19 October 2006

Unlimited Terms of Endearment Part XXV, The Secret Life of Duncan Scott (iii.)

(Part the third) Bringin' it Home

There is a gap in the narrative here: Sometime between the primary in Alaska, in 1986, when Dick Randolph's run for Governor ended in a third-place finish, and the beginning of 1987, when Randolph's campaign manager, Duncan Scott, moved to New Mexico.

Whether he'd moved to work on the Hal Stratton for New Mexico Attorney General campaign, or whether he was invited after Stratton -- a Republican with libertarian leanings -- won in a notoriously Democratic state is not known. But by 1987, Duncan Scott was working as an assistant Attorney General under Hal Stratton's Attorney Generalship.

But in the rest of the country, the Libertarian Party had been imploding, and continued through the late '80s. A sense of it can be garnered from this old USENET newsgroup talk.politics.misc entry:
From: Sean P. Ryan, Hardcore Alaskan
Date: Fri, May 1 1992 9:05 pm

... I've talked to Libertarians in years past about netting, and the only things which eminate (sic) from their mouths are CompuServe and Fidonet. No matter how hard you try to enlighten them as to alternatives, they don't listen. I highly suspect the reason to be that CompuServe and Fidonet are home to Libertarian-related discussion, so everyone simply points in that direction and forgets about everything else.

I also would highly suspect the reason to be that either they know, or have heard, about the subsidization of the Internet by the NSF and others, and all of a sudden become principled and back away. Grow up. The bastards are going to steal from you anyway, why not try to take some of their "manna from heaven" for your own? If I remember correctly, it was Duncan Scott, former executive director of the Alaska LP (who left very shortly after and his successors burned the party to the ground here) who was quoted in an Anchorage newspaper around 1984 or so as saying "I find it to be to our advantage to use government money to further our aims against the government." (Note: that quote is very heavily paraphrased here, as I don't have the exact quote in front of me. However, he was illustrating the LP's acceptance of all the benefits associated with its non-profit status as being good. And I would agree.)
This is a widely-held internal critique of Libertarian politics: that, being ideologically against any government at all, dealings with that government become problematic: what do you do with something that you don't believe should exist?

In our interview, Andre Marrou, the 1992 LP Presidential candidate and 1988 Vice Presidential candidate stated that Libertarians were usually more interested in writing tracts and essays than in actually getting involved with the electoral process.

"The Libertarian party, in my opinion, has the best philosophy and platform [of the political parties], but very few [Libertarians] are very serious about politics," Marrou said. "They don't have any interest in getting elected or helping others get elected."

Certainly Duncan Scott danced out of a burning barn. It had begun immediately after the "Crane Machine's" petulant walkout at the 1983 National LP Convention in New York. Murray Rothbard writes, in the final issue of the Libertarian Review:
Since that PresCon the C[rane] M[achine] has left the Libertarian Party....
To be fair, Rothbard may well be casting about wildly for bogeymen, because there was no doubt that the Party itself was in severe decline -- for whatever reason. The headline dominating the final issue of the LIBERTARIAN REVIEW says it all:

The State of the Movement: The Implosion

The end of a Presidential election year is a good time to take stock, to ask ourselves how our movement is going, and therefore how it may be shaping up for the future. All right: so how goes our movement? The quick answer is, not very well. For the last four years, the movement has been suffering through a severe contraction, reaching during 1983 and 1984 the status of what wordsmith Sam Konkin has called an "implosion."
And then Rothbard does his best to put a good face on it:
The recent implosion, however, is no reason for despair. No ideological revolution proceeds on a continuous straight line from birth to triumphant victory. Every such revolution proceeds in a zig-zag manner....
But things would get worse in the following years.

In 1987 Duncan Scott stepped away and into Republican Party politics, as did many Libertarians of the day:
Insight on the News
July 24, 1995

Libertarians in the big tent - Cover Story
Michael Rust

The Republican Liberty Caucus hopes to harness libertarian momentum for the GOP.

At this year's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Eric Rittberg took questions following a panel discussion on "Why Conservatism is Cool." The executive director of the Republican Liberty Caucus, or RLC, told those gathered that "conservatism may be cool, but libertarianism is cooler. Young people want government out of their wallets and out of their bedrooms."

Cheers and boos greeted this bold statement, but there was no doubt that the crowd had been made aware of the Tallahassee, Fla.-based RLC and its message -- that the Republican Party can be the most effective vehicle for the libertarian message. Certainly the RLC's leadership carries impressive libertarian credentials. Its leader, until his death earlier this year, was Roger MacBride, the Libertarian Party's 1976 presidential nominee. (In 1972, as a member of the Electoral College from Virginia, he refused to vote for Richard Nixon, instead casting his ballot for philosopher John Youth Hospers -- the only electoral vote ever cast for a Libertarian Party nominee. Hospers' running mate was Oregon television reporter Toni Nathan -- the first woman ever to receive an electoral vote. "The RLC's interim chairman is former Rep. Ron Paul, who garnered 430,000 votes as the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee in 1988."


"A lot of Libertarian Party folks are skeptical of the Republican revolution," Rittberg says, but adds that passage of nine of the 10 parts of the GOP "Contract With America" isn't a bad record for 100 days. "And just about every one of those planks was a Libertarian program." He points to prominent state Republican legislators -- Greg Kaza in Michigan, Duncan Scott in New Mexico and Penn Pfiffner in Colorado, all former Libertarian Party state chairmen -- and notes that some 25 state legislators around the country describe themselves as libertarian Republicans....
Or, for a more contemporary historical perspective, listen to Eric Dondero, who was, coincidentally enough, a paid petitioner in several states for Howie Rich initiatives this year (see interview published on the same day, July 24th by Ray Ring in High Country News)

from thirdpartywatch.com:
Eric Dondero Says:
July 24th, 2006 at 10:18 am

So much to respond to hereā€¦ My first comment is to the gentleman who suggested that the Libertarians join the GOP "en masse" and form a distinct wing within the Party. As the guy who founded the Republican Liberty Caucus in 1990, let me assure you, that WE'VE ALREADY JOINED THE GOP EN MASSE.

At the 1989 Libertarian Party National Convention in Philadelphia, there was a purge of sorts. All the "Ron Paul wing" Realists in the LP were basically thrown out by the Bergland/Emerling faction. We wanted to move the Party into the Mainstream, concentrate on elections and campaigns, and not just fundraising gimmicks.

Over the next couple of years, slowly but surely, most of us moved to the GOP. I was the first to leave. In fact, I publicly declared that I was "turning Republican," right after Michael Emerling "Cloud" purged me.

LP Natcommers Cliff Thies, and Mike Holmes soon followed. Then followed other LP stalwarts like Alan Turin, and scores of others.

I started the RLC, and all the disgruntled ex-LPers rallied around the group.

What's happened since?

Over 20 libertarians, most formerly associated with the Libertarian Party have won elections to State Legislatures around the Nation. Folks like Greg Kaza (former Ed Clark for President Campaigner) and Leon Drolet (friend of the MI LP) in Michigan. Duncan Scott (fmr. Libertarian Party official) in New Mexico. Penn Pfiffner in Colorado (fmr. LP State Chair). Ken Lindell (fmr. 2-year ME LP member) in Maine. Toby Nixon in Washington State (fmr. 20-year GA LP member). Vic Kohring in Alaska (friend of the AK LP). And scores of others.

What else?

The RLC was largely influential in getting the former Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Ron Paul, first to switch back to the GOP, then to win a seat in the US Congress. The RLC also helped to elect scores of other Congressmen.

The bottom line; The Republican Liberty Caucus is simply proven itself to be the very most effective organization ever for libertarians in the political world. You could argue Cato has proven to be far more effective overall than the RLC, particularly in the Policy area. But in the world of libertarian politics, the RLC is King.
Dondero has been, all summer, a vehement proponent of the Rich initiatives online and in letters-to-the-editor. He was, at one time, Senior Aide to Congressman (and 1988 LP Presidential candidate) Ron Paul. But, his testimony should be taken, perhaps, with a grain of salt (see: http://bostontea.us/node/71#comment-345 )

Duncan Scott IS still listed on the Republican Liberty Caucus website on the advisory board as an "emeritus" member for New Mexico.

(Other board members include the late Idaho congresswoman Helen Chenoweth. See below under the Mountain States Legal Foundation details as to her lateness.)

How he got there is part of the story.

Scott worked for the new New Mexico Attorney General for about a year. In 1988, he returned to private practice in Albuquerque.

In Albuquerque in 1989, Duncan Scott began working on citywide ballot initiatives, including a term limits measure (that passed.) And as an attorney working pro bono, he represented the measure in court, winning at the district level, and then seeing term limits overturned in the New Mexico appellate courts.

By 1992, he had built up enough of a political base that he ran in the Republican primary, defeating Les Houston, the Senate Minority leader, a longtime fixture in New Mexico politics.*

[*NOTE: I lived in New Mexico from 1989 to 1993, and remember it well. I worked in 1989 for the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department's Legal Office as a Legal Secretary. The atmosphere for Republican appointees in the heavily-featherbedded-Democratic state bureaucracy made being a Republican a very tough thing to be. I say that as one registered "Democratic" at the time. - HW]

While in the New Mexico State Senate, Scott made a rather large media splash.
From the Santa Fe THE NEW MEXICAN
Monday 3/6/95
by Mark Oswald
column, Capitol Chronicle
[Summing up the two-month '95 New Mexico legislative session]:

During discussion by the Senate of a serious piece of legislation concerning the psychology profession last week, Sen. Duncan Scott, R-Albuquerque, proposed an amendment. It says:

"When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant's competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than 2 feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts.

"Additionally, a psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required to don a white beard that is not less than 18 inches in length, and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or psychiatrist provides expert testimony regarding the defendant's competency, the bailiff shall contemporaneously dim the courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong."

Usually, anything proposed by Scott - whose hard-core conservatism is like cod liver oil for the Senate's Democratic majority - goes nowhere. But his wizard-hat amendment was warmly received and passed by a voice vote. It is now part of Sen. Richard Romero's psychologist bill, as the measure moves to the House.
The moment faded into internet obscurity. The amendment died in the New Mexico House. But, sometime during his Senate membership, Scott joined the Republican Liberty Caucus. And he did something that would prove more substantive, even if it was much less overt:

Duncan Scott formed and remains president of an entity called "Coalition for a Citizen's Legislature" in the last year of his senate term, 1995. He remains the President to the present day.

From Guidestar:
PO BOX 587

  • This organization is a 501(c)(4) Civic Leagues and Social Welfare Organizations
  • This organization is not required to file an annual return with the IRS because its income is less than $25,000.
  • Contributions are not deductible, as provided by law.
Now, let's follow Duncan Scott and the Howie Rich groups from there. Here is what Scott has done since then:

Of 1996, it was reported:
The Capital Eye
January 15, 1997

Special Interests Hiding Behind "Grassroot" Ballot Items
by Stephanie Limb

A record 91 initiatives were on the November 1996 state ballots ... For example, the Washington [State] Dentists Association was accused of buying the right to put its agenda on the 1994 ballot by paying signature gatherers $160,000. The dentists argued that the initiative process provided the only fair opportunity to make their arguments because their competitor -- the dentists association -- enjoys close political and financial ties to the state legislature.

Similarly, in Nebraska, proponents of an initiative to limit lawmakers' terms in office spent $139,000 on signature gathering. Except for one $2,000 contribution by a deceased resident's estate, the money came from organized out-of-state interests: $102,000 from the U.S. Term Limits, $20,000 from Americans for Term Limits, and $15,000 from the Coalition for a Citizens Legislature, David Martin reported in Political Finance and Lobby Reporter....
There you go: Coalition for a Citizens Legislature; President: Duncan Scott.

In 1997, Scott joined the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a "charitable" organization that sues on behalf of destitute and homeless mining, oil and timber companies, et al. Founded by James Watt* [*"We will mine more, drill more, cut more timber"], it is probably best known for its ten year battle to disallow the creation of the Grand Staircase of the Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

Helen Chenoweth was a member of the board until the recent tragedy:
Oct 2, 2006 07:57 PM

CARSON CITY (AP) -- Helen Chenoweth-Hage, a conservative Republican firebrand who served three terms as an Idaho congresswoman, was killed Monday when thrown from a car that overturned on an isolated central Nevada highway.
Another prominent member of the Mountain States Legal Foundation was Gale Norton from 1979-83, now Bush's Secretary of the Interior, from Colorado. Founded in 1976, it kind of died out in the mid-80s, and was revitalized by grants from a who's who of right-wing foundations beginning in 1995. (See Media Transparency for details. )

In 1998:

Scott's Albuquerque Coalition for a Citizens Legislature was heavily involved financially in at least two ballot measure fights in Idaho and California. (These are by no means ALL the states, merely some of them):

Secretary of State, Idaho. Campaign & Contribution reports online:

Idaho, 1998 Term Limits initiative

11/02/98 50,000.00
Coalition for A Citizen Legislature*
POB 587
Albuquerque NM 87103
[*The contribution was, evidently a direct media buy from a Missouri ad agency, according to the Idaho Expenditures report:
11/02/98 50,000.00
Coalition for a Citizen Legislature
Thompson Communications
Marshfield MO
Purpose: advertising]

01/21/98 10,000.00
Coalition for a Citizen Legislature Inc
PO Box 587
Albuquerque NM 87103
And, in California, from the Secretary of State's online records [Note, by now you OUGHT to know which of these groups are Howard Rich & Friends entities -- HW]:

California Citizens for Term Limits
ID# 960588
(Terminated 1/13/98)


Under $10,000
$ 29,150

$10,000 or more
$ 372,498

Itemized contributions of $10,000 or more:

Americans for Limited Terms

Coalition for a Citizens Legislature

Term Limits Leadership Council

U.S. Term Limits

$ 401,648

No committees identified
And the winner was ...
State of California, June 2, 1998 Primary
Proposition 225 - Limiting Congressional Terms.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment.
Initiative Statute. Put on the Ballot by Petition Signatures.

2,689,045 / 52.9% Yes votes
2,395,338 / 47.1% No votes
It won.

And, in 1998, Duncan Scott had time to join the Board(s) of the National Right To Work and the NRTW Legal Foundation. He's the Vice President of one of the Boards. But we have dealt with this at length, elsewhere. (Part 22: Working the Airwaves)

He also had time to join the Legal Advisory Board of the Initiative and Referendum Institute. In a funny little bit of "trivial pursuit" ephemera, it turns out that the Lincoln, Nebraska lawyer, who incorporated Wisconsin-resident Leslie Graves' "Renewal Voter Outreach" group in Nebraska, Former State Tax Commissioner John W. Boehm*, is ALSO on that I&R Legal Advisory Board. Small world.

[* See Part VIIb, "America At Its Worst"

and ...

No. 99-929. Argued November 6, 2000-Decided February 28, 2001.

... Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for the State of Nebraska by Don Stenberg, Attorney General, and L. Steven Grasz, Deputy Attorney General; for the Initiative and Referendum Institute by Patrick T. O'Brien and John M. Boehm ....
Boehm's name and address for this case are ALSO at the bottom of the page on the amicus curiae brief.

Or, finally, from the official 2000 Arizona Voter's Pamphlet:
Initiative and Referendum Institute Opposes Proposition 102


M. Dane Waters, President, Initiative & Referendum Institute,
Washington, D.C.

John Boehm, General Counsel, Initiative & Referendum Institute,
Lincoln, NE.

Paid for by Initiative & Referendum Institute]
In 1999 and 2000, Duncan Scott joined two groups that his former employer, Hal Stratton, had formed. One was "Lawyers for Bush." The other was "The Rio Grande Foundation," which Scott joined at its founding in 1999. RGF was a "free market" think tank, spending a lot of time on "school choice," "tax relief" and other favorite crypto-libertarian objectives.

In 2000, as a member of the "Lawyers for Bush" batch, Duncan Scott filed motions to impound the New Mexico ballots for the Bush campaign. In 2002, Bush appointed Hal Stratton Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (Duncan Scott doesn't seem to have been offered any GOP "thankyou" employment).

And, in 2000 and 2001, he gave his old Washington D.C. co-worker Dennis Rehberg $500 for his successful congressional campaign -- after the election: $250 on Nov 15 and $250 on April 12, 2001, after Rehberg had been sworn in.

In 2002, taxexemptworld.com reports that CCL was in hibernation or suspended animation:
PO BOX 587
ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87103-0587
Social Welfare Organization
$0 Assets
$0 Expenditures
Date filed: 12/2002
In 2004, US Term Limits ran two campaigns defending their term limits initiatives of the 1990s. One was run in Arkansas by Paul Jacob's brother, Tim:
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
$640,000 spent on campaign
Saturday, December 4, 2004

In the reports, filed Thursday, Citizens in Charge is listed as having financed the bulk of the campaign, with spending of $611,607.

Contributors listed included the national organization U.S. Term Limits, which, according to the report, contributed $175,000. Another $147,000 came from a group called Americans for Limited Government.

Tim Jacob, whose brother Paul is president of Citizens in Charge, said it was important to term-limits advocates nationwide to defeat the measure.
And the other Term Limits campaign, in Montana, was run by Duncan Scott. Here are his contributors (from followthemoney.org):
Total Money Raised: $88,543
[note: Howard Rich associates account for 97.70% of all funds]
Position: CON CI-42 [easing Term Limits Law]
Election Cycle: 2004
Location: Montana

Top Contributors

Amount $64,744
% of Total 73.12%

Amount $18,161
% of Total 20.51%

Amount $3,600
% of Total 4.07%
And, that brings us up to the 2006 news.
Land-use initiative makes November ballot
Gregory Hahn
The Idaho Statesman

Idaho voters have another question to answer in November.

An initiative to change the state's eminent domain and "regulatory takings" laws qualified for the ballot Wednesday with 49,053 signatures - more than the 47,881 required by law. Pushed by conservative advocate Laird Maxwell of Boise, the initiative would restrict governments from making decisions that lower a property's value without "just compensation" to the landowner.

"We now are gearing up for the campaign to get it passed in November," Maxwell said.


Maxwell used $330,000 from two out-of-state groups to pay signature-gatherers to meet the state's requirements. The money came from New York term-limits and property rights supporter Howard Rich and from "America at its Best," a group based in the Montana law office of Duncan Scott, a former Republican state senator from New Mexico. Maxwell is the chairman of that group....
Or this, from The Missoula (Montana) Independent:
by Paul Peters
Issue Date 8/3/2006

When I walk into Duncan Scott's Kalispell law office, I'm surprised to hear a live Grateful Dead show coming from the speakers on his computer.

Turns out Scott, who looks similar to Gene Hackman circa 1980, was at the 1974 Missoula Dead show he's listening to.

It seems strange for a man who has a bullet-riddled John Kerry sign on his door, confesses to be somewhat of a gun nut and who, through an organization called America at its Best (AAIB), steers hundreds of thousands of dollars toward conservative ballot initiatives.

Early this year, Scott became part of AAIB's new board of directors, helping to take it from being a small group that focused on Virginia-specific issues to one with national objectives. The group is registered as a nonprofit, but in the 501 (c) 4 category. Unlike a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, (c) 4s do not have to reveal funding sources, as they are not tax-exempt.

This year, AAIB has made $100,000 donations to ballot initiatives in Nebraska, Idaho and Michigan, and $190,000 in Missouri. The money has been used to fund signature-gathering efforts. [NOTE: these numbers are very low, compared to later contribution totals. This was early in the petitioning season - HW]


Scott didn't seek a second term in New Mexico. He says, "I decided I could better serve conservative causes by suing liberals rather than serving with them."


Now, with AAIB, he has moved behind the scenes, to the money side of initiatives. So far, he notes, out of five initiative campaigns he has worked on in the past, all have made it onto a ballot, and four have passed.

"That's something I'm proud of," he says.
Proud, perhaps, but not exactly forthcoming:
Published Tuesday
August 29, 2006

The 'Not me' problem

... When [reporters] Aksamit and Goodsell asked how the measure originated and why Nebraska was chosen for it, neither the Omaha couple who filed the legal papers for it nor a host of out-of-state activists could supply the answers. When asked "Were you the one?" in regard to a range of key matters, all the players in this peculiar drama provided the same unsatisfactory response.

"Not me," said the two Omahans. "Not me," said the deep-pocketed backers in Chicago. "Not me," said the interest groups in New York and Virginia. "Not me," said the Michigan and California lawyers who drafted the ballot language. "Not me," said the Wisconsin woman who ran the petition-collection efforts. "Not me," said the activist who heads a Montana-based group that served as the financial conduit for the petition drive....
Of course, the writing makes it hard to tell whether they mean Idahoan Laird Maxwell, or Montanan Duncan Scott. But it doesn't really matter:
JULY 5, 2006

Idaho's Measure, New York's Money


Except for $50 donated by Maxwell, the entire budget for This House is My House (sic) came from out of state, according to reports from the Idaho Secretary of State. $100,000 came from Montana-based America At Its Best. Another $237,000 came from the New York-based Fund for Democracy, headed by Howard Rich, a libertarian activist and major donor.

Like Duncan Scott, Rich spends his money nationwide, funding libertarian candidates and initiatives across the country....
And, finally:
Outside Funds Fueled Petitions
Omaha World-Herald
August 10, 2006

LINCOLN - A group with ties to national anti-tax activists spent nearly $1.7 million gathering signatures on a pair of petition drives in Nebraska.

America at Its Best, which lists its address as a post office box in Kalispell, Mont., donated all but $1,998 of the $861,998 contributed to a petition drive to limit state spending.

The group provided all of the funding - $835,000 - for a separate petition that would ban the withholding of food and water from patients, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission....
And so it goes.

To all outward appearances, Duncan Scott is a good Republican. He's the chair of the Flathead County Republican Party, and president of the Glacier Country Pachyderm Club which meets in the Bulldog Inn on the 3rd Friday of each month at high noon in Kalispell, Montana. He practices law just outside of Glacier National Park. But Duncan Scott has a secret life.

And, he's not alone.


[EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS: If you've read the series, take a gander at http://www.citizensincharge.org/main/project/staff.php . It's priceless, if politically incestuous.]


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