Oregon: Burke et. al. Seek Restraining Order to Remove LP Candidates

In yet another legal action the remnants of the Burke faction in Oregon have attempted to use the courts to gain authority over the ballot access of Libertarian candidates.  In their most recent (Hail Mary) action they sought a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) to remove all Libertarian candidates nominated by the recognized (by the Secretary of State) Libertarian Party of Oregon including the removal of the Libertarian Presidential ticket of Jo Jorgensen and Spike Cohen.  (Presumably they would have resubmitted them although it’s unclear that would have been accepted given various deadlines).

To cut to the chase, yesterday the courts in Oregon declined to issue a TRO, although as the case was not dismissed in its entirety, it will presumably go on.

Various court filings are linked below.

In his declaration Richard Burke stated (among other things) “I have been involved in the current dispute within the LPO since it began on March 31, 2011. I have been a plaintiff in the case Reeves v. Wagner and have had numerous interactions with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office and have interacted with people who are on the other  side of this dispute.

“I have personal knowledge of the matters set forth herein and consider myself to be an
expert with respect to the current dispute concerning the proper leadership and governance of the LPO and its history. While I am not an attorney, I regard myself to be familiar with Oregon
election law as it relates to the governance of minor political parties.

“The roots of this case go back to a renegade group of libertarians (hereafter the “Wagner
Group”) who on March 31, 2011 adopted, without compliance with procedures and steps required in LPO organizational documents, a constitution and set of bylaws that gave rise  . . . ”

Decl. of Burke 9-10-20 Final-compressed

Complaint 9-10-20 Final-compressed

3266267-Order Granting Motion to Intervene

3266251-SUBMITTED Declaration of T. Perkins

3266260-SUBMITTED Declaration of K. Markley

3266258-SUBMITTED Declaration of C. R. Steringer

3266249-SUBMITTED LPO’s Opposition to Motion for TRO

10 thoughts on “Oregon: Burke et. al. Seek Restraining Order to Remove LP Candidates

  1. Kyle Markley

    The Presidential ticket declined to sign Burke’s nomination paperwork, and the filing deadline has long passed, so if his effort was successful they would have certainly been off the ballot. Their slate of candidates, if accepted, would have been 3 Republicans and 1 Libertarian.

    The Secretary of State also opposed the TRO, although the judge cited the LPO’s reasons for denying it.

  2. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    I would think that under the doctrine of Res judicata, the courts have already ruled on the matter, and thus Burke is estopped from filing any more cases against the LPO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_judicata

    Surely, at some point, these rehashed claims become frivolous, and the courts should sanction Burke for filing them.

    Burke’s life seems to have been reduced to suing the LPO again, and again, and again, and again, and …

  3. Kyle Markley

    RTAA: We raised both res judicata and collateral estoppel. I don’t have the written order yet, but the judge’s comments at the hearing sounded like these were the convincing arguments.

  4. Anastasia Beaverhausen

    Burke’s motivation was all along to become a player in Republican circles, but it didn’t work – they wouldn’t have him. He felt himself a big fish in the small LPO pond… now he’s just a big fish in his own small mind.

  5. Jose Castaneda

    Is Burke still a member of the party? If so his membership should be revoked and he should be kicked out of the Party. Is there a way to kick someone out of the Party permanently? If so when his membership is revoked it should be made permanent.

    Also think about this, there were many in the Party such as a previous National Secretary who supported and assisted Burke in the beginning.

  6. Wes Wagner

    @Richard Winger

    Burke is a party in privity with the Qanon affiliated republican candidate, hence the declarations by Burke and Reeves.

  7. Richard P. Burke

    Dear All,

    For those wondering, I am still a proud member of the Libertarian Party and expect to remain so. For what it is worth, while I admittedly favored Trump over Biden, I supported the Jorgensen campaign in the general election and made my office available to the campaign (which, unfortunately, only used it as a drop ship destination).

    About the court case. I knew that it was virtually certain that no judge would strike Libertarian candidates from the ballot who had submitted signed Certificates of Nomination that were accepted by the Secretary of State. I never thought this was a serious risk. At the same time, I and others believe that the Certificates of Nomination submitted by the LPO (operating under improperly adopted bylaws violated ORS 248.009 outside of a convention without notice to the members) were or should be rejected.

    As many Republicans are now privy to the conflict which has been going on within the LPO, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Jo Rae Perkins was going to sue for the removal of Gary Dye from the ballot no matter what I or any other Libertarian did or did not do. I therefore participated in the case in hopes that, even as I doubted any candidates would be removed from the ballot, any opinion issued by the judge might give us some leverage in our efforts to get the Secretary of State to enforce ORS 248.009 and restore the LPO to proper governance under bylaws approved and amended by LPO members in properly noticed conventions.

    To play it safe, and because the lawful bylaws called for it, our LPO (PAC #16869) held a candidate nominating convention. To ensure that LPO nominees would not be thrown off the ballot even if the judge ruled unexpectedly, we asked leaders of the other LPO to advise the winners of their mail ballot (INCLUDING U.S. Senate candidate Gary Dye) to come to our convention and seek nomination there as well. That way, the presence of LPO nominees on the ballot would be assured no matter what the judge ruled. For this reason, it is inaccurate and unfair to claim that our objective was to remove Libertarians from the ballot. We wanted them on the ballot, but wanted them nominated to the ballot in a way that complied with ORS 248.009 and those bylaws adopted and amended by LPO members in properly noticed conventions.

    Unfortunately, the other LPO (PAC #622) would not coordinate with us. Since we were not recruiting a competing slate in hopes that we could nominate theirs, the number of candidates we nominated was limited. We nominated Jorgensen and Cohen unanimously. We nominated Libertarian Tim Reeves to run in a district the other LPO nominated a Republican to run in. We nominated two Republicans for State House the other LPO also nominated, and nominated Republican Kim Thatcher for Secretary of State over Libertarian Kyle Markley, who did not participate. We did so because she what is going on within the LPO in Oregon, has supported our party in her legislative votes, and has participated in several LPO events. All of these candidates (aside from Jorgensen and Cohen) were there personally or, in the case of Kim Thatcher, sent a statement.

    The other LPO actually nominated what I believe is a record number of Republicans through their vote-by-mail ballot. Of the actual Libertarians they nominated, almost none of them filed a Voter Pamphlet statement or ran active campaigns. The vote percentages our candidates realized in November rivaled the lowest we have ever had. Voter registration, as a percentage of the electorate, has been steadily dropping and is flirting dangerously close to falling below the .5% level which allows us to retain ballot access regardless of our performance on the ballot. Some believe this is the result of the Oregon conflict. In reality, while the conflict is certainly a factor, the bylaws being used by the LPO (PAC #622) precludes their organization from doing many of those things that can aid in party building between general elections.

    If we cannot bring about return the LPO to proper governance, if this almost ten-year battle is truly lost from our perspective, PAC #16869 may re-organize itself to assume the functions of a healthy political party it may legally assume that the PAC #622 is prevented from carrying out by their own bylaws. This may include such things as advancing public policy between elections, taking timely positions on and engaging in campaigns for/against ballot measures, organizing in a way that gives counties a direct voice in organizational governance, and more.

    In such a scenario, we will effectively lead the party while PAC #622 relegates itself to the responsibility of raising money for and executing biannual vote-by-mail primaries. Candidates we recruit, organize for, and assist in fundraising will enter their vote-by-mail primary, which will be an expense and burden we will not have to worry about.

    That is our fallback position. We have carefully and quietly been building lists of prospective dues-paying members. Our social networking is now three times that of the other group. We will begin actively availing ourselves of these resources after the first of the year. It is too bad we cannot be united as a party.

    As we have said before, we don’t care who runs a united party – the leaders of the other side (LPO PAC #622) can do it. This is not about turf or ego. Hell – we’d be OK with Wes Wagner, Tim Perkins, Katy Brumbelow, or Kyle Markley serving as LPO Chair – PROVIDED the party is governed by bylaws adopted and amended by LPO members in properly noticed conventions and that members, at a minimum, subscribe to the NAP as provided for in the legitimate bylaws. Under such a compromise, all of us have offered to resign all party positions and cede them to leaders from the other side. We already have made this offer. If the other side can meet us halfway on it, this can all be in our rear-view mirror and we can return to being a united political party that can re-establish its efficacy and relevance in Oregon. Otherwise, we will proceed separately along parallel lines as described above.

    Regards,

    Richard P. Burke, Secretary
    Libertarian Party of Oregon PAC# 16869
    rpbcomm@gmail.com

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