Did I miss something?
When I started reading the campaign finance report recently filed by Democrat Snake Oil salesman “Slick” Rick Weiland, who has been calling for a ballot measure and affiliated organization called “South Dakotans for Ethics Reform;” promoting removing PAC money from campaign finance, ethics reform, and empowering small donors, I swore I must have missed something.
Because what they group practices, and what they preach appear to be a valley’s width apart. But, don’t take my word for it – read the report yourself:
If you look at Weiland’s group’s intake of funds, you would suppose that this is a grassroots measure, with small donors kicking in.
Wait? Is that a big goose-egg in the donations coming in as contributions from individuals? Nothing from Slick Rick, nothing from Don Frankenfeld or Dave Volk, who has joined Weiland in this crusade. Not even $1 in unitemized contributions.
Zero. Zip. Zilch. NOTHING.
Which begs the question, who is promoting the measure?
ALL OF THE MONEY FOR “South Dakotans for Ethics Reform” comes from an organization called “Represent Us” out of Florence, Massachusetts. Massachussetts. Not South Dakota.
So, we have no South Dakota donors backing this measure, but an out of state organization is putting in $228,250 for it to be passed? Who are these guys?
Well, one independent news site went through the work of figuring it out, and came up with an interesting point. That they’ve seen them all before, in an article titled One Percenters trying to lead the Revolution:
For the second time in five years, there is a group of political revolutionaries determined to end the corrupt and rigged political and economic system perpetrated on the 99 percent by the 1 percent. The only problem is that these revolutionaries are the 1 percent. Can they be trusted to lead a peaceful rebellion against themselves? They claim to be reformers, corruption-busters and non-partisan independents. We’re not sure what to make of them.
The name of the movement, organization, idea and website is Represent.us or Represent Us. Registered as a non-profit charity, the group was launched in 2012 and is reported to have raised millions of dollars in donations. Their website is expensive and professional and their Board of Advisors is a who’s who of the 1%. In fact, the information provided by Represent.us said all the right things, but came from all the wrong places. The high priced grassroots campaign, an oxymoron in itself, looked very familiar to this author. It took only a few seconds to remember where we’d seen some of the same names, corporations and wealthy donors before – Americans Elect.
Yes, the ‘non-political party’ political party created to elect a US President in 2012 by bypassing the Republican and Democrat parties was called Americans Elect. But it was made up of the same Republican and Democrat operatives and donors that have, and continue to, corrupt America in the first place, including the Rothschild family. Read the 2012 Whiteout Press article ‘Americans Elect closing in on a Presidential Nominee’ for more information.
So, it’s many of the same people who tried to sell us on the Nathan Daschle led “Americans Elect” experiment, which went down in flames?
Take note of the Sandler foundation, as they provide significant funding for many of your favorite organizations. According to Wikipedia:
A 2008 New York Times article notes that the foundation has provided substantial support to several nonprofit organizations, including ProPublica, the Center for American Progress, the Center for Responsible Lending, Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as other nonprofit organizations.
And yes, this is the same Sandler Foundation who is funding the people backing another ultra-liberal ballot measure, the Hickey/Hildebrand 36% cap payday lending measure, which I also recently wrote about.
But, let’s not stop here.
The director of Represent Us is Josh Silver, who had previously championed public financing of elections in Arizona. This past September Silver wrote a very revealing piece in the Huffington Post of how he now “bundles” public funding of elections into a package in order to make them more palatable to voters:
But don’t give up just yet. Contrary to popular belief, the money-in-politics problem can be fixed by emulating the stunning successes of marriage equality and marijuana decriminalization over the past twenty years. Here’s how to do it.
First, we need to take the fight to local communities, by passing city and statewide reform initiatives. For too long, reformers have advocated small-step, incremental reforms at the federal level, such as ending secret donations. This is a good and popular proposal, but alone will not come close to fixing the problem. Other reformers are advocating “publicly funded” elections, which is also good policy, but remains unpopular with many voters and would not fix the entire problem if passed without simultaneous ethics, lobbying and transparency reforms.
And here’s the key thing: comprehensive reform proposals that overhaul ethics, lobbying, transparency and provide public funding in one fell swoop enjoy over 80% voter approval, and they are constitutional, even under the current Supreme Court. Together they are much more popular than public funding alone, and far more palatable to moderates and conservatives to boot.
Hmmm…. Where have we heard about a bundle of reforms on “ethics, lobbying, transparency and provide public funding in one fell swoop?” Yes, that is exactly what Slick Rick Weiland’s ballot measure is to the letter. Public Campaign financing bundled, just like your cable TV, into a package with other things in order to get you to buy it.
In a nutshell, “The South Dakotans for Ethics Reform” is a misleading description, because the associated ballot measure is yet another in a long line of out-of-state interests trying to get a ballot measure passed in South Dakota because we’re the – if not one of the – easiest and cheapest states to put a measure on the ballot.
They’ve packaged it up, and handed it off to Slick Rick, with over $228,000 – which I’m sure is the first installment – to promote this out of state measure in South Dakota.
“South Dakotans for Ethics Reform?” There’s nothing involving “South Dakota” or “Ethics” with it. It’s just big out of state money trying to use South Dakotans. Once again.