Friday, March 03, 2023

What's Going on with the Libertarian Party of Michigan?

If you haven't been active in Libertarian Party of Michigan politics lately, you may be confused by the competing calls to convention, in Lansing and Wixom on April 1, 2023, from two different Libertarian Executive Committees.  I don't blame you.

It’s a long story.  I will try to summarize it for you. I understand that others have different perspectives on what has happened.  They are entitled to their opinions.  What follows is my understanding of the situation.

The Mises Caucus was formed a few years ago to take over the Libertarian Party nationally. It has a more right-libertarian Ron Paul focus and tends to draw from young, disaffected men, some of whom appear to have bigoted and racist tendencies and a tendency to refuse to field candidates against particular Republicans they favor (based on public reports of online postings and events in other states; not Michigan). It has recruited new members to the party, often paying their dues, and for their delegates to the last national convention, their travel and lodging costs. When they started out in Michigan, they largely kept their membership list secret.

Personally, I don’t see a very big difference in their policy approaches, though others may differ.  As the name implies, they support the philosophy of the famous Austrian free market economist Ludwig von Mises. At the 2022 national convention they voted to remove the abortion platform plank (that opposed any government interference or promotion in abortion decisions and expressly stated that should be an individual decision) and the plank that said the LP condemns bigotry and racism.  Though I voted against removal, I can see how this can still be characterized as a libertarian approach or strategy.  They claim to prefer that we decentralize by running for local offices rather than higher offices, but interestingly contributed very few of our candidates for office in 2022. Locally in West Michigan, we have successfully worked with Mises Caucus members willing to actually do the work of the party, welcoming them as officers, members and candidates.

The chief objection I have to the Mises Caucus is their “My way or the highway” approach to party governance and their apparent rejection of the traditional tolerance by Libertarian Party members of a broad variety of libertarian views and lifestyles and the right of members to state their views without fear of reprisal. Their actions clearly demonstrate they couldn’t care less whether current party members stay or leave the party, and many long-time members have left as a result.


At last year’s Michigan Spring convention to select national convention delegates they sent a large contingent to the convention and secretly gave each Mises Caucus member a list of the Mises Caucus members to block vote for national convention delegate.  The rest of the membership, though in the majority, did what they always do, and voted for a broad range of delegates with different views.  By voting as a block, the Mises Caucus elected all but 2 or 3 of the persons ranked as delegates, with many of the people it elected having joined the LPM within the past year and being completely unknown to the general membership and with little, if any, history of activism in the party.

At the 2021 LPM convention the Mises Caucus elected a minority of the LEC, led by Andrew Chadderdon, elected 2nd Vice Chair/Political Director. Some of these members elected had concealed their Mises Caucus membership to get elected. It quickly became evident Chadderdon was directing the Mises Caucus members how to vote on every issue before the LEC, as they always voted in lockstep.  Prior to this election Chadderdon and the Mises Caucus members had cooperated with and been welcomed by other LPM activists, but once in power, at least at the LEC level, they dropped any pretense of doing so. This and other Mises Caucus actions created a toxic relationship on the LEC that led to the resignation of Chair Tim Yow, 1st Vice Chair Ben Boren, and a few Congressional District Members of the LEC in mid-June of 2022. This left Chadderdon as acting Chair, though he proclaimed himself Chair, and with a majority of the LEC controlled by the Mises Caucus. 

The LEC had already called and given notice to the affiliates and members of the July 2022 convention in Holland to nominate candidates, so rather than let the LEC fill its many vacancies (presumably, with Mises Caucus members), many LPM members proposed that it would be more fair to let the July convention delegates vote to fill the vacancies, since they were meeting soon anyway. Chadderdon refused to consider this. To bolster this approach I circulated and submitted a petition to Chadderdon to authorize filling all vacancies at a special convention, as the LPM bylaws say 10% of the members may do, with the special convention to occur at the same time and place as the July Holland convention. The bylaws say a special convention called by petition must occur within 45 days after submission of the petition and are silent as to what notice the petitioners or LEC must give the members of the special convention called by petition.

Chadderdon refused to give notice of the requested special convention to the LPM members (though I understand the Mises Caucus sent a message to its members to make sure to show up in Holland to vote to fill vacancies), or to call it at all, even though the petition was submitted 10 days prior to the scheduled July convention. He claimed the 60 and 30-day notices of the July convention, coupled with an additional 10-day notice, would be inadequate to give reasonable notice of the requested special convention and that because the bylaws require the LEC to give 60 days’ notice to affiliates and 30 days’ notice to members of any conventions called by the LEC, those requirements would also apply to notice for a special convention called by petition, even though the bylaws clearly wouldn’t permit as much as 60 days’ notice to be given due to the requirement the special convention occur within 45 days. When Chadderdon refused, a non-Mises Caucus LEC member, Dave Canny, sent notice of the election to fill vacancies at the July convention to all LPM members.

The LPM bylaws provide that the delegates at a convention may make a motion of no confidence and remove an officer by a majority vote.  Dave Canny gave notice to Chadderdon and the LEC 2 weeks prior to the convention that he would make a motion at the convention to remove Chadderdon.  When Chadderdon refused to notify the LPM membership, Canny announced in a message to all LPM members that he intended to do so.

At the July convention in Holland the Mises Caucus was again in the minority. The delegates voted to remove Chadderdon as chair of the convention. Joe Brungardt was elected to fill the 1st Vice Chair vacancy.  More than 2/3 of the delegates voted to remove Chadderdon as party Chair, so Brungardt automatically became Chair under the bylaws. Mike Saliba was elected to fill the 1st Vice Chair vacancy. Mary Buzuma was elected to fill the 2nd Vice Chair vacancy. Our current bylaws provide that any vacancies in Congressional District LEC members be filled by caucus at the next convention, so caucuses were held and those positions filled, as in past conventions.  The Mises Caucus was once again in the minority on the LEC.

More than 4 months later, in November, Chadderdon appealed to the Judicial Committee (consisting of 3 Mises Caucus members elected in 2021) the decisions of the convention delegates to remove him as Chair, to fill the LEC officer vacancies, and to fill the district vacancies.  To my knowledge this is the first time in the history of the LPM a decision of a convention had been appealed, as the prior consensus was that only decisions of the LEC could be appealed and the delegates in convention were thought to be all-powerful and not subject to having their decisions overridden by the LEC or Judicial Committee. Predictably, the Judicial Committee controlled by Chadderdon ruled in his favor in December, purporting to nullify the decisions of the July convention.

Hence, we now have a situation where Chadderdon and the Mises Caucus claim a majority of the LEC. Another petition of members for a special convention to be held virtually within 45 days to fill LEC vacancies was circulated following the Judicial Committee decision and submitted to Chadderdon in early January.  Chadderdon’s response was to schedule a special convention on April 1 (during Spring Break) and in Wixom (an inconvenient location for most members) to fill the LEC officer and member vacancies, claiming doing so within 45 days as required by the bylaws wouldn’t provide enough notice and holding it virtually wasn’t permitted (even though the bylaws expressly authorize it and we did so during the pandemic).

In response to Chadderdon’s (now second) refusal to comply with a petition of members, and the obviously biased and novel Judicial Committee decision, the LEC officers and members elected at the July convention refused to step down and are continuing to serve as the LEC.  This continuing LEC called a regular convention for April 1 in Lansing. Our bylaws require that a regular convention be held to select all LEC officers and members between April 1 and July 31 of odd-numbered years, so the Lansing convention would do so, unlike the Mises Caucus convention that purportedly would only fill LEC vacancies.

At the 2022 national convention, the Mises Caucus won control of the national committee of the LP.  Consequently, it supports Chadderdon and had its attorney send a letter demanding that the continuing LEC stop representing itself as the LP of Michigan. Chadderdon hired the former general counsel of the Michigan Republican Party to represent him and the Mises Caucus and had him send a similar letter.  In response, the continuing LEC raised a special fund from LPM members to hire its own attorney.

At this point, the continuing LEC controls the LPM’s bank accounts and PO Box.  Chadderdon controls the website, linked PayPal account and Facebook page. The continuing LEC created a new website at  That website includes a link to sign up for the Lansing convention on April 1.

My personal opinion is that given Chadderdon’s past behavior, there is no clear benefit to attending the Wixom convention.  Even if, once again, Chadderdon and the Mises Caucus were to be outvoted, they would likely just fabricate another excuse to appeal to their Judicial Committee to overturn the convention’s decisions. I support the continuing LEC and plan to attend the Lansing convention.