Wednesday morning, 11 June 2014, several IPR contributors received a copy of an email from a third party with the allegation (and appearance) that it had been authored by Richard Burke.
The email indicated that Mr. Burke was offering his services to non-Libertarian third party candidates, claimed pro-bono robocall work had already been done for the Pacific-Green Party, related personal attendance at the Pacific-Green Party Convention, and revealed plans “to work with the Progressive Party, Constitution Party, and Working Families Party as well” noting “how dysfunctional the Libertarian Party of Oregon is right now.”
The complete text of the email is reproduced at the conclusion of this article.
WORK FOR OUR AMERICA INITIATIVE
IPR contacted Mr. Burke on Wednesday afternoon to verify the authenticity of the forwarded email; Mr. Burke responded in the affirmative and further reported that he is concurrently, “currently working with OIA’s leadership to set up some events in Oregon”
Mr. Burke further stated that he has, “offered to resign from (his) OIA position in the past, but (his) offer was declined” adding that, “If at any time OIA changes it’s (sic) mind on this, my offer stands.”
(IPR also contacted OAI National Director Ron Nielson by email on Wednesday afternoon for comment; Joe Hunter, Press Relations & Media Director for OAI (and former Communications Director for Gary Johnson 2012) responded late today that, “The Our America Initiative is a 501(c)4 advocacy organization that does not engage in partisan political activities, and has no involvement whatsoever in this or any other Libertarian Party nominating process. Many of Our America’s volunteers, including Mr. Burke, are of course active in politics in their home states and communities. Those individual activities, however, are not related to their work with Our America.”
SUPPORTS LEGITIMATE LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATES
Mr. Burke explained his current work for non-Libertarian candidates, stating that:
“During the general election campaign, I will exclusively support legitimately nominated Libertarian candidates.”
(Ed- NOTE: emphasis in original.)
He also stated that in addition to the robocalls for non-Libertarian parties, he will be making additional robocalls for the upcoming (Wagner-free) “candidate nominating convention scheduled for August.” Finally regarding his website which as of 13 June 2014 still promotes the “upcomming” March 22nd (2014) business convention, rather than the offering any information about the (claimed) “scheduled August nominating convention”
Mr. Burke indicated that the site would be “updated within the week” and that “(he has) been busy with many projects and just haven’t gotten to it yet.”
IPR then received, following a series of follow-up questions and answers, this official statement for publication:
OFFICIAL STATEMENT OFFERED
“Like many activists, I wear many hats and work in many capacities. While it is true I am the volunteer Oregon State Director for Our America Initiative, the project discussed here was undertaken on my own as a private activist apart from OIA or any other organization. In the course of this project, no money has passed hands.
“During this time when the Libertarian Party of Oregon is still fractured and dysfunctional, I am trying to help all third parties maximize the number of 2014 candidates. Naturally and especially, this includes the Libertarian Party. Libertarian voters will be contacted in advance of our candidate nominating convention scheduled for August as outlined in the governing documents enacted by members in properly noticed conventions.
“The project simply consists of robo-calls made to minor party voters prior to their party’s respective nominating conventions. The calls encourage them to show up and perhaps run for an office. No specific candidate is supported or opposed.
“The objective of this project is to erode the two-party mindset held by most Oregon voters by simply increasing the visibility of alternatives from every direction. To the extent the project is successful, I believe Libertarians will benefit most because of emerging demographics and the rising relevance of libertarians and their ideas.
“This project is being undertaken in the same spirit that Richard Winger monitors all third parties in his “Ballot Access News” and that the moderators of Independent Political Report offer news on all third parties. Painting it as anything else is a misrepresentation.
“That said, the general election campaign is a different thing altogether. This fall, if I work for any candidates, I will work only for Libertarian nominees or nominees from other parties facing no Libertarian opposition that I believe will move Oregon in a more libertarian direction.
“I have been a Libertarian since 1990, am a current elected public office holder having won six elections, am a 1998 Libertarian gubernatorial nominee, am a former state Executive Director, and have held party offices at county, state, and national levels. I expect to remain a Libertarian for the rest of my life. At present I am not working for any political party and have never worked for any party other than the Libertarian Party.
“As many of you know, the Libertarian Party of Oregon has been dysfunctional since March 31, 2011. On this date, outside of a properly noticed convention as required by our Constitution and Bylaws, Mr. Wes Wagner and some of his friends purportedly: 1) Replaced our party’s governing documents, 2) Elected themselves to new terms of office, and 3) Canceled a scheduled convention session mandated by a previous convention session. Until this coup is rectified, I think this is a good way to help the third party movement in general and the Libertarian Party specifically.”
IPR forwarded Mr. Burke’s official statement to LPO Chair Wagner who provided the following reaction.
“I wholeheartedly support this work of former LPO ED Richard Burke; his service to other political parties helps us recruit candidates and improve the legitimate LPO (because) among other things his reputation and abilities which he gifts to our adversaries does us a great service. I hope he continues his efforts.”
SUPPLEMENTAL OFFICIAL STATEMENT (ANTICIPATED LEGAL CHALLENGE)
IPR subsequently received the following:
“ON A SEPARATE MATTER
“The State of Oregon requires that candidates be nominated by minor political parties according to their legitimate governing documents. While I understand that Mr. Wagner’s group has purported to have nominated candidates through a vote by mail primary (including at least ten Republicans), the legitimate governing documents of the Libertarian Party of Oregon require that candidates be nominated at candidate nominating conventions.
“I therefore believe that the Wagner ballot will be determined to be invalid before the fall, which is why a nominating convention will be held before the filing deadline. All Libertarians, including the purported nominees of the Wagner process, will be encouraged to participate and/or legitimately secure their nominations at this event. I think all Libertarians can agree that it is in our interest to have a strong presence on the Oregon ballot that is not vulnerable to any possible outside challenge.
“Richard P. Burke”
LIST OF WAGNER CANDIDATES
The initial list of 65 candidates nominated by mail ballot (and apparently subject to the legal challenge anticipated above) is:
Amanda Burnham (L), Andy Olson (R) (Fusion), Austin Joseph (L) (TIE), Bill Post (R) (Fusion), Braden Nelson (L), Brandon Boertje (L), Brenden King (?), Brian Tanner (L), Bruce Alexander Knight (L), Caitlin Mitchel-Markley (L), Chuck Huntting (L), Craig Hilterbrand (L), Curt Ankerberg (L), Daniel Souza (L), David Chester (L), David Tate (L) , Edward R. Siener (L) (TIE), Eugene A. Newell Jr. (L) , Frank Brannen (L) (TIE), Gail Whitsett (R) (Fusion), Glen E. Ewert (L), Greg Smith (R) (Fusion), Guy Rosinbaum (L), Jack C. Stillwell (L) (TIE), James Bertelson (L), James Foster (L), Jeff Adams (L), Jeffrey Alexander Miller (L) (TIE), Jeffrey Langan (L), Jeffrey Miller (L), John S. Gerboth (L), John Verbeek (R) (Fusion), Kirk Hoppe (L) (TIE), Kyle Markley (L), Lars Hedbor (L), Laura D. Cooper (R) (Fusion), Lucas Eslinger (L) (TIE), Mark Johnson (R) (Fusion) , Mark Karnowski (L), Mark Richman (R) (Fusion), Mark Seligman (L), Mark Vetanen (L), Michael James Marvin (L), Michael Marvin (L), Mike Montchalin (L), Nicholas Koch (L), Paul B Grad (L), Perry Roll (L), Rachel Jewell Feigner (L), Ray Thomasan (L) (TIE), Robert C Fillingame (L), Robert Martin (L), Robert Miller (L), Robert Rumzie (L), Ryan Bredehoeft (L), Ryan Haffner (L) (win), Sal Esquival (R) (Fusion), Samantha Schrepel (L), Sharon Durbin (L), Thad Marney (L), Tim McMenamin (R) (Fusion), Tristan Reisfar (L), W. A. Bollinger (L).
WAGNER RESPONDS TO SUPPLEMENTAL STATEMENT
“”We are very pleased with our candidate turnout in 2014, and believe this puts us within sight of our original goal when we moved to an all mail primary system — to field more candidates than the republican party. We have hope now we can accomplish this by 2016.”
BURKE WILL NOT BE PART OF A LAWSUIT
IPR contacted Mr. Burke for an explication of his belief that the above candidates would be disqualified; specifically asking if he anticipated initiating legal action against their legitimacy; or if he was preparing an alternative set of candidates should a challenge from some unrelated party make such a challenge (and prove successful). He responded,
“I will not be a part of any lawsuit designed to remove Libertarians off the ballot. . . My concern is that the Republican or Democratic parties will do something. During the 2012 election, even though Tyler Smith was our attorney, the major parties were not really aware of or even interested in our case. We ourselves thought the court case would be resolved in time for the 2012 election. . . . Given that Libertarians have cost Republicans several victories in the past, I can’t imagine that they aren’t looking at our situation now.”
PRIOR IPR COVERAGE (2014 only)
(ED-NOTE: Articles related to the above issues published by IPR prior to 1 January 2014 can be found by searching within the site for OREGON, WAGNER, REEVES, etc.)
ORIGINAL EMAIL FORWARDED TO IPR CONTRIBUTORS ON 11 JUNE 2014.
Thank you for your email. I hope you are well. I attended the Pacific-Green Party convention with a friend and enjoyed the experience. Much less stressful than Libertarian events I usually participate in and I enjoyed meeting the people I met.
I have been working in Seattle and Olympia for the last couple of days, so I am sorry I did not get back to you sooner. Below you will find the text of the robo calls I did. I have an old Pentium II system with some voice modems that I do robo-calls with from time to time. It is an older system and I struggle with it some, but I am able to make it work. As I understand it, at least two people showed up as a result of the calls and one of them opted to run for state senate.
I “paid” for this myself (Richard P. Burke, 18220 NW Cornell Road, #B, Beaverton, OR 97006, Self-Employed, Political Advocate), but my costs are essentially nothing since I run the system myself from my office and my computer. I think that the going rate in the market is something like $.02 per call. I have basic Comcast business phone service. I have approximately 1,000 numbers from access I had from previous projects unrelated to this year’s elections. I called them all. If you have more numbers and would like to repeat the robo call for your August convention, perhaps we can work together. Perhaps you would like to record the call.
Given how dysfunctional the Libertarian Party of Oregon is right now, I am working this year to increase the number of third-party candidates on the ballot generally. I plan to work with the Progressive Party, Constitution Party, and Working Families Party as well.
In any case, if you have any questions, please call me or email me at your convenience. I would also like your phone number so I can call you. Left or right, we need to break the two-party stranglehold on electoral participation. Thanks.
Richard P. Burke 503-(deleted)
*SCRIPT FOR ROBO-CALLS TO PACIFIC PARTY VOTERS*
Hello. I am calling for Oregon’s Pacific Green Party. I’m calling you because you are a registered Pacific-Green Party voter. At 10AM this Saturday, June 7, the party will hold a candidate nominating convention at 299 Cottage Street in Salem. You are invited! We will nominate candidates to run in the November election against Republicans and Democrats. Details and the event’s address are available on PACIFICGREENS.ORG.
At the convention you can vote for the candidates you like. You can even run as a candidate yourself! In fact, we’re looking for MORE candidates and running is a great way to get involved, make a difference, and offer voters a choice. Again, details the event’s address can be found at PACIFICGREENS.ORG. Whether you run or not, you’ll meet new people, make new friends, and promote progressive ideals!
Are interested are you in attending the convention and, perhaps, running as a candidate this fall? If so, you will receive a follow-up phone call from a real person.
If you are not interested, PRESS 1 –
If you are somewhat interested, PRESS 2 –
If you are interested, PRESS 3 –
If you are very interested, PRESS 4
Again, the convention will be held at 10AM THIS SATURDAY, June 7, at 299 Cottage Street NE in Salem. Details and the event’s address can be found at PACIFICGREENS.ORG. I hope we will see you on Saturday. Thank you!
*END OF SCRIPT*