I recently had a chance to talk with Mark Whitney. He’s an entrepreneur, comedian, and storyteller who’s currently running for the Libertarian presidential nomination, a path that seems to have been set by, of all things, bank fraud.
I talked to him about several things; positions on the issues, the party platform, and Star Wars. But here, I talk with him about his conviction for bank fraud, tax evasion schemes, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and what he plans to bring to his competition at the Florida debate. He may or may not have called someone he’s running against a “motherfucker”, and worse… Read on to find out.
In a first for me, it began with him asking me a question.
MW: Gary, what’s your story?
TLR: My story? Man, I’m just a political junkie who enjoys writing and talking to interesting people.
MW: Let me see if I can find someone for you. Hold on.
TLR: Let’s start with an easy one. Who is more guilty of bank fraud, you or the Federal Reserve?
MW: Definitely the Federal Reserve. Obviously, we’ve got to audit the Federal Reserve to find out how many foreign banks that we bailed out in 2008. But you know, fact of the matter is, if it wasn’t for the Federal Reserve, I never would have had a problem because it actually is linked right into that. So… bank fraud sounds a lot worse than it is.
What the crime really is, is a strict liability crime like what Snowden was charged with. So Snowden was charged with espionage, where all the government had to prove is that he took some shit. He’s not allowed to turn to the jury and say “Yes, but I took an oath to defend the Fourth Amendment”. You can’t do that. That is why he’s sitting in Russia. He said that if he didn’t have to do that…. if he could just explain… he’d come home. And he’d win.
So with bank fraud in the criminal arena? A criminal fraud case at the federal level? In my case, what I did… when I was 22… I was friends with this radio talk show host in Boston named Gene Burns who ran for the LP presidential nomination in 1984. And his favorite guest was Irwin Schiff. You ever heard Irwin Schiff?
MW: Okay, so Irwin was enormously popular on the radio back in the 80s. And, so, I used to have a little business up in Vermont, a little advertising agency. And I used to work in TV in Boston in the same building where Gene Burns had his radio show. And so I listened to his show, and I heard this guy Irwin Schiff saying you don’t have to pay your taxes. And I listened to him.
About three years later, you know, I’m married, got a kid on the way, and I’m getting my shit together. I still had this advertising agency. So I amend my tax returns, right? But shortly before I amended them, right? About a year before I amended my tax returns, Ben and Jerry’s started franchising, so I went down to the bank.
And when I applied for a couple million dollars to build stores all over New Hampshire, I gave the bank a couple of tax returns that weren’t what they appeared to be. I gave them that, the tax returns I should have filed with the IRS but never did.
And when the bank got in trouble for making loans that it was not allowed to make under federal regulations, because they were making loans that are too large. Because the more money they lend, the bigger their assets… well, the bigger their balance sheet looks in the asset column. The bank is for sale and the bank of Boston comes up to New Hampshire to buy the whole bank and make more money. So they were in trouble with the FDIC for that. So what the FDIC does is it audits the bank, and so the crime… the crime of bank fraud… it has nothing to do with whether you get the money or anything. It has to do with the fact you infected the files of the banks when the auditors come from the FDIC. They look at the files… the law presumes those files are 100% accurate. Because the file is going there that is materially inaccurate? Thaaat my friend, today, is a Class B felony. Back when I did it, it was a Class D felony. Today you get up to 30 years for it.
TLR: To your credit, you seem to be skilled at expressing libertarian ideas through humor and anecdotes in a relatable way accessible to everyday people. Why are so many other libertarians so goddamn awful at the skill set?
MW: Oh, that’s a really simple, simple question to answer. And I’m going to answer it with empathy. Because it is a simple matter of not having enough experience on their feet.
And, and we’re this is, this is, something is going on in the culture of my campaign right now. These guys, my team, are great, okay? And I’m lucky to have them. But I’m saying listen, we got three months to win this nomination. I’ve been on my feet for 40 years running my mouth in every conceivable environment. I don’t have time to bring you up to speed on what I’m doing here. Just try to keep up.
The California debate I kind of listened to them. And there’s some people telling me how awesome I did. No, I took a shit up there. When I go down to Florida, watch. The Florida debate is going to be broadcast on Facebook… it’ll be live streamed. And the Florida debates will be a shit show. I’m taking this guy Hornberger out. I’m taking Chafee out. I’m done with them. I’m getting this nomination. I’m done with these two pieces of shit.
Hornberger is a failed author. He writes shitty books, and he’s a wannabe. He’s a bloviator. He doesn’t answer the fucking questions and he’s doing a book tour under the guise of running for President, and that is unprincipled. And I sell the law to lawyers. And that motherfucker does not appear in one case in any law book in any law library. I’m not saying he’s a fraud. I’m saying he never did anything. I have 40,000 subscribers who pay me before they write their shitty books. I sell the law to them. So what I’m saying here, and you can quote me on all this shit, I understand this is being recorded.
From now on? When I’m on the debate stage, and I hear bullshit? I’m calling bullshit. Lincoln Chafee likes to say the anti war nominee? The anti-war candidate, because he voted against the Iraq War in 2002? On September 18 2001, Lincoln Chafee voted for public law 107-40. That is the war on terror, baby. So if you vote against Iraq the next year? The 2001 vote covers the earth. And last time I checked, Iraq was part of Earth. So voting against Iraq after doesn’t really save you.
So they’re going to have a hard time this weekend. I’m done with this bullshit. I am done. I’m done. I’m bringing my show to Florida. And the new normal, right? If I’m on stage with the two guys, Hornberger, right… he’s dot edu. He is the guy that sits around and writes books and talks philosophy. But he doesn’t answer questions. And all he has is talk. Libertarian is a verb. It’s an action word. It’s an action word, but you have to have the confidence on stage to do the shit I’m talking about. I’ve been humiliated in every comedy club in the United States. I’ve got up on stage and stepped on my dick more times…
There’s an end to that joke and plenty more that he gave me in terms of material more issue-specific. Perhaps that will be published at some point. But if you really want to hear where he’s going with this, it sounds like it’ll be well worth your while to watch the Florida Libertarian Presidential debate. It certainly sounds like it’s about to get more interesting and less civil.
You can learn more about Mark Whitney at https://www.markwhitney.com/
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