- Republican Liberty Caucus
The Republican Liberty Caucus is a political action organization dedicated to promoting the ideals of individual rights, limited government and free enterprise within the Republican Party in the
United States. It is considered the libertarianwing of the Republican Party. It also operates a political action committee, RLCUSA-PAC.
The roots of the Republican Liberty Caucus can be traced to three precursor organizations from which it derived most of its early memberships: the Libertarian Republican Alliance [LRA] , the "Radical Caucus" of the Libertarian Party [LP] , and the Libertarian Republican Organizing Committee [LROC] .
Joe Gentili, Larry Pennerand Gerry O'Brienfounded the LRA in Brooklynin 1972. The organization disbanded in 1981 in light of the growing successes of the LP during the same period. The "Radical Caucus" split from the LP, but failed to develop into a viable organization. The LROC, founded in 1988 by Justin Raimondo, Eric Garrisand Colin Hunter, developed a large mailing list and supported several Republican federal campaigns in California, but its efforts to expand into a national organization were not successful. Although the LROC was active for seven years, publishing "The Libertarian Republican" newsletter, participation in the organization dwindled and it eventually lost their financial support.
An organization using the name "Republican Liberty Caucus" was first founded by
Vernon Robinsonand used in the 1976 gubernatorial campaign of Art Popeof North Carolina by a group of libertarians supporting his campaign.Fact|date=February 2008 Later in the 1980s, the North Carolina RLC was listed for a time as a state chapter of the Libertarian Republican Organizing Committee (LROC). The North Carolina RLC disaffiliated from LROC in 1988, but then became inactive after the elections in 1988.
The organization as it exists today traces its beginnings to 1990. During a Young Republicans state convention in Tallahasse, Florida, a meeting of the leaders of the Florida Libertarian Republicans was convened, including Phil Blumel, Tom Walls, Eric Dondero and Rex Curry, to discuss creation of a new libertarian Republican organization. At the meeting, it was decided to break with LROC and form the Florida Republican Liberty Caucus. The organization was expanded by Eric Dondero Rittberg, who became the first National Chairman. Other existing LROC affiliates, most notably New Jersey and Virginia, disaffiliated with LROC and joined with the Florida Republican Liberty Caucus. By 1991, the LROC was defunct.
On April 6, 1991, at the Naples, Florida estate of
Roger MacBride, a meeting was held to formally organize the national RLC and plan for a July 1991 "coming out party" at the National Young Republicans Convention. Amongst other things it was decided at this meeting to start the RLC newsletter "Republican Liberty" publication funded by MacBride, as well create the RLC "Council of Trustees". Today the RLC is a national organization with 16 chartered state organizations and members in every state. Dondero Rittberg's oft advanced claim to have founded the RLC is hotly disputed by the current leadership. Dondero Rittberg is no longer connected with the organization.
Due to the Ron Paul for President campaign, from 2007 to 2008, the RLC has seen a resurgence in activity and membership across the country. Most of the key Ron Paul county leaders, across the country, were RLC leaders. Due to the canvassing and campaign experience gained from the Ron Paul campaign, now most RLC members are experienced campaign workers. This may prove interesting in the coming years for 2010 and 2012.
Officers of the RLC include
Bill Westmiller, Chairman; Phil Blumel, Vice-Chairman; Thomas Sewell, Secretary and Jeff Palmer, Treasurer. Advisory Board members include some members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Included are: Ron Paul, John Shadegg, and Jeff Flake. Other Advisory Board members include Robert Poole, Jennifer Roback-Morse, and Mark Skousen. Citizen Outreachfounder Chuck Muthis a former Chairman. The RLC has state contacts or state affiliates in most states. [ [http://www.rlc.org/?p=States Welcome to the Republican Liberty Caucus ] ]
Endorsements and monitoring
The RLC PAC endorses candidates based on [http://www.rlc.org/?p=FAQ#4263 these] criteria. [ [http://www.rlc.org/?p=FAQ#4263 Welcome to the Republican Liberty Caucus ] ] The first candidate endorsed by the RLC PAC was William Greene, who lost to Luis Rojas in his bid for the
Florida House of Representativesin 1994. [ [http://election.dos.state.fl.us/elections/resultsarchive/DetailRpt.Asp?ELECTIONDATE=9/8/1994&RACE=STR&PARTY=REP&DIST=102&GRP=&DATAMODE= "September 8, 1994 Primary Election: Republican Primary"] ] Past endorsed candidates include Governors Butch Otter, Mark Sanford, Gary E. Johnson, and William Weld, U.S. Senators George Allen, John Ensign, and Jim DeMint, and U.S. Congressmen Roscoe Bartlett, Helen Chenoweth-Hage, Jeff Flake, Ron Paul, Dana Rohrabacher, and Paul Ryan. Prominent RLC-endorsed state legislators include Tom Brinkmanof Ohio, Frank Laseeof Wisconsin, Mike Haridopolosof Florida, and David Shaferof Georgia.
They also rank members of Congress under their Liberty Index, [ [http://www.republicanliberty.org/libdex/index.htm RLC Liberty Index of Congress ] ] rating members of Congress on their official roll call votes during each session of the House and Senate. For each chamber twenty votes on economic issues and twenty votes on personal liberty are selected to rank members on their support of individual liberties. These forty votes are chosen and tallied by Professor Clifford F. Thies to create an index from 0% to 100% measuring how much the member has voted in favor of economic and personal liberty.
Common Principles "(from Texas)"
In 2000, the Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas adopted a list of principles with the intention of seeking common ground among differing RLC views due to the opinion that for every specific issue adopted by an organization, less common ground is found among its membership. The main focus should be the candidate's issues with the hope that an endorsement from the RLC will help more than hurt an endorsed candidate, with the list of principles.
The well-being of Americans results directly from the economic efforts of free men and women. The advent and growth of the welfare state, with its attendant heavy taxation and pervasive controls, has greatly impaired the country's economic growth. The RLC believes that the good intentions of the welfare state have actually produced only bitterness and economic stagnation. We call for the phase out, as rapidly as possible in view of our commitment to avoid needless human suffering, of the Federal and State apparatus of mandatory social institutions.
No less than economic liberty is the right of every American to personal liberty. As a matter of principle, as well as accomplishing the de-fueling of the engines of social conflict and discontent, we believe it is vital to repeal all laws limiting the right of an individual to act as he/she so chooses -- so long as he/she does not use force or fraud.
Protecting Individual Rights:
The most vital function of the government is to protect and defend its citizens from threats posed by foreign governments and opportunistic groups. To that end the RLC supports the maintenance of the means to ward off and defeat any possible foreign threat to the lives, liberty, and peaceful stability of every person within the borders of this nation.
On the twenty-second of May 2004, Delegates of The Republican Liberty Caucus PAC adopted an official and binding Statement of Principles and Positions at the organization's Bi-Annual Convention. The Statement of Principles and Positions declared the RLC's stances on a wide range of issues, from matters of domestic concern to international affairs. The resolution served to better clarify and solidify the organization's mission, purpose, core principles and beliefs.
"The Republican Liberty Caucus supports individual rights, limited government and free enterprise. Every human being is endowed by nature with inherent rights to life, liberty, and property that are properly secured by law. Supporting a strict construction of the Bill of Rights as a defense against tyranny; the expansion of those rights to all voluntary consensual conduct under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments; and the requirements of equal protection and due process under the Fourteenth Amendment."
The Caucus supports constitutional restrictions on federal government powers enumerated in Article I, Section 8 as an "absolute limit on all government programs and functions." The group strongly opposes what it perceives as "the adoption of broad and vague powers under the guise of general welfare and interstate commerce". The RLC condemns all restrictions on "the voluntary and honest exchange of value in a free market”. The RLC is greatly in favor of what it deems "minimal, equitable, and fair taxation for the essential functions of government." The Caucus stands in firm opposition to legislation that concedes Congressional power to "any regulatory agency, executive department, or international body." The body acknowledges the U.S. Constitution as "the supreme law of the land, the republican government it requires, and the right of all citizens to fair and equitable representation".
Bill of Rights
The Republican Liberty Caucus holds that "The first ten Amendments to the Constitution enumerate, but do not limit, the natural rights of every individual. These rights are intended to limit government action beyond the specified powers enumerated in Article I, Section 8 and should be broadly construed to recognize privacy and liberty rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence." The group strongly opposes all free speech restrictions, particularly emphasizing political free speech. The RLC opposes any public campaign financing and any law that permits an organization to contribute political donations against the desires of the organization's individual members.
The RLC supports the right for an individual to bear arms. The Caucus supports any initiatives that protect "medical, racial, and banking privacy." The group opposes eminent domain except for "essential government functions". Equal protection of law is supported by RLC members, and the Caucus stands in opposition to the "invocation of 'sovereign immunity' to "protect illegal and unethical government conduct."
The Caucus seeks state and local government alternatives to the War on Drugs, while still acknowledging the negative consequences that drug abuse causes. The Republican Liberty Caucus believes that "the sole function of courts is to interpret the Constitution".
The Republican Liberty Caucus seeks the immediate abolishment of: " Department of Education, Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities." The organization believes that these government departments violate the enumerated powers of the federal government in the Constitution.
The RLC strongly supports the immediate abolishment of income tax, believing it to be unconstitutional, to be replaced with a flat tax policy or national sales tax policy, i.e. the Fair Tax. The Caucus holds that all other federal taxes should be repealed, including those on businesses, and that only reasonable state and local taxes should remain in place. Parents should choose their children's education. The organization favors charity and private involvement in the educational systems and a gradual phase out of all government controls.
The Republican Liberty Caucus proposes a charity and private organization-based welfare program. Incrementally phasing out all governmental welfare programs save for a poverty line "safety net". The RLC strongly holds that taxation funding government welfare programs is theft perpetrated by the government.
The Republican Liberty Caucus believes that "The defense of the nation against foreign military aggression is a proper constitutional power and burden of the federal government. To provide for the common defense, it is authorized to raise and support armies, declare war, and enter into treaties.
The Caucus limits foreign military action "to only a Declaration of War by Congress in the face of an imminent and clear threat to the United States. We favor a clear strategy for entrance into and conclusion of any foreign engagement and a definable goal that constitutes victory." The Republican Liberty Caucus supported the military engagement in Afghanistan. The RLC has taken a neutral stance on the war in Iraq. This is a result of the organization's members being sharply divided on the issue.
The RLC favors open trade with other nations. The Caucus also calls for the incremental phasing out of foreign aid to other nations, except in times of disaster, and the withdrawing of all payments to other nations or international bodies, as it is seen by the RLC as a form of "global welfare and commercial intervention".
The Republican Liberty Caucus PAC takes no position on abortion other than that "We favor civil discussion of this question, but take no position on the merits of conflicting legal, ethical, and religious viewpoints on either side. We oppose any allocation of government funds or resources to facilitate abortions, advocate in the public discussion, or to jeopardize the right of any woman to defend her own life and health. We support a resolution of this issue through the proper judicial and legislative channels specified in the Constitution." The abortion issue has been one of the most divisive in the Caucus's history. The neutral policy stance was agreed to as a compromise between pro-life Republicans and pro-choice Republicans, but historically, the majority of the RLC's endorsed candidates have been pro-life.
In 2004, the Republican Liberty Caucus endorsed the
Free State Project, saying: "The Republican Liberty Caucus endorses and supports the objective of the Free State Project (FSP), to gather together liberty-lovers in a single political subdivision of the United States, specifically New Hampshire, in order to 'exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property'." A group also moved to Wyoming, settling primarily in the Eastern part of the state.
South Park Republican
* [http://www.rlc.org/ Republican Liberty Caucus official site]
* [http://www.republicanliberty.org/ Republican Liberty Caucus PAC official site]
* [http://www.rlc.org/?p=States Official listing of state chapters]
* [http://www.republicanliberty.org/docs/rlc2004_principles.htm RLC Statement of Principles]
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