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LAMA — A Record of Inaction

LAMA, the “Libertarian Association of Massachusetts”, was until recently the Massachusetts affiliate of the national Libertarian Party. LAMA has a remarkable record of political inaction. It is still in operation, will likely put on the ballot a slate of candidates for statewide office, but the Libertarian National Committee now recognizes a different group, the Mises-associated “Legitimate Libertarian Association of Massachusetts”, as the national party’s affiliate. Both groups claim to be the legitimate LAMA.

LAMA maintains a Federal PAC and, as required by state law, a separate state PAC. Both PACs file financial disclosures, so it is straight forward to look at their financial records.

There is absolutely no indication that any money was spent by either PAC on candidate support or public outreach on libertarian issues.

In the past year, the Federal PAC has burned through almost $35,000, mostly for its state convention plus a much smaller amount for the NationBuilder data management tool, and is down to $1,251. In the same time period, the State PAC has been almost totally inactive, simply sitting on its $7,173.

For 1/1/2021 to 6/30/2022, in its Federal account the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts had $18,692.50 in contributions, and spent $34,798.35, including a $750 contribution refund. It began with $17,357.28 cash on hand, and ended with $1,251.43 cash on hand.

Where did that money go? There was at least $26,029 for conventions, this being primarily the 2022 convention because there was covid in 2021. NationBuilder got $4,212 for database management.

In more detail, a largely complete list of expenses includes: LAMA holds a state convention, usually every year. The 2022 convention cost $11,516 to the Sheraton Framingham, apparently for this year’s convention plus $2000 on 12/17/2021 for an unidentified convention, $4746 to Signal Graphics for associated printing, $4,223 to the Addressers of California for direct mailing, $$1,461 to Whitney Bilyeu for for convention speaker travel expense, $491 to Jeff Lyons for Convention speaker travel expense, $360 to Boston Town Crier for a Conference Activity Tour, $222 to Dunkin Donuts for conference donuts.

The Association also spent $290 to Peachtree Data for mailing list processing and $720 to Peerly, Inc., for text messaging advertising. L2, Inc of Washington received $417. Their business includes mailing lists of voter records.

To receive money, the Association spent $460 to Evo Payments for online transactions, $378 to EventBrite for online transaction fees, and $100 to authorize.net for online transaction fees. A Post Office Box cost $613. FedEx received $317. $132 was spent on postage.

The Libertarian Association of Massachusetts also has a State PAC, used to support state and local candidates. It contains $7,173.46 as of this writing. In the period from 1/1/2021 to 7/31/2022 there were $11 in expenditures on bank issues, $0 in income, and no other expenditures. No money was spent on candidate support, advertising, or other political activity.

There is no indication that any money was spent on candidate support. Most spending went for the state convention. Over $4000 was spent on NationBuilder, for database management. When I was LAMA Treasurer, this database management was done reliably with a spreadsheet and ledger.

5 Comments

  1. George Phillies George Phillies Post author | September 1, 2022

    Note, however, that if in Massachusetts your group gets more than 3% of the vote for a statewide candidate, you get major party status for the name under which your candidate ran, and the group that put the candidate on the ballot becomes the new state committee. In the current MA race, that group is not LAMA, which has spent nothing on petitioning; it is by appearances the Committee to Elect Peter Everett that will become the new Libertarian Party of Massachusetts state committee. As a further note, in Massachusetts party names do not include the word ‘Party”; on the ballot the word after the name is Republican or Green-Rainbow or whatever.

  2. Bad at Arithmetic Bad at Arithmetic August 30, 2022

    Yes, but why would either of those be a good thing for the alleged purposes of the organization? I think the previous Disgusted statement stands.

    • George Phillies George Phillies Post author | August 30, 2022

      The person who calls the shots thinks that they are. Running a statewide candidate who gets 3% of the vote can mean that in 2024 the state committee can simply appoint a Presidential candidate and electors. However (1) if you miss 3%, that’s tens of thousands of dollars down the drain, and (2) if the other side floods the state committee — elected in the Presidential primary — you do not get to choose the Presidential candidate — they do.

  3. Disgusted Disgusted August 30, 2022

    There has to be an explanation for this level of non- and counter-productivity. While a debate between incompetence and malign sabotage from within may have some merits, perhaps the answer is a combination of both.

    • George Phillies George Phillies Post author | August 30, 2022

      They do two things well. They run extremely expensive state conventions, and they put on the ballot as ‘Libertarian’ candidates for statewide office, which wrecks ballot access two years down the road for all candidates other than the President and Vice President.

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