Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fundraising Letter Has Been Sent

In fact, many readers may have already received the fundraising letter from the Kole Campaign. Here are some good reasons to contribute:

Keep the Libertarian Party on the Indiana ballot
Help the Libertarian Party earn Major Party status
Put election issues in the minds of Hoosier voters
Equip Libertarian election day poll volunteers with Kole t-shirts
2,000 Kole bumper stickers have been distributed- let's get another 2,000!
It's time to get the yard signs out to supporters
We need more 3' x 6' banners for the fairs and parades
Every penny left over buying Kole logo products will be poured into statewide advertising. We will defeat the Wasted Vote Syndrome for once and for all!

Contribute on line via this link.

If you received the letter, I'll be calling to follow up!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Election Law Follies, Part Three

I was contacted by John LaBeaume from the Libertarian Party's national headquarters in DC. He was asking me for a report on my campaign, so that he could include info on it for our supporters across the country. He said that he is impressed with what the Kole Campaign is up to, and that he would like our supporters to see some positive news on our candidates, and to show other candidates things that are working for other candidates.

Being a candidate who tries to implement what I've learned, I always give media people and important contacts the links for my website, my blog, and my online donations page. The media routinely reminds me that they won't publish the online donations link, and I expect that. This is what shocked me:

The national Libertarian Party advised me that it cannot post links to my fundraising page.

For crying out loud! I'm a Libertarian candidate, and the Libertarian Party cannot publish links to support me? In America? That's crazy! From John's email:
FYI: Thanks to the campaign finance law, we can not link to or even mention fundraising, esp. for a state – not federal – candidate.

Having said that, any thing we can do to drive traffic to, or interest in your campaign hopefully may bear fruit on the funding level down the line.

Well, the national Libertarian Party is a Federal PAC. As shown in previous posts, thanks to the campaign finance 'reform' laws, Federal level entities cannot talk to state level entities. So, we have to tip-toe through the tulips on fundraising. We can't say anything about money, but can hope people take an interest and find the fundraising page.

Does any supporter of the campaign finance laws feel safer knowing that when you visit the Libertarian Party's website, there will not be links to my website? Do you feel that representative government is strengthened by this?

What interests me greatly is to know whether or not the various state and county Republican and Democratic party organizations have created Federal PACs, because they all talk about and link to their Federal candidates. Because Libertarians play it straight and by the rules, we are punished.

If you go to the Indiana Dems' website, you will find that the only candidates they list on their candidates page are Federal candidates. Not a single statewide candidate or local candidate is listed.

If you go to the Indiana GOP's website, you will find that they list Federal candidates, and even include links to other Federal Republican organizations. The Rs do list their statewide candidates.

Do these state entities have a Federal PAC? That would be very interesting to know. They should. After all, members of their parties wrote the laws.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Campaigning in LaPorte County

Tuesday found me back up in LaPorte. The first stop was for a sandwich and conversation at the Nowhere Bar & Grille, with owners Ted and Helen Pfauth. They serve an excellent shaved prime rib sandwich!

Standing outside the Nowhere Bar & Grille with Helen & Ted Pfauth

Ted was one of the golfers at the ILBA event on Monday. We talked there and he invited me to stop by the next time I was in LaPorte. I told him I would see him tomorrow, then. That surprised him, but I was going to the Fair anyway.

I had spoken with Ted about the issues that affect his business, and he's clear that the Republicans and Democrats have failed him, and that Libertarians are the only ones talking about defending small business and property rights. He wanted to know where Libertarians stand on gun issues, because he feels that the GOP is letting him down here, too. I told him we are very plain about it, we back the 2nd Amendment and the Indiana Constitution without reservation, that you have the right to own a gun and to use it in self-defense, but you may never initiate force with it. I don't think he had ever heard as straightforward an answer as this before.

There were many Libertarian candidates that will be on the LaPorte County ballot staffing the booth along with several supporters, and I was delighted to be with them again, handing out balloons and bumper stickers.

From left, 2003 candidate for Mayor of LaPorte Mike Lysak, candidate for Indiana House District 9 Andy Wolf, candidate for LaPorte County Council District 4 Mike Sanders, candidate for Indiana House District 20 Greg Kelver, and candidate for Center Township Board Fred Lutterman.

Balloons to pass out and babies to kiss. I'm holding Fred Lutterman's grandson, Ben Dubbs.

Here's a link to the LaPorte County Libertarians' website, and to their candidates.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Campaign Finance Law Follies, Part Two

What you begin to see whent you examine the laws enacted as campaign finance 'reform' is that one size does not fit all- just as with most public policy. It creates winners and losers.

Since the laws are written by incumbents, you can bet that if incumbents face the effects of these laws, they will be the winners, and everyone else will be the losers.

I am a Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State. I am not raising millions of dollars. I am raising modest amounts of money. My goal is to raise at least $100,000 over the life of the campaign, and have raised less than $20,000 thus far, so I am the furthest thing from someone who is buying an election.

Some of these laws are designed to make it difficult for political action committees (PACs) to masquerade as simple grassroots organizations. These grassroots organizations that are organized under 501-c-4 are not allowed to endorse political candidates. The idea is to prevent a big corporate interest from forming a bogus grassroots organization for the purpose of funnelling dollars into it so as to make it look like the support of a candidate was coming from The People, rather than the corporate interest that might really be behind it. Seems like a good idea.

But, in the interest of transparency, they make people do a tiptoe through the political tulips, which I find distasteful.

I do work with genuine grassroots organizations, such as the Geist United Opposition. I have supported their fight against forced annexation by the Town of Fishers. Naturally, their contributors- mainly folks who are property owners in the Geist area in Hamilton County- are interested in supporting my campaign. I thought that one way they could support me is to endorse my campaign.

Sorry, that kind of speech is forbidden by law. Wither the First Amendment? Yes. Political speech has been curtailed by the campaign finance laws. The leaders of grassroots organizations cannot lend the name of that organization beyond a very limited usage.

So, the persons who would lend me their name have to completely divorce themselves from their affiliations. They have to sign on to my campaign strictly as Joe Citizen, and as a resident of their neighborhood.

Kind of defeats that whole interest in transparency, doesn't it? Wouldn't it be more transparent if they listed their affiliations?

With every law comes the law of unintended consequences. One size does not fit all.

I would like to urge readers for a change in the laws, but I cannot. It is forbidden. If I did, I would be subject to the Federal requirements spelled out under BCRA. Instead, I can only tiptoe through the tulips, dropping hints, but not speaking plainly. This is all that the law allows me to do.

So, are you satisfied with laws that have this blanket effect, that have no exemptions for legitimate grassroots interactions?
Next Stop, LaPorte!

Second trip to LaPorte in two weeks, in fact. This time, I will support the LPLP and its candidates at the LaPorte County Fair, tonight from 5-8pm.

Be sure to stop by and see us at the Fair!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Another Golf Report

I had the pleasure of sponsoring the Indiana Licensed Beverage Association's (ILBA) annual golf outing today in Elkhart, at the Bent Oak Golf Course. There I welcomed the golfers, distributed my Kole logo golf balls, displayed my large banner at the entrance, and served again as the official spotter for the hole-in-one challenge par-3 hole.

Campaigning at golf events is a new wrinkle for Libertarian candidates, so here's why I do it: The participants are having fun. They see me at the entrance, they see my sign, they tee up my golf balls, and they see me at the challenge hole. Some aren't terribly interested in talking policy, but many are. ILBA is a lobbying association that defends the rights and interests of its' members, so mostly, they are interested. There are many opportunities to talk with the members throughout the event. All must pass me on the challenge hole. I am a defender of small business and property rights. ILBA members are small business owners who are having their property rights attacked, so we have plenty of common ground.

Due to my extensive work across the state in supporting the hospitality industry as a whole in opposing the imposition of smoking bans and food & beverage taxes, I was a known quantity to many of the ILBA members.

While some of the bar and restaurant owners are Libertarians, many are life-long Republicans or Democrats. They all expressed dismay with these parties for the assault they feel has been directed at them. They cited the smoking and tax issues, but also noted that Daylight Savings Time is positively killing the bar owners. People enjoy the daylight, and by time they are done with their outdoor activities, they look at their watches and conclude it's too late to head to the bar.

What the ILBA members and the beverage industry folks told me was that government at all levels fails to consult with them as to the impacts of new legislation. The Daniels Administration didn't consult them before the DST cram-down. Town councils failed to consult them before passing smoking bans. (Interestingly, the bar owners who complained most about the bans were the ones who had no-smoke policies before the bans. They lost their edge and had their business model damaged when the new laws were passed.) Government failed to respond when the concerns of business owners are voiced, and it doesn't matter if we're talking about Republicans or Democrats, at any level of government.

Many of the ILBA members took my bumper stickers and business cards, and invited me to their establishments any time I am in their home counties. I was most honored.

We are campaigning smart. We are talking directly to constituencies that may not have been voting Libertarian in the past, but have good reason to abandon the parties they have been themselves abandoned by, showing them that voting for Mike Kole and the Libertarian Party is a viable option.