History of the RLC

The Republican Liberty Caucus is a 527c voluntary grassroots membership organization dedicated to working within the Republican Party to advance the principles of individual rights, limited government and free markets. Founded in 1991, it is the oldest continuously-operating organization within the Liberty Republican movement.

In the mid-1980’s, a group of libertarian activists who wanted to have an influence within the Republican Party rather than to go the third party route, discussed having an organization working within the GOP. The resulting organization – the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) – is the oldest continuously operating organization in the Liberty Republican movement with state charters nationwide.

The national RLC was formally organized in April 1991 when the 1976 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Roger MacBride called a meeting of like-minded Republicans. The RLC held its first national convention in July 1991 and Eric Rittberg, who had been active earlier in the Libertarian Republican Organizing Committee, was elected its first National Chair.

Subsequent RLC National Chairs in the 1990’s included Clifford Thies, the Eldon R. Lindsay Chair of Free Enterprise and Professor of Economics and Finance at Shenandoah University in Virginia, Roger MacBride, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Chuck Muth, former executive director of the American Conservative Union and of the Nevada Republican Party, was elected RLC National Chair in 2000, followed by California State Assembly Communications Director Douglas Lorenz, Los Angeles radio commentator William Westmiller and Dave Nalle of Texas, who is the Senior Political Editor of Blogcritics Magazine. The current Chair is Matt Nye of Florida, an IT consultant and a Republican leader in the Sunshine State.

The RLC National Convention is held biennially in odd-numbered years, where national officers are elected and delegates hear from prominent Liberty Republican thinkers and elected officials. National conventions have been held in Gatlinburg, TN, Alexandria, VA, Las Vegas, Atlanta, San Antonio, Fresno, Orlando, Jacksonville, Arlington, VA, Austin, TX, Nashua, NH, and Orlando, FL.

The National Republican Liberty Caucus grants Charters for state RLC organizations which have representation on the RLC National Board through elected Regional Directors.

RLC National endorses Liberty Republican candidates for President, United States Senate and House in primaries and general elections, contributes to their campaigns through the RLC-USA Federal PAC and provides grassroots supporters. State chapters endorse gubernatorial and legislative candidates and contribute directly from their own state PAC.

Candidates seeking RLC endorsement fill out an issues survey and are asked to sign The Liberty Compact which reads:

“I pledge to the citizens of this State, and to the American people, that as their elected representative I will work to: restore liberty, not restrict it; shrink government, not expand it; reduce taxes, not raise them; abolish programs, not create them; promote the freedom and independence of citizens, not the interference of government in their lives; and observe the limited, enumerated powers of our Constitution, not ignore them.”

Members of Congress who have signed the The Liberty Compact include Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Mike Lee of Utah, and Representatives Justin Amash of Michigan, Tom McClintock of California, Adrian Smith of Nebraska, Jim Jordan and Steve Chabot, both of Ohio, and John Duncan of Tennessee.