Lyndon LaRouche U.S. presidential campaigns
Lyndon LaRouche's U.S. presidential campaigns were a controversial staple of American politics between 1976 and 2004. LaRouche ran for president on eight consecutive occasions, a record for any candidate, and has tied Harold Stassen's record as a perennial candidate. LaRouche ran for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States seven times, beginning in 1980. His current Political Action Committee is called "LaRouche PAC."
In 1971 LaRouche founded the U.S. Labor Party as a vehicle for electoral politics. In 1976 he ran for President of the United States as the U.S. Labor Party candidate, polling 40,043 votes (0.05%). According to LaRouche supporters, the major accomplishment of the campaign was the broadcast of a paid half-hour television address, which gave LaRouche the opportunity to air his views before a national audience. This was to become a regular feature of later campaigns during the 1980s and 1990s.
His platform included a reference to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller: "Impeach Rocky to prevent imminent nuclear war".
Since the autumn of 1979, LaRouche resigned from the U.S. Labor Party and founded the National Democratic Policy Committee (NDPC), a political action committee whose name drew complaints from the Democratic National Committee, who saw these efforts as infiltration.
LaRouche budgeted $150,000 for the first primary state, New Hampshire. That included air time on TV stations in overlapping markets such as Maine and Vermont, along with 1,928 radio advertisements on New Hampshire radio. LaRouche reportedly spent $4,000 on a half-hour broadcast on WBZ, and a total of $24,200 on all TV spots in the state.
The Democratic National Committee asserted that LaRouche is not a Democrat, but the U.S. electoral system made it impossible for the party to prevent LaRouche followers entering Democratic primaries. LaRouche himself polled negligible vote totals, but continued to promote himself as a serious political candidate, a claim which was sometimes accepted by elements of the media and some political figures.
Independent Democrats for LaRouche, a committee formed for the 1984 election, was found guilty in 1988 of soliciting loans in violation of Minnesota securities law, and was ordered to stop selling unregistered Securities.
In 1992, LaRouche became the second person in U.S. history (after Eugene Debs) to run for president from a prison cell – although Debs was generally considered a serious candidate and was in jail for his political beliefs (against World War I) rather than for fraud. LaRouche's supporters argue that he was, in fact, in jail for his political beliefs (see LaRouche criminal trials). Classical violinist Norbert Brainin performed a benefit concert on his behalf in Washington, D.C.; the Washington Post reviewer praised his musicianship while condemning his political message. LaRouche's running mate, who did the active campaigning, was the American Civil Rights Movement leader, Reverend James Bevel.
Prior to the primaries the Chair of the Democratic National Party, Don Fowler, ruled that LaRouche "is not to be considered a qualified candidate for nomination of the Democratic Party for President" on account of LaRouche's "expressed political beliefs, including beliefs which are explicitly racist and anti-Semitic, and otherwise utterly contrary to the fundamental beliefs ... of the Democratic Party and ... on his past activities including exploitation of and defrauding contributors and voters." In subsequent primaries LaRouche received enough votes in Louisiana and Virginia to get one delegate from each state. When the state parties refused to award the delegates LaRouche sued in federal court, claiming a violation of the Voting Rights Act. After losing in the district court the case was appealed to the First District Court of Appeals, which sustained the lower court.
In 1999, however, a court ruled that the Democratic National Committee had the right to keep LaRouche from electing delegates to the Democratic National Convention, based on a party requirement that a Democratic nominee must be a registered voter. LaRouche, as a convicted felon, is not eligible to be a registered voter in the state of Virginia, where he lives. (see United States v. LaRouche)
A routine FEC audit of the 2000 "LaRouche's Committee for a New Bretton Woods" campaign found that vendors whose sole client was Lyndon LaRouche had added unqualified "mark-up charges" to the bill submitted for matching funds. The vendors were American System Publications, Inc., Eastern States Distributors, Inc., EIR News Services, Inc., Hamilton Systems Distributors, Inc., Mid-West Circulation Corp., Southeast Literature Sales, Inc., and Southwest Literature Distributors, Inc. They had overbilled by $241,519 and the campaign was ordered to repay $222,034. The FEC decision was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
LaRouche qualified to win six delegates in the Arkansas Democratic primary. A minimum of 15% vote was required and LaRouche took 22%. However, the Democratic Party refused to grant him delegates because he was ineligible to vote.
Again, LaRouche gained negligible electoral support. However, according to the Federal Election Commission statistics, LaRouche had more individual contributors to his 2004 presidential campaign than any other candidate, until the final quarter of the primary season, when John Kerry surpassed him. As of the April 15 filing, LaRouche had 7834 individual contributions, of those who have given cumulatively, $200 or more, as compared to 6257 for John Kerry, 5582 for John Edwards, 4090 for Howard Dean, and 2744 for Gephardt.
He ran even though his home state of Virginia is one of a handful of states which still has lifetime denial of the vote to felons, which can be overturned only on appeal to the governor. (Neither the Constitution nor federal statute law requires presidents to be registered voters.) The Democratic Party did not consider his candidacy to be legitimate and ruled him ineligible to win delegates. He gained negligible electoral support. He was endorsed by two Democratic state representatives, Erik Fleming of Mississippi and Harold James of Pennsylvania, though Fleming later called the endorsement "the worst mistake of all." LaRouche was not one of the major candidates invited to the primary-season debates, although he did participate in some alternative forums for minor candidates.
LaRouche was present in Boston during the 2004 Democratic National Convention but did not attend the convention itself. His followers sang songs insulting Democratic nominee John Kerry. Later in the campaign his followers heckled Kerry and disrupted his rallies.
On October 17, 2016, LaRouchePAC advised readers to write in Lyndon LaRouche and Alexander Hamilton in the 2016 Presidential elections. In the article "What We Need in 2016: — Alexander Hamilton's Principles, LaRouche's Four Laws", the PAC wrote "American citizens should write in LaRouche's name at the presidential ballot box to stand for the re-adoption of Alexander Hamilton's economic principles, as LaRouche has reclarified them. "I'm writing in LaRouche and Alexander Hamilton, let's get the nation to elect the right principles" will cut through the dread with which Americans are questioning each other about the approach of Election Day."
This exhortation was disseminated by PAC members through social media. No verifiable statistics have been assembled concerning vote totals.
|Year||Party||Running mate||Total funds raised||Matching funds||Campaign debt||Primary votes||Sources|
|1976||Labor||Ronald Wayne Evans|
|Total since 1990||$23,814,604||$2,899,889||$18,881,195|
- 1976 – Committee to Elect Lyndon LaRouche (1976 Committee)
- 1980 – Citizens For LaRouche
- 1984 – Independent Democrats for LaRouche
- 1988 – Democrats For National Economic Recovery – LaRouche in 88
- 1992 – Democrats For Economic Recovery-LaRouche in 92
- 1996 – The Committee to Reverse the Accelerating Global Economic and Strategic Crisis: A LaRouche Exploratory Committee
- 2000 – LaRouche's Committee for a New Bretton Woods
- 2004 – LaRouche in 2004
- LaRouche Democratic Campaign
- Texas Democrats to Draft LaRouche
- LaRouche Campaign
- Committee to Elect Lyndon LaRouche v. FEC; FEC v. Committee to Elect Lyndon LaRouche; Jones v. FEC
- Gelman v. FEC (80 1646)
- Gelman v. FEC (80 2471)
- Dolbeare v. FEC (No. 81 Civ. 4468-CLB)
- FEC v. Citizens for LaRouche;
- FEC v. LaRouche
- LaRouche v. State Board of Elections
- Spannaus v. FEC (85-0404)
- Spannaus v. FEC (91-0681)
- LaRouche v. FEC (92-1100)
- LaRouche v. FEC (92-1555)
- FEC v. LaRouche(94-0658)
- LaRouche's Committee for a New Bretton Woods v. FEC
FEC chronology 1979–1992
- August 23, 1979 – U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upholds the Commission's action in denying primary matching fund payments to Lyndon LaRouche, a candidate of the U.S. Labor Party, during the 1976 presidential primary campaign. (613 F.2d 834 (D.C. Cir. 1979), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 1074 (1980).)
- December 18, 1979 – Lyndon LaRouche establishes eligibility to receive primary matching funds.
- February 19, 1980 – U.S. Supreme Court denies a petition for certiorari in three cases brought by Lyndon LaRouche and Leroy Jones against the Commission. (444 U.S. 1074 (1980).)
- April 17, 1980 – Commission terminates the primary matching fund eligibility of Lyndon LaRouche.
- May 28, 1980 – Commission denies a request to re-establish matching fund eligibility for Lyndon LaRouche.
- July 22, 1980 – U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirms the Commission's determination that Lyndon LaRouche failed to re-establish matching fund eligibility. (Gelman v. FEC, 631 F.2d 939 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 876 (1980).)
- October 27, 1980 – U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rules that FEC must notify Citizens for LaRouche Committee of investigations involving contributors to 1980 LaRouche campaign. (Gelman v. FEC, Civil Action No. 80-2471.)
- April 15, 1981 – Commission releases final audit report on Citizens for LaRouche (1980).
- March 11, 1982 – District Court for the Southern District of New York grants preliminary injunction to plaintiffs in Dolbeare v. FEC, in which plaintiffs challenged FEC investigations of the 1980 presidential primary campaign of Lyndon LaRouche. (No. 81 Civ. 4468-CLB (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 9, 1982)(unpublished opinion).) The LaRouche campaign alleged that the FEC had launched investigations to harass the campaign, producing a "chilling effect on the free association rights of the campaign's contributors," and that the FEC had gone beyond the prescribed scope of its investigations. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York barred the FEC from initiating any more investigations into the LaRouche campaign's 1980 presidential primary activities until the pending enforcement actions were concluded, and auditing, or issuing depositions to, LaRouche campaign contributors unless the FEC simultaneously notified the LaRouche campaign of such actions.
- January 26, 1984 – Commission initially determines Democratic candidate Lyndon LaRouche ineligible for 1984 primary matching funds, based on violations involving his 1980 campaign.
- April 12, 1984 – Lyndon LaRouche establishes eligibility to receive primary matching funds.
- July 7, 1984 – Lyndon LaRouche becomes ineligible for matching funds.
- October 29, 1985 – Commission releases audit report on 1984 presidential primary campaign of Lyndon LaRouche.
- March 24, 1988 – Lyndon H. LaRouche establishes eligibility to receive primary matching funds.
- May 23, 1990 – FEC releases final audit report on LaRouche Democratic Campaign.
- October 3, 1990 – LaRouche committee makes oral presentation contesting FEC audit report.
- December 19, 1991 – Commission denies Lyndon LaRouche's eligibility to receive primary matching funds.
- February 27, 1992 – FEC makes final determination denying matching funds to Lyndon LaRouche, for his 1992 presidential campaign.
- March 3, 1992 – Lyndon LaRouche and his campaign committee ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the Commission's decision to deny the campaign matching funds. (LaRouche v. FEC (No. 921100).)
- September 17, 1992 – FEC makes final determination that the LaRouche Democratic Campaign repay $151,260 in federal funds for 1988 campaign.
- October 22, 1992 – Lyndon LaRouche and LaRouche Democratic Campaign '88 petition U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the Commission's final repayment determination.
Other FEC cases
In 2004, the FEC dismissed a complaint filed by LaRouche associate Barbara M. Boyd against LaRouche Watch, an online forum, and Red Letter Press, a publishing house affiliated with the Freedom Socialist Party. The Commission found "no reason to believe" that the forum was a political action committee, or that it was subsidized by Red Letter Press, as alleged by Boyd.
- Berlet, Chip; Joel Bellman (March 10, 1989). "Fascism Wrapped in an American Flag". Political Research Associates. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- Estill, Robert (March 23, 1986). "3-time fringe presidential hopeful LaRouche remains an enigma". The San Diego Union. San Diego, Calif. p. A.15.
- "Spannaus to run against Sen. Warner, again", Joe Borda, Loudon County Times, April 30, 2002 Party insiders and political observers say that they believe the LaRouche organization is trying to use the Democratic Party to legitimize and restart its once-successful fund-raising operation. Former Democratic Party chair Rollie Winter confirmed that for much of the past decade county Democrats have fought to keep LaRouche and his followers from taking over the local Democratic Party. Mary Broz, communications director for the Democratic Party of Virginia, said there is no such thing as a LaRouche Democrat. "That just doesn't exist." Added Alan Moore, former director of the state Democratic Party, "Followers of Lyndon LaRouche are not Democrats."
- Black, Chris (January 16, 1980). "Television Hard Sell Begins. Stay Tuned". The Boston Globe. p. 1.
- "U.S. Supreme Court;All-white jury acceptable in murder suit, court says" USA Today [McLean, Va.] 10 Jan. 1989, 06a.
- "1988 Vote: the Final Word" December 29, 1988, New York Times
- LaRouche v. Fowler, 152 F. 3d 974, 975–76 (D.C. Cir. 1998), quoted in Bligh, Gur. "Extremism in the Electoral Arena: Challenging the Myth of American Exceptionalism". Brigham Young University Law Review. Provo, Utah. 2008 (5): 1367.
- Terrell, Steve (July 30, 2004). "Convention Notebook". The Santa Fe New Mexican. p. A.7.
- "You know it's almost election time when a particular voting". Concord Monitor. Concord, N.H. October 5, 2004. p. A.01.
- GEARAN, ANNE (October 5, 2004). "Few tough questions in campaign town halls". Columbian. Vancouver, Wash. Associated Press. p. A.2.
- MUR 5400 Archived 2009-08-31 at the Wayback Machine. November 4, 2004, Federal Election Commission
- LaRouche PAC
- Lyndon LaRouche tries again Associated Press report on LaRouche's entry into the 2004 presidential race
- Strange Bedfellows on Pennsylvania state Rep. Harold James' endorsement of LaRouche's 2004 campaign for the Democratic nomination
- LaRouche supporters disrupt Democrats January 2004 CNN report on LaRouche followers disrupting a Howard Dean event
- The 1986 LaRouche electoral debacle in Illinois Paper presented by John W. Williams at the annual meeting of the 1995 Illinois Political Science Association and printed in 1995 issue of the Illinois Political Science Review
- Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism by Dennis King Chapters 11 to 15 gives history of LaRouche electoral activity in the 1970s and 1980s
- FEC Court Case Abstracts Summaries of litigation between the Federal Election Committee and LaRouche political committees.