“I was very proud of the fact that I didn’t get anything wrong that I said during the course of the debates. I didn’t get anything wrong, and that’s a huge arena.” Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on her 2012 debate performances.
When Michele Bachmann (R-MN) announced she will not seek reelection next year, I was sad. Really. She’s entertaining. She proved certain points that politicians might well pay attention. She also should be considered an example for others who should keep in mind the following:
All politics is localTip O’Neill famously remarked “all politics is local.” One of Bachmann’s strengths was the ability to nationalize herself but people who aspire to represent their peers in Congress should not follow that example. Most people are not obsessed with national politics and don’t really care who voted to repeal Obamacare (really, Congresswoman Blackburn, R-TN, your constituents are not talking about Eric Holder as much as you think). When I was a kid, one of the New York Senators was Alfonse “Senator pothole” D’Amato (R). He prided himself on the care and feeding of NY voters. We live in an increasingly polarized country with very politically homogenized congressional districts but after spending nearly $13 million she almost lost her seat in 2012. Not only were her issues national but so was her donar base. According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) most donations came from outside of her district:
“According to a CRP analysis, 86 percent of her big dollar (more than $200) donations from individuals came from people who did not live in Minnesota. Only five of her top 10 zip codes for contributions were in Minnesota, and she appeared to have strong donor bases in Texas, California and Florida. Bachmann also had a great deal of support from conservative PACs — she got more than $593,000 from donors or PACs that CRP identifies as associated with Republican or conservative ideology. And she got nearly as much from ideologically-oriented PACs as she did from business PACs, which frequently are the top source of PAC cash for many Republican campaigns. “
Spread the wealth
Bachmann was one of the most successful fundraisers in the US House of Representatives but she didn’t share her riches with her friends. Michelle PAC raised nearly $1.2 million in the last election cycle but spent most of it on her own campaign. The largest expense the PAC had was on fundraising for itself. One goal most members of a political party have is to elect others from that party but Bachmann seems to be all about Bachmann, and that’s a good thing for Democrats but not other Republicans.
My favorite part of the Michele Bachmann saga is that that people seemed to actually hear and reject a lot of what she said. My problem, however, is she has made it possible for people like Ted Cruz (R-TX) to be elected. It is easy to dismiss her as crazy or radical but there are a number of people with similar (or worse) views who are still in positions of power. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) may have gotten to the Senate before Bachmann to the House but he just told reporters that the sexual assaults in the military were “due to hormones.” What’s that now? This is after Todd Aiken (R-MO) lost a senate seat by talking about “legitimate rape” and Indiana Richard Murdouch (R-IN) said any pregnancy that resulted from a rape was something “God intended.”
Politics has been called “bloodsport” and is not the American pastime for a reason but, unlike baseball, it matters. (And I LOVE baseball.) When we say we have a “representative democracy” it means more than the people we elect do our bidding in Washington, DC, they do reflect who were are and what we care about. We need to remember that when we rail against the other side or vote for our own.
As we all know, when Mark Sanford was governor of South Carolina, he vanished for a week — after telling staff he was off hiking the Appalachian Trail, a lie they repeated to the press. He had actually used his official plane to fly off for a visit with his “soul mate” mistress in Argentina. As someone who remembers Rudy Giuliani’s nasty divorce announcement, which was made more painful to watch as his then wife’s interview where she said they were “trying to work things out” was preempted by his announcement that he had just served her with divorce papers. Ouch. So watching Sanford tell the press, presumably before he told his wife, that his mistress was his soul mate seemed more mean than anything. To his credit after divorcing his wife he married his real soul mate and I really mean it when I say I wish them the best.I do.
That doesn’t mean he belongs in Congress. To be fair, I would also prefer to never see a mention of John Edwards again. For the record, I worked for him several times and am still bitter about it. Again, his affair was only the beginning of his douchiness. I mean the affair was the start but then he dragged out the process of denying the paternity of his child so long that it felt like my soul was being slowly pulled out through my nose.
So Sanford’s affair isn’t my problem. That he voted to impeach President Clinton is part of it (the hypocrisy). That he saw no problem lying to his constituents and using state funds for personal purposes is my real issue with him. That he sees no contradiction in how he has judged people and how he has acted bothers me. Falling in love with someone who is not your spouse is not a crime, it happens. It sucks for the other person but it happens.
But I remain confused about something. David Vitter broke the the law by frequenting prostitutes in Washington, DC and Louisiana. The only thing that kept him from being prosecuted was the statute of limitations had run out. Where is he today? The US Senate and his name is being floated as a possible gubernatorial candidate. John Ensign had an affair with a staffer and tried to pay her and her husband to keep in quiet and he is also still in the Senate.
Anthony Weiner did something incredibly stupid when he tweeted photos of himself but he broke no laws and his wife is still with him. Why is his comeback so far fetched if Sanford’s can be deemed realistic? I know President Clinton recovered politically from his indiscretion but there still seems to be a double standard. The party of “family values” seems all too willing to forgive each other when they cheat and lie but hold Democrats to a higher standard and I don’t get it.
I hope South Carolina bucks that trend and sends Elizabeth Colbert Busch to Congress. We need more women there anyway.
I feel like the gun control debate often comes down to something eerily similar to that old beer commercial where fans of the beverage either supported the first or second claim and argued about it. The Second Amendment reads:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Proponents of gun control measures look to the first part of this while opponents the second. Now, I have friends who do believe that an assault weapons ban will start us on that slippery slope to banning guns all together. I do not agree with that (and neither does Supreme Justice Antonin Scalia, as he said in the Heller v. DCdecision where he said people can own guns but the government can restrict access to some).
A more in depth look at the ban and the original law’s efficacy is coming today or tomorrow. Now, I don’t think that not passing the ban is the end of the world — these weapons are used in a very small percentage of gun crimes but I think dropping it from the Senate bill shows a huge lack of courage. While you are more likely to die on your way to the airport rather than during a flight, a car crash doesn’t wipe out the numbers of people in one event that a plane crash can. (Please, no comments about small aircraft, most of us are not flying in planes that carry four to six people.) The same can be said of these mass shootings.
Some good news about the Senate bill is that it includes a provision to require universal background checks for gun purchases, which I think is the most important thing we can do. No, it would not have prevented the tragedy in December but it would have stopped other shootings — the one at Virginia Tech. for instance. A new Quinnipiac University Poll shows that 85 percent of gun owners support universal background checks.
If some foreign power or entity (al Qaeda, anyone?) came into our country and killed the number of people that we are killing ourselves with guns, we would demand our leaders do something. We need to respond to this crisis the same way.
US Senate switchboard: 202-224-3121
US House of Representatives switchboard: 202-225-3121
You can call either number to get your Representative or Senator and the latter is often easier to get through to that. If you don’t know who your reps are, just give the operator your zip code.
It’s a great sign that President Obama has been reaching across the aisle to have meetings with GOP members (and Democratic Congresspeople). One thing everyone on the Hill agreed about was the need for President Obama to spend more time on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, but it never seemed to be something he liked to. Budget chairman Paul Ryan is making the rounds of talk shows after his lunch last week with President Obama and the ranking member of the Budget Committee, Chris VanHollen. He described his lunch as including a “frank discussion” but while no one expects him to completely give up his principles, the budget he released this week looks pretty close to what he released in 2011 and 2010. Moreover key provisions, that were soundly defeated in November’s elections are back. This despite the fact that not only did GOP candidates get fewer votes — one million fewer nationally, read more here, in both the presidential election but also in House races, and exit polls taken on election night 2012 their ideas were losers, too. Meaning, voters were asked what they thought of tax increases or other GOP policies and the people said no. Why do the Republicans have control of the House of Representatives? That tried and true tactic of gerrymandering. In 2010, a number of states redrew their congressional districts (Texas’ attempt to become a GOP utopia was undone by section 5 of the voting rights act, proof that provision is still relevant.)
Perhaps Ryan isn’t up on this part of the process because his new budget looks a lot like he took his 2011 budget and just added rhetoric from the losing 2012 campaign. Look, I would not expect him to give up on his core principles but at least concede political reality. His budget doubles down on the less popular parts of his plan (making Medicare a voucher program), maintains the unpopular “repeal Obamacare” provisions and then makes an unexpected run for the “what?” by keeping cost savings included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) — he just tosses out the benefits.
Of course Ryan knows this is part of the process he also knows something that makes sense to most people but isn’t a talking point for either party; the election really doesn’t matter. At least not in the House. A Representative in the House has one real job, represent his/her constituents. Having an opinion you’re like to share with someone who represents a different district, sending correspondence to that Member is a waste of time. Their staffs don’t read letters or email from outside their district. As we have gerrymandered districts that are more and more extreme, the Congresspeople have less and less reason to listen to the other side. Ryan may believe the positions his budget supports represent his core values — he has submitted nearly identical budgets twice before so there is no reason to assume he is lying. He probably also knows that this a preliminary one, both budgets released are clear political documents (though Senators don’t get to pick which voters in their state they can ignore).
You may have heard Speaker John Boehner has made comments recently about the “Hastert rule.” When we had Speaker Dennis Hastert, he made the rule by saying he refused to bring any bills to the floor that didn’t have a majority support, “The Republicans have the majority, why should we cede power to the Democrats?” Since then, speakers have ignored the rule (even Hastert) when they needed to. I wonder if Boehner will need to do the same to get a real budget passed.
Oh, and any budget that takes us a full fiscal year will beat the continuing resolution craziness that has been how we have been running the federal government since 2009. I’d say “there ought to be a law” against that but since when does our legislative branch pay attention to that sort of thing?
Seeing as my post supporting Senator Rand Paul‘s (R-KY) filibuster on Wednesday, received some responses that made me feel like my Democratic bona fides were being questioned, I thoughtI would respond and am am showing them to you. This photo is a tattoo I have. It is the Democratic donkey. And the responses I am talking about are not the comments on the page where the post was published.
I feel like there is an almost knee jerk reaction liberals have to any criticism of President Obama or his administration. The comments I received here are not the first I have received about this. Yeah, I have been called a DINO (Democrat in name only). That is why I am so sensitive about this issue. There is an old adage: Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. It has seemed recently like we are trying to be more like the Republicans. I don’t need to fall in love but there’s no way I am ever going to “fall in line.” Criticizing a president — of either party — is what our First Amendment is all about and it is also the patriotic thing to do.
““Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
My criticisms of the right don’t have a lot of merit if I am not willing to praise that side when I agree with them or if I am not willing to criticize my side when I see fit. I have been active in Democratic politics since I was eight years old. And, truth been told, I have been one who has lamented the fact that we do not have a more parliamentary system where one side gets the ball to run with. Maybe under that sort of system, we’d have a single payer health care system. Maybe. Then I think about administrations that I don’t trust as much as I do the current one. George W. Bush, I am looking at you. What other misadventures would the neocons in your administration taken us on? Would we be at war in Iran? North Korea? France? And that brings me back to see the value in our system and even the current set up. Yes, the House seems hell bent on letting nothing constructive happen but it is possible to have a constructive conversation with people whose point of view differs from your own. Just because we are on the left does not mean our echo chamber is any better than theirs.
For whatever it may be worth, I am not alone in supporting Paul’s right to do a full on, old school, in your face filibuster. Chris Matthews said, “I may not have the same attitude of a Rand Paul but I worship his right to have it. I would never put that down simply because there is a little right wing paranoia attached to that guy.” Ron Reagan, Jr, had this to say, “The Dick Cheneys of the world will get into power and you do not want to set the precedent.” (He was talking about the first letter Eric Holder sent Paul on the subject. Agreeing with Paul on this issue — that the drone program needs more transparency and that we need clarification on when the administration thinks using drones against US citizens is permissible Wanting a conversation on this subject does not make you a right wing nut job.
Ps. I have to think that this week’s dinner President Obama had with 12 Republican Senators had a real impact. It’s the only reason I can think of that it was Senators Graham (R-SC) and McCain (R-AZ) came out to criticize Senator Paul’s filibuster and defend the president. In fact, Graham said, on the floor:
“I welcome a reasoned discussion but to my Republican colleagues, I don’t remember any of you coming down here suggesting President Bush was going to kill anybody with a drone. I don’t even remember the harshest critics of President Bush on the Democratic side, they had a drone program back then. What is it about this drone program that has every Republican spun up? What are we up to here?”
Oh, and I am also happy that the House passed the Senate’s Violence Against Women reauthorization bill, which included the provisions to protect partners in same sax couples. Good for you, House. See? Not everything they do is crazy.
“The right in the Senate to debate and amend serves as a protection to the minority, fosters deliberation and compromise, discourages unchecked majority control, moderates extreme outcomes, avoids precipitous decision making, discourages domination by the more populous states, ensures the role of the legislative branch in oversight of the executive and assures the role of the Senate as a counterbalance to the majoritarian House of Representatives in our system of checks and balances.”
Did any of you see the footage of Senator Paul riding the elevator with Senator McCain? After McCain ripped Paul a new one on the floor the moment was pretty awesomely #awkward. The staffers all looked like they wanted to die.
The Republicans have the upper hand in dealing with the sequester. If 2012 had not happened and their ability to be as incompetent as Democrats not been so clear (or if I were a fan of conspiracy theories, which I am NOT), I might think they planned this. They lost the first few rounds of this tit for tat with the White House on the budget to win when they wanted to. And their laissez faire attitude towards the whole thing reminds me of Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men when he instructed his team to never look upset or surprised — jut act is if everything was going just as they planned. They have become the cat who ate the canary.
President Obama, however, seems to have lost his coating of cool. At least his Administration has. This is why I think you can tell the GOP is winning. One could make the same argument about what happens when you call someone Hitler; it means you are losing the argument. The same can be said of fear mongering.
If you believed some from the Obama Administration, you might expect to wake up tomorrow morning to hoards of locusts. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, for instance has told multiple news outlets that approximately 40,000 teachers will lose their jobs and that the pink slips are already going out. Some of that may be true but it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the sequester.
If this was just based on who looks calmer, the GOP currently holds the lead. The cause of their upper hand is another story. Most Americans just aren’t paying attention. Several polls indicate they aren’t worried about the cuts because they don’t know about them. My feeling is that this is a lot like a bad sequel to a bad movie. This is Police Academy 4. We’ve been to the brink, we’ve even gone over it and survived. How is this any different?
And then we come to how they are winning. First, they are getting spending cuts that they claim they want (they have done nothing to make me think they are more interested in cutting spending than the Democrats). Secondly, John Boehner said that if we want to prevent the sequester, “the Senate needs to get off of their asses.” Ouch. Could that be a dig at Mitch McConnell?
favorite movies. I LOVE it. When I look at the Capitol, I make sure to appreciate it. Along the same vein is my true appreciation of the US Senate. Having worked on both sides of the Hill, the Senate seems more like graduate school while the House has a certain kindergarten feel to it (for the record, I LOVED working for the House).
One thing that seems to be almost universally unpopular with the majority in the Senate is the filibuster. As the Democrats currently control the Senate, they hate this rule. When the Republicans controlled it, the feeling was quite different. My first job out of college was working for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The Democrats were in the minority back then and Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) was my hero. He used the filibuster the way Mr. Smith did. He could talk for hours. He could talk for years. The irony, of course, is that early in the Bill Clinton administration (I have to qualify that because I predict we will have another Clinton administration — when Hillary says we’ll get “two for one” as they did in 1992, will people be as outraged?), the Democrats had the majority and Senator Byrd’s tirades about whatever probably would have annoyed me.
There is something we tend to forget about our system of government. We do not have a true democracy. We have a republic. What’s the difference? A democracy is government ruled by the people. A republic is one ruled by elected officials. Personally, I think it is possible to have too much democracy. I cite California as the premier example. You see, we all want a strong military, a great education system, protection from criminals and terrorists. We want help when natural disasters hit. We want a lot (and deserve a lot). What we don’t want is to pay for any of it. That’s where direct democracy fails us. When Proposition 13 was passed, the real estate taxes in California were insane so the populace fought back and limited them. What they didn’t do was limit spending. Think Washington is the only place where excessive spending is popular? Go anywhere in America and talk to people and they will tell you their issue, their project — be it a pot hole or a bomb threat, needs funding. We want our cake and eat it, too.
That’s just a footnote to my real point, our governmental system exists to protect the individual or minority from the majority. It is a little more than ironic that Thomas Jefferson said this in his first inaugural address, given his slave owning and all, but he did. He said, “”All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.” To me, that is the point of the filibuster.
Let’s look, shall we?, at the history and point of the Senate. This is supposed to be the “world’s most deliberate body.” Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) was lampooned when he said, “The Senate is not meant to be efficient.” He was right, the point of the Senate is to put the breaks on legislation that might otherwise be oppressive as the House of Representatives is much more influenced by current public opinion, which we change all the time (see: California’s prop 13 as I mentioned before). Early on, the idea was that they would not introduce their own legislation, just debate what the House passed. It could be the reason spending bills originate in the House (look it up if you don’t believe me). The word deliberative does not mean efficient. I agree with General Patton when he said, “A good plan executed today is better than a perfect one executed tomorrow.” but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
Now, there has been a lot of filibuster abuse. I read on one site that a filibuster is when one senator talks for days on end and the only way to stop them is to vote — with 60 votes being needed to stop it. Nowadays, anytime cloture needs to be invoked, a filibuster can happen. That’s the problem. We need to get back to Mr. Smith’s filibuster.
So ending the filibuster isn’t the answer. Reverting it to what it used to be is.
Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert is the most popular choice among South Carolina voters to replace retiring Sen. Jim DeMint (R), according to a new poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling. DeMint is leaving the Senate to lead the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation in January.
Colbert is the choice of 20 percent of registered South Carolina voters polled, Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) sees 15 percent of the total, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) merits 14 percent and former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford is fourth with 11 percent. The rest of the field is in single digits. Twenty-two percent of Republicans desire Scott, and 21 percent of the GOP wants Gowdy. But the rest of the electorate is pro-Colbert.
By Kim Barker and Justin Elliott: Dark money groups flooded Albuquerque’s airwaves in August, aiming to sway a hotly contested U.S. Senate race by making more than half the political ad buys on top TV stations.
That fact, gleaned through a review of TV station political ad records now available in our Free the Files news application, highlights the role that unlimited anonymous money is playing in this year’s election.
Our analysis of a month of ad orders in the Senate race between Republican Heather Wilson and Democrat Rep. Martin Heinrich is possible because of a new Federal Communications Commission rule requiring major-market affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC to upload political ad files to a government website.
In statements to ProPublica, the campaigns of Heinrich and Wilson blamed each other for relying on dark money.
Wilson campaign spokesman Chris Sanchez accused “environmental extremists” of pouring money “into New Mexico to falsely attack Heather Wilson because they know her opponent, Congressman Heinrich, supports their radical agenda.”
Heinrich campaign spokeswoman Whitney Potter accused “corporate special interest groups” of spending millions in secret money to support Wilson “because they know she will support their misplaced priorities that put the wealthy special interests ahead of middle-class families in New Mexico.”
The Senate race has attracted national attention because, with incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman retiring, it is a rare open seat. The race was considered tight earlier this year. After a summer of heavy spending by outside groups on both sides, Heinrich is now the favorite.
In August, while Wilson’s campaign contracted to spend about $512,000 on ads in Albuquerque, four prominent conservative groups booked almost $658,000 of ads attacking Heinrich, station records show.
That means about 56 percent of the ad orders on the Republican side came from groups that don’t disclose their donors, including Americans for Prosperity, founded by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, and Crossroads GPS, launched by GOP strategist Karl Rove. Campaigns are required to report their donors.
Heinrich, who as a congressman has called for donor disclosure and campaign-finance reform, booked an estimated $246,000 worth of ads in August. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which also reports its donors, chimed in with another $74,000.
But nonprofits on the Democratic side spent an additional $288,000 on ads criticizing Wilson, about 47 percent of the money spent on ads overall.
The liberal dark money groups included a coalition of environmental organizations and the Citizens for Strength and Security Fund, which appears to be a successor to a nonprofit active in the 2010 election.
The spending figures are estimates because most of the files uploaded to the FCC website are ad orders. Sometimes, ordered ads never run because of changes in programming. The numbers also are not comprehensive; other TV stations in the Albuquerque market besides affiliates of the major networks do not have to put political ad files online until 2014.
While the FCC files have long been public, they were previously kept on paper at TV stations and were largely inaccessible. The files capture certain spending not reported to the Federal Election Commission and offer a detailed look at how campaigns and outside groups are spending ad dollars, including how many ads have been ordered, which stations are running them, the programs they run on, and how much they cost.
The ad spending in Albuquerque shows that nonprofit social welfare groups are playing at least as significant a role this election cycle as super PACs, which can also accept unlimited donations but must report their donors. Not a single super PAC reported buying ads in August on the top stations in the Albuquerque market, the FCC filings show.
Some of the most prominent conservative social welfare nonprofits signed up to support Wilson, producing ads labeling Heinrich an out-of-control spender.
“Big Washington spending is not helping New Mexico. And the more money Martin Heinrich is spending is part of the problem,” a narrator in a Crossroads GPS ad says. Pointing to Heinrich’s support for the stimulus, the ad claims he voted to send $2 million to California to collect ants and $300,000 to Texas to study weather on Venus.
The group ordered about $166,000 in ads in Albuquerque in August, TV station filings show.
Unlike most candidates Crossroads is helping around the country, Wilson has a direct connection to the group. After she left Congress in 2009, she sat on Crossroads’ board for a six-month period ending in February 2011, according to her financial disclosure form.
In that role, “she attended board meetings, wrote an op-ed on defense policy, and provided general guidance, as all Crossroads board members do, on the organization’s activities and policies,” said Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio.
Sanchez said Wilson does not currently have an “existing relationship or communication with Crossroads GPS.” Outside spending groups such as Crossroads are not allowed to coordinate directly with candidates.
Like the Crossroads ad, another pair of August ads funded by anonymous money labeled Heinrich an irresponsible spender. The American Future Fund, the conservative Iowa nonprofit, signed up to spend almost $97,000 on ads. Americans for Prosperity ordered almost $328,000 in ads in August.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the only trade association spending money in Albuquerque in August, spent more than $67,000 on ads criticizing Heinrich.
Heinrich’s campaign has seized on the outside money on the conservative side even as he has benefited from dark money spending by liberal groups.
Last week, his campaign put out an ad featuring TVs playing conservative attack ads arriving at an airport luggage carousel. “Here they come,” the narrator says. “The special interests are here to distort Martin Heinrich’s record.”
Heinrich has also supported a bill, which has failed twice in Congress, to require outside spending groups to disclose their donors for political ads. In March, he sent a letter to the FCC urging it to swiftly implement greater transparency measures in disclosing who paid for political ads.
Nonetheless, a coalition of environmental groups including the League of Conservation Voters and the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, has spent more than $1 million supporting Heinrich, including an ad accusing Wilson of being too cozy with polluting corporations.
In August, the coalition put in orders for more than $70,000 for TV ads in Albuquerque. (Most of the environmental groups’ spending took place earlier in the summer, before the FCC required TV stations to put political ad files online.)
On Tuesday an official from the League of Conservation Voters sent out a press release claiming the groups’ spending had decisively turned the race in Heinrich’s favor.
Another group, the Citizens for Strength and Security Fund, ordered about $218,000 in commercials to aid Heinrich in Albuquerque in August. Its ad says that Wilson is “promising more tax giveaways for millionaires”:
So what is the Citizens for Strength and Security Fund? Its website says it is a social welfare nonprofit formed in 2011 to strengthen the country and make the middle class more secure. Yet the site uses the same clip art, cites the same issues, and repeats much of the language as a now-defunct website for a similarly named group, the Citizens for Strength and Security Action Fund, or CSS Action Fund, that spent millions on ads supporting Democrats in the 2010 election.
A ProPublica story in August detailed how some social welfare nonprofits pop up for elections and disappear, only to re-form later, always staying a step ahead of the IRS. ProPublica found that some groups, including the CSS Action Fund, never applied to the IRS for recognition of their nonprofit status.
A March 2 letter in the FCC filings from Albuquerque says the Citizens for Strength and Security Fund is run by Lora Haggard, the chief financial officer for John Edwards’ campaign in 2008. The other officer named is Jeremy Van Ess, another longtime operative who works for Hilltop Public Solutions, a Beltway consulting firm that supports Democratic causes. The two people listed as running the CSS Action Fund (the earlier nonprofit) worked for Hilltop.
Haggard didn’t return calls for comment. Van Ess confirmed the group’s spending in New Mexico and said it had not applied to the IRS for recognition of its tax status because it was not required to do so. He declined to answer any other questions about Citizens for Strength and Security.