There is a group little known called Citizens for a Strong America (CSA) that has been putting a surprising amount of money into the WI State Supreme Court election to be held Tuesday. Some folks have been digging around and found some very interesting things on the group. I urge you to go read Cognitive Dissidence because it has a summary of that info and more on how these folks operate. Here is part:
Also sharing the same address as CSA and AFP is an organization called Campaign Now. Guess what. Campaign Now's website is also registered to John Connors. Digging a little deeper into Campaign Now's site, one can find their contact phone number. This number happens to be the same phone number that was used by AFP to register riders on the buses to the AFP (read Koch Brothers) sponsored pilgrimage to Madison on February 15, in order to represent the Koch Industries in front of the Joint Financial Committee.
Besides sharing phone numbers and addresses, these groups also share Connors, who is listed as a On-Site Production Coordinator at the AFP/Koch Brothers sponsored Tea Party held in Wisconsin Dells in 2009.
Further research shows that Connors is indeed a very busy and very well-connected young man.
Yes, if you read the Cognitive Dissidence post, it gets even more interesting:
On top of being affiliated with AFP, CSA and Campaign Now, Connors was also an intern for then County Executive Scott Walker and for the gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker, all while balancing his school career and being a senator at Marquette University.
Connors is also listed as the registrant for yet another website, this time WatchDog.org, which is ironically described as a "non-profit, non-partisan" project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. And here's a real shocker - Franklin Center is affiliated with - guess who- the Koch Brothers!
The decline of the statehouse beat is bad enough. What I find even worse is the influx of agenda-driven state “news” organizations, some with a leftist orientation but most of the newer entries tilted far to the right. They claim their sole reason for being is to inform the people and hold public officials accountable, filling a vacuum caused by the downsizing of the news industry. Their mission statements actually say they’re rushing to fill the gap.
Don’t believe it for a moment. Do what reporters should do: Check them out, as I have done. For the most part, the people in charge of these would-be watchdog operations are political hacks out to subvert journalism in their quest to grab and keep power using whatever means they have to do so. Good luck on finding out where they get their money; the IRS disclosure forms required of organizations that claim nonprofit status are singularly uninformative.
At the forefront of an effort to blur the distinction between statehouse reporting and political advocacy is the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, which finances a network of websites that focus on state government. This center has ties to a number of conservative organizations, including theAmericans for Prosperity Foundation, whose founder is billionaire David Koch. He is a longtime financier of right-wing causes whose shadowy political dealings were highlighted this past summer in a New Yorker article by Jane Mayer headlined “Covert Operations.”
As a side note to all of this, it should also be noted that Connors is not the only one who has their fingers in all of these pies. Claire Milbrandt, who was listed as Stage Coordinator at the AFP event, is also listed as Account Executive at Campaign Now, Account Manager at Connors and Co., and a consultant for AFP.
I sure hope that the Koch Brothers are paying them well for all of their hard work.
But it is very frightening to see just how many things the Koch Brothers have their dirty little hands into in Wisconsin, and none of it to the benefit of the state or its people.
It also shows just how very important that we take to the polls on Tuesday, April 5, and vote to keep Wisconsin in the hands of Wisconsinites, not the Koch Brothers.
The right is funding many of these organizations via anonymous donor-advised funds. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity received a contribution of $1,400,000 in one payment in 2009 via the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program. That was as of 2009. Wait for 2010. I'm certain there will be more.