Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thursday THRASH Award: South Carolinians for Responsible Government

Who didn’t see this one coming?

The SCRG debacle is well-documented in this blog and elsewhere, but it bears constant repeating, because it's hilarious.

It all started a few short years ago, when New York millionaire Howard Rich “saw his opening” to install a private school voucher plan in the Palmetto State.

Step One: Dispatch Todd McCauley, a field representative for Rich's US Term Limits organization, to register a group called “South Carolinians for Responsible Government” with the secretary of state.

Step Two is then obvious: Write fake letters to the editor of The State newspaper under the pseudonym “Dennis Sinned” and get caught red-handed.

It sounds foolproof already, but SCRG’s sleeve is stuffed with more aces than the bullpen at the All-Star Game.

The group accidentally uses Howard Rich’s phone number on their tax return. Then they launch a radio ad that mispronounces “South Carolinians.” They sue the Ethics Commission in order not to reveal their funding, because that way no one will suspect they have anything to hide.

It’s a floundering, flailing, FUBAR-fest all around. All paid for by, well we don’t know who.

But then again, all that stuff happened years ago. It’s the distant past, and the THRASH awards are for groups that shill for out-of-state interests right now.

Now when SCRG says it’s a native, grass-roots effort, we can probably believe it, despite the polls and whatnot. Sure, Howard Rich may have provided a little “seed money,” but that’s no reason to think he’s still pulling the purse-strings of SCRG for his voucher agenda.

So, um, why is SCRG President Randy Page wearing a Cubs hat in this exclusive photograph obtained by Gervais?

Well, there’s an explanation. Taxes. SCRG needed to do their taxes a few months ago. And obviously, South Carolina “grass roots” groups who need to do their taxes often take a short trip to the suburbs ... of Chicago.

But now you’re probably thinking to yourself, "That seems like a real bother. Why doesn't Randy just go to one of those places with the Statue of Liberty lady dancing out front?"

Well you’re wrong to think that. It isn’t inconvenient at all. Actually, it’s much easier. Not for Randy, but for his boss.

You see, there's a few more groups that get their taxes done at this same accounting firm in the Chicago suburbs.

Like "US Term Limits," founded and directed by Howard Rich.

And "Americans for Limited Government," chaired by Howard Rich.

And let’s not forget “Legislative Education Action Drive,” or the “Parents in Charge Foundation,” directed and founded by Howard Rich.

Because at the end of the day, when you're trying to balance the gobs of libertarian voucher cash in all these groups, you probably want the same guy doing the balancing.

Gervais says, it’s a darn shame. Here's a guy getting paid almost $88,000 a year to shill for Howard Rich, yet can’t even get his front-group's taxes done down the street.

Don't just hang your head, SCRG, take a full bow. For abusing the proud label "South Carolinians" while being a puppet for out-of-state interests, you've definitely earned the spotlight ... and this Thursday's THRASH award.

The Howard Rich Advocacy & Shilling for Hire (THRASH) awards were created to honor "South Carolina" political advocacy groups that are controlled by, funded by, or specifically created by out of state interests under the guise of representing the actual interests and values of actual South Carolinians.


Anonymous said...

One of the most significant aspects of all this is that libertarians seem pleased to accomplish nothing. Howard Rich routinely gets very little for his investments. Mark Sanford has given his hard core whacko supporters nuttin for their time and money (except for the back room deals that have netted Sanford’s nonprofits 6 million dollars)...but it seems all that is important is the ability to drone incessantly about theory but accomplish nothing.

At the end of the day, rich Libertarians seem to be interested in posturing, not results. And as a moderate, I am happy that their goals are so modest.

Rob W. said...

Well, you know the libertarian creed- the government that governs least is the government that governs best. Perhaps they're working to cut spending by tying up the legislature's time on never-to-be-passed voucher bills and other distractions.