA issues the following statement on the matter:

    On June 17, 2012 at a meeting of the LSLA Executive Board, former LSLA Treasurer Brett H. Pojunis spoke of the decision to handle the development of Saratoga without the involvement of the Libertarian National Committee or the LSLA and that he intended to finance the project as a private venture. This was spelled out in an email authored by Brett H. Pojunis and Jillian A. Mack sent to the LSLA state chairs list on June 16 (attached for reference purposes).

    As a result of the information provided by Mr. Pojunis stating his intent to develop Saratoga as a private venture with private funds, the LSLA adopted without objection a motion to return to the Libertarian National Committee their $33,333 initial installment for the LSLA to develop the Saratoga project. The LSLA did not consult the other members of the LSLA IT Committee about this at any time prior to August 3, 2012. The LSLA Chair was urged not to lobby the LNC to secure the remaining funds committed by the previous LNC prior to the June 16, 2012 email from Brett H. Pojunis.

    The LSLA no longer has the resources or a champion to develop Saratoga, and claims no organizational ownership to the technical specifications developed under the leadership of Mr. Pojunis and Ms. Mack with the input assistance of LSLA
    volunteers.

    And be it further resolved, That the LSLA Secretary is instructed to distribute this resolution and its attached exhibit to the LSLA state chairs, the Libertarian National Committee and to anyone else who may have an interest.

  5. George Phillies

    The LSLA seems to be transforming into a front for those people about whom Stewart Flood has said he may eventually write. Readers who worked hard to separate the LNC from those people may want to consider their state’s relationship with the LSLA.

  6. Stewart Flood

    Yes. This is part of their plan.

    They need to either have people on their “team” or those they can work around in place. Mr Johnston was neither, so they did a hatchet job on him.

    They will make a run for control of the open seat on the LNC, but their only base of power right now is the LSLA. This is a non-entity (no legal status last I heard) that they are trying to turn into a shadow LNC.

    Mr Knedler unwittingly aided them with his motions last term giving automatic seats to the LSLA on several key LNC committees.

  7. Stewart Flood

    No. Pat Dixon votes the way that best suits him politically. During the two terms that we both served on the LNC, I noticed that he favored sitting on the side nearest the chair where you get to vote last or near the end. His votes on some issues were clearly dictated by how the vote was going and the political ramifications of a yes vs no vote for him.

    I consider him someone that they can work around without having to have on their team. He’s not a bad guy, but he won’t fight them.

  8. LP Observer

    IF the LP National convention delegates can “bounce” 7 of the 9 Convention-elected members of the LNC, I would think they can do the same (via the State chairs) to the LSLA board of 5 people.

    I would hope the intention of the LSLA is to train state leadership with seminars on leadership and organization.

  9. Kevin Knedler

    Uh yes, the state chairs have control over the LSLA. I stand by the idea of including the LSLA with the LNC Affiliate support committee. Sync it up and get people to work together, with a common goal of driving better performance and results from the state affiliates. That is the reason I worked hard to insure the LSLA survived in 2011. Obviously, I didn’t run for LSLA office as I was hoping some adults could run it. Hell, I can’t be everywhere.

  10. George Phillies

    Let us look further back in time to see where this all began, namely with Michael Johnston’s letter to the LNC, as reported by Liberty for America and elsewhere:

    Michael Johnston on
    Project Saratoga Issues
    On re-reading, the prior version of this paragraph came a cross incorrectly. Michael Johnston, Vice Chair of the LP Ohio Central Committee, has written and this newspaper has received from several people correspondence relating to the IT project “Project Saratoga”. The top line is that there have been some changes in intellectual property issues, which are discussed in the following letter:

    Johnston wrote:
    Chairman Neale, Vice Chairman Wrights, et al,

    I apologize for the delay in writing this email, however I have only gathered all of the information contained herein this weekend.

    Background
    As you are aware, the LSLA began an IT project titled Saratoga in late 2011. This project was led through the LSLA IT Committee by Jillian Mack and Brett Pojunis. Efforts were made to communicate the various benefits of Saratoga to the chairs of the various state affiliates who were in office at the time, and a presentation to the LNC was made that included support from more than 30 state affiliates. Based on the description of Saratoga and the grassroots swell of support, along with the general consensus from the state chairs that Saratoga not be managed by the LNC, the committee at that time decided to provide the LSLA with $50,000 in funding to build and deploy Saratoga.

    Since the Las Vegas Convention, Jillian and Brett have decided that rather than deal with the political realities of changing board members at the national level and state chairs at the affiliate level, their preference was to found a company called Big L Solutions and have that company build and sell Saratoga to the various state and county affiliates as well as candidates. The decision to form this company was made shortly after the Las Vegas Convention, in May 2012.

    In July 2012, both Jillian and Brett submitted to the LNC reports on the various state activities from the regions they represent (3 and 4 respectively, both attached). As a member of the LPO Executive Committee, our state chair, Kevin Knedler, had emailed to us a copy of the report he provided Jillian for her to compile her report to the national committee (attached).

    Issue
    If you will compare the report submitted by Mr. Knedler to Ms. Mack to the report submitted by Ms. Mack to the LNC, you will note a few differences. The key unfortunate difference is that Ms. Mack chose to add in a statement that the LPO is “eagerly anticipating the arrival of Saratoga”. Ms. Mack has admitted to altering Mr. Knedler’s report via email: “I thought it would look pretty bad if my home state, and the 5th largest affiliate, had a bare bones report compared to the other three states in the regional report, so I put in the extra time and effort to add data which I was able to obtain from reports by other division leaders (like Jason Tyson’s excellent presentation about the progress Field Development has made over the past several years), conversations with other state leaders (like Scott Pettigrew telling me that he very much wants the Saratoga platform because it will make his life a lot easier as IT Director), and local events which I personally knew about in the southwest region of Ohio.” I would be happy to forward the unaltered email from Ms. Mack that this is quoted from, sent to me at 0608 30 July 2012.

    As a member of the LPO Executive Committee and as Vice Chair of the LPO Central Committee reporting directly to the LP members of Ohio, I can assure you that based on the conversation around Saratoga at our Executive Committee meeting this past Saturday, the LPO is not “eagerly anticipating” Saratoga from anything other than a purely technical perspective. Our conversation centered around discussions of conflict of interest, contracts to bind Big L Solutions to behave ethically, and how to ensure the LPO receives maximum benefit with minimal risk.

    Furthermore, in addition to revealing over the weekend that herself and Mr. Pojunis now personally own and intend to sell Saratoga for profit, Jillian revealed that the pricing structure for Saratoga has been substantially altered from the one presented to the various state affiliates prior to the Las Vegas Convention. While I have no expectation that the LNC, LSLA, or LPO should in any way impose any price controls or other mechanisms on the value a private company chooses to place upon the services they offer on the open market, since this product is to be marketed exclusively to Libertarian state and county/parish affiliates and candidates, I feel that I have a responsibility (in my roles with the LPO) to ensure that clarity and understanding on the associated costs are achieved before a decision is made. Under the LSLA, state affiliates would have purchased Saratoga access for a monthly or annual fee, the exact amount of which had not been finalized but was anticipated to be in the range of $100 per month. State affiliates would then have had the ability to spawn of access to their own county affiliates and candidates for a cost of approximately $10 per year (to cover the addition of a domain name to the service). Obviously, this is quite a bargain for a full IT solution. Ohio currently has 12 county affiliates and 23 candidates, but our goal naturally includes an affiliate in all 88 counties and a full slate of candidates. Under the proposed LSLA pricing schedule, that access would currently cost Ohio $1,550 for one year access. If we had a slate of 2 candidates per county and ran someone in every General Assembly and Congressional race the annual cost would rise to $5,320. Assuming Ohio is average, this means the LSLA would have brought in slightly less than $80,000 a year to support and upgrade Saratoga from all state affiliates, had all 50 states chose to utilize the product.

    When the question of local affiliate and candidate solutions came up over the weekend, Ms. Mack admitted that those entities would now need to contact Big L Solutions directly in order to gain access to the product, and that pricing would be lower but either had not been set or was not available even though Saratoga is ready to launch within 2 weeks. To compare an approximate estimate, I made an assumption that counties would pay $30 a month for access and that candidates would pay an average of $25 per month. With those assumptions in place, the LPO current cost would go from $1,550 to $12,420. The full cost just to Ohio using the same assumption of cost and the same desired affiliate and candidate goal (88 affiliates & 324 candidates) would rise from $5,320 to $130,080. Again, if we assume that Ohio is average, the total cost to the LP for a single year grows from $77,500 ($1,550 from each state) to $621,000 for current activity.

    I bring up the issue of costs because in their reports to the LNC, 3 of the 4 states in Region 3 and 4 of the 5 states in Region 4 have some variant of a positive statement on Saratoga and the anticipation to purchase this system, however in neither report is it mentioned that the author of the report has a vested financial interest in Saratoga or that they stand to substantially gain financially from the successful and widespread adoption of Saratoga. These reports, submitted to the LNC, can then be referenced and utilized to demonstrate to other state and local affiliates as well as candidates that there is broad support for Saratoga, creating pressure to purchase from Big L, and thus generating a potential financial windfall for members of the LNC. Ms. Mack has used the widespread interest in Saratoga as a selling point to the LPO, and the only evidence to support this claim would seem to be these reports submitted by the owners of Big L Solutions. I have not yet had sufficient time to check with the other 6 states in these two reports to determine if they had intended their report to include positive statements about Saratoga, but considering that Ms. Mack took it upon herself to add that comment to the report from her home state, I consider the other mentions suspect.

    In short, I believe it is a serious ethical lapse and massive conflict of interest to have members of the LNC utilizing their position to falsify the report of any state affiliate in order to insert a positive statement about a product they are attempting to sell to numerous LP affiliates and candidates without at the very least also disclosing that they are falsifying LNC reports for personal gain. As a member of the Party of Principle, I would like to formally request that this matter be investigated and appropriate actions taken to ensure the ethical integrity of the LP.

    Thank you,
    Michael Johnston
    Central Committee Vice Chair – Libertarian Party of Ohio (www.LPO.org) Executive Committee Chair – Franklin County Libertarian Party (http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/)Michael.Johnston@LPO.org

    Editor: We are in receipt of an extremely extensive set of files on Saratoga. We are attempting to unpack and organize them. The possibility arises of a special electronic issue to cover the report.

  11. George Phillies

    The LSLA recognizes for Oregon the Reeves faction, which tried to support Reublicans running for statewide office. I quote from the AUgust issue of Liberty for America:

    Oregon LP: Republican Takeover Try
    The Reeves faction of Oregon Libertarians has now announced their candidates for office in Oregon. Nominations took place in, we are told, a library parking lot, with perhaps four people in attendance. The candidates are:

    Tom Cox for State Treasurer
    James Buchal for Attorney General.
    James Foster for Congress
    David Terry for Oregon House

    Tom Cox is the Republican candidate.
    James Buchal is the Republican candidate.

    According to the Oregon Secretary of State Orestar system, the Buchal campaign on May 28 made an expenditure of $1,250 to Reeves faction activist Richard Burke for Management Services. Foster has run for Congress before, as a Libertarian.

    For readers who have forgotten, the past LNC made vigorous efforts to install the Reeves faction as the party-recognized Libertarian Party of Oregon, including spending $4,000 for legal services of an Attorney who is closely connected with the Republican Party State Committee. The past LNC also passed a resolution attacking the Judicial Committee for identifying the Wagner-chaired Libertarian Party of Oregon as our legal state affiliate.

    Note the difference: The past LNC’s Oregon faction is running for statewide office a pair of Republican nominees. The real Libertarian Party of Oregon, Wes Wagner, Chair, is running more than 40 real Libertarians for office.

  12. Stewart Flood

    @18,

    I have been in the process of deciding on the format of what needs to be written. I have a lot of fact documentation to do. If I put in anything that I don’t have either in email or in which I do not have at least one other witness, I will risk being sued.

    I have just completed one of the most important steps: selection of the title. I am currently using the working title “The Conspiracy That Wasn’t Just a Theory: How The Libertarian Party Was [almost] Stolen”

    I am considering authoring it under one of my relative’s more famous pen names, Victor Appleton.

    The last paragraph obviously kidding about since there is probably still a copyright on the name, but I am not joking about the title.

  13. Jill Pyeatt

    I’m definitely looking forward to it, Stewart, as I’m sure many other IPR readers are.

  14. From Der Sidelines

    Saratoga is a waste of money. All of that can be done on Sharepoint with its tools.

  15. Wes Wagner

    SF @26

    You will get sued even it it is all true and will have to put forward the affirmative defense that the truth precludes claims of libel … and spend a year or more dealing with a frivolous lawsuit.

    Trust me… I have experience in these matters 😉

  16. Stewart Flood

    I may even put up a domain for it. How about…

    WeObject

    I just happen to own all ten combinations (.org/com/net/etc w/without dash). Bought them six or seven years ago… 🙂

  17. Stewart Flood

    I know, but will they dare to see the stuff that I will leave out but that will be used in my defense? I have stuff so hot it melts diamond.

  18. Wes Wagner

    SF@31

    Maybe we can have an exchange program… you can hold the “to be revealed if I disappear” packet of mine and I can hold yours 😉

  19. Mark Axinn

    1. LSLA exists solely for the state affiliates to do as we desire. It has no power and virtually no funds absent support from the various states. Remember that it used to be the State Chairs Committee. The last significant thing it accomplished was the spectacular conference in Columbus in August 2011, mostly due to the superb efforts of Kevin, Sam and other LPO and LPIN members involved (which included both Jillian and Michael).

    2. Jillian and Michael are both good hard-working members of LPO who obviously are no longer on the best of terms. Oh well, such drama happens. Perhaps we shouldn’t let petty bullshit get in the way of promoting liberty every now and again.

    3. Speaking of drama, I must compliment George who has tirelessly kept me and others fully aware of it all with Liberty for America. It is a tremendous amount of work and while George and I don’t always agree on pragmatic solutions (we do agree pretty much on libertarian philosophy), I truly admire all of the work he performs in bringing matters to light. I mean it; George works very hard at keeping many people apprised of the inner workings and I appreciate it.

    4. Um, enough insignificant bullshit. Having spent the weekend with Judge Gray at three different events, I now will focus on various protests of the statist debate tomorrow at Hofstra, promoting the Johnson/Gray ticket and the eight other Libertarian candidates who petitioned their way onto the ballot in New York. Wish I had more time for petty in-fighting. Doing real work for liberty keeps getting in the way of it.

  20. George Phillies

    @26 You’re related to Stratemeyer? Did the family hang on to any of the papers? I believe that was the most prolific English book author syndicate of all time. (The German Perry Rhodan series has outdone them, I think.)

  21. Jill Pyeatt

    So, when the movie rights are purchased for this story, Stewart, who do you want to play Wayne Allyn Root? And what actor will play Aaron Starr?

  22. Stewart Flood

    @32,

    All joking aside, no. If I were to “disappear”, which I would consider quite unlikely, no one has a copy of what I have. Others have their own evidence, but there is not necessarily a 100% intersection.

    Of course my information may actually “defend” the “key holders” in a few incidents where they have been assumed to have done things that were actually done by others. The story is quite complicated.

  23. Stewart Flood

    @34,

    I agree that we should not let petty stuff interfere, but some of this is not petty. There is a serious conflict of interest, as well as misrepresentation of fact and a concerted and apparently coordinated attack on Mr Johnston to destroy his credibility.

    He told the truth. Some of what I know supports his side of the story. I see nothing to support their claims. In other words: they ain’t tell’n the truth!

  24. Al Koholic

    You probably won’t disappear.

    But accidents do happen, both “accidents” and real accidents. Some people appear to have heart attacks, get in car accidents, etc., and some people actually do.

    It would be smart if one or more people had backup copies of whatever you have.

  25. George Phillies

    The disadvantage of suing people is that they can put you on the witness stand, depose you, do interrogatories, et tedious cetera, and they may know where to look. Another disadvantage is that it is expensive.

  26. Wes Wagner

    TK@46

    We are still in the discovery process here in Oregon.

    Motion to dismiss under APA is this coming Monday.

  27. Stewart Flood

    @44,

    Yes, but…if I’m not around to explain it then the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are somewhat useless.

    Most of the email that I have was also sent to others. Others, like Mr Knedler, would/should be honest enough to verify that they were also present at these meetings. Mr Knedler has already stated (somewhere here on IPR a number of months ago) that he attended some of the Friday night dinners.

    Please remember: there was nothing “illegal” about having these dinners. There was nothing “against the bylaws” about them, unless you consider that in some cases a majority of the board was present and deliberations took place.

    There were certainly cases where ethical issues could be raised, especially when people (like me) were told to vote a certain way and that we (ie me) were expendable if not re-elected. At another meeting I was told that I talk too much and to just shut up and vote the way I was told.

    Of course I did neither.

  28. Stewart Flood

    @45,

    And remember George, they also have to have a case. They can’t win unless they prove libel/slander. Raising ethical issues and pointing out cases of political arm-twisting and backroom deals is not libel. The meetings took place. They are well documented. I’m positive that hotel/restaurant/credit card records could be asked for during discovery that would prove these dinners took place. The meals were not paid for in cash, so there is a record.

    But I really don’t think that I will be sued. I won’t put myself in a position where they would have justification. Besides, they do not fear me. They believe me to be ineffective and without any real case against them.

    Their hope rests on the probability that delegates to the 2014 and 2016 conventions will have no interest in events from 2006-2012.

  29. George Phillies

    @49, The historical record could be interpreted as saying that groups that get tossed this way tend not to come back. 1982-1984? 2000-2002? One could view those in a particular way.

  30. Kevin Knedler

    I know a lot of things. I just keep them to myself. Too much dirty laundry being aired. We need to focus on getting LP candidates elected and building the organization to help those same candidates.

  31. paulie Post author

    Pat Dixon does not want to be LSLA chair. Rodger Paxton reportedly declined, as did Marx Axinn. They are looking for a state chair to lead the group.

  32. Wes Wagner

    paulie @54

    I know that is what makes it so funny 🙂

    They appear to be the only actual organization that doesn’t.

  33. paulie Post author

    Does anyone know more definitively whether it has to be a state chair? I’ve seen some people question this.

  34. George Phillies

    Wes,

    Self-nominate!

    Volunteer! See what Dixon has to say. And see if you can take separate the dudes from the toy that should not be theirs. Writing all the state chairs at the same time would also be amusing.

    Asking State Chairs individually if they support you would be good. Your objective is to move the LSLA away from its divisive political insiders so that it actually benefits state parties.

    George

  35. Mark Axinn

    LSLA definitely benefits the state chairs and affiliates. It was of tremendous value when I went to LSLA in Columbus. No bullshit i-fighting like LNC!

    I do not believe one does not have to be a state chair to be an officer of LSLA. Michael Johnson was not a state chair.

  36. Wes Wagner

    If Paulie is not elected to the LNC at-large… I suspect he could be an objective chair of the LSLA and put together wonderful events that help people learn how to do critical tasks and building their organization.

  37. Mark Axinn

    The voting members of LSLA are state chairs such as I. The officers of LSLA need not be state chairs.

    For example, Michael Johnson, the past Chair of LSLA, has never been a state chair. The Secretary is Aaron Starr, who also is not currently a state chair.

    The purpose of LSLA is to provide supporting infrastructure and tools and to share knowledge among the state chairs and the state affiliates. It does not have much power and virtually no funds.

    It is an organization of people who want to achieve something like impart helpful knowledge about building state websites and discuss ways to increase membership, fundraising, candidate recruitment, etc. That was clearly manifest at the terrific LSLA seminar in Columbus organized by LP’s of Ohio and Indiana. Michael Johnson was part of that revival of LSLA.

    LSLA exists for people who want to do something useful for the state affiliates rather than engage in silly, political in-fighting. I think Paulie would be a terrific addition to the LSLA Executive Committee.

  38. George Phillies

    Wes Wagner has a historical record of acting to advance his state party effectively. Look at the large number of candidates his party is running this year. The surviving LSLA leadership has a rather different record.

  39. LP Observer

    Interesting that hardly anyone is stepping up.
    Maybe state chairs have enough on their plates. Good to allow non-state chairs to be on the LSLA executive team. But the members of that 5 member board should be in some leadership role within their state. Focus on the mission of the LSLA.

  40. Wes Wagner

    LP O@67

    I think it may also have alot to do with who your fellow officers would be.

    Read the resignation letter again 😉

  41. Pingback: Email from Mr. Wagner to all State Chairs of the Libertarian Party - Third Party Report

  42. Pingback: Wes Wagner Launches Alternative Libertarian State Chairs Group | Independent Political Report: Third Party News

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