Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Attorney Paul Rossi Warns LPPA Of GOP Operatives Sent To Cause Internal Strife In Advance Of 2014 Gubernatorial Race

In 2012, the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania pulled off what has been called the "Pennsylvania Miracle" when it defeated GOP challenges to its filed petitions seeking to place Gary Johnson and other statewide Libertarian Party candidates on the ballot in November. It took 84 volunteers, 9 weeks of work and a number of Court challenges to obtain this extraordinary victory.

Richard Winger of Ballot Access News described this victory as follows:

Tom Stevens led the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party to the greatest ballot access victory in the state party's history. The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party's 2012 ballot access victory was the first time any statewide minor party or independent candidate for statewide office has ever defeated a challenge backed by one of the two major parties.

Immediately after the November election, Dr. Tom Stevens, LPPA State Chair at the time, began a push to recruit at least 40 candidates to run for elective office in 2013 and as many, or more, to run in 2014. He also began a candidate search to find the strongest possible gubernatorial candidate to run in 2014. These efforts were widely reported. Many new County Organizations were organized and membership in the state party almost doubled in the months that followed. Then came unrelenting personal attacks against Dr. Stevens by former Republican Party members who came to the LP under suspicious circumstances and who joined efforts with others who didn't gather petition signatures in 2012, didn't volunteer one day to help in the petition defense against the GOP challenge, didn't support Gary Johnson for President or the other statewide LP candidates and a number of whom actually encouraged people to Vote For Nobody. These daily personal attacks were disseminated widely resulting in much internal strife within the party. Many LPPA members resigned or left the party completely and others were simply disgusted.

Dr. Stevens shouted from the mountaintops he had received confirmation from GOP sources that the Corbett Campaign and the GOP had made a decision to send GOP operatives into the LPPA to degrade its ability to obtain sufficient petition signatures to place a gubernatorial candidate on the ballot in 2014. Those operatives had two goals. Take down Tom Stevens, viewed by many as the Iron Man who rallied the troops in defense of the GOP petition challenge in 2012, and to cause enough internal strife so the party would be so weakened it would not be able to gather enough valid petition signatures to place a gubernatorial candidate on the ballot in 2014. The discord created had its predictable effect and many good people left. The unity of the party was destroyed.

Paul Rossi, the attorney who represented the Libertarian Party in the defense of its petitions against the GOP challenge in 2012, sent a letter dated June 4, 2013 to the members of the Board of Directors of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. That letter covers many topics but Section IV entitled GOP Campaign To Disrupt "Third Party" Gubernatorial Aspirations backed up much of what Dr. Tom Stevens, former LPPA State Chair, had warned about. That section, in its entirety, reads as follows:

Trusted Republican operatives have reported that the Corbett campaign is engaged in an ongoing and current effort to discourage the Libertarian and Constitution parties from supporting gubernatorial candidates in 2014.

In May of 2012, the Corbett campaign commissioned an internal poll to gauge the damage the firing and subsequent death of Joe Paterno caused to Corbett’s re-election effort. According to my friends in the Republican establishment, the poll commissioned by the Corbett campaign convinced Corbett’s top campaign managers that Corbett cannot win re-election if a Libertarian candidate (and to a lesser extent, a Constitution candidate) is placed on the 2014 general election ballot.

Obviously, turnout of your voter registration base for a Libertarian candidate does not threaten Tom Corbett with electoral ruin. In any normal year, the GOP would consider a Libertarian candidate a mere nuisance in a statewide election contest. However, the Corbett campaign is very worried that the GOP base in both Central Pennsylvania and Happy Valley is sufficiently angry over Paterno’s firing that they may be willing to cast votes against Corbett by voting for a Libertarian candidate. Certain GOP voters who are unlikely to vote for a Left-Wing Democratic ghoul are, nevertheless, sufficiently angry at Corbett to vote Libertarian in 2014. Furthermore, owing to the GOP’s recent failure to successfully challenge your nomination papers, the Corbett campaign seems more willing to take immediate pro-active measures to interfere with your ability and/or willingness to support a 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

Moving forward, you should be on alert and guard yourselves against unknown individuals who seek to implicate themselves into Libertarian politics who may have a hidden agenda contrary to the interests of Pennsylvania Libertarians. The Corbett campaign is very sophisticated and well-funded - they have staffers to spare to conjure political mischief. The Corbett campaign has at its disposal a quiver of dirty tactics that could be brought to bear against your party. Please be vigilant.

Matthew Kelly, Membership Committee Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania, commented on Rossi's warning as follows:
"Anyone who has been active in the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania during the past six (6) months, is well aware of who has worked hard to recruit new members and candidates, to organize new county organizations, to work on promoting a libertarian agenda in public policy and who has spend every hour of their waking time tearing down the party, attacking people personally, and undermining the reputation of hard-working libertarians who have volunteered years of their life to promote the Libertarian Party. Unfortunately, the slash-and-burn agenda of those committed to causing long term harm to the LPPA is not at first obvious to the politically unseasoned, many of whom have been newly recruited to the LPPA.

Roy Minet, who along with Dr. Tom Stevens and John Karr, were called Libertarian Ballot Access Heroes by LP News, is running for State Chair at the LPPA Annual Convention scheduled to be held on June 8, 2013 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I fully endorse Roy Minet for State Chair and feel he is the best person left to clean out the party of those who seek to undermine our mission. Unfortunately, in light of developing circumstances including who is hosting the convention, running the convention and credentialing delegates as well as the large number of party members who have publicly announced they will not be attending the convention, it may be too late to prevent the takeover by those who Rossi describes as those who may have a hidden agenda contrary to the interests of Pennsylvania Libertarians."

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