I told you last blog “(Water, Tea or Koch?“, 20 Feb.), but that’s OK. I didn’t put the pieces together until I watched this clip on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night:
note to email recipients: if this video doesn’t show up,
pls. go to YouTube to watch it, or this blog post.
Note particularly — in between the description of the fundamental betrayal of democratic process State Rep. Gordon Hintz outlines in entirely justifiable outrage — his references to Club For Growth, which he has “never heard of before.”
Which is as they want it to be. Let me give you some objective evidence:
Here’s the SourceWatch page on O’Keefe (out of date):
Eric O’Keefe is the chairman of the Americans for Limited Government.
Board of Directors, Citizens in Charge, an Initiative and Referendum advocacy group.
President, Legislation Education Action Drive, voucher PAC.
Relationship to Kurt O’Keefe, petitioner of Michigan TABOR is unknown.
His address is same as that of “Rachel’s Vineyard,” an “abortion recovery” group.*
Author of book on term limits
Longtime Libertarian Party activist, reportedly aligned with Ed Crane. 
Howard Rich “and a rogue’s gallery of wealthy pals got buddy Eric O’Keefe ensconced as national director of the Libertarian Party until O’Keefe’s really ugly ouster at the national convention in 1981 or so, and they were set to get another of their cohorts elected party president until that plot unraveled on the convention floor in 1983. (If you’re willing to kill an hour, you’ll find the online archives of the Mises Institute fascinating at http://www.mises.org. Under “Journals,” click “Libertarian Forum” and you’ll find pdfs of Libertarian Party newsletters dating from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, when the party partly collapsed, partly converged with the Republican Party. They read like today’s blogs, full of color and gossip and intrigue, and they chart the rising influence of Rich and his gaggle of trust-fund baby-boomers, sailing under the tutelage of Ed Crane.)”
[* Considering that I was the only blogger who covered the "Rachel's Vineyard" story, I'm flattered they used my stuff, but t'would be nice to be sourced. Oh wait, I'm a BLOGGER, and, thus, unworthy of commentary or inclusion. S'okay: I'm used to being treated as a second class citizen, even though it's my 38th year as a writer and 35th as a professional. I guess writing for the Washington Post or the Kansas City Star or the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Herald-Examiner (back when Joe Farah was news editor) doesn't count. Fine. Onward.]
Eric O’Keefe’s ‘official’ photo
You could go to Ballotpedia to check him out, except, if you didn’t KNOW that Leslie Graves was Eric’s wife, you’d never know that he is being given deferential treatment … since Leslie Graves has run Ballotpedia from the beginning under three different Fictitious Business Names: Citizens in Charge (Eric sits on the board, as noted in the last post), Sam Adams Alliance (“Eric O’Keefe is chairman and CEO of the Sam Adams Alliance“) and now the “Lucy Burns Institute”:
Leslie Graves, the president of the Lucy Burns Institute, worked as a part-time consultant to the Sam Adams Alliance from June 2008-May 2009 and assisted in a variety of ways with developing Ballotpedia, Judgepedia and Sunshine Review.
And, Oh Yeah, I Almost Forgot (from the Sam Adams Alliance “about us”) [emphasis added]:
Eric also works closely with grassroots advocates such as Americans for Prosperity and with the State Policy Network to promote transparency and accountability in state and local governments. He serves on the board of directors of the Institute for Humane Studies*, the Center for Competitive Politics, and Wisconsin Club for Growth.
[* Chairman, Charles Koch]
The Center for Competitive Politics? Here’s their Board of Directors:
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board of Directors
Edward H. Crane
President, Cato Institute
Allison R. Hayward
Vice President of Policy, Center for Competitive Politics
Stephen M. Hoersting
Vice President and co-founder, Center for Competitive Politics
Chairman and CEO, Sam Adams Alliance
President, Center for Competitive Politics
Bradley A. Smith
Chairman and Co-Founder, Center for Competitive Politics Blackmore-Naught Professor of Law, Capital University Law School
Shareholder, Financial Controllers, Inc.
And that Institute for Humane Studies? Greenpeace tells us [emphasis added]:
On this page
$1,967,000 received from Koch foundations 2005-2008[Total Koch foundation grants 1997-2008: $3,923,457]
The Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason Universityoffers scholarships and career training to libertarian students. Charles Koch is the Chairman of the IHS board of directors.
In a recent article, Mother Jones called the Institute for Human Studies a “haven for climate change deniers.” Several climate deniers have prominent positions at IHS, including: Robert Bradley, member of the Academic Review Committee and author of Climate Alarmism Reconsidered (2003); and Fred Singer, Research Professor at IHS.
A number of climate deniers are guest lecturers for IHS, such as Bruce Yandle, Senior Associate with Political Economy Research Center; and Kenneth Green, Resident Scholar with American Enterprise Institute.
They don’t call it the “Kochtopus” for nothing, kiddies. It’s MEANT to confuse you. But, like Theseus in the labyrinth, you can find the Minotaur and find your way out if you have a thread to lead you. In Wisconsin, the thread is named “Eric O’Keefe.”
It’s all so cozy. Eric is the “strategist” of the old “Crane Machine” that walked out of the Libertarian Party en masse in 1983. He was also a founding board member of US Term Limits, and is acknowledged as the architect of their “term limits” ballot drives of the 1990s. Here, in his own words, from Eric O’Keefe dot com:
Eric O’Keefe is chairman and CEO of Sam Adams Alliance (SAM), a Chicago‐based organization that promotes citizen activism and government accountability. Eric was a founding board member of U.S. Term Limits, host of the podcast series, Engaging Democracy; and author of the book Who Rules America about the Founders’ view of representative government and the case for term limits. When not promoting political reform, Eric is a private investor residing in rural Wisconsin with his wife Leslie Graves.
In the early 1990s Eric began U.S. Term Limits. Over the course of several years the group helped usher 23 states through the initiative process to limit the terms of their congressional delegation. These states were eventually thwarted by 5 Justices on the Supreme Court who ruled that Congress was exempt from term limits under the Constitution. O’Keefe often notes that politicians became less accountable and less responsible when state governments took over printing and distribution of ballots from private political parties. This resulted in lower turnover rates.
In 2008, Eric, working to advance limitations on the size and power of government, began advocating that Americans should adopt approaches to achieving accountability and limits on government by being involved in the primary process.
The “tea parties” started at Eric’s doorstep as has been reported on Huffington Post by Alex Brandt-Zawadsky and Dawn Te0 (among others); and the Sam Adams Alliance produced a widely-distributed “report” on the “tea party” that was widely quoted by the clueless media:
More recently, the Sam Adams Alliance reports that significant numbers of newcomers to the tea party movement are dropping their affiliation with the GOP: Forty-seven percent changed their political affiliation to “Independent/unaffiliated,” 20 percent changed to “other,” 20 percent to “Tea Party,” and 13 percent to “Libertarian.” [Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 15, 2010]
Let’s focus on Wisconsin, then, shall we? I mean, Eric O’Keefe is on the board of and a Director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth (and was an attendee at the infamous Koch brothers soirée in Aspen, Colorado, as reported in the New York Times). And he’s a featured speaker at Tea Party Events.
- Chairman, Club for Growth, State Action: Howard Rich (and see HERE, and HERE.)
- Director, Club for Growth, Wisconsin: Eric O’Keefe (one of only three board members in 2008, corrected 2-26)
Yesterday the Wisconsin Club for Growth won a huge victory for free and open political speech. A panel of retired judges agreed not to enforce their new rule prohibiting groups like ours from conducting issue advocacy which mentions the name of a candidate on the September or November ballot within 30 or 60 days of the election.
On August 2, 2010, the Wisconsin Club for Growth and the liberal One Wisconsin filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin, seeking a declaratory judgment and preliminary injunctive relief from Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) rule 1.28.
The stipulation means that the Government Accountability Board does not have the ability to regulate issue advocacy communications under Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws.
Club for Growth Board member Eric O’Keefe said, “Individuals and organizations need to be free to comment on public policy and the records of public officials, regardless of the time of year. That is not just our long-held position; it is the U.S. Supreme Court’s long-held position, applying the First Amendment.”
This isn’t O’Keefe’s first dustup with the state for playing fast and loose with election law. From the incredibly ‘friendly’ piece in Reason Magazine (Koch money founded and supported Reason Foundation, which publishes Reason. David Koch sits on the Foundation’s board of Trustees):
Jonathan Rauch | May 29, 1999
Early in the morning of Dec. 11, a few days before his 44th birthday, a political activist named Eric O’Keefe put on business trousers and a sports jacket, but decided not to wear a necktie. This was his small gesture of protest against the proceedings he was about to attend. He and his attorney breakfasted together, went over his testimony, and then drove to a state building in downtown Madison, Wis. In an undecorated and viewless conference room, O’Keefe swore an oath to tell the truth, and then submitted himself to 80 minutes of questioning by an assistant state attorney general who was seeking to determine whether O’Keefe was a lawbreaker. …
I’m only including the “pro” O’Keefe articles and citations written BY O’Keefe and his minions to let you know that I’m not making this stuff up. If you want to hear the alternate point of view, you’ll have to look it up on your own. The point being, if what they’re saying is this damning, consider what the actual state of things, unfiltered by the Kochtopus propaganda machine, actually looks like.
They DEPEND on running under the radar, and Eric O’Keefe is a case in point. How many political reporters in Wisconsin know who he is?
Last year, using the Citizens United decision, only the Wisconsin Club for Growth flouted the spirit of a public financing law in Wisconsin (from the Pierce County [Wisc.] Herald, Feb 16, 2011):
All the primary candidates but Stephens received $100,000 tax dollars for their campaigns, under a new law designed to keep special interests out of judicial races. Stephens only raised about $40,000 on her own. Prosser and Kloppenburg will each get $300,000 in tax money for the general election. But outside groups can still advertise on their own. The conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth had the only statewide TV ad in the primary, supporting Prosser.
I’m keeping this short, so that media might actually have the wherewithal to read it, and do their jobs by reporting on it. I’ve provided the links and the linkages, but in the Battle of Wisconsin, “We the People” need to know this stuff.
The governor of Wisconsin, Ste received TK in Club for Growth money. (TK = I leave it to Wisconsin journalists and bloggers to supply that number.)
Paul Ryan (congressman from Wisconsin, in charge of the House budget, as noted a few days ago) received TK bucks from Club for Growth. In the last election cycle, according to the Rachel Maddow Show graphic, Club for Growth was the Number 10 top money spender in the 2010 election. (TK = Ditto.)
They are getting what they paid for, evidently.
And Eric’s gang is particularly interested in taking over the Wisconsin Supreme Court. But they game the law:
That public support could increase if third-party groups run certain kinds of political advertising. Advertising earlier by the Club for Growth, however, was not found by state election officials to trigger distribution of extra public funds to Justice Prosser’s opponent, a Journal Sentinel article reported. The ad did not trigger additional funding because it stopped short of using such words as “vote for,” “support,” or “elect,” a state official told the newspaper.
“There’s a danger that outside interest groups could weigh in heavily in this race and leave the candidates not in a position to really respond to it,” Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign told Gavel Grab. “I think the likelihood is that groups will weigh in. Which groups and to what extent, that is difficult to predict.”
Take a look at these blog posts while you’re at it:
- Because “Cudgel For Growth” Wouldn’t Sound as Warm and Fuzzy 14 Dec 2010
- Private Legislatures 27 Sept. 2007
- Disneyland Democracy, 28. Sept. 2007
- Breaking News Or Wind Or Something 29 Sept. 2007
- No Souls Day 1 November 2009
- Cheese Whizz, or The Empire Strikes Back 19 Feb. 2011
- Water, Tea or Koch? 20 Feb 2011
- and, for fun Love and Kisses from the Land of the Freed Balloons 3 November, 2007
(urging members to stuff the ballot box for the Weblog Awards)
I’ve got lots more, but that’ll give you a week’s worth of research t0 chew over.
And, while you’re at it, take a look at the NNDB database page on Club for Growth and see Eric’s name with Howard Rich, Betsy DeVos, Paul Singer (who financed a 2008 California ballot measure a couple years ago from his Manhattan home), Lawrence Kudlow, Richard Gilder, Pete duPont, Richard Scaife (founder and funder of “The Arkansas Project” to dog President Clinton), Pat Toomey, Brent Bozell, David Boies, Arthur Laffer (whose cockamamie theories were used to justify “trickle down” economics) and other gold-plated members of what even Mike Huckabee calls the “Club for Greed.”
Hey, wasn’t AFP the sponsor of the “counter-demonstration” in Madison Sunday?
I’ve been playing Paul Revere to a nation on Lunesta® for six years now, and it’s getting old. We really either need to wake up NOW, or kiss our non-plutocratic form of governance goodbye once and for all. But please don’t say that you weren’t clearly and explicitly warned.
The ball’s in your hands, readers.
Click right on to the sequel, Things Go Badder With Koch™ with photos and videos of persons named herein.
NOTE: 2-26-11. O’Keefe’s position with CFG, Wisconsin corrected and links to documentation added.