YCT to Libertarians: Get your own legislative ratings
Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) claimed last week the Libertarian Party of Texas borrowed “entire swaths of content” from YCT’s “Legislative Ratings for the 81st Legislature” for the party’s “Texas 2009 Legislative Scorecard.”
“I was kind of surprised by it,” Libertarian Party of Texas Chairman Patrick Dixon said of a cease and desist letter he received from YCT’s attorney.
While the Libertarian Party of Texas (LPT) did indeed credit YCT on the final page of its Scorecard, it was along with other sources (the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility and Americans For Prosperity-Texas — YCT was listed last).
That’s not enough according to Tony McDonald, YCT’s senior vice-chairman.
“As for crediting us, they said that they looked at the research. And they lumped us in with a half-dozen other groups,” McDonald said, via an e-mail to LSR. “They didn’t look at us for research, they directly copied the whole damn thing (or at least the parts they agreed with).”
Of 26 pieces of legislation from the 81st Session appearing in the Libertarian Scorecard, 14 of them were the same as YCT’s document or featured minor changes, new introductory sentences, etc.
Dixon said in the meantime, LPT took the link to the Scorecard off the main page on the party’s Web site. “We’ll leave that off until we clear this up,” he said.
Dixon said it was likely that volunteer interns with the party pieced together the Scorecard over the summer, but did not provide thorough attribution.
“Here, we’re not talking about our research being used,” McDonald said. “I will tend to admit that someone could look at our document and use the raw data … What we are talking about here is that they literally stole the actual words. A majority of their bill descriptions come from us.”
While the Libertarian Party of Texas and Young Conservatives do share a few of the same stances regarding limited government, McDonald said the Libertarians “support an entire group of candidates that we do and who have possibly upset races YCT has been involved in in the past.”
An example McDonald cites (of many appearing in a PDF side-by-side comparison provided by YCT) is as follows:
YCT Legislative Rating:
… NAY. HB 482 would have allowed the state to give grants to certain convenience stores for the purchase of refrigeration units to store fruits and vegetables. The bill falsely assumes that government can provide the goods and services that consumers need and demand better than the market. Government should not meddle in the market and should not show favoritism to some businesses in lieu of others.
LPT Legislative Scorecard:
… NAY … This is another bill that should be ridiculed. HB 482 would have allowed the state to give grants to certain convenience stores for the purchase of refrigeration units to store fruits and vegetables. The bill falsely assumes that government can provide the goods and services that consumers need and demand better than the market. Government should not meddle in the market and should not show favoritism to some businesses in lieu of others [emphasis LSR’s].
“I expect there will be an amicable settling to this,” Dixon added. “It certainly doesn’t have to go to a courtroom.”