05 October 2006

Unlimited Terms of Endearment XIX: Breaking News

A new Howie Rich-affiliated group has launched a fishing expedition for teacher and other public employee records in Montana. I was tipped off by a source in Montana that teachers are receiving requests for all emails. The group in question is yet another new group, “Citizen FOIA” under an old group that we’ve seen before.

To see WHY such emails might be desired, keep reading. The reason is contained in their very sparse website -- e.g. the "About Us" page only states "TBD," and there are password login pages without any registration process on the site. The "guts" of the operation is a state-by-state information page that links directly to a respected website, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, http://www.rcfp.org, basically cloning it.

A few days ago, we were tipped off that the new website had appeared, called www.citizenfoia.org. The “Citizen FOIA” site (as opposed to “sight” in the letter quoted below) is under the aegis of “Citizens in Charge,” which we’ve already traced to Paul Jacob’s house in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. FOIA, of course, stands for “Freedom Of Information Act,” an open records law enacted in the aftermath of Watergate.

The domain itself was registered:

Domain ID:D127705718-LROR
Created On:23-Aug-2006 16:34:43 UTC

and the Paul Jacob letter is dated August 30, but the site doesn’t seem to have been up until mid- to-late September. Significantly, both come mere days after the August ALG "conference" in Chicago I've already reported on at length elsewhere.

Here’s part of Paul’s Letter on their homepage www.citizenfoia.org:
Thank you for your interest in our open records project. We are engaging in a study of public resource abuse, and are using state Freedom of Information laws to obtain information. This is an important study that aims to put citizens in the know about public sector employees and officers who would play fast and loose with electioneering rules. We hear anecdotes from across the country about government employees acting to abuse the initiative process, and engaging in election activities on the clock, using powerful resources intended only for public purposes: taxpayer funded computers, e-mail lists, and internet access. Now we intend to get the facts!

Government workers have lots of internet access, and have email contact lists that allow them to communicate with each other instantly and in broad strokes. In the hands of public sector officials and bureaucrats who might be willing to ignore the rules against using public resources to influence election results, internet access and email could be dangerous tools to push special agendas. Most of us are familiar with the old “vote yes” millage flyer copied on the school Xerox and delivered to you by your own school children under orders from their teacher. Imagine the instant access to flyers now enjoyed by public sector employees and the coordination of rallies and other electioneering efforts made easy by email messaging lists and internet sights. (sic) ...
I think the discerning reader can figure out WHAT the Citizen FOIA is looking for by launching a massive email and records request in Montana. I doubt that it will ONLY be in Montana. We shall see.

Additional breaking news: Rick Berman’s Center for Union Facts has begun a new round of anti-Union attack ads in Montana. Whether this is directed specifically at government employees or not is not yet known.

As has been reported previously, according to their publicly available tax return (form 990) this is their address:


This is the residence of Paul Jacob, as verified on other tax filings and publicly available information.

[If you want to verify this, plug the address -- 2617 Pheasant Hunt Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22192 -- into Google, click “Google Maps” on the first results page at the top, and then choose satellite. It is a new housing complex. You can tell, because the trees in all the yards are still very small. When there are no mature trees (except the uncut woodlot behind Jacob’s home) a neighborhood is newly built.]

Funny thing is, this new “Citizen FOIA” group is located, according to their website at:

Citizen FOIA
PO Box 371086
Milwaukee, WI 53237
Phone: 608-441-5748

When you plug in the phone number, it traces to:

Parents Incharge Foundation (sic)
10 E Doty St
Madison, WI 53703


Parents In Charge, along with LEAD Foundation are both official Howie Rich/Americans for Limited Government groups, linked on the ALG website at www.getliberty.org.

In 2004, Citizens in Charge was the vehicle for spending hundreds of thousands in an Arkansas ballot measure battle on term limits, with Paul Jacob’s brother, Tim Jacob as its official spokesman. So far this year, the group had been more or less inactive. As usual, it consists of two groups, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a 501(c)(3) completely tax-deductible “charity” like the Red Cross, your church, or the Girl Scouts. Guidestar notes:
This organization is a 501(c)(3) Private Nonoperating Foundation.
This organization is not required to file an annual return with the IRS because its income is less than $25,000.
Contributions are deductible, as provided by law.
"Citizens in Charge" and "Citizens in Charge Foundation" are both presided over by Mr. Jacob.

And you will have to supply your own interpretation of this odd fact: if you Google "Citizens in Charge Foundation" most of your hits will be on a strange uber-petition to declare Rachel Carson wrong and bring back DDT. Paul Jacob is on the petition, SIGNIFICANTLY, putting the 'prestige' of his organization behind the petition, along with several other familiar names, including:


Paul Jacob
Citizens in Charge Foundation, Virginia

Howard S. Rich
President, U.S. Term Limits, Washington, DC

John Tillman
President, Americans for Limited Government, Illinois

Ed Crane
President, Cato Institute, Washington, DC

Eric O’Keefe
President, Parents in Charge Foundation, Illinois
Which just so happens to be the same “Parents In Charge Foundation” whose Madison, Wisconsin telephone number the ”Citizen FOIA” group shares. Extremely convenient coincidences, one and all.

As we have documented elsewhere, the Center for Union Facts were well represented at the ALG pep rally in Chicago in August, supplying the Al Capone quote and the explanation of their tactics. (See Part XV: Oregon, Chicago, ALG and Al Capone. )

It is well worth noting that Paul Jacob, Howard Rich, John Tillman and Eric O’Keefe were also in attendance.

More news as this story develops, but one might speculate that this portends an all-out attack on unions, and especially public employee unions (whose “political activism” would seem to be -- and is -- the greatest single stumbling block to the Rich & Friends ballot measures in the several western states.

Oh: also on the “Citizens in Charge” Board of Directors?

Eric O’Keefe.



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