In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday, Wes Benedict, co-founder and President of the Libertarian Booster PAC that spent $11,454 to circulate petitions necessary to get Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis on the ballot in Virginia said “[w]e probably wouldn’t have spent the $11,000 on Sarvis if we had not received the $150,000 from him [major Democratic donor Joseph Liemandt].”
Benedict told Breitbart that Liemandt, a software entrepreneur from Texas who had a net worth of $1.5 billion in 2000, gave the Libertarian Booster PAC $150,000 in January 2013. Breitbart News searched Federal Election Commission records and discovered that Liemandt donated $4,090 to the Virginia Democratic Party just three months earlier on October 17, 2012.
Until 2013, the Libertarian Booster PAC had focused on Texas, but Benedict told Breitbart that Liemandt knew of his intention to get involved in the Virginia gubernatorial race if he had the money. “I met with Mr. Liemandt several times. I told him we were going to expand to a few other states, including Virginia, before he put the money in, It was in the report I gave to him before he made his investment.”
Benedict noted that the Libertarian Booster PAC is not an independent expenditure Super PAC regulated by the Federal Election Commission, but a state based PAC that has filed the appropriate reports with the Virginia State Board of Elections that are required by Virginia state law.
Benedict told Breitbart “there are two PACs, and Mr. Liemandt has given to both PACs. I formed both PACs. The other PAC, the Libertarian Action Super PAC, has been closed down.” Benedict said the Libertarian Action Super PAC was formed to support the 2012 Presidential campaign of Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson.
On Tuesday The Blaze reported that Liemandt provided the majority of the financing for Benedict’s Libertarian Booster PAC, which spent $11,454 needed to get Sarvis on the ballot as the Libertarian candidate for governor in Virginia. Liemandt’s $150,000 donation was more than half of the $229,000 raised by the Libertarian Booster PAC in 2013.
The total amount of money raised by Sarvis has been minimal–only $202,301 according to the Virginia Public Access Project, an order of magnitude less than the $34 million raised by McAuliffe and the $19 million raised by Cucccinelli.
When the Libertarian Booster PAC spent $10,000 of its $11,454 on the petition drive in March, April, and May, Sarvis had no money and little hope of even getting on the ballot. Sarvis himself spent an additional $15,000 of his own money during these three critical months to finance the petition drive. Without the extra money from the Libertarian Booster PAC, it is unlikely he would have had enough signatures to get on the ballot.
Sarvis submitted petitions with slightly less than 18,000 signatures on the June 11 deadline, almost 8,000 more than the 10,000 necessary to get on the ballot for Tuesday’s gubernatorial election.
Sarvis is widely regarded as the spoiler in the race between Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe and Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli, drawing support away from Cuccinelli and increasing McAuliffe’s chances of victory in today’s election.
Liemandt has donated generously to Democratic organizations and candidates at the federal level, including $83,800 to various Barack Obama 2012 re-election committees, and $62,400 to the Democratic National Committee.
In addition to his donation to the Virginia Democratic Party, Liemandt has also donated to several other state Democratic committees, most notably in Colorado, where a network of behind the scenes donations to liberal activist groups by wealthy donors has helped transform the state from Republican to Democratic control over the past decade, as documented in the book, The Blueprint.
In his home state of Texas, Liemandt has donated heavily to extremely liberal Democratic politicians including incumbent Congressman Lloyd Doggett and failed gubernatorial candidate Bill White.