17 September 2006

Unlimited Terms of Endearment Part XVII: Follow The Bouncing Ball

In the early 1990s, I worked for a landscaper in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of his accounts was a cabin that Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard owned, east of town. (They cease their cameo appearance in the narrative right here -- but people pay attention to stories about celebrities and movie stars, so they might as well be thrown in.)

There was a rose bush in the small circular garden plot that formed an island in a large gravel driveway in front of the cabin. The owners wanted it taken out. Simple seeming, since it was only a bush. But that rose bush had sent underground tendrils everywhere -- and even the roots have thorns -- and we spent the day following its subterranean tentacles, finally digging up huge chunks of the driveway to track down the roots that we pulled up like stage wiring under duct tape. Even with leather gloves you still got stuck.

In the garden plot proper, the roots had sought out the roots of other plants, and wrapped around the root ball, to literally strangle the competition.

And I thought that day that Morticia Addams had the right idea: cut off the pretty rose, and you can appreciate the plant in its true light: a ruthless, silent predator.

That last part might not apply, but digging up those rosebush roots is a lot like digging through the endless subterranean connections between the boards and the foundations that Howard Rich putatively controls.

Here's an example of one of those roots:

Searching for more on U.S. Term Limits, the Google cache for Capital Research Center (http://www.capitalresearch.org/) turned up this information:
U.S. Term Limits
10 G St., N.E. - Suite 410
Washington, DC20002
(800) 733-6440 (phone)
(202) 379-3010 (fax)


Howard Rich, President


Bill Wilson, Political Director
Stacie Rumenap, Executive Director
Howard Rich, President
Todd McCauley, Field Representative
Mr. Paul Jacob, Senior Fellow
Rose Huff, Marketing Director
Kurt Gardinier, Media Relations Director & Internship Coordinator
Eric Dixon, Newsletter Editor & Computer Specialist
Jodi Bridges, Accountant
Howard Rich is no surprise. We knew that. And Bill Wilson we know from "Americans for Limited Government," "Club For Growth, State Action," "Parents In Charge," and from "America At Its Best" whose registered agent he is -- and from the 990s of several of Rich's organizations, where, for instance, "William Wilson" received $26,000 as the only paid Board member of U.S. Term Limits in 2003.

[Wilson is often the only compensated board member in several of the Howie Rich groups, so you have to multiply that $26,000 several times to compute what his actual salary is in any given year.]

The "Field Representative" looks interesting, so, we begin tugging on that root, and sure enough, Todd McCauley turns out to be an interesting player in a whole Howard Rich drama in the state of South Carolina earlier this year.

Here is a little taste of the hornets' nest in South Carolina:
Fri, Jul. 14, 2006
Out-of-state and serial donors pump cash into campaigns

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A review of campaign finance reports show Gov. Mark Sanford and Education Superintendent candidate Karen Floyd have become particularly adept at getting big donations from friends, family and others outside of South Carolina.

Campaign finance laws allow contributors to give a maximum of $3,500 for primaries and the general election.

Since October, Sanford picked up $164,500 from contributors giving the maximum and Floyd, the GOP nominee to replace Democrat Inez Tenenbaum received $80,500.

High-rollers and their maximum contributions came to at least $451,500 since October, when the state Ethics Commission began requiring statewide candidates to file reports through the Internet.

Sanford and Floyd share a good number of donors.

For instance, they picked up $38,500 from various companies with the same New York address, 73 Spring St., Room 507, in New York City. It's the address Daniel (sic - they mean "Howard") Rich, a multimillionaire real estate developer, uses for his donations.

The donations from that address come from groups and businesses with different names, such as 405 49 Associates, 123 LaSalle Associates, Dayrich LLC, 538-14 Realty, LLC, Bayrich LLC and LLC Spooner.

"My donations are a matter of public record," Rich wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "I support candidates who believe in sound fiscal policy, expanded choice options for parents in the education of their children, and a more limited role for government."

It's the candidate's role "to directly address the public. My donations simply allow candidates to speak their minds more effectively," Rich wrote.

Rich also is president of U.S. Term Limits, a group that encourages legislators to pledge to limit their service and uses the same New York address. Sanford made a three-term limit pledge in the U.S. House and kept it.

Floyd found multiple donors too at the same Denver address Alex M. Cranberg and four companies - Long Canyon LLC, Aspect Energy LLC, Azimuth Energy LLC and Walnut Software LLC - used for their donations.
And here's that pattern again, of pumping heaps of cash through a zillion maximum contributors (as Rich's Club for Growth, State Action has done for GOP congressional nominee James Sali in Idaho) through multiple entities. Take a look at it in black and white, and then I'll tell you about Todd McCauley, Field Representative, Eric O'Keefe, Alex Cranberg, Betsy DeVos, and Howie Rich.

(Howard Rich's offices are at 73 Spring Street. He seems to use both Suite 408 and 507. Or, maybe he moved between 2005 and 2006.)
South Carolina State Ethics Commission

Itemized Contributions for Karen Floyd
Position Sought: SC Superintendent
Address: 113 W. Main St. Spartanburg, SC, 29306
Phone: 864-278-9494

05/26/2006 405 49 Associates
73 Spring St., Rm. 507,New York,NY,10012-5802
business $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00

05/26/2006 538-14 Realty, LLC
73 Spring St., Ste. 507,New York,NY,10012-5802
business $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00

06/02/2006 123 LaSalle Associates
73 Spring St., Rm. 507,New York,NY,10012
business $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00

06/02/2006 123 LaSalle, Inc.
73 Spring St., Rm. 507,New York,NY,10012-5802
business $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00
06/02/2006 Bayrich, LLC
73 Spring St., Ste. 507,New York,NY,10012
business $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00
06/02/2006 Dayrich, LLC
73 Spring St., Rm. 507,New York,NY,10012-5802
business $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00

06/01/2006 Alex M. Cranberg
511 16th Street, Suite 300,Denver,CO,80202
business owner $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00

06/01/2006 Aspect Energy, LLC
511 16th Street, Suite 300,Denver,CO,80202
business $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00

06/01/2006 Azimuth Energy, LLC
511 16th Street, Suite 300,Denver,CO,80202
business $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00

06/01/2006 Long Canyon, LLC
511 16th St., Suite #300,Denver,CO,80202
business $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00

06/01/2006 Walnut Software, LLC
511 16th Street, Suite 300,Denver,CO,80202
business $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00
Interestingly, looking up that Denver address yields yet ANOTHER tenant for Suite 300 -- as if it weren't crowded enough in there already. (From the Yellow Pages):
Alliance For Choice In Education
511 16th Street Suite 300, Denver, CO 80202
(303) 573-7011
Categories: Educational Organizations, Oil & Gas Exploration & Development
That's surely an odd category combination. I wonder what their mission statement reads like. Hmm. Why does that tactic look so familiar?

Alex Cranberg is a millionaire oil exploration tycoon with a private jet. And he believes in that code-term of libertarian anarchists everywhere: "free-market." This, he shares with Howard Rich, Eric O'Keefe, Ed Crane, the Koch brothers, and many, many more in this knotted skein of rosebush roots.

Now, Alex M. Cranberg seems to embrace the full-on Ayn Rand/Libertarian ideology, like Howard Rich (who came to the libertarian "movement" via the Nathaniel Brandon Institute).

One of Cranberg's involvements is in something called "Colorado Alliance for Reform in Education (CARE)."

[I'm sure that it's entirely a coincidence that we have the SOS "Stop OverSpending" gaggle of initiatives this year, or the HOPE initiative in Arizona, the PISTOL initiative in Nevada, and various other cutsie-pie political mnemonics. This is all 'grass roots' remember?]

Listen to this paid shill writing for the Heartland Institute:
04/2003 The Friedman Report: Dad Crusades for Other People's Children

Written By: Laura J. Swartley
Published In: School Reform News
[NOTE: Shouldn't that be "Reform School News"? HW]
Publication Date: April 1, 2003
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

... Not only Colorado but the nation as a whole stands to benefit from school choice becoming a reality for all children, argues [Steve] Schuck. His single-minded dedication to the issue began in 1986 when he ran for governor of Colorado on the Republican ticket.

"Milton and Rose [Friedman]'s brilliant idea for vouchers appealed to me 30 or 40 years ago, in a very left-brain sort of way," Schuck explains. "But, when I ran for governor, my orientation quickly shifted from the pragmatic to the personal--to a very right-brain approach, if you will." ...

He also works closely with former Congressman Bob Schaffer of the Colorado Alliance for Reform in Education (CARE). CARE is a nonprofit group that publishes newsletters and organizes information sessions to communicate the need for school choice in Colorado, with outreach to Hispanic and African-American communities. Its companion organization, Parents Alliance for Choice in Education (PACE), gets more into the political forum with regard to promoting school choice ....

Laura J. Swartley is communications director with the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Well, Cranberg is certainly a political player, and he does definitely work closely with former Congressman Schaffer, that's fer sure:
A tangle of question marks
An air of mystery surrounds Senate hopefuls' campaigns

By Jim Tankersley And Gwen Florio,
Rocky Mountain News
July 23, 2004

... Schaffer is paid $15,000 a year as a bank director, even though the bank in question doesn't exist. Greenwood Bancorp is a startup headed by Armstrong, Schaffer's political mentor.

Another political ally, Alex Cranberg, paid Schaffer's $160,000 salary as head of the nonprofit Colorado Alliance for Reform in Education, Schaffer's job after leaving Congress. He is on leave from that job and is working as a consultant for Cranberg.

Schaffer is listed as the agent for another pro-voucher nonprofit group, Parents Alliance for Choice in Education, whose filing papers list its purpose as "to lobby."

Schaffer also put in hours in the legislature last year, advocating on behalf of a pilot voucher program. When it looked as though a lack of funding would condemn the bill, Schaffer wrote a $78,300 check on behalf of CARE.

But, Schaffer declared at a July 12 debate, "I am not a lobbyist." ...
But we were talking about Cranberg's qualifications to shovel money into South Carlina political races from his office in downtown Denver. Let's go back to "CARE."

CARE's mission statement is valuable, even if it did sort of disappear. The group seems to have been stored away, like so many astroturf groups. Their domain and webpage, http://www.carecolorado.org, is either parked or dead -- inactive since 2005 and was only created in 2003 -- but the cache lives on:
Our Mission

CARE's goal is to lead Colorado in the development of the best system of education in the world through the state's transformation to a vibrant academic marketplace. CARE believes free-market schooling is the most direct pathway to improving all schools for all children. An abundance of competitive academic choices ensures fairness for all children, treats teachers like real professionals, parents like real customers, and students like they matter.

CARE's board seeks to succeed in a way that will eventually render CARE obsolete. The emergence of a legitimate education marketplace will effectuate the establishment of professional associations, education-based industry groups and other private initiatives to maintain public policies and standards: and to resist relapse to an education system dominated by an inefficient and dangerous government-owned unionized monopoly.
Compare and contrast with this, from the 2004 campaign:

Too Extreme for Colorado

Here's a few facts about who's behind the voucher/charter/privatization movement in Colorado.

Nationally and in Colorado, the privatization effort is financed, directly or indirectly, by a few wealthy individuals and foundations including:

- Wal-Mart heir John Walton, who spent $32 million on national and state voucher groups in 2002 through his family foundation

- The Castle Rock Foundation, governed by the Coors family

- Alex Cranberg, a Denver oil and gas executive, who funds the Alliance for Choice in Education

- Steve Schuck, a Colorado Springs real estate developer

- Ed McVaney, founder and retired CEO of JD Edwards Co

- John Saeman

- Children's ( the "'s" is sic) First America : funds private school scholarships in 40 states, including Alex Cranberg's ACE and Steve Schuck's Parents Challenge. Walton, Schuck, Cranberg, and David Brennan of White Hat Charter Schools, a for-profit education provider, are on its board

- Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation

- Jaquelin Hume Foundation of San Francisco

New front groups that have cropped up in Colorado since the Legislature passed the "pilot" voucher program:

- Colorado Alliance for Reform in Education (CARE), formed by former U.S. Rep. Bob Schaffer (now running for the U.S. Senate) ...
Oh yeah, CARE. That's Cranberg's astroturf bunch!

To begin to tie all this together, we need to rip up one more section of that rose bush's root. From Alex Cranberg's official trustee biography:
On an organizational level, he is the founder of the Alliance for Choice in Education and "The School Fair," an expo that provides information about public and private schools in the Denver metro area, and serves as a trustee for the Denver Area Boy Scouts Council and the Alliance for School Choice.
Compare with:
Facts About the Privatization Movement

Some voucher proponents have more extreme ideas. Alex Cranberg would give vouchers to exclusive private schools.(11) Colorado leaders and national advocates have signed a proclamation calling for an end to any government role in education.(12) Milton Friedman, who helps finance groups active in Colorado, wants universal funding for private and religious schools. "A program for the poor will be a poor program," he says of current voucher programs.(13)
But how do we get back to South Carolina from all of this? And what the heck ever happened to that Todd McCauley character? Well, read this little snippet and it will all begin to make sense:

National Review, Oct 11, 2004
Choice struggles on: the progress of a great and necessary idea
Clint Bolick

... But school-choice forces are growing more sophisticated. Several organizations merged in May to lead the national school-choice effort, forming the Alliance for School Choice and its sister lobbying group, Advocates for School Choice. Together with the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, and the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, the national groups are pumping resources and lobbying acumen into states to create school-choice programs and protect them against attacks from unions and groups such as People for the American Way.

The movement has also developed a political arm. Two national groups, All Children Matter and LEAD, are carefully targeting state elections to improve legislative prospects for school choice. The groups scored impressive wins in primaries this year in South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, and elsewhere. But their biggest win was in Utah, where Gov. Olene Walker, who had vetoed a school-choice program for disabled children, was defeated for the Republican nomination by Jon Huntsman almost entirely on the issue of school choice. The teachers' unions can't point to a single candidate for office who was defeated because of support for choice...

[NR's Tag: Mr. Bolick is president and general counsel of the Alliance for School Choice, and author of Voucher Wars: Waging the Legal Battle Over School Choice.]
Hmmm. Follow the bouncing ball: Cranberg is a founding member of the May 2004 Alliance for School Choice. He is listed as on the Board of Directors for "Advocates for School Choice" -- the political arm -- along with Clint Bolick and Betsy DeVos. (both boards are on the same page at http://www.allianceforschoolchoice.org/About.aspx?p=6 )

Bolick is also a founding member of the Institute for Justice, where he "where he currently serves as counsel for strategic litigation" according to Wikipedia.

But it's Betsy's root that we need to follow here.

Betsy DeVos is tied up with the Howard Rich bunch in a very interesting way that we'll get to in a moment. The former chair of the Michigan GOP, and the wife of current gubernatorial candidate Richard DeVos, who heads AMWAY (founded by his father), Betsy is big in the "school choice" movement. (See CARE's mission statement for an idea of what that actually means.)
Betsy DeVos
From SourceWatch

* Acton Institute, Director
* Children First America, CEO
* Choices for Children, Chairman
* Education Freedom Fund, Director
* Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP), Founder and Past Chairman
* James Madison Institute, Director
* Kids Hope USA
* Michigan Republican Party, Chairman
* National Right to Life Committee, Founder
* Of The People, Co-Chair
Which jibes nicely with Leslie Graves' [Eric O'Keefe's wife] strident anti-abortion stance, please note.

And, just to keep things nice and tidy, The Acton Institute lists Mr. Robert Costello as a current member of the board. Costello is also on the board of Americans for Limited Government and the ALG Foundation, and they keep their books at his office in Evanston, Illinois. We will pry up the Costello root at another time. It leads directly to ... well, that would be telling.

LEAD/Parents In Charge and South Carolinians for Responsible Government (hereafter, SCRG) and Children First America were at the center of the maelstrom that stills swirls in South Carolina.

When you look up the Legislative Education Action Drive, you get the IRS 990 for "Parents In Charge" which was founded, as we've reported by Howard Rich, Eric O'Keefe and Bill Wilson.

from their website:
The Parents in Charge Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research organization dedicated to the study of choice in education. Founded in March 2001 by Howard Rich, Eric O'Keefe and Bill Wilson ...
You will also recall that the Walton Family Foundation handed the brand new "Parents In Charge Foundation" $10 million in 2001.

I guess that wasn't enough. The "Too Extreme For Colorado" page cited earlier notes another $32 million that John Walton spent on "choice" and voucher groups the following year. Who knows? Maybe some of it went to one Cranberg's endless string of entities.

Are you starting to "get" that these folks' tactics involve the seemingly endless creation of false front organizations, much the way that AOL users create multiple email identities and aliases? And they use the proper "handle" when in the correct chat room, only slipping up occasionally. They are addicted to their pseudonimity.

The difference is, here, when they're done, they can always change servers.

Take a look at http://www.district11watch.com/2006/05/who_are_the_privatizers.html and see how many millionaires you can recognize.

Let's see what Eric O'Keefe's LEAD and Betsy DeVos have been up to in South Carolina:
The State (South Carolina) newsaper
By Claudia Smith Brinson [1/3/2005]

During the 2004 elections, the Michigan-based All Children Matter paid for radio ads and mailers here that promoted candidates supporting tuition tax credits.

"Our current focus is in South Carolina," says the Web site home page for LEAD Foundation in Washington, D.C. LEAD stands for the Legislative Education Action Drive, a conservative group supporting tuition tax credits.

Several factors turned LEAD's attention south, said Eric O'Keefe, president of both. First was Sanford's gubernatorial campaign." School choice became an issue, and it didn't seem to hurt him" during the campaign, O'Keefe said.

"The more we saw, the more we liked," O'Keefe added. That included a conservative political climate, increased state spending on public education, a sense that results were disappointing and LEAD's own desire "to go somewhere school choice would be a significant topic."

O'Keefe cited an added lure, an S.C. constitutional amendment in 1973 that eliminated language prohibiting indirect aid to private colleges or universities, including those associated with a religion.

"We've had attorneys look this over very carefully," O'Keefe said. "We're confident Put Parents in Charge is consistent with the state Constitution and the U.S. Constitution," whose Establishment Clause separates church and state.
The "All Children Matter" group that funded the attack ads? Betsy DeVos, CEO. (From their webpage: http://www.allchildrenmatter.org/leadership.php )

And, from Greenville South Carolina's THE BEAT newspaper:
MARCH 30, 2005
POLITICS: "None of Your Business"
Who is paying for the Put Parents In Charge media campaign?


... Although there is no legal mechanism to discover who is putting money in the campaign to promote the current legislation, a report filed by the political action committee All Children Matter contains the names of some high-powered donors who invested in South Carolina candidates in the 2004 election cycle. These donors include such six-figure contributors as Richard DeVos Jr. of Michigan who has used his Amway fortune to promote school choice, and John Walton of Arkansas, son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and one of five Walton billionaires.
and ...
Closer to home, two of Saylor's colleagues on the Greenville County school board were targets of what were called "slash and burn" tactics by All Children Matter. Incumbent board members Debi Bush and Tommie Reece were singled out for harsh attacks contained in two direct-mail pieces, but handily defeated opponents whose campaigns featured broad attacks on public education.

ACM didn't quite see it that way, and portrayed their advertising campaign this way on their website:
"During the 2004 elections, the Michigan-based All Children Matter paid for radio ads and mailers [in South Carolina] that promoted candidates supporting tuition tax credits ..."

All working in lock-step, it would seem. Rich and O'Keefe and their LEAD/PIC, Betsy DeVos' "All Children Matter," and ACM board member Alex M. Cranberg's "Alliance For Choice In Education" all working hand-in-glove to end public education as we know it.


Did I mention that in 2004 Alex Cranberg was an "All Children Matter" board member? Well, he was -- according to the Denver POST article on Betsy DeVos' ACM website, cached at the Internet Archive.


Well, except that Cranberg hides the fact that ACE is in the same office as his legion of corporate entities that all contribute the $3500 legal maximum to their malleable "Republican" Education Superintendent candidate Karen Floyd. Just like Howie Rich does -- Rich also contributed pseudonymously to Governor Mark Sanford's reelection campaign, for that matter:
Joseph R. Rich
73 Spring Street, Suite 507,New York,NY,10012
Self Employed $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00

Daniel Rich
73 Spring Street, Suite 507,New York,NY,10012
Self Employed $3,500.00 YTD $3,500.00
... who are Howard and Andrea Rich's two sons, if you were wondering.

Interestingly, as the Sanford contributions became a scandal, the 73 Spring St. contributions go away -- shades of the Koch brothers' dumping "Citizens for Congressional Reform" onto Howie Rich in 1992, when they were caught making questionable political contributions and "vanish" from the Term Limits movement -- you might recall that Eric O'Keefe is credited with drawing up the term limits strategy for US Term Limits (which is what CCR "evolved" into when the Koch brothers "sold" it to Howie Rich).

Which brings us 'round full circle to US Term Limits' "Field Representative" Todd McCauley.

It seems Mr. McCauley likes the pseudonym game himself. According to THE STATE newspaper:
Tax credit group to reorganize staff
March 5, 2005 - B1 METRO/REGION

The group leading the charge for Gov. Mark Sanford's tuition tax credit plan announced it will make staffing changes after its executive director tried to pull off a letter-writing hoax.

Todd McCauley of South Carolinians for Responsible Government sent several letters to The State newspaper's editorial board, using the pseudonym "Dennis Sinned" - a fake name spelled the same way forward and backward.

Beginning in February 2004, McCauley sent at least three letters to the editor, railing against the media and urging passage of the bill, dubbed "Put Parents in Charge" by its supporters.

All were signed "Dennis Sinned" and listed various addresses.

Editorial page editor Brad Warthen said he caught on to the stunt - thanks to the unusual name - right before one of the letters was set to run in the newspaper a few months ago.

"This is an attempt to defraud this newspaper and - more importantly - its readers," Warthen said.

The letters were traced to McCauley after the contact number listed in one of the letters was matched to the cell phone number on his South Carolinians for Responsible Government business card.

McCauley could not be reached for comment Friday.

Tom Swatzel, president of the group, said he found out about the letters Friday.

"We take the issue of integrity and credibility very seriously," Swatzel said.
Yeah. Morticia Addams had it right about roses. And Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange had it right about that rose bush. It's rough, dirty work tracing and digging up those roots, but it's got to be done.

If only for the health of the rest of the garden.



Blogger mrs panstreppon said...

Another great post - thanks.

One correction: The Parents in Charge foundation funded by the Walton family is different than the one associated with LEAD.

The one funded by the Waltons was founded by major right winger, Ted Forstmann of Forstmann & Little in 2000. The 990s are available online at the Foundation Center's 990 Finder.

Last March, I did a post about Parents in Charge at the TPM Cafe asking why Arianna Huffington was the executive director of Parents in Charge in 2002.

9/18/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Petition Supporters Say Mistakes Are Keeping Issue Off Ballot 9/1906 Lincoln Journal Star


9/19/2006 08:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hearing To Tackle Petition Concerns 9/19/06 omaha.com

9/19/2006 08:33:00 AM  

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