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Former Libertarian Party of Iowa Chair Arrested, Charged With Theft of Party Property

Multiple media outlets, including the Libertarian Party of Iowa website, have reported the arrest of Michael Conner Junior, a former LP IA Chair, who has apparently been charged with theft of Party assets in excess of $10,000.

The Des Moines Register’s headline reads: Former Libertarian Party of Iowa chair arrested, accused of stealing party funds.  The article by Ian Richardson reports that, “The Knoxville (Iowa) Police Department on Wednesday arrested 41-year-old Michael Conner Jr., who served as chairperson of the party from March of 2020 until his resignation in October of this year. A criminal complaint says that during his time as chair, Conner used the party’s debit card for personal expenses.”  The full Des Moines Register article can be read HERE.

A headline in The Iowa Torch reads: Libertarian Party of Iowa Accuses Former Chair of Unauthorized Financial Transactions.  In the associated article, Jake Porter, LP IA 2020 candidate for Governor is quoted as, “It appears almost the entire funds that we left the Libertarian Party of Iowa with in 2020 were spent on unauthorized transactions. . . . I have changed my party registration to no-party. I will only rejoin the LPIA if they decide to prioritize their fiduciary responsibility.”  The full article can be read HERE.

The Oskaloosa Herald headline reads: Charges filed against former Libertarian chair.  The article by Editor Kyle Ocker states, “According to court filings from police, Conner used a debit card connected to the party’s bank account for personal purchases and withdrawals totaling $10,037.” The full article can be read HERE.

KNIA-KRLS radio posted the following on their website, “FORMER IOWA LIBERTARIAN PARTY CHAIR ARRESTED ON THEFT CHARGES IN KNOXVILLE.  Conner . . . faces charges of theft 1st degree, a Class C felony. A preliminary hearing will be held at a later date.”  The website post, with an updated photo of Mr. Connor, can be found HERE.

The Quad City Times headline is, Former Iowa Libertarian Party chair charged with first-degree theft.  The associated article by James Q. Lynch states that, “First-degree theft . . . carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.”  The full article can be read HERE.

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A post on the LP IA website states, Theft Charges Filed Against Former Chair Of Libertarian Party Of Iowa. Ed Wright, current LP IA chair is quoted as, “We are pleased to see that the evidence we submitted against Mr. Conner has been acted on so quickly and decisively by the Knoxville police department. We are still in a state of shock that someone we selected to lead our party could have betrayed the trust of the LPIA and its members so egregiously, but with charges filed we view this as the first step to see that justice is served, and will ultimately allow us to put this episode behind us and work towards a bright future for the LPIA with a redoubled commitment to ethics and transparency.”  The website post can be found HERE.

About Post Author

Joseph Buchman

Joe is a retired, formerly tenured professor of marketing and finance with a passion for adventure travel, chasing total solar eclipses, and Burning Man. He is a long-time volunteer with the Sundance Film Festival, former Chair of the Utah Libertarian Party, former Chair of the LP Platform Committee, and former Chair and three-term member of the LP's financial Audit Committee. Joe and Cindy have raised four highly successful children, several cats, and yet have generally failed miserably with every houseplant ever gifted to them.

5 Comments

  1. Andy Andy December 13, 2021

    I have been screwed over by a lot more people than just Virgil Goode. Goode got me for somewhere in the ballpark of $2,200. The Constitution Party was supposed to make up for it, but they never did.

    I did end up working Constitution Party petitions again in 2016, and I briefly worked on one in 2018, which ended up getting canceled, as well as in 2020.

    I have had other people rip me off out of various amounts, such as $8,000, $3,500, $1,000, $700, $700, $250, $200, $100, etc…

    Some of them were ballot initiative or referendum campaigns.

    There are also times where I think I probably got scammed out of money on petition validity, but lack evidence to prove it. It is hard to put a price tag on that, but I would be money that it has happened. I am talking about falsely claiming some signatures were invalid, or below a certain validity threshold, and then docking pay. Sometimes this is done fraudulently in order to screw people out of money.

    There have also been occasions where some screws you on opportunity costs. It is difficult to put a price tag on this as well, but I am sure I have lost a heck of a lot of money due to being screwed on opportunity costs.

    Anyway, too many names to list, and some names are people nobody here would know. It is not worth opening this can of worms.

  2. Nathan Norman Nathan Norman December 13, 2021

    You should make a list of all the people who screwed you over and publish it. I was under the impression Virgil Goode was the only one since you spoke badly about him so often.

  3. Andy Andy December 13, 2021

    Oh, also, sadly, this is NOT the first time that anyone in the Libertarian Party has misappropriated (ie-stolen) funds. I could site some other examples.

    One was from somebody who is a former State Chairman who left the party and who used to post here a long time ago. I suspect this person has trolled here and on some other sites under fake names since then.

    Another example is from somebody who is still well connected and active in the party.

    I don’t know if I should bother opening up these cans of worms though.

  4. Andy Andy December 13, 2021

    Whoah, I just found this article.

    FORMER IOWA LIBERTARIAN PARTY CHAIR ARRESTED ON THEFT CHARGES IN KNOXVILLE

    https://www.kniakrls.com/2021/12/10/former-iowa-libertarian-party-chair-arrested-on-theft-charges-in-knoxville/

    From the article: “On November 19th, 2021, the party reported that between August 20th, 2020 and October 17th, 2021, Conner used the party’s Wells Fargo Bank debit card for personal use.

    An investigation showed multiple unauthorized purchases, including streaming services, ATM withdrawals, grocery and alcohol purchases at multiple locations around Knoxville, using the party’s debit card. Surveillance footage from several Knoxville businesses confirmed the use of the party’s card. The total value of unauthorized transactions was $10,037.00.”

    MY COMMENT: August of 2020 was the time when I was there. So if this theft started in August of 2020, this means he WAS doing it when I was there, and this probably WAS part of the reason for the delay in my pay.

    Maybe the only reason he ended up paying me in full is because I was making noise about it to LNC Vice Chairman, Ken Moellman. He finally deposited the rest of them money I was owed in late September, or sometime in October. I think it was actually in October.

    Something that really screwed me up was when he delayed my pay, I was also owed pay from 4 other groups. One of those groups actually did pay me pretty quickly, but the other two groups delayed payments to me as well, and, as I mentioned above, one group ripped me off for $700, and another person in another group ripped me off out of $100.

    I was owed thousands of dollars. I had been planning to purchase another car out of my operating budget, but because of these groups delaying my pay, which was made worse by getting ripped off out of $800 when I did get paid for two of the groups, I lacked sufficient funds to purchase another car out of my operating budget. I had plenty of money in savings and investments, which I was not wanting to tap into at the time, so this screwed me over royally.

    In retrospect, I should have taken what I could out of my operating budget, and cashed in some savings and investments, to purchase another car.

    This was not the first time I have been screwed over, and it probably won’t be the last. It really irritates me when people delay payments because they don’t realize the damage they can do to somebody’s life in delaying a payment.

    Somebody may say, “Well sue of this stuff.” That is far easier said than done. Unfortunately, the legal system is not set up to be user friendly, and it is particularly difficult to use for people who travel a lot.

  5. Andy Andy December 13, 2021

    I actually met and worked with this guy in the summer of 2020. I went to Iowa to gather petition signatures to place Jo Jorgersen on the ballot for President.

    He did not seem like a bad guy to me, however, there was a long delay getting paid some of the money I was owed. He paid me part of the money at the end of the petition drive when I turned in my signatures. I was still owed more money, and it ended up taking a lot longer to collect it than I had anticipated. The Libertarian Party petition in Iowa finished two or three days or so before the August 14th deadline. I got paid some of the money the day that it ended, but I did not get the rest of the money until late September or early October. Pay delays like that are NOT good, nor are they supposed to be normal, however, sadly, this was not the first time that this happened to me on a Libertarian Party ballot access drive, nor was it even the longest pay delay I have had to endure (I had a some that were much longer than this, and some for much larger amounts of money, which is a pathetic commentary on LP operations).

    I don’t know what the real reason for the pay delay was, or if it had any connection to the controversy above. Mike Connor went out of communication with me a few times, but I did end up hearing from him, and he did end up paying me in full, although I did contact LNC Vice Chairman, Ken Moellman, about it, so maybe Ken pressured him to pay me. Supposedly there was some confusion over whether or not the LNC or the Jo Jorgensen for President campaign was going to reimburse the LP of Iowa for these funds. I don’t know what ended up happening, or whether or not this was a smokescreen because Mike Connor was trying to rip me off, or what. Mike Connor did not seem like a bad guy to me, but if the stuff in the article above is true, who knows?

    This pay delay did cause problems for me. During the same general time frame I had two other groups delay payments to me, and one of those groups ripped me off out of $700, and another person in another group ripped me off out of $100. Neither of these were connected to the Libertarian Party. One of them was from a ballot initiative campaign I had worked earlier in the summer, and the other was a person in another minor political party.

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