Note: this article includes updates at the end.
After a number of weeks working to gather funds for the Libertarian Party of Texas, in an effort to be included in their debate to be hosted on April 17, I have been informed that they have included two more podiums, rather than just including the top five candidates. This is, in effect, altering the agreement made to donors and candidates who participated in raising more than $16,000 for the party.
I am not accusing anyone of intentional fraud, but I would like to point out that their actions, if not addressed, are a violation of the non aggression principle. The intent of pointing this out is not to make allegations of a malicious act, but instead to restitute the participants of a fundraising event.
While I like the other two candidates and am ultimately glad that they are able to be included, I would have fought for the inclusion of a 6th and 7th podium before the contest began, so that the terms of the event would be fully disclosed to all participants.
In effect, what they did, was they convinced the top 7 candidates to fight even harder against each other for the top five spots. In fact, only the top seven candidates were working to raise funds against each other. Had the final two podiums been previously known or even proposed as a possibility, we likely would not have worked so hard to dry up our own donor pools, knowing that our positions in the debate were already secured several thousand dollars in donations earlier. The expectation being that each of the winning candidates would receive 1/5 of the total time allotted on stage. Instead, we are only receiving 1/7. The reward for work that we put in was devalued, and now worth only 5/7 of the original perceived value. Every single donation was a contract to select which candidates would receive that time. Those contracts have now been breached so that the winners of the original contract receive less and the losers receive more in a speaking-time redistribution scheme that Bernie Sanders would be proud of.
The loss is that had it been known that there would be 7 podiums, we might have spent less effort fundraising for the LP Texas, and more effort fundraising for our own campaign expenses to attend the debate. There is no perfect way to calculate this loss, but I would submit that we are receiving only 5/7ths of what we worked for, and that 2/7ths should be returned to the campaigns. In an act of good faith to show that this is not an attempt to extort free money from the LP Texas, I would ask that my own campaign by excluded from this reimbursement, and that the money be distributed proportionately among the other candidate’s campaigns.
As the libertarian party, it is important to truly understand the non-aggression principle is one to protect people against violations of force and fraud. One subject often overlooked in all of society, is that many acts force and fraud are unintentional. That does not mean that the perpetrators are criminals. However, to demonstrate that we ARE the party of principle, we should acknowledge when this happens, and do our best to correct the unintentional violation – no matter how small.
I would also like to point out that this is my declared home state, I do intend to be a delegate of Texas at this year’s national convention, and I am fighting to keep my own state party honest the same way I will fight to keep the government honest.
I look forward to a friendly debate with five winners of last month’s fundraising events and the additional two candidates with whom I have great respect.
Update: The committee has not made an official statement, however, members of the committee claim that there was no rule change. Candidates were sent a set of rules that stated there were 4 podia and more would be added up to 7 in total. However, a different set of rules was available on the donation site, which has since been taken down. I would, and I think any person of sound mind would, view rules on someone’s website as “official” and to be used as reference, not what was previously sent in an email. The official rules can be seen in Google’s web cache here:
I can not stress enough that I don’t believe this was done intentionally. I know this is a volunteer run organization, with many unpaid, hard working individuals. I am not accusing anyone of malicious intent, only miscommunication. This did have real world consequences, and as libertarians, I feel we should correct the situation.