In Part 1 of this investigative series, Heartland Newsfeed unfolded what were apparent mistakes by the current Libertarian National Committee 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.
In part 2, we uncovered organizational and operational issues with the Libertarian National Committee, the issues which led to the departures of many staff members, and we focused on one of the most toxic officials in the national party.
Today, we break down what is indeed the most corrupt committee within the Libertarian National Committee.
So, what exactly is the most corrupt committee within the scope of the Libertarian National Committee?
According to several sources not linked to the data leak, it is the Employment Policy and Compensation Committee, or EPCC.
The purpose of the EPCC is entirely out of scope. The committee chair, Steven Nekhalia, is incapable of establishing employee policies.
The EPCC attempts to lord over contractors and staff as the party’s human resources department. There is no internal HR department within the Libertarian National Committee.
Regardless, they take complaints from staff as well as party chair Angela McArdle and that of the Executive Director. This is all while holding board membership roles in the national committee with the goal of steering the entire ship.
Ethical issues surrounding the EPCC and how it is antithetical to Libertarian ideology
The committee writes its own sprawling employment policies out of thin air, rarely checked and balanced. The only time that they are is when a policy is overturned via majority vote by the national committee.
Currently, the present Libertarian National Committee has no appetite to scrutinize seven pending pages of new policies. By extension, this committee has been allowed ample room to a select few individuals to dictate political control on hiring staff.
As previously stated in Part 1, Nekhalia has undermined and usurped the authority of not only McArdle. He has had a role in doing the same to now-former Executive Director Lainie Huston. Furthermore, he has been actively sabotaging their efforts and politicizing employment decisions, hobbling the party’s operations further.
The EPCC and two parties railing for the LNC Executive Director’s firing
A text exchange in March 2023 between McArdle and then-Region 1 representative Miguel Duque discussed via a Signal chat room about his concerns about the EPCC.
This was preceded by communications between McArdle and Libertarian Party of Washington chair Anna Johnson. Johnson stated that Dustin Nanna shouldn’t even be on the EPCC. Johnson alluded to Nanna allegedly harassing Huston to the point of getting her fired. That would certainly create an embarrassment through becoming a hostile work environment.
Duque mentions that Nanna and Nekhalia regularly miss meetings or are often late.
“They are not good committee members for this committee,” Duque told McArdle.
Duque also accuses Nanna and Nekhalia of withholding information from him and fellow committee member Kathy Yeniscavich. He also notes that Nanna and Nekhalia changes their minds all the time as well.
Rallying support to remove Nanna from the EPCC
McArdle went as far as telling Duque to get ready to war against Nanna. Duque wished to make a motion to remove Nanna from the EPCC on the grounds of negligence.
He was a witness when Nanna and Nekhalia said, “Gee shucks, Miguel, do you think we owe Lainie an apology?”
“Yeah, motherf***ers, you do!” was Duque’s response.
There were some people, like Johnson who had complaints about Huston, but absolutely adored her.
“No one is perfect,” said Johnson to McArdle in a May 2023 communication. “It’s kinda bullshit.”
As Duque continued to voice criticisms about Nanna and Nekhalia, McArdle backed down and called him off. Why?
May 16, 2023: Special session of the Libertarian National Committee
Things came to a head during the LNC’s special meeting on May 16. Huston gave a long and detailed complaint to the LNC about the EPCC. She details the committee’s mismanagement, staffing issues, and Nekhalia’s actions as committee chair.
Secretary Caryn Ann Harlos went as far as slandering Huston’s character in a LNC private list for reporting her concerns. In addition, Harlos would insist that the entire complaint is inappropriate.
McArdle sent out a seven-page confidential memo to the LNC, which details a lot of things that has transpired to date. This memo would eventually be leaked out to the press.
Unfortunately for Huston, the LNC never engaged with her complaint as a body. It unilaterally allowed Nekhalia to call a meeting when Huston was unable to attend. He would speak at his leisure calling Huston and McArdle liars.
“The LNC versus staff culture is a real problem,” McArdle stated in a text to Duque. “I’ve had multiple convos with [Harlos] about how Lainie is treated like a [second] class citizen due to RONR and procedure. I’d hit a brick every time.”
“It’s frustrating to not be able to include her in confidential threads like I would an officer,” McArdle adds.
“You can start doing it,” Duque suggests. “[Harlos] is actually easily shut down and steamrolled.”
Unfortunately, McArdle never took action.
Calling out bad behavior but taking no action
Prior to the meeting, McArdle stated to Duque, “Steven’s behavior was so wrong. Dustin has been wrong too, but Steven was over the top.”
During the meeting, she told Duque that Nekhalia admitted to usurping her role.
However, due to how the meeting was going, McArdle apparently decided not to back Huston.
“We’re gonna get drowned out here,” McArdle tells Duque. “This is going badly.”
After that meeting, board member Carrie Eiler would submit her resignation. Her rationale was dead-on: that the LNC was taking no action on Huston’s complaint. They’ve done nothing since, pretending that it never happened.
Huston submitted her resignation on August 1, with her tenure ending August 15.
Pausing the EPCC
Duque wanted to make a motion to at least pause the EPCC. Unaware to him, Nekhalia had made this proposal in a confidential thread prior to the meeting. The intent for the pause was to get things sorted out. Not one person would co-sponsor.
“We don’t have the votes,” McArdle stated to Duque. “I can’t cosponsor that right now and further lose the board. In the meantime, I’m keeping total separation between them and Lainie.”
Duque would then propose that she sponsor and abstain.
“I don’t think it is the right move right now,” McArdle said. “I would rather do that from a position of strength.”
“I’m not backing down. I’m moving completely around EPCC for now,” McArdle adds. “I’m working on discrediting their policies and Lainie is getting HR this week. And I’m just not going to use their policies.”
She then accused Duque of alienating a lot of people because she told him to prepare for war.
Toxic influences on the Libertarian National Committee play the Blame Game
Harlos would then attack Duque on confidentiality grounds. Her laughable rationale was that of his mentioning of the private list discussion on the matter.
Nekhalia continues to perpetrate the lie that Huston is why everything is going wrong in the LNC.
The LNC continues to do nothing about the Huston complaint, the EPCC, and Nekhalia.
McArdle and Yeniscavich are now even backing the narrative of Nekhalia.
This created a situation where no one can possibly and meaningfully criticize, with receipts, the over-politicized EPCC. The committee has assumed vast power and control of the management of staff, which has contributed to many staff departures.
Nekhalia and his own special interests
All of Nekhalia’s undermining authority is no secret. He has a proven track record of this since he was first elected to the LNC several terms prior.
However, it seems like the fractured Libertarian Party Mises Caucus may be backing Nekhalia in the chair race against McArdle.
That would be because it’s in his best interests to undermine her while elevating himself.
In fact, he has said in the past that he wants to run for chair. He also greatly admires Machiavelli. (It sounds like a punchline, but it’s not.)
Part 4, which will resume the series on Wednesday, will uncover the EPCC and its agenda against Lainie Huston. We will also uncover the Mises Caucus and what they have been doing throughout this drama as their ranks continue to decline.
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.