The Libertarian National Party has a new program, Liberty Decides ’08 designed “to promote our pre-nomination presidential candidates as they engage in a competitive process. To participate in the program, candidates must cross three thresholds: meet the LP bylaws requirements; file with the FEC; and raise at least $5,000 for the LP or LP state parties for ballot access.
Once qualified, candidates will be ranked by the funds they have raised for the program and promoted through the Internet, mail and LP publications.”
40% of all donations to this program will be set aside in a special fund to be used for expenditures coordinated with the candidate who does eventually win the LP nomination in convention. The remainder of the funds will be used to help the LP move forward with core issues such as media, ballot access and member recruitment.
One candidate has declined to participate, noting that the money does not go to help the candidates now, when they need help the most, and only 40% will go to the eventual nominee – whoever that may be – not necessarily the candidate that the donors click on to contribute in the name of.
Further controversy ensued when, in an early version of Liberty Decides, this candidate was included without his consent, and a silhouette of Ron Paul was used as a “Future/Unannounced Candidate.” The silhouette was removed, as was the objecting candidate, but in a controversial and widely talked about move, the LNC voted unanimously to invite Ron Paul to seek the LP nomination for President if he does not get the Republican nomination.
Some candidates are more positive about Liberty Decides.
Some other Libertarian activists have criticized Liberty Decides, notably Susan Hogarth, who wrote:
It would be a much more useful tool for Libertarian activists and likely convention delegates (you know, the folks who actually select the LP nominee) with two simple additions, which I mentioned yesterday:
1) some indication of how many individual donors each candidate has (and, ideally, how many of them are Party members).
2) some indication (other than a link to their websites) of positions.
Despite the criticism, the LNC expressed support for Executive Director Shane Cory and Liberty Decides at its recent meeting in Charleston.