Congress Attempting to Outlaw Independent and Third Party Competition

If Congress was to pass a law designed to place racial minorities into concentration camps in order to eventually exterminate them, the bill might be titled “The Great American Anti-Genocide Act”. It would define majority and minorty races, and provide some some sound-byte-worthy one-liner which reads: “The act of genocide is expressly prohibited with exception of special cases as outlined in section 504.”

The devil is always in the details. Congress might stipulate that in order for a minority race to become exempt from genocide, a given racial minority would have to collect the signatures of 20% of their race. This might be considered somewhat reasonable by most Americans — except for the pesky little line prohibiting signature collection hidden in another section of the bill.

Congress may not be attempting to kill racial minorities at the moment, but they are trying to kill political minorities using the tactics described above. From the Libertarian Party:

On February 1, congressional Democrats, led by Rep. Obey of Wisconsin, introduced a bill, H.R. 4694, that would end viable, third-party competition in races for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill, ironically named the “Let the People Decide Clean Campaign Act,” would mandate public funds (taken from the U.S. Treasury) to candidates for the House of Representatives and forbid candidates from taking private funds such as contributions from individual donors.

The ambiguously-written bill provides funds for candidates of the “two major parties” but essentially scuttles any campaign efforts of third-party or independent candidates.

For third-party candidates to be eligible for the same funds that Republicans and Democrats would receive, they would have to obtain enough signatures to exceed 20% of votes cast in the last election within their district.

The catch under the proposed legislation is that third-party or independent candidates cannot pay petitioners to collect any signatures, making it impossible to fund their campaigns.

H.R. 4694 is yet another attempt by our politicians in office to shut down Libertarian Party candidates and other competitive third-party and independent campaigns.

When it becomes technically illegal for oppositional political parties to run candidates for Congress, there can no longer be any claim of legitimate representation. When sizeable groups of people are no longer allowed to be represented on ballots, they will begin to represent themselves with bullets.

Additional resources: Green Party, Libertarian Party, Progress Report, BlogCritics.

23 Comments
  1. There never was legitimate representation, government has always been a fraud. Now they are just being more blatant about it. They ignore or are not subject to their own laws. They legislate their competition out of existance.

    The more time goes by, the more I am convinced we will not win Liberty back through political channels. Mass nonviolent civil disobedience is one possible route, combined with ignoring the govt’s dictates.

    That’s why I’m moving to the Free State, to be near like minded individuals, and make a stand for Liberty.

    This is the state’s pride before a fall. Death to the state and long live Liberty.
    http://freestateproject.org

  2. I’m not sure if the LP is being dishonest or just not reading the bill. Funding would be based on past performance in the district for the major party candidates. But the bill is written to offer some aid to third parties by letting them pick if their past performance is based on the House elections in the district, their performance statewide in Senate races, or their national performance in Presidential elections. The signatures are an optional process that would give additional funding in an effort to narrow the gap between the candidate of the party that dominates the district and the other parties. I don’t think the bill should be applauded, but it’s not as draconian as the LP presents it.

  3. What gets me is that on the local level in many places Libertarian-mass party co-operation is excellent ( see http://www.ERCPinellas.org) it’s the national leaders who come up with this stuff–my Democratic friends are saying, “Who is this nut?”

    I hope the Wisconsin LP gets to work on this fellow–remeber, that’s where the Libertarians are doing quite well.

  4. Don’t tell anyone (looks around nervously), but I’m running for state house in 2008, and I’m going to run as a Democrat, but I’m really a libertarian. I figure Democrat would get me more votes from the straight-ticket voters (I live in a blue town in a blue county in a blue state), but to be fair I am on the left side of libertarianism.

  5. Matt, you might want to look into the Democratic Freedom Caucus, a group of libertarian Democrats. We’re most active in Missouri, but we have state chapters elsewhere in America. I’m also a libertarian who pretty much associates with Democrats. Check out my blog: Freedom Democrats (http://www.freedomdemocrats.org/)

  6. Matt,

    If you get elected, have you considered changing your party affiliation to Libertarian once in office?

  7. “If you get elected, have you considered changing your party affiliation to Libertarian once in office?”

    Not sure yet. I have to be careful not to change political affiliation too much, I mean look what Bush did to Kerry with the “flipflopping” and “waffleing” campaign.

    If I get enough positive feedback, I will probably run as a libertarian.

    And LoganFerree, I’m looking into it, thanks for the info :)

  8. Logan:

    SEC. 505. (2)(B) PROHIBITING USE OF PAID SIGNATURE COLLECTORS- The Commission may not verify a signature presented under this section if any person received a direct or indirect payment to collect the signature.

    Just how do you think we get 99% of our signatures?

  9. Matt,
    You have the right idea. The rules are completely rigged against 3rd parties in this country. I think libertarians should join the Democratic Party and give up on this quest to change things through the LP.

  10. Josh, that’s just what the duopoly would like. Libertarians that go and get involved in the GOP are used for nefarious purposes. When they want to run, they are systematically eliminated in primaries or put into unwinnable races against the Dems. Oh, the GOP would love your money and time, and then when it’s YOUR time for “help”, you WILL be marginalized and ignored. This idea of cooperating with the establishment oligopoly is idiocy. There isn’t going to be some “reform” or “takeover” of those special interest entrenched parties. Such an idea is an LSD induced fantasy. They have no reason, incentive or basis whatever to become REMOTELY libertarian. Besides, the GOP sometimes uses the rhetoric of liberty to support their statist candidates/legislation.

    Libertarians need to recognize that it will take a LONG time for things to change. It would be disaster for Libertarians to get mass elected right now before our financial system reverts to the mean, anyways. They would get the blame.

  11. You have the right idea. The rules are completely rigged against 3rd parties in this country. I think libertarians should join the Democratic Party and give up on this quest to change things through the LP.

    That’s just about as intelligent as allowing the british to remain in charge… wow… let’s all just quit!

    Hell while we are at it… let’s NOT hold politicians liable for their actions! Why don’t you just spit on the troops over fighting for “your” freedom in Iraq?

  12. Ah who needs freedom anyway. What good is choice? All should be under the boot heel of the government and blue blood elite!

  13. I have taken the time to read HR 4694 section 503,504, & 505. It is my understanding that candidates for an election will receive a percentage of the “maximum funding amount” equal to their percentage ratio of the votes for the most recent 2 elections for the house, unless they get the “signatures equal to 20% of the vote.”

    This effectively eliminates viable 3rd party candidacy. Thankfully the bill is only in “submitted” status, and the vast majority of bills never get past that. Let’s all just keep our fingers crossed — or perhaps write a few letters?

  14. >It is my understanding that candidates for an election will receive a percentage of the “maximum funding amount” equal to their percentage ratio of the votes for the most recent 2 elections for the house, unless they get the “signatures equal to 20% of the vote.”

  15. The passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act certainly proved that we must be concerned about additional attempts to rig the election process against the Libertarian Party and to reinforce the major party duopoly. However, it is also needlessly alarmist for us to panic over every bill which is introduced in Congress.

    Every year thousands of bills are introduced but only a tiny fraction are ever passed. Most bills are merely window-dressing so that Senators and Representatives can attempt to convince their constituents and the special interests who fund their campaigns that they are doing something useful. Introducing a bill makes for a great press release and a bit of free media. Then the bill typically disappears into some committee’s round file.

    So unless a bill carries a lot of co-sponsors and support from Congressional leadership, we are wasting a lot of time and effort getting all upset over what is nothing more than a PR gesture.

  16. The “automatic” funding based on past performance in House races means most LP candidates in states where the Party normally has had ballot status would get between 1 percent and 6 percent of the funds, supposedly. Assuming they can get on the ballot again.

    In states where the LP hasn’t been on the ballot as a party often, this bill could result in NO money for LP candidates.

    Which also means the LP would be stuck in a 1-6 percent ghetto of election returns. Everyone knows how important money is to getting recognition and visibility in political races. The only hope for an LP “breakout” would be to find a candidate attractive enough to generate _more_ donations than in the past, to fund a campaign that for once is truly competitive.

    That hope would be ended if something like this bill passes.


  17. The only hope for an LP “breakout” would be to find a candidate attractive enough to generate _more_ donations than in the past, to fund a campaign that for once is truly competitive.

    Did you miss the part where the bill “would forbid candidates from taking private funds such as contributions from individual donors”? The only way to break out under this bill would be to get more votes with the same amount of government money.

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