PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND (September 12, 2018) – While every politician on today’s ballot decries public corruption and conflicts of interest, all of them are participating in a political primary process that is corrupt at worst and unethical at best.

“As private, membership-driven organizations, political parties exist to do two things — push a political agenda and get candidates elected to advance that agenda,” said Libertarian Party of Rhode Island Chairman Pat Ford. “While those may be noble goals in and of themselves, using taxpayer funds to prop up these organizations and sponsor their partisan activities is wholly inappropriate and detrimental to robust and diverse political discourse.”

In political primaries, registered or declared members of a particular party choose from among two or more party candidates vying for the same office. The primary winners then stand against other partisan and independent candidates in the November general election.

The Libertarian Party – America’s third largest political party – chooses its standard bearers at a member convention paid for by the members. In contrast, the two “major parties” subsidize their internal selection process with taxpayer money every two years and call it a primary election.

“The Libertarian Party of Rhode Island stands firmly in opposition to all forms of corporate welfare,” Chairman Ford said. “Therefore, we call on taxpayers of the state to pressure elected officials into ending the policies of self-serving political protectionism promoted by the current primary system that continues to be financed on the backs of the Rhode Island taxpayer.”

According to the office of the Rhode Island Secretary of State, the taxpayers’ cost for today’s partisan activities will be in excess of $200,000. This amount does not include the statewide costs to cities and towns to run the primary election and process the ballots.

“Progressive Democrats and small-government Republicans are quick to criticize corporate welfare. Yet, as it relates to their own political parties, they are conspicuously silent,” said LPRI Political Director Eric Palmieri. “There is absolutely no reason taxpayers should be forced to subsidize the internal nominating processes of privately-run political parties, especially when nearly 50% of registered voters are unaffiliated,” Mr. Palmieri added.

“All forms of corporate welfare and taxpayer-funded subsidies create monopolies in the marketplace,” Chairman Ford stated. “As such, we cannot be surprised that the ‘major’ political parties have a monopoly on government. This entrenched system creates barriers to entry into the political process and prevents a level playing field.”

Unaffiliated and disenfranchised Rhode Island voters are invited to learn more about libertarian principles at, and to join the Libertarian Party of Rhode Island’s fight against a corrupt and unethical primary system.

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