Credentials Committee Refuses to Seat Delegates from Epstein’s Libertarian Party of Oregon’s PAC

This exchange has been seen on Libertarian Party email lists.

Dear Mr. Epstein:

The 2016 LP Credentials Committee has considered your April 16 submission of delegates from Oregon for the convention in Orlando. We regret that we cannot accept these delegates for Oregon.

Since 2011 the national Libertarian Party and the State of Oregon have recognized the Wagner/Hedbor group as the official Libertarian Party in Oregon. State Chair Lars Hedbor has notified the Credentials Committee that the LP of Oregon will not be sending a delegation to the national convention. We must respect that decision and therefore will seat no delegates in Oregon unless we get specific instructions from him before the April 27 deadline.
We are aware of the ruling of the Judicial Committee in the fall of 2015, however that did not change which group is considered the official party in Oregon. When the LNC had the opportunity to validate and implement the Judicial Committee’s ruling at its November 2015 LNC meeting in Orlando, it chose to take no action. We follow the LNC’s lead.

As this committee did in 2014, we strongly encourage Libertarians in Oregon to cooperate and settle this long-standing dispute. We agree with the Oregon court that things must be resolved internally: that is, among the folks in Oregon. We encourage the Libertarians listed below to seek spots in other states’ delegations. At this moment, California has a relatively large number of empty delegate seats.

In liberty,

Emily Salvette, Interim Chair
2016 LP Credentials Committee

On Sat, Apr 16, 2016 at 10:27 AM, Ian Epstein wrote:

Dear Ms. Salvette,

As Chair of the Libertarian Party of Oregon, I hereby submit the names shown at the bottom of this email as Oregon delegates to the 2016 Libertarian Party National Convention in Orlando. They are provided in the body of this email and also within an attached Excel file.
I recognize there is controversy regarding the status of the Oregon LNC affiliate. At the 2014 convention, you opposed seating the delegation we sent you on the grounds that a 2011 ruling by the national Judicial Committee nullified four LNC resolutions previously passed supporting the legitimacy of our bylaws and leadership in Oregon.

Although we argued that the 2011 Judicial Committee decision was inoperative because it deferred the matter to the Oregon Secretary of State who said she would not adjudicate the matter, you maintained that the ruling made it impossible for you to support seating our delegates.
As you may be aware, the situation with respect to the national Judicial Committee has since changed. Attached you will find PDF copies of the September 12, 2015 ruling by the national Judicial Committee, and a February 20, 2016 clarification issued by that same body, which unambiguously establish that our leadership and governing documents are legitimate with respect to the LNC’s Oregon affiliate. The September ruling also explicitly states that the 2011 resolutions passed by the LNC and it’s Executive Committee stand as valid.

We recognize that LNC Chair Nick Sarwark has refused to abide by the 2011 LNC resolutions and the September Judicial Committee ruling. We see this is improper as, so far as we can see, the LNC Chair does not have the unilateral authority under the LNC bylaws to make policy which overrides or supercedes policy made by the LNC in such matters.

The other side in this dispute has claimed victory in court. This is not true. The ruling, currently under appeal, was that the courts do not have jurisdiction and that our dispute needs to be decided internally. I also understand that the other side has declared a boycott on attending this convention. I will state that, should some of our opponents make it to Orlando despite the boycott, we would be pleased to include them in our delegate list as space allows. We made the same offer at the 2012 and 2014 conventions when our delegate configurations were adopted on the floor. We want to be reasonable and inclusive.
While we disagreed, for reasons stated above, with your decision to stand by the ruling of the 2011 national Judicial Committee ruling, we hope that you will be consistent and act in accordance with their September 2015, and their February 2016 clarification, and recommend that our delegation, as provided below and possibly amended in the future, be seated at the 2016 Libertarian Party National Convention.

Thank you.

Ian Epstein, Chair
Libertarian Party of Oregon

The Libertarian Party’s National Convention will be in Orlando, Florida the weekend of May 27th through 30th.

A history of the Oregon dispute can be found here

42 thoughts on “Credentials Committee Refuses to Seat Delegates from Epstein’s Libertarian Party of Oregon’s PAC

  1. Lars D. H. Hedbor

    I deeply appreciate the Credential Committee’s respect for our reluctant boycott of the Orlando convention, and sincerely hope that the delegates on the floor of the convention will follow suit.

    The Libertarian Party of Oregon looks forward to participating in future national conventions where state parties have stronger assurances that the composition of their delegations will not be tampered with.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    Thanks to Ms. Salvette and the credentials committee for shutting down the impostor organization’s attempt to steal the Libertarian Party of Oregon’s delegate slots and to defraud the Libertarian National Convention.

  3. Joshua K.

    Can anyone provide an “Oregon Libertarian Dispute for Dummies” summary? All I understand so far is that there are two separate groups purporting to be the Oregon affiliate of the Libertarian Party, but I don’t know why.

  4. Stewart Flood

    The delegates cannot do anything to seat them. The ByLaws state that there is no delegation from a state unless they submit at least one delegate’s name by the deadline (30 days?) prior to the convention.

    What happened in the past was that the convention voted to seat additional delegates, who then outnumbered the original delegation and purged them. We can’t add to a delegation that does not exist.

    Any attempt to do that would require changing the ByLaws or suspending them, which should require 2/3 of the delegates present and could result in several state delegations leaving the floor and not putting the presidential ticket on the ballot in November.

    This has to end. Throw both sides out and start over. Seriously…

  5. Thomas L. Knapp


    The only way to get you a summary of less than 100 words would be something like this:

    “Two factions of the Libertarian Party of Oregon attempted coups d’etat due to dysfunctional bylaws. The losing faction has been trying to get the Libertarian National Committee to disaffiliate the LPO and affiliate an impostor organization the losing faction set up ever since, employing various tactics from whining at one end of the spectrum to plain fraud as in this instance.”

  6. Stewart Flood

    Please define losing faction. In my opinion, the losing faction has been the other 49 state affiliate.

    As you pointed out, both sides attempted coups d’etat, with the side that got to the Secretary of State first holding the golden ticket and still clutching it tightly a half dozen years later.

    We are the losers, especially if we have to go through this BS again in Orlando. I applaud the response from the Credentials Committee. They are following the ByLaws, which means that NO ONE CAN APPEAL their action to the JC!

  7. Lars D. H. Hedbor

    With all due respect, Stewart, I should hope that it counts for something that we submitted our organizing documents to a vote of ALL of the registered Libertarian voters in Oregon (who are, after all, the ultimate owners of the Libertarian Party of Oregon), and they ratified those documents by a 98% majority.

    We’ve long since moved on from that inflection point, duly electing entirely new officers, and running record-breaking numbers of candidates in elections all over the state.

    The only ones continuing to drag anyone through any BS again are those who cling to the notion that the LPO ought to be a private dues-paying club, serving as a rump party to the Oregon GOP.

    Nobody is more weary of their antics and lies than we are.

  8. Stewart Flood

    I agree that we’ve moved past it. This may be their last attempt. The issue isn’t the organizing documents, but how Wagner (by his own admission) committed a coup. But I agree that six years later we need to figure out how to get one Libertarian Party in Oregon and move forward.

    I don’t believe that we’ve ever communicated personally, so I don’t know how/when you got involved in the party. Hopefully you can eventually get everyone past the issues and working together — although I doubt that anyone can ever get Wagner and Burke to stop fighting.

    While I think it is unfortunate that you had to boycott the convention, not having a delegation may be the only way to stop the nonsense. There is not going to be a vote to create an Oregon delegation. The ByLaws don’t allow it.

  9. Steven Wilson

    The never-ending story and the reason why centralized planning doesn’t work. For state affiliates to go mother may I during a convention year gives the LNC too much power. If there was any intelligence or honor in the LP, the Credentials committee wouldn’t even have to bother with this mess.

    For the credentials committee to be the final check on fraud makes everyone look a fool for supporting the LP.

  10. Fred

    There is only one party and it is open to any registered Libertarian in Oregon. Any member of Burke’s faction (provided they are registered as a Libertarian in Oregon) can vote on party issues, run for party office, or run for government office.
    The only thing preventing them from participating in the party is their own belief that their Political Action Committee should control the process.
    The LPO isn’t divided. A small group who doesn’t want to cooperate with others continues to act disruptively in attempt to gain control– probably because they know that they wouldn’t be elected by the larger group. They are still welcome to come to meetings and participate.
    How could we make it any easier for them?

  11. Starchild

    Please note that the version of the Credentials Committee letter which appears above is a draft, although the final version is likely to be very similar. The subject of this IPR post came to light because I as a committee member copied my correspondence to the committee to several LP email lists in the interests of transparency.

    As I just noted in a follow-up message to the interim committee chair (Emily Salvette) who objected to my making committee emails public, I would strongly prefer that transparency be properly institutionalized, rather than information being haphazardly released via forwarded or copied emails.

    The Credentials Committee and other Libertarian Party committees should have committee pages on the party’s website, letting people know who serves on them and how them can be contacted, how to subscribe to the committee’s email list, an archive of committee correspondence, meeting minutes, listings of upcoming meetings and other announcements, information on how to become a committee member, etc.

    Love & Liberty,
    California LP alternate to the Credentials Committee

  12. Matt Cholko

    Starchild is exactly right. The membership and goings-on of the committees should be much more widely publicized.

    The other side of the coin though – almost nobody gives a damn about any committee business. I’m on the platform committee this year. I can count on one finger how many people have lobbied me, and on one hand how many, outside of IPR, have expressed even a passing interest in the committee’s work.

    On a slightly related note – how pathetic is it that people are fighting over a relatively small state affiliate of the LP *for 5 years*? Talk about a waste of time and energy…….

  13. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Stewart Flood: Throw both sides out and start over.

    I’m not aware that you, or the LNC, have the authority to “throw both sides out.”

    The Wagner group is the legal LP in Oregon. That’s the law. It’s not your decision, Flood. It’s not the LNC’s decision. And you must accept that reality.

  14. wolfefan

    As an outsider to the LP, I wonder about Stewart’s “throw them out” advice as well. I remember someone saying that the LPO pre-dates the Libertarian National Committee, and that the latter is a creation of the former (along with other state groups.) This seems like it would affect who was allowed to use the name “Libertarian” in Oregon regardless of who the LNC recognizes.

  15. George Phillies

    Teeth: The LNC has the authority to choose its own state affiliates. For example, a state affiliate may be able to put candidates for non-Federal office on the ballot with a signature (the phrase ‘ballot access’ has vast numbers of meanings), but if it is also the local KKK chapter, it will be shown the door.

    Matt: Is there someplace where anyone can read what the platform committee is doing? You would be more likely to be lobbied, in my opinion, if we had some idea what you are considering. I seem to have sat through at least one National Convention at which one Committee’s proposals were all rejected. With a month to go, people need to see what is being proposed., if anything.

  16. George Phillies

    Matt: ” fighting over a relatively small state affiliate of the LP *for 5 years*? ”

    More like 20, but go on anyhow.

  17. George Phillies

    Also, based on candidate count per capita, it is one of our larger affiliates.

  18. Stewart Flood

    It may be twenty years. Certainly more than ten, since the LNC had to deal with their fighting in 2007 and I was told it was not the first time.

    Regarding my comment of throw both sides out, that is EXACTLY what has happened. They may have thrown themselves out “voluntarily”, but to keep one side from getting the convention to vote them into power (which has happened at the last two conventions), the other side is boycotting Orlando.

    Should the delegates of other states have the ability to force a state to take in delegates over their objection? How libertarian is that? But that is exactly what has happened.

    The ability for people to walk into the convention and be seated in states they do not live in is wrong. It is unfair to the other states, unfair to the membership at large who expect their states to represent them, and clearly the most corrupt aspect of our convention process.

  19. Steve Scheetz

    I am thrilled by this decision from the Credentialing Committee! It would have been particularly embarrassing if the fake LPO was seated so soon after that group endorsed Donald Trump.

    Regardless of any other drama, the Reves Burke Epstein et al group has had the ability to get involved and take over the RECOGNIZED Wagner group (made up of ALL Libertarians in Oregon) for quite some time.

    They have chosen, instead, to use whatever force they could find, to make everyone recognize them, and ignore the rest of the Oregon Libertarians’ wishes. In 2014, they took advantage of the general ignorance of the convention body to the LPO drama, and then they had the members of the recognized group REMOVED from the delegation. Sorry, but the LPO boycott was the right call, and frankly, whomever wins the nomination is going to have to gain their support… (especially since they cannot get the support of the fake LPO)

    This mess COULD have been halted.


    Steve Scheetz

  20. Thomas L. Knapp

    I don’t know if the impostor organization has endorsed Trump. The main guy IN the impostor organization, Richard Burke, has endorsed Trump, although he says it’s only in the GOP primary, not the general election.

  21. Stewart Flood

    There is a huge difference between publicly stating:

    As libertarians, we believe that we have our best chance to win (or make progress, or whatever you want to call it) against the statist Clinton and the five-times bankrupt and politically inept Trump.


    As a libertarian, I (fill in name) endorse Trump.

    He could have just said that we have our best chance against him. Actually endorsing him — for ANY REASON — could be considered support of another party’s candidate and a violation of our ByLaws.

  22. Thomas L. Knapp

    “He could have just said that we have our best chance against him. Actually endorsing him — for ANY REASON — could be considered support of another party’s candidate and a violation of our ByLaws.”

    If you’re talking about the national bylaws, no, there is no prohibition on any individual endorsing any candidate.

    There’s a prohibition on AFFILIATE PARTIES endorsing candidates of other parties. But Burke isn’t an affiliate party, nor is the organization he belongs to.

  23. Stewart Flood

    Yes, but he is the secretary of an organization claiming to be the state affiliate. That reeks of an official endorsement.

    Oh well…

  24. Richard P. Burke


    The only thing I have said is that I personally support Trump’s campaign *for the GOP nomination only* because I believe his doing so would create the most opportunities for libertarian candidates overall in the general election. We will be able to get a significant slice of the NeverTrump crowd and Americans everywhere will be more open to finding a new political home. After the Oregon primary, it’s off.

    I think the same is true if Hillary gets the Democratic nomination as young Bernie supporters, who don’t understand economics yet, will be ripe for recruitment and persuasion. Nobody is getting upset with me about that. But after the Oregon primary, it’s off.

    My political opponents are trying to make this more than it is, suggesting that I support Mr. Trump’s issue stands which run afowl of libertarianism. They are being dishonest and no evidence exists to support it.

    My political opponents consistently fail to mention that I have done what I can to promote Libertarian candidates by successfully organizing a Johnson/Peterson debate in my hometown of Hillsboro on March 25 and helping them get statewide media with Lars Larson (KXL Radio) and Jayne Carrol (KUIK Radio). I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t want to promote LP candidates.

    My opponents also fail to acknowledge that, that since I became a member of the LP in 1990, I have never opposed a Libertarian candidate who won their nomination in accordance with rules approved by members in a properly noticed convention.

    My political opponents think this creates an “gotcha” moment to use against me, but it is fabricated. People can reasonably disagree with me, but none of this is inconsistent with wanting to grow the Libertarian Party.

    Richard P. Burke, Secretary
    Libertarian Party of Oregon

  25. George Phillies

    “No affiliate party shall endorse any candidate who is a member of another party for public office in any partisan election.”

    The Republican Presidential nomination is not a race for public office. It is not a partisan election, in that parties are not competing for the nomination.

  26. Matt Cholko

    Well, the real problem is that nobody cares. But, making a committee more accessible could marginally increase interest in its work.

  27. Thomas L. Knapp

    “The Republican Presidential nomination is not a race for public office.”

    And even if it was it would not matte. The bylaws provision In question applies to state parties affiliated with the Libertarian National Committee, not to individuals involved with organizations fraudulently masquerading as state parties afffiliated with the Libertarian National Committee.

  28. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    It has come to my attention that the letter from the credentials committee was only a draft, and hadn’t been sent out yet. I apologize for posting this prematurely. I would have waited if I’d known the Epstein group hadn’t been notified of this yet, although I don’t believe my source knew that, either. In the future, I’ll try to do a better job of verifying a lead before I post something.

  29. Emily salvette

    Thank you, Jill. It was a draft but I sent it to Mr. Epstein the moment I saw it had been published. I appreciate the work you do and realize these things happen.

  30. Marc Allan Feldman

    If I could save our union without recognizing any party in Oregon I would do it, and if I could save it by recognizing both parties in Oregon I would do it; and if I could save it by recognizing one and leaving the other I would also do that. What I do about Oregon, I do because I believe it helps to save the union.
    On the other hand, screw it. Let Oregon figure it out.

  31. Thomas L. Knapp

    “If I could save our union without recognizing any party in Oregon I would do it, and if I could save it by recognizing both parties in Oregon I would do it; and if I could save it by recognizing one and leaving the other I would also do that.”

    Logic fail. There aren’t two parties in Oregon. There’s one party, and one impostor organization fraudulently holding itself out as the same party.

  32. Wes Wagner


    I really don’t know why it is so hard for everyone to understand what you have been saying, except, perhaps, that in order to accept that logic you may also have to conclude that the cult of the omnipotent LNC did something wrong.

  33. Stewart Flood

    I still think that selling tickets to a boxing match between Wagner and Burke would be a great fund raiser.

    We could let them use any dirty trick they want to in the ring, and have a registered parliamentarian in a funny hat as referee and try to keep up with them.

  34. Stewart Flood

    Knapp can call the live play-by-play from ring side and we can sell it on Libertarian Pay Per View!

  35. Wes Wagner

    The judge in the case suggested jousting … I am for jousting. It has more flair and style.

  36. Fred

    Tribal spin on the above comment:

    Burke’s tribe: “Wagner afraid to box Burke, Burke wins by default! Give him the belt”

    Wagner’s tribe: “Wagner shows his outreach, says he is willing to touch Burke with a ten foot pole”

  37. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Knapp can call the live play-by-play from ring side and we can sell it on Libertarian Pay Per View!”

    Nah. If we’re gonna turn it into wrestling, I’ve got dibs on the role of masked man who comes up behind M Carling while he’s trying to crawl into the ring to assist Burke, and hits him over the head with a folding chair. We are, after all, professionals.

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