VERMONT LIBERTARIAN NEWS
March 3rd 2006
The Vermont Libertarian Party
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. From the Chair
2. Vermont Libertarian Party’s Challenge to State Campaign Finance Law Being Heard by US Supreme Court
3. Libertarian Chair Predicts Campaign Finance Law Will Not Stand
4. Vermont Libertarian Party to Hold Convention
5. Libertarian Party Mourns the Loss of Beloved Candidate, Author, and Friend
6. Women’s History Month
7. Walter Cronkite – “Why I Support DPA, and So Should You.” Letter
8. Calendar of Events
9. Contact Us / Become a Member
If you ever get a chance to watch oral arguments in front of the US Supreme Court, I encourage you to go. I was in D.C. on Tuesday to watch the campaign finance case of Randall v. Sorrell in which the Vermont Libertarian Party is a plaintiff in. It was the same day as the paparazzi scene with Anna-Nicole. She was two people behind me while we waited in line to be seated. More importantly, I think the Supreme Court with its two new members will uphold the sanctity of the first Amendment.
Town Meeting Day is Tuesday, so I’d like to wish the best of luck to the libertarians running for local office. Especially to Jeremy Ryan who is one of four candidates campaigning hard for a city council seat in Ward 7 in Burlington.
Finally, the liberty and freedom movement has lost a great speaker and advocate this week with the passing of Harry Browne. Harry was a two time presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, and the author of many books. I last heard him speak at The Advocates for Self-Government’s 20th Anniversary event. His books will continue to educate and provide “talking points” for libertarians for a long time to come.
Chair, Vermont Libertarian Party
February 24, 2006
Montpelier, VT: The Vermont Libertarian Party has taken the fight to protect political free speech to the U.S. Supreme Court, as one of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case, Randall v. Sorrell. The Court is hearing oral arguments in the case on Tuesday, February 28. The Vermont Libertarian Party is challenging a 1997 state campaign finance law that seeks to severely restrict spending by candidates and political parties, and limit private campaign contributions.
Vermont Libertarian Party Chair Hardy Machia explained that the Party is one of the original plaintiffs in the Randall v. Sorrell case. The party claims that the 1997 campaign finance law, Act 64, violates their First Amendment rights of free speech and free association by severely restricting what the state party can contribute to candidates.
Supporters of the 1997 campaign finance law say it is necessary “to combat corruption, the appearance of corruption, and to free up candidates’ time”. Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell admitted that the law has put some restrictions on candidates’ ability to express their views, but noted, “There are other competing constitutional interests, such as the integrity of the electoral process”. Should identify where and when he stated this…
In rebuttal to Sorrell’s claims, Machia says, “The Libertarian Party is raising funds for our state house candidates this year so they can focus on knocking on doors and meeting voters. The campaign finance restrictions prior to Act 64 already put minor parties at an extreme disadvantage to the Democrats and Republicans. The additional restrictions of free speech in Act 64 almost guarantee that third parties won’t be able to be heard.”
March 2, 2006
On Tuesday, the Chair and Treasurer of the Vermont Libertarian Party
(VTLP) sat in the gallery of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. to hear the challenge to Vermont’s controversial campaign finance law. The VTLP is one of several participants in the suit challenging the law. At the end of the proceedings, Chair Hardy Machia predicted that the law will not survive the scrutiny of the justices.
“All the Justices seemed opposed to spending caps, and most of them seemed opposed to the extremely small limits on contributions. It was clear that many of the justices have serious reservations about the law,” said Machia after attending the hearing in Washington. “The law is not going to survive their scrutiny and parts, if not all, of the law will certainly be struck down.”
During the proceedings, contribution limits were scrutinized by Justices Scalia and Alito who questioned as to whether limitations on contributions in turn limited a candidate’s expenditures. In addition, all of the justices voiced concerns that the limits were so low that “a box of doughnuts and some coffee” for campaign workers could violate the law. Finally, Machia noted that each justice alluded to the issue as one of speech protected by the first amendment.
While some states limit the amount that individuals can donate to a political campaign, the Vermont law placed low and strict restrictions on individual donations. No individual can donate more than $400 to any statewide candidate and no more than $2,000 to any political party. Vermont became the first state in the country to limit the amount a candidate can spend on a race, ranging from $300,000 for governor to a low of $2,000 for state representative.
Machia listened closely to the defense of the law by Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell. “I was surprised when Sorrell inferred that Vermont needs such harsh campaign restrictions because our elections are somehow corrupt.” Yet when pressed by the justices on this point, Sorrell said that to date, there have not been any prosecuted cases of corruption.
Since the law passed in 1997, the Vermont Libertarian Party has maintained that the state should not prevent any Vermonter, individually or collectively, from supporting the parties and candidates of their choice to the extent that they wish. The law requires that political parties and political candidates collect their revenues only in the form of small, limited donations from individual sources.
“Such a requirement gives an unfair advantage to the major, established, parties who already have a broad base of existing donors, and discriminates against minor party challengers,” said Machia. “It effectively stifles the efforts of the underdog to get their message out to the people. I’m optimistic the court will side with libertarians and uphold our right to freedom of political speech.”
The Vermont Libertarian Party will hold its Convention on Saturday, April 29, from 9:30 AM to 4 PM at the Capitol Plaza Hotel & Conference Center in Montpelier.
During the morning business meeting, Vermont Libertarians will reaffirm and amend the state Party platform, and elect delegates to represent Vermont at the National Libertarian Party Convention.
An onsite luncheon will follow the business meeting and in the afternoon, convention attendees listen to a variety of guest speakers, followed by a social hour.
“Libertarians from across the state will converge on Montpelier to attend to Party business and engage in lively discussion of the issues facing Vermonters today,” said Hardy Machia, chair of the Vermont Libertarian Party.
Attendance at the 2006 Vermont Libertarian Party Convention business meeting is free and open to the public, though only registered party members may vote on the convention floor.
A small fee is required to attend the afternoon luncheon and activities.
To schedule media interviews for the day of the Convention, please call Hardy Machia at 802-372-9512 or e-mail [email protected].
The Vermont Libertarian Party has been active in Vermont politics for over 30 years. Vermont Libertarians have served in local office throughout the state. The National Libertarian Party was founded in 1971 and is the third largest political party in the United States. Millions of Americans have voted for Libertarian Party candidates in past elections throughout the country. Libertarians believe the answer to America’s political problems is the same commitment to freedom that earned America its greatness: a free-market economy and the abundance and prosperity it brings, a dedication to individual liberties and personal freedom, and a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace, and free trade.
Harry Browne Dies at Age 72
(Washington, D.C.) Former Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate, noted scholar, and investment advisor Harry Browne died at his home in Franklin, TN on the night of March 1, 2006, after a long illness.
A well-known inspirational speaker and writer, Harry was the author of 12 books that sold more than 2 million copies. In 1996 and 2000, he was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President of the United States, with popular vote totals of 485,798 and 384,431 respectively.
Harry was the founder of DownsizeDC.org, a non-profit group dedicated to reducing the size of government and forcing governmental institutions into compliance with the Constitution. He authored several popular books on the libertarian movement and philosophy including, Why Government Doesn’t Work and The Great Libertarian Offer. In addition to these works on Libertarianism, Harry wrote investment advice books including You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis and Fail-Safe Investing.
During Harry Browne’s campaigns, he made appearances in almost every state and was credited with over 1,000 media appearances. He was often praised by the media, and won the endorsements of multiple talk-show hosts and journalists.
“Harry Browne’s actions and rhetoric were inspirations for me,” stated Sam New, acting Director of Communications for the Libertarian Party.
“Through Harry’s writings, I began to understand what Libertarianism is. I trace the beginning of my involvement with the Party to him. His contributions to the Party will forever be evident. Harry will truly be missed by many supporters, followers, and friends around the world.”
Wednesday 01 March 2006
This Women’s History Month, the Cato Institute pays homage to three women, who in the early 1940s unabashedly defended individualism and free-market capitalism in an age that widely considered American capitalism dead and socialism the future. In 1943, Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane and Ayn Rand published three groundbreaking books (The God of the Machine, The Discovery of Freedom and The Fountainhead), which laid the foundations of the modern libertarian movement….
As anchorman of the CBS Evening News, I signed off my nightly broadcasts for nearly two decades with a simple statement: “And that’s the way it is.”
To me, that encapsulates the newsman’s highest ideal: to report the facts as he sees them, without regard for the consequences or controversy that may ensue.
Sadly, that is not an ethic to which all politicians aspire – least of all in a time of war.
I remember. I covered the Vietnam War. I remember the lies that were told, the lives that were lost – and the shock when, twenty years after the war ended, former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara admitted he knew it was a mistake all along.
Today, our nation is fighting two wars: one abroad and one at home. While the war in Iraq is in the headlines, the other war is still being fought on our own streets. Its casualties are the wasted lives of our own citizens.
I am speaking of the war on drugs.
Read the rest of Cronkite’s letter at…. http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/cronkite022306.cfm
- March 12 (1PM – SUNDAY): VTLP State Committee Meeting at City Hall in
Montpelier. Use the back door, go up stairs, Memorial Room
is on right.
- April 29 (9:30AM-4PM): VTLP State Convention. Capital Plaza Hotel, Montpelier.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR / SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
For information or to submit news, letters, or articles, contact Brendan Kinney, Chair, Vermont Libertarian Party, contact me.
VERMONT LIBERTARIAN NEWS is a publication of the Vermont Libertarian Party, PO Box 5475, Burlington, VT 05402. All Rights Reserved. Copyright (C) 2004.