In Part 1, we uncovered some underlying corruption of the Libertarian National Committee. This comes as a result of a leaked data cache that was released to the media late last week.
In the opener of this investigative series, Heartland Newsfeed unfolded what were apparent mistakes by the current LNC to reform the party. We also detailed the Committee’s fear of conflict, their conflicts of interest, their cults of personality, and other elements essentially halting progress in the party. Finally, we detail several key figures on the Committee who are problematic figures in the party.
Later in this story, we focus more on one of those figures.
RELATED STORY: McARDLE PAPERS: Corruption in the national Libertarian Party
Technology and operational issues are not uncommon with the Libertarian National Committee. It’s an issue that stems multiple decades. The organizational mistakes in regards to technology have crippled the Party’s ability to perform the most basic party-specific tasks.
Since the 2022 Reno convention, the LNC headquarters is utilizing two separate customer relationship management, or CRM, platforms.
LNC staffers were using RaisersEdge exclusively for fundraising and CiviCRM for all other party matters.
Andy Burns (the CiviCRM administrator) and Dustin Nanna, among others, tried to migrate from RaisersEdge onto CiviCRM. The intended goal was to remove the redundancies of both platforms.
Unfortunately, the LNC lost five figures in monthly revenue. As a result, Burns would quit before the completion of the migration. The party was left with no documentation.
The Libertarian National Committee’s “fundraising crisis”
The Libertarian National Committee would have a so-called “fundraising crisis”. This was on top of whatever misnomers would come up as part of the RaiserEdge-to-CiviCRM migration.
From the 2022 convention to date, fundraising and membership are down for various reasons, most of them stemming as a result of the Mises Caucus takeover of the party.
On top of that, the data is so fractured and incomplete that it is currently difficult to objectively pinpoint the real reasons, if any, or the severity of this “crisis.”
On the other side, operating expenses are down enough to allow enough ample cash to pay the bills and make numerous big-ticket purchases.
Until the LNC has functional data and tools, revenue and its political impact will continue to decline. Overall, it is an incredibly expensive and time-consuming issue to resolve. Due to this being the case, the LNC is not rushing to resolve this issue.
The departures of key staff
Many staff members have quit in the 15 months since the “Reno Reset”. Several of these key figures include Cara Schultz (who handled many candidate matters) and Robert Kraus, the Party’s long-time operations director.
Some staff members would submit their resignations over fears of retaliation by certain LNC members, including that of chair Angela McArdle and secretary Caryn Ann Harlos.
Most of these crucial positions remain vacant to this day, due to the party’s lack of interest in seeking a replacement. As a direct result, the staffers that remain are becoming increasingly overburdened. Some former staffer positions are now held by independent contractors, many with ties to the Republican Party, in clear violation of party bylaws.
What this presents is that the national party has considered activism projects, candidate and affiliate support, and ballot access as not important.
Ballot access prospects continue to decline, as some states like Illinois, Tennessee, and New York may be left hanging in key statewide races in 2024.
Any fundraising they do accomplish is done in panic mode just to pay their staff. It’s an endless cycle of this panic-variety fundraising just to keep staff paid and happy. Their failure to deliver but continuing to beg for money makes matters worse.
McArdle has said on multiple occasions about remedies to this issue. However, these scattershot project frenzies will only make the situation worse than it is currently.
LNC committees and its disastrous operational procedure
Despite the promises made by the new LNC members, they have yet to overhaul the way things are done on the LNC. They still use the same useless committees. They confuse the roles of board and staff. Let’s not forget that the same power politics is still prevalent.
This is largely attributed to the actions of Harlos, at large member Steven Nekhalia, and numerous others. Unfortunately, most of the others go alone to get along without taking action. This, of course, includes McArdle.
Many committees and subcommittees are often aimless and unproductive. They brainstorm project ideas that LPHQ cannot undertake. This is mostly due to the previously-mentioned understaffing of the party’s front office.
The committees are often a time suck of volunteer time. There’s often no activity of these committees. Even worse, there’s never anything documented for archival purposes. In addition, there’s no cross-communication between committees.
The bloated structure is one of the national party’s dysfunctional issues. Unfortunately, no one is calling for the course to be reversed. This would include rolling back the size and scope of its main committee, as well as its subcommittees.
The main jest of this issue is that McArdle has created more useless committees in his 15-month tenure.
Caryn Ann Harlos: a toxic presence in the Libertarian Party
Harlos has a consistent pattern of dramatic grandstanding and emotional manipulation. Combined with her knowledge of the rules, this results in a working environment where the Chair, the staff, and the board are domineered and held hostage by her theatrics. She also has a documented record of mental illness.
McArdle never wanted Harlos as Secretary. In fact, Anna Johnson and McArdle started a group chat in 2021. The mission of the chat: prevent Harlos from getting the Mises Caucus endorsement in 2022. (It pretty much died when she was removed by the previous LNC and ascended to martyr status.)
She fought Libertarian Party Mises Caucus chair and lead grifter Michael Heise on this endorsement and lost.
A private chat exchange in August 2021 between Johnson and McArdle reveals that they were talking about Harlos behind her back. This follows Harlos’ removal as LNC Secretary via a vote of no confidence.
“I’m afraid she’s gonna get everyone riled up. People are legit afraid to disagree with her,” McArdle said to Johnson in their exchange. “She’s like the pink Mafia. This is a shakedown.”
Harlos also has a track record of blasting anyone that disagrees with her via her own grifter podcast.
Unchecked and unbalanced, physically in the party and mentally
After the Reno Reset, McArdle failed to keep Harlos in check. She never spoke up, made motions, or swayed opinions.
The biggest conflict of interest is that Harlos chairs many committees, with many of her actions being rubber stamped.
She’s also known for her public beef with now-former Region 1 representative Miguel Duque. Harlos’ remarks are evidence enough that she’s trying to cover up her own corrupt actions.
In Part 3, we will break down the actions of the LNC’s Employment Policy and Compensation Committee (EPCC), which is responsible for some recently questionable hires. One of these questionable hires include Austin Padgett, the domestic partner of Angela McArdle.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.