Johnson Debt: $1,134,602

Found in  Feb 13 Liberty for America 

 

With the end-of-year FEC filings, the Johnson-Gray campaign has suddenly
disclosed huge new debts, more than 1 million dollars of them. It is
extremely difficult to understand how the debts were incurred so late
after the election.

The Johnson-Gray Campaign ended the post-general election period with
$197,002 in debt. The campaign raised $212,536 from late November to
year’s end. That was enough to pay off every penny it admitted owing.

Now, suddenly, the campaign has revealed the truth. It owes another
$1,134,602. That’s the new debt we know about. There may be still
more. Your editor has seen references that could be read as implying
that another 2/3 of a million is out there.

This newspaper has repeatedly warned that Gary Johnson’s 2012
Presidential Campaign, first as a Republican and then as a Libertarian,
owed large sums of money. But not this much.

Furthermore, Johnson has at last revealed how much of his spending went
for advertising, and how much went for staff salaries. The results are
quite staggering.

 

There is another article in the publication on the same topic:

 

Where Your Money Went
The Johnson Campaign

 

The FEC reports for the end of 2012 have been filed. Gary Johnson, the
man nominated by William Redpath to be our Presidential candidate, the
man who in turn nominated Wayne Root to be an LNC, member, has set some
remarkable financial records.

For the period of November 27 through December 31, 2012, the Johnson
2012 campaign had $212,537 in receipts and spent $171,547, leaving them
with $43,932 in cash on hand at the end of the reporting period. For the
entire primary and general election, the campaign acknowledged $2.22
million in contributions, $2.478 million in expenditures, and managed at
the end to owe $1,134, 603 in debts and obligations. That final number
represents an enormous increase over the past, mid-November, report in
the debts and obligations owed by the committee. Incidentally, none of
the debts and obligations are money owed to the candidate as a result of
candidate loans. The candidate did at some point donate $8000 to his own
campaign. The remaining $2.212 million in campaign receipts over the
course of the campaign came from individual donors.

The campaign acknowledged receiving for the period $202,026 in federal
funds for a total of $333,751 in federal campaign matching funds for the
duration of the campaign. In a future report, we will compare federal
matching funds received by the Johnson campaign with the campaign’s
commitment to the LNC that past debts would only be paid off by means of
federal matching funds.

Where did the money go during this end of year? Spending during the end
of year period by the Johnson campaign included $7547 in bank and
merchant charges, $2000 for opinion research, $2000 to Wagon Works LLC,
and $160,000 to “Political Advisors” of 731 East South Temple, Salt Lake
City for “payment on obligation”.

The debts to ‘Political Advisors’ as discharged in the end-of-year
period covered

$12,991.95 for Ad Placement, Travel, Shipping, Printing, Email
Marketing, Printing, and

$147,008.05 for ‘Staff Hours – Mid-Level, Press Relations, Senior
Advisor, Creative Ad Hours, Campaign Consult’

That’s right, under 10% of the money went for advertising, travel, and
the like. 92% went to the campaign staff. Readers familiar with my
book Funding Liberty, soon to be released in a new edition, will
recognize those numbers. They are somewhat similar to the numbers found
for Harry Browne’s 2000 Presidential campaign.

And the debts: The small parts are: $500 to Wagon Works for fund
raising, $4090 to Daines Goodwin and Co PC for accounting, and $29,955
to Hackstaff Law Group LLC and Law Office of Douglas C. Herbert for
legal services and fees.

Then there is the money owed to “Political Advisors” of Salt Lake City.
The listed debts include:

$46,295 for fundraising commissions
$113,437 for preparing the FEC matching funds request.
$150,000 for ‘Consulting for Primary per signed contract’
$535,244.94 for “Staff Hours – Mid-Level, Senior Advisors, Clerical,
Creative Advertising, Campaign Consult”

and, oh yes, the real political stuff:

$206,659 for outreach—“Ad Placement – Web, Candidate Staff Travel,
Ballot access, attorney fees, Vehicle Wrap, Media etc.” and several
slight variations on the same phrasing.

Let’s look at the grand totals here, namely money spent and owed for
outreach versus money spent and owed, just by “Political Advisors” for
fundraising, filings, and staff hours, including money spent and money
still owed in the year-end report. There’s $219,651 on outreach, all
the modes noted above, versus $991,985 on staff hours, filings, and fund
raising. Said otherwise, that’s 82% on staff hours, filings, and
fundraising, and only 18% on outreach.

We had previously reported on the astronomically huge — by Libertarian
Presidential campaign standards — number of paid staff members supported
by the Johnson campaign. Even if all of them are ill-paid, when there
are truly large numbers of them the staff salaries add up.

We’ll try to have a total for the entire campaign in a near-time future
issue. That 18% may tend to shrink; most of the other spending and debt
is for back office work rather than outreach.

We quote our February 2012 issue “The Johnson 2012 Libertarian
Presidential nominating campaign has filed its end-of-2011 FEC
disclosure. Its total debts at the end of this period were $203,761,
which is an unprecedented amount for a Libertarian campaign to owe — not
counting loans from candidates themselves — this far before the National
Convention.” The situation has become much worse since.

The 2000 Browne campaign sent emails claiming $60,000 in unpaid debts.
The 2008 Barr campaign was perhaps a quarter million, round number, in
the hole. Despite massive Federal campaign money, the 2012 Johnson
campaign ended in debt nearly five times more than the Barr campaign did.

194 thoughts on “Johnson Debt: $1,134,602

  1. Thomas L. Knapp

    “$113,437 for preparing the FEC matching funds request.”

    The FEC welfare check only came to $333k. More than a third of that was spent on “preparing the request?”

    How much was spent on fundraising expenses, commissions, etc. to get the minimal required contributions in the requisite number of states to establish eligibility for the welfare check?

    Did “Operation Turn the LP in Political Welfare Queens” even turn a “profit” as such?

    “$150,000 for ‘Consulting for Primary per signed contract”

    When the Republican campaign debt was brought up, the Johnson campaign claimed that it would be paid off with the FEC welfare check. Apparently not.

  2. Steven Wilson

    Proof that debt is wealth in the 21st century.

    Proof that, if allowed, a person will live beyond their means.

    Proof, no matter who is in charge, they all behave the same way.

    Why would you expect him to be different?

  3. Austin Battenberg

    With a huge campaign debt like that, and all the paid staff, it sounds like he thought he would be a real contender. Because if you were polling like Ross Perot, more donations would come in. But the only way you can poll like Ross Perot is if you spend money on outreach, and not staff salaries. I would say to hire more staff if your numbers rise, but at the begining there is no need for that much. I mean, we barely see Johnson, let alone Gray and their entire staff. With Ron Paul the media would interview Doug Wead, or Jesse Benton, both members of his staff.

    Maybe he thought that he would be getting fundraising numbers like Ron Paul, but that would only work if he was as principled as Ron Paul. He should have known that by having one of his many paid staffers to check out grassroot Ron Paul websites like the Daily Paul to discover that he wasn’t very well liked.

    I still don’t regret my vote for Johnson, he was obviously the best candidate in the general election. And I still like the guy. But my opinion remains the same as it did before he decided to run for President as a Republican, run for the Senate in New Mexico. Let Ron Paul be the liberty candidate in the Republican race, and let the LP choose someone from their ranks who have been a solid member for years. He could have stayed a Republican, or switched to Libertarian, because ultimately he is still rather popular in New Mexico.

    Ultimately, no one in the main stream will likely even know about this, but among the Libertarian Party and liberty Republicans, I doubt they will trust Johnson with their money again. He made a huge error.

  4. ATBAFT

    What, we didn’t have dozens of professionals willing to quit or take leave of their jobs and be full time unpaid staff for our presidential candidate? Will we next time? It is apparently frightfully expensive to run even a campaign where the best experienced and principled candidate can only pull 1.2 million votes on a third party ticket. So, maybe it is time to try
    something different?

  5. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Fundraising isn’t something I have much experience in, but I do remember thinking during the campaign that Johnson didn’t seem to be doing a lot of it.

    Does anyone know if the million dollar donation WAR announced at his dinner event ever came through?

  6. Krzysztof Lesiak

    I agree with Warren, Johnson should not become the LP standard bearer. His very un-libertarian like initial statements on foreign policy and his support for the misnamed “Fair” Tax are reasons alone to not nominate him in 2016. The party should choose a loyal activist who articulates the party’s principles well, like Lee Wrights.

  7. Austin Battenberg

    I still like GJ, but he needs to run for Congress or Senate as an LP member. If elected, which I think is possible, then he could run for President in the future as a LP elected official with a voting record to back up his statements. I agree with Mr. Lesiak completely about having someone like Lee Wrights be the standard bearer until others can take up the mantle.

  8. Andy

    Jill Pyeatt said: “Does anyone know if the million dollar donation WAR announced at his dinner event ever came through?”

    That donation was supposed to go to a Super PAC, and I’m pretty sure that it never actually came in as a donation.

  9. Andy

    “Krzysztof Lesiak // Feb 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I agree with Warren, Johnson should not become the LP standard bearer. His very un-libertarian like initial statements on foreign policy and his support for the misnamed ‘Fair’ Tax are reasons alone to not nominate him in 2016.”

    I did not donate any money to the campaign (note that I did donate money to Harry Browne’s campaigns, Michael Badnarik’s campaign, and to Ron Paul’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012).

    “The party should choose a loyal activist who articulates the party’s principles well, like Lee Wrights.”

    I would certainly not go for the person you mentioned to be a standard bearer, but your overall point is still valid.

  10. Andy

    Can anyone make a list as to who all is owed money by the Johnson campaign?

    Also, what is their plan to pay off this campaign debt?

  11. Andy

    “It is apparently frightfully expensive to run even a campaign where the best experienced and principled candidate can only pull 1.2 million votes on a third party ticket. So, maybe it is time to try
    something different”

    This is why I have long advocated that Libertarian Party candidates ought to spend a lot of time during their campaigns promoting things that people can do to achieve more liberty that are outside of electoral politics. Two of the best things to promote along this line are jury nullification of “laws” against victimless “crimes” and the use of alternate currencies (gold, silver, Bitcoins, etc…).

  12. Steve M

    1) $1,000,000 is peanuts.

    2) The question is did Gary Johnson do good enough in 2012, to be able to raise a significant amount of cash for 2016?

    He has 3 years to do so. 3 years to build up his name recognition.

    We have 3 years to build a more competitive party with a mid-term set of elections in between.

    We have 3 years to work on ballot access issues to make it easier to get our candidates on the ballot.

  13. Steve M

    @7 Jill,

    “Fundraising isn’t something I have much experience in, but I do remember thinking during the campaign that Johnson didn’t seem to be doing a lot of it.”

    I received 2 phone calls from Judge Jim Gray during the campaign. He was definitely working from a list while driving between campaign appearances.

  14. Zapper

    “$206,659 for outreach—’Ad Placement – Web, Candidate Staff Travel,
    Ballot access, attorney fees, Vehicle Wrap, Media etc.’ and several
    slight variations on the same phrasing.”

    Ballot access and attorney fees are not outreach. Important: yes. But not outreach.

    What do the outreach numbers show without ballot access and attys – these should be separate items.

    Also, what was actually spent on real advertising. Looks like little to nothing.

    The Johnson campaign raised enough funds to put a minimum of $500,000 to $1,000,000 into targeted major network broadcast TV spots.

    High paid political leeches – unqualified bloodsuckers – sucked the campaign dry.

    This is what happened to the National LP during operation Archimedes, and seems to be behind some of the ongoing mailing list programming type projects as well – leeches sucking the lifeblood of the party – the donors’ hard earned, generously donated funds.

    Little outreach, no advertising, incompetent leadership … these are the reasons the LP has yet to succeed.

  15. Wes Wagner

    Zapper @17

    Take a look into the royalties paid to someone on the LNC for “letter writing” ….

  16. Andy

    Zapper: “Ballot access and attorney fees are not outreach. Important: yes. But not outreach.”

    This is an EXTREMELY short sighted statement, and it is also an example of why the Libertarian Party is not more successful.

    The process of gathering petition signatures can be an excellent form of outreach if it is done properly, that is by having actual Libertarian activist in the field gathering signatures, informing people about the party and philosophy, handing out outreach material (pamphlets, fliers, DVD’s, etc…), and gathering contact information from people they encounter who are interested in the party.

    The fact of the matter is that very few people in the party grasp this, so far less outreach and party building takes place during ballot access drives than would take place if more people in the party understood this.

  17. Austin Battenberg

    #5 makes an excellent point. there are many people who would volunteer their time, and wouldn’t expect obscene wages for a third party candidate.

    Maybe Johnson wants to run again so he can pay off his 2012 campaign debts. boo

  18. Andy

    “Maybe Johnson wants to run again so he can pay off his 2012 campaign debts. boo”

    Last I heard, Gary Johnson said he was not interested in running again.

  19. Austin Battenberg

    Then why did he go back to being honorary chairman of the Our America Initiative?

    I actually like Jim Gray better. Would he be a better alternative as a Presidential candidate?

  20. Andy

    “Austin Battenberg // Feb 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Then why did he go back to being honorary chairman of the Our America Initiative?”

    I don’t see how this has any bearing on whether or not he runs for President again. I’m not necessarily saying that he’s not going to do it, I’m just saying that the last I heard he said that he was not interested in running again.

    “I actually like Jim Gray better. Would he be a better alternative as a Presidential candidate?”

    I’d like to see a Libertarian Party candidate for President that espouses a more hardcore libertarian philosophy, like Harry Browne and Michael Badnarik did.

    I’d also like to see somebody who can run a more effective campaign, and has the ability to raise a lot of money, and if they have some name recognition that would be nice.

    I think that Andrew Napolitano has a lot of potential, but I don’t know if he’s interested in running.

  21. Austin Battenberg

    I would LOOOVE me some Andrew Napolitano. Unfortunately, many of the folks here won’t like him because Napolitano come from the Rothbardian wing of the liberty movement, and he is pro-life. So he may be a deal breaker.

    But should he run, boy that would be awesome.

  22. Andy

    “Austin Battenberg // Feb 11, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I would LOOOVE me some Andrew Napolitano. Unfortunately, many of the folks here won’t like him because Napolitano come from the Rothbardian wing of the liberty movement, and he is pro-life. So he may be a deal breaker.

    But should he run, boy that would be awesome.”

    Andrew Napolitano is bigger than the Libertarian Party. If he chose to run he could easily flood the convention with delegates and win.

    The only way that he would not win would be if some other libertarian celebrity was in the race at the same time, like say John Stossel, and then it would be a close contest that could go either way (I’d probably go with Napolitano over Stossel myself).

  23. Zapper

    @19 Andy, I do not disagree with you that petitioning could include an element of outreach, and as much as possible it should.

    However, during the Johnson campaign, it did not. In any case, it would only be a side benefit of petitioning – the cost is still incurred for ballot access and not for outreach. So, it should not be included with outreach. And legal fees, which may be the largest element in that line item for the Johnson campaign … who do they outreach to?

    However, it is a good idea to have literature available for petitioners to hand out to interested individuals. That would be an outreach cost. It is also a good idea to hire Libertarians or use Libertarian volunteers as much as possible as petitioners, to present the best face of the LP and L ideas to the public. And it would be a good idea to have some pre-petitioning training for new LP petitioners as to appropriate ways to deal with and present our message to the general public.

    However, the cost of paying for signatures would still not be properly assigned as “outreach.”

    Libertarian petitioners should also be encouraged to identify interested individuals and gather names for the mailing list while petitioning. They could even have voter registration cards with them. This could slow down the petitioning process, but it would make it more rewarding. Paying for mailing list names would be problematic, but perhaps a bonus could be paid if any submitted names become members or donors as the result of a subsequent mailing.

  24. Steven Wilson

    Gary Johnson is a good candidate. Jim Gray is better. The campaign people he had around him were both good and bad.

    Paying for labor should’ve been secondary to advertising and a solid media plan. Advertising is primary and should’ve been 75% of his budget. The labor was weak in most parts.

  25. Andy

    “Zapper // Feb 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    @19 Andy, I do not disagree with you that petitioning could include an element of outreach, and as much as possible it should.

    However, during the Johnson campaign, it did not.”

    This is not true. While there was not nearly as much outreach conducted during the petition drives as there could have been, there was some.

    Myself and the few other Libertarians who gathered signatures in several states for ballot access actually did quite a bit of outreach. This was done in North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, West Virginia, Alabama, and probably a few other places.

    Even though I did not support Gary Johnson for the nomination, I still handed out a lot of Gary Johnson campaign literature in Alabama (note that I did not do the same for Bob Barr).

    I personally gathered several hundred contacts from people who were interested in the Libertarian Party in the states that I mentioned above, plus some states where the petitioning was finished before 2012 but gave the party ballot access for the 2012 election, like New Mexico back in 2010..

    “In any case, it would only be a side benefit of petitioning – the cost is still incurred for ballot access and not for outreach. So, it should not be included with outreach.”

    I can certainly see including ballot access as a separate expense for accounting purposes, but it is damn foolish to write it off as just getting a bunch of signatures and not use it as an opportunity to do a lot of outreach and build the party.

    I see it as an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. The state erects a barrier where you’ve got to gather a bunch of signatures to be on the ballot. So you go out and get those signatures, and this may seem like a bummer, but on the flip side it gives you a chance to get the Libertarian message out to a lot of people who may have otherwise not heard it. It also gives the public a chance to meet actual Libertarians in person (if it is an actual Libertarian doing the petitioning). Meeting people in person can be a lot more effective than reading a book or pamphlet or seeing somebody on TV or listening to somebody on the radio.

    “However, it is a good idea to have literature available for petitioners to hand out to interested individuals. That would be an outreach cost.”

    The Libertarian Party rarely gives its petitioners any outreach material to hand out. I’ve usually had to request it or run off copies myself (many times at my own expense).

    “It is also a good idea to hire Libertarians or use Libertarian volunteers as much as possible as petitioners, to present the best face of the LP and L ideas to the public.”

    Almost nobody on the LNC understands or even cares about whether or not the Libertarian Party has any actual Libertarians out on the street representing the party as petitioners. The only LNC member who gets it is Paul, who is only an LNC alternate, and he gets it because he has done lots of petitioning work himself. One LNC member who is pretty well known once stated that they did not care if petition circulators were Libertarians or not, they only care about the number of signatures collected.

    I’ve found that there are very few people in leadership positions in the State LP chapters who understand that ballot access petitioning (or voter registration) is an excellent time to do outreach and party building, and why Libertarians should be doing this important work.

    “And it would be a good idea to have some pre-petitioning training for new LP petitioners as to appropriate ways to deal with and present our message to the general public.”

    I’ve seen very little when it comes to training people, not just to do petitioning, but to do anything else in the party.

    “Libertarian petitioners should also be encouraged to identify interested individuals and gather names for the mailing list while petitioning.”

    There are very few Libertarian petitioners, and the few that there are have not been encouraged to do anything.

    Myself a two or three others have taken it upon ourselves to develop a contact list and to gather contract information from interested people in the field, and to then turn this information over to state parties and the national party, but nobody from any state party or the national party has ever attempted to expand this practice to every petition drive, nor have we even gotten much of a thanks for doing it.

    “They could even have voter registration cards with them. This could slow down the petitioning process, but it would make it more rewarding.”

    Some states allow people to fill out a voter registration form and sign a petition the same day, so in these states petitioners frequently carry voter registration forms. I’ve done this on many occasions, and I have in fact gotten many people to register as Libertarians (in states that have partisan voter registration) while doing this, however, I generally don’t push registering Libertarian unless I can tell that the person is really interested.

    Also, collecting contract information or registering people to vote does not necessarily slow you down. If one carries multiple clip boards (I usually carry 6 with petitions on them) they can have an extra board with a contact sheet and another one for voter registration, and while the people are filling those out they can stop other people with the other boards. If they happen to be at a super busy spot they could also just not do this stuff during the times where it is super busy, but if one does a lot of petitioning they will find that they are often at places where there are gaps where nobody is passing by, so it really doesn’t take away from anything to ask an interested person if they want to sign up to be on the Libertarian Party’s announcement list, or to register to vote under the Libertarian Party banner.

    “Paying for mailing list names would be problematic, but perhaps a bonus could be paid if any submitted names become members or donors as the result of a subsequent mailing.”

    If they could pay for contact I’m sure they could get a lot more of them, but of course I doubt that there is any money for that. Also, knowing how the LP operates, they’d hire a bunch of non-libertarians to gather contacts and they’d just have anyone sign it so they can get paid, regardless of whether the person is really interested at all or not (I only have people sign the contact list who express interest in the party).

  26. Thane Eichenauer

    Would it be nice for Gary Johnson’s campaign to end his campaign with no debt? Yes. How the financials end up is up to Gary Johnson and his creditors. I was very pleased with the effort and results of the Gary Johnson/Jim Gray campaign.

    I rather think that everything else is woulda-coulda-shoulda. Here’s to hoping that the Oregon problem is resolved by 2016.

  27. David Colborne

    Part of me wonders how much of that staffing total has to do with accounting buckets vs. actual purpose of the staffers’ time. For example, if a staffer was paid 8×5 to call potential fundraisers (outreach, in other words), would that fall under staff salaries or outreach?

  28. Andy

    “Thane Eichenauer // Feb 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Would it be nice for Gary Johnson’s campaign to end his campaign with no debt? Yes. How the financials end up is up to Gary Johnson and his creditors. I was very pleased with the effort and results of the Gary Johnson/Jim Gray campaign. ”

    If you were owed money by the campaign, I imagine that you’d be singing a different tune.

  29. Mike Kane

    What’s awful is that the guy went on a trip to South America weeks after election – and people he owed are left trying to scrape by .

  30. Thane Eichenauer

    Andy@32
    You may or may not be right in your presumption. Vendors always have the option of requiring pre-payment. Even now Johnson’s campaign vendors might prefer receivables in hand that may be paid off to no receivables at all.
    Only the Oracle can predict if there will be a headline for Johnson like the one Bob Barr earned.
    “Former Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Bob Barr Sued by His Own Ghostwriter”
    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2010/05/post-7
    One can only hope and pray (and perhaps donate even) that Gary Johnson brings his campaign debt to zero promptly.

    http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/ <- Look for the red donate tab at the top of the screen.

  31. Andy

    “Thane Eichenauer // Feb 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Andy@32
    You may or may not be right in your presumption. Vendors always have the option of requiring pre-payment. Even now Johnson’s campaign vendors might prefer receivables in hand that may be paid off to no receivables at all.”

    Pre-payments are not always possible. Also, there is usually a presumption that a bill is going to be paid in a timely manner, unless there is some type of agreement made beforehand that says otherwise.

    I can tell you that back when the LNC passed the buck to the Johnson campaign for petition drives, that the Johnson campaign gave no indication of there being delays in payment, in fact they said the opposite. However, on the last payment there were in fact long delays, and then they ended up splitting the last payment up into more than one payment, and in fact passed the buck back to the LNC for the final payment, and then the LNC delayed this until the November LNC meeting.

    I can tell you for a fact that there were petition circulators that were in fact hurting big time because of this. I’m talking about one guy who could not afford to get his van fixed. I’m talking about another guy who got stranded in Phoenix, AZ, and who when in Las Vegas, NV for work had to sleep in the floor in a crowded motel room because that was the only way they could afford a room. I’m talking about another guy who did not have enough money when he got back to his regular home to pay his brother back money that he had loaned him so he could afford to go on the road to petition. These are just a few of the problems that the delay in pay caused. The situation actually would have been even worse than it was had I not gone into my own pocket to front some money to some of these petitioners (and keep in mind that I did not make any money off of this, except for the signatures that I collected myself).

    I don’t know who all is owed money from the Johnson campaign for what, but I would not being surprised if money owed equals some people hurting somewhere. Even if whoever is owed money is wealthy, the principle that they are owed still remains the same.

    And speaking of campaigns that owe people money, myself and others who got stiffed by Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party for ballot access work STILL have not been paid.

  32. Andy

    “Former Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Bob Barr Sued by His Own Ghostwriter”

    Does anyone know whether or not Bob Barr ever paid James Bovard for having written that campaign book?

    I’m pretty sure that Bob Barr stiffed at least one person who never did get paid for doing some work for his campaign in Oklahoma and West Virginia.

  33. Andy

    “George Phillies // Feb 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    The Barr Campaign was sued by the writer, I am told successfully. He still owes.”

    So a legal victory and almost 5 years later and James Bovard STILL has not been paid what he is owed by Bob Barr. This is truly disgraceful.

  34. Mark B

    Also, from the same story – one million of the $1.1 million in debt is also owed to NSON/Political Advisors. No one is getting stiffed by Johnson, it’s just a money grab.

  35. George Phillies

    @43 That would be extremely unfortunate if true. Johnson’s nominator sits on the LNC. The last time members became perturbed about Presidential campaign finances, it was apparent that lead LNC members had been supportive of the Presidential nominating campaign, and there were significant negative consequences for the LNC budget. Indeed, some of the key actors last time are currently on the LNC.

  36. Starchild

    I think this is all a good (if unfortunate) lesson in the importance of transparency.

    Campaign staff salaries should be publicly listed, by name. Payments to outside individuals and groups should also be listed by name, and reported promptly. All of this information should be readily discoverable on the candidate’s website.

    If the Libertarian Party required this of its presidential candidates, I suspect we’d see lower staff salaries and more responsible spending.

    If low salaries and expenses were readily visible, this would also tend to encourage more donations, because supporters would be able to see that their money was being spent frugally.

  37. Starchild

    Andy @29 writes, “Almost nobody on the LNC understands or even cares about whether or not the Libertarian Party has any actual Libertarians out on the street representing the party as petitioners. The only LNC member who gets it is Paul, who is only an LNC alternate, and he gets it because he has done lots of petitioning work himself. One LNC member who is pretty well known once stated that they did not care if petition circulators were Libertarians or not, they only care about the number of signatures collected.”

    I get it, Andy. I have often complained about the party paying people who are not libertarians to make telemarketing calls, and the situation with petitioners is very similar. In both cases, we want people who understand and support libertarianism to be the ones interacting with the public and with LP members on our behalf.

    Absolutely there should be outreach materials made available to our petitioners to hand out while petitioning. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    And petitioners should get paid when they turn in their petitions (or at the latest, as soon as the signatures are verified to be valid). Remember I was also the one who brought your complaint about the petitioner who didn’t have the money to get his van fixed not getting paid to the attention of the LNC during our November meeting, and asked Gary Johnson’s campaign manager Ron Nielson about it when we had him on the phone.

    I want to see us spend less money paying for office and LNC overhead and “prestige” work like writing fundraising letters, writing press releases, talking to the media, etc., for which we should be able to find qualified volunteers, so that we can put more money into “boots on the ground” type outreach. Some of that outreach could include paying more people to do petitioning, college organizing, etc.

    Do you have any specific ideas for how we can best make this stuff happen?

  38. Thomas L. Knapp

    @48,

    In order for there to be Narcgate 2, there would have had to be a Narcgate 1. There wasn’t.

    The situations you refer to are somewhat different, though.

    In the situation you refer to as “Narcgate 1,” a party official who made reports to the FEC was forced to explain a discrepancy in those reports to the FEC after refusing to explain that discrepancy to the party and illegally using the LNC’s executive session prerogative to abuse those who asked about said discrepancy.

    In the current situation, a welfare client is being asked by the FEC to justify his receipt of welfare payments. The welfare client doesn’t seem to have been as arrogant about it as the party official. He lied to the party, but he didn’t subject other party official to kangaroo loyalty court proceedings for asking questions.

  39. Mark B

    @45 – If there were transparency, it’s becoming clear, Johnson would probably not have run. This wasn’t shoddy bookkeeping, it was an effort at obfuscation. This really seems like it was a for-profit political campaign. From the previous article:

    “Because out-of-pocket expenses and billable hours were lumped together by NSON, it’s unclear how much the company banked from running the Libertarian campaign. Running all campaign spending through NSON effectively prevents a more detailed, outside determination of how much was spent campaigning and how much was spent paying the fees of Nielson’s company. This is in contrast to other major and third party campaigns which directly paid airlines, printers and other vendors. (For instance, Green Party candidate Stein’s expenditure records are detailed enough that we even know she spent $302 renting chicken suits from a costume company in Powell, Ohio for a publicity stunt.)”

    I’m really curious about the relationship between Johnson and Nielson.

  40. Steven Wilson

    Most campaigns run on what is called “perpetual contributions”.

    This is facilitated by honoring those that donated before the vote, and then securing the relationship by indicating that their votes are for “sale” as long as the campaign is financed properly.

    Debt measures like profit measures.

    If you want your guy in office, then you must pay his bills. Candidates that lose their races must face the debt alone.

    Hillary Clinton had debt load three years after she lost her primary. It is common to overspend because some donate for real politic.

  41. Andy

    Anyone running as an LP office for anything higher than a seat in a state legislature should know that they are not going to win, particularly if they are running for President. So should all of the donors.

    Running as a Libertarian Party candidate in one of these type of races I described above is not about winning the election, it is about building the movement.

  42. Andy

    Gary Johnson is worth over $10 million. Is it out of line to suggest that he could pay this debt off out of his own pocket?

    There are apparently people out there who are owed this money. It was Gary Johnson’s campaign. Maybe he should have kept a closer eye on the finances.

    Now I understand that not every candidate is going to want or be able to self finance their own campaign, but don’t run up a bunch of debt unless you’ve got the means to pay it back.

    I would think that if Gary Johnson is not going to pay back this money out of his own pocket, the least he could do is take an active role in fund raising to pay off the campaign debt.

  43. Mark B

    #54 – again, no one is owed the money. Johnson 2012 was a for-profit campaign. 90% of the campaign money was transferred to Gary’s friend – Ron Nielson’s – company. All of the debt is owed to that same company. Ron Nielson was also the manager of the campaign. He raised the money and then used it to pay himself. He indebted the campaign to his own company. NSON – Ron Nielson’s company – IS the Gary Johnson campaign.

  44. Andy

    “Mark B // Feb 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    #54 – again, no one is owed the money. Johnson 2012 was a for-profit campaign. 90% of the campaign money was transferred to Gary’s friend – Ron Nielson’s – company. All of the debt is owed to that same company. Ron Nielson was also the manager of the campaign. He raised the money and then used it to pay himself. He indebted the campaign to his own company. NSON – Ron Nielson’s company – IS the Gary Johnson campaign.”

    If all of the money is owed to NSON, then the question would be, does NSON owe money to anyone else from the campaign? Also, is there work that NSON did for which they did not receive payment, and if so, can they document this?

  45. Mark B

    Let me make this clearer:

    - Ron Nielson was in charged of GJ2012 finances – he spent 90% of the money paying Ron Nielson (‘s company).
    - Ron Nielson has now submitted a bill for another $1 million to Ron Nielson (‘s company).

    It looks like this campaign was a money-making scam. I’m so glad I didn’t donate money to it. I would rather use my money to buy a new living room set than buy Ron Nielson a new living room set.

  46. Andy

    “57 Mark B // Feb 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Let me make this clearer:

    - Ron Nielson was in charged of GJ2012 finances – he spent 90% of the money paying Ron Nielson (‘s company).
    - Ron Nielson has now submitted a bill for another $1 million to Ron Nielson (‘s company).

    It looks like this campaign was a money-making scam.”

    Looks like and are, are not necessarily the same thing. Can Ron Nielson provide documentation that they are still owed money for work done?

    I don’t know if this debt is legitimate or if these numbers are pulled out of somebody’s rear end and it’s a scam. I’m just trying to figure out what the truth is.

  47. Mark B

    /// If all of the money is owed to NSON, then the question would be, does NSON owe money to anyone else from the campaign? ///

    What campaign? What makes you think NSON spent money campaigning? Most likely $8 out of every $10 went to pay Ron Nielson and staff for “consulting.” There were probably no massive ad buys, direct mailings, etc. This was a money making scam.

  48. Mark B

    ///Can Ron Nielson provide documentation that they are still owed money for work done? ///

    Provide documentation to whom? To the Gary Johnson campaign of which he is the campaign manager? LOL.

  49. Andy

    Mark B, I’m not saying that you are wrong or right here.

    Question for everyone: Wasn’t Ron Nielson the campaign manager for Gary Johnson during his campaigns where he got elected Governor of New Mexico? If so, was there any “funny business” with the money during those campaigns?

    I’m assuming that Ron Nielson must have done something right assuming that I’m correct that he was Gary Johnson’s campaign manger for his campaigns for Governor, because otherwise Gary Johnson would not have won those races.

  50. Mark B

    GJ’s second run was a no-contest race. He faced no primary competition and a placeholder general election opponent.

    In his first election he outspent all his opponents from his own bank account in the primary to get a 34% plurality and then eked out a win in the general during a Republican year in a three-way race in which the Green candidate took 11% of the vote.

  51. Jeremy C. Young

    Re: @50, is it a non sequitur for me to point out that Jill Stein was an awesome candidate, and that all third parties should try to run candidates like Jill?

  52. Andy

    “Mark B // Feb 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    GJ’s second run was a no-contest race. He faced no primary competition and a placeholder general election opponent.

    In his first election he outspent all his opponents from his own bank account in the primary to get a 34% plurality and then eked out a win in the general during a Republican year in a three-way race in which the Green candidate took 11% of the vote.”

    Yeah, I knew about that Green Party candidate during Gary Johnson’s first run for Governor that got 11% of the vote. There’s an above average chance that Gary Johnson would not have been elected Governor if not for that Green Party candidate.

    It was still a good accomplishment that he got elected, but I’m just pointing out a little known fact that helped get him elected.

  53. Mark B

    @63 – I don’t agree with Stein’s politics but she spent $50,000 of her own money compared to the $1,000 Gary Johnson put out.

  54. Mark B

    Imagine if Jill Stein had given that $50K to the LNC – that would be enough to pay another full-time staffer to write long, expository essays that will be read by a few dozen people.

  55. Gary Johnson's '94 & '98 Campaigns

    Andy, #61: “Question for everyone: Wasn’t Ron Nielson the campaign manager for Gary Johnson during his campaigns where he got elected Governor of New Mexico?”

    According to newspaper accounts of his 1994 and 1998 campaigns, Kelly Ward served as Johnson’s 1994 campaign manager and Albuquerque political consultant Doug Turner, who served as Gary’s state political director in 1994, managed Johnson’s 1998 re-election campaign.

    Turner later served as deputy political director for Steve Forbes during his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000.

    The last I heard, Ward was working on an unpaid basis for Johnson’s Our America Initiative, a 501(c)(4) political action committee, but I’m not sure if that’s still the case.

    Ron Neilson doesn’t appear to have been involved in either of Johnson’s earlier campaigns.

  56. Mark B

    Using the phrase “Johnson’s Our America Initiative” may be tenuous. According to the Our America website: “OUR America Initiative is being managed by NSON Opinion Strategy.”

    It may be more correct to say “Ron Nielson’s Our America Initiative for which Gary Johnson is the spokesmodel. “

  57. Andy

    “Ron Neilson doesn’t appear to have been involved in either of Johnson’s earlier campaigns.”

    Does anyone here know whether or not this information is correct?

  58. Thomas L. Knapp

    Andy @ 58,

    “I don’t know if this debt is legitimate or if these numbers are pulled out of somebody’s rear end and it’s a scam. I’m just trying to figure out what the truth is.”

    Well, that’s the thing:

    The Johnson campaign hid the exact nature of most of its spending by routing that spending the NS0N from the campaign’s beginning to its end.

    If Johnson wasn’t willing to tell his supporters and donors (and, whether we agree that he should have to or not, “the public” via the FEC) where the money actually went then, why would he be now?

  59. Andy

    Thomas Knapp said: “Well, that’s the thing:

    The Johnson campaign hid the exact nature of most of its spending by routing that spending the NS0N from the campaign’s beginning to its end.”

    Then maybe they should release the campaign spending records and let potential donors decide whether or not the debt is legitimate.

  60. Clarification

    Steve M: “@47 and the value of the discrepancies are about $17K? not even french fries.”

    I think George Phillies was referring to the second item in the FEC letter, a much more serious issue than the handful of excessive contributions listed in Item 1.

  61. Mark B

    “Then maybe they should release the campaign spending records and let potential donors decide whether or not the debt is legitimate.”

    They should. But Ron Nielson of NSON is not governed by FEC rules. Ron Nielson of GJ2012 is.

    All Ron Nielson of GJ2012 has to do is show how he spent the money. And he has: he spent it on NSON.

    Ron Nielson of NSON has no obligation to divulge anything. For all we know, NSON spent $10 on radio airtime and $2,299,990 on paying Ron Nielson.

    And that’s 100% legal.

  62. George Phillies

    @73 I specifically said point 2, which is that the FEC is saying that the disclosures are invalid. That’s all the disclosures to “Political Advisors”.

    There is also a matter of payments of Person #3 via person #2 sometimes needing a memo item and then full disclosure.

  63. Andy

    “Ron Nielson of NSON has no obligation to divulge anything.”

    I know. What I meant was that Ron Nielson could put this controversy to rest by releasing NSON’s financial records for the Gary Johnson campaign so the public, or at least potential donors, can examine them. Then people can decide for themselves the legitimacy of the debt.

  64. Mark B

    #76 – What do you mean you are “not sure was done?” What are you not sure about exactly?

    #77 – Correct. We should see the receipts. The fact we’re not. The fact Gary wouldn’t answer the #2 most up-voted question in his Reddit, should say something.

  65. Mark B

    For the record, there are no rules how a candidate spends his campaign money. There is no law that says they have to spend X% on air time, Y% on direct mailings, Z% on legal fees.

    If Gary wanted to spend 92% of his donors money and the hundreds of thousands in taxpayer funds he took (through matching) to hire a clown to follow him around and tell jokes he is legally permitted to do that. All he has to do is say when and how much he paid the clown. And he did that. The clown is not under any obligation to tell people how much he spent on face paint, how much he spent on balloon animals, or how much he kept in compensation.

  66. Mark B

    Since no one can believe their hero is a dud, let me illustrate it. Here is one of GJ2012′s required filings showing a $45,000 payment to Ron Nielson’s company:

    http://img837.imageshack.us/img837/4196/27463635.jpg

    An even $45K for “media buys, candidate travel, advisory services.”

    EVERY SINGLE DISBURSEMENT made to Nielson’s company has the EXACT SAME description.

    So, in this one example, how much was spent on media buys? How much on candidate travel? How much on advisory services? No one knows. No other campaign does this. When Jill Stein bought an airline ticket we saw she spent $478 on X date to Jet Blue. This is a bald-faced attempt to obfuscate the destination of large sums of money.

  67. Mark B

    FAV Reddit comment:

    “Ralph Nader ended his 2008 campaign $0 in debt. You ended your 2012 campaign $1.1 million in debt. Maybe you’re not the best person with whom to entrust further donations, right?”

  68. Mark B

    I think the funniest part of all this is that the story was broke by a freakin’ UFO blog! LMAO. Kinda shows the current state of the Libertarian Party when even their scandals only manage the attention of UFO blogs …

  69. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Kinda shows the current state of the Libertarian Party when even their scandals only manage the attention of UFO blogs”

    Nothing is more boring than yet another bland center-right party when there are already two bigger, better-funded center-right parties that have been in power for 150 years. The LP has opted for perpetual obscurity.

  70. Andy

    “Mark B // Feb 12, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I think the funniest part of all this is that the story was broke by a freakin’ UFO blog! LMAO. Kinda shows the current state of the Libertarian Party when even their scandals only manage the attention of UFO blogs.”

    What is the name of the blog that broke this story?

  71. JD

    Another question to ask is about Jim Gray. Did Judge Gray know about this and can it be proven? We were just talking about the way the money was spent at the last local LP meeting I attended. There was money to do so much more then just get 1%. If it looks like Gray knew as well then that drastically shakes up the 2016 nominating process.

  72. Mark B

    “I found it directly from the FEC last week or so, and put it in Liberty for America, but cannot be credited with being a UFO blog.”

    I posted a link in the February open comments thread to the blog I found it on last week. I know you mentioned he’s $1.1 million in debt.
    That’s not the story.

    The story is he’s $1.1 million in debt to the campaign manager responsible for accruing the debt. The story is he spent 90% of his campaign money paying the campaign manager. The story is his campaign disbursements appear to intentionally obfuscate spending by merging billable hours and expenses together. The story is “Our America” is a group that has only ever existed on paper.

  73. Mark B

    IOW, this is *not* a story about bad accounting. This is a story about (possible) corruption. It’s serious shit.

  74. Andy

    Mark B said: “I posted a link in the February open comments thread to the blog I found it on last week. I know you mentioned he’s $1.1 million in debt.
    That’s not the story.”

    What is the name of that blog?

  75. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mark B @ 91,

    “The story is he’s $1.1 million in debt to the campaign manager responsible for accruing the debt. The story is he spent 90% of his campaign money paying the campaign manager. The story is his campaign disbursements appear to intentionally obfuscate spending by merging billable hours and expenses together.”

    Exactly.

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a moment and take on the “appear to intentionally obfuscate spending” thing as I expect the campaign will if it’s ever forced to.

    My family likes to eat California roll. There are two ways for us to do that.

    One way is to buy sushi rice, seaweed, crab meat and avocado, cook the rice, cut the meat and fruit, and roll it into the rice and seaweed.

    Another way is to go to the mall, walk up to the counter at Sarku, and say “one California roll, please.”

    NS0N is to the Johnson campaign as Sarku is to my hungry family. They buy the ingredients. They cook the rice. They cut the meat and fruit. They roll it into the rice and seaweed. And the receipt just says “California roll, 1 ea., $4.99″ instead of itemizing all the goods and services that go into making the roll, like the receipt from Publix will if we decide to make it ourselves at home.

    The explanation offered by the Johnson campaign, if it offers one, will be that NS0N was convenient “one stop shopping” for most things the campaign needed, and that it made more sense to just tell NS0N what the campaign needed and pay one bill to NS0N than to do its own staffing, writing, printing, ad production, media buying, etc. plus keeping track of (and reporting) every paper clip purchase and postage meter reading.

    Of course the only way you’ll ever find out whether that explanation is the real explanation or just a convenient way to cover up waste, fraud and abuse is if the campaign and NS0N choose to reveal (or are forced by the FEC to reveal) the line-by-line expenditures.

    On the internal LP political side, don’t expect a big impact no matter what happens. Even if the expenditure veil is pierced and it turns out that Johnson spent all his money on bourbon, giant foam cowboy hats and trips to the Chicken Ranch, the LP rank and file won’t give a shit. They’ve proven time and time again that they’ll believe anything they’re told to believe by, or on behalf of, anyone who claims to be wealthy, famous, successful, powerful, charismatic or all of the above.

  76. George Phillies

    @91 No, 1.1 million in debt IS the story for that story.

    “He’s passing everything through ‘political advisors’ “is very old news; that part has been around since last Summer.

    However, you are absolutely right that Johnson’s reporting scheme is ripe with opportunities for corruption, whether there was corruption or not.

  77. Mark B

    @98 – “No, 1.1 million in debt IS the story for that story.”

    I’m afraid it’s not. And we know it’s not because people keep asking “wow, I hope all the vendors he owes that to get paid.”

    For the umpteenth time – 95% of that debt is only owed to one vendor: Nielson. The apologists obliterate that fact from the story so it just looks like “all thumbs” bookkeeping instead of (possible) massive graft.

  78. Nicholas Sarwark

    Even if the expenditure veil is pierced and it turns out that Johnson spent all his money on bourbon, giant foam cowboy hats and trips to the Chicken Ranch, the LP rank and file won’t give a shit.

    Hell, if that turns out to be what the campaign funds were spent on, I’ll give his nominating speech in 2016. :)

  79. Steve M

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2011-title11-vol1/xml/CFR-2011-title11-vol1-sec104-3.xml

    (4) Itemization of disbursements by authorized committees. Each authorized committee shall report the full name and address of each person in each of the following categories, as well as the information required by each category.
    (i) Each person to whom an expenditure in an aggregate amount or value in excess of $200 within the election cycle is made by the reporting authorized committee to meet the authorized committee’s operating expenses, together with the date, amount and purpose of each expenditure.
    (A) As used in this paragraph, purpose means a brief statement or description of why the disbursement was made. Examples of statements or descriptions which meet the requirements of this paragraph include the following: dinner expenses, media, salary, polling, travel, party fees, phone banks, travel expenses, travel expense reimbursement, and catering costs. However, statements or descriptions such as advance, election day expenses, other expenses, expenses, expense reimbursement, miscellaneous, outside services, get-out-the-vote and voter registration would not meet the requirements of this paragraph for reporting the purpose of an expenditure.
    (B) In addition to reporting the purpose described in paragraph (b)(4)(i)(A) of this section, whenever an authorized committee itemizes a disbursement that is partially or entirely a personal use for which reimbursement is required under 11 CFR 113.1(g)(1)(ii)(C) or (D), it shall provide a brief explanation of the activity for which reimbursement is required.

    Words such as Media Buys, Advertising, Candidate Travel and Advisory Services are not found in

    http://www.fec.gov/law/policy/purposeofdisbursement/inadequate_purpose_list_3507.pdf

  80. Steve M

    yep those are the fec rules. that point 2 addresses. with clarifying examples. I was looking at the Obama fec filings. It maybe that Johnson’s problem is that he put all 4 items together rather then breaking them down …

    For example instead of putting Media Buys, Advertising, Candidate Travel and Advisory Services all together in one line they should have been separated into 4 lines each with specific amounts.

    But the law is definitely a what?

  81. Mark B

    You’re using English words but they don’t seem to be arranged in quite the right way – e.g. …

    “But the law is definitely a what?”

    … so forgive me if I don’t respond to what you’re trying to ask.

    In any case, no one (at least me, anyway) is saying Johnson and Neilson broke the law. They clearly found a loophole in the laws and are exploiting it all the way to the bank. And, they’ve clearly been running this game for awhile now.

    1 – Why does Johnson refuse to answer the #1 most voted question in his own AMA? (160 up-votes over the second most popular question which has 58 up-votes.)

    2 – Why did Johnson pre-nomination grandstand his chairmanship of “Our America” – a group no one had ever heard of but dumbly assumed must be legit – when it was an organization that only existed on paper?

    “For example instead of putting Media Buys, Advertising, Candidate Travel and Advisory Services all together in one line they should have been separated into 4 lines each with specific amounts.”

    In everyone’s rush to downplay this in their minds no one is grasping the severity of this. That is the description in almost EVERY SINGLE disbursement made. The disbursements are all even dollar amounts (i.e. $45,000, $10,000, $60,000). The descriptions are all EXACTLY THE SAME (“Media Buys, Advertising, Candidate Travel and Advisory Services”) … a boilerplate stamp they just applied to everything no matter what. Finally, and most critically, this describes things that are (a) expenses and (b) services. You don’t combine those two things unless you want to look super-super shady.

    After reading some of the apologists, I’m starting to get the sense that no Libertarian has ever had a checking account or worked a job other than construction. Sorry, this is just exhausting.

  82. Mark B

    I can’t edit my above comment but I do want to partially retract and qualify it. It would be extremely bad form for me to criticize Johnson & Co. for shoddiness and be anything less than 100% accurate myself. (More importantly, given their precarious financial situation, I’m sure they’re looking for every possible opportunity to fundraise and I don’t want to leave even a crack of an opening for a nuisance libel suit because I have a busy schedule this month and don’t want the bother of the hee-haw car wreck that is probably a Libertarian Party lawsuit.)

    I retract the words “almost EVERY SINGLE,” “are all even dollar amounts” and “are all EXACTLY THE SAME.” There are *many* disbursements with identical descriptions and *many* of them have even dollar amounts in *many* of their monthly filings, when disbursements are made to NSON/Political Advisors. For examples, see their October monthly report: http://images.nictusa.com/pdf/747/12954465747/12954465747.pdf

  83. Steve M

    broke the law? or didn’t fulfill a bureaucrats interpretation of a rather unclear requirement of the law?

    “After reading some of the apologists, I’m starting to get the sense that no Libertarian has ever had a checking account or worked a job other than construction.”

    I can’t speak for other libertarians, but I have run a multi million dollar in sales high tech company for over a decade.

  84. Steve M

    in reading the law, the use of the word purpose is singular this is why candidates shouldn’t put multiple actions on a single line. one purpose, one line.

  85. Just whistling on by

    As George Phillies has often tried to say, many of those in positions of power and influence within the LP — from the slimy folks surrounding Harry Browne to Allen Hacker’s make-believe 2006 congressional campaign for Michael Badnarik to Carla Howell and the infamous Michael Cloud and now to the former New Mexico governor’s campaign for the Oval Office — know how to exploit naive Libertarian activists, who fall time and again for those pretending to want to lead them to the promised land.

    The two-party establishment is corrupt enough; America doesn’t need an alternative party filled with those also trying to feather their own nests.

  86. Robert Capozzi

    Just 109, any theories as to WHY that is (assuming your and GP’s premise is correct)? Since the theory comes from a guy who narced on the LP to the FEC, perhaps add that fact into the mix….

  87. Just whistling on by

    I don’t know, Bob, but a cynic might suggest they’re easy prey —after all, this has happened time and again during the past dozen or so years…the lack of transparency in some of those campaigns was absolutely mind-boggling, to put it mildly.

    I suppose it’s partly because the party — constantly bringing in new folks (which is obviously a good thing), but losing knowledgeable veterans along the way — lacks what one might call a “collective memory.”

    For a really good primer on the subject, folks new to the party should read George’s eye-opening “Funding Liberty.”

  88. Steve M

    I am going to remain a skeptic that this was some grand plot to make some money of off running a candidate for president. Why? the amount of profit is to low for the work load. Now if you could keep it up for 4 or 8 more years and build an organization that pulls in cash similar to what Ron Paul has done then it might be worth while.

    Ron Paul raised 41 million
    Gary Johnson raised 2.8 million

    So I am going to believe that with regards to the FEC filings, the issue was lack of competence and very likely poor book keeping. But, some time next month they have to refile the reports and then we should have better data to bicker about.

  89. George Phillies

    In defense of Mark B, he has not been here long as a writer, and may not have seen the regular coverage of the Johnson 2012 campaign in my newspaper Liberty For America LibertyForAmerica(dot)Com, from which this article was taken. Within that context, the dramatic change in available information was the huge size of the campaign debt and the way the money was spent, and not the already well-known fact that the campaign manager’s firm was getting almost all the money.

    Until very recently, we did not have the information on how the money was spent:

    There’s $219,651 on outreach, all
    the modes noted above, versus $991,985 on staff hours, filings, and fund raising. Said otherwise, that’s 82% on staff hours, filings, and
    fundraising, and only 18% on outreach.

    We also did not have the very recent (non) response of Johnson to the Reddit questions.

  90. Mark B

    “in reading the law, the use of the word purpose is singular this is why candidates shouldn’t put multiple actions on a single line. one purpose, one line.”

    +1

    “In defense of Mark B, he has not been here long as a writer, and may not have seen the regular coverage of the Johnson 2012 campaign in my newspaper Liberty For America LibertyForAmerica(dot)Com”

    With all due respect, your note is the height of arrogance. You aren’t the corruption ombudsman whose stamp of validation in your newsletter is required before anyone makes note. You don’t have a monopoly on pointing out corruption and, based on your apologetic tone, you don’t even seem to want one. You made an off-handed remark about Johnson’s financial troubles, implying it was due to “all thumbs” accounting and either chose, or didn’t know, to mention the incredibly more serious fact that 95% of his debt is owed to the person who accrued that debt.

    You want to frame this emerging scandal as simple “all thumbs” bookkeeping by good-intentioned people. That’s fine, it’s your right. I choose not to assume that the 2-term Governor of a state is a simple dullard who didn’t know better.

  91. Steve M

    I would have assumed that the Governor was spending his time on making appearances and phone calls to raise cash. It would not have been good use of his time to have been managing the day to day mechanics of tracking expenses.

  92. Mark B

    @115: Executives are judged on their ability to hire competent and honest people to manage day-to-day functions. If they’re not able to do that, they’re either (a) incompetent, or, (b) corrupt.

    The only discussion that needs to occur at this point is to decide if Gary Johnson is incompetent or corrupt. We’ve moved past the foreplay.

  93. Mark B

    It bears noting, the office of “President” is a technical-management position. The holder of that office needs to have basic abilities in executive direction.

    The majority of the Libertarian Party seems to think they’re voting for a Chief Philosopher.

  94. Just Saying

    Mark B @ 117: “The majority of the Libertarian Party seems to think they’re voting for a Chief Philosopher.”

    I don’t necessarily disagree with your basic premise, Mark, but if that’s true, then a majority of Libertarians failed spectacularly in 2012.

    Gary Johnson failed to grasp even the basic fundamentals of libertarianism and displayed a woeful lack of knowledge when it came to Austrian economics and libertarian philosophy in general.

    While running, he so much as admitted that he hadn’t really studied the works of Hayek, Rothbard and others — not that they, by any means, are the end all of libertarianism or even basic libertarian economics. Sadly, he probably couldn’t even name but a few of the more prominent libertarian philosophers.

    Gary Johnson might have been a former governor, but he was arguably the least knowledgeable and informed presidential candidate in the party’s 40-year history when it came to understanding the philosophy he was purporting to champion. During several interviews, he seemed clueless about a whole range of issues and on one call-in program (C-SPAN) in particular, he pretended he didn’t hear the caller, feigning technical difficulties, because he didn’t know the answer to the question posed — something any presidential candidate should have been able to answer.

    While one can admire the fact that as a young man he supported George McGovern for the presidency against Richard Nixon, Johnson turned out to be just another Republican opposed to almost any kind of government spending.

    As governor of New Mexico, an office he never would have held were it not for a spirited Green Party candidacy in 1994, Johnson simply vetoed almost every spending measure approved by the legislature. There’s really not much skill involved in that. In fact, some have argued that he really didn’t govern — he just callously rejected everything, placing a kind of good housekeeping seal of disapproval on any state spending measure — while hypocritically benefiting immensely from the fact that his state took in a staggering 2 1/2 to 3 times as much in federal revenues as it sent to Washington.

    Even his supporters admitted that New Mexico was essentially a welfare state during his administration. That’s a well-documented fact — look it up.

    For most of his tenure, New Mexico was the second biggest beneficiary of federal largesse in the nation — behind only Alaska. For two or three years, New Mexico received more per capita from the Beltway than any other state in the country, and during the remainder of Johnson’s adminstration it was a close second or third.

    It’s relatively easy — and painless — to govern as a “fiscal conservative” when the nation’s taxpayers are paying most of your bills. Sorry, folks, but those are the facts.

    Most Libertarians are probably also unaware of the fact that Johnson refused to grant a pardon to Russell Means, the Native American activist and former candidate for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, when he relocated to New Mexico in the late 1990s and hoped to succeed him as governor. That’s a juicy story and one that Johnson was never been asked about when seeking the LP’s presidential nod last year.

    Gary Johnson, if asked, probably couldn’t even identify the head of the IMF or the World Bank, let alone understand their respective roles in the global economy. He might be a sincere and decent guy — and I’m sure he is — but he’s not a very well-read or deep individual. Unlike some other people who’ve succeeded in politics, Johnson isn’t mean-spirited, but he also isn’t too smart, at least when it comes to seeing the big picture. It’s easy to champion austerity — Gary simple-mindedly wanted to cut the federal budget by a whopping $1.4 trillion during his first year in office, irresponsibly throwing the country into a depression as deep or deeper than the Great Depression — when you don’t really grasp how the world’s economy works.

    “I’ll reduce the debt,” he said over and over again. It made for a great sound-bite, but it would have had devastating consequences for poor and working-class Americans.

    In the end, the only debt Johnson has to worry about now is the one created by his own poorly-managed, if not greedy, campaign — a debt in which the generosity of the federal government, to the tune of more than $632,000, wasn’t able to completely shield him from. As the Federal Election Commission is now making clear, welfare has its price… It was ridiculous and beyond hypocrisy that a Libertarian — a genuine libertarian with principles — would ever take federal matching funds in the first place. Unfortunately, Gary Johnson was just another Republican taking you guys for a ride. Hope you enjoyed it.

  95. Steve M

    Ironic for the LIBERTARIANS that Gary Johnson achieved such high vote totals… such a failure.

    Ah believe….. the few here ready to bury a hatchet in the Johnson/Gray efforts don’t reflect the thinking of the voters that marked libertarian for president.

  96. Starchild

    George @47 – I agree in general that the Libertarian Party has an ongoing problem with a failure to sufficiently distinguish itself from conservatism, and certainly the 2008 ticket was a low point in succumbing to GOP carpetbagging (something I’m not by any means ready to say about 2012) but I don’t think the party label (or former party label) next to a candidate’s name is the main problem here.

    I’m afraid that Tom Knapp’s comment @94, while obviously employing some rhetorical exaggeration, may be closer to the truth:

    “On the internal LP political side, don’t expect a big impact no matter what happens. Even if the expenditure veil is pierced and it turns out that Johnson spent all his money on bourbon, giant foam cowboy hats and trips to the Chicken Ranch, the LP rank and file won’t give a shit. They’ve proven time and time again that they’ll believe anything they’re told to believe by, or on behalf of, anyone who claims to be wealthy, famous, successful, powerful, charismatic or all of the above.”

    Many Libertarians, I think, have been too quick and eager to cozy up to anyone with a big name or big money who seems at least sort of pro-freedom and willing to give the LP the time of day.

    We have simply not been purposeful enough in creating a party culture in which serious (1) lack of libertarianism, (2) lack of integrity, or (3) lack of transparency are deal-breakers when it comes to backing anyone who hopes to represent us.

    Heck, I don’t have big money or a particularly big name myself, but I’ve even been a little concerned at times by some Libertarians seeming a little too star-struck by me. I’m not talking about LP members who’ve been around enough to know what I stand for and appreciate the substance as well as the glam; I’m talking about the occasional Libertarian I’ve met — and fortunately it has been occasional, but then again I’m hardly at the level of political seductiveness that Barr and Root enjoyed before their gilt in the party wore off — from whom I’ve gotten the troubling sense that they might vote for anybody reasonably articulate and attractive who made a splash by showing up at our conventions in wild outfits.

    In my case of course, blind idol worship is never going to cause any problems. ;-) [NOTE: The little winking smiley face means I'm joking]

    But in all seriousness, I hope we can collectively inoculate ourselves against this tendency to gush all over any would-be leader who rides in on a white horse appearing to offer a chance at “success” or “coolness”.

    I didn’t vote for Gary Johnson to be our nominee, but generally felt he ran a good race and acquitted himself somewhat better than I expected, even appearing to become a bit more strongly libertarian between May and November, notwithstanding that the stars weren’t quite aligned for him to get 5 or 10 percent of the vote as I’m sure we all wished. If he does want to run with Jim Gray again in 2016, I’ve been thinking I would at least entertain the idea of supporting such a bid.

    These questions about his campaign’s finances, however, definitely give me pause. We owe it to ourselves — to those who contributed money and labor to the campaign — to demand clear answers, and a much stronger commitment to sunshine from our next presidential ticket. When the dust clears from an election, it should never be a mystery where our money went. Indeed, we ought to be able to clearly see where it’s going as a campaign progresses, and not have to resort to reading government filing reports in order to get that information.

  97. George Phillies

    Mark B’s claim that I want to frame the matter as a matter of poor accounting is flat-0ut nonsense. Not have I ever claimed that I am an arbiter of honesty or lack thereof. Indeed, one might propose given his willingness to attack people and his championing of atacks on the Johnson campaign that he is a plant sent to discredit the attack.

    I will regularly be applying this interpretation in the future so that people not taken by his behavior do not disrespect his ideas.

  98. Darcy G Richardson

    Mark B @ 117: “The majority of the Libertarian Party seems to think they’re voting for a Chief Philosopher.”

    I don’t necessarily disagree with your basic premise, Mark, but if that’s true, then a majority of Libertarians failed spectacularly at the party’s nominating convention in 2012.

    Gary Johnson failed to grasp even the basic fundamentals of libertarianism and displayed a woeful lack of knowledge when it came to Austrian economics and libertarian philosophy in general.

    While running, he so much as admitted that he hadn’t really studied the works of Hayek, Rothbard and others — not that they, by any means, are the end all of libertarianism or even basic libertarian economics. Sadly, he probably couldn’t even name but a few of the more prominent libertarian philosophers. How much — or little — of their works he’s actually read is anybody’s guess.

    Gary Johnson might have been a former governor, but he was arguably the least knowledgeable and informed presidential candidate in the party’s 40-year history when it came to understanding the philosophy he was purporting to champion.

    During several interviews, he seemed clueless about a whole range of issues and on one call-in program (C-SPAN) in particular, he pretended he didn’t hear the caller, feigning technical difficulties, because he didn’t know the answer to the question posed — something any reasonably informed presidential candidate should have been able to answer.

    While one can admire the fact that as a young man he supported George McGovern for the presidency against Richard Nixon in ’72, Johnson turned out to be just another Republican opposed to almost any kind of government spending.

    As governor of New Mexico — an office he never would have held were it not for a surprisingly strong Green Party candidacy in 1994 — Johnson simply vetoed almost every spending measure approved by the legislature. There’s really not much skill involved in that.

    In fact, some have argued that Johnson really didn’t govern — he just callously rejected everything, regardless of its merit, placing a kind of draconian good housekeeping seal of disapproval on any state spending measure — while simultaneously benefiting immensely from the fact that his state took in a staggering 2 1/2 to 3 times as much in federal revenues as it sent to Washington. He governed in much the same way that he slurped up federal funds from the U.S. Treasury as a presidential candidate in 2012, eagerly balancing the New Mexico budget with taxpayer dollars from other states.

    That’s the hard truth, as difficult as it might be for Libertarians to swallow.

    Even his supporters admitted that New Mexico was essentially a welfare state during his administration. That’s a well-documented fact — look it up.

    For most of his tenure, New Mexico was the second biggest beneficiary of federal largesse in the nation — behind only Alaska. For two or three years, New Mexico received more per capita from the Beltway than any other state in the country, and during the remainder of Johnson’s adminstration it was a close second or third.

    It’s relatively easy — and painless — to govern as a “fiscal conservative” when the nation’s taxpayers are paying most of your bills. Sorry, folks, but those are the facts.

    Most Libertarians are probably also unaware of the fact that Johnson refused to grant a pardon to Russell Means, the Native American activist and former candidate for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, when he relocated to New Mexico in the late 1990s and hoped to succeed him as governor. That’s a juicy story and one that Johnson was never asked about when seeking the LP’s presidential nod last year. That’s the kind of thing that slips by when a party has no or little “collective memory.”

    Then again, Johnson was probably the perfect candidate for a party dominated by ill-informed delegates.

    Gary Johnson, if asked, probably couldn’t even identify the head of the IMF or the World Bank, let alone understand their respective roles in the global economy. He might be a sincere and decent guy — and I’m sure he is — but he’s not a very well-read or deep individual. Unlike some other people who’ve succeeded in politics, Johnson isn’t mean-spirited, but he also isn’t too smart, at least when it comes to seeing the big picture. It’s easy to champion austerity — let’s not forget that Gary wanted to cut the federal budget by a whopping $1.4 trillion during his first year in office, irresponsibly throwing the country into a depression as deep or deeper than the Great Depression — when you don’t really grasp how the world’s economy works. Talk about simple-mindedness…

    “I’ll drastically reduce the debt,” he said over and over again. It made for a great sound-bite, but it would have had devastatingly dire consequences for poor and working-class Americans…to many in America’s poor and working-class neighborhoods, I’m sure he looked like yet another privileged pig looking to punish the poor.

    There’s really little poetic justice in the world, but it’s somewhat comforting to know that the only debt Johnson has to worry about now is the one created by his own poorly-managed, if not greedy, campaign — a debt in which the generosity of the federal government, to the tune of more than $632,000, wasn’t able to completely shield him from.

    As the Federal Election Commission is now making clear — see the article by George Phillies — welfare has its price… It was ridiculous and beyond hypocrisy that a Libertarian — a genuine libertarian, somebody supposedly with principles — would ever take federal matching funds in the first place. Unfortunately, Gary Johnson was just another Republican taking you guys for a ride. Hope you enjoyed it.

  99. Darcy G. Richardson

    Steve M. @ 118. Large vote totals mean nothing. Sometimes — actually more times than not — the best candidates receive the fewest votes while the worst the parties have to offer — major and minor parties alike — generally run up higher numbers on Election Day. Didn’t Richard Nixon win by one of the largest landslides in American history and, remind me again, how many votes did George Wallace’s souped-up segregationist candidacy receive in 1968? Nearly 10 million? And didn’t more than 62 million Americans support the deceitful and nefarious George Bush in 2004, four years after he blatantly stole the presidency? Call me a cynic, but I’m with those who generally believe that the smaller the vote total, the better the candidate… The American electorate, after all, has a pretty dismal track record. They wouldn’t know a potentially gifted President, somebody possessing true greatness, from a crook or con artist if their lives depended on it — and it might just come to that.

  100. Steve M

    My answer to statements such as

    “It was ridiculous and beyond hypocrisy that a Libertarian — a genuine libertarian, somebody supposedly with principles — would ever take federal matching funds in the first place.”

    is the same as my answers to liberals who ask “if you hate taxes you shouldn’t take social security payments or use the roads”

    Simply put, In both cases I pay far more in taxes then I get back in “benefits” The welfare isn’t from the state to me it is from me to the state. Should a candidate, that I am supporting get back some of my tax dollars,… absolutely.

  101. Steve M

    @122 keep on thinking that…. while other are working to increase the vote totals.

    Seems to me that some people are about building a larger more influential party and others want to keep it irrelevant.

  102. Darcy G. Richardson

    Steve M @ 123: “Should a candidate, that I am supporting get back some of my tax dollars,… absolutely.”

    Sorry, but that makes you a supporter of a welfare queen. Unlike those who supported the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President in 2012, I’ve never — ever — supported a candidate who accepted government funding for his or her campaign, and my votes have always been cast for minor party left-wing candidates for the nation’s highest office. And, no, you’ve never paid “far more in taxes” than you’ve received in benefits…unless you’re living on another planet, one that has a no-cost infrastructure. Speaking of that, how are things on the planet of the apes these days, anyway?

    I know, I know, you drive on unrecognized dirt roads that you paved yourself and always use a flashlight for night-time visibility, luckily have never had a fire in your home or workplace, dispose of all your own personal trash — where do you bury it, anyway? — as a matter of principle, absolutely refuse to accept Social Security and Medicare when you become eligible, or Medicaid if you or a loved one needs it, have always been armed with a semi-automatic weapon to protect yourself and your family, home school your offspring (God willing, maybe they’ll be as bright as you), and have never been unemployed. I suppose your community also has voluntarily-funded air purifiers and a charitable water and sewage system to make sure the air you breathe and the water that you and your loved ones drink is safe.

    Good for you, Steve. It must be nice to live in a world sheltered from reality…

    I’m sorry, but Libertarians — imaginarily aggrieved for having to pay a tiny share of society’s costs — live in dream world far removed from the real one. Get back to us, Steve, when you return to reality. Better yet, don’t.

  103. Andy

    Darcy G. Richardson said: “Gary Johnson might have been a former governor, but he was arguably the least knowledgeable and informed presidential candidate in the party’s 40-year history when it came to understanding the philosophy he was purporting to champion.”

    I’d say that this title should go to Bob Barr.

  104. Andy

    “Darcy G. Richardson // Feb 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Steve M @ 123: “Should a candidate, that I am supporting get back some of my tax dollars,… absolutely.”

    Sorry, but that makes you a supporter of welfare queens. I’ve never — ever — supported a candidate who accepted government funding, and my votes have pretty much always been cast for minor party left-wing candidates.”

    I’ve generally been against accepting matching funds as well, however, it should be pointed out that the politicians in power have erected all kinds of obstacles for minor party and independent candidates. I’m talking about things like ballot access laws (which are much worse in most states for minor party and independent candidates than they are for the major party candidates), the debates (where minor party and independent candidates are usually shut out, particularly at the Presidential level), and media coverage (the mainstream media is in bed with the establishment politicians). Given these facts, I can see an argument in favor of taking the matching funds.

    “And, no, you’ve never paid ‘far more in taxes’ than you’ve received in benefits…unless you’re living on another planet, one that has a no-cost infrastructure.”

    I do not use or even want most of the “services” that the government provides. Out of the few services that I would use if we actually had a free market, I don’t think that they are efficient. I think that most of the money that I pay in taxes is wasted.

  105. Darcy G. Richardson

    Andy,

    I’m in total agreement with you regarding the obstacles placed in the path or minor-party and independent candidates, but it seems sort of hypocritical for a Libertarian candidate for President to take federal matching funds — it’s sort of an ends justify the means rationale for what should otherwise be a no-brainer, an absolute repudation on the part of the country’s so-called party of liberty and freedom…at least the late Harry Browne thought so.

  106. Steve M

    Andy, call all the names you like. Having some of my money used how I want is not welfare in my opinion.
    Complete nonsense.

    Anyone in the top 2% income levels for very long ends up subsidizing the services that the rest of the country uses. To tell me that I should pay for the programs, subsidizing most Americans, and not use them myself is silly. Having candidates who I support get some of my cash back is hardly welfare.

    Daryl, if you use the federal funded highway system and pay less then $15,000 per year per member of your family then you are a welfare queen.

    $4.5 billion federal budget/ 300 million Americans about 15,000 per person per year. Some of which is used to pay for the roads, high ways, air traffic control etc.

  107. Darcy G. Richardson

    Then again, principles no longer matter in American politics. Sadly, it’s catch as catch can nowadays…everybody’s angling for the slightest advantage over his or her opponents. The two major parties are filled with self-seeking opportunists while the country’s leading minor party — the Libertarian Party — is doing all it can to imitate them.

    How truly sad…

  108. Darcy G. Richardson

    Steve @ 129: Why are you attacking Andy? He didn’t call anybody a name. Andy has done more for the cause of open politics in this country than you could ever hope to achieve.

    In fact, if you read his comments carefully, he pretty much defended your position, saying that he could see a justification for accepting matching funds. I respect his position.

    And who is Daryl? Is he a long lost cousin of mine? I think I like him.

    Insofar as your claim that those “in the top 2% income levels” eventually end up subsidizing the services used by the rest of country, it’s absolutely incorrect. It’s incredible that you would even repeat that nonsense. You don’t really believe that, do you? It’s total bullshit, if I can use that language. Where do you get your information?

    Most working-class and middle-income Americans pay a much higher percentage of their income in taxes than the privileged and pampered one or two percent at the top, including corporations. That’s an indisputable fact.

    The average working person in this country pays an effective tax rate much higher than the meager percentage paid by corporations and wealthy Americans. Corporations, at least those that aren’t hiding all of their profits in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens — you know, the nearly 19,000 companies crammed into the infamous Ugland House — paid an”effective tax rate” of 12.1% in 2011. Many of them, like the “too big to fail” banking behemoth Bank of America paid nothing. Moreover, thousands of millionaires paid nothing or next-to-nothing in federal income taxes.

    What a wonderful country.

    How many middle-income and working-class Americans paid a rate that low? Not many, that’s for sure.

    Libertarians should stop espousing the nonsense spewed by the deliriously greedy Koch brothers — and, truth be known, they’re real assholes who don’t give a flying shit about ordinary Americans — and begin fighting for average taxpayers. It’s time to pull your head out of that place where the sun doesn’t shine, the place where the Koch boys have resided for more than thirty years, and where you might earn a little credibility… The United States doesn’t need another apologist party for the affluent. It needs a party that will fight for ordinary Americans. Just saying.

  109. Steve M

    Darcy, so you are in favor of a graduated income tax where the wealth pay for the services that the others use? Call it BS all you want but on a dollar per dollar basis the middle class doesn’t pay for the services they use.

    While you call me pampered. I call myself hard working and productive. Curse the upper income level all you want but they are the ones who pay for more then they use. I started a business, created new products shipped them, created good middle class jobs.

    My reward… well I get to hang on to almost half of what I make and get to enjoy the ill treatment by bozos like you who think I owe you an easy life.

  110. Darcy G. Richardson

    Well, Steve, believe what you want but I didn’t make very much last year yet I paid a higher percentage in federal income taxes than Mitt Romney. I’ll show you my tax return if you want. Stop believing all the bullshit you’re being fed by the establishment. Most ordinary Americans know the whole system is rigged against them and in favor of the elite.

  111. Andy

    “Darcy G. Richardson: “128 Darcy G. Richardson // Feb 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Andy,

    I’m in total agreement with you regarding the obstacles placed in the path or minor-party and independent candidates, but it seems sort of hypocritical for a Libertarian candidate for President to take federal matching funds — it’s sort of an ends justify the means rationale for what should otherwise be a no-brainer, an absolute repudation on the part of the country’s so-called party of liberty and freedom…at least the late Harry Browne thought so.”

    I originally was in total agreement with Harry Browne, and I still have not completely abandoned this position, however, I’m really wondering if given the government imposed obstacles which are obviously set up to benefit the establishment politicians and to impede the success of minor party and independent candidates, if it is really so bad to take back money that the government has already taken from us and use it to smash down the artificial barriers that they put up to keep us down.

    Does it look hypocritical to take it? Yes, in a way, but then again, look at the ballot access laws, the debate commissions, and the media bias, to just name of the few unfair barriers that the politicians have erected to keep us out, and to keep themselves in power.

  112. Andy

    “Steve M // Feb 15, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Andy, call all the names you like. Having some of my money used how I want is not welfare in my opinion.
    Complete nonsense.”

    You must have looked at the wrong name on whatever post you are referencing.

  113. Darcy G. Richardson

    Seriously, Steve, if you’re only hanging on to half of what you made, you need to find a new accountant. Seriously, something’s wrong — you’re paying a higher percentage than Goldman Sachs, Wall Street’s most profitable firm. By the way, I never said you owed me or anybody else anything, but if you insist on calling me a “bozo” then perhaps you’re stupid enough to pay the rates you claim to be paying. I don’t know, maybe idiots should have to pay more than the rest of us.

  114. Darcy G. Richardson

    Steve M: “Darcy, so you are in favor of a graduated income tax where the wealthy pay for the services that the others use.”

    Sounds pretty good to me. If it wasn’t for the “others” — the consumers — you probably wouldn’t enjoy that wealth to begin with.

  115. Steve M

    Andy, did you not write “Sorry, but that makes you a supporter of welfare queens.”

    Darcy,

    California income tax is now 12%. Federal income tax 35%. Federal self employment tax is 15% for the first 100K or so and then 3.8% for the rest. Now you do get to deduct half of your self employment tax. so effectively the top end for people who are earning income is 12+35+1.9 = 48.9%

    Get around this? not by starting a us corporation and collecting dividends. The corporate income is taxed first and then the dividends are taxed a second time. End result an increase in tax. This why LLC and S Corps are so popular. They avoid the double taxation.

    So to avoid the 49% tax I should do what you were just ranting against and create an off shore corporation? Not a bad idea other then you have to pay a lawyer or someone to handle the corporation and that the US is looking for people doing this.

    Mitt Romney paid 1.95 million in taxes for 2011. So he carried his own weight.

    Yep there ya go…. you use services that you don’t pay for and you call someone who does an asshole. Thanks for proving my point.

  116. wolfefan

    Hi Steve M –

    In your CA example, you’re talking about the top marginal rate, right? The actual rate is a lot lower than that due to the marginal nature of tax rates. Even the wealthiest, assuming they actually earned in come instead of it being investment income, don’t pay that much. I haven’t looked up what the CA rates are – is that 12% flat or is it stepped as well?

  117. Darcy G. Richardson

    On behalf of America’s bozos, I’m thinking the IRS should enact a 10% penalty on assholes…you know, sort of in the same manner that it currently penalizes individuals under the age of 59 1/2 for taking early withdrawals, out of necessity, from their 401(k) plans to put food on their table or to pay their rent or mortgage — the things everyday middle-class Americans struggle with day in and day out. When was the last time you paid an IRS penalty, or when was the last time Bank of America or J.P. Morgan or thousands of wealthy Americans paid any federal taxes at all? Just asking. In any case, I’m one of the more easy-going and generous guys on the Left. Roseanne Barr would be much tougher on your ilk. She’d bring back the guillotine for those on Wall Street responsible for the economic depression millions of Americans have been forced to endure since 2008… God Bless her.

  118. Thomas L. Knapp

    Regarding matching funds as welfare:

    Matching funds come from a tax check-off of $3.

    They are paid out on the basis of contributions of up to $250 per individual.

    Even if every one of the contributors whose funds were “matched” also checked that $3 box on their tax return, $247 of the $250 came from people who checked the box, but did not contribute to, Gary Johnson.

    In fact, given the LP’s historical opposition to taking matching funds, it’s a reasonable supposition that few of the 200,000+ people whose $3 were handed over to Johnson were even Libertarian voters.

  119. Thomas L. Knapp

    Steve M at 139:

    “Mitt Romney paid 1.95 million in taxes for 2011. So he carried his own weight.”

    If by “carried his own weight,” you mean “paid enough in taxes to cover a whopping 4% of the $50 million taxpayer cost of providing security for the four-day bash he threw in Tampa,” you’re absolutely right.

  120. Darcy G. Richardson

    Steve,

    No hard feelings, my friend. We just see things very differently. Andy didn’t write, “Sorry, but that makes you a supporter of welfare queens.” Trust me, Andy’s on your side on this issue. That was written by yours truly. I’m reading the rest of your latest missive. Are you honestly telling me that you paid a federal income tax rate of 35%? I don’t know what business you’re in, but I find that hard to believe. Please go back and look at your 2011 tax return. Is the effective rate not closer to 12-15 percent? Seriously, I would like to know. I’m all in favor of small businesses having a legitimate shot in making it in our economy. Thanks.

    Darcy

  121. Steve M

    No Darcy, As the accountant puts it…

    Good News you made lots of money…
    Bad News…. Bend over.

    You only have to make a little under 400,000 to hit the 35% tax rate. For the 35% to be the dominant rate This year that rate is going up to 39.6%.

    The top 0.1% made almost 1.7 million given 100 million families then 100,000 would have made this level.

    No the effective rate in 2011 was not any where near 15% more like 30% for 2011 probably 33% or so for 2013.

  122. Steve M

    that effective rate does not include the self employment tax, nor the state income tax, nor the city business tax, nor the state business tax, nor the joint city, county, state property tax.

  123. Darcy G. Richardson

    Well, that’s clearly not fair then, Steve, especially given the fact that more than 2/3 of the corporations in the United States — including some of the most profitable entities in the world — paid no federal income taxes whatsoever in 2011 and the vast majority of small businesses paid nothing or very little in federal taxes.

    Thanks for sharing that information. It sounds blatantly unfair and punitive. What sort of remedy would you suggest — and I’m asking that in all seriousness?

  124. Darcy G. Richardson

    The only reason I’m asking is that so much of the “we’re overtaxed” rhetoric of the business community turns out, time and again, to be nothing but bullshit. They never provide the documentation to substantiate their claims and the taxes paid by such entities— when actually verified — are always far, far less than what they claimed.

  125. Darcy G. Richardson

    I ran for President last year. My financial disclosure statements and tax returns are a matter of public record. I paid a much higher percentage of my income in federal taxes than Mitt Romney for at least each of the past five years — a period in which I earned a very modest annual income.

    The wealthy might have fooled some Americans, but the past few years have been the best of times for them. The income inequality gap in this country has become an embarrassment and a sore spot for struggling families — the worst economic injustice since the start of industrialization. I think the American people have had enough and are about to fight back. The rich should stop complaining and begin paying their fair share of the nation’s tax burden…not to be alarmist, but I think the American people have had about enough as they can take.

  126. Chuck Moulton

    A flat income tax with no deductions is the easiest solution to everyone paying a fair share. Combine it with either eliminating the corporate tax and keeping a capital gains tax or vice-versa to get rid of the double taxation.

  127. Darcy G. Richardson

    Steve M: “You only have to make a little under 400,000 to hit the 35% tax rate.”

    How tragic, Steve. Are you serious, or is this a prank? Are we really supposed to feel sorry for you? Give me a fucking break. I hope you understand that 99.8% of the American public can only dream of that sort of income. These are the kind of comments that makes many people feel that the wealthy in this country are totally disconnected, comfortably numb in their affluence and utter disregard for the American public — as if their level of taxation is a hardship — when in reality they pay less than the rest of us in aggregate taxes, and they are somehow having difficulty making ends meet. Wake up, rich folks — or at least pay a little attention when you get back from your latest Mediterranean cruise — there are kids in this country who literally go hungry at night, a disgraceful trend that we haven’t seen in decades. Libertarians can deny it until they’re blue in the face, but it’s happening.

    I’m still waiting for somebody to declare class warfare. I don’t think we need an act of Congress.

  128. Wes Wagner

    DGR@153

    I believe class warfare was attempted in France in the 19th century. Did not end well. Sure maybe some people got some aggression out, but ultimately they ended up even more poor and destitute than from where they started.

    Don’t let the human farmers turn us against each other through false division … we should unite against the farmers!

  129. Mr. Belding

    Hey, hey, hey. *What* is going *on* here!? This thread is getting a tad hostile; lets calm down and take a breather. Drinks on me at the Max!

  130. Andy

    “Chuck Moulton // Feb 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    A flat income tax with no deductions is the easiest solution to everyone paying a fair share.”

    My idea of a fair share is different. End the income tax and replace it with nothing, then everyone pays the same rate which is ZERO.

  131. Steve M

    Darcy,

    I never asked for your sympathy, I just pointed out you are the one who is benefiting from the work of others. Thus your accusation of welfare queen comes across as hypocritical. When you shoulder a burden equivalent to what a per capita percentage of the government expenses is then you are carrying your share until then you are just using the work product of others.

    That is the basic problem with “progressives”. Rather then build something up they would rather tear someone else down and treat them as evil for creating high paying jobs.

    Engage in class warfare and watch what good jobs are here leave. Its not that it is an evil policy…. its a stupid non-productive policy that hurts the people you claim you want to help.

  132. Thomas L. Knapp

    Steve M,

    “When you shoulder a burden equivalent to what a per capita percentage of the government expenses is then you are carrying your share until then you are just using the work product of others.”

    That statement assumes that government expenditures benefit everyone equally.

    To call that assumption tenuous would be understating things rather more than warranted.

  133. Steve M

    Thomas,

    the concept of who (if anyone) benefits from what government program in tenuous. If a rich man lives frugally in a small house with few possessions he wont use the same level of services as one living in a big house with many possessions and travels a lot.

    If you have a better economic model for capturing benefits to costs and payments, I am all ears. As a first order approximation a straight per capita system can’t be that bad.

  134. Thomas L. Knapp

    Steve M @159,

    “If you have a better economic model for capturing benefits to costs and payments, I am all ears.”

    OK, try this on for size: If I want something I’ll buy it myself. If there’s something you want, feel free to buy it yourself. And if a bunch of people want something, they can feel free to get together and buy it themselves.

    As for myself, I don’t need e.g. the Secret Service, the US Marine Corps or the US Border Patrol. If you like them, feel free to pick up the check.

    I might be interested in using an interstate highway now and again. And I might even be vulnerable to an up-sell of coffee and a donut at the toll booth.

  135. FLAMETHROWING LIBERTARIAN !

    “fair share” lol – yeap pay the THIEVES and LEECHES their due. Bulls%&# let them become RESPONSIBILE adults in a PRIVATE sector free market world. No one is entitled to anyone elses honest acquired INCOME. “Their” fair share should be an EMPTY stomach.

    Stop falling for gov speech. They are CROOKS and bloodSUCKERS. Each and ALL….

    As far as GJ’12 , over 1M votes were great, thanks for the effort. Now everyone BUILD the Party at the local level !!!

    GJ was a R and a moderate libertarian. Anyone expecting more wasn’t being realistic. Should anyone be hoping for a GJ16? NOPE! New voices WELCOME and needed! Not Rs but purer Libertarian Voices needed.

    Carpe Diem

  136. Steve M

    Thomas, works for me… but I wont hold my breath waiting for that model to be a choice. Still it is the direction I would like to be heading.

  137. Thomas L. Knapp

    Steve M,

    If that’s the direction you’d like to be heading, then what you want is a highly progressive income tax, for two reasons:

    1) The state is more likely to collapse under its own weight than it is to allow itself to be reined in with incremental tweaks; and

    2) Most government spending is done on behalf of the rich. The main theoretical exception is Social Security. That was supposed to be a “pay it in, take it out” proposition — but the state raided the “trust fund” so it could spend more money on the rich.

  138. Chuck Moulton

    Andy wrote (@156):

    My idea of a fair share is different. End the income tax and replace it with nothing, then everyone pays the same rate which is ZERO.

    Sounds good to me. That’s the end goal.

    But as a transitional step, when everyone is in it together you end the class warfare. Want to raise taxes on the rich? Then your taxes are raised too. Want to lower your taxes? Then taxes on the rich are lowered too. Once we get everyone moving the same direction, I’m fairly sure they’ll all pick the direction DOWN.

  139. Steve M

    Thomas, nice but I don’t see why bankrupting myself before we arrive at a more libertarian society is a better path. Yes we might eventually have more property freedom but at a price of not having any property.

    The state raid and I agree it does exist was to benefit certain groups of the rich. The military industrial companies for example. Not all rich benefit from the crony capitalism.

  140. USA Today

    There may be individual millionaires who pay taxes at rates lower than middle-income workers. In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. But that’s less than 1% of the nearly 237,000 returns with incomes above $1 million.

    This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average 29.1% of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes, payroll taxes and other taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

    Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay an average of 15% of their income in federal taxes.

  141. Robert Capozzi

    CBO, that’s the problem with the idea of “fair” – it’s subjective.

    I’ve yet to see this chart showing effective tax rates including FICA and Medicare. My guess is the middle 20% might be higher than the top 20%, especially if income includes capital gains and other income broadly defined.

  142. Zapper

    40% + 20% + 20% … that’s only 80%

    The “upper middle” 20% catagory is missing from the chart @167:

    The Share of Total Income Earned for the upper middle 20% would be: 20.2%

    The Share of Total Federal Income Taxes Paid for the upper middle 20% would be: 18.6%

  143. Zapper

    @166 Certain kinds of income are exempt from Federal taxation, such as the interest earned from State and Municipal bonds which are not legally taxable by the Federal government under the constitution. Some individuals earn most or all of their income from such bonds.

  144. Zapper

    IMO, in order to be fair, a tax system must do both of the following:

    1) Since all individuals are equal, each individual should pay exactly the same amount.

    2) Since some people make much more than others, but we are all equal as individuals, each individual should pay exactly the same percentage of their income.

    When both of these two conditions are met, the tax system is fair.

  145. George Phillies

    ” Once we get everyone moving the same direction, I’m fairly sure they’ll all pick the direction DOWN.”

    The Republicans have been pushing ‘lower taxes’ as a path to winning elections. The President is a Democrat. The Senate is Democratic. The only reason the House is Republican is massive gerrymandering in key states. Telling people you will be cutting their social security taxes and the income on which they are retiring is a non-seller.

  146. robert capozzi

    zapper, the only number that satisfies both your tests is 0, so what do you suggest a big sale for NORAD?

  147. Thomas L. Knapp

    Zapper @171,

    In order to meet the conditions you posit for a “fair” tax system — that everyone pay both the exact same percentage and the exact same amount — either the amount/percentage would have to be zero, or everyone’s income would have to be exactly the same. Which is it that you’re advocating.

  148. Zapper

    RC @ 174. Remember, the discussion is “what is fair.”

    Many people will insist that zero taxation is impossible, although I’m not one of them. It is possible, although it will take a long difficult transition.

    Most people will at least likely remember the old saying that “life isn’t fair.”

  149. Zapper

    As to this whole hidden expense issue and additional debt, I will speculate as follows:

    It seems to me that the campaign manager wanted the chance to earn some outrageous salary plus bonus on the campaign. He may have agreed to take a risk of making less with the chance of earning more.

    By skimping on advertising, and other real but expensive political outreach, he was able to preserve some of the funds that came in to pay himself a decent wage, but less than the targeted amount.

    Then, having not posted his entire desired compensation package up front, he posted the rest after the campaign, especially when it was looking like everything had been paid and the campaign might have ended debt free.

    So, now he is hoping to make his big personal payday with fundraising to retire the debt. The remaining total debt represents his hopes and dreams for a big score for a year’s work and risk of getting nothing.

    Hence the secrecy.

  150. robert capozzi

    zapper I would say that it is not a matter of what is fair rather what is clearly unfair. The current system is clearly unfair. I happen to believe something approaching a consensus on what would be fairer is achievable.

  151. George Phillies

    The FEC has looked at the Johnson filings for last year, and did not like what they saw. For example, the salaries were not itemized by the name of the person being paid, with the individual amounts. The million in new debt does not make sense as reported.

    The Johnson campaign is now shifting to quarterly filing for this year.

  152. Zapper

    @180 Yes, RC, the system is so unfair presently that it would certainly possible to make it fairer without actually making it fair.

  153. Robert Capozzi

    gp 181: The FEC has looked at the Johnson filings for last year, and did not like what they saw.

    me: How do you know this? Do you have connections there?

  154. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC @ 183,

    Everyone who wants to has “connections at FEC.” All you have to do is go to FEC.gov, search for Gary Johnson, and read the publicly available documents.

    If you do that, with an eye toward documents called RFAIs with filing dates from last week, you’ll find stuff like:

    —–
    Schedule B-P of your report discloses disbursements to Political Advisors for “Mid-Level Campaign Management Wages.” Please be advised that when itemizing disbursements to companies for payroll services, if the payment to the salary recipient aggregates in excess of $200 in an election cycle, a memo entry including the name and address of the individual receiving the salary, as well as the date, amount, and purpose of the original disbursement must be provided. Please amend your report to include the missing information or provide clarifying information if memo items are not required. (11 CFR § 104.9)
    —–

    and

    —–
    Itemized disbursements must include a brief statement or description of why each disbursement was made. Please amend Schedule B-P supporting Lines 23 and 25 of your report to clarify the following description(s): “Advisory Services,” “Fundraising and Consulting Services,” and “Media Buy, Candidate Travel and Advisory Services.” For further guidance regarding acceptable purposes of disbursement, please refer to 11 CFR 104.3(b)(4)(i)(A).
    ——

  155. robert capozzi

    TK thanks. They appear to have asked for amendments. Whether fhey did not “like” the filing is another matter.

    One hopes that GP has learned from his previous unrepented narc that actively undermining his own team is counterproductive.

  156. robert capozzi

    GP, we’re painfully aware of your ability to comb through FEC reports.

    As you are “functionally literate,” where did your pals at the FEC state their “like” or “dislike”? Or are you twisting words to suit your narrative?

  157. Starchild

    Robert @187 – If the FEC posts a note telling you what you must do, and noting that your reports do not meet those requirements, I don’t think it’s too much of a linguistic stretch to say that they “didn’t like” the reports you submitted.

    Of course the FEC and its requirements are generally unconstitutional and the means by which it is funded is unquestionably anti-libertarian, so candidates in a moral sense have no duty to comply with them and doing so should be seen only as a political necessity at best.

    On the other hand, I don’t think the level of transparency that the FEC demands of candidates for public office is more than Libertarians should be expecting from persons seeking to run under our party’s name. We ought to know precisely where the money spent by Libertarian campaigns that engage in extensive fundraising from our supporters is going.

    And I also suspect that Zapper @179 may not be too far from the mark. I’m not sure what Ron Neilson and others who worked for the Johnson campaign have been or are seeking to be paid, and I am not trying to single any one out in what I continue to believe was generally a good campaign.

    Nevertheless I am fairly certain that if we as a party make it our business in the future to demand upfront more transparency from our candidates in such matters, more of our hard-earned resources will end up going directly toward promoting freedom, and less of it will wind up being spent on salaries and overhead.

    And that would in my opinion be an unqualified good thing.

  158. robert capozzi

    Starchild, “like” makes it sound like there’s something personal or perhaps so sort of vendetta. Asking to please provide information, OTOH, sounds like a dispassionate bureaucrat needing to fill in another box.

    Given GP’s history as Narcer-in-Chief of the LP, an act he has never to my knowledge offered any sort of contrition for, would lead many L observers to doubt his intentions.

    Physician heal thyself seems especially apropos counsel here.

  159. Dan Reale

    Like it or not, you can transpose the same exact supposed issues with GJ to those alleged against Harry Brown – different candidate and accuser. The fact is that the LP has not learned that politics really requires people at the helm, like it or not. You have no real chance of even raising money or functioning as a serious campaign without that. It does lead to a high percentage spent on staff in the beginning, but, eventually, manning the helm is exactly what a serious campaign does to take off beyond a certain point.

  160. Maureen Westfall

    Maybe I have overlooked it somehow..but I was unable to find any links to verify these numbers. Perhaps maybe a link to the actual fFEC report and not a link to a mailer that I also was unable to find any links or even source information. I don’t recognize
    “Liberty for America
    c/o George Phillies
    48 Hancock Hill Drive
    Worcester MA 01609″
    this being the return address for the mailer. Am I just supposed to believe it because it is written? Jill Pyeatt , I see you are credited as the original author, could you please post the links to your sources? Or is the source the mailer? I am confused. thanks

  161. Thomas L. Knapp

    Maureen,

    Unless things have changed, FEC links are notoriously unstable — one minute they work, the next the documents have moved. So if you want to see the actual report, what you need to do is:

    1) Point your browser at :
    http://www.fec.gov/finance/disclosure/candcmte_info.shtml

    2) Click on “Campaign Finance Disclosure Portal.”

    3) Enter “Gary Johnson” in the blank next to “Partial Name, Partial ID or Complete Image Number,” select “filings” from the checkboxes below it, and click “get listing.”

    4) Click on the link for committee # P20002671 (“Johnson, Gary Earl, Libertarian Party, Presidential”).

    5) In the screen THAT brings up, click on the linked “Gary Johnson 2012 INC.”

    6) From that screen, you can view all of Johnson’s reports, including the amended 2012 year-end report submitted on 02/25/13. You can then view all the gory details, but the quickest way to verify the figure being thrown around is by clicking on “summary” and looking at line 12 (“debts and obligations owed by the committee”) where you will find the number $1,134,603.72.

  162. paulie

    Not sure if I said this in this thread yet and I don’t feel like reading the whole thing again.

    All of the debt is owed to campaign manage Ron Nielson and his company, and he does not intend to actively pursue it since he sees little chance of collecting.

    He’s not writing it off, it’s just that since there’s little chance of collecting he is not going to put time and energy into it.

    According to Nielson in personal conversation, if there is a 2016 campaign it will be a new enterprise that starts off without any debt.

    I know Phillies disputes that this is legal, but Nielson says he can do it.

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