Saturday, October 14, 2006

Complaint names school choice group

A complaint has been filed against All Children Matter, the school choice group that talks about everything but school choice during this election cycle, saying the group broke state elections law.

All Children Matter mailed an attack piece against State Rep. John Lehman, who's running for the State Senate, which included the words "vote against John Lehman."

To do that legally, the group would have to be registered as a political committee, report its donors and expenses, and report what it was spending as an independent expenditure against Lehman.

This is no small item. It is a major violation. Here's the story from Racine, which includes a copy of the literature.

Earlier post: Anti-Doyle group breaks the law.

Having a complaint filed against them is just another day at the office for All Children Matter's people. Does this sound familiar?
A national school-choice group with ties to Amway and Wal-Mart has been accused of violating Florida election law with a flier touting a candidate for state House District 41. Joe Durek -- a businessman running against traffic engineer Steve Precourt and attorney Dennis Horton in Tuesday's Republican primary -- this week filed the accusation with the Florida Elections Commission. Durek contends that All Children Matter, which promotes school choice, "expressly" advocated for Precourt and violated campaign-contribution limits when it sent out the mailing.
Then there's this, also in Florida:
Officials with the Florida Democratic Party say they intend to file a libel suit against a school choice advocacy group that is supporting Legg in a heated bid to represent west Pasco. At issue, the Democrats say, is a campaign flier sponsored by Michigan-based All Children Matter. The group, which promotes vouchers and other school choice options, has authored at least four mailers supporting Legg - a charter school founder and teacher - in the District 46 race.

The latest one, however, could land the group in court. The bifold flier's headline reads: "Lien on Dee" and states "Dee Thomas Didn't Pay Her Taxes On Time" - resulting in an IRS lien on her business.Thomas, a 58-year-old physical therapist, on Thursday called the ad - regarding an incident 22 years ago - "absolutely untrue and distorted."State party officials call it something else: libel."We are going to file suit today," Steven Schale, Florida Democratic Party spokesman, said Thursday.
And the Dallas Morning News report:
Ms. Miller also took aim at the All Children Matter Texas PAC, a pro-voucher committee that Dr. Leininger helped launch in late 2003. She questioned recent cash balances reported by the PAC and asked whether it has filed reports with the ethics commission as frequently as required... Children Matter donated some $54,000 in services by Austin GOP pollster Mike Baselice to a newly formed PAC that helps pro-voucher incumbents and candidates, the Future of Texas Alliance PAC.
In Missouri, there's a different angle; a legislator used her access to the group's bank account as leverage to get an appointment she wanted:
Meeting secretly, the House Ethics Committee deadlocked Monday on a complaint alleging ethics breaches "tantamount to bribery" against a Republican lawmaker who suggested she could attract campaign cash for Republicans if given a House leadership position. The 4-4 partisan vote on a motion to dismiss the matter means the complaint against Rep. Jane Cunningham, of Chesterfield, technically is still alive...

Democratic Rep. Rachel Storch, of St. Louis has publicly criticized Cunningham for sending a Nov. 29 letter to Republican colleagues as Cunningham was applying for reappointment as chairwoman of a House education committee. In that letter, Cunningham claimed to have helped raise $381,220 for Republicans, much of which came from the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based political action committee All Children Matter. The group supports parental school choice policies such as vouchers, tuition tax credits and charter schools. "Remaining in that leadership position will help secure the continuation of these benefits to our caucus and to the state," Cunningham wrote in the letter. Cunningham ultimately was appointed chairwoman of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.
Innocent until proven guilty? Of course. But when there's this much smoke, there's a good chance there's a little fire somewhere, too.


At 9:19 PM, Blogger Theodore Donald Kerabatsos said...

Great comment on one aspect of the "All Children Matter" commercials that no one else has picked up on: The commercials have absolutely nothing to do with "education" -- which is ironic, coming from a group which alleges that it stands for better quality education.

George and Susan Mitchell step in it big time. I hope that the book is thrown at their phony group.

Here's another irony: Their big complaint is that Doyle vetoed the Republican legislature's freeze. What would have happened had the freeze been signed into effect?

The increase in per pupil spending would have been cut from $240 to $110 (or thereabouts) when the Governor signed the bill into law, long after the contract or statutory date for issuing layoff notices had passed. School boards would have had to slash spending without the ability to make staff reductions (at least among the represented staff). Chaos would have ensued, and educational quality would have been harmed.

But George and Susan don't care about what happens in the public schools, do they? What a pair of two-bit phonies, going rich off the anti-public school zealots.

Again, let's hope that the book is thrown at them, and that the book is the unabridged dictionary.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger goofticket said...

Michigan is not happy with the DeVos scam through ACM.
The group is the prime example of why 527's are bad, wrong and should be outlawed nationally.
Using a tax exempt loophole to squirrel away a few millions from the IRS, and use a tame mission to declare that exemptions, groups like All Children Matter, the Swift Boats are blatant attack ads, and strict party loyalists.
They need to be banned, they do not promote their cause, they are used as tax shelters, and are usually run by less than ethical persons.
The GOP said they were going to get rid of them after 2004, and now we have even more of them
Vote Dem and get rid of the 527-issue ad scams in our elections.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Interloper said...

Good point, Theodore. The other unmentioned impact of the Doyle vetoes is that - based on the funding formula - voucher schools actually got more money per pupil during the 2005-07 budget period than they would have under the Republican budget. This is something the Mitchells won't tell us.

This anti-Lehman ad is a really sloppy mistake. Perhaps this is what happens when hate overwhelms reason. I also have to wonder if George Mitchell looks good in stripes. And not because he has a future in baseball.


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