Sabrin: ‘Paul Should Accept Matching Funds’

Murray Sabrin, the Libertarian nominee for New Jersey Governor in 1997, has written the following piece for Lew Rockwell which calls on Ron Paul to take public matching funds for his Presidential campaign. This has been an ongoing debate as Paul’s fundraising increased sharply during the last couple of weeks.

Sabrin’s showing of 5% in that 1997 race against Christine Todd Whitman and Jim McGreevy was the high water mark for Libertarians in New Jersey. The following two Libertarian nominees, Mark Edgerton and Jeffrey Pawlowski, each got only a small fraction of 0ne-percent of the vote in 2001 and 2005.

The full item from Lew Rockwell...

I was the New Jersey Libertarian Party candidate for governor in 1997. The primary goal of the campaign was to raise $210,000 by the September 2 deadline to qualify for matching funds and get a spot in three televised debates. One of the “strings” in accepting the matching funds was to participate in three televised debates with Governor Whitman and the Democrat challenger, Jim McGreevey, who was a state senator and mayor of Woodbridge at the time.

Those were the rules. Raise the money, apply for the matching funds, and get the funds. The funds were used by us to spread the message of limited government, free enterprise and personal responsibility throughout the Garden State and expose millions of New Jerseyans to libertarian ideas.

Mission accomplished. We were all over television and radio and before newspaper editorial boards. On Election Day, we received nearly 5% of the vote or about 113,000 votes. Whitman won by about 21,000 votes, receiving less than 50% of the vote, thus ending any chance she had for national office. (She still hates my appearance in the debates, because I showed the world she was and still is a big government Republican.)

If we had not raised the minimum amount to qualify for the matching funds, I would not have been in the three debates, and we would have received much less than 1% of the vote. And the libertarian message would have been silenced in this campaign, for all intents and purposes. Because of the exposure I received during the 1997 campaign, I have become the unofficial spokesperson for libertarianism in the State of New Jersey.

Keep in mind, the New Jersey election commission (ELEC) denied our original application, because of a slight technical issue regarding an interpretation of the rules. We then had a hearing with an administrative law judge who ruled in our favor. The election commission subsequently approved our application on September 19, more than two weeks after our application was first filed, and about six weeks before the November election. In just six weeks, we created a buzz in the state, because we played by the rules. We reached millions of New Jerseyans and Americans because one of the debates was televised on C-SPAN, and we had the funds to pay for radio and television ads.

Ron Paul has been in nearly a dozen debates and forums. Yet, there are tens of millions of American who do not know who he is. Only exposure in the MSM will change that. One way would be to obtain the federal matching funds to get his message out to the general public, not just GOP primary voters. Independent voters could play a major role in some of the early primaries. Whatever the rules are they cannot be very onerous or come with many strings attached.

The Ron Paul campaign should accept the matching funds with a clear conscience, because Dr. Paul would be playing by the rules of the game. After all, he accepts a taxpayer funded congressional salary and taxpayer funds to run his congressional offices. If Ron Paul supporters do not want him to obtain matching funds because they are “tainted,” they should also demand he depend on voluntary contributions to pay for all the expenses, including salaries, of his DC and Texas offices. Clearly, that would be an unrealistic application of libertarian principles.

It seems if libertarians or traditional conservatives play by the rules of the game, the MSM call them hypocrites, and if we want to reduce or abolish the welfare-warfare state, we are called extremists. In short, we can never “win” or “please” the media elites and the pundit class. So let Ron be Ron.

Finally, if the campaign will not accept matching funds, then all the Ron Paul supporters in America will have to step up to the plate more than they have already. During the past week, Paul supporters have shown they can rise to the occasion when they are called upon. I estimate that if the Paul campaign raises $30 million in the fourth quarter ending December 31, he will definitely win the GOP presidential nomination.

10 Responses to “Sabrin: ‘Paul Should Accept Matching Funds’”

  1. Volunteer Voters » From The State Says:

    [...] Murray Sabrin, the Libertarian nominee for New Jersey Governor in 1997, believes that the decidedly anti-state Ron Paul should accept federal matching funds for his campaign — from the state. Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  2. Trent Hill Says:

    Im not sure I agree with Sabrin.

  3. G.E. Smith Says:

    It is a very difficult decision.

    I have to side, narrowly, with taking the funds.

  4. Trent Hill Says:

    GE! Welcome back to the board man!

  5. SovereignMN Says:

    Not sure how I feel about this. Sabrin lists what the consequences were in New Jersey…what are the consequences nationally for NOT taking the federal funds?

  6. Jay Matthews Says:

    I lean towards him taking the money. For those that are dead set against that idea ask yourself how you’d feel if a lack of funds kept him from getting the nomination. Money will keep him in the race, get his message to more people, and ultimately get him more votes.

  7. G.E. Smith Says:

    Thanks, Trent. My time away from politics has served me well. I was able to land a contract with a independent research firm, project by project. Securities analysis is what I’ve always wanted to do, but I could never get my foot in the door until now. Hopefully, I’ll soon be earning enough cash to make a max contribution to Ron Paul before NH.

  8. Trent Hill Says:

    Max donation? Good to hear it GE.

    When/if you DO donate—send me a facebook message first (for reasons to be explained later).

  9. Derrick Says:

    If Paul took matching funds it would dampen the enthusiasm of his base, myself included. That enthusiasm is what has propelled him this far, and is worth more than any amount of money.

    There might be some way to spin the matching funds thing into a fundraising pitch, ex: “Help Ron raise the amount of matching funds he is passing up on principle.”

  10. Paul K. Says:

    I support his taking matching funds. I understand the ideological objection but I think there is a way around it. If taxpayer funds are “stolen” from the citizens, can’t Paul supporters “contribute” the taxes stolen from them by the government and designate the campaign as their agent to recover the stolen funds? Talk about an easy fundraising pitch.

    If an election is like a war, money = bullets. If the enemy leaves its amunition dump unguarded we are fools not to take it.

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