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