Libertarians protest petition challenges

Libertarians protest petition challenges


Irvin Smith of Sangamon County and Carla Bender of Logan County, both Republicans, are challenging the more than 52,000 signatures gathered by the Libertarian Party of Illinois to place its statewide slate on the November ballot. That slate includes Peorian Steven Burgauer for United States Senate, and Cal Skinner Jr. an 8-term state representative who has left the Republican Party to run for governor as a Libertarian.

“After seeing some of the accusations from Irvin Smith and Carla Bender on their petition challenge, we are shocked at how frivolous this challenge is,” Mike Ginsberg, vice-chair of LPI said today. “This is obviously a desperate move by the Illinois Republican Party because they are afraid of a little competition from candidates who know how to say no to higher taxes.”

Irvin Smith is the Republican Party chairman for Sangamon County, and Carla Bender is the elected Circuit Court Clerk for Logan County. Among the accusations placed were that the notary publics who signed the Libertarian Party’s petitions were not present when the petitioners signed them.

“This is absolutely ridiculous, and they are truly embarrassing themselves by claiming 29,000 of our 52,000 signatures are not valid,” Ginsberg added. They have allegedly already cost taxpayers more than 200 hours of overtime last week when they were scouring these petitions in DuPage and Cook County offices. “The burden of proof is on them about the notaries, and everyone involved is ready to walk into court and testify. The only fraud going on here is them reaching for straws. Someone should check Carla Bender’s phone records to make sure she wasn’t working on this petition challenge from her office. I don’t see how she can even be involved in this when she is supposed to be doing her elected job,” Ginsberg says.

In 1998, according to a Chicago Tribune article by Cornelia Grumman, 73 state employees worked on the Libertarian petition challenge, and at least 19 of them were also being paid by taxpayers. This was never followed up on by then-Attorney General Jim Ryan.

“This type of abuse of government power has got to stop,” claims LPI Secretary, Jeffrey Trigg. “I heard they were working 12-hour days in government offices last week going over our petitions. They better hope none of them were on the taxpayer’s dime like 1998. This is precisely why George Ryan and Lee Daniels are in the trouble they are in. Apparently, they can spend more time, money, and resources challenging our petitions than they can making sure government employees are not doing campaign work. This petition challenge may cost taxpayers half a million dollars once the process is complete and goes to show the Republicans are more interested in power than they are protecting our hard-earned money. The Green Party candidates may have something to say about the Democrats as well. We need a total overhaul in Springfield.”

The Daily Herald, Chicago Tribune, and State Journal-Register had articles referencing this petition challenge.

The two “legal voters” who challenged the statewide slate of candidates are Irvin F. Smith and Carla L. Bender. They can be contacted for comment as follows:

Irvin F. Smith, Republican Party Chairman, Sangamon County Complex, 200 S. 9th St., Springfield, IL 62701 (217) 528-6500. His home address is: 400 Kenyon Drive, Springfield, IL 62704 (217) 546-4170.

Carla Bender, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Logan County, 601 Broadway St. Lincoln, IL 62656 (217) 735-2376. Her home address is: 11 Oakwood Dr., Lincoln, IL 62656 (217) 735-2525.

The Libertarian Party may be contacted as follows: Jeff Trigg (309) 693-3402, E-mail:

Despite the challenge, Mr. Burgauer expects to meet his opponents in the debates this fall, where he will hammer home his plan to eliminate the Social Security tax and cut the income tax to a maximum rate no higher than 20 percent. He will also push for his plan to eliminate income taxes on incomes below $25,000 and on young people under age 25 who are trying to get established in their first jobs. Other planned tax cuts include the elimination of the alternative minimum tax, all taxes on capital gains, and a permanent repeal of the death tax.

Mr. Burgauer is a former stockbroker and mutual fund manager. He understands the world of business. He lives in Peoria, Ill., and has been happily married to the same woman for 27 years. Together they have raised two fine children, now of college age. A graduate of Illinois State University, Mr. Burgauer currently writes science fiction and teaches Business Economics for Eureka College, the alma mater of former President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of an investment guide. His community service includes being the scoutmaster of one of Peoria’s largest Boy Scout troops, where he started a High-Adventure Program for older boys and president of the Friends of the Peoria Public Library, where he spearheaded an initiative to raise nearly $200,000 in private funds to purchase a new bookmobile for the library.

In his acceptance speech at the Libertarian state convention, Mr. Burgauer stated his goals: “The America I see has sharply lower taxes. It has a smaller, less intrusive national government. It has accepted choice as a part of education. It has breathed new life into the Second Amendment. It has upheld an individual’s right to privacy, from the bedroom to the boardroom.”

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!