Letter to the LPCO Board

Libertarian Party of Colorado Board,

I would like to thank you for sending two of your members to talk about the recent LPCO agreement with the CO GOP. Unfortunately, this conversation has led to far more questions than it has answered, and a few things have been brought to our attention that deserve clarification. Below is a list of issues that have been raised and we are inviting LPCO Chair Hannah Goodman to join us and discuss them. We are also considering doing a separate podcast with Patty McMahon (Dan Ward’s PR Director) to get the other side of what has been claimed by the LPCO board. If you would prefer to be the second episode in order to respond to Ms. McMahon’s claims, we would be more than happy to accommodate that request.

1) Potential sabotage of a Libertarian Party Candidate: Our guests repeatedly called Dan Ward a “line-holder candidate.” This despite the fact that Dan campaigned with other candidates, interviewed as the LP candidate, had a Facebook page, and had a PR Director from the beginning of his campaign. Just because an old school heavy metal rocker candidate decides to have a non-traditional, “100% ground game” campaign does not mean they are merely a “line-holder” candidate. After Dan was nominated, the LPCO Campaigns Director, Jacob Luria, reached out to Patty McMahon on March 14th, 2022 to discuss Dan Ward and Ross Klopf’s campaigns (Patty was managing both campaigns). Multiple conversations were had between the LPCO Campaigns Director and Patty McMahon concerning Dan Ward’s campaign and others prior to the election.

On Nov. 14, 2022, Dan Ward spoke to the board of the LPCO saying “I thought the only reason to have a political party was to win elections”… “Our campaign was forced to stay hidden, not from the duopoly, but from LP Mises [Caucus]”… “We did not want Mises [Caucus] or their message poisoning my campaign”… “I met people in the streets, in the bars, at the clubs”…”I didn’t do what everyone else was doing, I did my thing, I did it underground, because [of reasons previously stated]”. At that same meeting Patty McMahon called herself Dan’s PR Director to the LPCO board. There is absolutely no way LPCO can claim that they did not know Dan was running a campaign and had someone for the media to contact. Next 9NEWS reported Patty’s association with the campaign on November 11th and the Daily Beast reported it on November 20th.

On December 9th, 2022, John Aguilar, a reporter for the Denver Post, showed up to Dan Ward’s house because LPCO would not give John contact info for Dan’s campaign. After being informed of this, Patty McMahon reached out to the LPCO Comms director, Jordan Marinovich, about being Dan’s media contact. But the damage had already been done. The LPCO Communications Director was quoted as saying Dan is a “line-holder candidate” and “this person didn’t run a real campaign”. The new LPCO Twitter account continues to downplay Dan Ward’s campaign, even taking Dan’s words out of context to justify their actions. Dan was recently blocked by the LPCO Facebook page for trying to defend himself from what he called slander.

That reporters may have been discouraged and/or actively misled in their efforts to reach out to a candidate reeks of sabotage. LPCO members deserve to know why the press was refused Dan’s campaign contact information. The LPCO leadership should release all communications they had with the media concerning Dan’s campaign. 

2) Inconsistencies in the GOP agreement story: On the episode, our guests claimed that the GOP reached out to LPCO Chair Hannah Goodman, but it was later claimed that the LPCO Chair was the one who reached out to the CO GOP. What was the initial communication? Was it the public letter or were there private discussions? This is an important detail that should be cleared up by releasing all communications that have been held between LPCO and the CO GOP, as well as all communication between the Arapahoe LP and Arapahoe GOP.

3) Pledges by the GOP candidates: A Republican can sign the GOP pledge you have released, while also supporting the drug war, the death penalty, foreign wars, jailing women for terminating a pregnancy, deporting immigrants, and instituting a draft. All of these things are directly opposed to the Libertarian Party platform. Any Republican could easily answer yes to nearly all of the questions in this pledge, but only because you’ve left out much of the LP’s platform. Republicans often make empty promises and pay lip service to the pledged positions, and will likely sign this happily. This means that Republicans will just sign it to keep Libertarians off the ballot.

4) Suggested defrauding of donors: At the board meeting on June 12th, 2023, Libertarian Party of Arapahoe County Chair Joseph DiBiasio suggested that the LPCO should create a separate single issue “527” organization to raise money for the LPCO and not tell the donors that the money was going to LPCO. He even pointed out that the fine for this was a 35% penalty. He stated this idea came about because the LPCO is having trouble finding people willing to donate to them directly. After the Chair expressed excitement about this idea, Caryn Ann Harlos rightly pushed back on the idea of lying to donors, but her concerns were quickly dismissed. Is the board of LPCO seriously considering deceiving donors and hiding behind a non-profit in order to raise funds? Is the LPCO struggling so badly that they have to defraud donors?

Since the Mises Caucus took over the LPCO, it has fallen behind in fundraising, number of county affiliates, number of registered voters, not to mention numerous fines by the state of Colorado. This, coupled with these topics, raise serious questions about why the deal with the GOP was made. Did the LPCO leadership decide to sabotage a candidate’s contact with the media because he was a critic of the Mises Caucus? Or was it because he cost Republicans an election? Did the LPCO leadership decide to make an agreement with the GOP so they can keep Libertarians they don’t like off the ballot? Or is the agreement really just to protect GOP candidates from being challenged by Libertarians? The motivations behind this deal are seriously suspect and these questions deserve answers.

Thank you,

Jonathan Casey

Classical Liberal Caucus

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