For a liberty candidate, there is no greater endorsement than support from former Texas congressman Ron Paul, who wrote on Facebook, “Ryan Bundy is running for governor of Nevada because he is tired of government abuse, and I hope Nevadans will consider giving him their vote.”
Dr. Paul reminds us, “Ryan Bundy knows first-hand how the federal government feels about our civil liberties. He was imprisoned for two years waiting for his trial on charges related to the Bundy Ranch standoff with federal authorities. The government side was found to have withheld evidence that could have been used in his defense, thankfully leading to a mistrial.”
While Bundy has no legal training, he is undefeated in court. Bundy represented himself twice against the U.S. government and won each time. He credits the Lord’s inspiration and aid from a handful of people he never met who helped him prepare motions and other court documents for his two wins against the federal government. Representing himself wasn’t his first choice, but, the public defender assigned to him didn’t believe in his case, and, “was a liberal and an atheist.”
Bundy says he was approached by an attorney in Oregon who did believe in his case but wanted $500,000. He did not want to, in his words, “financially in prison myself with that kind of debt.”
In July, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro, an Obama appointee, ruled the federal government could not reopen the case against the Bundy family and 14 others. She had dismissed charges against them in January due to what she called “flagrant misconduct” by government prosecutors.
“On the contrary,” Navarro wrote, “a universal sense of justice was violated by the government’s failure to provide evidence that is potentially exculpatory.” Prosecutors had withheld evidence that government agents provoked the Bundy family into calling supporters for help by acts “such as the insertion and positioning of snipers and cameras surveilling the Bundy home,” the judge wrote in her 11-page ruling.
Attorney Bret Whipple called Navarro’s ruling “a direct rebuke to the federal government, the Bureau of Land Management and the different prosecuting agencies.”
THE FOURTH BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT –– WE THE PEOPLE
Bundy is not a man who brags. His boots and jeans are worn from honest work on his family’s ranch. The day we met, he rolled the sleeves of his colorful blue cowboy shirt to the elbow, exposing powerful forearms. A government-issued bullet remains lodged in his right shoulder. He made no mention of it. I got the feeling he’d have rather been on horseback, looking for stray steers, than talking to me on that hot summer day in Mesquite.
Bundy says he was encouraged to run for governor when he got out of prison. However, it is Bundy’s faith that guides him. He prayed and the Lord told him to run for governor.
I was skeptical about his choice of office, given what he is passionate about seem to be federal, not state, issues.
However, Bundy believes a state governor has more power than the federal government. The fifty sovereign governments (states) are not “subdivisions of Washington D.C.,” he said and quickly explained, “the founding fathers set it up for states to be sovereign and have united and collective interests with other states.”
As governor, “I will not pander to the federal government,” Bundy stressed. “I don’t run to legislate, I run to de-legislate.”
Bundy adds a fourth branch to the government. In addition to the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches, he includes WE THE PEOPLE.
It is the duty of each branch is to provide checks and balances on the other branches with the People being the ultimate check on government’s power and overreach. The citizenry has shirked their duty says Bundy, due to ignorance. “We can’t be ignorant and free,” he says.
“Ignorance leads to tyranny.”
The people’s check on the federal government took a large step backward with the 17th amendment with Senators being elected by voters rather than state legislators. With that change, that most Americans are unaware of, the individual states’ checks on federal power were lost. At the same time, people have stopped being a check on state government due to lack of education and ignorance.
Bundy made the point that members of the House of Representatives are only elected to two year term so they will be responsive to people. Because senators have six year terms they are “now accountable to no one but D.C.,” he said. “They forget the interests of the people.”
“People have forgotten what freedom is,” Bundy said. “Government only has authority that we the people give it.”
When asked about his view on storing the nation’s nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Bundy responded, “The Feds can’t force nuclear waste to be stored in a sovereign state.” Yet, he’s not opposed to negotiating with individual states with nuclear reactors to accept nuclear waste and reprocess the material.
Mr. Bundy feels the country has benefited from the Trump presidency because of his business sense. Trump has turned the balance of power back towards the people, according to Bundy, whereas Hillary would have tilted power more toward government. Trump has put a cap on federal government growth that we don’t hear much about because of all of the scandals. For instance, not filling many positions in the federal government including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION PURIST
Bundy tells me he’s constitutional purist. He will restore Nevada’s sovereignty, that the state is “not a subdivision of D.C.”
“In 1864, President Lincoln said Nevada had equal footing with other states, but that was never true,” Bundy said. Examples being; ninety percent of the land in Nevada is owned by the federal government, atomic testing that was done in the 1950s, and the ‘secret’ base Area 51.
He then says “the clearest description of states comes from the description of the original 13 states.” Many voters have heard of the Constitution, but the original 13 states were officially established by the Articles of Confederation, ratified on March 1, 1781. The Articles created a loose confederation of sovereign states operating alongside a weak central government. Unlike the current powersharing system of “federalism,” the Articles of Confederation bestowed most governmental powers to the states.
Bundy is really an Articles of Confederation purist. Thus, he holds the view that being governor of a state is a more powerful position than senator or house member or president, for that matter. The confederation as “a firm league of friendship” of states “for their common defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare,” as Article III describes. Under the Articles, each state retained its “sovereignty, freedom, and independence.”
It’s clear Bundy is conversant with the Articles. He peppers his vision of government with; “Although the states remained sovereign and independent, no state was to impose restrictions on the trade or the movement of citizens of another state not imposed on its own,” and the inhabitants of each state are to enjoy the “privileges and immunities of free citizens” of the others. Movement across state lines was not to be restricted.
Ryan Bundy’s name is associated first and foremost with federal lands. The bullet he carries in his shoulder is a constant reminder of the issue. He spent two years in jail as a political prisoner over federal lands. Ryan Bundy has every reason to be bitter. Whether it be his faith or reason, he doesn’t sound bitter, only determined.
In conversation he often mentions Article 1, Section 8, clause 17 of the Constitution in such a way that he assumes the listener is as familiar with it as he is.
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dockYards and other needful Buildings;
Other than Hoover Dam and some parcels in Carson City, Bundy points out that the federal government just took the vast majority of land in the State in violation of Article 1, Section 8, clause 17 and Nevada state government didn’t check the federal government’s land grab.
State sovereignty is Bundy’s number one priority. Don’t look for Mr. Bundy, in his cowboy hat, working the halls of Congress or any other halls in D.C. “What would happen to federal government offices in Nevada, when you’re elected,” I wondered. “They’ll all be shut down,” Bundy quickly answered. “They will have no business in Nevada.”
Judicial reform is priority number two, framed from having spent two years in federal prison without being charged with a crime. Bundy says he met a number of prisoners who hadn’t been charged and had spent years behind bars in violation of “the right to a speedy trial.”
Asset forfeiture is wrong in Bundy’s view, with law enforcement seizing people’s property and in many cases not charging the owner of the property with a crime. Asset forfeiture is just a government property grab.
He also believes in jury nullification and said, “Jury nullification is how we get rid of bad laws.”
When pressed for a third priority, Bundy said, “people always want to talk about education.” However, money is not the answer. In fact, he admitted the best case would be no government schools. His vision is competing schools with specialized curriculums. “Education money should go to students to buy the education they want,” he said.
The Clark County School District is far too large he added. It’s too bureaucratic and too far removed from parents and teachers. The district should be broken up and the individual districts can make whatever deals they wish with the teachers’ union. Bundy’s children attend public school in Mesquite.
TAXES, RAIDERS STADIUM, & AN AWAKENED POPULACE
After calling himself a purist, he later said, “I am a simpleton.” Indeed, advocating for freedom and less government (1781 style government) is simple, and to this writer, refreshing. He didn’t dodge any questions, or pull any punches.
In Bundy’s view property taxes should be abolished, because these taxes take away property rights. After all, property taxes mean property “owners” really just rent from government. He is against income taxes and therefore “the commerce tax is completely wrong.”
In Bundy’s view, any taxes should be consumption taxes, for instance, in his view, gaming taxes are a form of consumption tax.
As far as candidate Steve Sisolak’s favorite government program, Raider’s stadium, ”government shouldn’t be involved.” When asked about Obamacare, the candidate closed his eyes and looked to the heavens. “Let’s think about it this way, government shouldn’t be involved in healthcare.”
Bundy considered running as a Republican but the party is “too corrupt.” The Independent American Party is “too small” and so he “put the decision to prayer,” and he’s running unaffiliated, but with lots of name recognition.
Bundy has run unsuccessfully for office in Utah but “people are more awake now,” he says, after the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff and Oregon refuge takeover.
“We went to the refuge to free the Hammonds and wake up the people,” Bundy said. “The Hammonds are now free [pardoned by President Trump] and the people have woken up.” including Republicans and Democrats. “They should vote for me. I’m the only principled candidate.”
“Principle over Politics” is my campaign slogan,” Bundy told me. For sure, he is no politician. He shoots straight, is likable, smart, and trustworthy.
He has proved already, if he believes in your cause, he will take a bullet for you.
Voters, he believes in your sovereign state of Nevada.