LNC meeting – November 2012 in Arlington, VA

The Libertarian National Committee is meeting November 16-17 in Arlington, VA.

Agendas for the meeting can be found from this message on the board business list: agenda (usual order), agenda (suggested order).

More context for what the LNC has been up to lately can be found on Starchild’s LNC-Discuss reflector list and in the LNC meeting minutes archive.

This is an open thread where people can post about the meeting.

This entry was posted in Libertarian Party and tagged , on by .

About Chuck Moulton

This fall I'll be starting a Ph.D. in Economics at George Mason University. My other degrees are a J.D. from Villanova Law School and a M.A. in Economics from San Jose State University. I am licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California. In my spare time I am involved with the Libertarian Party. I served as Vice-Chair of the Libertarian National Committee during the 2006-2008 term. In 2004 I ran for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania district 13. I also spend a lot of time playing bughouse and chess on the Free Internet Chess Server where my handle is knighttour.

402 thoughts on “LNC meeting – November 2012 in Arlington, VA

  1. Thomas L. Knapp

    Per Bruce Majors, they are now debating whether or not to follow the bylaws when voting to appoint a new LNC member.

    What kind of board constantly debates whether or not to follow its own fucking rules?

  2. Chuck Moulton

    I’ve been taking notes on important events that transpire. I’ll post them later tonight in comments here.

    I’ll also try to post very short comments here live over my iPhone.

  3. Chuck Moulton

    Ballots for the at-large vacancy will be identified (all ballots signed for minutes roll call).

    Ballot 1:
    Blau – 6
    Hinkle – 7
    Johnson (Texas) – 2
    Frankel – 1
    abstain – 1

    Ballot 2:
    Blau – 7
    Hinkle – 10

    Hinkle was elected as an at-large representative.

  4. Chuck Moulton

    At-large vacancy:

    Starchild proposed an identified ballot (signed ballots, which would effectively be a roll call vote) for filling of the LNC

    at-large vacancy. Starchild and Ruth Bennett spoke in favor. Diana Visek and Dan Wiener spoke against.

    roll call vote on whether to hold an identified ballot:
    Dan Wiener – no
    Pojunis – no
    Tomasso – no
    Lark – yes
    Visek – no
    Frankel – yes
    Neale – yes
    Wrights – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Bennett – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Vohra – not present
    Redpath – no
    Starchild – yes
    Olsen – no
    Kirklank – yes
    Mack – no

    no – 7
    yes – 9
    not present – 1

    The at-large vacancy will be filled by identified ballot.

    Jim Duensing
    David Blau
    Mark Hinkle
    Paul Frankel
    Travis Irvine
    John R. Paul
    Mark Allen Feldman
    Mark A Miller
    Jay Mills
    Tim Martin
    Jason Melahany
    Drew Miller
    Ronald W. Miller Jr.
    Gary E. Johnson (Texas)
    Gigi Boman
    Carl Person
    Bill Still (withdrew)
    Guy McClendon (withdrew)

    Visek nominates Bennett so that she would no longer be secretary. Bennett declines.

    Gary Johnson (Texas), Mark Hinkle, Paul Frankel, Mark Allen Feldman, and David Blau are present to speak for 2 minutes.

    Majority vote of the LNC membership to appoint a LNC member. Thus it takes 9 votes for a candidate to be seated.

    Ballot 1:
    Blau – 6
    Hinkle – 7
    Johnson – 2
    Frankel – 1
    abstain – 1

    Motion to have 2nd ballot with only Hinkle and Blau. No objection.

    Ballot 2:
    Blau – 7
    Hinkle – 10

    Hinkle was elected as an at-large representative to the LNC.

  5. Chuck Moulton

    Secretary’s report:

    Visek again suggests that Ruth Bennett step down as secretary, saying she has not competently completed her job duties.

    Bennett says Lark will assist her to complete undone tasks and that she is divesting herself of other duties that interfere with her secretary job.

    Olsen pointed out that there was a mistake on page 18 of the July 2012 (Las Vegas) minutes. On the third paragraph up from the bottom, the motion should have passed, not failed for lack of 2/3. The secretary will correct it.

    Lark suggests the LNC not approve any of the minutes at this time, but instead approve them by December 1 because there are many errors.

    Visek points out the July 2012 (Las Vegas) minutes should not have been auto-approved because there were many errors. She wonders what the remedy should be when the minutes are not ready by the mandated time.

  6. Chuck Moulton

    Treasurer’s report:

    There is a debate on whether Aaron Starr of the audit committee ought to be allowed access to the LNC books (financial accounts in quickbooks). Starr pointed out that under DC law any board member is allowed access to the books and can employ help from financial experts. Starr has signed a non-disclosure agreement as a member of the audit committee. Neale requests a policy manual amendment clarifying this, to be written tonight and voted on tomorrow.

    10 minute recess, then executive session for staff issues (staff will not be present). This is one of the limited purposes under the policy manual for which executive session is allowed. Starchild asks for a more detailed reason, but Neale says that is not possible.

  7. Matt Cholko

    I cannot imagine why anyone would want to serve as secretary or treasurer in any significant organization without pay. I’d want $10000 per year, at least, to serve in either of those capacities on the LNC. The time requirements, and more so the stress of those jobs is way too much to do for free. I’d probably consider any of the other positions on a volunteer basis.

  8. Wes Wagner

    Hinkle got added back to the LNC because there are people who are more interested in political games than the health of the organization and its ability to serve its purpose.

    That has a natural result of the organization then being destroyed by people who would prefer to not let a parasite live.

  9. Michael H. Wilson

    Twenty years of nit picking and bickering and I am either crazy for staying around or have been driven crazy by being around it.

    Either way I am just about ready to let the door slam me in the ass on the way out.

  10. Chuck Moulton

    The LNC came back in session at 1 pm.

    No chair report. We’re in the budget discussion now. Starr had Visek distribute a number of questions about budget assumptions.

    As before I will post more detailed comments when I get real wifi.

  11. Chuck Moulton

    4 projects were adopted by a 16-0-2 vote:
    service level agreement
    legal offense fund
    libertarian angels
    you might be a libertarian

    All 4 were Neale ideas first presented at the strategic planning session on Friday.

  12. Jill Pyeatt

    CM @ 11: I’m amused that Starr, the King of Secrecy, is demanding transparency (although, of course, I think everything should be available).

    I’m also disturbed at Visek’s public criticism of Ruth. It seems to me that Ruth’s already-difficult job will be made harder now that everyone is watching her. Perhaps that could have been handled better, but–hey, I’ve been an employer for 28 years and I know that humiliating someone is the least effective way of improving performance. I agree that secretary would be a very difficult position for sure. I’m personally much too ADD for it.

  13. Jill Pyeatt

    It also sounds like they haven’t wasted time in discussing which salutations to use. That’s good.

    Also, Chuck, thanks for being our lifeline here. I’m glad to have a general idea of what’s happening there.

  14. Chuck Moulton

    After a ballot access report, we’re now listening to Pojunis and Mack from Big-L Solutions give a presentation for a new lp.org bid. After that Market Aces will pitch their lp.org overhaul. Then there will be a presention on DC real estate.

  15. Starchild

    We just heard 2 presentation on revamps of the website (LP.org), the second one also purporting to address branding and social media, etc. First by LNC members Brett Pojunis and Jillian Mack, second by a company called Market Aces.

    Both have some good elements to them (chiefly making the website more interactive), but color me skeptical. The second one in particular sounds very expensive.

    Now we’re hearing a presentation on real estate related to the possibility of buying or leasing a new building for the national office.

  16. Starchild

    By some miracle there did turn out to be WiFi here. No idea whose. I brought a video camera, which I’m woefully technically ignorant about, and Chuck recorded some video, but the memory ran out. Also don’t have the connection to upload it. Hopefully can get that worked out at home.

    I really wish, since we pay for staff to be at meetings anyway (typically executive director Carla Howell and operations director Robert Kraus), that we would make it policy for staff to always film the meetings and immediately upload the footage.

  17. Starchild

    I voted for Dan Wiener’s motion to move forward with these four projects (no particular order):

    1. develop “service-level-agreement” (we’re not tied to this term, which I dislike as it’s too corporate-oriented) with opt-in
    2. legal offense fund
    3. UmightB.com
    4. LibertarianAngels.com project-based donations

    My vote was largely based on #3 and #4, both of which I think are good, solid ideas. Libertarian Angels, in particular, is essentially the project-based fundraising concept that myself and some others have been suggesting.

    Instead of just making general fundraising appeals, present a list of projects, with details about each, and let prospective voters choose which ones to fund. I’d love to see us get away from sending people unwanted email and direct mail form letters. I think people would actually be *interested* — I know I would — in seeing a regularly updated list of Libertarian projects on the table and how much support they have. If I got an email every week listing those projects, I could well imagine clicking through from time to time and donating on the website to that project — certainly more often than I respond to current LP fundraising spam, which is rarely if ever.

    “UMightB.com” would be tied to a campaign with member-generated or grassroots-generated slogans along the lines of “If… then you might be a libertarian”, for example, “If you think the War on Drugs is doing more harm than the drugs themselves, you might be a libertarian.” 15-second spots along this theme would be developed for national TV, such as on the Stossel show (cost for that show $350 for 15 seconds). People could choose which ads to fund.

  18. Starchild

    The idea of the “service level agreement” is basically just to have an understanding between the state affiliates and national office about what things the national office would do, and what “services” it would provide to the affiliates. I can see some value to this, but the way it was pitched sounded almost like talking about a franchiser/franchisee relationship (i.e. corporate and top-down). The devils, if any, will be not only in the details, but in the description and the culture promoted by that description.

  19. Jill Pyeatt

    All four of those projects sound worthy, plus it looks like forward movement to me–a good sign!

  20. Starchild

    Jill @25 – This was Geoff Neale’s idea; I think he has mainly fighting back on ballot access in mind. I like the general idea too; less so his proposed slogan to go with it, “Let’s be offensive” (no, I don’t think he was joking).

  21. Chuck Moulton

    Longer updates from earlier…

    No chair’s report. Neale says everything is either routine or covered in another report.

    Budget discussion:

    Three budget scenarios presented: 1) stay at the Watergate, 2) move to a different location with a cheaper lease, or 3) buy a building.

    Visek says the treasurer’s report should be distributed to the LNC earlier because there wasn’t enough time to digest it before the meeting. Visek then handed out questions and notes written by Aaron Starr and suggested that Starr be given an opportunity to speak about the budget. Neale asked LNC treasurer Hagan the questions on Starr’s list.

  22. Chuck Moulton

    The Pojunis & Mack lp.org pitch and the Market Aces lp.org pitch were both moved back in the agenda (to 3:00 and 3:30 pm).

    The staff report was moved to after discussion of final budget items.

    Goals and strategy:

    Lark didn’t make it to the strategy session on Friday, so Neale took over this agenda item. From the strategic planning session yesterday: Neale pitches a “If you … then you might be a libertarian” campaign involving members submitting taglines, members voting for the best taglines, members making videos highlighting the taglines, and putting the videos on TV as 15 second spots on Stossel. Libertarian angels… let LP members be venture capitalists for ideas using project based fundraising. Pojunis is going to help find crowd appropriate funding software for the website. There was talk of a service level agreement between national headquarters and the state affiliates.

    Visek says the 3 projects coming out of the strategic planning session were all Neale ideas that he had before the planning session, so what was the point of coming in on Friday rather than Neale just emailing the ideas?

    Tomasso says there was a lot of discussion about electing candidates in the strategy session, so perhaps we should allocate more money in the budget for training. Visek points out ballot access was also discussed a lot, so we should allocate money for lobbying. Neale suggested a legal offense fund doing project based fundraising to help with ballot access legal battles. Vohra echoed Moulton’s suggestion from Friday that we mine our database for a list of volunteer lawyers using the occupation field. Starchild proposed we reach out to groups that are beat up and marginalized like those imprisoned for drug offenses. He also wanted the LNC to adopt the 5 key values from the grassroots libertarians caucus.

    Wiener moves that we adopt 4 projects:
    service level agreement
    legal offense fund
    libertarian angels
    you might be a libertarian

    Redpath clarifies that all 4 projects will be self-funded, not funded using the general fund.

    Starchild moves to divide the question to vote on the projects separately. The division motion failed.

    roll call vote on adopting the 4 projects:
    Tomasso – yes
    Lark – abstain
    Visek – yes
    Frankel – yes
    Bennett – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Vohra – yes
    Starchild – yes
    Hinkle – yes
    Olsen – yes
    Kirkland – yes
    Mack – yes
    Wiener – yes
    Pojunis – yes
    Wrights – abstain
    Neale – yes

    passes 16-0-2

  23. Chuck Moulton

    Counsel’s report:

    No executive session needed. It was very short.

    Ballot access report:

    Redpath talks about ballot access retention in various states.

    He suggested not using retired people who travel a lot (like Clark and Bergland) for our stand-in presidential candidates. Iowa would have been a lot easier if Clark hadn’t been traveling. Redpath wants stand-in candidates crazy glued to a chair next to a phone and a mailbox and a fax machine for 6 months. He wants less big city petitioning and more organized validation efforts in the future. More volunteer effort is needed. Visek wants to form a ballot access committee. Petitioners are still owed $14,555.43.

    Motion: Increase ballot access line to $382,000 for 2012. (mainly to pay unpaid petitioners)

    roll call vote on increasing ballot access line:
    Frankel – abstain
    Wrights – not in room
    Bennett – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Vohra – yes
    Redpath – yes
    Starchild – no
    Hinkle – yes
    Olsen – no
    Kirkland yes
    Mack – yes
    Wiener – yes
    Pojunis – yes
    Tomoasso – yes
    Lark – yes
    Visek – yes
    Neale – yes

    It passes 14-2-2.

    Hinkle asked Redpath about FEC lawsuit regarding estate donations to a political party. Alan Gura is representing the LP.

  24. Chuck Moulton

    Next there are 3 presentations: Pojunis/Mack Big-L Solutions, Market Aces, and DC real estate.

    Pojunis/Mack focused on 1) a website revamp with a hierarchical big button structure like apple.com that included a lot of wordpress-like blog functions and 2) a database revamp that is an implementation of Civi/CRM integrated with Raiser’s Edge.

    Market Aces pitched a website revamp with nice graphics and integrated marketing (a page for each person listing how much money they raised and how many members they recruited). Owner and all the employees are libertarians. Other Market Aces clients: Students for Liberty, Koch Institute, University of Minnesota, Russia Today.

    The real estate people said DC costs twice as much as Alexandria. Alexandria costs about the same as Arlington, but Arlington has much larger buildings, so Alexandria is more likely to have a stand-alone building that is the right size for the LP.

  25. Chuck Moulton

    Next Blau will be talking about the building fund and issues with buying a building. It is mainly questions and answers and lots of people giving their opinions.
    But frankly I ducked out of the room for a half hour to talk with people in the hallway.

    It’s 5:45. They are on the discussing and defining budget factors agenda item hoping to finish it before they break for the night (to make a 7 pm dinner) so they can think about the budget and discuss it with each other informally overnight.

    affiliate support + $16k for cloud database
    data cleansing

    Olsen is presenting a motion for a cloud based (information technology term… nothing to do with Michael Cloud) database (it could be Pojunis & Mack’s Saratoga or Flood’s Liberty Manager or whatever according to Olsen). Neale is interpretting the motion as a $16,000 addition to the budget allocated to the affiliate support committee for the purpose of a cloud based database.

    Pojunis is talking about data cleansing. 66% email bounces from the national list in Ohio. He’s suggesting using a cleansing service to update data like email, phone, etc. fixing the bad info with better info from other sources. It would cost $17,500 to cleanse the LP’s 400,000 records. Pojunis is asking that $17,500 be added to the budget allocated to the IT committee for the purpose of data cleansing.

    At this point they adjourned for the night. The meeting will resume at 8:30 am on Sunday.

  26. Marc Montoni

    So… They have time to listen to Visek and her partisan-hack high-schoolish whining, but they still don’t have time to discuss getting the election districts down to precincts imported into the database.

    This group is simply hopeless.

    What are people thinking when they return the majority to their positions of obstruction?

    And obviously Starr hasn’t yet gotten the message.

  27. George Phillies

    66% email bounces. You did the mailing. OK, now you have a list of the bounces for national. National fixes their database, so now it is up to date. That’s a use of pre-law interns.

    I did this for Massachusetts. The corrections were sent to National, which given a bad email address TomSwift@Appleton.com indicated it had no practical way to fix the address.

  28. wes wagner

    Don’t spend any money on Oregon data for libertarians… I can get it for free with precinct level detail.

    You might find that true in many states.

    Wes

  29. Christopher

    You should collect the donation receipts from this year and put them into the database, or rather a database, so you know which people might be leaning your way.

  30. Starchild

    Regarding the vote Chuck documents @36, the reason I voted for against extra money for ballot access is that my understanding is that when we appropriated for that earlier this season, the agreement with the Johnson campaign was that the campaign would cover any further costs.

    I do want the paid petitioners who helped with this important work to be compensated, but it seemed premature to make the appropriation without first hearing from the Johnson campaign about why they supposedly cannot do it, as per the original arrangement. I believe that Ron Nielson or someone from the campaign will be here to talk with us tomorrow anyway.

    Norm Olsen told me he voted against the appropriation for a more fundamental reason — that he sees the LNC spending money on ballot access as giving $400k to a few states, while the rest get only $7k (our current affiliate support budget line item). I don’t particularly share that view — helping states that face ballot access hurdles seems to me like a reasonable thing to address at the national level, considering its importance to our presidential campaigns which have more benefit to state and local affiliates the stronger they are — but I do respect Norm for sticking to his guns on the issue.

  31. Starchild

    Okay, IPR check in done, now time to go schmooze at Freddie’s Fabulous Champagne bar, or some gay joint of a similar name whence people were migrating…. :-)

  32. Thomas L. Knapp

    WW@44,

    “Don’t spend any money on Oregon data for libertarians… I can get it for free with precinct level detail.”

    You seem to think that the point is to get the data. What makes you so sure that the point isn’t to get the money [to someone]?

  33. Michael H. Wilson

    Marc @ 39 I can put a name into our Sec. of State’s web site and get the legislative district and the precinct #’s. I am then entering them into the dump we are sent in columns AC & AD. We are one of the larger states but I should have the info done in a few weeks working a few minutes each night. If I want to that is which may not be much longer.

  34. Michael H. Wilson

    And Tom Blanton @ 42 is right. This party and its internal bickering and do nothing attitude which was on display today thanks to LNC member who seems to think public humiliation is a great idea.

  35. George Phillies

    @50 I believe ‘do something’ was in fact being seen there, the ‘something’ being in my opinion to motivate Bennett to resign so that the usual suspects can persuade the LNC to appoint Mattson, Starr, Rutherford, or one of their cronies to the position.

  36. George Phillies

    There are many things that seem unlikely to work. However, even if something seems unlikely to work, one can see what it is trying to do. In addition a record is being established for 2014 and the next NatCon.

  37. Andy

    “He suggested not using retired people who travel a lot (like Clark and Bergland) for our stand-in presidential candidates. Iowa would have been a lot easier if Clark hadn’t been traveling. Redpath wants stand-in candidates crazy glued to a chair next to a phone and a mailbox and a fax machine for 6 months.”

    For everyone’s information, I pointed out months ago that it was unnecessary to use Ed Clark and David Bergland months ago, as in before this became a problem. I said why bother using these guys when any legally qualified LP member could be used as a stand in candidate, and I in fact offered to be a stand in candidate myself in Iowa, and to finish the Iowa petition drive, and I said that I’ll sing the necessary paper work to substitute whoever the LP delegates pick to be the Presidential candidate at the National Convention. My offer was ignored.

    I see absolutely no reason at all to insisted on using Ed Clark and David Bergland or any candidate from the past as stand in candidates. It’s not like the vast majority of the public knows who any of these people are, so it is not like their names on the petition brings in some great benefit.

    “He wants less big city petitioning and more organized validation efforts in the future.”

    While I agree that having petitioners working in more than on part of a state is a good idea, and I also agree that validity checks are a good idea, I disagree with the notion that one can’t get good validity in a big city. That is just flat out not true. A lot of it depends on how good of a job the petition circulator did of screening the potential signers. Another factor is which parts of the city are they working. Average validity rates can drop in certain areas, but making a blanket statement that one can’t get good validity out of a big city is just not factually accurate.

  38. Andy

    Message to anyone who voted against paying petitioners money that is owed to them:

    Do you people realize that money has been owed for several months? The last petition drives ended on September 6th. It is not November 18th. There is money that has been owed since July. Yes, freaking JULY.

    How in the hell long do you think that it is reasonable for people to wait to get paid? Petitioners went out and busted their asses, often times in miserable heat, while often times being harassed and threated by law enforcement, and dealing with members of the public, many of whom are apathetic, or in some cases even hostile, and on top of this, the petitioners had to incur a bunch of travel expenses, yet some of you people think that this is OK, and think that we should not get paid, or that it’s OK to delay payment for several more weeks or months.

    It is NOT a standard operating procedure for petitioner circulators to wait for weeks or months to get paid. This is completely unacceptable, and if anything, LATE FEES SHOULD BE INCURRED.

    The agreements were made by the Libertarian National Party. The ball was only passed to the Gary Johnson campaign when LP National ran out of funds (and it’s funny how I did not see any effort to raise more funds). The Johnson campaign is now passing the ball back to LP National because they claim that they are now broke (where’s the effort to raise more money?).

    Perhaps next time the petition circualtors should all hold on to the signatures until they get paid. Don’t pay and fail to make the ballot. Well that’s just too damn bad.

    There’s a word for luring people to work with a promise of pay, and then not delivering on the pay after the work is done, it’s called fraud. Initiation of fraud violates the Libertarian Party statement of principles.

    I’d label delaying payment as a form of fraud as well, particularly when nobody informs you that the pay is going to be delayed, or for how long (I was told we’d be paid weeks ago).

    Fortunately, I’m not as hard up as some of the people are, but I can tell everyone that there are petitioners who have been owed money for a long time and that are in fact hard up. One guy had his car break down and he has not had the money to get it fixed for weeks due to this pay delay. This person has been without transportation for weeks because the Libertarian Party doesn’t pay its bills on time.

    I actually advanced some money out of my own pocket to some of the petition circulators which I have not even been reimbursed for yet, so I’m basically giving out an interest free loan because the Libertarian Party is not paying its bills on time.

    When the people who went out and did the work to get this party on the ballot do not get paid it’s not time to sit back and play games. The money needs to flow, and anyone obstructing this from happening needs to go.

  39. Andy

    Oh yeah, another one of the petitioners who is owed money literally got stranded after the pay had been delayed for a few weeks. This person called me up desperately asking when they were going to get the rest of the money from the LP petition drive. I told them that I’d contacted the Gary Johnson campaign and LP National and had not received any responses, so I didn’t know. I ended up fronting this person $350 out of my own pocket (with the assumption that I’d get it back when the LP finally paid out the rest of what was owed) so they could afford a Greyhound bus ticket so they could get to another job and afford a room for a few days. After this person arrived at the other job they ended up running through most of that money in a few days and they had to then share a one bedroom motel room with 4 other people, so this person had to sleep on the floor in a crowed room, which would not have been necessary if the LP had simply paid him on time.

  40. Andy

    Another one of the petitioners that is owed money had to face the embarrassment of going back to their regular place of residence and not having enough money to pay his brother back money that he owes him. Why? Because the LP did not pay on time. This person’s brother has called me multiple times asking where the money is.

    Another petitioner that is owed money is a person who is new to petitioning this year. This person worked one ballot initiative drive. After that was over they then went to petition in another state for an independent candidate. While they were petitioning for an independent candidate somebody told them about the Libertarian Party hiring petitioners, so they went to work for the LP for the first time after the independent candidate finished. They said that it ended up taking a month to get paid from the LP drive. They worked one other LP drive after this, and it ended on September 6th and they still have not been paid everything. This person called me a week or two ago convinced that they were being ripped off. I told the person that the money is supposed to come, and they asked when, and I replied that I did not know for sure, but it’s supposed to come. Such a response does not exactly instill confidence.

  41. Andy

    I wonder if Gary Johnson’s campaign staff or the staff at the LP National office has had their pay delayed by several weeks or months. I doubt it.

    If the LP hadn’t paid its office rent at the Watergate in DC since July I imagine that the party would be facing eviction by now.

    How about the phone bill at the LP National office? If that hadn’t been paid since July I imagine that phone service would have been shut off by now.

  42. George Phillies

    Andy,

    LP National has scads of cash in its reserve fund. The notion that they do not have the money to pay these people is not supported by their financial report.

    Johnson appears to be in a similar boat, except, of course, that his campaign already had enormous debts when he got the nomination.

    We appear to have the first time anyone told the LNC that they owed petitioners money, which I find to be astonishing, both that they were still owed and that no mention was made of it in any location that I see. If the matter had been raised, IMHO there would have been an earlier committee response. Did anyone tell Paulie about it? Or Tim Hagan? The debt appears in no earlier Treasurer’s report, either the balance sheet variety, the FEC variety, or the written Treasurer’s notes.

    I can perfectly well see a board member, told at this very late date about the debt, insisting on some substantiation beyond the normal that the claim is legitimate.

    There is indeed some evidence that the Johnson campaign staff took a while to be paid.

  43. Robert Capozzi

    Paying salaries and paying on contracts is often done in different cycles in most enterprises that I’m aware of. If the contractors don’t negotiate for firmer payment schedules, they are likely to get slow-paid, yes?

  44. Starchild

    We are talking about the budget right now.

    I NEED HELP. If you are familiar with this stuff and have ideas of areas where we can cut expenses — the more detailed, the better — please post ASAP.

    Thanks all!

  45. Nicholas Sarwark

    @63 – I suggest listening to Norm Olsen and following his lead on budget issues. Most importantly that 97.5% of the proposed budget is for administrative costs and 2.5% for all program costs.

    What gets funded gets done.

  46. Starchild

    $1.12 million budget adopted, including $100k reserves. Line item detail unfortunately NOT gone into. Hopefully will still have opportunity to do so.

  47. Starchild

    Nick @64 – Norm was only one to vote no on last motion; I voted yes, because overall budget had already been set, and last motion was only to establish $100k reserve.

    What would you recommend cutting in administrative costs? I’d love to cut salaries, but am not sure how to go about doing so (contracts, etc.)

  48. Seebeck

    Hey, here’s the HQ solution: buy a motor coach, wrap it, and make it a rolling HQ. Workspace and crash space all rolled into one, free publicity wherever it goes, and gas cheaper than rent. Tow a trailer for storage. And by driving it in rotation it can actually make several LNC members be useful for a change.,

  49. Nicholas Sarwark

    @66 – I haven’t looked closely at the proposed budget, though Norm was kind enough to forward to me. That’s why I kind of go with Norm on this, even though I also disagree with him on a couple of priorities (ballot access, building), I find that he’s worth listening to on most stuff.

    Talk to him at the break, he might have some specific ideas of what could be cut.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    62 LPR: You better believe Ron Nielson’s getting paid!!!!!

    me: Could be, and could be that he’s getting paid per his agreement. Personally, I don’t care for the slow-pay ethic and practice…seems like bad karma to me. Were I a petitioner, I’d want to get the most clear, firm terms I could. But, apparently, the slow-pay practice seems common in that sort of work.

  51. Chuck Moulton

    For some reason today I can access the lobby wifi from the meeting room (I couldn’t yesterday).

    Here is stuff that has happened so far today…

    Meeting called to order at 8:36 am Sunday morning.

    Redpath moves to adopt a budget with total revenues of $1,120,00.

    I stepped out of the room for 15 minutes.

    When I got back I heard they had passed a budget with a total revenue that was higher this coming year (a non-presidential year) than last year (a presidential year).

    roll call vote on whether to have a $1.12 million revenue budget:
    Wiener – no
    Pojunis – yes
    Tomasso – no
    Lark – yes
    Visek – no
    Frankel – yes
    Neale – yes
    Wrights – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Bennett – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Vohra – yes
    Redpath – yes
    Starchild – no
    Olsen – yes
    Kirklank – yes
    Mack – yes
    Hinkle – yes

    passes 14-4-0

    (I was not in the room for this roll call vote, but this is what I’ve been told by many in the room.)

    Redpath moves to adopt a budget with total expenses of $1,020,000.

    roll call vote on whether to have a $1.02 million expense budget:
    Wiener – yes
    Pojunis – yes
    Tomasso – yes
    Lark – yes
    Visek – yes
    Frankel – yes
    Neale – yes
    Wrights – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Bennett – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Vohra – yes
    Redpath – yes
    Starchild – yes
    Olsen – no
    Kirklank – yes
    Mack – yes
    Hinkle – yes

    passes 17-1-0

  52. Starchild

    I just moved we cut $6000 from travel/meeting expense line item of $27,200, to eliminate spending on food for LNC meetings, which operations director Robert Kraus said costs $1000/day (3 two-day meetings/year = $6000).

    This motion failed for lack of a second after chair asked Kraus whether money could be saved by cutting food, or whether it would raise our other meeting expenses (being charged more for rooms) and he said it would.

    I think the membership should be outraged that we’re spending $1000 per LNC meeting day on food, and I simply don’t believe that we cannot cut this expense without raising other expenses!

  53. Nicholas Sarwark

    I guess you can plan for a certain amount of revenues, but it’s not really in your control like expenditures.

    I would prefer the LNC use past election/non-election year baselines for revenues instead of making numbers up.

  54. Kimberly Wilder

    I am a non-Libertarian Party member just kibitzing…I think you should make sure that your petitioners are paid. It is important to appreciate people who do the grunt-work of democracy. Also, you will need those petitioners again, soon. Seems like a high priority.

  55. Nicholas Sarwark

    @72 – hotel/meeting room/food are all tied together in a multi-variable equation. Better plan is to just shave 5-10% off the budget for meetings and let staff figure out how to negotiate to that target.

  56. Chuck Moulton

    They need to cut out a bunch of itemized expenses to make the expenses add up to the $1.02 million that the LNC adopted as the total expenses.

    Redpath asked the LNC to allow Aaron Starr to address the LNC on ways to reduce expenses. The LNC voted to allow Starr to speak.

    Starr suggested reducing fundraising and membership expenses. A specific motion was put forth, but I haven’t gotten the language. I believe it was to reduce them each by 23%. Since revenue is being budgeted down, it makes sense to budget down fundraising expenses according to Redpath.

    They need to cut expenses by $143,250 (approximately) to make things balance. This proposal would reduce expenses by $48,250, leaving $95,000 left to go.

    A vote has not yet occurred.

  57. George Phillies

    I’m surprised the LNC was able to get its hands on the petitions without having check in hand. That’s standard practice. I always paid on delivery.

    It is a *really* good guess that Andy and friends will make very sure by the start of next year that every single petitioner in the country knows that the LNC does not always pay on time, and therefore that you should never hand over the signatures unless you have been handed the check first.

  58. Starchild

    Nick @76 – I understand that, however I wanted it understood that the thing we didn’t want to pay for was food, because otherwise someone would say staff won’t be able to travel to meetings (not that I think it’s absolutely necessary to have two or more staff at every meeting either).

  59. Nicholas Sarwark

    @79 – I understand that, but you are not likely to be successful in controlling expenditures at that fine-grained of a level. Nor, frankly, should you be at the LNC level. The LNC needs to be strategic, not tactical.

  60. Chuck Moulton

    Budget discussion was extended by an hour (from 1 hour to 2 hours).

    Wiener is proposing taking $25,000 for website redevelopment out of the budget and moving it to project based fundraising.

    But it seems to be out of order right now because Redpath’s motion is still being discussed.

    Michael Cloud disclosed that he is the contract fundraiser for the national office and he makes a commission of %15 (lower than his usual 23%). He urged people to vote against the motion, but will be abstaining from the vote. Pojunis strongly urged people to vote against the motion because he thinks it will discourage fundraising, which we need a lot more of. Pojunis and Mack will also be abstaining from the vote due to conflicts of interest from their fundraising commissions with the double the LP campaign.

    roll call vote on reducing fundraising and membership budget lines by $48,250:
    Pojunis – abstain
    Tomasso – yes
    Lark – no
    Visek – no
    Frankel – no
    Neale – yes
    Wrights – no
    Bennett – no
    Hagan – yes
    Cloud – abstain
    Vohra – no
    Redpath – no
    Starchild – yes
    Hinkle – no
    Olsen – yes
    Kirkland – no
    Mack – abstain
    Wiener – no

    It fails 5-10-3.

  61. George Phillies

    We don’t have as much money, so we should cut fundraising. We want more members, so we should target “membership expenses”. That’s what Starr is pushing.

    What does the budget show?
    2009 2012
    32-Fundraising Costs 145,588 181,200
    33-Membership Fundraising Costs 73,486 124,650

    Program Expense
    Adminstrative Costs 379,255 346,100
    Compensation 342,028 424,000
    Affiliate Support 300 7,100
    Brand Development 34 2,700
    Campus Outreach 0 0
    Candidate, Campaign & Initiatives 0 0
    Ballot Access Petitioning Related 5,500 0
    Litigation 5,366 4,800
    Media 5,745 1,000
    Member Communication/Materials 33,091 35,000
    Outreach 3,016 12,200
    Project Program Other 0 0
    Total Program Expense 774,338 832,900
    Operating Surplus (or Deficit) 86,288 20,250

    Fundraising costs, Membership fundraising costs, administrative costs, and compensation are 92.8% of the total budget.

    Doing politics? Most of the rest, the 7%.

    That’s the budget if we stay in the Watergate office. If we buy a building, the LNC will alleged raise an extra quarter million dollars, while needing an extra $7000 in fundraising expenses.

  62. Starchild

    Nick @80 – With all due respect, I think this is a big part of the reason why Congress has so much trouble cutting expenses. The big categories there is too much resistance, and the small categories the would-be cutters get accused of micromanaging. When cuts are needed, you’ve got to start cutting somewhere. I’d rather start small and go after the low-hanging fruit. Or in this case, the low-hanging pastries and fruit.

  63. Chuck Moulton

    Hinkle moves to increase the revenues on the budget by $43,250. This would balance the budget leaving no surplus (there was formerly a $100,000 surplus in the budget assumptions with revenue of $1.12 million and expense of $1.02 million). This makes the revenue even more wildly optimistic (higher than reasonable following a presidential year).

    At this point it is 11:00 am and the LNC taking up the agenda item at a time certain, hearing from Ron Nielson about the Gary Johnson campaign by speaker phone. At the end of the call, the budget discussion will resume where it left off.

  64. George Phillies

    The budget line approval is so coarse grained that the LNC is exerting almost no control over how it is spending the money.

    Starchild is absolutely right that somewhat finer graining is needed.

    Thus, for example, the LNC is paying royalties *to three of its own members* for doing fundraising. That’s with a budget that on and off has included board fundraising as a line item with no matching expense line.

    Did the LNC ever approve paying its own members? Not hardly.

    “New LNC Kickback Scheme” is perhaps overstated.

  65. Nicholas Sarwark

    @84 – The LNC is not Congress. It’s the governing board of a political party. If you could fix the ratios of administrative/political expenses to something less than 93/7 (per George’s analysis in comment 83), I wouldn’t care whether you spent $1,000 on pastries.

    As a corollary, if you stop spending $1,000 on pastries, but don’t change the strategic direction of the Party, you’re being penny wise, pound foolish.

  66. Starchild

    “Most of our efforts will now be through a PAC, Our American Initiative PAC” – Ron Neilson (in response to Brett Pojunis) in strategic spending now for ballot access.

    Ron said Gary DOES intend to run in 2016, and his feeling that he has found a home in the Libertarian Party remains unchanged.

  67. George Phillies

    “Michael Cloud disclosed that he is the contract fundraiser for the national office and he makes a commission of %15″

    Where is that expense hiding in the budget? It was not there in 2009 spending. What expense was augmented to cover this new cost?

  68. Stewart Flood

    So Pojinis and Mack, both ELECTED members of the board are bidding on a revamp of the party’s website and database?

    As many who post here are aware, I have offered several times in the past to do it without compensation (the database, I have no interest in touching the website).

    I was contacted by Mr Olsen, and although I repeatedly told him that I will not accept compensation, he asked the LNC for funding for a project that does not require it.

  69. Starchild

    Stewart @93 – What would be your approach on the database? There are tons of database and information management related ideas being tossed around.

  70. Chuck Moulton

    (Note: It was very hard to keep up. Apologies if any of my summaries are inaccurate.)

    Nielson said Johnson plans to run again in 2016.

    Vohra asked him whether Johnson would run LP, or would he try to run Republican again first. In a long convoluted answer, Neilson seemed to stay he would stick with the LP (though if it was really clearcut, I don’t understand why his answer wasn’t shorter).

    Starchild asked him whether the Johnson campaign could pay remaining petitioners who have not yet been paid for their 2012 presidential petitioning.

    Pojunis told Nielson about the legal offense fund the LNC approved and asked whether the Johnson campaign has resources (enthusiastic lawyers) that could help with the project.

    Neale says he will brief Neilson after the meeting on what the LNC did with the budget and new projects this weekend.

    Redpath asked if Johnson could run for Governor of New Mexico again or if he was term limited out. Nielson said he thought the law limited governors to 2 consecutive terms, but more non-consecutive terms were possible (off the top of his head). He thought former NM Governor Kane? served 3 terms.

    Visek asked if there are things that the LP could do better to make the Johnson campaign better in the future. Neilson focused on ballot access, fundraising, and the debate commission.

    Lark asked whether the Governor plans to write columns, appear on television programs, etc. to keep Johnson’s name in the media. Through the Our America Initiative Johnson will continue to try appearing in the media and will visit around 30 college campuses.

    Tomasso asked whether Johnson and Gray would be available to speak at state conventions. Nielson answered yes. Schedule through Apollo.

    Mack asked if more local support would be helpful for Johnson’s travel and what sort of support would help presidential candidates travel and speak to more affiliates.

    Wiener asked what could have been done better in the campaign. Nielson talked about media that didn’t give Johnson good access and fundraising that was less than hoped for. But the Johnson campaign was very impressed with the grassroots volunteer support for Johnson.

    Hinkle asked about what ad buys were made by the campaign near the end. Nielson said he kept hoping their fundraising would be better the next day. The number 1 goal was to build a grassroots organization. Advertising was a secondary priority. $200,000 was spent on advertising — mainly on radio to increase grassroots activism. There were some television buys at the very end of the campaign. There was an anti-war drone ad ran on CNN. And there was a 5% ad ran on Fox. It would take a lot of funds to compete with the onslaught of ads from Romney, Obama, etc.

    Frankel asks are there things you would have done more of or less of or differently if you knew how they were going to work out when the campaign started. Nielson focused on money. He thinks more non-traditional fundraising is necessary, as traditional fundraising did not meet expectations. If they had more money, they would have more freedom to make different decisions.

    Visek asked how much did the campaign spend on ballot access? Nielson says between $155,000 and $170,000. A complete written report will be sent to the LNC shortly.

    Wrights said that a friend congratulated him for Johnson’s performance, saying Wrights got to run himself without doing any of the work by making Johnson a better candidate.

    Neale expressed his gratitude to Nielson for calling in.

  71. Michael H. Wilson

    Having just finished a successful fund raising effort for the LPWA I would like to know what it costs the national party to send out a letter and what steps they use? Anyone have any idea?

  72. NewFederalist

    @96… I believe Johnson is eligible to run for governor again. It used to be one could not succeed oneself but you could have as many non-consecutive terms as one could win. Bruce King was elected governor three times but never consecutively. Ironically, he was trying to become the first governor in New Mexico history to succeed himself (after the Constitution was changed) but lost to none other than Gary Johnson! I don’t remember anything in the new law that limits the number of terms you can have just that there cannot be more than two consecutively.

  73. Starchild

    Dianna Visek just nailed it with comment that we’re adopting Congress’s budgeting methods, just spend what we want to and project that the money will be there, while leaving zero in surplus.

  74. Chuck Moulton

    Olsen offers an amendment: establish a zero surplus. It fails by a voice vote.

    roll call on increasing the revenues on the budget by $43,250:
    Hagan – no
    Cloud – yes
    Vohra – no
    Redpath – yes
    Starchild – no
    Hinkle – yes
    Olsen – yes
    Kirkland – yes
    Mack – yes
    Wiener – no
    Pojunis – yes
    Tomasso – yes
    Lark – yes
    Visek – no
    Frankel – yes
    Neale – yes
    Wrights – no
    Bennett – yes

    It passes 12-6-0.

    Pojunis moves that we consider all additional budget items on the chart individually.

    Redpath moves to substitute to consider the 30 non-zero line items in the detailed budget first.

  75. Chuck Moulton

    Lark moved that the member communications and materials item (line 85) from $35,000 to $28,000. This is pretty much the LP News budget. Lark

    roll call on reducing LP News budget (line 85) from $35,000 to $28,000:
    Redpath – yes
    Starchild – no
    Hinkle – no
    Olsen – yes
    Kirkland – no
    Mack – yes
    Wiener – yes
    Pojunis – yes
    Tomasso – no
    Lark – yes
    Visek – yes
    Frankel – no
    Wrights – yes
    Bennett – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Cloud – not present
    Vohra – yes
    Neale – yes

    It passes 12-5-1.

    Redpath moves to reduce outreach expense (line 88) from $12,200 to $4,000.

    roll call vote on reducing outreach expense (line 88) from $12,200 to $4,000:
    Wrights – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Vohra – yes
    Redpath – yes
    Starchild – no
    Hinkle – no
    Olsen – yes
    Kirkland – no
    Mack – yes
    Pojunis – yes
    Tomasso – no
    Lark – yes
    Visek – yes
    Frankel – yes
    Bennett – no
    Neale – yes
    Wiener – yes

    It passes 13-5-0.

  76. Chuck Moulton

    I’m missing a few votes that passed without objection to change various line items. But I’m getting all the roll calls. I’ll try to fill in the missed votes later.

    Starchild moves that travel, meeting, and meals expense (8140) be reduced from $27,200 to $22,700.

    roll call vote to reduce 8140 from $27,200 to $22,700:
    Bennett – yes
    Wrights – yes
    Frankel – yes
    Visek – yes
    Lark – yes
    Tomasso – yes
    Pojunis – no
    Wiener – yes
    Mack – yes
    Kirkland – yes
    Olsen – no
    Hinkle – yes
    Starchild – yes
    Redpath – yes
    Vohra – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Neale – yes

    It passes 16-2-0.

    Frankel moves that the LNC cut the discretionary budget by across the board a certain percentage instead of looking line by line for savings.

  77. George Phillies

    Super work, Chuck!

    Readers will observe that the actual political work is having its funding cut.

    If your 2010 delegates had elected the New Path, we would be in a much better place.

  78. Chuck Moulton

    Hinkle moves to substitute that the revenue for the budget be increased by $143,000 to make the budget balance. The motion to substitute fails.

    roll call on the motion to substitute increasing the budget by $143,000 so it will balance:
    Frankel – yes
    Visek – no
    Lark – no
    Tomasso – no
    Pojunis – no
    Wiener – no
    Mack – no
    Kirkland – abstain
    Olsen – yes
    Hinkle – yes
    Starchild – no
    Redpath – abstain
    Vohra – no
    Cloud -yes
    Hagan – no
    Bennett – yes
    Wrights – yes
    Neale – no

    It fails 6-10-2.

    roll call for cutting the discretionary budget across the board:
    Cloud – no
    Vohra – no
    Redpath – no
    Starchild – yes
    Hinkle – no
    Olsen – no
    Kirkland – no
    Mack – no
    Wiener – no
    Pojunis – no
    Tomasso – no
    Lark – no
    Visek – no
    Frankel – no
    Neale – no
    Wrights – yes
    Bennett – no
    Hagan – no

    It fails 2-16-0.

    Pizza break.

  79. Wes Wagner

    GP @105

    The implication of which is that by the time they are done, the overhead vs political activity ratio will be even more lopsided towards spending on overhead.

    In my handouts I did for the national convention, I was generous to the existing establishment in running the numbers ex-fundraising expenses and still demonstrated that over 90% was spent on overhead.

    Fundraising expenses themselves are a form of overhead… so the real money spent on political activity per $1 sent to the national HQ is closer to 5 cents. These budget cuts are making that worse because they are cutting the political activity… not the overhead.

    The LNC is further demonstrating that it is everything we, as rank and file members, claim we dislike about government.

  80. Chuck Moulton

    Redpath moves to reduce the insurance item (line 8160) from $11,600 to $10,000. It passes without objection.

    Executive session for staff compensation line item (for budgeting purposes).

  81. Reed E

    @111 I am speaking on the part of a State Party. Running a state affiliate isn’t like a government, the LNC is questionable and can be debated

  82. Wes Wagner

    Reed E@112

    I find the LNC highly questionable. To the extent of “should it even exist” type questionable.

  83. Chuck Moulton

    Vohra moves that we reduce the online cont exp – general item (line 7030-10) from $36,700 to $11,700, which eliminates the $25,000 expense for re-doing the website.

    roll call on reducing the online cont exp – general item (line 7030-10) from $36,700 to $11,700:
    Mack – yes
    Kirkland – yes
    Olsen – yes
    Hinkle – no
    Starchild – yes
    Redpath – yes
    Vohra – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Bennett – yes
    Wrights – yes
    Wiener – yes
    Pojunis – no
    Tomasso – yes
    Lark – yes
    Visek – yes
    Frankel – yes
    Neale – yes

    It passes 16-2-0.

  84. Chuck Moulton

    Redpath moves to rescind the motion limiting budget expenses to $1.02 million.

    Rescind the motion limiting budget expenses to $1.02 million:
    Hagan – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Vohra – yes
    Starchild – abstain
    Hinkle – yes
    Olsen – yes
    Kirkland – yes
    Mack – yes
    Wiener – yes
    Pojunis – yes
    Tomasso – yes
    Lark – yes
    Visek – yes
    Frankel – yes
    Wrights – no
    Neale – yes
    Redpath – yes
    Bennett – yes

    It passes 16-1-1.

    Redpath moves that we adopt the budget as amended.

    roll call on adopting the budget as amended:
    Lark – yes
    Tomasso – yes
    Pojunis – yes
    Wiener – yes
    Mack – yes
    Kirkland – yes
    Olsen – no
    Hinkle – yes
    Starchild – no
    Redpath – yes
    Vohra – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Bennett – yes
    Wrights – no
    Visek – yes
    Frankel – yes
    Neale – yes

    It passes 15-3-0.

  85. Tom Blanton

    How shocking, yes shocking, to discover that the nasty business of politics should arise in the process of ….well, politics.

    Some of the worst features of government include winner-take-all democracy and dominance by political hacks and opportunists. What a coincidence that these are also features of political organizations.

    To be anti-government is to be anti-politics. But, the LP is not anti-government and is therefore not anti-politics by default. Like other political parties, the LP is pro-government. So, if a little bit of statism is OK, then get used to a bit of politics – it comes with the turf.

  86. Chuck Moulton

    Visek moves that we form a ballot access committee of 3-5 members, including: Redpath, Frankel, and Visek, who will appoint 2 more members. It passes without objection.

    Hinkle moves that we suspend the rules to consider a resolution for purchasing of a building with 30 minutes for the agenda item.

  87. Starchild

    Chuck @114 – That was Arvin’s motion.

    We’re now talking about Dan Wiener’s proposal regarding buying a building in the greater Washington D.C. area.

  88. Chuck Moulton

    I wanted to make sure I got the exact language here. This is directly from Blau. It is unclear whether it is Blau’s motion or Wiener’s. Blau read it, but said it was Wiener’s motion and he wants to make some amendments.

    Move to approve the purchase of an office in the greater Washington, D.C. area contingent on the following conditions:

    A minimum of 33% of the purchase price plus build-out shall be raised from dedicated contributions. If a portion of that is in the form of pledges, the pledges must be converted to cash before a purchase contract and loan agreement are finalized.

    Any loan must be based on a minimum of a 30% down payment and a loan with options extending for a minimum of 10 years before a final balloon payment becomes due.

    The most recent financial statement reported unrestricted general fund balance must exceed $167,000 before a purchase contract and loan agreement are finalized.

    A 2/3 majority of the LNC must approve the specific terms of the purchase contract and loan agreement on an up-or-down vote.

    Additional payments towards the principal loan balance of at least $60,000 per year above the minimum loan requirement must be made, with this requirement structured in such a way that future LNC bodies cannot easily circumvent it. These payments shall be in the form of an additional $5,000 per month paid out of the general fund, but reimbursable from dedicated building fund contributions.

  89. Starchild

    Mike @68 writes, “Hey, here’s the HQ solution: buy a motor coach, wrap it, and make it a rolling HQ. Workspace and crash space all rolled into one, free publicity wherever it goes, and gas cheaper than rent. Tow a trailer for storage. And by driving it in rotation it can actually make several LNC members be useful for a change.”

    Sounds like the kind of “crazy” proposal I come up with. :-) Probably would never fly, and there could be many considerations to take into account, but I like the general idea a lot.

    I wish we had more Libertarians (especially in the party’s leadership) willing to think outside the box.

  90. Chuck Moulton

    Olsen moves to postpone decision on the building fund motion until the next meeting. It fails by a voice vote.

    Bennett moves that the building be called the David F. Nolan Libertarian Party headquarters. It passes without objection.

    Visek moves that the building fund motion be postponed to a mail ballot. It passes by a voice vote.

  91. Mark Axinn

    Several random thoughts:

    First, thanks so much to Chuck and Starchild for their helpful, detailed reports. I thought Joe and Paulie set a standard which could not be matched, but these gentlemen did an exemplary job too.

    As far as substance, I cannot fathom how anyone on LNC can vote against ballot access funding. Some states (e.g., Colorado and Florida) have incredibly easy access rules, but most don’t. It costs over $40,000 every two years to get candidates on the ballot in New York. The Libertarian Party is not a think tank or coffee club; it is a political party whose candidates espouse a certain philosophy and the LNC’s chief job is to support the affiliates in their efforts to get those candidates on the ballot and so that philosophy can be presented to the voters.

    I am chagrined to hear that some petitioners have not been paid. In 2010 and 2012, I coordinated petition drives which generated 60,000 signatures. We paid people on the spot.

    We also operated with very severe budget restrictions. Accordingly I watched expenses regularly and only engaged people to work for what I could afford to pay.

    To do otherwise, would be to emulate the US Congress, a standard I think we should avoid! :)

  92. Mark Axinn

    On legal offense fund:

    Excellent idea! I have been involved in six lawsuits since becoming a state chair. We need to use the courts to help keep the bastards from violating their own stupid rules, and in order to challenge those incredible barriers to entry wherever we can.

  93. Mark Axinn

    Mark @125.

    Not necessarily so. if the LP is no longer paying a ridiculously inflated rent (i.e. throwing donors’ money out the window), then funds are available for mortgage and real estate tax payments. Heck, we might even build some equity in the process.

  94. Mark Hilgenberg

    Mark @127 That is a big risk, especially when so many libertarians fear and economic collapse, talk about not practicing what we preach.

    We should not be throwing much money away in rent either, it is the 21st century, telecommuting and shared offices or networked executive suites like Regus are becoming popular. Offices are a thing of the past.

  95. Wes Wagner

    MH @128

    That is the LNC, fighting tomorrows battles using yesterdays techniques, and on our opponents’ terms.

  96. Chuck Moulton

    Pojunis and Mack gave a presentation on Double the LP. Neale asked if the LNC objected to continuing the LP’s contract with Pojunis and Mack. It was decided to handle this via a mail ballot.

    It is now time for regional reports.

  97. Stewart Flood

    Starchild @94,

    The system already exists. The party has used portions of it (the call center) but not the entire system.

  98. Stewart Flood

    If you have been following the counters on their website, you will find that the double the LP project only gained three new members during their “big event” in October.

  99. Jill Pyeatt

    SF @ 133: I think I saw something that a new “Double the LNC” event has been scheduled. Perhaps it will be more effective without an election going on.

  100. Mark Hilgenberg

    It is the focus on getting “members” that is the problem, it sounds very cultish to many people.

    We need to focus on donations, activists and outreach, “members” will be a byproduct of that focus.

  101. Robert Capozzi

    116 tb: To be anti-government is to be anti-politics.

    me: For you. I and likely most’d recognize that all collective activities involve some politics. Heck, even individual action does in a sense, as the individual weighs out the pros and cons of any action.

  102. Thomas L. Knapp

    Every few years, the subject of a whole new database solution comes up.

    Every few years, some people suggest going with widely used open-source software supported by a large developer community.

    Every few years, the “experts” insist that only an expensive proprietary solution will meet the party’s needs.

    Every few years, an expensive proprietary solution is chosen. Shortly thereafter, it becomes necessary to spend even more money hiring someone to figure out how to make the fucking thing work. And shortly after THAT, it becomes apparent that the fucking thing is never going to work, and that it was fucking stupid to spend a bunch of fucking money on the fucking thing instead of going with a free, open-source system supported by a large developer community.

    Every few years, the subject of a whole new database solution comes up.

  103. Stewart Flood

    You’re wrong, especially if you are implying that my system is/was expensive.

    Open source is not the answer to every question, especially when it involves requirements specific to a very small user community.

  104. Zapper

    The meeting may be ending, but the commission for fundraising should be looked at again.

    If there are LNC members with fundraising expertise (and there are), then they have a duty to the LP in their elected role to serve the LP’s best interest by setting up a network of volunteer funraisers who will work for free, make a number of fundraising calls and follow up calls and pay for their own expenses. This volunteer effort should be allowed to cover as much of the list as possible before any paid fundraisers are called in.

    It seems quite inappropriate to be paying an LNC member to raise funds. Either his work for the party should be as a volunteer or he should resign from the LNC.

  105. Stewart Flood

    @145,

    That is exactly why Pojunis and Mack are so offensive to many of us who have been around the LP for a while. They are after a quick buck, at the party’s expense.

    Fundraising by board members was part of the strategy from 2006-2008 and slightly beyond, but was dead by the 2010 convention.

  106. Reed E

    @147 I don’t know the full story behind that but I will say this: In Louisiana, we started doing fund-raising letters on a rather large scale. I would make and pay for them, then I would get reimbursement from the state after the returns came in. There is no way I could absorb the cost because I am simply a student but I could afford to be without that money for a while. If I was just expected to make it a “donation” every time we sent letters, it would never get done or if it did, it would be on a small scale. Then, instead of us making $500 and me being reimbursed for the $75 it cost me to make them, we would be making $0 and I would be reimbursed $0. Which is the better option?

  107. Wes Wagner

    Reed E @149

    This is not a matter of reimbursements… actual fees are being paid to people in income.

    People who have positions on the LNC should not be jockeying for graft.

  108. Reed E

    @150 no no, I am not saying that. I am saying that in the case of a portion of fund-raising income being paid to the person doing the fund-raising, that person might not otherwise be able to do the work. Doing it for a signifigant profit is a whole different subject

  109. Thomas L. Knapp

    GP @ 142,

    “Did you have a particular open source system in mind? Is there one?”

    Yes. The same one I recommended going in to the Raiser’s Edge debacle (it eventually became CiviCRM).

    SF @ 143,

    I wasn’t referring to your system. I don’t know enough about your system to comment on it, but I’m not pre-biased against it. I’m referring to the previously occurring cycles.

  110. David Colborne

    @152: Having used CiviCRM in the past, I agree that it can be a solid solution if it’s massaged into submission. Trouble is, getting it up and running isn’t easy or free – it has to be hosted somewhere, it has to be updated regularly if it’s going to be publicly accessible (security updates, etc. for web forms that link against it), and the initial data has to get populated somehow. The last point raises a serious issue – it really doesn’t matter if you use Razer’s Edge, CiviCRM, some MS Access hack job, or a bunch of Excel sheets, if you don’t architect your data, you’re going to end up with garbage in, garbage out. My personal suspicion is this is where the LP is falling down these days, and you can’t “tech the tech with the tech” your way out of it.

  111. Thomas L. Knapp

    DC @ 154,

    I agree — CiviCRM isn’t some magical easy perfect solution.

    The important differences between (for example) CiviCRM and (for example) Raiser’s Edge are:

    1) Initial cost of the product (CiviCRM is free; Raiser’s costs several thousand dollars per license); and

    2) Cost of having the thing set up and, as you put it, “massaged.” Raiser’s Edge is proprietary and Blackbaud charges out the ass to “massage” it. Anyone who wants to take the time to learn CiviCRM can compete for organizations’ “massage” business … where do you think the better prices are going to be found?

  112. Kleptocracy And You

    So Johnson’s man said fundraising was a disappointment. NO SH^%! Johnson a former 2-term Gov. didn’t raise any money from even his home state to make a R primary bid, how the HELL did they expect a small Alternative Party to fund a 5% effort? The 5% strategy BTW was so the “Party of Principle”‘and their candidate could get their hands into Uncle Sam’s pockets.

    In the heat of battle it was easy to overlook some of the moderate libertarian candidate’s positions on the issues. Now is the time to voice our opinion on some of these.

    As for Johnson running again, well the LP has done that before and it DIDN’T work ! They say ballot access, fundraising, and the debate commission are the main issues that the LP could help them. The LP’s donors are finite in a small way, there are millions of Rs and Independents to target. Ballot Access is important, but Johnson didn’t pay all his petitioners ! Think they will be gungho to work the next Johnson campaign? The Debate Commision ? No way does the LP influence this fraud RIGGED puppet show. Johnson would do better to plan a series of debates with other Alternative Candidates and two EMPTY chairs for the R and D.

    He will have a hard time getting major media again. You must ask, will a second Johnson run as the LP standard bearer HELP the LP or will it cause further division and harm to the brand? Decide now if you want a Johnson ’16 ? Remember his words about if there is no way to win, why bother! We know there isn’t a win in ’16 and they should be smart enough to know. Then again this guy talking is one of the few who made money off Johnson ’12 !

  113. Chuck Moulton

    Looks like I misspelled Olsen’s name throughout my coverage. I’m very sorry about that. I’ll try to edit my comments to fix the errors (I can do that since I am a contributor here at IPR).

  114. Matt Cholko

    Regarding debates, I think the best way to go about half-way solving this problem would be for the LP and GP to buy an hour of TV time on a major network and stage their own debate. I say the LP and GP as they seem like the only two minor parties that MIGHT have a chance at raising the kind of money necessary to make that happen. They should of course invite the R and D to participate as well.

    Even better would be to have an outside organization buy the time.

    The idea of breaking into the CPD debates seems like a pipe dream to me. Nobody has come close to meeting the 15% standard. But, if someone does, the standard will magically change. You can bet your ass on that one.

  115. George Phillies

    Here is the draft budget for 2009 and 2013. Tables print poorly. Sorry.
    2009 2013
    32-Fundraising Costs 145,588 181,200
    33-Membership Fundraising Costs 73,486 124,650

    Program Expense
    Adminstrative Costs 379,255 346,100
    Compensation 342,028 424,000
    Affiliate Support 300 7,100
    Brand Development 34 2,700
    Campus Outreach 0 0
    Candidate, Campaign & Initiatives 0 0
    Ballot Access Petitioning Related 5,500 0
    Litigation 5,366 4,800
    Media 5,745 1,000
    Member Communication/Materials 33,091 35,000
    Outreach 3,016 12,200
    Project Program Other 0 0
    Total Program Expense 774,338 832,900
    Operating Surplus (or Deficit) 86,288 20,250

  116. Shark Attack

    Yes Kleptocracy makes some very valid points. Ron Nielson made 100,000 + off this campaign run .. meanwhile petitioners still haven’t gotten paid. Lawyers too. Even after taking the matching funds tax payer bail out.

    Just look at the FEC reports.

    I would blame ron nielson on this one cause he’s the ‘campaign manager’ but Johnson’s running for president. Ultimately Johnson’s responsible. If he can’t effective run a campaign, how could he run a (limited) government?

  117. Anonymous Commenter

    I saw Kleptocracy And You and Shark Attack making out behind the bleachers. That’s where the anonymous cowards who are really the same person make out, for those who don’t know.

  118. Robert Capozzi

    156 klept: Decide now if you want a Johnson ’16 ?

    me: Patience is a virtue, at least for me. You apparently don’t think so, which is your right, of course.

    There’s a lot of stuff that’ll happen between now and 16, in the wider world and even in our shared Holodeck known as the LP and LM. In concept, I know of no better options than GJ at the moment, esp. if he drops the FAIR Tax. In concept, if he and his team have time to prepare, I could imagine an even stronger showing.

    But that’s all quite premature. If it’s NOT premature, I’d love to hear why you think otherwise….

  119. Wes Benedict

    When I first arrived to the D.C. LP headquarters to serve as executive director and took my corner office on the second floor of the historic Watergate building with a beautiful view of the Potomac River and Arlington, VA, I thought, “wow, this office is nice, and the rent is way too damn high, and I’m going to do the right thing and support moving, but if the LNC gets all tangled up battling itself resulting in failure to move somewhere more economical, staff like me should keep enjoying the view!”

    The building the LNC was considering last year would have saved lots of money over staying where they are even if no extra money were raised for the purpose of purchasing a building.

    Ironically, some of the very high hurdles Dan Weiner is suggesting will probably make it too hard to move, so the LP will continue spending way to much and stay where it’s at.

    I think it makes since to move by either purchasing a building, or renting space, even if not one dime is raised for the purpose of moving.

    However, if over $100,000 is raised for the purpose of a building, which I believe has already been done, then the LP should take advantage of that $100,000 revenue and buy a building.

    Starchild, please keep in mind that, if you vote against buying a building (because you prefer an even cheaper option) you may inadvertently be causing the LNC to stay in the Watergate and waste the maximum.

  120. Michael H. Wilson

    Can anyone tell if any anything was done or is in the pipeline to improve and up date the web site and the literature the LP has?

  121. Wes Wagner

    WB @164 (and to Starchild)

    Makes a great point. Back in 2006 the LPO was spending almost $4000 per month on an office, and between the office expenses and the E.D. pay, we were spending over 100% of member donations on overhead (we were increasing the debt every month).

    A large number of us felt that an office was an antiquity, but we ultimately voted in favor of moving to a ~$600/mo office. We of course also cut ties with the E.D. situation.

    Eventually the $600/mo office went away.

    We stand now in 2012 having spent almost 95% of our party funds on actual political activity, posted 26 candidates to the ballot (a number not seen since the 80’s), our membership has increased from about 13,000 to about 14,500 since we ran our primary election in May.

    Imagine what we would have accomplished if members of the LNC were not trying to oppress us and didn’t bootstrap a lawsuit against our party! ;)

    Sometimes you need to take a stepping stone to get to the ultimate destination.

  122. Starchild

    Michael @165 – Jim Lark brought up this specific issue, but did not propose any specific action that I recall. I know that it was separately proposed (possibly by Bill Redpath?) to cut the Outreach budget category, which I opposed. My recollection is that the LNC voted against me and approved that budget cut, but I would have to check my notes to be sure.

    Wes & Wes @164 and @166 – I understand what you guys are saying. I do support getting out of the Watergate building. However I’m not sure I prefer buying to leasing.

    My support for, or opposition to, any particular proposal is highly likely to be based on the nature of and plans for that particular property, rather than whether we would be buying or leasing it.

    I understand that the math looks attractive for buying, however buying tends to be more of a long-term solution, and the more long-term the solution, the more reluctant I am to embark upon it if we do not get the details right.

    As per my “LP Office Manifesto” document (please email me if you’d like a copy, realreform[at]earthlink.net, or read it in the Files section of the Grassroots Libertarians Caucus if you are a caucus member — http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/grassrootslibertarians/files ), I believe there are a number of important things to take into consideration when evaluating the usefulness of any given brick-and-mortar space to the party. Unfortunately I did not see these issues/concerns addressed in the proposal put forward by Dan Wiener.

    In general, I believe we should be looking for a space that serves as multi-use activist workspace and libertarian community center, not a corporate type office that feels like it’s basically the domain of paid staff, and also a space that gives us maximum visibility and accessibility to the public (just the opposite of the current space in the Watergate building).

  123. Starchild

    Regarding the purchase of a building, I also feel there’s a good likelihood that the real estate market may still be in somewhat of a bubble, and prices may well be lower to buy later.

    This could be particularly true in the environs of Washington D.C. if a bankrupt federal government starts making real cuts (as it will have to sooner or later) and decides to start unloading and/or emptying out some of its many office buildings in the area.

  124. Wes Wagner

    SC @168

    The Nobel prize winning concept of “build, buy or rent” is very relevant here.

    Given that a political party’s needs can be quite dynamic, and that there is value in options, I suspect “rent” is the correct choice here, and that “buy” has a large number of risks that the current board would be passing on to future boards that are not fully understood.

  125. Wes Benedict

    People buy homes in the $300,000 to $600,000 range all the time and then sell them two or three years later when they want to move for whatever reason. The price for the LNC buying a building is not so much different than buying two big houses. They can sell it two years later if it doesn’t work. Of course, I doubt much will change causing them to sell it in two or three years. People have been predicting the LP will double or quadruple or halve or quarter for years.

    Buying a building doesn’t lock anyone into something long term the way it sounds. They can rent out half the space if the economy dives or fundraising plummets, etc. Or sell it. The building was one project lots of big donors supported with big donations. The party has already wasted another $50,000 in 2012 by staying put and my guess is they will probably waste another $50,000 in 2013 by staying put.

    Wes Wagner, I guess one point I’m making is that the specifics of our “build, buy or rent” situation involves a roughly $200,000 subsidy for “buy” due to donors’ willingness to support a building. Again, I expect Starchild’s votes on this matter will actually lengthen the time the LP stays in the Watergate.

  126. Wes Wagner

    WB @170

    If those pledges were actually converted to cash… I suspect I would feel differently about the matter.

    I have seen promised money not show up, and then because people are emotionally invested move forward anyway to the detriment of the organization.

    As far as moving… there are transactions costs… buying a building and then turning around and selling it 2 years later has an intrinsic loss from transaction fees associated with it.

    There is also the issue that the current path the LNC has been on will likely lead to a membership revolt soon, which will not be a good time to have large fixed assets on the books.

    Of course there is always the option of changing course and getting a membership renaissance instead — but the ethics of what I have observed causes me believe that outcome is unlikely.

    There is also the high probability that a “dissident” member will eventually mail all the LNC donors advising them of how the money they donate is spent.

    Once that happens, the revenues will collapse and you may be looking at a fire-sale on the office and all that “equity” will get lost.

  127. Wes Benedict

    If the LNC would like to move the headquarters to a low-rent space in Houstin, TX or Austin, TX, I’d probably be willing to work for the LPHQ again.

    There was a time not long ago I was afraid those opposed to buying a building actually wanted to move the headquarters to Indiana or Las Vegas where it would be convenient for Root and Alicia Mattson to work there.

  128. Jill Pyeatt

    I’m locked into a huge mortgage on my home in the Los Angeles area. Although I’m not “underwater” like much of the real estate is here, my options are quite limited because of the limited market. The idea of a mortgage every month for the LNC makes me very nervous.

    I am also of the opinion that commercial real estate hasn’t bottomed out yet, at least not in Southern California.

  129. Wes Benedict

    Jill, the LNC is NOT locked into an approximately $10,000 per month rent, yet it stays and pays and keeps extending its lease. How do you feel about that?

    How high would the Watergate rent have to be, and how low would a building price have to be for you to support it?

    For example, if rent was $120,000 per year, but a building was just $480,000 to purchase, would you still be against purchasing?

  130. Starchild

    The current motion (and variant) put forward by Dan Wiener and David Blau on the LNC is specifically to buy something in the greater D.C. area.

    While as I said I am agnostic on whether an office should be in Washington or somewhere else, I am concerned that these motions to buy would narrow our choices to only D.C., without having looked at possibilities elsewhere.

    It seems to me that it would be worthwhile to investigate the possibility of locating in New Hampshire, if anywhere outside D.C., because of the Free State Project and favorable pro-freedom climate there. If we were to go with an activist workspace/community center type approach, and located in a place like Keene, NH, where there are a lot of pro-freedom activists, we could potentially get a lot of mileage out of that.

    I’m not sure there are a bunch of donors out there who are eager to give money to pay for buying a building, but who in the absence of a building-buy fund would not give that money to other projects the LP might have going, if we gave them a range of choices via the project-based fundraising (crowdfunding) approach.

  131. Wes Wagner

    WB @174

    What if the LNC moved to a lower rent office (say something = to the interest payment of the desired building purchase) and saved the surplus in a “building purchase fund” and in the future bought for cash instead of going into debt?

    ;)

    (yes … the money would get used for something else… just like the LNC will not build equity in the property post repairs and depreciation)

    Any arguments based on “real estate will go up faster than inflation on a forward basis”, should be met with an implied facepalm.

    Further many of us do not trust the LNC to be good stewards of a long-term otherwise sound “business plan” based on past performance.

    I suspect that this will, as you worry, result in the LNC staying in the watergate due to two different minorities who don’t a) want an office or b) know the LNC well enough to not trust them

  132. Starchild

    Wes (Benedict), you make a valid point that buying doesn’t have to be long-term. Psychologically however, people may tend to look at it that way more than they do with a space we are leasing. Those in favor of buying have also talked about including significant spending on building improvements — if we’ve spent a bunch of money on such improvements to a building we buy, won’t it naturally make people more averse to re-selling the building?

    Really though, the key is *what* a particular property offers, and how it will be used. I’m not likely to support any plan to buy based on vague assurances that we can incorporate “activist workspace/community center” type features later. I will be looking for solid commitments and bankable guarantees up front.

  133. Wes Benedict

    Starchild, I expect you will be surprised how little the “crowdfunding” approach generates. I could be wrong, but it’s my hunch that not much will come in for the menu of projects that may get listed.

    People can already pool their money into an using PACs for an infinite number of specific projects if they want to.

    If the LNC does something like makes it almost by default that funds raised go towards something specific, and all the so-called “Administration” costs drops, you’ll end up with no staff to implement all the new projects.

  134. Wes Benedict

    @ Michael Wilson:
    Also, if staff spends lots of time investigating lots of properties and preparing lots of different financial analyses, they will not have as much time to for other projects such as updating the website or brochures.

    While I was executive director I definitely felt like moving would be a pain in the neck, and so while I thought it was the right thing to do, I was quite relieved in many ways whenever it appeared the LNC was going to drag its feet and avoid making a decision. Also, just fyi, I didn’t personally do much of the building search and analysis work, partly due to my hunch that it would be time wasted.

  135. Wes Benedict

    WW writes: “(yes … the money would get used for something else… just like the LNC will not build equity in the property post repairs and depreciation)”

    That’s probably what would happen. The LNC had built up the highest amount of money in its history last year, and decided to give $50,000 to the city council campaign in Indiana, and $50,000 to Brett Pojunis’s database project.

  136. Michael H. Wilson

    The staff should not spend its time on a lot of projects. The state parties should be doing many things they are not now doing but first they have to be pushed, pulled and shoved to get off their asses and get to work. Some are doing better than others.

    We have enough writers and graphic artists in the party that all we might have to do is to put out a call for volunteers to work n specific projects.

    In the meantime I have to shut this down because of a nasty storm. Outa here. ZOOM!

  137. Wes Benedict

    Attention David Blau:

    If the opportunity cost of your time is significant, you might not want to spend much time doing surveys and collecting data about a building. Very few people make their decisions based on data or rigorous analyses. It’s an emotional decision. Focus your efforts on emotional arguments that don’t take much of your personal time to prepare.

  138. Zapper

    My view is that the LP national office should be in the DC area. Since our rent is far too high we should look at reducing that cost ASAP. We have a large committment toward a building purchase and we can buy a building with a fixed mortgage rate so that our monthly payment is less than our current rent. Gradually we can pay off the mortgage and eventually build up a valuable asset and have no rent to pay. The R/E market has started back up in many areas, and will surge in nominal terms in the next few years. Our rent will increase as well if we continue to rent.

    The time to buy a decent property and move is now.

  139. George Phillies

    184 Assets are things you can raise to secure money. The office does not qualify. Treating the office as an asset — an asset that, by the way, we may have an interesting time selling, depending on election law fluctuations — is like treating your house as an investment from which you can pull money. It is monumentally stupid.

    Note, by the way, that the purchase proposals have tended to come with balloon payments.

  140. Zapper

    @185 I have purchased numerous properties in the last few years. I treat them as assets. I can can and do pull money from one, by borrowing against it, to make the downpayment on the next property. So, I don’t have to sell them.

    All of my properties are up 25% this year so far, except the one I just purchased 3 months ago, but it’s up 5% already. I should have bought more, but I tend to be risk averse, so I don’t use the maximum leverage that is available.

    It is indeed time for the LP to buy.

  141. Kleptocracy And You

    @162 I’m not Shark and people here can check the mail addresses and ips or whatever to back that up. You undoublably dislike what I write. I personally planted 150 GJ signs and spent 100s of hours on internet outreach. My targeted county (one main county is all I was able to target, but did place signs in 4 counties) came in with the highest percent of any county vote for GJ in the entire state. I did what I could, now WHAT did you do smartass ?

    You call me a coward and accuse me of being a double poster also. Where I come from calling someone a coward gets you an old fashion ass whupping! But I’m too old for that now so I possibly could just blow your friggin brains out you low life scumbag piece of CRAP!

    @163 Mr.Capozzi – Patience is Virtue in most cases. In this case not so much. The problem is I went along with the moderate GJ because I knew (felt) he would break Clark’s numbers which was long overdue. That was a GREAT thing for the LP. THANK YOU GJ for doing it! However GJ had his chance, his 5% goal was over 5 times what he could get afterall! FAILURE on his own standards. Time to move on LP friends.

    Now is the time to stop him, in two years no one will be able to do so. He doesn’t plan to drop the fairtax. Everyone on here who is sane must admit it didn’t “catch fire” with anyone in the nation. If the truth was known I’d bet the majority of longtime fairtax people voted for someone other than GJ. Sending every household in America a monthly welfare check (50% now is bad enough but 100% is a killer) is as ANTI-Libertarian as you can get.

    To save some time I won’t name every single example of his non-L positions, but surrounded with mostly R advisors he won’t be changing very many positions. His brand of L wasn’t L enough for me and I would like another representative in the ’16 POTUS race. Browne II was about 25% LESS votes than Browne I. With much too much turmoil (ask Dr. Phillies to explain!) within the LP. Does the LP need that again? We need to be growing and progressing! We discussed months ago that GJ is not a good fundraiser. Is there any doubts about that now ? Without better money options and a more L campaign I say NO to handing over the keys for another ride on our Ballot Access.

    Why now? If he understands he will face major opposition to a second LP nomination, when he received LESS than 20% of the votes he had targeted in ’12 he will go back to being a retired millionaire motel magnant who loves physical exercise! The LP can do BETTER! If he hangs on he can build up enough support over the next 2 1/2 years to defeat almost anyone for the LP nomination. You must ask yourself Mr. C. do you want your man (or woman) in ’16 espousing the fairtax AGAIN as their major economic proposal ?
    Well Sir, do you ?!

    The petitioners who haven’t been payed need to be paid PROMPTLY and apologized to and explained that there was a mix up on who was to pay them. (LP or GJ campaign)

    As for these LNC problems, I continue to say we are not so small as to have agent provacuteurs among us. Get the ones blocking PROGRESS OFF the LNC as quickly as possible. They are FAILURES anyway. Forty years a political Party and not one U.S. Rep elected. KEEP the new blood with new ideas, that work, coming into the LNC !

    Why WASTE money on rent when you can OWN ! That’s a NO-BRAINER friends. Buy in a state with NO property Taxes. Get AWAY from the Dist. of CRIMINALS. Let the membership VOTE ! Rent or Buy, DC or Elsewhere ?

    CARPE DIEM

    I sincerely apologize for all misspellings, my momma tried……….

  142. Daniel Wiener

    My somewhat-revised motion to purchase an office building, which has now garnered the four co-sponsors needed for an email ballot, is as follows:

    Moved, that the LNC approve the purchase of an office in the greater Washington, D.C. area, to be named in honor of David Nolan, contingent on the following conditions:

    * A minimum of $400,000 shall be raised from dedicated contributions. If a portion of that is in the form of pledges, the pledges must be converted to cash before a purchase contract and mortgage agreement are finalized.

    * Any loan must be based on a minimum of a 30% down payment and a loan with options extending for a minimum of 10 years before a final balloon payment becomes due.

    * The most recent financial statement reported unrestricted general fund balance must exceed $167,000 before a purchase contract and loan agreement are finalized.

    * Additional payments towards the principal loan balance of at least $60,000 per year above the minimum loan requirement must be made, with this requirement structured in such a way that future LNC bodies cannot easily circumvent it. These payments shall be in the form of an additional $5,000 per month paid out of the general fund, but reimbursable from dedicated building fund contributions.

    This motion will constitute authority to incur a mortgage if the above conditions are met and if this motion passes by the necessary two-thirds vote as specified in the Libertarian Party’s Bylaws.

  143. Daniel Wiener

    Here are a few comments and explanatory notes regarding the above motion to purchase an office:

    In theory we will save money in the long-term by purchasing rather than leasing office space. There is a separate argument over whether the office should remain in the Washington, D.C. area, with Norm Olsen a long-time advocate of moving to a cheaper location elsewhere in the country, but the overwhelming sentiment on the LNC is that it should remain in the D.C. area for a number of reasons which I won’t go into here.

    Many LNC members, myself included, are very concerned about over-leveraging an office purchase. Given economic uncertainties and real-estate risks, we do not want to end up with an under-water mortgage or a balloon payment which could not be refinanced. Hence the requirement to first raise at least $400,000 and have a down-payment of at least 30%. In addition, the mortgage would have to extend (with options) for at least ten years, and the additional specified monthly payments towards the principal would pay off the entire loan within that ten year period.

    To make sure there is no cannibalization of other fundraising, the unrestricted general fund balance must not dip below $167,000 (the October, 2012 figure). This is not anticipated to be a problem, since the evidence from last year was that dedicated fundraising for a restricted building fund coincided with an INCREASE in revenues for the general fund; the effect appeared to be synergistic rather than antagonistic.

    The LP Bylaws require a 2/3 vote to incur debt in excess of $2,000, so that’s what this motion also requires.

  144. Kevin Knedler

    Thank you Dan. That is the way to do a building fund in these economic times. Set a dollar goal, not a calendar date goal. And the downpayment amount is very wise. Yes, we should have a office we own, but lets not bankrupt the LP in the process.

  145. Wes Benedict

    Kevin Knedler, “in these economic times,” voted to spend $50,000 on an Indiana City Council race, and $50,000 on Brett Pojunis’ database. The database wasn’t a complete loss because the funds were returned after the project was cancelled. But it’s the thinking like Knedler’s of raising the reserve requirements, meanwhile spending the funds somewhere else, that is almost certain to frustrate the fundraising efforts for a building.

  146. Wes Benedict

    I think the supporters of buying a building should point out how the extremely high hurdles put in Dan Wiener’s motion will make the building too unlikely to happen and therefore if that motion passes, it effectively kills the building project for now. Then squat in the obscenely high-rent Watergate building until more LNC members climb on board a workable solution.

    Concluding that the LPHQ can’t afford to buy a building that equals one times average annual revenue is wrong-headed thinking, but may be ruling the day for now.

    If I were on staff I would continue enjoying walks next door to the famous Kennedy Center, and strolls just a few blocks away to the most famous monuments in Washington, DC, because hotels in this area are extremely expensive for tourists.

  147. Michael H. Wilson

    Nothing was done to up date the literature package or the web site. We’ll just leave it for the office staff and hope they find the time.

    Don’t do today what we can put off till tomorrow.

  148. Daniel Wiener

    Wes, the 30% down payment figure came from David Blau based on a nominal $1,000,000 purchase price (of course the actual price will vary depending on the constantly-shifting availability of properties). Geoff Neale suggested that any number include an extra 10% to cover various associated expenses including fundraising. So my original motion was going to require $330,000 or 33% of the purchase price, whichever was higher. Then build-out costs got added in. Eventually David Blau and Michael Cloud decided they didn’t want to include a percentage number which would be indeterminate until the final price was negotiated on a property, so they asked for a simple $400,000 requirement. These are some of the strongest supporters of purchasing an office, and they believe $400,000 is feasible. They are certainly not trying to kill the project.

    Now of course it remains to be seen whether that level is truly achievable, but at least we won’t be undertaking this in the midst of a Presidential campaign which was absorbing all of our attention and fundraising efforts. These are criteria which I can support whole-heartedly, and I think even the strongest skeptics on the LNC (outside of Norm Olsen and Starchild) will also be able to support the motion.

  149. Oregon Libertarian

    Committing to a mortgage when it is known that donations will slump in a non-presidential years, and that the organization will need to save for ballot access and legal fronts will mean ZERO support for its affiliates, membership retention and recruitment, education and out-reach…Thus a further decline in donations is ensured.

    Question: Is this the sort of National organization you want to be part of? One that spends 90% or more on its own internal overhead? Would the LNC even meet the standards setup by the BBB for a charity http://www.bbb.org/us/Standards-Charity/

    Here is a breakdown of how much other organization spend on its overhead:

    http://charity.lovetoknow.com/What_Percentage_of_Donations_Go_to_Charity

    Huge overheads and bloated staffs is what’s wrong with Washington DC. Both Major parties mirror what is going in in Washington DC as will with the frivolous spending that clearly was only intended to boos their prestige and not their electors or support their mission.. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/03/rnc-spends-money-on-private-pl.html

    From what I am reading about the LNC meeting; irresponsibility and foolishness seems to be running rampant. From other reports I read it is clear that there is a high degree of non-functionality of the committee where it appears ignorance reigns supreme, surprise additions to the agenda and the expectations to rubbers-stamp the positions of a minority cabal who appears to be setting up ancillary side businesses that the LNC will contract with, thus making personal profits for themselves. This is the same crap the politicians pull on us voters…keep us ignorant of the facts then ask us to vote in ignorance where the politicians is saying “Trust me” with that snake oils salesman smile.

    Sorry folks, I am calling out a sham/scam when I see one…and I SEE ONE!

  150. wredlich

    These may be dumb questions and/or inflame long-standing sores but …

    Why does the LNC have a DC office?
    Why does the LNC have an office at all?

  151. Oregon Libertarian

    Warren Redlich,
    I think an office for a National Organization is reasonable, but does it have to be “THAT” office in the Watergate building?

    Given that our LNC can not cite any pressing need to have an office in the Washington DC area, I hereby propose the following:

    1. The LNC move the office to an affordable location (another State with good air connections);
    2. That the office overhead should not be more than 15% of total budget
    3. that the Staff pay not be more than 20% of the budget;
    4. That the LNC lease and not buy any building;
    5. LNC liquidate all other non-essential office equipment and holdings and put towards membership recruitment and retention.

  152. Wes Benedict

    If you’d like to see one detailed list that’s typical of the types of things staff does in its headquarters office, review several pages starting on page 36 of this PDF:
    http://www.lp.org/files/2011-04-16-LNCMeetingMinutes-Alexandria.pdf

    Perhaps everything could be outsourced, but then you’d have a situation like http://www.lpstuff.com/ that provides the LP materials, but they don’t please Michael Wilson or others (even me).

    And when it comes time to “put towards membership recruitment and retention” as suggested by Oregon Libertarian above, you’ll find there’s no one available to do or oversee the “putting”.

    There are some cases such as the current leadership in Oregon, Colorado, New York who get lots done with no paid staff, but I think you’d find quality across the board degenerate if the LNC shut down it’s headquarters and got rid of its paid staff that it CAN actually afford. (I understand the Constitution and Reform Parties shutting down their national offices if they can’t afford them.)

  153. Wes Benedict

    Oregon Libertarian wrote: “One that spends 90% or more on its own internal overhead?”

    The LNC does not spend 90% on overhead. I can see how people might unintentionally or deliberately misinterpret the financials you see, but that’s not an accurate interpretation of how the LP headquarters staff spends its time and LP resources.

  154. Oregon Libertarian

    Wes,
    I am not at all advocating that the LNC should have no staff.

    I am demanding that the LNC simply be fiscally responsible. Currently a budget that demands 90% or more to the overhead is absurd, and LNC members simply increasing the budget when the likelihood of a slump in donations is absurd, irresponsible and frankly insane. I hereby call for the immediate resignation of those who sustain such a course of action.

    Downsizing and relocation can be a very strategic means to maximize the use of existing revenue and reserves. However, from what I have read of the last LNC meeting and reports it appears that there is no strategic thinking going on at all, rather just more large egos playing games, and schemers who plan to create systems and services to profit from it.

    And this “services agreement” …. sounds like a franchise deal where state parties pay up or else….and who is really going to put up with that.

    Sorry Wes Benedict, looks like the LNC is simply come down with the same illness our US government has caught.

    Time for them to go….

  155. George Phillies

    “These may be dumb questions and/or inflame long-standing sores but …
    Why does the LNC have a DC office?
    Why does the LNC have an office at all?”

    (a) Cargo cult theology. Sympathetic magic in action.
    (b) No practical alternative way to handle FEC-compliant donations.

  156. Daniel Wiener

    I strongly second what Wes Benedict said. Anyone who thinks that a Libertarian Party headquarters and the minimal paid staff we have is wasted overhead has no conception of what’s involved in operating a national organization, especially a political one with all the legal strictures we face in today’s heavily regulated environment. When Wes was Executive Director he put in long hours and enormous effort that far exceeded the nominal terms of his position, and all of our staff go above and beyond what would normally be expected of them because of their dedication to achieving the goals of a free society.

    Read the pages Wes referred to if you want a better idea of all the work that’s involved. I’ll listen to serious critiques on specific issues related to the office and budget, but I’m not going to pay attention to the endless bitching and moaning from a handful of malcontents on this site who don’t seem to have a clue.

  157. Oregon Libertarian

    Daniel Wiener,

    You know, Wes Benedict CHOOSE to put in long hours as well as those who worked with him. If someone coerced him or his family with threats of harm, pleases let me know.

    Otherwise what you are telling me, the needs to work underpaid and long hours, is that the DEMANDS of the LNC board far exceed the reality of what they can afford.

    Solutions:
    Move the LNC office to an location where the rent is cheaper;
    Hire more staffers at a cheaper cost;
    Use college Political Studies interns;
    Shop better for outsources services

  158. Oregon Libertarian

    George,

    There is a class of thinking that is sympathetic to the establishment, whatever it deem itself to be, where “its existence is upheld because of the shear fact that it exist” – thus the magic part of an organization staying alive where what it actually does is questionable.

    You see this with MLM operations where there is no product or actual service, where people jump in because it exist and defend its existence with the most absurd arguments to if only to continue the MLM existence by recruiting others to jump in as they did.

    I can name a number of MLM’s that are complete scams with scads of proof that they are a scam, however they exist and still recruit mostly because those involved deny its a scam, and find and keep new recruits that it is a scam.

    The LNC in my opinion is boarding at being a scam, when its members (the LNC board members) are more interested to build associate organizations for themselves and their cronies to profit with; to hoodwink the organization to venture in to speculative real estate deals; to keep and maintain offices and services that are over priced that can be procured elsewhere for cheaper.

    The same problem that affects our US congress appears to be affecting our LNC board Members. I move that we need new board members!

  159. Wes Benedict

    Oregon Libertarian,

    The third story on the home page of the LP Oregon has this at the top: “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ** April 13, 2012″

    http://www.lporegon.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=162:lpo-announces-primary-election&catid=41:top-headlines

    That’s April 13, 2012. That’s not very current. Maybe you could recruit a political science intern to put more current stuff on the Oregon website. You might also need to recruit someone to mange the intern. I think you’ll find every state party website with paid staff has much more current info on their websites.

    By the way, I disapproved of the way the LNC intervened in the LP Oregon’s affairs, and I’m considered a “radical” by many, but I probably disagree with radicals and reformers on many strategic and tactical issues.

  160. Oregon Libertarian

    Wes Benedict,
    I don’t think it is fair to compare an State organization that is embroiled in a legal suite that only has less that $219.67 in the bank account, according to public records, to a over $1,000,000 dollar national organization.

    Thank you for giving many unpaid hours of your time to the LNC, I am sure without it the organization would be greatly diminished.

    The issues are more about the wrong-headed decisions the LNC made, in my humble opinion, and spending money they simply don’t have.

    The choosing to make venture capital investments in the most expensive real estate market in the country is absurd. Their other web-venture projects proposed need to be audited as to the reality of them as well. I am guessing that nothing like that was even done or asked for. One can make a proposal to do anything, however an organization would be fiduciarily responsible if they did not audit and seek out credible experts to examine the ‘realities” of these proposals and the impact it will have on the organization in best/worse case situations.

    From what I am seeing, the LNC board is not at all functional, in meaning that the members are just showing up for meetings woefully ignorant and unprepared for what they are asked to vote on. For that reason alone I call for the resignation of each and everyone of them.

  161. Wes Benedict

    If you see your Las Vegas national convention binder, the official financial statements submitted by the auditors show for 2011 that $148,187 out of $1,290,483, or 11.48% was spent on “Management and general” expenses. Over $700,000 spent on “Program services”.

    The internal financial reports show differently for simplicity in reporting cash expenditures. If the LNC raised an extra million dollars and hired 20 people to do affiliate support and candidate support full-time, their salaries would probably show up as overhead the way the “90 percenters” look at things.

    There are plenty of things to complain about or disagree with the LNC and LP headquarters staff over, but implying that 90% just goes towards useless overhead distracts from legitimate complaints and opportunities for serious discussions on real issues.

  162. Wes Benedict

    Oregon Libertarian, buying a small office space in Virginia for existing operations and that is roughly the same size as the rented space that has been used for the past 15 years is not “venture capital.” It’s not much different than all the families who buy homes instead of renting for their entire lives. No I didn’t get an M.B.A. in venture capital finance from Harvard.

  163. Oregon Libertarian

    Can someone post a link to the Las Vegas national convention binder, the official financial statements, and who the auditors are….and the “internal financial reports”

    I like to see them for myself.

    Thank you.

  164. Wes Benedict

    And if the LP headquarters had to try and allocate their daily time to different projects and purposes and put all of that into monthly reports, you will see the real admin and overhead increase significantly, you’d have even more detailed reports that nobody believed anyway, and the work done that helps candidates, affiliates, and member services would decrease.

  165. Wes Benedict

    Oregon Libertarian, there are plenty of projects the LNC has undertaken or that the LNC has forced staff to work on, that I have not supported and there are some that I don’t know the results of.

    That doesn’t mean I think MOST of what the LNC does is wrong. However, I’ve served on the LNC, and recognize that the nature of a big committee like the LNC made up of people of widely divergent opinions is that it is inherently inefficient at making decisions and getting things done, and for that reason it should hire a staff, set broad goals, and then get out of the way. If staff performs, stay out of the way. If staff fails, then intervene, but if the interventions just make things worse (which is often the case in recent times with the LNC) then, recognize you’re better off staying out of the way and letting staff proceed to get something useful done.

    You want more experts? I once sent an email to the LNC IT Committee asking what kind of surge protector I should get for a desktop computer for the headquarters just to experience the absurdity of the discussion that would follow from the IT Committee “experts.” I was not disappointed.

  166. NewFederalist

    “From what I am seeing, the LNC board is not at all functional, in meaning that the members are just showing up for meetings woefully ignorant and unprepared for what they are asked to vote on. For that reason alone I call for the resignation of each and everyone of them.”

    The same could be said for most boards I believe.

  167. Oregon Libertarian

    NewFederalist

    ” “From what I am seeing, the LNC board is not at all functional, in meaning that the members are just showing up for meetings woefully ignorant and unprepared for what they are asked to vote on. For that reason alone I call for the resignation of each and everyone of them.”

    The same could be said for most boards I believe.”

    Yes, and it is one of the big reasons why companies dissolve, go bankrupt, or end up with people doing bad things that they should not do.

    Being a board member is a RESPONSIBILITY that should not be taken lightly or casually.

    There is no shame in stepping down when ones personal life situation interferes or the board responsibilities is financially burdensome; when the organization is not forthcoming with information or asking a board member to vote on something they are not fully informed about; when the board is acting outside of its bylaws and policies; or when the board has lost its focus and is not serving the purpose for that it is created to serve.

    It is also no shame to ask for the resignations of others for the same above reasons.

  168. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 213 Wes writes You want more experts? I once sent an email to the LNC IT Committee asking what kind of surge protector I should get for a desktop computer for the headquarters just to experience the absurdity of the discussion that would follow from the IT Committee “experts.” I was not disappointed. That’s pretty typical and funny.

    Some years ago I asked someone at LP Stuff about up dating the literature. They liked the idea but did mention that it would have to go through the LNC and that the LNC was slow to respond.

    If it wasn’t so sad I be laughing all day.

  169. George Phillies

    “If you see your Las Vegas national convention binder,”

    If you have any sense, you will look at the list of staff and the actual list of concrete expenses on the EC reports.

  170. Wes Wagner

    Mr. Benedict,

    With regards to the LPO website… the website is a nexus and an official distribution point of party business.

    The only business we had with the outside world and members of late was our primary election.

    After that election was successful and the candidates nominated, we have not had the need to update the website.

    It will get updated soon with information about our board election and Spring convention.

    Our website is not a centerpiece for particular libertarians to use it to promote their personal idea of libertarianism.

    Pointing to our website and claiming it is out of date is a complete straw man. It accurately reflects the official activity of the minimum necessary party bureaucracy.

    You state that Oregon, Colorado and New York get much done in spite of having little to no paid staff.

    I am not sure what formulas the other two use, but our formula is to not have any power in the party apparatus that people can fight over. Thus the only people who hang around the party are people who will do work on their own accord and work as free traders with each other, and people who like to play games with political systems for fun and profit just go elsewhere.

  171. Andy

    Since I mentioned this previously on this thread, I should report that myself and a few other petitioners finally received the money that we were owed on Monday, November 19th. Better late than never (these funds were due for work done between July and September 6th), but this still does not excuse the delay. The Libertarian Party really needs to make sure that there are not long pay delays for petitioners in the future (and note that this is not the first time that this has happened).

    There are at least two other petitioners whom I’m aware of who are still owed money and who were not part of the payment that went out on Monday.

  172. Michael H. Wilson

    Look! Mark Montoni discovered something important. The LNC once did actually up date some of the literature. Well maybe anyhowz.

    “13 Program Committee
    Stephen Dasbach

    Review of first draft of “Ending the Welfare State” to be forwarded to the APRC for comment and suggestion. (see attached)

    Mr. Dasbach suggested that when the current supply of the Program is exhausted we should replace the sections on crime and health with the summaries of Project Healthy Choice and Operation Safe Streets. Decision postponed until Sunday session.”

    Its a miracle I tell ya!

  173. David Blau

    @182: There is indeed a significant opportunity cost to my time. However, I am willing to pay it, because I believe in the party and the movement.

    @195: The 30% figure came from a combination of factors, including the loan-to-value ratios banks are currently looking for in the commercial real estate market, the reticence of the LNC to finance a large purchase, and the speed at which we are likely to raise money. The $400,000 figure came about as ancillary to the 30% figure, based on a property purchase range of $800K to $1.2M in the relevant neighborhoods. Even if what we find is on the high side of that range, we should still have enough left over to pay for build-out and move-in, and if it’s on the low side we will be able to reduce the LTV, making us more attractive to banks for a loan. Given that we already have about $115K in dedicated cash and another $25K in dedicated pledges, and that the bulk of the $220K+ the last drive brought in was raised over just six weeks even without a 2/3 vote under our belts, I’m confident that we can get to $400K in a reasonable time frame. Our donors WANT this, because it’s a chance to leave a legacy.

  174. Wes Benedict

    David, if the LNC raises $400,000 and purchases a building with those funds, that would be impressive. I’m skeptical they can raise the funds this term. Are other factions mostly in agreement on this? You might want to check with Kevin Knedler, Aaron Starr, and Mark Rutherford to see if this works for them. Because I’m doubtful the current LNC will close on a building before the next convention and it’s reasonably likely that a new LNC with members Knedler, Starr and Rutherford will be choosing whether to proceed with a building, or (and this would take a small amount of convincing) use much of the funds (with donor permission of course and an LNC motion) to rent a different office and (with even higher personal expectations) continue the building fund for years down the road for a much bigger building.

  175. Daniel Wiener

    Wes, I’ve talked to Aaron Starr, and not only is he okay with this motion but he has publically offered to make a contribution to the building fund.

  176. George Phillies

    Readers will note that with the same million you can buy about 10,000 square feet of office space or more,with plenty of parking for volunteers, and no parking fees for staff, in Manchester, NH, where staff will be able to afford to live on the salaries we can pay them. The same is perhaps true in Colorado, the birthplace of the party, if you avoid a few cities.

  177. George Phillies

    The suggestion that in the third convention Aaron Starr will rise from the de-elected and join his Hooded Keyholders in majestic eternal rule of our party is perhaps optimistic.

  178. Daniel Wiener

    Wes, since getting back from the LNC meeting I’ve been spending most of my time preparing our house for the annual big clan gathering tomorrow. You have a nice Thanksgiving too!

  179. Michael H. Wilson

    Aaron Starr is okay with it. Well some of us aren’t okay with Aaron Starr but then we are the backbenchers.

  180. Kevin Knedler

    Wes, I was FOR the idea of buying a building. What I was against was the process and the calendar deadlines that we used in 2011. This new motion is much better. This needs to be handled as a professional campaign like I have seen in other projects (outside of LP) that I have contributed.

  181. George Phillies

    Colorado Real Estate is even less expensive than Manchester.

    For example, for $500,000 in Longmont, CO, I found this entirely modern building with huge amounts of parking:

    http://www.cityfeet.com/Commercial/ForSale/10011-S-Hover-Road-Longmont-CO-80501-17614490L0L1.aspx

    It is a teeny bit bigger than people have mentioned — about 111,000 square feet — and perhaps not ideally located, but it gives an idea of the sort of thing that is sometimes available.

    One might be able to rent part of it out, though there are some real complications with renters being corporations. Some of those appear to arrive if we ever want to sell something, or may arise, depending on what election financing law is doing at that time.

  182. Zapper

    The history of moving the office out of DC shows that this idea is a total turkey.

    The LP moved its office to Houston after the 1983 National Convention in NYC. The party nearly died.

    Yes, the party was under incompetent leadership – but it is a sign of incompetence to want to move the office out of DC.

    What little bit of the LP was left was saved by Jim Turney when he moved the LP office back to DC – he pulled everything the LP had left in a trailer behind his car.

    A successful and growing national political party belongs in DC.

  183. Andy

    I’ve been to the LP National office in Washington DC twice. The second time I was there was this past Monday.

    Here’s what I think is an important point about the office that I haven’t seen or heard anyone bring up, and that is that the current office is in a huge office building and is in a location where nobody knows where it is, as in the general public can’t see the office, so unless somebody is a Libertarian Party member or a person who really follows minor political parties (a tiny segment of the population), most people have no idea that the Libertarian Party has its national headquarters inside the Watergate building in Washington DC.

    If possible, I think that it would be great to have LP national headquarters in a place where it is visible to the public. Why? Because that would mean more publicity for the party. Washington DC is a large city and a large metropolitan area. Millions of people visit Washington DC each year. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an office that was in a place where the general public can actually see it, and to have a big sign outside the building that says, “LIBERTARIAN PARTY NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS” and then below it says, “800-ELECT-US” and, “WWW.LP.ORG.” Some additional signs could be put up in windows or on the building promoting Libertarian Party issues or candidates. There’d be a lot of people who’d pass by the LP National Headquarters each day who’d read these signs.

    I just think that it’s a shame to have this office in Washington DC that hardly anyone knows is there.

  184. Andy

    I walked by the Watergate building a few years ago when the LP National office was in the basement (it has since moved up to a higher level in the building) and they did have a sign in the window that said, “LIBERTARIAN PARTY,” however, the sign was difficult to see from the sidewalk (I probably would have missed it had I not been looking for it) and I doubt that any cars passing by could see it.

    The current LP National Headquarters has got no visibility at all to the general public.

  185. Michael H. Wilson

    Andy this is right on the money. It is best to have the office on the second floor for security purposes. At least it helps.

  186. Andy

    My point was that a big opportunity for advertising the LP is being wasted when the Libertarian Party National Headquarters is not in a location that is visible to the public.

  187. Michael H. Wilson

    Andy that is why I said you were right on the money. My only other point was to place the office on the second floor for security purposes. Advertising, advertising and more advertising never hurt.

  188. Michael H. Wilson

    Well last time I read a paper during an election season there were stories about campaign offices being hit with graffiti, windows broken and in one case that I know of someone drove through the front window of a campaign office. Even once as I recall a Molotov cocktail was thrown at one. I guess that since everyone loves us that will never happen.

  189. paulie

    I am answering things as they come up without having read the thread yet so apologies for duplicates.

    Was there mention of why they are going into executive session?

    All executive sessions at this meeting were about staff issues – salaries and benefits, job tasks, job performance and the like. I did not feel that the secrecy was abused in this case. Also, Geoff asked people several times if whatever points they were making could be made public whenever he felt anyone was crossing the line into things that could have been discussed openly.

  190. paulie

    It also sounds like they haven’t wasted time in discussing which salutations to use.

    Arvin was not there when his motion came up, so it got skipped. Fortunately, Geoff just went with Starchild rather than Mr. Starchild, and corrected himself when he didn’t, so it was no longer an issue.

    In general, Geoff and Starchild spent less time than in Vegas sniping at each other. I commend both of them for showing relative restraint.

  191. paulie

    4 projects were adopted by a 16-0-2 vote:
    service level agreement
    legal offense fund
    libertarian angels
    you might be a libertarian

    All 4 were Neale ideas first presented at the strategic planning session on Friday.

    I like all four a lot.

  192. paulie

    I really wish, since we pay for staff to be at meetings anyway (typically executive director Carla Howell and operations director Robert Kraus), that we would make it policy for staff to always film the meetings and immediately upload the footage.

    Let’s make that an email ballot. Seriously.

    I think we will probably lose, but may as well try.

  193. paulie

    Visek says the treasurer’s report should be distributed to the LNC earlier because there wasn’t enough time to digest it before the meeting.

    I think she’s right.

  194. paulie

    He wants less big city petitioning and more organized validation efforts in the future.

    I agree about validation, but the problem was not big city petitioning. Me and my friends have petitioned in big cities plenty of times and done fine. The problem was lack of validation, and middle men whose incentives were to hire bottom of the barrel petitioners at rock bottom rates to keep more of the money for themselves.


    More volunteer effort is needed.

    I agree.


    Visek wants to form a ballot access committee.

    We formed it – me, her and Bill Redpath, plus two people to be named later. I called Bill to ask if he will decide on the other two himself or whether we will do so as a group. He said we’ll talk next week.


    Petitioners are still owed $14,555.43.

    Motion: Increase ballot access line to $382,000 for 2012. (mainly to pay unpaid petitioners)

    roll call vote on increasing ballot access line:
    Frankel – abstain

    I abstained because I was one of the petitioners who was owed some of this money, a direct conflict of interest.

  195. paulie

    GP @ 60

    Andy is completely correct in his preceding comments.

    LP National has scads of cash in its reserve fund. The notion that they do not have the money to pay these people is not supported by their financial report.

    From the petitioner standpoint this is true. From the LNC standpoint, we don’t want the reserve budget all blown on petition drives. That is why we have a separate ballot access budget.


    We appear to have the first time anyone told the LNC that they owed petitioners money, which I find to be astonishing, both that they were still owed and that no mention was made of it in any location that I see.

    When the LNC ran through the ballot access budget we got shuffled off to the Johnson campaign. At this point they still owed us a lot of money for signatures as well as expenses.

    They did pay for all of the signatures, although it took them a long time to do it.

    By this point it was close to the election and they said they could not pay the expenses and passed it back to the LP.

    I knew we had a meeting coming up soon at that point so I did not make a stink on the LNC. I also didn’t want to derail the election so I did not bring it up before then, and by the time it was over it was about a week to the LNC meeting.

    Bill Redpath, Robert Kraus and Carla Howell were kept in the loop on our conversation with the Johnson campaign.


    If the matter had been raised, IMHO there would have been an earlier committee response. Did anyone tell Paulie about it?

    I was one of the petitioners so yes, I knew about it.


    Or Tim Hagan? The debt appears in no earlier Treasurer’s report, either the balance sheet variety, the FEC variety, or the written Treasurer’s notes.

    That’s because it had been shuffled to the Johnson campaign before being passed back.


    I can perfectly well see a board member, told at this very late date about the debt, insisting on some substantiation beyond the normal that the claim is legitimate.

    It was all documented with receipts. Nothing to substantiate. Just additional money that had to be added to the ballot access budget to allow the payment to be made.

  196. paulie

    If the contractors don’t negotiate for firmer payment schedules,

    The understanding was that we would be paid as soon as LPHQ received signature counts from state party officers and/or receipts from us. That broke down when LPHQ spent the whole ballot access budget. After that – FUBAR for several months.

    It cost me and others personally a lot of money. In my case because I stayed in a motel for a whole month plus when I had a free place to stay an hour away because I hoped we would get all the money and finish going over the books and paying everyone. In the end I gave up because it was costing too much in motel, eating out and rental car.

    I kept thinking it would get resolved, but it never did. We still have to do an accounting job that is so far beyond overwhelming that I can’t even get started.

  197. paulie

    Norm was only one to vote no on last motion; I voted yes, because overall budget had already been set, and last motion was only to establish $100k reserve.

    Had I understood at this point that we already have a 167k reserve I would have also voted no.

    Norm wants to cut ballot access spending; I don’t think I agree with that.

    Yeah, he’s wrong about that, but that’s besides the point for the 2013 budget since there was zero for ballot access in that.

  198. paulie

    If we buy a building, the LNC will alleged raise an extra quarter million dollars, while needing an extra $7000 in fundraising expenses.

    No, that will be project based fundraising, and the mortgage will be less than the rent.

  199. paulie

    Hinkle moves to increase the revenues on the budget by $43,250. This would balance the budget leaving no surplus (there was formerly a $100,000 surplus in the budget assumptions with revenue of $1.12 million and expense of $1.02 million). This makes the revenue even more wildly optimistic (higher than reasonable following a presidential year).

    I think Hinkle was right and I don’t think it’s wildly optimistic. The potential to exceed last year’s revenues does very realistically exist with membership expansion, momentum from a good election year, and project based fundraising coming on board.

    Had I known going into this that we already had a 167k reserve and were trying to add another 100k to it I would have voted against any cuts at all. Mea culpa.

  200. George Phillies

    @249 It can be project based fundraaising, general fundraising or lead-to-gold alchemy based fundraising, but someone is assuming a 35-to-1 return on investment, which is more than a bit enthusiastic.

  201. paulie

    Starchild

    Dianna Visek just nailed it with comment that we’re adopting Congress’s budgeting methods, just spend what we want to and project that the money will be there, while leaving zero in surplus.

    She was responding to my ill advised motion for across the board cuts.

    I made that motion because we were most of the way through the line items and nowhere close to the amount of cuts needed to meet the original goal of adding 100k to the reserve.

    Keep in mind at this point I did not realize we already have a 167k reserve, which Geoff only explained after my motion went down along with Hinkle’s.

    Had I known this I would not have made my motion or voted for any cuts.

    I tried to withdraw my motion, but Starchild objected, so we had to vote on it. I voted no as did almost everyone else.

    The motion for Hinkle’s substitute failed.

    In a way it was good, because I think this diversion from the line iteming was what caused Geoff to explain we already had the 167 k reserve.

    I wish that had been done before we approved trying to add 100k to the reserve and got into line items.

    LNC with lots of new members and hardly any lead time to review a confusing budget….some intro stuff would have been nice.

    At this point we voted to rescind the attempt to try to add 100k to the reserves. Why didn’t the people who voted against it now – especially the long term members who knew better than us newbies what all the numbers meant – not make their arguments when it originally passed 17-1?

  202. paulie

    @102

    roll call vote on reducing outreach expense (line 88) from $12,200 to $4,000:

    My yes vote – which I would not have cast had I understood we already had a 167k reserve – was because it was explained that our significant outreach activities occur outside of this budget, such as what was done at PaulFest. The only concrete example of the use of this budget was CPAC. If we are doing outreach outside the outreach budget what is the purpose of the outreach budget line item?

  203. paulie

    @104

    Starchild moves that travel, meeting, and meals expense (8140) be reduced from $27,200 to $22,700.

    roll call vote to reduce 8140 from $27,200 to $22,700:
    Bennett – yes
    Wrights – yes
    Frankel – yes
    Visek – yes
    Lark – yes
    Tomasso – yes
    Pojunis – no
    Wiener – yes
    Mack – yes
    Kirkland – yes
    Olsen – no
    Hinkle – yes
    Starchild – yes
    Redpath – yes
    Vohra – yes
    Cloud – yes
    Hagan – yes
    Neale – yes

    It passes 16-2-0.

    Another mistake. I should have voted no.

    The reason this passed so overwhelmingly was that we had gone through most of the line items and were nowhere near the amount we had voted to cut.

    Which led to this desperation move as explained earlier:


    Frankel moves that the LNC cut the discretionary budget by across the board a certain percentage instead of looking line by line for savings.

  204. paulie

    @114

    Vohra moves that we reduce the online cont exp – general item (line 7030-10) from $36,700 to $11,700, which eliminates the $25,000 expense for re-doing the website.

    This was after it was explained that this will be part of the off budget project based fundraising instead, which is why it passed 16-2.

  205. paulie

    The next LNC meeting will be March 16-17 in Austin, TX.

    Turns out Austin is too expensive on those dates due to South By Southwest festival, so other cities are now being considered. At least some people seem to like Chicago for reasons unbeknownst to me.

    Everything in the South is getting shot down, as is my suggestion we try an online meeting as an experiment.

  206. paulie

    Mark Axinn @124

    As far as substance, I cannot fathom how anyone on LNC can vote against ballot access funding. Some states (e.g., Colorado and Florida) have incredibly easy access rules, but most don’t. It costs over $40,000 every two years to get candidates on the ballot in New York. The Libertarian Party is not a think tank or coffee club; it is a political party whose candidates espouse a certain philosophy and the LNC’s chief job is to support the affiliates in their efforts to get those candidates on the ballot and so that philosophy can be presented to the voters.

    Read LNCDiscussPublic for Norm Olsen’s and some other people’s arguments against spending on ballot access and my replies.

  207. paulie

    How can they possible think of taking on a building loan?

    There are people ready, willing and able to donate to the down payment who are not willing to donate those same amounts to other LP projects.

    The mortgage will be less than the rent, and we will build equity.

    Some of the donors can be recurring to help pay off the rest sooner rather than later, especially the very largest donors who are forced by law to break up what they would like to donate into multiple years.

  208. paulie

    It is the focus on getting “members” that is the problem, it sounds very cultish to many people.

    We need to focus on donations, activists and outreach, “members” will be a byproduct of that focus.

    Members tend to do a lot of all those things.

  209. paulie

    Klep 156

    Johnson didn’t pay all his petitioners ! Think they will be gungho to work the next Johnson campaign?

    This petitioner will be, and it wasn’t Johnson’s debt to begin with.

  210. paulie

    Can anyone tell if any anything was done or is in the pipeline to improve and up date the web site and the literature the LP has?

    Yes, changes are purported to be in the works.

  211. paulie

    Given that a political party’s needs can be quite dynamic, and that there is value in options, I suspect “rent” is the correct choice here

    Actually, the rent is too damn high and we are flushing a lot of money down a rathole. Had we bough a few years ago there would be zero rent now. C’est la vie, but I hope we don’t keep repeating that error. We can sell and buy more space later should we need it. And should we need less, we may be able to rent some of it out and get some of that “rent” thing working for us rather than against us.

  212. paulie

    @ 263:

    GEOFF NEALE: Net meetings? I’d like to, maybe once a month to handle ongoing business, so that we can reserve “live” meetings for weightier subjects.

    However: the Bylaws state “The National Committee shall meet at such times and places as may be determined by action of the Committee, call of the Chair, or written request of 1/3 or more of its members.”

    The question for me is if “the web” is a place. I do not feel that the delegates intended to allow us to hold such meetings, evidenced by the fact that the most recent change to our mail ballot procedure changed the voting period from fourteen to ten days and that we are allowed to conduct mail ballots “without meeting together”.

    Personally, I wish our Judicial Committee rules allowed us to seek advisory rulings in cases like this.

    Geoffrey Neale

    SCOTT LIBERMAN:
    If our LNC Sessions were say, 3 hours long, I would be in favor of substituting teleconferences or video conferences for one or two LNC Sessions per year.

    However, our sessions typically involve 13 hours of meeting time.

    Expecting LNC members to spend that much time over a weekend tied to their home computers is asking far too much of a human being.

    There are just too many distractions in people’s homes to expect LNC members to pay attention for that long a time period on a Saturday and a Sunday.

    Also – we are supposed to be fostering social relationships with our fellow LNC members. That is easier when you see them in person every three months or so.

    Please leave things the way they are – 3 or 4 in-person LNC Sessions per year.

    Scott Lieberman

    RICH TOMASSO:

    I don’t have a problem with a short interim meeting as a teleconference or webex, but I don’t think an entire LNC meeting would work that way.

    We use them where I work every quarter and they’re fine for presentations with some Q&A, or to focus on one item in depth, but IME don’t work well for long business meetings where everyone can chime in and make changes. We also have added complication of alternates. Not to mention all the potential distractions from trying to do this at home on a weekend.

    Similar to a convention, there is a real benefit to meeting in person.

    I do see value in the idea. There are cost savings, at least on individual level. Perhaps as a mid-way or a pre-meeting to discuss upcoming business, get out some questions and concerns early before the in-person meeting to avoid an hour of debate on a motion that could have been figured out beforehand. For example, a conference call to discuss the budget a week before could have saved us a lot of time on Saturday.

    Maybe we want to do a monthly conference call to give updates on projects, short regional reports, budget updates, toss out mail ballot ideas, etc. Keep all of us in the loop and touching base more often to help the in-person meetings go more smoothly.

    ~Rich

  213. paulie

    If those pledges were actually converted to cash… I suspect I would feel differently about the matter.

    Something like 115k already has been. The rest is on hold because the last building fell through and a new motion has not been approved yet. A lot more could conceivably be raised. The current motion calls for a large cash amount before we buy anything.

  214. paulie

    I am also of the opinion that commercial real estate hasn’t bottomed out yet, at least not in Southern California.

    It’s been far more stable in the DC area than other markets – lower highs and higher lows.

  215. paulie

    I’m not sure there are a bunch of donors out there who are eager to give money to pay for buying a building, but who in the absence of a building-buy fund would not give that money to other projects the LP might have going, if we gave them a range of choices via the project-based fundraising (crowdfunding) approach.

    The market will decide.

    If you are correct, we won’t buy.

    I suspect the building will be one of the most popular projects, but that’s why project based fundraising > central planning – the market is smarter than you, me, or any other collection of central planners trying to guess what the market wants.

  216. paulie

    I expect you will be surprised how little the “crowdfunding” approach generates. I could be wrong, but it’s my hunch that not much will come in for the menu of projects that may get listed.

    I think you will be wrong, but if you are right, I’m recommending that “revert to general fund” be one of the options given for any project that does not raise enough (get the money back or never have it taken out would be others). Also, the general fund itself would be one of the options, and I’ve been told that many donors tend to choose that.


    People can already pool their money into an using PACs for an infinite number of specific projects if they want to.

    True. Someone has to organize, publicize, get the email lists, and generate the eyeballs that will see their proposals.


    If the LNC does something like makes it almost by default that funds raised go towards something specific, and all the so-called “Administration” costs drops, you’ll end up with no staff to implement all the new projects.

    I think funds will go up and the administration fund will go up along with the overall rising revenues, confidence and optimism on all fronts. But we’ll see. General fundraising is not going to stop.

  217. paulie

    ZERO support for its affiliates, membership retention and recruitment, education and out-reach…

    A lot of that will be done independently outside the LNC or its budget.

  218. paulie

    @202

    I hereby call for the immediate resignation of those who sustain such a course of action.

    Duly noted. And no, thanks.

    Downsizing and relocation can be a very strategic means to maximize the use of existing revenue and reserves.

    Or part of a vicious cycle of collapse. Take your pick.


    However, from what I have read of the last LNC meeting and reports it appears that there is no strategic thinking going on at all,

    Au contraire. I was there and involved in the strategizing.


    rather just more large egos playing games, and schemers who plan to create systems and services to profit from it.

    They don’t profit unless we see substantial growth, and they actually lose substantial amounts of money (not to mention time) unless they produce results. Did you factor that in your equation?


    And this “services agreement” …. sounds like a franchise deal where state parties pay up or else….and who is really going to put up with that.

    No, that’s exactly what we have said we WON’T do with the franchise deal.

    So much for jumping to conclusions.

  219. paulie

    compare an [...] organization [...] that only has less that $219.67 in the bank account, according to public records, to a over $1,000,000 dollar national organization.

    Following your advice, the LNC would not take long to be much closer to the former than the latter.

  220. paulie

    From what I am seeing, the LNC board is not at all functional, in meaning that the members are just showing up for meetings woefully ignorant and unprepared for what they are asked to vote on. For that reason alone I call for the resignation of each and everyone of them.

    You have half a point there. I freely admit to being woefully unprepared.

    Mea culpa.

    Now, if I resign, who do you propose to replace me with?

    Is there reason to expect they will do better?

  221. paulie

    There is no shame in stepping down when ones personal life situation interferes or the board responsibilities is financially burdensome; when the organization is not forthcoming with information or asking a board member to vote on something they are not fully informed about; when the board is acting outside of its bylaws and policies; or when the board has lost its focus and is not serving the purpose for that it is created to serve.

    It is also no shame to ask for the resignations of others for the same above reasons.

    I don’t expect perfection from the LNC, either from myself or my hypothetical replacement. I do try to do my best to make it is as good as I can, and I expect others do the same.

  222. paulie

    If possible, I think that it would be great to have LP national headquarters in a place where it is visible to the public. Why? Because that would mean more publicity for the party.

    Agreed.

    I also like a lot of Starchild’s ideas about use of the building.

  223. George Phillies

    @253 35-1 comes out of the budget you were given. There are a couple of arithmetic steps.

    With respect to next years income, I would strongly urge you to heed Aaron Starr’s advice on this matter, at least for computing a base for planning expenditures. If you get more money, you can find a use for the surplus.

    I have conferred with folks who were around when the office was moved out of DC, and the information you are being given does not at all agree with the information I am being given. And my sources do not have a vested interest in a DC office.

  224. Chuck Moulton

    Chuck Moulton wrote (@117):

    The next LNC meeting will be March 16-17 in Austin, TX.

    Paulie wrote (@257):

    Turns out Austin is too expensive on those dates due to South By Southwest festival, so other cities are now being considered.

    Damn… I wanted to attend SXSW at some point. Having a LNC meeting the same time and location would have made it much more likely for me to fly out for a little of both.

  225. Chuck Moulton

    George Phillies wrote (@281):

    With respect to next years income, I would strongly urge you to heed Aaron Starr’s advice on this matter, at least for computing a base for planning expenditures. If you get more money, you can find a use for the surplus.

    I strongly agree. Budget assumptions ought to be conservative.

  226. paulie

    There are a couple of arithmetic steps.

    What are they?

    And my sources do not have a vested interest in a DC office.

    Neither does mine. Zapper on this thread, for example.

    Damn… I wanted to attend SXSW at some point. Having a LNC meeting the same time and location would have made it much more likely for me to fly out for a little of both.

    LNC did not want to spend the extra for flights and hotels that this would have meant. If you make up the difference for everyone maybe Austin could be a go again :-)

    I strongly agree. Budget assumptions ought to be conservative.

    I actually think these budget assumptions are pretty conservative, but it will be revisited at future meetings regardless of what we do or who’s right or wrong.

  227. Chuck Moulton

    Paulie wrote (@284):

    I actually think these budget assumptions are pretty conservative, but it will be revisited at future meetings regardless of what we do or who’s right or wrong.

    They’re not. We have historical financial data that should make predicting future performance more than random pie in the sky guessing. The LNC chose to go with random pie in the sky guessing.

  228. Chuck Moulton

    Paulie wrote (@286):

    No, it was based at looking at changing circumstances, not random and not pie in the sky.

    BULLSHIT!

    “changing circumstances” is the every year insistence that somehow we will raise more money on a non-presidential year than in a presidential year or suddenly fundraising will cost less per dollar raised than years past or suddenly a lot more members will decide to renew. People always claim that and it never materializes.

    The whole point of conservative budget assumptions is you assume past performance is a good baseline for future results (ideally the gloomiest possible assumptions), then if you exceed expectations (great!) you have extra money to play around with and allocate in the future.

    Pleas of “changing circumstances” are the opposite of conservative budget assumptions. They are liberal budget assumptions.

    I sure hope everything suddenly starts working much more efficiently than every year in the past, but I’m not counting on it.

  229. paulie

    Well, I wish I had time to explain that better right now, but need to get off the computer. Hopefully someone else who agrees with me will explain it while I’m gone. Otherwise I’ll try whenever I’m back online and not too drunk.

  230. George Phillies

    Perhaps eventually the members will hold the committee responsible for faulty decisions. THey certainly cannot claim they were not warned; Aaron Starr sent the LNC a detailed analysis of this issue.

  231. Zapper

    @281

    I was around at the time of the move out of DC and at the time of the move back. I was at the LNC meeting protesting the move when the vote was taken in NYC.

    I worked for Eric O’Keefe before he was fired in an infamous and foolish coup and worked for the incompetent Honey Lanham after the coup. I met her outside the office in DC on her first day there.

    I suggest that you talk to some people who actually helped with the move back to DC or to our former National Chair Jim Turney. He is living in Europe at present, but I’m sure you could track him down.

  232. Starchild

    Paulie @252 – I’m not sure we do have a $167k reserve — I could have misunderstood, but my understanding was that this was simply reported to be the amount of money we have on hand now remaining from this year’s budget, and that some of that may yet be spent (the year isn’t over yet).

    While I would have rather seen us continue going through the budget line-by-line as had been proposed, it was obvious we were going to run out of time before completing that exercise. I supported your motion for across-the-board cuts because I would rather see us engage in prudent, fiscally conservative budget projections, and then add back money later if it’s there, than make overly optimistic projections and possibly find ourselves short, and given time constraints, it wasn’t obvious that in the absence of such a motion we would manage to cut enough to balance the budget while keeping a healthy reserve.

    Also, had such a motion passed, the exercise of people seeking to retroactively exempt various categories of spending from across-the-board cuts would have potentially been a way for us to find out more detail about what all is in the budget.

  233. Starchild

    Paulie @268 quotes me writing, “I’m not sure there are a bunch of donors out there who are eager to give money to pay for buying a building, but who in the absence of a building-buy fund would not give that money to other projects the LP might have going, if we gave them a range of choices via the project-based fundraising (crowdfunding) approach.”

    He responds, “The market will decide. If you are correct, we won’t buy.”

    Unfortunately the market won’t decide, unless we get a crowdfunding mechanism in place prior to making a decision about buying a building, so that we can measure the popularity of donating to a building fund vs. donating to a number of other potential projects.

    If buying a building is perceived as being the only major project on the table, people may donate to it only because they aren’t being given the options to donate to other projects they’d find even more attractive.

  234. D. Lou Shenol

    @231 What B S ! Does that soothe your ego or something? The Dist. of Criminals the national center for FORCE and FRAUD in the U.S. Why would or SHOULD the political Party of LIBERTY want to be anywhere near this putrid slime pit ? It hasn’t won a single congressional district for the LP. It eats money that should be spent on advertising the brand!

    Move it to CO, VA or MD or anywhere CHEAPER and where the LP will OWN the property and never rent again. I’m sure many volunteers will show up to load a U-Haul and then move the U-Haul and then unload the U-Haul!

    This waste of funds must cease. Building the LP BRAND must be the prime objective and then Victories will come !!! The location of the national HQ has little to do with building the LP Brand , but more to a few warpped egos or provacuteurs plans!

    America’s Round Table – http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/esp_sociopol_cfr.htm#menu

  235. Starchild

    George @225 – Unfortunately, the current motion on the table is directed toward looking at ONLY properties in the Washington D.C. area. That is one reason I voted no.

    Having solid details about building possibilities outside of D.C. could make your case stronger, but as with the possibility of holding our conventions in non-hotel venues, it’s hard to fault people for not wanting to go out and put a lot of effort into researching these possibilities when the LNC majority seems predisposed to ignore them.

  236. Matt Cholko

    Will a VERY SMALL (no more than 5 people) committee be formed to handle the shopping for and purchase of a building? Will the have TOTAL authority to make the purchase when they find a property that they want to buy (within guidelines set previously by the LNC, of course)? If not, how does the LNC plan to handle these things?

  237. Starchild

    Matt @295 – Excellent questions — I was wondering along the same lines, and just asked Dan Wiener (the author of the current motion on the table) to address the issue.

  238. Starchild

    Okay, Dan just responded to me as follows:

    “My motion does not address the issue you raised, and I therefore cannot give you a definitive answer. My own assumption is that the Chair as CEO of the Libertarian Party will negotiate the purchase of an office and the associated mortgage, probably with the assistance of staff (particularly Robert Kraus) and real estate brokers, and perhaps with the assistance of a committee. This was the general procedure we used last year during the effort to purchase an office. The entire LNC was kept informed of the progress of the fundraising and the terms being negotiated, and LNC members did not hesitate to add their inputs. That was especially true in my case. I have no reason to think it would be any different this time, and I am satisfied with that methodology. You may or may not be satisfied, although that apparently will not change your vote.”

    (My question to him was to clarify the matter I’d raised in a previous message, where I wrote, “…this revised motion begs the questions of precisely *who* will have the authority to incur a mortgage. The language of the new added paragraph suggests that if this passes, *someone* will be empowered to select a building and take out a mortgage on it without any further input from the LNC. That doesn’t seem right to me.”)

  239. paulie

    Why would or SHOULD the political Party of LIBERTY want to be anywhere near this putrid slime pit ?

    For the same reason that we participate in elections.

    Donors, supporters, media all expect the office to be in or near DC.

    Past experience – which Zapper details – shows that moving out of DC in the past did not work out well.

  240. paulie

    If buying a building is perceived as being the only major project on the table, people may donate to it only because they aren’t being given the options to donate to other projects they’d find even more attractive.

    That’s possible, but I tend to think otherwise.

    I think that project fundraising is already effectively in effect – with zero projects.

    One is better than zero, and more than one is better than one.

    I don’t think that, because more than one is better than one, it follows that zero is also better than one.

  241. Warren Redlich

    “Donors, supporters, media all expect the office to be in or near DC.

    Past experience – which Zapper details – shows that moving out of DC in the past did not work out well.”

    Why have a physical office at all?

  242. paulie

    I’m not sure we do have a $167k reserve — I could have misunderstood, but my understanding was that this was simply reported to be the amount of money we have on hand now remaining from this year’s budget, and that some of that may yet be spent (the year isn’t over yet).

    You misunderstood. Geoff clearly said we have a 167k reserve right now during the budget discussion. It would have been nice if he, or Tim, or someone, explained that first thing right off the top. But it was not ambiguous.

    The reason it appears in the building motion is to say that we don’t move forward if the reserve is lower than it is right now.

    I supported your motion for across-the-board cuts because I would rather see us engage in prudent, fiscally conservative budget projections, and then add back money later if it’s there, than make overly optimistic projections and possibly find ourselves short, and given time constraints, it wasn’t obvious that in the absence of such a motion we would manage to cut enough to balance the budget while keeping a healthy reserve.

    That was my thinking when I originally made it.

    However:

    I think 167k is a healthy enough reserve.

    BTW, did you realize that the point that Diana made about not wanting to act like Congress – which you said she was right on about somewhere above – was in argument against this motion which you voted for?

  243. Warren Redlich

    “The LP moved its office to Houston after the 1983 National Convention in NYC. The party nearly died.
    Yes, the party was under incompetent leadership – but it is a sign of incompetence to want to move the office out of DC.
    What little bit of the LP was left was saved by Jim Turney when he moved the LP office back to DC – he pulled everything the LP had left in a trailer behind his car.”

    Can anyone point to a link discussing this incident in greater detail?

    It seems odd to base this view on a one-shot incident from 30 years ago.

    “A successful and growing national political party belongs in DC.”

    A successful party in today’s internet world might be better off with a decentralized approach. The LP believes at its core that decentralized government is better. Shouldn’t we find a way to practice what we preach?

  244. paulie

    Perhaps eventually the members will hold the committee responsible for faulty decisions.

    That’s fine, so long as they also give credit where it’s due for correct ones.

  245. paulie

    Why have a physical office at all?

    There’s a lot of work to be done which the employees find to be difficult to conduct in any other manner.

  246. paulie

    A successful party in today’s internet world might be better off with a decentralized approach. The LP believes at its core that decentralized government is better. Shouldn’t we find a way to practice what we preach?

    Support state and local parties if that is where you would like your focus to be. I think some centralization is good for some things, though.

  247. paulie

    Can anyone point to a link discussing this incident in greater detail?

    I haven’t seen one, but I think Zapper is right. It would be nice if Zapper, Turney or someone wrote an article about it.

  248. paulie

    It seems odd to base this view on a one-shot incident from 30 years ago.

    Doesn’t seem odd to me. The move was a failure due to predictable, and predicted, reasons. Why repeat the mistake?

  249. paulie

    BULLSHIT!

    “changing circumstances” is the every year insistence that somehow we will raise more money on a non-presidential year than in a presidential year or suddenly fundraising will cost less per dollar raised than years past or suddenly a lot more members will decide to renew. People always claim that and it never materializes.

    We’re coming off very encouraging election results.

    State parties all over the country are reporting an influx of new members, activists, social network followers, registered Libertarians (without an active registration effort on our part).

    There are several membership and party building projects in the works which are not paid for out of this budget.

    Michael Cloud plans a privately funded Project Archimedes 2.0

    Brett and Jillian have their “double the LP” which they will actually personally lose money on unless they bring in 4,000-5,000 new members. Brett told me he has sunk over 20k of his own money into it.

    Geoff has his UMightB TV ad project (along with bumperstickers and what not) and Libertarian Angels.

    There are all kinds of reasons to believe we will grow substantially.

    I think it’s conservative to estimate that we will still be at roughly the same size we have been over the last dozen or so lackluster years, rather than say two or three times our present size, a year from now.

    I understand where you are coming from in saying that post-presidential years normally see decline, but I don’t think that will be the case this time.

    Of course, I could be wrong, and the budget will be revisited in future meetings…just as always happens.

  250. Chuck Moulton

    Paulie wrote (@312):

    There are all kinds of reasons to believe we will grow substantially.

    All of those things are nice, but it is not conservative to assume they will work.

    Historically prospecting for new members and donors has cost more than they bring in the first year. Again, it would be nice if we suddenly start acquiring new members and donors for a far lower cost, but that would not be a conservative budget assumption.

    Fantasy budgeting makes decisions down the road a lot tougher if your unprecedented numbers don’t hit.

    When Visek talked about budgeting like Congress, she also meant picking an arbitrary increase in revenues that had never been achieved before, calling it “growth”, and using it as an excuse to deficit spend for pet projects rather than address the fiscal crisis.

  251. George Phillies

    @311 I believe your claims about 30 years ago are substantially untrue. Furthermore, there is no credible rationale for teh quoted effect. The large issue, 30 years ago, was that a poitical machine wiht a great deal of money was ejected from its eladership positions, and party resources would have fallen whether the move had occurred or not.

    My sources claim the reason for the move was that the national HQ was in a location unsafe for a woman at night, and when the National Director requested the temporary move, planned to be temporary, the national chair agreed.

  252. paulie

    Historically prospecting for new members and donors has cost more than they bring in the first year.

    Except that there will be no cost this time – it’s being done as private ventures.

    Also, has it ever been undertaken on the heels of such positive election results, or such positive voter registration trends, etc?

    When Visek talked about budgeting like Congress, she also meant picking an arbitrary increase in revenues that had never been achieved before, calling it “growth”, and using it as an excuse to deficit spend for pet projects rather than address the fiscal crisis.

    OK, yes, she did mean that as well.

    Does someone have a detailed budget proposal for what exactly should be cut and by how much?

    I expect we will revisit the budget at future meetings, as has usually or maybe even always been the case – it’s hard to guess exactly right, after all.

    If your concerns end up being justified it would be nice to have a better idea of where the savings should come from. I’d be particularly interested if someone went through it line by line rather than speaking in terms of broad categories.

  253. paulie

    there is no credible rationale for teh quoted effect.

    The rationale is that donors, media, etc tend to take a national party that is not HQed in or near DC far less seriously.

    My sources claim the reason for the move was that the national HQ was in a location unsafe for a woman at night, and when the National Director requested the temporary move, planned to be temporary, the national chair agreed.

    That was a different move, in the early 90s from Southeast DC to the Watergate. I know nothing of anyone saying it was temporary.

    The move to Houston in 1983 was from a location in Northwest DC which no one that I know of claimed was not safe. Nor have I heard anyone say that it was planned to be temporary.

    If you could point me to your sources I would be interested in reading them or discussing it with them.

  254. paulie

    Why have a physical office at all?

    You need several people handling the money as it comes in as a security measure.

    Among other things, yes.

  255. Chuck Moulton

    Paulie wrote (@316):

    Except that there will be no cost this time – it’s being done as private ventures.

    That project was supposed to bring in 13,000 new members in October. Instead it brought in less than 200.

    Additionally that requires a 30% commission for each new member, which exceeds the membership development expenditures budgeted.

    I hope Double the LP is effective in bringing in a lot of new members cheaply in the future. Assuming it will is fantasy budgeting.

  256. paulie

    That project was supposed to bring in 13,000 new members in October. Instead it brought in less than 200.

    I referred to several projects, not one. And it’s not impossible that Double the LP will be more successful in the future. If it continues to fail – Brett and Jillian will lose a bunch of their own personal money, and the LP will not.

    Additionally that requires a 30% commission for each new member, which exceeds the membership development expenditures budgeted.

    Not each new member, just those THEY bring in. The ones who sign up on their own, or through the efforts of the national office, or through Michael Cloud’s upcoming project etc will not pay any commission to Brett and Jillian. I don’t see how a commission on an unknown number of new members that would not otherwise come in at all and are not costing the LP anything to acquire can “exceed the membership development expenditures budgeted” even in theory. Please explain.

    The other projects:

    Archimedes was pretty successful in bringing in members last time. Some people criticized its costs, but there will be no costs to the LP this time – it’s now a private venture. And the soil is more abundant with prospects than last time, I believe.

    Geoff’s TV/other ad campaign – again, privately funded, no cost to the LP (except minor staff time on website updates and nominal URL acquisition costs – but nothing significant), but it has a good chance of bringing in significant numbers of members.

    Arvin and JJM’s facebook efforts only started in July. As far as I know they will continue, and they will now presumably have more time for them. We haven’t yet had a full year of their project in action, but it’s promising thus far. And again the costs to the LP budget are zero or close to zero – they are doing it on their own time.

  257. Chuck Moulton

    Paulie wrote (@320):

    it’s not impossible that Double the LP will be more successful in the future

    “it’s not impossible” is not the basis for a conservative budget assumption.

    Paulie wrote (@320):

    Not each new member, just those THEY bring in.

    That was implied from the context of what I said.

    Paulie wrote (@320):

    I don’t see how a commission on an unknown number of new members that would not otherwise come in at all and are not costing the LP anything to acquire can “exceed the membership development expenditures budgeted” even in theory. Please explain.

    The point was if we are going to budget our membership revenues to fantasy, then we ought to budget our membership costs to that same fantasy (at least that portion of the membership that are purported to be coming from that source). It’s a basic matching principle in accounting.

    Paulie wrote (@320):

    Archimedes … Geoff’s TV/other ad campaign … Arvin and JJM’s facebook efforts

    All of these are great ideas. Assuming they will be wildly successful is budgeting to fantasy rather than using conservative budget assumptions.

    I’ve been a strong proponent of Facebook outreach and have given Arvin several ideas on growing membership through the page.

    You don’t seem to understand the difference between budgeting and brainstorming projects. This is why so many LP campaigns end in the red.

  258. paulie

    I’m not assuming they will be wildly successful.

    My best guess is that we can grow the LP to around 20,000 members within the next year.

    My idea of wildly successful is that we will double or more.

    I’ll be disappointed if none of the member acquisition projects take off and we are still stuck around the present levels in a year, or in decline, but I agree that we should be prepared to adjust our financial projections if it looks like we are on track to that. Financial projections can be revised downward as well as upward.

    Detailed ideas on prospective cuts would be most welcome so we are ready if we need to make them. Keep in mind that we received the budget a couple of days before the meeting – some of us who were not on email while travelling did not get it until the meeting – and there was no debate about it ahead of time. Many of us, especially the large number of new members this term, did not have a good idea of what we were even looking at, or basic facts like the existing reserve levels. So, I readily admit, the process and results were both far from perfect.

    It’s a fact that Libertarian vote totals are growing quite a bit.

    It’s a fact that Libertarian voter registrations are growing quite a bit, with no organized effort to make it so (and not just in California; I’ve been asking around).

    If the LP, with all these different ideas on how to translate that into members and donors, completely fails to do so – I’ll be very disappointed.

    The point was if we are going to budget our membership revenues to fantasy, then we ought to budget our membership costs to that same fantasy (at least that portion of the membership that are purported to be coming from that source). It’s a basic matching principle in accounting.

    I still don’t understand where you are getting your numbers. I presume that whatever is in the budget for member acquisition is not broken down by source, and that it probably has little to do with commissions paid out to one of several sources. No new members = no commissions. Few new members = few commissions. If we get tons of new members through them, we will have to add to the budget for their commissions, but then we’ll have tons of new revenue. So where is the problem?

    What level of new membership through their program are you projecting to come up with the conclusion that it exceeds the membership acquisition budget? Is it even part of that budget at all (my understanding is no)?

  259. Matt Cholko

    Isn’t there something like 13,000 dues paying members right now? If so, it seems incredibly optimistic to think that we’ll have 20,000 a year from now. Fifty percent annual growth, or even thirty five percent (if I am way off with my current membership number), seems highly unlikely for a forty year old organization to achieve.

    Not impossible, just highly unlikely.

  260. paulie

    Isn’t there something like 13,000 dues paying members right now?

    It’s currently over 15,000.

    Keep in mind, though, that there has not been any concerted effort at membership acquisition in years, and there will be not one but several such efforts this coming year….all privately funded.

    We’ve had a facebook effort that has been getting results, but only for the last few months. As far as I know that will continue, and several new projects will be launched.

    I tend to think that some, though not necessarily all, of them will succeed.

    The ground is certainly fertile like never before.

    15% rise in voter registrations in CA in 45 days without any organized effort from us – are you kidding me?!

    And California was not the only state.

    If we still have less than 20,000 members in a year, we are not doing our job right.

    It’s realistically plausible that we could double or more.

  261. Mark Axinn

    20,000 members in 2013 would be a terrific,but that’s extremely optimistic. However, the only way to get there is to encourage projects which are cost-effective and bring more membership dollars into the LP.

    Double the LP is one such project. I strongly doubt it will be as successful as Brett and Jillian predict, and of course I hope that I’m wrong. But if it’s 0nly half or even 1/4 as successful as they predict, isn’t that a step in the right direction? And isn’t that true even after subtracting a commission for the project managers?

  262. paulie

    20,000 members in 2013 would be a terrific,but that’s extremely optimistic.

    I think expectation are set artificially low based on the last 12 years. I’ve explained why I think this will change now.

    However, the only way to get there is to encourage projects which are cost-effective and bring more membership dollars into the LP.

    Double the LP is one such project

    Luckily there are several others. Some even have track records (Project Archimedes – and keep in mind that the costs are privatized this time – and the facebook project).

    I strongly doubt it will be as successful as Brett and Jillian predict,

    Then it will suck to be them. Less than 4,000-5,000 new members through their project alone (not including any of the others) and they lose money. But the LP does not.

    We only lose money if their project brings in people who would have come in in other ways. But that can also be said of other ways in which we pay for donor acquisition – direct mail, telemarketing, advertising, and so on.

    We now have several different projects underway or about to start to tap into a very fertile field. In different ways. All either free or commission based, or raising their operating capital separately from LP general fundraising. Some following tried and true models, others new and experimental.

    So I have reasons why I don’t think I’m as over-optimistic as others here believe I am being.

    I understand the point that Chuck and others are making about budget assumptions. I have explained my reasoning, but I also understand that I could be wrong. I’m asking for help with identifying specific cuts if they should be needed.

  263. Michael H. Wilson

    One of the LP’s biggest problems is the turnover rate or the loss of members who are seldom contacted by the states were they lived. If we could focus on that one issue for a small part of the time it would help significantly. I did not say may help. I specifically said it would help. Past work shows that to be the case.

    One problem from my perspective is the dump we get from national. It is not easy to work with and needs to be improved.

    Paulie are you familiar with what the dump looks like?

  264. paulie

    One problem from my perspective is the dump we get from national. It is not easy to work with and needs to be improved.

    That is in fact one of the things we are planning to do.

  265. George Phillies

    @317

    Paulie, you are being led by the nose by the DC Office proponents. The move of Sunny Lanham to TX was in the 80s. The party collapse in period was also the Koch/Crane people.

  266. paulie

    That’s astounding.

    Why?

    Paulie, you are being led by the nose by the DC Office proponents.

    So what’s your explanation of why the move back to DC a couple of years later?

  267. Zapper

    @304 The LP is using a decentralized approach. The bulk of our activity is centered in our State and Local affiliates.

  268. NewFederalist

    George @ 334… that’s Honey Lanham not Sunny. She later married Larry Dodge and lived in Panama for many years.

  269. Zapper

    “My sources claim the reason for the move was that the national HQ was in a location unsafe for a woman at night, and when the National Director requested the temporary move, planned to be temporary, the national chair agreed.” – GP @314

    Your sources are just plain wrong.

    There was no issue of safety in DC. Although it may have been mentioned as an excuse to mollify some less-than- savvy LNC member or slow-witted observer, there was no serious discussion of this or belief in this as a justification at the LNC meeting in Sept 1983.

    Honey wanted to have the office near her home. Only Houston was considered. It was always known and intended as a “permanent” relocation.

    If safety had been an issue, there are cheaper locations with less crime outside of TX and outside of Honey’s neighborhood.

    The move to Houston was political payback to Honey and others for the role of TX in the disasterous coup.

    At the LNC meeting it was clear that the move had been decided in advance, to Houston, for Honey and the TX LP … and no kind of logic, no consideration of real cost, no consideration of effects on the Party membership, no consideration of how this would alienate members in other states, nothing was considered except political payback. Discussion and public input against the motion were not allowed.

    It would be even more disasterous today to attempt such a move again. Where would we locate the office? Which power block would succeed in taking this national trophy home? How often would we be moving the office when it no longer had a rationale for its location? Every time there is a new Chair of the LNC, or a new national director, or a shift in voting balance on the LNC the office location football will come into play once again.

    DISASTER

    Locating out of DC would set the forces of regionalism and factionalism into a hyperactive frenzy and finally end up with division and decline if not death of the LP. That’s what happened with the Houston move. The national LP office became a minor plaything for local Houston and TX cronies and pals of Honey. The rest of the LP was alienated and an afterthought. It would have been much better for the LP to have paid Honey to go home and to have kept the office in DC staffed by volunteers.

    DC, in fact, exists because of such problems on the national political scene. Having a separate location away from other large cities or states for the seat of government is a form of decentralization of government.

    It also helps to decentralize the management of the LP.

  270. wredlich

    Me: Why have a physical office at all?

    GP: You need several people handling the money as it comes in as a security measure.

    How much money comes in by check as opposed to by credit card or other online payment? With online payment and online banking it can all be monitored by multiple individuals in various locations. And should be.

    Money is only an issue if a substantial percentage comes in as checks. And even then, if the checks are made out to the LP or LNC, it would be difficult for the treasurer to get away with theft for any significant length of time – if there are 2-3 others watching the money.

    And having staff all in one place doesn’t prevent problems. Ask the Madoff firm.

  271. paulie

    There was no issue of safety in DC.

    I think George is getting this mixed up with the move from SE DC to the Watergate in the early 90s, where safety was in fact cited as a concern.

  272. From Der Sidelines

    GP: You need several people handling the money as it comes in as a security measure.

    That’s why PO boxes exist.

    If there’s some sort of FEC regulation on the subject, let’s hear it. Otherwise the idea of a building itself or any physical office is just obsolete last-millenium thinking.

    You double the LP by doubling its effectiveness, and you do that by eliminating the overhead of a physical office and moving the operations to the cloud, leaving only a PO box and maybe a storage shed. You also do it by getting away from the expensive and overblown hotel concept for conventions.

    Otherwise the effort to “Double the LP” might as well be simply renaming itself “LPLP”…

  273. Zapper

    The LP does actually need a physical office where the staff can work together and coordinate on projects and be supervised by the national director, office manager or some other person in charge.

    It is true that there are many functions that can be devolved to volunteers anywhere they can be connected by phone and the Internet. That would be a good way to expand the effectiveness of a small central office staff. But we need that core team working together in a single location.

    And because of the benefits of being in DC and the political nightmare of choosing anywhere outside DC – DC is the place for that central staff that we need.

  274. paulie

    I’d like to hear how practical the idea of eliminating a physical office seems to people who have actually worked at the LP national office. I know several of them comment here.

  275. paulie

    The LP does actually need a physical office where the staff can work together and coordinate on projects and be supervised by the national director, office manager or some other person in charge.

    It is true that there are many functions that can be devolved to volunteers anywhere they can be connected by phone and the Internet. That would be a good way to expand the effectiveness of a small central office staff. But we need that core team working together in a single location.

    And because of the benefits of being in DC and the political nightmare of choosing anywhere outside DC – DC is the place for that central staff that we need.

    I tend to agree.

  276. Reed E

    @ 324 Paulie, 43% increase in voter registration in Louisiana for the LP and income to the State LP since August is more than the last 5 years combined. Yeah, your on the right track.

  277. Reed E

    + we have hired an Executive Director and had a substantial increase in National Dues Members from Louisiana over the past few months, as well as an increase in vote totals and candidates.

  278. paulie

    43% increase in voter registration in Louisiana for the LP and income to the State LP since August is more than the last 5 years combined.

    :-)

    That’s what I like to hear.

    And what I’m hearing more of lately than I have in a long, long time.

    If Louisiana can do it – so can the other states and National.

  279. Starchild

    Paulie @303 – You write, “Geoff clearly said we have a 167k reserve right now during the budget discussion”

    Yes, I believe he did say that. But it wasn’t clear to me that he meant “money which is not included in our budget and won’t be touched until we allocated it”. I think it’s possible he meant something like “money that we simply haven’t spent yet, but which is available to be spent without any further LNC action and which may be drawn upon during the rest of the year”.

    Are you certain he meant the former and not the latter?

  280. Starchild

    I think Mike Seebeck had a very interesting idea in one of these threads for a mobile LPHQ in the form of an RV. It could be parked in D.C. most of the time, and go out on the road during campaign season. We’d get visibility out on the streets, reduced office expenses, and the ability to move around town to where the action is (plaster the thing with libertarian propaganda and show up at festivals, protests, press conferences outside Capitol Hill, etc.)

  281. paulie

    I don’t think LPHQ staff would like that idea, although you could ask them. They have lives outside of work. Living on the road is a choice I make, but most other people choose not to do that.

    Naturally, I’ve spent some time in RVs. How much office space would one have? How much living space? How much storage space? Not very much, especially if it was to be used for all those things at the same time.

  282. George Phillies

    Carrying the party records around would be not an RV but — given that the records have to be hysically accessible — several 18-wheelers.

    Also, once the vehicle leaves town, the commute for staff would be not manageable.

  283. Marc Montoni

    I’d like to hear how practical the idea of eliminating a physical office seems to people who have actually worked at the LP national office. I know several of them comment here.

    To be honest, I think it would be disastrous.

    The LP is enough of a laughing-stock as it is, what with LNC members spending far more time discussing how to address each other in meetings than on adding functionality to the database. It doesn’t need any more unproven, theoretical, non-real-world-based fantasy management.

    Paulie knows, but others may not — I worked in the national office full-time between 1898-1993, and temped there on occasion between 98-2002.

  284. Andy

    “Starchild // Dec 3, 2012 at 2:28 am

    I think Mike Seebeck had a very interesting idea in one of these threads for a mobile LPHQ in the form of an RV. It could be parked in D.C. most of the time, and go out on the road during campaign season. We’d get visibility out on the streets, reduced office expenses, and the ability to move around town to where the action is (plaster the thing with libertarian propaganda and show up at festivals, protests, press conferences outside Capitol Hill, etc.)”

    Interesting idea, but I think that it would take more than on RV to fulfill the function of the LP national office. Also, the Libertarian Party national office would still need a way to receive mail, so there’d still be a need for a stable address for this reason.

    “Marc Montoni // Dec 4, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Parking an RV in DC — what a laugh riot that would be.”

    Marc Montoni brings up a good point here, in that Washington DC is a very congested place, and it would not be the easiest place to drive around in an RV or to find parking spaces. If an idea such as this were to be implemented, I think that it would be necessary for the LP to rent a lot where the RV’s could stay parked most of the time.

  285. Andy

    Zapper said: “Honey wanted to have the office near her home. Only Houston was considered. It was always known and intended as a “permanent” relocation.

    If safety had been an issue, there are cheaper locations with less crime outside of TX and outside of Honey’s neighborhood.

    The move to Houston was political payback to Honey and others for the role of TX in the disasterous coup.

    At the LNC meeting it was clear that the move had been decided in advance, to Houston, for Honey and the TX LP … ”

    Who in the hell is Honey? Honey Boo Boo?:)

  286. paulie

    Marc knows what he is talking about on these things. Parking in DC is hard enough with a regular car, as for RV…forget about it.

    Just got off the phone with an LNC member who was there when it was decided to move back to DC. She says it was 1988, for some reason I thought 1985.

    Everyone I have talked to so far who was around then says moving back to DC was necessary.

    However reportedly Lew Rockwell, who was on the LNC at the time, expressed the concern that “we would all get mugged” in DC.

    Andy is right about snail mail also. And what about volunteers/interns, would they have to quit college or their paying jobs to travel around with the RV or would we have to find and train new ones at every RV stop?

  287. paulie

    Who in the hell is Honey? Honey Boo Boo?

    Honey Lanham who was the executive director at that time. She’s one of Kohlhaas’s references for Alabama btw.

  288. paulie

    The LP is enough of a laughing-stock as it is, what with LNC members spending far more time discussing how to address each other in meetings than on adding functionality to the database. It doesn’t need any more unproven, theoretical, non-real-world-based fantasy management.

    True.

    Carrying the party records around would be not an RV but — given that the records have to be hysically accessible — several 18-wheelers.

    Also, once the vehicle leaves town, the commute for staff would be not manageable.

    True as well.

    We need a physical office, with the wheels taken all the way off and the utilities hardwired in, and maybe even bricked in for bad weather.

    And it should stay parked in the DC area, at one location, as everyone I have talked to so far about the last “road trip” to Texas is telling me.

    AND: If we moved out of DC, could we ever agree on which state or region would get the office? Or would it be a football getting tossed around every term?

  289. Andy

    “And what about volunteers/interns, would they have to quit college or their paying jobs to travel around with the RV or would we have to find and train new ones at every RV stop?”

    I think to make the RV thing work there’d have to be more than one RV. There’d have to be 2 or 3 of them. If one of them went on the road the local volunteers could still go to the other two.

    The RV thing is not likely realistic, but it is still good to consider outside the box ideas.

  290. paulie

    I like out of the box ideas too, but I don’t think RVs will work. Not even if there’s a bunch of them, which BTW would be pretty expensive…not just the cost of the RVs but gas, parking, engine maintenance/repair/parts, insurance on multiple RVs and multiple drivers, etc and so on. If they are new RVs they are pretty expensive even without all that, and if they are not new RVs you are talking about a lot more maintenance and repair issues.

  291. Andy

    If (or when) the Libertarian Party grows to the point where it can afford it, I’d like to see the party have an RV with Libertarian Party signs plastered all over it in addition to having an office. The LP could have a full time RV staff that travels around the country to events to promote the Libertarian Party.

  292. NewFederalist

    “I worked in the national office full-time between 1898-1993, and temped there on occasion between 98-2002.”

    Wow! You’re older than dirt!

  293. Andy

    “George Phillies // Nov 18, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Andy,

    LP National has scads of cash in its reserve fund. The notion that they do not have the money to pay these people is not supported by their financial report.

    Johnson appears to be in a similar boat, except, of course, that his campaign already had enormous debts when he got the nomination.”

    Well, I’ll have to say this information that they really did have the money but just chose to not use it to pay us in a timely manner does tick me off. I’d even go so far as to call this disgraceful.

    Now somebody may chime in and say something like, “Yeah, but the money was not allocated for ballot access. The LNC had to vote to allocate the money for ballot access first.”

    I don’t buy this as a legitimate excuse. They should have called an emergency teleconference meeting and voted to pay us, so we didn’t have to wait for weeks to get paid, having the money doled out in multiple increments over a period of more than 2 1/2 months.

    Sure, we finally got paid, but what about all of the problems caused and damages that were incurred by not getting paid in a timely manner. What about the petitioner whose vehicle broke down and who could not afford to get it fixed for weeks due to this pay delay? What about the petitioner who got stranded in a city where they had no work lined up and who had to call me for an advance (out of my pocket) so they could get to another job, and then when they arrived their they ran out of that money and had to sleep on the floor of a crowded motel room? I can tell everyone that this situation would have been a heck of a lot worse than it was if I had not advanced money to some of these people out of my own pocket. What am I, a free pay day loan service for the Libertarian Party?

    There is really no legitimate reason that there should be pay delays like. Heck, if the LP national was really broke (which it was NOT), and if the Gary Johnson campaign was really broke (which it was NOT), then somebody could have paid us out of their own pocket. I don’t know if Gary Johnson and Jim Gray were briefed on this situation, but I do know that Gary Johnson is personally worth around $10 million. I don’t know what Jim Gray is worth, but I imagine that he’s not hurting for money. Gary Johnson could have easily paid us out of his own pocket. If he didn’t want to spend his own money on the campaign, then fine, he could have advanced us money out of his own pocket and then fund raised to reimburse himself later. I’m not blaming Gary Johnson for this personally, because I don’t know if he even knew about it (I’m assuming that he did not), but I’m just pointing out that there were solutions to get us paid far more quickly than we were that could have been utilized.

    This is not the first time that the Libertarian Party has had unreasonably long pay delays with paying petitioners. I can think of at least 6 times that it happened to me, and it’s happened to others as well.

    It really should never take more than a week to get paid. Perhaps in the future there should be contracts with late fees attached to them if payments are late, not just with the Libertarian Party but also for any group that puts out a petition.

    “We appear to have the first time anyone told the LNC that they owed petitioners money, which I find to be astonishing, both that they were still owed and that no mention was made of it in any location that I see. If the matter had been raised, IMHO there would have been an earlier committee response. Did anyone tell Paulie about it? Or Tim Hagan? The debt appears in no earlier Treasurer’s report, either the balance sheet variety, the FEC variety, or the written Treasurer’s notes.

    I can perfectly well see a board member, told at this very late date about the debt, insisting on some substantiation beyond the normal that the claim is legitimate.”

    I can assure everyone reading this that several members of the LNC were informed about this situation multiple times well before the last LNC meeting, as were people who work at the LP national office, as was the Gary Johnson campaign. So it’s not like it was some big surprise.

  294. Jill Pyeatt

    Oh no, Honey Boo Boo has been mentioned at least twice now on IPR–I’m not sure what that means, but it’s amusing.

  295. Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

    Zapper conveniently forgets Eric was fired for good and sufficient cause.

    An examination of the phone records revealed he spent many hours on the phone to Ed (Kochtapus) Crane, and was never available to talk to Alicia Clark, who had been elected National Chair and was, therefore, his boss.

    Of course, since Zapper was being paid by the LP but clearly has revealed his loyalties were to Crane, Cato, and the Kochs, what other opinion could you expect? Very self-serving.

    Crane never let himself be limited by the idea of ethical behavior. That was true then and all indications are it remains true today.

    The next step in the Craniac plan was an organizing effort to destroy the LP by persuading pivotal activists to join the Republican Party. John Fund was involved in this and has always been an insider with the Craniacs and Richites. Howie Rich was, and likely remains, Capo for Crane. We will be enlarging on these events on our site. Stop by sometime.

    Zapper // Nov 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    @281

    I was around at the time of the move out of DC and at the time of the move back. I was at the LNC meeting protesting the move when the vote was taken in NYC.

    I worked for Eric O’Keefe before he was fired in an infamous and foolish coup and worked for the incompetent Honey Lanham after the coup. I met her outside the office in DC on her first day there.

    I suggest that you talk to some people who actually helped with the move back to DC or to our former National Chair Jim Turney. He is living in Europe at present, but I’m sure you could track him down.

  296. Mike Kane

    This building argument may be the silliest argument on earth. How is the LP suppose to be a major political party with an office in Billings Montana? The office needs to be in the greater Washington DC area, and doesn’t have to a palace. How about a 3 story building, so that the LP can sublease while they continue to grow and take on more staffers/interns?

    An RV going mobile- that can’t be the permanent office. Good idea, but something to examine later once the money is there.

    Also, I don’t know why people are giving the LNC such a hard time about their percentage of expenditures, and how it relates to what the BBB considers good. The key here isn’t to reduce operating expenditures, the key is to RAISE MORE MONEY.

  297. George Phillies

    “This building argument may be the silliest argument on earth. How is the LP suppose to be a major political party with an office in Billings Montana? The office needs to be in the greater Washington DC area,”

    Cargo cult thinking at its most nonsensical.

    Also, raising more money when you toss most of it is pointless.

    This, by the way, was the good year, because the LNC spent a stack of money on ballot access.

  298. paulie

    Cargo cult thinking at its most nonsensical.

    I don’t agree in this case.

    The people who have actually been calling the donors to raise the money have told me that many donors specifically want it to be in the DC area. The people who were around when we moved to Texas and back are telling me that the move to Texas was a mistake and that the move back to DC was out of dire necessity. Current and former staff have told me that the office needs to be in or near DC.

    National media HQed in the DC area would interpret such a move as the LP disengaging from national politics.

    And, if we moved to some other metro area, the LNC would spend a lot of time fighting over which one …and then the next LNC would spend a lot of time fighting over whether to keep it there or move it again, and so on.

    Also, raising more money when you toss most of it is pointless.

    Having gone through budget review I can’t agree that we toss most of it. However, we’ll be moving towards more project based fundraising so the donors will decide for themselves. That includes the building.

    It could also include many other projects as well. Suggestions welcome. Especially if you willing to help fundraise and/or do other legwork to make them happen.

    This, by the way, was the good year, because the LNC spent a stack of money on ballot access.

    I agree that ballot access is needed, but we would be better off if we didn’t have to do it, IE if we already had it, unless we start using the signature gathering process for more than just ballot access alone.

  299. paulie

    This building argument may be the silliest argument on earth. How is the LP suppose to be a major political party with an office in Billings Montana? The office needs to be in the greater Washington DC area, and doesn’t have to a palace.

    Agreed.

    How about a 3 story building, so that the LP can sublease while they continue to grow and take on more staffers/interns?

    Interesting idea. We’ve been kicking it around. One problem may be that there are constraints on who we can and can’t lease to, etc.

    An RV going mobile- that can’t be the permanent office. Good idea, but something to examine later once the money is there.

    Agreed.

    Also, I don’t know why people are giving the LNC such a hard time about their percentage of expenditures, and how it relates to what the BBB considers good.

    It’s mostly based on a misinterpretation of the numbers.

    The key here isn’t to reduce operating expenditures, the key is to RAISE MORE MONEY.

    I agree.

  300. paulie

    put the name in any search engine. I didn’t know either.

    Jill knows who it is, she doesn’t know what if anything her being mentioned twice on IPR means.

  301. paulie

    Now somebody may chime in and say something like, “Yeah, but the money was not allocated for ballot access. The LNC had to vote to allocate the money for ballot access first.”

    I don’t buy this as a legitimate excuse. They should have called an emergency teleconference meeting and voted to pay us, so we didn’t have to wait for weeks to get paid, having the money doled out in multiple increments over a period of more than 2 1/2 months.

    The assumption was that the Johnson campaign would pay us, which they did, although slowly. It’s not like we knew how slow they would be or that they would pass the expenses back to LP national. And they didn’t get the expense total bill until after they paid for the signatures. Of course part of that was because they insisted on getting the entire expense total bill in one lump sum.

    This is not the first time that the Libertarian Party has had unreasonably long pay delays with paying petitioners. I can think of at least 6 times that it happened to me, and it’s happened to others as well.

    It really should never take more than a week to get paid. Perhaps in the future there should be contracts with late fees attached to them if payments are late, not just with the Libertarian Party but also for any group that puts out a petition.

    Good idea. But do we have the leverage to make clients agree to that?

  302. Mike Kane

    All paid petitioners should have their money held in escrow while signatures are delivered and counted.

    This will prevent delayed and non payment from said parties.

  303. NewFederalist

    put the name in any search engine. I didn’t know either.

    Jill knows who it is, she doesn’t know what if anything her being mentioned twice on IPR means.

    Uh… okay. I guess that it’s just that I am old and clueless!

  304. Jill Pyeatt

    Yes, Paulie is right: I know who Honey Boo Boo is, but I don’t know what having her mentioned twice here on IPR mean–

    I’ll admit that I have watched the show a couple times and found her mother, in particular, utterly fascinating. But then, I watch the hoarding shows, also. Those entertain me far more than “Dancing with the Stars” type shows.

    Possibly not my most endearing personality trait, I’m sure!

  305. paulie

    All paid petitioners should have their money held in escrow while signatures are delivered and counted.

    That was basically what we had until LPHQ went over the budget allocation for ballot access.

    The deal being passed off to the campaign created a different problem because we had no pre-established agreement or understanding with them.

    At the end of the campaign they passed what remained of the buck back to LPHQ. Since the meeting was then imminent I did not try to ask for an emergency teleconference at that point.

    Once the meeting took place the issue was resolved quickly, at least as far as what we had submitted in writing up until that point. Other than Mark Gailey, where there is dispute over him not using an SSN.

    However, no late fee was discussed. In such cases there should always be late fees because – especially when people are living on the road – getting the money months later is a whole lot different than getting it days later.

    That is one thing that has never been acknowledged or dealt with in the cases where we have been paid late.

    I’ll admit that I have watched the show a couple times and found her mother, in particular, utterly fascinating.

    Never watched the show, but I’ve read/heard about it.

  306. NewFederalist

    “I’ll admit that I have watched the show a couple times and found her mother, in particular, utterly fascinating. But then, I watch the hoarding shows, also. Those entertain me far more than “Dancing with the Stars” type shows.”

    I only watch Monk, Sherlock and Hercule Poirot on DVD. Otherwise it’s the Weather Channel for me!

  307. George Phillies

    “How is the LP suppose to be a major political party with an office in Billings Montana? ”

    By having candidates who win elections.

    Mind you, I am aware of no advocates for a National Office in that location. It’s like saying that the alternative to a DC palace is a pre-fab house in the Arkansas pineywoods. Oh, someone said that.

  308. Andy

    “And they didn’t get the expense total bill until after they paid for the signatures. Of course part of that was because they insisted on getting the entire expense total bill in one lump sum.”

    They had received some of the expenses from myself and some other petitioners prior to that, plus, I told them several times that more expenses were coming, and I even gave them an estimate of how much more in expenses were going to on their way (which turned out to be close to accurate).

    I don’t think that there was any legitimate excuse for delaying payment for that long (of course, there were pay delays that I had in the past with the LP that were much longer than this one).

    I shudder to think how much worse the situation would have been had I not gone into my own pocket and advanced out money to several petitioners. I basically got used (again) as a free pay day loan service for the Libertarian Party.

    “Other than Mark Gailey, where there is dispute over him not using an SSN.”

    There was one other petitioner that was owed expense reimbursements for West Virginia (and possibly Kentucky) that was not taken care of as a part of the payment that was approved at that LNC meeting. I believe that this person was owed around $800 and something. Hopefully this person has been taken care of by now.

    Also, them just stiffing Mark Gailey over the SSN issue is just not right. There were several avenues available to pay him, plus, there is no reason that they can’t just pay him directly without an SSN, and Mark Gailey already agreed to sign an affidavit saying that he declined to give one and accepting responsibility for it, plus NOBODY has ever refuted – or even provided a rebuttal to – any of his documented legal arguments as to why he is not legally required to provide an SSN. All they have done is dodge communications with him and stiff him out of $1,347.50. This is pretty crappy in my opinion.

  309. Andy

    “paulie // Dec 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    ‘All paid petitioners should have their money held in escrow while signatures are delivered and counted.’

    That was basically what we had until LPHQ went over the budget allocation for ballot access.”

    I think when he said held in escrow, he meant an escrow account controlled by a lawyer, which would mean that neither the party or the petitioner would hold the money until after the signatures are turned in.

  310. paulie

    “How is the LP suppose to be a major political party with an office in Billings Montana? ”

    By having candidates who win elections.

    Mind you, I am aware of no advocates for a National Office in that location. It’s like saying that the alternative to a DC palace is a pre-fab house in the Arkansas pineywoods. Oh, someone said that.

    The indications I have received is that the ripple effects of having an office outside the DC area will make it less likely that we will have candidates who win elections (or run, or exert influence).

    They had received some of the expenses from myself and some other petitioners prior to that, plus, I told them several times that more expenses were coming, and I even gave them an estimate of how much more in expenses were going to on their way (which turned out to be close to accurate).

    The campaign, which was the entity we were dealing with at that point, first used the excuse that they had to have 100% of the expenses that they were going to pay all calculated and submitted before they would pay any of it (even though they paid the signature payment in installments after they received that). And the campaign was not the entity we negotiated with to begin with. Then when they finally had everything they asked for they paid none of the expenses and passed that back to LPHQ.

    I shudder to think how much worse the situation would have been had I not gone into my own pocket and advanced out money to several petitioners. I basically got used (again) as a free pay day loan service for the Libertarian Party.

    Yep.

    There was one other petitioner that was owed expense reimbursements for West Virginia (and possibly Kentucky) that was not taken care of as a part of the payment that was approved at that LNC meeting. I believe that this person was owed around $800 and something. Hopefully this person has been taken care of by now.

    There must have been confusion over the amounts, what was included and what wasn’t. I think I know who you are talking about….possibly someone that does not use email? There may be one other person that you could be referring to. Anyway, find out if they got their money.

    If not:

    Email me and I’ll pass it on to the LNC, or email the whole LNC directly.

    Also, them just stiffing Mark Gailey over the SSN issue is just not right. There were several avenues available to pay him

    He has indicated to me that he would prefer not to go through those avenues. He’s more interested in pursuing the fight to get paid without an SSN than in getting his money as quickly as possible.

    I think when he said held in escrow, he meant an escrow account controlled by a lawyer, which would mean that neither the party or the petitioner would hold the money until after the signatures are turned in.

    That may be a good solution, although there would be a separate fee for the lawyer. It doesn’t address the issue of what happens when the party runs out of the money that’s been allocated, like happened this year, or what happens if they pass the buck to a presidential campaign which then stalls the pay.

    Somehow we need a better procedure than that.

  311. Michael H. Wilson

    The office needs to be in the D.C. area. In politics perception is everything. if people don’t know that well they ain’t been paying attention.

    I do have to question buying an office building when the membership is half of what it used to be.

  312. paulie

    The office needs to be in the D.C. area. In politics perception is everything. if people don’t know that well they ain’t been paying attention.

    Agreed!

    BTW I sent the following today to ten members of the 1983-9 LNCs. Waiting on replies.

    Hi,

    I’m writing to the members of the 1983-1989 LNCs (going by http://www.dehnbase.org/lpus/library/lnc-mem-hist.html) for information of what all went into the decisions to move LPHQ out of DC in 1983 and move it back several years later and how the move to Texas impacted the operations of the party (ability to raise money, ability to get media coverage and so on).

    This is for the benefit of
    1) The present LNC
    2) readers of Independent Political Report, a discussion site I participate in on the web.
    If you reply please specify whether it is OK to share your answer with the first, second, both or neither.

    I’m only writing the people who are
    A) Not on the present LNC (I’ve already asked them)
    B) Not known to me to be dead or presently hostile to/disinterested in the LP
    C) For whom I was able to find contact info
    D) Whom I have met online and/or in person (although not all of you may remember me).

    If you are still in touch with any other colleagues from the 1980s LNCs who are not presently anti-LP or long past caring what the LP does or doesn’t do, please share this with them – I would love to hear their responses as well. There are a lot of names on that list that I either did not recognize or did recognize, but have no idea on how to get a hold of.

    Thanks,

    Paul “paulie” Frankel
    Alternate, Region 7 LNC 2012-4 (AL, LA, MS, OK, TX)
    Correspondent, Independent Political Report
    https://www.facebook.com/paulie.cannoli
    415-690-6352 cell

    If I get any replies that are OKed to be posted on IPR I will do so.

    I do have to question buying an office building when the membership is half of what it used to be.

    Rent is costing us more than a mortgage would, there are donors who will contribute money to buy a building who won’t contribute that same money to any other LP project, and we would be working towards getting out from making monthly payments a few years from now. Continuing to pay rent solves none of those problems.

  313. Zapper

    Hell, let’s move the office out of DC. It could be anywhere in the world, so why not? How about Paris – I’d love to live in Paris for a couple of years and work – hey, I’d work really cheap in Paris – and then we could move it to a nice beach-side village in Portugal for a few years …

    … Why not? That’s how it got to Houtson. If we leave DC, that’s how the decision will be made – to benefit someone, or some controlling power block.

    … So, go with GP and moving the office …

    … And we could play a new version of “Where in the World is … Matt Lauer.”

  314. paulie

    As it stands right now it looks most likely like there will not be a building purchase, since there are competing motions and people are voting against whichever one they think is suboptimal….so most likely result none of the motion will get 2/3, hence no purchase.

  315. Chuck Moulton

    Paulie wrote (@398):

    As it stands right now it looks most likely like there will not be a building purchase, since there are competing motions and people are voting against whichever one they think is suboptimal….so most likely result none of the motion will get 2/3, hence no purchase.

    Sigh.

  316. paulie

    I could be wrong, it just seems that way to me now, with the no votes stacking up as they do on the two competing motions from people who agree that there needs to be a purchase.

  317. Andy

    Hey, how about the LNC purchase a big house boat and dock it on the Potomic and have it serve as LP National Headquarters?:)

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