The Libertarian Party is demanding that, since Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump got classified intelligence briefings, their two-governor ticket deserves one as well.
To get there, the party has requested the General Services Administration designate former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, as “eligible candidates” under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963.
In a letter to GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth, Libertarian Party Chairman Nicholas Sarwark noted the legal requirements by which the administrator would determine a candidate is a contender: “meets the requirements described in Article II, Section 1, of the United States Constitution for eligibility to the office of President; has qualified to have his or her name appear on the ballots of a sufficient number of States such that the total number of electors appointed in those States is greater than 50 percent of the total number of electors appointed in all of the States; and has demonstrated a significant level of public support in national public opinion polls, so as to be realistically considered among the principal contenders for President or Vice-President of the United States.”
The chairman stressed that “the Johnson-Weld ticket is one of only three that will appear on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”
“The Johnson-Weld ticket is also one of only three that is registering above 10 percent, on average, in the five polls used by the Commission on Presidential Debates (‘CPD’). These facts alone establish that Governor Johnson and Governor Weld are among the ‘principal contenders’ in this election,” Sarwark wrote. “Indeed, the only other candidates that meet the foregoing conditions are the Republican and Democratic nominees – and they are ‘eligible candidates’ by definition under the PTA.”
He added that despite the 15 percent threshold for debate inclusion set by the CPD – “a private organization founded and controlled by Republicans and Democrats” — a recent Quinnipiac poll showed 62 percent favoring Johnson’s inclusion.
“Among them is former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who is a member of the CPD, and Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee for president. Therefore, even if the partisan CPD defies the wishes of a clear majority of Americans, the non-partisan Government Services Administration should respect the will of the people, and designate Governor Johnson and Governor Weld as eligible candidates under the PTA,” Sarwark wrote.
The party requested a response by Sept. 26, given the fact that Clinton and Trump “have already begun receiving the services and facilities available to eligible candidates under the PTA.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Intelligence & National Security Summit last week that the administration and the two campaigns’ transition teams have already begun meeting at the White House.
Clapper stressed that the presidential daily briefing is not being shared with Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
“A completely separate team produces and coordinates the cross-agency effort to brief the candidates. And in fact, in our effort to try to make sure that there’s no political influence on the briefings, the candidate briefing team does not coordinate with the White House and only career intelligence officers give the briefings, not political appointees like me,” he said.