Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
You will be hit with a lot of anti-Obama ads from large political Super PACs, think-tanks, and other astroturf grass rights groups that have been cooked up by the far Right over thirty-five years to control your vote. When you read the name, know who is behind it, and tell your friends and neighbors. It’s time that you look up the line to see the puppet masters pulling your strings. This is the first in a series of articles for t2P that put faces and the real political agenda behind these astroturf grass roots groups that are filling the airwaves, your mailboxes, and telephones with disinformation, propaganda, and scare tactics. There are so many that you need to know in depth that we can only dismantle the webs of a few at a time for you. One group featured in this set, the Club for Growth, may have accepted a campaign donation from the official campaign of a prominent Republican Tea Party politician the legality of which is questionable and the ethics sub-basement amoral.
When you see Americans for Prosperty it’s really the Koch Brothers. The “Americans” to which they refer are supposed to look like you, but they are, in fact, the clubby billionaires who are trying to protect their hefty tax breaks, bust unions, and end the social safety net as we know it.
The Kochs are big in the oil game too, so they would also like to deregulate the drilling, pipelines, and preserve the near-zero taxes that those handling oil enjoy. It’s more than a money thing. Daddy Koch was a John Bircher, the 50’s loony Right. The boys are carrying out their father’s dream of having the government ripped down brick by brick from the inside.
AFP is an unprincipled principal backer of the Tea Party, and a festering web of astroturf groups designed to get the compliant and gullible to do their bidding. They backed Scott Walker and send in anti-union organizers and political spin apparatus to Wisconsin to try to stop the Walker recall campaign.
The New Yorker in 2010 noted that the Kochs are famous for “creating slippery organizations with generic-sounding names,” that “make it difficult to ascertain the extent of their influence in Washington.” 
AFP’s budget surged from $7 million in 2007 to $40 million in 2010, an election year.  AFP funds a large number of the anti-Obama ads that you see on TV, often pushing the failed solar company Solyndra. (Shhh… Solar is bad for the oil business.)
A Dean in the School of Dirty Tricks, Rove, who was the captain of the Political Titanic, er, the Bush-Cheney Administration. His AC and CrossroadsGPS are 527 Super PACs, so they don’t have to report income sources, but he has rounded up the wagons of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street, Texas Oil, and some of the bigger players of the defense industry that was handsomely rewarded with two costly wars. We also know that Public Storage’s B. Wayne Hughes and home builder and Texas car dealer magnate Bob Perry is a big contributor. American Financial Group is also a giver.
Rovians are fighting a two-front war: Try to unseat Barack Obama, and take back the GOP from Grover Norquist’s Teahadis funded by the Kochs and their Libertarian friends. Crossroads is trying to reclaim the party for the other Sect of the Selfish: The NeoCons, the Streeters, Big Oil and the Military-Defense Establishment that have ruled the Corporatocracy for more than 35 years.
GPS is aimed at the grass roots Teahadis, trying to round up the gullible herd back into NeoCon zombie corrals. In the short-term, that may undermine presidential ambitions for the GOP while NeoCons fight to restore their control of state houses and the Congress.
Crossroads has unleashed one of its first $10M dollar ad buys in swing states that will saturate the airwaves with scary messaging about Obama,  but it will also run messaging for any anti-Teahadi candidates or Teahadis who can be wooed to the Corporate Dark Side and to shore up Congressional seats vulnerable to Democrats.
When you see Restore Our Future, the future that you’re restoring belongs to 90 multi-millionaires and billionaires who want Mitt Romney to do Wall Street’s bidding. You couldn’t fill the front-half of a 737 with the actual number of donors, but you could fill a bunch of private planes.
Nearly 90% of the funding for Mitt Romney’s Super PAC has been coming from the 90 über-wealthy people who gave to it.  The checks that launched the PAC last year were for a minimum of $10,000 and some went into the seven figures.
The NuSkin magnates Blake Roney and Steven Lund, both big Romney supporters in 2008, ironically have family trusts that share the same address with two shell organizations that gave $1M each to Romney. W Spann LLC was another shell company with a $1M gift. In August it was discovered that the shell belonged to Ed Conard, the former Managing Director at Bain Capital, Romney’s old company.  The only one who put his name on the $1M check was John Paulson, whom Politico.com describes as “a New York hedge fund billionaire who became famous for enriching himself by betting on the collapse of the housing industry.”
I guess that “Prey on Voting Scum” or “Preserve Our Tax Breaks” probably polled as a bit too elitist, but it’s a more apt name for the group.
When You See The Club for Growth Action, it’s really the Club for Growth, Uline, the box company, Honeywell, which makes consumer products from thermostats to alarm systems to industrial controls. Akamai Technologies, which runs the engines that has powered up major websites from Apple Computer’s to Verizon Wireless’.
You may remember our article on the junior league of the Dead Billionaire’s Club (DBC), the “Club for Growth.” In itself, it’s a Who’s Who of Tier 2 Ayn Randians who don’t want their money going into taxes that pay for propping up the social safety net for the poor and middle class upon whom they prey.
This Libertarian political fungus has spawned its own Super PAC, which has spent more than $5M in ads  to promote pro-Tea Party candidates against Republicans that the group considers too conciliatory or moderate. (See: The Club for Growth is RINO Hunting Dick Lugar and… Marco Rubio?)
The Club’s SuperPAC is more transparent, but in being so some of the money that it collected raises a serious ethical and perhaps, legal question for Teahadi leader Jim Demint (R)(SC).
The legal gift: Demint for Senate, his PAC gave $500,000 to the Club for Growth.
His spokesperson, Matt Hoskins, told POLITICO that DeMint “strongly supports several of the candidates the Club for Growth is backing this year and this contribution will help the club push them on to victory.”
The Question Mark: “Team Demint” the official fundraising arm for Demint’s actual campaign for Senate, gave another $700,000 to the Club’s Super PAC, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission and OpenSecrets.org. 
Why would a candidate for office take $1.2M of the money that the contributors donated for the purpose of his re-election, and put it into a slush fund for the Club use for other candidates?
Demint is in a “safe” seat. The substantial money that he can raise can be used to fund the campaigns of more Teahadis to gridlock the government.
Why not just have the donors give to the PAC, which is more flexible? The money collected for most Congressional campaigns comes from small and medium donors to the legal $5,000 per person max. Demint’s campaign redirected a huge chunk of small donor money given for his re-election.
Amazingly, a candidate can donate money from their election fundraising to other organizations legally, although t2P has launched an inquiry with the FEC and the Department of Justice to confirm what part of election law allows this with 527 Super PACs, as that part is unclear.
Usually incumbent candidates have given to party-run senatorial or house campaigns to re-elect their own. Demint’s gift to the Club’s Super PAC though, is a new wrinkle.
Demint, a born-again Teahadi, fiscally fat like a tick with DBC and Club money, bucked the GOP hierarchy in 2010 and backed Teahadis against moderate “RINO” Republicans in primaries.
His public endorsements of Teahadis rub much of the GOP hierarchy the wrong way. He vowed, therefore, not to make any endorsements in 2012. Instead, he gave money to the Club to target moderate Republicans. Is that ethical?
If you’re Demint’s Senate colleague, Dick Lugar (R)(IN), you may not think so. The Club targeted his seat in the primaries, where he lost to Teahadi state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R)(IN). While Demint’s gift may not have specifically been targeted against Lugar, it freed up hundreds of thousands of dollars of other donations to allow that attack to take place.
A few of his 2010 picks, like Florida’s freshman Senator, Marco Rubio, won, but many more lost, and cost Republican seats to Democrats. In a recent article in The Hill, Democrats seem to think that Demint’s $1.2M gifts to the Club in 2012 will backfire.
Great. Now you have all of this buzzing around your noodle, what good is it?
Knowledge is power that can be shared. Let your friends and neighbors, particularly those inclined to believing what they hear on the boob tube, know. Share this article, and the sourcing.
More important: If you see ads from these groups, WRITE YOUR STATION MANAGER, and tell them you’ve turned off their programming where these ads appear.
There is no greater democracy that will put the fear of the Almighty (Nielsen) into media outlets than the off switch on your remote or your car radio.
My shiny two.