Saturday, July 12, 2008

Just what does the Libertarian National Congressional Committee DO, anyway (at least with its money)?

The Dems and the GOPers have congressional campaign committees to funnel money into selected races.

So does the Libertarian Party: it's called the Libertarian National Congressional Committee.

The website of the LNCC (which does not list any Libertarian candidates--instead promising, as it has since 2006, that "Eventually this page will have links to every Libertarian running for State Representative, State Senate, U.S. Congress, and U.S. Senate."

From the Federal Elections Commission's point of view it has been in existence for nearly three years, has raised $21,745.83, and has never disbursed a penny to support the election of a single Libertarian congressional or state legislative candidate.

The FEC reports that in 2005 the LNCC raised $2,000, spent $79.95 on operating expenses, and had a debt of $4,132.15.

The FEC reports that in 2006 the LNCC raised $9253.87, spent $5960.83 on operating expenses [presumably a large portion of which retired the previous year's debt], and made a special disbursement under the category of Other that amounted to an even $5,000.

The FEC reports that in 2007 the LNCC raised $5225.21, and spent $986.70 on operating expenses.

The FEC reports that to the end of May 2008 the LNCC raised $5266.75, and spent $691.75 on operating expenses.

Thus in two and one-half years reported existence, the LNCC has raised $21,745.83, spent $7,027.48 (32.3% of the funds raised) on operating expenses, has made one $5,000 disbursement that was not a donation to a candidate or a political action committee, and--it bears saying again--has never, according to FEC records, donated a single penny to support Libertarian candidates.

My first observation is that $21,745.83 over three years is not a hell of a lot of money--except to Libertarian candidates.

Let's say the LNCC did what its Demopublican counterparts do (at a far lesser scale, of course), and passed out its money to selected Libertarians vying for US House seats and seats in state legislatures. Let's assume that the LNCC picked five candidates this year and donated $4,000 to each of them. For kicks and grins, let's say the LNCC donated $4,000 each to Michael Benoit in California, T. J. Rohr in North Carolina, Thibeaux Lincecum in Maryland, Thomas Knapp in Missouri, and David Casey in Texas.

The much-promoted Freedom Slate '08 only raised $1,260 for Benoit and $1,450 for Casey--barely a third of what they could have gotten from the Libertarian National Congressional Committee.

What would $4,000 mean to a struggling Libertarian candidate? It might mean publicity, travel money, and the chance to garner a significant percentage of the vote in a critical district like Missouri's 2nd, where Thomas Knapp says,

I've been brutally honest with my supporters, and here's my honest opinion:

No, Missouri's 2nd District won't elect a Libertarian to Congress this year. Nor will any other US House District in the nation do so.

However, a strong Libertarian campaign in my district can make a difference.

With your help, I can turn the district into a battleground.

With your support, I can force Todd Akin out for a fight. I can make him keep his money here instead of spreading it around to threatened fellow Republicans elsewhere.

Together, we can put pressure on the resurgent Democrats -- not just the candidate in this district, but the incumbents in Washington -- to live up to their rhetoric on issues like the war in Iraq and civil liberties at home. We can make them earn any seats they gain.

There's even a real possibility that we can be the "balance of power" in this district and send an incumbent home. If the election result is DeLear or Pentland 46%, Akin 44%, Knapp 10%, the story won't be that the Democrat won -- it will be that Libertarian voters made the difference.

There are voters in the district who don't want to vote for a pro-war, anti-freedom Republican ... but who won't vote for a Democrat either. We can reach those voters. We can represent those voters. We can empower those voters.

But it's going to take a little money.

A little money. What could Tom do with $4,000 from the LNCC?

Oh, but I forgot--the LNCC, which doesn't actually donate money to candidates, somehow uses up nearly one-third of all the money it raises for operating expenses--even when it's not doing anything.

Well, that's unfair: it did distribute $5,000 to somebody in 2006, even if that somebody was not a candidate.

If there is a strategy in here somewhere (and by that I mean a strategy for electing Libertarian candidates, not for laundering money), I haven't been able to find it.

I suspect that's because I'm not as smart as the people running the LNCC (I won't say, "into the ground"), who currently are:


M Carling (Chair)
Michael Colley (Vice Chair)
Alicia Mattson (Treasurer)
Jeff Dimit (Secretary)

Board of Directors

M Carling
Mike Dixon
Jim Lark
Bill Redpath (LNC Chair)
Aaron Starr

Maybe they can help me figure out what the LNCC plans to do this year--in the single most pivotal election year for Libertarians and Americans in decades--with the $9026.60 it currently has on hand.

Perhaps it makes me a Povertarian for asking such questions, since--unlike some people employed as Registered Parliamentarians--I have not found my pockets deep enough to donate $46,408 to my favorite political causes since 2000.

Just sayin',,,

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