Steve G.

Gary Fincher’s second letter to Judicial Committee re Haugh

In Libertarian on July 5, 2008 at 2:53 pm

The following is posted with permission of the author, Gary Fincher.

Gary L. Fincher

July 4, 2008

Re: Sean Haugh’s attempt to defraud LP donors

Dear [Judicial Committee Member]:

I am following up on my letter to you of last week, regarding Sean Haugh’s actions on June 27.

First, as I was advised, I passed on a criminal complaint to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth/Elections Division, the Dartmouth , Mass. , police, and the Durham, N.C. County (where Sean Haugh lives) Board of Elections, for investigation. I am also including for your perusal a copy of the actual Massachusetts statute that not only makes it a crime to willfully destroy nomination papers or petitions, but also makes it a crime to do an act toward commission of a crime, even if it fails.

For better or worse, this issue has been tossed about and discussed among dozens, if not hundreds, of Libertarians, on message boards, email and phone over this past week, which has brought up some more serious (to the long term welfare of the party, at least) offshoot issues stemming from or related to Sean’s actions.

Carolyn McMahon has now publicly stated that Haugh used his position as political director to attempt to procure her cooperation in the destruction of valid nomination paper, in violation of Massachusetts law. (Although, the interstate nature of this may in fact make this end up being a federal crime, but I’m only speculating.) Haugh separately announced his intent in a documented email and the phone call to McMahon, ruling out any excuse of temporary loss of reason. The fact that he threatened it in an email, then later followed through on his threat is convincing enough that this was a premeditated crime, and that his intent was to see the crime through to the actual destruction of the nomination papers.

What’s disturbing to me and many other Massachusetts Libertarians who are basically among Haugh’s victims (as well as countless other decent Libertarians across the country) is the fact that Sean Haugh felt comfortable enough in the commission of this crime to carbon-copy his intentions to Robert Kraus, acting national director of the Libertarian Party, and ballot access staffer Scott Kohlhaas. Why would Haugh do this? Why would he feel comfortable enough with these gentlemen to actually share such knowledge with them? Another question would be, when these gentlemen received the email (especially Haugh’s boss, Robert Kraus) what actions did they take? Did Kraus censure Haugh? Did Kraus turn the email over to the authorities for investigation? Did Kraus discipline or fire Haugh? Did the national office issue a press release condemning the advocacy of a crime (especially one that hits to the core of a political party such as destroying nomination papers geared toward ballot access paid for by donors’ funds) by their political director? Did Kraus fire or otherwise discipline Haugh for his misconduct? If not, then why not? Are we seeing a cover-up of a crime, right at the top of our national party, or does Kohlhaas and Kraus claim that the email somehow got overlooked? (Both of them!) As this issue spreads among the party, I’m quite sure that members are going to want some answers to these very significant questions.

This crime is not the same as if Haugh was caught for drunk-driving, for example, or knocked over a liquor store. Those crimes (in my hypothetical-only example) have nothing to do with Haugh’s official duties as political director, or, more deeply, the mission, function and spirit of our political party. This crime, in my opinion and as I see it, strikes at the core of what the party is all about. In fact, I would like to assert that officially advocating the destruction of donors’ resources and the destruction of valid, viable ballot access instruments is the one cardinal sin a political party operative can commit!

We all make mistakes; but it seems to me that this one not only demonstrates malicious, premeditated attempt, but is of such an egregious nature (reckless disregard for ballot access instruments and donors’ funds) as to demand it not be swept under the rug. I don’t see how a political party can allow someone with such contempt for its fundamental functions to continue to be in any position of authority – I just can’t fathom it.

I don’t think my first letter to you underscored enough the issue of intent to defraud LP donors. Haugh’s primary focus may have been to screw over me (I believe I may have a civil case against him or his position) but given that he clarified his intent to include destruction of the signatures “whether they paid for them or not”, he is showing reckless disregard, if not actual contempt for, thousands of dollars in precious donors’ funds, at a time of financial hardship (I’m told) for the party.

I just received word from Carolyn McMahon that a preliminary validity screening was done on my 2,000 signatures. She told me that, using an old database (from a couple of years back), my worst sheet had 70% validity; best sheet had 82% validity. When my signatures ultimately get verified by the various town clerks, using up-to-date voter databases in towns where the clerk even knows some of the voters, chances are those figures will get a 10 percentage point boost, placing my validity on those 2,000 signatures well over the threshold of generally acceptable validity (70-75%). I also just got word from my Constitution Party client that, when they examined the thousands of signatures I turned in, and compared them to those brought in by the petition firm who’s retained by not only them but by Sean Haugh for LP signatures, their volunteer told their national coordinator, “Why can’t the petition firm’s signatures be like Gary Fincher’s?”

Ironically, my higher-quality signatures were submitted at a discounted rate: my consulting fee amounted to $1.50 per signatures, while the petition firm got $2 per signature from Haugh. Please note that Sean tried to burn my signatures, and not the petition firm’s signatures. Therefore, if my 2,000 signatures had been burned, I would have received $3,000 in party funds (donors’ money) legitimately, and another $4,000 of donors’ money would have had to been outlaid by national for the petition firm to collect signatures that had already been paid for, unnecessarily, to pay to replace my high-validity signatures with a batch of lower-validity signatures!

Does the national director, the national chair, or the LNC find this in any way acceptable? Can Sean Haugh actually try to defraud donors out of thousands of dollars and feel satisfied of no repercussions? But this was Haugh’s actual intent! Has hard-gotten donors’ funds become that expendable, that they can be wasted in such a manner?

Anyone who is not thoroughly disgusted by this doesn’t understand the importance of donors’ funds and their relationship to ballot access and running candidates. I have already heard from multiple donors that this incident has either made them take a harder look at donating in the future, or made them express regret for having just donated funds to national.

So I ask of you: please, please, for the sake of the party and its donor base, do not sweep this aside. And look into the possible conspiracy/cover up at the national office is Kraus did in fact receive that email but did nothing.

I am available for assistance in any way I can be of help.

And thank you once again.


Gary L. Fincher

Cc: all other members of judicial committee

  1. Breaking story just in: I heard that Sean Haugh plans to waste a lot of donors’ money on the Libertarian Party ballot access drive in Rhode Island. There are currently petitioners who just finished up working Massachusetts (which borders Rhode Island), but Sean is not allowing any of them to work the petition in Rhode Island. Instead, he is planning to fly in Scott Kohlhaas all the way from Alaska and pay him top dollor for his signatures as well as paying for his motel and rental car (note that the petitioners in Massachusetts have their own vehicles so if they did the job there’d be no need for rental cars).

    This is WASTEFUL SPENDING. Remember people, this is YOUR donations to the party being wasted. The job could be done much cheaper by using petitioners who are already in Massachusetts which is right next to Rhode Island, thus eliminating the round trip flight and rental car expense, and quite possiblely the motel expense as well (since some Mass petitioners could be commuting distance from Rhode Island).

    Why is Sean Haugh WASTING Libertarian Party donors’ money like this?

  2. I just checked the cost of flights on-line. I entered in a round trip flight from Anchorage, Alaska to Providence, Rhode Island. The prices that I came up with are around $1,040-$1,080, although this could differ depending on what the dates are, but this gives us at least a ballpark figure. This does not incude the cost of a rental car.

    Now keep in mind that Sean Haugh and Scott Kohlhaas KNOW DAMN WELL that there are already petitioners in the New England states who could do this job cheaper, but they are ignoring this so that Kohlhaas can make more money (note that Kohlhaas is already lining his pockets with 40% commissions for Libertarian Party fundraising). There are also other petitioners who are outside of New England states but who are closer to Rhode Island than Alaska is whom they could bring in at for a lower price.

    Rhode Island is not a state that is in an emergency situation, and it only requires around 1,000 valid petition signatures, so there is absolutely no legitimate reason for Scott Kohlhaas to be flown in from Alaska and given the red carpet treatment to get this drive finished.

    This is the type of behaviour about which Kohlhaas and Haugh do not want the donors to know.

    For years, the Liberatarian Party has talked about being fiscally responsible. How is this fiscally responsible?

    Kohlhaas and Haugh are both concerned with lining their own pockets. One of the main REAL reasons that Haugh hasn’t been fired yet is because he is a lackey of Scott Kohlhaas.

    If say Chris Bennett were the Political Director, he wouldn’t put up with this shit, which is exactly why he is not the Political Director.

  3. Kohlhaas is slated to be working on salary in RI (no per signature rate) according to Sean.

    However, it is true that some of us were in MA and did not need flights, rental cars or motel rooms in RI.

    If Scott was needed to get signatures, he could have been flown in to any state in the country.

    It so happens that RI is the one state I know where LP, Greens, CP and Nader all needed signatures simultaneously.

    Scott made a big stink over other petitioners working on more parties than just LP (even though many Libertarians, including Bill Redpath, encourage this).

    Later, we learned (second hand) that he worked Nader in 04 himself.

  4. This guy needs to go. You should never place a waster in charge of an association’s money. It seems these people not only think like Rs they waste money like they do!

  5. This is NOT true, or accurate,Susan. Or fair.

    I did NOT make a mistake by calling a voter and offering to help her find her voting location. SHE made the mistake by talking to me for longer than she should have, instead of just ending the conversation. I am a firm believer in the RIGHT people taking responsibility for their actions (including wrongfully accusing, like you are doing). SHE also made a mistake by misleading me by telliing me that she was ok with my calling her, when in fact it was not. Also, I did NOT ask her for a “date”; the word was never even used in that conversation. If you are suggessting that is was, you are *lying* about me. Nothing I have said is “rationalization”. You are insisting that I did something wrong for doing the EXACT same thing that many other activists, parties and campaigns, including libertarian, have done.

    Speaking of ratinalizations, insisting one person is wrong and another is right for doing the *EXACT* same thing, is dim thinking, and it makes me wonder about your ability to conceptualize and be consistent in other areas of thought. It also makes me wonder what mistakes (or crimes or malfeasances) YOU have committed, which have gone undetected.

    I’m also having a hard time understanding just what infraction “working without authorization” constitutes. Perhaps this is another example of your inability to conceptualize (then project that weakness onto another as some kind of ‘fault’). Assuming Paulie had a right to be in NC and work, he, as a contractor, had just as much a right to subcontract as Darryl Bonner did (and boy did he!).

    I am seeing a disturbing pattern of throwing “double standard” curveballs at those you decide you don’t like, without regard to reason, logic or facts in you, Susan. No wonder you have been the subject of so much criticism in your home state of N.C.

    And finally, I do NOT have a “questionable past” as a petitioner. I have FULLY admitted all mistakes that I have made, and they have been out in the open, all “questions” have been answered making “questionable” not even applicable any longer). I admitted the SSN mistake, even though Joe Knight never has admitted his mistake in the issue. I have admitted to other mistakes in my professional life, that you aren’t hearing about because they don’t relate to petitioning.

    But I find it silly to admit to mistakes that either I didn’t make, or that aren’t in reality “mistakes”. The two you cite don’t fall into the category of “mistakes”, even though I did in fact perfectly legally call a voter and subcontract with Paul.


    Susan Hogarth wrote:

    1) Gary Fincher has some questionable past as a petitioner. I have peripherally witnessed his lengthy and convoluted rationalizations for two very simple mistakes that he easily could have taken responsibility for (working without authorization and asking a voter registrant for a date using the phone number she provided on her voter registration form to contact her). This leads me to think there must
    be something to the other allegations I hear from people I respect.

  6. Well, I hate to say it, but Fincher did turn out to be a sociopath. I have often defended him –with some reservation–, but he does in fact appear to be a loon with no conscience. He borrowed $8,000 from Andy over the course of a year and a half and then made up a story about Andy attacking him so he could disavow the debt. He was shown in a video shortly after the alleged attack, without a bruise, broken bone, or even a scratch. That’s what friends are for! After pointing out that he had ripped off Andy, his _suddenly_ ex-girlfriend revealed that she had also loaned him around $3,000. He acted so obnoxious that she kicked him to the curb, giving up any chance of recouping her $3,000. –He disavowed his debt to her as well. I strongly recommend that those who have encountered fly-by-night con men like Fincher to peruse this site:
    and as Pete Townshend said: “don’t get fooled again!”

    Nonetheless, Andy and Paulie were right to defend Fincher above, because in this case, a state LP and National LP Employee were trying to defraud him without reason (likely aggravating his pathology). Fincher’s work is generally good, even though he is a sociopath. In fact, it might be wise to hire Fincher, but just let him know very clearly that you expect him to keep his psychopathy under control. (When sociopaths have no job and have run out of suckers, they usually turn to crime. –And nobody wants that!)

    Thanks for being a place for posting the truth, LFV!!!

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