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Former GOP Donor Goes in Big for Gary Johnson With $117,000 to His Campaign

B. Wayne Hughes Jr. says Johnson and William Weld are "speaking reason and sanity into what was otherwise cacophony" in the presidential election.

Gary Johnson's Libertarian Party campaign for president received its biggest single donation, pushing very near the legal maximum with $117,000 from B. Wayne Hughes Jr.

Johnson Victory FundJohnson Victory Fund

The donation went to the Gary Johnson Victory Fund, a special joint fundraising committee formed by the Johnson campaign and a group of state Libertarian Parties. This committee can currently legally take a maximum of $122,700 from individual donors.

Hughes' father founded the company Public Storage, and Hughes is on its board of directors. He described his fortune as deriving from "real estate" in a phone interview last night.

Hughes had, as he said, a "long history of donating to the Republican Party" and was "involved as a donor in both Bush campaigns." He had also been a major funder of Karl Rove's American Crossroads PAC that helped win Congress for the GOP in 2010.

Hughes was also a major funder of California's Proposition 47, giving over $1.2 million and winning for a proposition that, as the Sacramento Bee reported in a story on Hughes' philanthropy in 2014, "lowers penalties to misdemeanors for drug possession and property crimes, and could result in the release of 9,000 prisoners."

"I was inspired that the people of California would take time and stop and see the issue for what it was. They have a heart," Hughes told the Bee then. The Bee reported that Hughes' philanthropy was at that point mostly focused on "saving lost souls. He visits a prison every few months, and funds a prison ministry and several women's recovery homes. Hughes interest in prisoners was inspired by his friendship with Chuck Colson, the former Nixon aid who dedicated his later years to helping prisoners reform.

Hughes does not feel like he has walked away from the GOP now, saying that in the Trump era "it's a matter of them walking away from me." He went to the Johnson campaign, not the other way around, he says. "I don't see any ideas and any track record on either side [of the two major parties] that would lend itself to good government," Hughes says. He studied Johnson and his vice presidential partner William Weld's records as Republican governors of New Mexico and Massachusetts, respectively, and saw them "speaking reason and sanity into what was otherwise cacophony" in the election.

While he's been aware of the Libertarian Party, "I never thought of throwing my vote" to it until now. "I'm conservative," he says. "I characterize myself as a conservative before a Republican. I'm very fiscally conservative and socially moderate." He says he first heard about Johnson from "a friend" about six months ago who "said there was a third [choice] trying to carve out a place at the table."

He most appreciated about Johnson and Weld "their experience, and their position toward governance and against government being involved in all of our daily lives, creeping in all the time through regulation and taxation and restrictions. That's not" what should be the government's position.

I talked to Hughes about various areas where the Libertarian position might run counter to Republican thinking.

On immigration, while he thinks "a country that doesn't secure its borders puts itself in danger" he also believes that "if folks want to come here and work and start a new life, there's no better country in the world to do so, and I don't hold it against them. Deporting 11, 12 million here illegally is not feasible and just grandstanding."

While he says one of Johnson's pet issues of marijuana legalization "really isn't that important to me," he also thought: "Why would we ask law enforcement to put their life on the line to enforce the law against someone who wants to smoke marijuana? That's ridiculous. It doesn't make you go and rob banks, it makes you order a pizza." Ultimately "the war on drugs is a joke" though he still believes "certain drugs consume a person's body and mind and soul and causes them to do bad things, but I don't think marijuana falls into that category."

On foreign policy, Hughes agrees "the idea of nation building is ridiculous, and we are in how many dozen countries paying to be there? Even China or Russia, the amount of bases they have on foreign soil pales to amount we have—not that we are a bad actor, we are there for the right reasons, but being world policeman is a role we filled for a long long time and it's time to take ourselves out of that role."

Hughes knows that doing so means "there are going to be problems, but that doesn't mean we ought not think of taking ourselves out of that role; we've been hanging on to that anchor and it's taking us deeper and deeper and it's time to let go of the anchor" of that responsibility to manage the world.

Hughes, as the reporting on his role supporting Prop. 47 stressed, is a serious Christian, though he "wouldn't say my faith had anything to do with my decision for Gov. Johnson." But he does like to think of Jesus in his work and in his support of prison ministries and prison reform. "People in prison are under pressure, and they can turn to dust or diamonds depending on who takes a stand with them," Hughes says.

Hughes has not completely ruled out the idea of further funding for Johnson through SuperPACs, though he thinks it's unlikely. He says he's given to such PACs before and they didn't necessarily do things he wanted them to do. "$117,000 is a lot of money, but I think Gov. Johnson is the candidate who is going to speak truth and light into a situation where it's in short supply."

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  • SIV||

    Bush Republicans like Johnson. Not a surprise.

  • some guy||

    KKK members like Trump. Not a surprise.

  • BigT||

    Commies and criminals and lazy people like Hildog. No surprise.

  • Cute Little Bunny Rabbit||

    I like surprises. Not a surprise.

  • Bra Ket||

    well that's unfortunate isn't it?

  • FreeSpeechMatters||

    Johnson and Weld are in some ways even worse than Bush Republicans. They both support the federal regulatory state, at the expense of small business and individual freedom.

    Gary Johnson supports various statist, politically-correct federal regulations and red tape. He also opposes religious freedom for small business owners, and supported forcing a wedding photographer to photograph a gay commitment ceremony (which violated the photographer's free speech rights, not just her religious freedom):

    http://libertyunyielding.com/2.....m-charges/

    His Vice Presidential nominee William Weld is a statist, politically-correct progressive who opposes repealing Obamacare, supports campus speech codes, and thinks new government programs should be created to create government jobs for black youth:

    http://libertyunyielding.com/2.....obamacare/

    Weld's political icon is Jacob "Jack" Javitz, a progressive New York Senator who lost the GOP primary for re-nomination after pushing for massive spending increases, sponsoring left-wing judges who imposed race-based busing and welfare rights, and pushing for race-based affirmative action.

    Weld supports burdensome federal regulation of private businesses, that even the Bush family opposed, like the FMLA, passed over the elder Bush's veto.

  • FreeSpeechMatters||

    Correction: Actually, the FMLA became law under Clinton, who signed it. The elder Bush's veto of it, which occurred earlier, was not overridden.

  • anticollective||

    The best part is that Gary Johnson has said that he would defer to big-government Weld on SCOTUS picks - the single most important and longest lasting impact the next president will have.

  • gaoxiaen||

    You know who else likes surprises?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mUCLHzWiJo

  • Dr. McBanjo XV||

    Donates six figures to libertarian causes but doesn't pass commenter purity test. Not a surprise.

  • Hank Phillips||

    He passes the test for ability to make money and realization that bullying women and using forfeiture and tax laws to enforce prohibition destroys the economy. Republicans tried this in 1928-1932. Pauline Sabin and other wealthy and glamorous women turned their energies against the mohammedan mentality that had taken over the GOP. They proved that no party that sends men with guns to attack womankind and jail their kids will stay entrenched. The Dems clearly recall this lesson from back before they became a branch of the soviet, and are favored 3.5 to 1 by betting odds that lay 2.5 to 1 that God's Own Prohibitionists will again fly into the nearest skyscraper in a spectacular show of sacrificial zealotry. Read their platform!

  • Grant||

    Economic ignoramuses register Democrat. Not a surprise.

  • SparktheRevolt||

    To be fair, Pre-9/11 Bush ran on a platform against nation building.

  • Rich||

    "certain drugs consume a person's body and mind and soul and causes them to do bad things, but I don't think marijuana falls into that category"

    ", unlike desire for power over others."

  • Hank Phillips||

    Those opiate drugs we decriminalize, as in Portugal. The only banks in Europe popular enough to be able to raise interest rates are in Portugal.

  • The Fusionist||

    This guy at least presents himself as a good sort. How inspiring, even apart from giving to Johnson.

  • BigT||

    "Deporting 11, 12 million here illegally is not feasible and just grandstanding."

    True. It's a negotiating/campaigning position. As we've heard recently, Trump knows this will never happen. But it jazzes the base. Isn't that exactly what everyone complained that Mitt didn't do?

  • Warren||

    Too little, too late.

  • Longtobefree||

    "Deporting 11, 12 million here illegally is not feasible and just grandstanding."
    Says a resident of a country that put a man on the moon.
    It actually is feasible, just not at all easy, and just not going happen with current leaders. And, oh by the way, all of those leaders took an oath to uphold the laws of the United States of America. So they either need to openly change the laws, or openly enforce them. The current mess of "later", "maybe", "just the bad ones", and so on is not fair to the crooks or the citizens.

  • qjkxbmwvz||

    In that case, how would you recommend that it be done? It's a lot of people to deport, and illegal Hispanics look exactly the same as legal ones, so you would have to unjustly subject a lot of people to unreasonable investigation. And oh, man, what if someone isn't carrying ID (perfectly legally)? Better just detain them for now. Maybe after they've been cleared, we can make all the legal Hispanics wear little badges shaped like sombreros - otherwise, the same people would be detained and investigated over and over.

  • gaoxiaen||

    We just make them wear a badge with a snake-eating eagle on a cactus.

  • Wrath0fKahn||

    Interesting, I'd like to here more about how his faith has influenced (or not) his politics. As a religious person, I find libertarianism obviously more ethical and non-violent than competing theories of governance, but I'm surprised at all the Christians who go elsewhere, be it conservative warmongering or liberal police states (justified because of course Jesus would have loved a welfare state!).

  • Wrath0fKahn||

    Agreed, in general principled non-violence feeds directly into libertarianism, and freedom of religion, you'd think, would be a big concern for religious folk and ought to get them thinking in more free direction politically. That's not the way people work though, regrettably.

    It's my impression that more often than not, outspoken libertarians are secular, so it's interesting to hear about people who attribute religious convictions with influencing their politics wind up being libertarian. It's far too uncommon, normally given the 'beliefs' they espouse.

  • qjkxbmwvz||

    Freedom of religion isn't a big issue for members of the majority religion. They just want to freely practice their own, and everyone else can go to hell.

  • John DeWitt||

    To me, it seems natural that people who desire to freely exercise their religion (or lack thereof) would see the sense in libertarianism's "live and let live" ethos.

    Except many don't necessarily want free exercise of all religion, just their own. Hence why the nanny state is an efficient way to prevent homos from ruining God's society on Earth. "Live and let live" isn't desirable to those folks.

  • mamasan||

    You reference the Jesus who made a distinction between giving a man a fish and teaching him to fish? Jesus did not support sloth. And I can find nothing to suggest he liked government in any shape or form, charity yes...government a big fat "NO'.

  • Wrath0fKahn||

    I was being sarcastic, haha. I'm theologically pretty liberal (as in, evolution is a given, homosexuality is very likely not a sin, the bible while authoritative isn't very clear and isn't really meant to be, etc), so a lot of my friends who are religious but also more liberal theologically (as opposed to being theologically fundamentalist) are also politically progressive and always trot out the dumb claims like that Jesus was a socialist or that he'd have wanted us to care for the poor (which in their minds must mean it's a political mandate to be done by the police state).

    The most political Jesus ever got was his teaching about nonviolence (everything else is social or religious teaching), and so it baffles me how liberal Christians pass over the nonviolence part and focus on the social teaching and add a dash of police violence/power to get it done.

    Fundamentalist Christians just hearken back to Old Testament theocracy and say the government can do whatever it wants as long as its what they want.

    If you're being intellectually honest, libertarianism (i.e. the least amount of institutionalized and societal violence the better) is the natural product of modern Christian ethics, but Americans are terrible at being intellectually honest when politics are on the line.

  • John DeWitt||

    Should have just read your next comment:

    Fundamentalist Christians just hearken back to Old Testament theocracy and say the government can do whatever it wants as long as its what they want.
  • Hank Phillips||

    The Sermon on the Mount was the sort of altruism that inspired much of the National Socialist platform, was reiterated all through Mein Kampf, and turned up again in the Reichstag Speech introducing the Enabling Act of 1933. On the other hand, it was the American Liberal Party organized by Carnegie volunteers that declared against communism and the dole, and demanded an end to the bloodthirsty and venal enforcement of prohibition what had dragged the US economy into the Great Depression. The argument against conservatism is that prohibition enforcement destroys the economy, as just recently in the George Bush asset forfeiture meltdown.

  • qjkxbmwvz||

    That's...not in the Bible. The whole "give a man a fish..." proverb is of uncertain origin. It's often attributed to Laozi, but only by people who aren't Chinese. The earliest known attestation dates from the 19th century.

  • SparktheRevolt||

    Render unto Caesar is fairly pro-government.

  • CLM1227||

    It could arguably be said that Jesus wasn't concerned with politics or governmental institutions as long as those who followed him would do what is right in God's eyes, even so much as not speaking out against the Roman occupation of Judea or saying anything concerning the government institution of slavery.

    As long as his followers understood that this was temporary, but that eternity is what mattered, it wasn't important.

    It could also be said that Christ will take care of the government part when he comes back as King.

  • mamasan||

    And if you were being sarcastic, I missed it.

  • Wrath0fKahn||

    The Jesus welfare state comment was sarcasm, haha.

    I'm so tired of people saying that Jesus was a socialist, or a republican, or an Obama fan, or what-have-you.

  • qjkxbmwvz||

    Jesus was actually a big fan of Quidditch.

  • John DeWitt||

    Maybe he can use some of that money to redesign that powerpoint victory fund logo.

  • Malcolm Kyle||

    A few simple facts that lend support to Gary Johnson's position::

    * An elected government should not declare war and militarize against its own people. Historically, the use of force to address/prohibit non-violent, victimless activities has produced only negative results.

    * Drug prohibition, coupled with the senseless contra wars in Latin America in the 1980s—which was funded by clandestine CIA cocaine shipments into North American cities—has destabilized the whole region, causing mass violence and a flood of refugees into the United States.

    * In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. This has resulted in the number of people infected with HIV who are drug addicts dropping from 50 per cent to 20 per cent, and new diagnoses of HIV among addicts dropping from approximately 3,000 to below 2,000 annually. The number of drug overdose deaths declined from 400 to 290 a year between 2001 and 2006, and "problematic" drug use and drug use among adolescents has decreased.

    * Illegal Drug Cartels cannot operate without the support of politicians, bureaucrats, and police officers.

    * The involvement of the CIA in running Heroin from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan, and Cocaine from Central America, has been well documented, by the 1989 Kerry Committee report, academic researchers Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott and the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Gary Webb.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Most Americans just dismiss that stuff as crazy talk. A few others say that that it's necessary.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Worse things could happen than danegeld from defecting republicans. The National Temperance Society, one of the tendrils feeding the Prohibition Party, began receiving donations from the likes of Vanderbilt, Rockefeller and Morgan in 1880. By 1916 the Prohibition Amendment was on its way into the Constitution. This took a dozen presidential campaigns in which NO prohibition candidate was elected and the average prohi vote was 1.4% of total votes cast. Spoiler votes change the laws, reverse jurisprudence and Supreme Court decisions and amend the Constitution with less than 2% of the vote and nobody elected to the top offices. THAT's clout!
    If freedom is what YOU value, voting the 7-page libertarian platform will deliver YOU the goods. Wasting your vote on entrenched looter Kleptocracy parties will only deliver more of what they value.

  • some-yahoo||

    Mr. Hughes, thank you for your very generous contribution to the Gary Johnson/William Weld campaign.

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