Unlimited Terms of Endearment, Part VIIIb: America At Its Worst
Like the Platte River that bisects and defines the Nebraska plains, the money flows in from the West; and it exits to the East at Omaha -- like the Platte -- headed for Spring Green, Wisconsin -- unlike the Platte.
The legal disclosure documents filed with the Nebraska Accountability Office give this address:
RENEWAL VOTER OUTREACHAnd the papers filed with the Nebraska Secretary of State give this address for Renewal Voter Outreach, LLC:
PO BOX 279
SPRING GREEN WI 53588
Corporation Member(Former State Tax Commissioner John W. Biehn, now in private practice in Lincoln, filed the papers and is the listed agent, the only other name on RVO’s public record.)
P O BOX 279
SPRING GREEN, WI 53588
Tracking down Ms. Graves becomes a daunting task. First, who is she? Secondly, how is she connected to the two petition drives, and, more importantly, how is she connected to the money flowing from Montana?
Let’s review: $380,000 has gone to SOS Nebraska and another $355,000 has been donated to NE Humane by America At Its Best in Kalispell, Montana.
Between 6/28 and 7/11, AAIB will send three more checks to NE Humane totaling $480,000. Of that total, $435,000 will be paid to RVO, still using the PO BOX 6210 Omaha address.
Without throwing more numbers at you, we know that the vast majority of money given IN Nebraska has gone to the brand new “Nebraska” company of Leslie Graves, in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
We already know that America At Its Best is funded entirely by Howard Rich and friends of the peripatetic “Americans for Limited Government.” And we know that AAIB is led by Laird Maxwell in Boise, Idaho, but that monies have been disbursed to Laird Maxwell’s Idaho “This House Is My House” initiative from AAIB in Kalispell, and to Nebraska from Duncan Scott’s law office in Kalispell.
In Idaho, the “House” initiative has been mysterious because the money came from AAIB in Montana, and no one knew where AAIB was getting its money. But Missouri documents reveal that America At Its Best in Boise, Idaho sent $640,000 to “Missourians in Charge.” (While Howard Rich’s “Fund for Democracy” contributed another $1,658,000 to the failed Missouri petition drive “Stop OverSpending Missouri,” but that’s a tale for another day.)
Why the attempt to deceive? And, while it’s difficult to track the huge (relative to what these states usually see spent on initiative and referendum campaigns) amounts of cash involved, who is behind it -- and behind Howard Rich -- and why?
What is their connection?
Well here’s one: William Wilson, the treasurer and on the board of Americans for Limited Government is also on the board, treasurer or both (I’m quoting TPM Cafe here, to give credit to “mrs panstreppon,” whose legwork gave us the clues to crack this code. This information has all been verified independently, and we’ve carried it much further, but credit where credit is due:)
William A. Wilson, NAWER treasurer, is the owner of Associated Public Affairs Professionals, a consulting firm which was paid $15k by Gary Bauer's campaign in 2000. Wilson is associated with numerous conservative organizations. Here's a partial list:She leaves out “Americans for Limited Government,” and there is the connection. Wilson’s address is his home address (we’ve looked at it on satellite -- it is about six blocks from the golf course at the Fairfax Country Club of Fairfax, Virginia), and it is the same on America At Its Best. According to Guidestar:
US Term Limits
US Term Limits Foundation
Term Limits America PAC
America At Its Best
Council For Responsible Government
Parents In Charge (formerly Legislative Action Drive)
AMERICA AT ITS BESTNo 990s were available, and full disclosure of board members is only available to premium members. (Which is beyond our humble budget for this project).
10424 WOODBURY WOODS CT
% WILLIAM A WILSON
FAIRFAX , VA 22032
- This organization is a 501(c)(4) Civic Leagues and Social Welfare Organizations
- This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.
If you go to the ALG, website, you will find Board Member William Wilson (It’s the same Wilson. We’ve cross-checked).
We will deal at length with Laird Maxwell and Duncan Scott another time. But, America At Its Best seems to exist, at this point, solely to launder monetary contributions. The cross-connections with Howard Rich and friends are voluminous (detailed in Parts III and IV).
So, we know WHERE the money is slushing into Nebraska from. But we don’t know where it is going. Let’s return to “Renewal Voter Outreach” and the sole member listed in the Nebraska legal records:
LESLIE GRAVESAt first it seems intensely murky:
P O BOX 279
SPRING GREEN, WI 53588
It is a common enough name that one must be very careful that one gets the RIGHT Leslie Graves. But the giveaway ended up being very simple. She has kept the same email and mailing address for several years (at least since 1998):
P O BOX 279From the RVO webpage,
SPRING GREEN, WI 53588
Renewal Voter Outreach is hiring people now to circulate initiative petitions in Nebraska. Please read our FAQs and then call 1-800-989-8521 or email us to learn more.That email address is the key to Ms. Graves’ past.
[The link on the email reads: mailto:LBGraves@aol.com]
Leslie Graves has, for the past several years, been involved with a ministry founded under the aegis of Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life. You might remember Pavone. He was the priest who became the spokesman for the Terri Schiavo parents and relatives in the last week of the controversy in 2005. When Ms. Schiavo died, Pavone was the media spokesman for the family and the Catholic Church.
The VILLAGE VOICE reported in 2001
Over the last 12 years, Pavone has transformed his organization, Priests for Life, from a fledgling nonprofit into a multi-million-dollar operation. Its main purpose is to urge priests to be more militant in their pro-life activism. The organization also urges voters to pick antiabortion candidates and has launched a campaign to draw women who've had abortions back into the church. Pavone, who worked in Rome for two years, has been called the pope's "vicar for life" and serves on the Pontifical Council for the Family, which coordinates the Vatican's policy on abortion issues.For several years Leslie Graves edited the “Rachel’s Vineyard” newsletter, and was a fixture at their seminars.
Here is her bio, evidently recent, although this seems to have been a 2004 workshop in Madison, Wisconsin:
Saturday, 10:00am - Workshop IThere are multiple references to her email address LBGraves@aol.com and her mailing address: http://www.abortionrecoverydirectory.org/Wisconsin.html
B. Philosophical Foundations of the Pro-life position - Leslie Graves
Leslie Graves facilitates Rachel's Vineyard weekend retreats for healing after abortion in Madison, Wisconsin and trains new Rachel's Vineyard teams throughout the country. She is the author of the newly published "Rachel's Vineyard: A Guidebook for Gardeners". Leslie taught contemporary moral issues for the University of Wisconsin philosophy department in the late 90s, where she won the Oliver Prize in 1998. She has published articles in the philosophy of science and art. Currently sidelined due to injuries, Leslie rowed as a Masters athlete for Nike in 1997 and 1998 and was featured in an ESPN documentary. Leslie says that her journey toward embracing the sanctity of life came after many years in the desert following her own experience with abortion.
Organization Name: - Rachel's Vineyard of MadisonMeantime, Rachel’s Vineyard is directly affiliated and/or controlled by Fr. Frank Pavone:
Abortion Recovery Director: - Leslie Graves
Address: - P. O. Box 279
City: - Spring Green
State - WI - Wisconsin
Country: - USA
Zip: - 53588
AR Director Phone #: - 608-588-7834
Email: - LBGraves@aol.com
Hours of Operation: - varies
Website: - www.rachelsvineyard.org
Frm their website http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/welcome.htm :
Dear Friends:What is not so well-known is that Fr. Pavone traveled with Schiavo’s parents to the Vatican later that spring, and was granted permission by Pope Benedict XVI to expand his organization. The press release from “Priests for Life” begins with:
You have found a safe place to come with your pain -- a pain that you often feel will never go away. (sic) Here at Rachel's Vineyard, you will meet people who understand, because they are in the same position that you are. You will meet people who care about you and about the child (or children) you have lost. You will meet people who know the way of healing, and are ready to welcome you into that journey that leads to mercy and peace.
Whatever your religious faith may be, Rachel's Vineyard will assist you to find God's mercy for your abortion(s). Rachel's Vineyard can provide you the individual attention you need, as well as the retreat experience, by which you walk hand in hand with others on the road of healing.
Welcome to a new chapter of your life!
Fr. Frank Pavone
Chairman of the Board and Pastoral Director, Rachel's Vineyard
National Director, Priests for Life
May 13, 2005So, it certainly makes sense that a committed member of Fr. Pavone’s flock would be deeply involved in the drafting of the Nebraska “Humane Care” amendment.
Founder Dedicates New Pro-Life Society to Memory of John Paul II
Rome, Italy -- Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced today from his Rome office that the new Society of Priests he has been given permission to establish will be dedicated in a special way to the memory and teachings of Pope John Paul II. This announcement comes on the same day that Pope Benedict XVI announced that he has begun the process by which John Paul II could be declared a saint.
But the group that surrounds Howard Rich are not noted for their deep affection for religion. At the first meeting of the New York Libertarian Party, in 1973, when Andrea Millen (later Rich) was elected the first NY LP Chair -- Howie Rich was one of two vice-Chairs -- the party refused to take a position on abortion. According to Murray Rothbard writing in the Libertarian Forum:
The final act of the convention underlined the good sense and even wisdom of the party membership. A proposal was made for the party to endorse legalized abortion. But while a large majority of the Party favors abortion-freedo, it decided by a 2-to-1 majority to respect the deeply held beliefs of those party members who are convinced that abortion is murder - a position which, for any libertarian, is not self-evidently absurd. In short, the FLP decided not to take a position on the abortion issue. (LF Vol. V, No. 4, April 1973)The Libertarians -- and the group under Ed Crane that would split off at the 1983 National Convention in New York City -- have never particularly taken a position on abortion rights. There is a Libertarians for Life website, so the connection seems tenuous, at best.
But Leslie Graves has a long history within the specific group mentioned. As we researched, the connection moved from tenuous to definite, and, finally, to concrete.
Leslie Graves or Leslie Key was known in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the Chair of the Wisconsin Libertarian Party and as a National Delegate for several years.
Rothbard called her a “Craniac” and wrote about her several times in the Libertarian Forum. (Please note again that Murray Rothbard had his point of view which is not definitive. Certainly his opinions were and are strenuously opposed by others of that era, but what he writes in the Libertarian Forum of the era give us one lens into the tightly interwoven group that is still connected, and running these ballot measures that we’ve been investigating.)
From page 2 of the February 1983 issue of the LF, in an article entitled “THE CRANE MACHINE EXPOSED.” (Available at the von Mises Institute webpage) some excerpts:
Edward H. Crane III The Big Boss: capo di tutti capi. Main power base: Head of the Cato Institute, which moved from San Franciso to Washington, D.C. early in the Reagan Administration to be close to the Corridors of Power. Also, Boss of: Libertarian Review Foundation, and its publications Inquiry and Update; National Taxpayers Legal Fund; and the Crane Machine in the Libertarian Party. Formerly, boss of Students for a Libertarian Society, and formerly, National Chairman of the LP. Managed the LP presidential campaigns in 1976 and 1980.[Note: Crane is on the Board of Directors of ALG]
Howard ("Howie") Rich (New York businessman.) Top Craniac politico. Ran the disastrous Guida campaign for national chair in 1981, the equally disastrous Randolph campaign [for Alaska Governor] in 1982, and the likewise disastrous Northrup for Governor campaign in New York in 1982. Craniac straw boss (on LP NatCom.)[Note: Rich is the Chair of ALG]
Andrea Millen Rich (Wife of Howie. Proprietor of Laissaz-faire Bookstore in New York, which has become a social center for New York Machiners. Banned the Libertarian Forum from the bookstore for being critical of the Crane Machine. (NatCom member.)[Note: Published Eric O’Keefe’s book WHO RULES AMERICA? in 1999]
Eric O'Keefe (The Martyr.) Former National Director of the LP; when ousted, went to Alaska to help Guida run the Randolph fiasco. Present whereabouts unknown.)[Note: O’Keefe is the Chairman of the ALG Board, under Rich]
David Boaz (Crane hireling. Vice-president, Cato Institute. Research director, LP Presidential campaign, 1980).[Note: Boaz is still the VP at Cato.]
Robert Costello (formerly in California, now working for free-market investment letter in Chicago.)[Note: This is the same ROBERT COSTELLO, 518 DAVIS ST, STE 201, EVANSTON, IL, listed on ALG’s 2004 990 as a Director.]
And, we find:
Leslie Graves (alias Leslie Graves Key.) Crane hireling. Former editor, now reporter, for Update. NatCom member. Boss of the Wisconsin LP, based in Madison, now rumored to be suffering a revolt from the long-downtrodden MilwaukeeRothbard wrote more about Ms. Graves in several issues (at one point referring to her as “Madame DeFarge”), but this purloined memo reprinted by Rothbard in the August 1982 LF cements that there was a strong relationship between Graves and Crane and the old “Crane Machine.”
September 16,1981You might recall from Ms. Glass’ bio that she was a rower. She still has a website referring to it at:
TO: Chris Hocker, Leslie Key, David Koch,
and other Interested Parties
FROM: Ed Crane
What with all the changes going on these days I thought it would be appropriate to put down in writing some thoughts concerning the future of Update. To begin with, Dr. Hocker's new position as publisher of Inquiry probably makes it inappropriate for him to continue to be responsible for Update. This is true both because of the more than full-time job involved in getting Inquiry on its feet and headed in the right direction and because the magazine should not be directly connected to the libertarian movement (this despite the fact that it needs to become more explicitly libertarian in its editorial policy). Which means we're stuck with the lovely and vivacious Leslie Key who resides in Madison, Canada. (sic) I would recommend that she begin her responsibilities as editor of Update with the November issue. We could pay her, say, $500 a month for assuming this responsibility. David Koch has indicated he will kick in $10,000 to Update next year. If Leslie is very nice to him we might be able to talk him into $5,000 more (right, David?)....
Welcome to Team Four SistersAnd they were even featured in an Associated Press article that made the national wires:
Team Four Sisters is a crew team consisting of Carie Graves, Leslie Graves, Tia Fisher, Alison Graves, and our coxswain, Hal Menendez. We're competing in the Nike World Masters , a two-week event that includes 20,000 masters athletes from around the world competing in 25 different sports.
Let me know what you think about my page. Send mail by clicking here.
(link is “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”)
Shawnee, Oklahoma News StarAll of the links of the chain are now present. (Duplications and cross-checks have been eliminated for the sake of brevity.)
Saturday, August 15, 1998
Sisters doing it for themselves
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) -- Rowers call it "keeping your head in the boat" -- focusing on the task at hand, keeping time with your teammates and shutting out distractions.
Until this week, not only was Leslie Graves' head not in the boat, her whole body was far away from the boat, the water and any roads leading to it.
Leslie, 42, is the least famous of the four rowing Graves sisters, three of whom have been winning medals since their college days. Carie Graves, 45, was on the first University of Wisconsin women's crew team, and went on to row in three Olympics, winning a gold medal at the 1984 Games.
Alison Graves, 37, and Tia Graves Fisher, 39, rowed together at UCLA, and Alison later at Wisconsin. Leslie, on the other hand, was more inclined toward academics. She's pursuing doctorate degrees in philosophy and biology at Wisconsin.
Robert Graves, 72, now has converted the whole family to his sport.
"I can't imagine them just stopping."
Leslie gets the most cheers.
"The others are revisiting college glory days. For her, it's all new," said her husband, Eric O'Keefe. "It's been very invigorating for her. I loved her the other way also, and I never put any pressure on her to do that at all. But she feels great about it. She likes herself better now."
You see, Eric O’Keefe is the Chairman of the Board of Americans for Limited Government, who gave ALL the money to America At Its Best. America At Its Best gave all the money to SOS Nebraska and Nebraskans for Humane Care. And those two “grass roots” groups sent nearly all of their petition money to something called “Renewal Voter Outreach,” which is Leslie Graves, a\k\a Leslie Graves Key, a\k\a Leslie Key, a\k\a Leslie B. Graves. And Leslie Graves in Spring Green, Wisconsin, is Eric O’Keefe’s wife.
This is the same
ERIC O'KEEFElisted on ALG’s 2004 990 as a director.
504 E MADISON ST
SPRING GREEN WI
He might have just handed the check across the bed.