So far this week, we’ve seen how a handful of libertarians from around the country have bankrolled candidates for our legislature. But just candidates. That’s an important word because, of the tens of thousands of dollars poured into the Palmetto State in support of the voucher agenda, not one red cent has had any influence on our legislature. Right?
Turns out, assembling a State House that will pass a voucher bill happens just a few seats at a time.
There’s Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who got 49% of his campaign funds in 2006 from out-of-state, including $18,000 from the voucher enthusiasts. Mulvaney’s out-of-state money exceeded his November opponent’s total contributions, and Mulvaney won a seat in our State House by 209 votes (51% to 49%).
There’s Rep. Kit Spires, who got 52% of his campaign funds in 2006 from these guys. Spires’ out-of-state voucher money also exceeded his GOP primary opponent’s total contributions, and
And last, but certainly not least, there’s Rep. Curtis Brantley, who puts the other two to shame. Brantley got nearly 84% of his campaign funds in 2006 from the out-of-state voucher lobby, and captured a seat in the June Primary by only 170 votes.
Could they have done it without New York libertarian Howard Rich, and the grotesque amount of funding that comes with supporting his vouchers? Would they be legislators if not for this out of state mega-donor who scoffs at SC’s $1000 contribution limit? I don’t know for sure, but I think not.
Because Howard Rich is indeed a “one-man voucher lobby.”
I’ll wrap up voucher week by exposing a fact that the voucher groups, with all their grass roots, Palmetto Tree masquerading, don’t want you to know. It’s a fact that’s buried in numerous campaign disclosures and hidden behind countless LLC’s, but it’s a fact all the same. And this is it:
Let that sink in for a second. Does that sound right?
Here are the top contributing entities (excluding the candidates who self-financed) to SC political candidates in 2006, according to the National Institute for Money in State Politics:
1. SC Trucking Association: $111,750As you can see, Rich ain’t on the list. They’re all, as you would expect,
2. SC Automobile Dealers Association: $89,741
3. SC Optometric Association: $83,550
4. Senate Republican Caucus: $83,211
5. Palmetto Leadership Council: $80,500
6. BellSouth: $72,900
7. Blue Cross Blue Shield of
: $67,500 South Carolina
But Rich’s name isn’t missing from the list because he’s stingy. Quite the contrary. It’s missing because the Institute didn’t go through the intense bother of adding up all the contributions from Rich’s myriad shell companies last year. Gervais, however, did:
405 49 Associates: $23,500
Ashborough Investors: $19,000
Ashborough LLC: $1,000
123 LaSalle, Inc: $16,000
123 LaSalle Associates: $5,000
Spinksville LLC: $15,000
Howard Rich/Spinksville LLC: $3,000
West 14 & 18 LLC: $12,500
Spooner LLC: $12,500
538-14 Realty LLC: $12,500
Silver & Silver Properties, LLC: $10,500
Bayrich LLC: $5,500
Howard Rich/Bayrich LLC: $1,000
Dayrich LLC: $1,000
Unless my calculator fails me, that’s a total of $166,000. Howard Rich is #1 by far - head and shoulders above any other contributor. In other words, no one is trying to exert as much influence on
Make of that what you will, folks. That’s it for Voucher Week.