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LNC Debates Malagon Motion

You see here the LNC debate on Adrian Malagon’s motion
I move that Austin Padgett’s contract be extended for 3 months from the initial contract’s end date.

The LNC Secretary wrote:

I struggled with this vote. But I am voting yes, and have extended rationale why. It will anger some people (not on LNC) and frankly my dear, in the words of Rhett Butler, I don’t give a damn.

I am an individualist. The fact of someone’s relationship- if disclosed so any issues can be monitored – is a vacuous reason TO ME to put aside meritocracy. We are a DC corporation, and even DC corporate law does not prohibit such transactions provided there is full disclosure… and… it is in the best interests of the corporation.

That last part is where I struggled.

It is undisputed we have had a financial springback, and that Mr. Padgett was part of that. I realize the LNC has information that the general membership does not have, but that is part of governance and laws and policies regarding staff. On the financial front, to me, it is without a doubt that a short term extension is in the best interest of the corporation.

However, despite my position on related parties, it is also undisputed that some Party members have misgivings. And at first that was weighty. I was either going to abstain or vote no because of that. What changed my mind? A post today that was posed as a scurrilous and calumnious “hypothetical” accusing us of getting several large donors to just buy membership as a national party after the same person went on a rant accusing the LNC of antisemitism, and same person accused us of being “pro Russia” before, and I am sure will find some way to say we are pro-Hamas now. Frankly I am sick and tired of coddling this defamatory bullshit. If such people are upset I DON’T CARE. I realize that there is a segment of good faith people who will disagree, and I have heard you and I respect you. But by far the loudest voices are those who are not in good faith towards us but are actually upset we have had a fantastic financial month. That sealed it for me. Nothing would please them but our destruction (and they delighted in violating my rights under our Bylaws), and I have no obligation to cater to them, and I will not. This sick behaviour in the Party needs to stop, and I will not enable it. This Party fell on its face on COVID under the watch of people like that. We refused to stand up for freedom of association and stand strongly against the political violence of the BLM riots. Literal communists felt comfortable running for Party Chair, and the LNC could not bring itself to affirm private property rights.

So yes. Those who by their deeds and action delight in cruelty and mal-wishes are not working for the best interests of the corporation. I am duty-bound to.

So weighing the concerns the choice is clear FOR ME. I utterly respect the opinions of my fellow LNC members who might vote differently. I treasure our relationships. I vote yes.

Thank you for all your hard work Austin.
PS: Let the social media malice fly! I won’t see it. I fill my life with that which brings joy.


LNC At-Large Representative Adrian F Malagon wrote

To paraphrase the Secretary and quote our Chair, “Do not bend over backwards to please people who hate you.”

If Mr. Phillies spent more of his time and “resources” in a positive manner to help achieve what should be a shared goal, instead of threatening to send hateful mailers or habitually writing slanderous blogs for the five or so people who read them, maybe this motion wouldn’t be necessary.

Since we don’t live in that world and we have a responsibility to this organization however, I vote “aye.”

(Before someone mentions here or elsewhere that it should be “Dr. Phillies,” until I’m assured that he’s a real doctor and not a Jill Biden-type of doctor, I’ll stick with Mr. Phillies.)

[Editor: As it happens, it’s a Doctor of Science, Physics, MIT]


Reional Representative Mark Tuniewicz wrote:

Sorry to reply so late just landed in Boston.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it.

I vote no. All the reasons that nepotism were wrong before with our previous vote continue to be true.

At the last vote to approve the contract after the fact (it had already been signed!) by the LNC, we were given a clear contract end date. It was made clear that this contract was to finish this month. I think that’s one reason why several people voted to approve the contract while many abstained.

I believe we have been misled by our leadership as to the underlying motivations behind this extension, and the seeming likelihood of a permanent hire thereafter.

Normally I would not bring something like this up but I feel it is highly relevant that earlier this year it was made clear by the chair that her household was having financial difficulties, as disclosed in the now famous “Angela Files,” the documents released by our censured former member whistleblower Miguel Duque.

And now we have another ask for nepotism. Let me be perfectly clear.

It doesn’t matter how much money he is raising. What matters is the inherent, unavoidable and unresolvable conflicts of interests that happens when the chair of an organization has an immediate family member working in that organization. These problems are even more pronounced in a tiny orgs such as ours.

It was wrong then, and it’s still wrong. I encourage my colleagues to vote no or to abstain if they’re not able to buck the Mises PAC cronies on this issue.

There are hundreds of experienced fundraisers out there. We’ve had the last 90 days to find others. If we haven’t, that failure is on us. It’s not an excuse to continue what is a bad policy.

To do otherwise is an exercise in bad judgment by the chair, and IMO is against the long-term best interests of the LNC, Inc by setting a terrible precedent for the future.


Regional Alternate Bill Redpath wrote

Amen, Mr. Tuniewicz.

Let us remember the words of Rich Bowen at the August LNC meeting, who made it clear that the nepotism of this situation was absolutely unacceptable. Truer words are infrequently spoken.

Certainly this situation could have been cured in the interceding ten weeks. But, it hasn’t. That does not give the members of this committee a hall pass to approve this.


LNC At-Large Adrian Malagon wrote
In case anyone doesn’t hate themselves enough to read Mr. Tuniewicz’s rant, here’s the TL;DR:

I made a motion.

Mr. Tuniewicz shared his travel plans incorrectly assuming anyone cared.

There was a longwinded diatribe in which he insulted the Chair multiple times for no reason.

He said, “it doesn’t matter how much money Mr. Padgett was raising.” (Seriously.)

All in all, a very odd endorsement of my motion by a person whose only contribution to the LNC is being a running joke.

Thank you, Mr. Tuniewicz. Never change.

Adrian F Malagon


National Chair McArdle wrote

Mark and Bill,

Please leave the gross personal attacks about me and speculation about my finances out of it. It’s completely out of order.

Angela McArdle, Chair


Region 4 Representative Meredith Hays wrote

If I may, the idea that ending a “nepotistic” hire in this situation is more important than the financial health of the organization is simply backwards thinking.

So we did not find a replacement, that failure is on us, and then what? The finances should suffer? No. We are tasked with acting within the best interests of this organization, and at this moment, where we find ourselves, this is the best course of action.


National Secretary Harlos wrote

The ultra personal attacks by Tuniewicz on the chair are outrageously inappropriate and the shotgun attack on the majority of the committee by him is likewise though not to such a gross degree.

Mr. Redpath, you and I have always been cool and I respect you immensely. I think perhaps the blanket “amen” is not what you intended.

I’ll not be responding further in this thread. My reasons are my own and no one told me or in any world COULD tell be how to vote and anyone daring to insinuate otherwise is out of bounds. One thing most people concede- I’m not controllable.


Vice Chair Andrew Watkins wrote

My suggestion to those that may feel very strongly that Mr. Padgett’s relation to the chair is just so detrimental is to be proactive and put forth an actual alternative. I’m frankly tired of the feet stomping.


National Treasurer Todd Hagopian wrote:

Folks, can we please just have a vote without denigrating our chair, other LNC members, or Libertarians out in the wild?

Yes, or no, that is our job. Give an explanation if you feel like it, but don’t attack someone else. This is a really simple task. To that end, I will now give a lengthy explanation of my “no” vote.

Let me be clear. I had a great discussion with Mr. Padgett last week. I think he is doing all of the things a fundraising contractor should do. He has helped us do wealth screening, manually, while we wait for our automated solution to be ready. He has made calls, sent emails, secured at least one maximum donation. The results have been that the past two months (September and October) have been our highest two months of the year.

Since the “no” vote has been taken over by reasoning I disagree with, I have decided to give mine here:

This was approved as a short term contract only
Was never any mention of extension possibility
I expect a fundraiser to return 4:1 or more
While the results are good, they are not great
Membership response to the situation has been overwhelmingly negative

If the results are good, why hasn’t my vote changed? Without the max donation, we are still at about $100K/month (less than last year), which is better than $75K, but is below where we should be steady state. (Budget had us averaging nearly $150K/month). He should get credit for the max donation, I am just wondering aloud how much above that is driven specifically by him or should have been brought in anyway, and how much of that growth is sustainable. Will it be enough to pay for the contract extension at a 4:1 rate. You know, the only financial questions (which nobody has asked) that really matter when making a decision like this

In the past three months, we have spent money on wealth screening software, a new operations director, a new tech employee, we fired back up direct mail, we did a ballot access push, we started selling convention tickets, etc. While some of those things are not working yet, I am struggling to directly tie a 4:1 return to the current contract, without taking into account the other investments we have made. Plus, the staff should be able to do a lot more themselves going forward with the wealth screening tool, new operations director and new IT employee.

Finally, when we made this contractor decision, this was to give fundraising a shot in the arm. It was not explained that we would need a full-time employee afterward. That’s okay if things change, but then we should reevaluate the situation, I just want to remind everyone that this is an incremental ask that was not assumed to happen, so we should not just rubber stamp it, it’s not like we all agreed that we would be having this vote at that time.

If we want a full-time fundraiser, we should make sure it is in the budget, design a job description, post a job, interview candidates and make a hire. Not one of you has asked if this is in the budget, despite the fact that we have budget amendments on the agenda of the upcoming meeting. Angela asked me, so I had left the money in my proposed amendments because I figured the vote might go this way, but I am just making a point that it should have been a consideration in every vote on this thread.

That is an alternative solution. We don’t have to bring you an alternative candidate, because that is not how this should work, anyway. We need to start hiring people after a thorough interview process. That is best practice in the profit, and non-profit, world.

Thank you.


LNC At-Large Member Adrian F Malagon wrote

To answer the Treasurer’s question: so long as people (usually the same few) continue to spread vicious lies about how the LNC operates and their practice of attacking me, or other members of this Board and Staff who are actually doing the work continues, they should expect to receive better than they give. I’ve grown weary of their unchecked malice over this term, yet have opted to hold back as a professional courtesy. That courtesy that ends effective immediately.


National Chair Angela McArdle wrote

Responding to this:
“> I expect a fundraiser to return 4:1 or more

While the results are good, they are not great”

It took me 6 weeks to find the right hire for operations director.
It took me nearly that long to find the right person for IT/systems architect.
It will take at least that long to find the right person to fill this role permanently.

As of yesterday, we were over 153,000. The large donation that Mr. Padgett acquired was 41,300.
October of 2022, we pulled in 118K.

Last month (September), we cleared 103K. The month before that (August), we were around 74K.
In the time that Mr. Padgett has been on as a contractor, we have doubled our monthly revenue. Dismissing that as not a big deal is a terrible way to look at things, especially considering the technical challenges we have. He did give us a short term injection of capitol and he has several leads that might close again in November.

We are not in a position to go another 6 weeks while searching for the perfect candidate. We cant afford another dip. Director staff is overwhelmingly in favor of keeping him in his position, and they have reached out to some of you, explaining why. It is the financially responsible thing to do, especially considering that he is making slightly below market rate on his contract. I work very closely with staff, every day. I understand their needs and I understand our organizational problems.

I don’t think anyone understands how bad the CRM is right now. When I asked our CTO if I could just pull a donor list that has name, number, address, date of last gift, last gift amount, membership status, he replied that I would need a VPN, a special .sql file, and training. This is absurd (I’m not blaming our current staff) (staying with this is financial suicide, and I am hellbent on getting us off of this awful system) and it’s a terrible environment to try to fundraise in. When staff makes donor calls, they frequently have complaints that their data is wrong. The membership renewal date is wrong, the lapsed date is wrong, the gift amounts are wrong. It’s a mess. Donors are offended and annoyed by incorrect letters and phone calls about lapsed memberships. You have all heard from staff on this issue multiple times. You have heard from state chairs, too.

Setting someone up to succeed in this environment is really difficult. Asking for a 4:1 return, considering everything I have mentioned, is not based in reality. We need to fix our data problem before bringing on a permanent staffer (which costs more money) – and that is exactly what we are doing. I hired a Systems Architect to help us unravel all of the problems and fix them, and I have two quotes coming on CRM moves. As exec director, I am moving much faster than we were moving earlier this year, and I am making the right calls.

Are members annoyed that Mr. Padgett lives with me? Maybe. They are probably more annoyed that we were hemorrhaging money and couldn’t fix our tech problems. So here you are: I am fixing things. We are fixing our tech problems and we are not hemorrhaging money. Please trust the process that is obviously working.
Angela McArdle, Chair
Libertarian National Committee


LNC Member Adam Haman wrote:

I vote Yes.

I very much appreciate Mr. Hagopian’s analysis and reasoning behind his “No” vote. and while he raises valid and interesting points, I ultimately think continuing Mr. Padgett’s contract is the wisest course of action. And after all, it’s not as if anyone has offered any alternate candidate or made a case for why leaving the position unfilled would be better for us.

Those who voted “No” citing some concern for nepotism strike me as unserious. These are “No” votes in search of a reason. Who on earth cares who is holding a position if they are doing a good job? What case has been presented that Mr. Padgett is doing a poor job? Where is the alternative candidate that is purported to be superior to the “nepotistic” hire?

I’m not buying it. These objections are a smoke-screen for a hatred of our Chair and nothing more.

When I joined this LNC, my most pressing concern was our disastrous CRM situation. I am very glad that our Chair is laser-focused on resolving that while Mr. Padgett and our hard-working staff have shored up our fundraising situation.

Thank you to all the hard working people we have that are working to uplift this organization. That very much includes Mr. Padgett – no matter who he’s sleeping with.


Meredith Hays wrote
Mr. Hagopian’s analysis is well-taken. I maintain my Yes vote, but I wanted to voice my appreciation for his practical response.

4 Comments

  1. Stewart Flood Stewart Flood November 2, 2023

    Stupid is as stupid does. And these two people (the chair and secretary) sure are.

    For your sake, I hope that your party wakes up and throws them out of office at your next convention. They are two of tye numerous reasons why you are bleeding members and money.

  2. George Whitfield George Whitfield November 1, 2023

    Thank you for posting the message from Steven Nekhaila. I agree with his position. As a member of the Florida Libertarian Party I have been impressed by his positive and reasoned approach to matters.

  3. Robert Kraus Robert Kraus November 1, 2023

    Steve is THE voice of reason along with Todd:

    Steven Nekhaila
    Oct 31, 2023, 12:27:23 PM (21 hours ago)
    to lnc-bu…@lp.org
    Dear Colleagues,

    I believe Mr. Padgett to be a fine individual, intelligent, and willing to take on the role. However, it should not come as a surprise that I know many individuals who have stopped donating to the Party due to the relationship between Mr. Padgett and our Chair, these are not “haters” for hate’s sake but regular Party members whom I’ve been in the trenches with for years. This arrangement, while beneficial, was meant to be temporary. My advice is that we must hire additional staff in our development department who can take on the role and avoid unneeded controversy. Not to mention that we need to have this position filled by full time staff anyway.

    As such I will be voting No.

    Sincerely,

    Steven Nekhaila

  4. Bob Bob October 31, 2023

    Since there’s a clear conflict of interest here, shouldn’t Angela be recusing herself from debate?

    Shouldn’t the chair in general no engage in debate?

    Have these people never served on a real board before?

Comments are closed.