Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What's in a number?

As you know, Gervais has been going through one of his new favorite websites, researching his favorite voucher groups in the Palmetto State, and coming across some pretty interesting stuff.

Of course, the most telling item was SCRG’s earliest tax return, which inadvertently gave the phone number of Howard Rich’s “US Term Limits” (847-657-7251) as its phone listing. Note to self: if I ever start a bogus, grassroots group in another state (I’m leaning towards Rhode Island) make sure I use a local phone number instead of my own.

But after poking around some more, I found that SCRG wasn’t the only Howard Rich prop-up to use that Illinois phone number. (click on picture for larger view)

For instance, if you lived in Phoenix circa 2004, you had to dial long distance to reach “Arizona At Its Best.” If you lived in Boulder and had a hankerin’ to speak to “Colorado At Its Best,” you also had to phone the Land of Lincoln. Howard Rich, of course, was director of both groups. (pdf) (pdf)

You could also dial 847-657-7251 to reach "Club for Growth State Action," a group which "establishes and supports" seven state affiliates, including the SC Club for Growth. Howard Rich is listed as the president of the group. (pdf).

That’s when it occured to me that over the last few weeks, I’ve neglected one of the vouchin’-est voucher groups in the state (and let’s face it, huge fans of Barbecue & Politics) the SC Club for Growth.

According to the SC Secretary of State’s website, the Club for Growth sets up shop at 3020 Devine Street these days. That’s the same address that SCRG and the Center for Grassroots moved to earlier this year.

I guess that makes it easier for whoever writes the rent check.

But more “SC, grassroots” voucher groups controlled by Howard Rich? Yawn. That’s yesterday’s news.

The best thing about these tax filings is that they reveal the connections between Rich and his roster of out-of-state contributors to SC voucher candidates.

There’s Yvonne Worseley of Mountain Home, AR. You actually won’t find her name on any SC disclosures, but “Yvonne Rich” of the same address gave over $10,000 to SC voucher candidates in 2006. Yvonne is listed as a co-director of Colorado At Its Best. (pdf)

There’s Joseph Stilwell of NY, NY. He gave $37,500 to SC candidates who supported Put Parents in Charge in 2006. He’s a co-director of U.S. Term Limits. (pdf)

There’s Eric Brooks Bala Cynwyd, PA. He contributed $46,000 to voucher candidates in SC last year. Not only that - his wife, Donna Brooks, gave $36,000. Brooks co-directs the “Parents in Charge Foundation,” (pdf), chaired by Howard Rich.

And there’s more, so much more. But here’s my question… Are these folks really parting with up to $80,000 of their household earnings to influence SC political contests? Does that seem likely to you? Or is this just more funny money, like the $1,000 Thomas Simuel didn’t really contribute to Curtis Brantley, yet was attributed to him on Brantley's financial disclosures?

Maybe I'll call these folks, long distance, and find out.


notverybright said...

You do much better journalism that our resident full-time journalists. Don't let up on this issue.

tammy said...

I second NVB. I am IMPRESSED. Where is the MSM on this?

Keep up the good work. And thanks. :)t

Anonymous said...

Run (waddle), Josh, Run (waddle)...

Keep it Up, Gervais said...

It won't be long, Tammy.

All you have to wonder is who will pick it up first: 60 Minutes, Larry King, Dateline, Geraldo or Jerry Springer.

Our bet is Springer. The cheap and sleazy nature of the voucher scam fits his show.

Gervais is a Great American who has been trained by the best. By now he has completed his reseach.

The SCRG and their snake oil and voucher scam salesmen are sweating pickle juice over this wondering how many rocks he has in his bag.

Keep breaking their windows, Gervais. People are really starting to notice.

The funny part will come when the politicians they've suckered in try to start explaining themselves.