On March 8th, Austin Petersen, a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, posted the following picture to his Facebook page:
Below the picture Petersen posted the following press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASELPF Convention Chair Requests Bribe to Quash Austin Petersen’s Debate Appearance
The Convention Chair of the Florida Libertarian Party (LPF), Joe Wendt, proposed an offer to Mike Kane, Chair of the Monroe County affiliate. Kane published a letter on facebook urging the LPF to rescind an invitation to Austin Petersen who is scheduled to appear at Florida’s Annual convention in April.
“If Mr Kane really dislikes Mr Petersen, and is willing to give a gracious $1500 donation to exclude him, I have no problem with that.” wrote Joe Wendt, LPF Region 6 Representative and Convention Chair.
It appears to be antithetical to the principles of the Libertarian Party to request hush money to silence opposition, but Joe Wendt has stooped to new lows.
Wendt continues, “As long as Party [sic] gets money in the process, and increases the convention’s profit margin, I am all for it. Fundraising for the party should take priority over hurting peoples [sic] feelings. Besides, a bidding war that increases the party’s wealth is a good thing.”
It remains to be seen if the Libertarian Party of Florida will take action to castigate Wendt or strip him from his Convention Chair duties.
Just this week, the Colorado Libertarian Party faced a firestorm of wrath from Libertarians nationwide when their Executive Committee passed a motion to exclude Petersen from their convention debate. That debacle ended with an offer from Colorado for Petersen to participate in the debate, strengthened the resolve of Petersen supporters, and resulted in a banner day for donations to his campaign.
Petersen’s campaign received a blow a few days ago, when IPR reported that the Libertarian Party of Colorado (LPCO) announced that Petersen would not be invited to a Libertarian presidential debate hosted by the party at their upcoming state convention, which will be held March 11th-13th in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The LPCO cited Petersen’s public repudiation of the Non-Aggression Principle as the reason for his exclusion, stating that “it was inappropriate for the State Party to invite a candidate who has openly repudiated and ridiculed the Party’s foundational and absolutely essential Statement of Principles that are held as the highest standard in our voluntary governing documents.” The Non-Aggression Principle, which states that no force or fraud can be committed to advance social or political goals, is considered by many Libertarians to be a fundamental tenet of the libertarian philosophy and the Libertarian Party.
Not all news this week has been bad for the Petersen campaign this week, however. On March 8th, ATPR reported that Petersen was officially endorsed by Pierre-Alexandre Crevaux, the chairman of the Miami-Dade County Libertarian Party, one of the largest county affiliates of the Libertarian Party of Florida.