Sunlight=Disinfectant: Republican Group Lays Out Case Against National Right To Work Committee

montana

Two complaints filed this week by a Republican led group in Montana lay out a damning case against lobbying group National Right To Work Committee and affiliated groups and individuals for years of extensive illegal campaign activity.

Two complaints were filed on Monday, April 21st with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices. The first was filed against the National Right to Work Committee and people associated with it. The second complaint was against people and organizations including Western Tradition Partnership / American Tradition Partnership and the people behind those groups including Christian and Allison LeFer and Donny Ferguson. Ferguson is currently communications director for Texas Congressman Steve Stockman.

National Right To Work Committee Allegations

The allegations made against the National Right to Work committee are stark and consistent with the months of reporting I’ve done on the group — it claims that they operated secret printing presses, coordinated illegally with candidates and operated a number of deceptive front groups.

This complaint is being filed against National Right to Work Committee and its affiliates, agents, officers, and directors for violations of Montana campaign finance and practices laws. For many years, the National Right to Work Committee has operated a secret political mail operation. The National Right to Work Committee owns its own printing presses and has the ability to produce thousands of mailings

in less than a few weeks. During the 2008, 2010, and 2012 election cycles the National Right to Work Committee through its affiliates and agents mailed thousands of pieces of election material to Montana voters. The National Prolife Alliance, National League of Taxpayers, National Association of Gun Rights, National Gun Owners Alliance, and Western Tradition Partnership/American Tradition Partnership are nothing more than front groups/agents of the National Right to Work Committee and act under the direction of the National Right to Work Committee.

Although the National Right to Work Committee has taken various steps to conceal the connection of the front groups/affiliates, there is enough publically available information to suggest a connection between the National Right to Work Committee and entities identified above. The National Right to Work Committee is located at 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 500 in Springfield, VA 22160. The National Prolife Alliance is located at 5211 Port Royal Road, Suite 500, Springfield, VA 22151. It is believed these addresses are for the same office building. The office building where the National Right to Work Committee is located is at the intersection of Braddock Road and Port Royal Road in Springfield, Virginia. An analysis of Google Maps shows the same office building is used for both addresses.

The connection between these entities is more apparent when reviewing other publically available information. According to documents submitted to the Federal Elections Commission, the treasurer for the National Prolife Alliance PAC is Steve Antosh. Mr. Antosh’s personal residence is 3237 Fairfax, VA. (Fairfax County Treasurer Records). This is the same address as the National League of Taxpayers. The President of the National Gun Owners Alliance is Dennis Fusaro who was also a prominent member of the National Right to Work Committee. The National Gun Owners Alliance has also used the same mailing address as the National League of Taxpayers.

Christian Lefer is the officer of Montana Citizens for Right to Work. Montana Citizens for Right to Work is financed by the National Right to Work Committee. See National Right to Work IRS Tax Returns. Mr. Lefer has also acted as an agent of Western Tradition Partnership/American Tradition Partnership. On information and belief, the National Right to Work Committee contributed to and/or financed the political operation of Montana Citizens for Right to Work/Western TraditionPartnership/American Tradition Partnership. These entities have never filed any of the necessary paperwork required by Montana law and have never disclosed any contributions and/or expenditures. The complaint filed by Bruce Tutvedt shows a flyer paid for by the National Association for Gun Rights. The bulk mail postage stamp shows the flyer originated from the same mail house as the mailers sent by Western Tradition Partnership. It is believed the mailers were produced by Christian Lefer and/or Direct Mail and Communicati ons.

Lefers, Donny Ferguson May Face Multi-Million Dollar Fines

Both complaints is seeking remedies including hefty fines and other injunctions from the LeFers, Ferguson, National Right to Work President Mark Mix and others because it says they are personally liable under Montana law:

The agents, officers, and directors of WTP/ATP/TFL/AAF/MCRW are personally liable for all fines, penalties, and other sanctions resulting from the violations listed above under the following statutes:

1.  Section 13-35-105, MCA. Under Montana law, a person who aids and abets the conduct of a person who violates a provision of Montana election law is also guilty of a violation of that provision.

2.   Section 28-10-702, MCA. Under Montana law, a person who assumes to act as an agent is responsible to third persons when the agent’s acts are wrongful in their nature.

The complaint asks for:

  A fine against each party in the amount of three times the amount spent by WTP/ATP/TFL/AAF/MCRW and the other associated entities in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles under § 13-37-128, MCA. It is my understanding WTP/ATP alone spent roughly $500,000 in the 2010 election cycle. Thus, for the 2010 election cycle, I would request a fine against each person or entity who committed violations in the 2010 election cycle for the amount of $1,500,000 just for the WTP/ATP expenditures.  I would request other equivalent fines based upon the amount of spending by the other entities in 2010 and 2012;

An inspection of documents and reports under § 13-37-121, MCA and issuance of orders of noncompliance as authorized by law;

An injunction pursuant to § 13-35-108, MCA to prohibit WTP/ATP/TFL/AAF/MCRW  and its entities, associates, affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, treasurers, and agents from spending any money or performing any election related activity until WTP/ATP/TFL/AAF/MCRW are in compliance with Montana law;

Complaints Filed By Republican Group

The complaints were filed by a Republican affiliated group called Business Advocates for Sensible Elections. As Montana TV station KXLH reported:

“Dark money” is the term commonly used to refer to money spent to influence an election that does not disclose the source of the funding.

After MT State Senator Ed Buttrey (R-Great Falls) didn’t vote in a way that satisfied so called “dark money” groups during the session, he says that he was threatened: “It was told to me, ‘You are dead in the next election…we are coming after you.’”

But despite fear of possible retaliation, Buttrey, along with several Republican lawmakers, are fighting back.

The group is called Montana Business Advocates for Sensible Elections – abbreviated Montana BASE – and their issue is with 501(c)4 organizations, also known as “dark money” groups.

Exploiting The Tea Party: New Mailer From Dan Backer Connected Group Uses Louie Gohmert

tyler

A new mailer by a group called Patriots for economic freedom that claims to support Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert appears to be another attempt to take advantage of patriotic conservatives and the Tea Party base with a mailer that claims to support a candidate but seems to have no actual connection to that candidate.

The mailer from Patriots For Economic Freedoom was sent out under the subject line “We Can’t Lost Gohmert!” In fact, Rep. Louie Gohlnert won his March primary is a shoe-in to carry the November election.

PFEF

This exploitation of the Tea Party base seems to be rampant. A few days ago, I reported on a new mailer by TheTeaParty.Net treasurer Dan Backer that was raising money to ‘Draft Sarah Palin’, who has made it clear that she is not running for Senate.

Patriots For Economic Freedom’s Tyler Whitney & Dan Backer

The group Patriots For Economic Freedom lists Tyler Whitney as their treasurer.

pat-3

 

According to OpenSecrets, they brought in about $136,000 so far this cycle.

pat-2

 

The OpenSecrets Expenditure reports shows at least $12,000 going to Mr. Whitney. The expenditure report also shows $73,000 going to a consulting company called Amagi Strategies.  That’s notable because Amagi Strategies lists Tyler Whitney as their registered agent.

Patriots For Economic Freedom also has connections to attorney Dan Backer, according to their expenditure report as posted on Open Secrets, where Backer’s DB Capitol Strategies received at least $12,000 from Patriots For Economic Freedom.

pat1-

One interesting biographical side-note (worthy of mention because of the apparent cynical hypocrisy it shows on both Whitney’s part AND on the part of the liberal gay media was savaged him): Tyler Whitney was reported in 2007 to have come out as gay to his friends. That article lists his connection to The Leadership Institute (notable because people like Dan Backer client Rep. Steve Stockman worked there for years) and Whitney’s activities before coming out.

Whitney is also pictured in a Nov. 20 protest holding a sign which reads “Go back in the closet.” The protest was against a proposed comprehensive human rights ordinance in the city of Lansing, an ordinance that was later adopted by a unanimous vote of the City Council.

The Leadership Institute, for which Whitney works, supports conservative college and high school groups around the country and provides nonpartisan campaign training. It has provided funds to Whitney, who used them to publish a conservative newspaper at East Lansing High School in 2005, as well as to YAF chapters at MSU and CMU.

How is this happening?

For one thing, very few of the big media outlets on the right are covering it.

For another, it’s become rampant.

As Politico reported in 2012:

Political operatives can create a PAC and corresponding website on the cheap, drop some cash to rent an email list and, voilà— in come the small-dollar contributions from grass-roots Republicans eager to support any effort aiming to turn out President Barack Obama or reelect the fiery West.

Except those chunks of $25 and $50 don’t often find their way to any serious campaigns to beat Obama or boost West.

“The vast majority of the groups that we know are engaged in this have done nothing for West,” said Jill Holtzman Vogel, the congressman’s campaign attorney.

And the 2012 Politico article mentions Patriots for Economic Freeedom–the group behind the Gohmert mailer–as one you raised money on Allen West’s name in 2012, gave him nothing, and won’t respond to comments.

More egregious to West’s campaign, though, are those groups that use his name and have given nothing to the congressman.

Patriots for Economic Freedom, the Republican Majority Campaign and Conservative Strike Force have all raised money off of West’s name and haven’t supported his campaign.

None of these groups list phone numbers on their websites, and they didn’t respond to requests for comment submitted online.

Here’s the complete mailer :

Subject: We Can’t Lose Gohmert!

bannerTexas Congressman Louie Gohmert Is Standing Up Against The Left! We Cannot Afford To Lose Him!
 gohmert
Like few leaders in Washington, Louie Gohmert is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in – the conservative principles of less government, greater freedom and fiscal responsibility. Louie Gohmert’s courageous leadership has made him a target of the left. Liberals are doing everything in their power to remove him from Congress! We cannot let the left steal one of our greatest leaders. Your contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more will go toward voter outreach and advertising efforts to support this vital Member of Congress!The left wants to see Nancy Pelosi running Congress. Congressman Gohmert is standing in her way and working to stop amnesty, curb reckless spending and repeal ObamaCare.Please support Louie Gohmert and see that he is able to stay in Washington and continue his patriotic efforts to restore liberty.
contribute

Louie Gohmert is working to hold Washington accountable. During a recent House Judiciary Hearing, Congressman Gohmert questioned Eric Holder about the Justice Department’s refusal to hand over documents related to Islamic charities. What happens when you question this Administration about anything? You are bullied in hopes that you will be silenced.
Eric Holder has made many statements since this Hearing to convince Americans that Louie Gohmert is treating him differently than past Attorney Generals. This is ridiculous. The Obama Administration believes that they are above the law and should answer to no one. We must support Louie Gohmert’s strong leadership!
Louie Gohmert isn’t afraid of the bullies on the left. He continues to speak up even when liberals attack him. Conservatives cannot allow the left’s lies and scare tactics to work this November. We must reach voters with the truth. Please support advertising and voter outreach efforts for Louie Gohmert with a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more.
Louie Gohmert fights to repeal ObamaCare, end Washington’s out of control spending and hold the White House accountable for the scandals they call “phony”. Louie Gohmert is a patriot and true conservative. We need him in Washington to stop the big government agenda that is killing jobs and hindering future success.
Gohmert 2
There is very little leadership in Washington and we cannot afford to lose leaders like Congressman Louie Gohmert. He is committed to protecting our conservative principles and ending Obama’s tyrannical policies! Please support advertising and voter outreach efforts for Louie Gohmert with a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more.
contribute
Also, checks can be mailed to:
Patriots For Economic Freedom
P.O. Box 90
New York, NY 10009
Paid for and authorized by Patriots For Economic Freedom- a federal political action committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Patriots For Economic Freedom is responsible for the content of this message. Contributions are not tax deductible for tax purposes.  www.EconomicFreedomNow.org Patriots For Economic Freedom  424 E. 10th Street, #3D New York, NY 10009

Sent

As BitCoin Collapses, Remember: Dan Backer Wanted To Use It For Campaigns

bitcoin

 

BitCoin is hard to explain. It’s a currency but unlike currencies based on the backing of a government or a gold standard or…you know…something…BitCoin was based on…I don’t know…nerd’s tears and puffery.

And now the whole thing is collapsing. Here’s ZDNet:

Well, colour me surprised. A virtual currency, backed by absolutely nothing except the fierce belief in the integrity of a complex mathematical formula few of its proponents even understand, is proving to be little more trustworthy than the Zimbabwe dollar after hackers tested and defeated controls put in place to manage it fall at the first hurdle.

In developments that should surprise nobody, the disastrous decline of Mt Gox –which has filed for bankruptcy in the US after being systematically owned and dismembered by hackers – has been followed by hackers’ theft of 12.3 percent of the Bitcoin stored at the Poloniex exchange.

This is the third Bitcoin exchange to fall already, and the hackers are only just getting started. As best known methods for compromising Bitcoin are rapidly shared worldwide and new, purportedly-secure currency aggregation points fall like Fort Knox in Goldfinger, Bitcoin theft will likely surge – and then die off, as flagging trust and demand drive its value through the floor.

A currency based on a complex mathematical formula that few understand? What could do wrong?!?

Well, let’s recall that Attorney Dan Backer wanted BitCoin to be used for campaign contributions just a few months ago. Because donating to elections in bottle caps and Monopoly money is so 20th century.

Here’s an editorial Backer wrote for Politico in 2013:

The federal government is on the verge of issuing a decision that could revolutionize the ways political campaigns are conducted and, in the long run, affect the spending practices of every consumer in America. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has been asked to issue guidance to political campaigns on accepting contributions in the form of a new digital currency called Bitcoin.

It’s a great idea. Bitcoin political contributions will expand the number of Americans who can get involved in campaigns to support the candidates they want, how they want. It is the next logical iteration of democratization of the political process enabled by the Internet.

And sure enough, the Steve Stockman campaign that Backer was the treasurer for wanted to accept BitCoin, FEC approval or no.

Rep. Steve Stockman says he’ll accept Bitcoins to help fund his campaign for the U.S. Senate against Sen. John Cornyn.

One catch: The Federal Election Commissiondeadlocked in November when asked whether political action committees and candidates could accept the virtual currency

Here’s what economist Nouriel Roubini said about BitCoin on Twitter.

Huh.Maybe it’s perfect for politics.

FULL DISCLOSURE: IN OCTOBER, 2013 I ASKED DAN BACKER IF HE KNEW ANYONE WHO COULD HELP FUND MY FILM ON THE PLIGHT OF CHRISTIANS AND OFFERED HIM A FINDER’S FEE.

october-letter

 

 

Two Podcasts On The Betrayal of Brandon Darby

brandon

I recorded two podcasts last night detailing the recent troubles with Brandon Darby, where it’s become clear that he was working behind the scenes with people I’ve been writing about recently like Dan Backer, Donny Ferguson, The TeaParty.net Leadership Fund and Rep. Steve Stockman.

It’s understandable why Backer, Ferguson and Stockman would be upset with my writing.

The shocking betrayal is that Brandon Darby–my supervisor and my supposed friend–has been actively working with this group to destroy my professional reputation and discredit my reporting about Dan Backer and The TeaParty.net Leadership Fund.

Brandon is being as opaque as possible on this matter — blocking people on Twitter who ask him any questions about it. I invite transparency and will answer anyone’s questions.

There two shows discuss that in some detail.

Discover Politics Conservative Internet Radio with Radio Stranahan on BlogTalkRadio

Check Out Politics Conservative Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Radio Stranahan on BlogTalkRadio