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Are Republicans Evil?  We think Some of them Are.

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Senator John Barrasso

Presented by: The Religious Freedom Coalition of the SouthEast

Senator John Barrasso

Bush and Wicca and Doreen Valiente

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We will leave it up to the reader to determine whether Republicans have made serious errors in in judgment.  They have supported a Conservative Far Right Christian position especially when it comes to Church and State issues, but they have been involved in sexual scandals as hypocrits  It is apparent from the data collected, that the first amendment is in danger from their past and future actions as well as other constitutional sections. 

They have stated that their position is that Certain Religions aren't  "Real" religions.  What is a real religion, folks?  What you have been practicing?  They say that only certain Christian denominations are valid.  Read the following and remember: "By their Works may they be known."  This is a summary of information collected from several sources about Conservative Extremist Republicans.

(Remember it is best to investigate on your own when looking at allegations about anyone.     Don't believe us, think for yourself and investigate for yourself!  And remember, the First Amendment Coalition and Religious Freedom Coalition of the South East do not represent any political party nor do we recommend any political candidate, nor are we involving ourselves in the political process.)


This is a report on a very disturbing trend in our country which actually goes far beyond our borders in its effects.

Over the last ten years I have noticed a trend that is not a coincidence. Certain organizations and individuals have obtained political, religious and economic power far beyond what any entity should have. And more disturbing is that they have used that power to gain control over our lives far beyond what they have any right in doing.

It’s the old story about putting a frog in boiling water and he will jump out. But slowly heat the water to boiling and he will cook to death without jumping out. The same with our Religious, Political and Economic Institutions. We haven’t noticed the insidious encroachment of these entities on our freedoms, our economic security, and our very lives until it may be too late.

By controlling the information we receive every day, they control our beliefs. FOX NEWS

By controlling the Religious Expression in this country, they also control our beliefs, MURDOCH CONTROLLED CHRISTIAN PUBLICATIONS

By controlling Economic Education in this country, KOCH BROTHERS FOUNDATION DONATING TO UNIVERSITIES IN EXCHANGE FOR VETTING ECONOMICS PROFESSORS HIRED. They then control Economic Advice given to everyone.  They can then hire their own economist that  toe the Koch Political line.  Scary.

By trying to limit education opportunity in this country they dumb down the population making them easier to influence.   They also push school vouchers and promote private schools which will teach Koch Information as well as they can sell voucher programs to the states and make money from you and I.

They Influence Congress to Limit Pell Grants. Influence Governors to raise Higher Education Fees, and limit grants. Reduce grants to public education. Try to change public secondary education to private education so they can influence teaching of science. LIE ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING, POLLUTION, ETC.

Influence the teaching of Creation Science therefore capturing a large constituency of voters who believe that the Bible is fact.  These voters are the Right Wing Extremists who make up a large part of the Tea Party.

By controlling the prices at the gas pump, they control our level of anxiety and attempt to destroy Obama so he won’t be elected. KOCH BROS OIL AND GAS INTERESTS

By controlling certain political parties, they control our very lives thru controlling a political party. KOCH BROS TEA PARTY

By supporting certain extremist politicians, they control what regulations are created, what laws are passed. If the politicians they support gain control of a party. They can force a government shut down and stop the administration from doing anything. LEADERSHIP OF THE HOUSE

By supporting certain Supreme Court Justices, they control almost every facet of our judicial system. JUDGE THOMAS

By obtaining rulings that allow them to lie to the public through their media, they control propaganda and are able to influence the population. FOX NEWS RULING IN FLORIDA APPEALS COURT

This goes far beyond a Right Wing Conspiracy. This goes beyond the Military Industrial Complex as mentioned by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.


Rupert Murdoch’s Goal: to control the information that you and I receive every day. If he can control this information and determine what you and I hear, he can control what you and I believe. He can then affect U.S. Politics, determine which laws will be passed and which regulations will be rejected. He is doing this through an attack on several areas of our culture: Religion, TV News, Financial News, and General Newspapers.

Religious Publications. He purchased Zondervan publishing house a Evangelical Christian Publisher. He publishes certain Right Wing authors.

He purchased "Beliefnet" and "Inspirio" - religious "gift production," specialists in making tawdry religion-junk of the one-more-pair-of-praying-hands made of pressed muck kind.

He purchased Harper Collins with Harper One, the "religious" division of Harper Collins. He publishes main stream books and publications.



U.S. Fox News


U.S. Wall Street Journal

Dow Jones


US New York Post


UK Sunday Times

UK Sun

UK News Of the World (Closing)



Political Movement - Koch influence on the nation's politics is compounded and leveraged through a combination of the brothers' direct contributions to candidates, their investment in astroturf groups such as Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks (which do political organizing), and their funding of right-wing think tanks, which send policy position papers daily to the in-boxes of senators, representatives and their aides. There are over 85 right-leaning think tanks that have received a collective $85 million from the Kochs over the course of the last 15 years. These include the Cato Institute, of which David Koch was a founder, and other well-known outfits, such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

Academics - Donations to College Economic Departments

Destroying Unions - Donations to Right Wing Governors

Koch Supply and Trading - Global Economy - Manipulating Oil and Gas prices by speculation


Tea Party Group Admits It Wants to "Shut Down Public Schools"

by: Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress | Report

As ThinkProgress has documented, a tightly-knit group of right-wing Political Action Committees (PACs) and corporate foundations have unleashed an assault on public education, pushing school voucher schemes nationwide that would funnel taxpayer dollars away from public schools and toward private schools instead. In doing so, many of these voucher advocates claim they simply want to expand school choice and improve the quality of education for all.

Yet one group that has been influential in the school voucher push — the Independence Hall Tea Party, which has run a major PAC that operates in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania — is finally admitting that its true goal is to abolish public education.

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In a series of e-mails and interviews, Teri Adams, the president of the Idependence Hall Tea Party Association, explains that her organization is involved in its voucher advocacy because it believes “public schools should go away.” Adams said that their ultimate goal is to “shut down public schools and have private schools only“:

“We think public schools should go away,’’ says Teri Adams, the head of the Independence Hall Tea Party and a leading advocate — both in New Jersey and Pennsylvania — of passage of school voucher bills. The tea party operates in those two states and Delaware. They should “go away,” she says, because “they are hurting our children.’’ [...] Adams says the current voucher program “discriminates” against wealthier students by providing public subsidies only to inner-city children in allegedly failing schools. Her group’s e-mails pushing vouchers caught the attention of James Kovalcin of South Brunswick, a retired public school teacher who asked Adams for clarification. She responded via email: “Our ultimate goal is to shut down public schools and have private schools only, eventually returning responsibility for payment to parents and private charities. It’s going to happen piecemeal and not overnight. It took us years to get into this mess and it’s going to take years to get out of it.”

“It’s refreshing to see a vouchers promoter who is honest about her real intent — to destroy public education,” responded Julia Rubin, a spokeswoman for Save Our Schools, a New Jersey organization that is opposing the voucher push in the state. “Fortunately, most New Jersey residents understand how devastating vouchers would be for our excellent public schools.” (HT: @DianeRavitch)

Voucher Advocate Betsy DeVos, Right-Wing Think Tanks Behind Koch-Style Attack on PA Public Schools

Rachel TabachnickWed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:28:44 PM EST


The DeVos family crusade to eradicate public education has targeted Pennsylvania, and a voucher bill may come to a vote in the PA Senate as early as Tuesday.  It's being marketed as a solution to save public schools, but the big donors are tied to right-wing think tanks that openly advocate, and strategize, the end of public education.  How can vouchers improve public schools if the people mobilizing the movement intend to eradicate public education?  Regardless of your personal stance on "school choice," it's important to know who is behind the voucher movement and the agenda they don't share with the public or advertise in their media campaigns.


Also see Part Two below, a report tracking over $4.6 million dollars contributed to American Federation for Childrens' Indiana PAC in 2010, prior to the election ($5.8 million total in 2010).

A new wave of school voucher bills is sweeping the nation, which would allow public education funds to be used in private or parochial schools.   As with past waves of voucher initiatives, these new bills are largely promoted and funded by the billionaire DeVos family and a core group of wealthy pro-privatization supporters. They include Pennsylvania SB-1, soon coming to a vote in the PA Senate, and the "Vouchers-for-All" bill approved by the Florida Senate Education Committee on April 14. Betsy DeVos is at the helm of organizations that have set the stage for both bills, but you would never know it based on the propaganda being marketed to Pennsylvanians.  Even if you are from another state, keep reading.  Chances are a Betsy DeVos-led campaign is already at work in your state or will be there soon.  
The DeVos family is recognized as one of the top national contributors to the Republican Party, free market policy institutes, and Religious Right organizations. Many of their previous attempts at using voucher initiatives to privatize the nation's public schools have been transparent. Recent campaigns have been more covert and are camouflaged behind local efforts described as grass roots and bipartisan.
Pennsylvanians should not be deceived. Regardless of where one stands on the issue of school choice, behind the curtain of this effort is an interconnected network of right wing think tanks and billionaire donors, funded by foundations including those of the DeVos and Koch families and the Scaife, Allegheny, and Carthage Foundations of Pennsylvania's own Richard Mellon Scaife. The leaders of many of these DeVos/Koch/Scaife-funded institutes openly voice their ideological objections to all forms of public education. Some even proudly display their support for a
proclamation posted at the Alliance for Separation of School and State, which reads,

"I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education."

Years have been spent developing and promoting schemes to privatize public education. The report "Voucher Veneer: the Deeper Agenda to Privatize Public Education" by People For the American Way (PFAW), quotes Joseph Bast, President and CEO of the Koch/Scaife/Walton-funded Heartland Institute,

"The complete privatization of schooling might be desirable, but this objective is politically impossible for the time being. Vouchers are a type of reform that is possible now, and would put us on the path to further privatization."

(Contributions from the DeVos, Scaife and Koch foundations are noted throughout this article, however, other family foundations including Olin, Bradley, Smith Richardson, and Walton - the Walmart heirs, also fund these same think tanks.)
Pennsylvania could be a case study for nationwide anti-public education partnerships, formed by Religious Right activists joining forces with radical free market think tanks and libertarian-minded investment and hedge fund managers. The movement is billed as the salvation of inner city students; and Democratic politicians, often African American, are portrayed as the heroic champions of children who desperately need access to better education.  The need is real, but the claim that this about improving public schools is false advertising.

The big money donors who provide millions for orchestrated campaigns and glossy media, and what they expect from their investments, are kept behind the scenes. "Flooding the zone" is the phrase the Democrats for Educational Reform (DFER), partners in the voucher movement, have used to describe the intense media exposure before an important vote or election. In the case of Pennsylvania, the illusion created by "flooding the zone" may have impacted the 2010 gubernatorial election, and could impact the Senate vote expected to take place next week.
Students First?
Students First PAC, a 527 created to promote vouchers in Pennsylvania, was established on March 10, 2010 by Joe Watkins. On the Students First
website Watkins describes himself "as an aide to a president of the United States and as a pastor of a church," but he doesn't mention that the president was George W. Bush. Nor does the bio mention Watkins' lobbying and investment fund resume, his appearances on MSNBC, CNN, and Fox as a Republican strategists, or being featured in a Citizens United advertisement attacking Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.  The website does nothing to give away it's right-wing backing or their extreme agendas, unless you happen to be familiar with the generic-sounding foundations listed as supporting the bills.
Students First shares the name of the network founded by Michelle Rhee, former D.C. school superintendent and a star in the documentary Waiting for Superman, who has been described by some as the Sarah Palin of education because of the unusual media attention.  She has now shocked some of her more progressive fans by joining forces with Florida Governor Rick Scott who is promoting a Vouchers-for- All bill.  The Pennsylvania Students First organization is actually an affiliate of
American Federation for Children (AFC), chaired by Betsy DeVos, as it states on the website.  A donation to Students First PAC was received from Joel Greenberg, a board member of AFC, on the date the PAC was formed. Approximately 5 million dollars from Greenberg, a co-founder of Susquehanna Investment Group (SIG), and two of the other SIG co-founders, Jeffrey Yass and Arthur Dantchik, would follow between March 10 and May 11, 2010. Most of this money was, in turn, contributed to the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony H. Williams. Graphic at right is the AFC board of directors.

Williams is an African American Democratic state senator serving part of the Philadelphia area and was a very long-shot candidate in a large field of Democratic candidates for governor. William finished a distant third and the Democratic nomination was won by Dan Onorato, Allegheny County Executive and a centrist Democrat, who was endorsed by both of the state's public school teachers' unions in the general election. In August, months after the May primary, Williams endorsed Onorato in a public appearance and Onorato, in turn, voiced support for school vouchers for low income students.  Expectations were raised that Onorato would have a chance of tapping into the same donor pool that financed Williams' campaign.  

The Washington Post reported, via a political consultant, that Onorato later met with the three Williams donors who declined to support Onorato's campaign, despite his embrace of William's voucher scheme. Some of the press coverage claimed the three had become "gun shy" due to the unexpected press exposure. It was reported that the trio of mega-donors said Onorato's position "did not go far enough."  It was unlikely that these donors, affiliated with right-wing think tanks, would support Onorato or that he would have embrace their real agenda.  Williams, on the other hand, despite liberal stances on some issues, had been working in these circles of voucher supporters for years, forming ties with the interconnected network of the pro-privatization movement.  It would have been hard for him not to know that these supporters and the associated think tanks openly advocate ending public education or that Students First is part of Betsy DeVos' privatization crusade.

Who is Betsy DeVos and Why Is She Trying to Privatize Public Schools?
Betsy DeVos is a former chair of the Michigan Republican Party; daughter of the late Edgar Prince and Elsa Prince-Broekhuizen; sister of Blackwater-founder Erik Prince; and wife of Dick DeVos (son of Richard and Helen DeVos). The Devos side of the family fortune comes from Amway/Alticor, the controversial, multi-tiered home products business. A Center for Public Integrity Report showed that the DeVos family and business interests were the fifth largest contributors in the 2003 -2004 election cycle, with 100% of the donations going to Republicans.
Dick and Betsy DeVos have been credited with helping to 
finance the Citizens United case which allows Super PACs to raise unlimited funds and conceal the donors, meaning that we will no longer know who provides the millions of dollars for the big media campaigns, or reveal the information that I have in this article on the Pennsylvania campaign.  

The Prince and Devos families have also funded the Family Research Council, Focus on Family, and the ministries of the late D. James Kennedy, all warriors against separation of church and state. Kennedy did, however, believe in separation of school and state. Like many others who have benefited from Devos and Prince family largesse, he signed the proclamation to end public schools.
Much of the research claimed to support vouchers and charter schools comes directly from the Foundation for Education Choice, a think tank founded by the late Milton and Rose Friedman. Milton Friedman was the patriarch of the "Chicago School" and radical free market economics. In a 
briefing paper for the Cato Institute (Scaife/Koch/Devos-funded) titled "Public Schools: Make Them Private," Friedman stated,

"Vouchers are not an end in themselves; they are a means to make a transition from a government to a market system."

 The DeVos and Prince families played a major role in bringing together right-wing business leaders and religious conservatives and combining these forces to battle labor unions and federal regulatory policy while promoting conservative social policy.  The Right built a parallel universe of think tanks to counter the established institutions deemed to be controlled by liberals.  The secretive Council for National Policy was described by ABC in 2002 as the,

"most powerful conservative group you never heard of."

"The brightest lights of the hard Right," stated ABC News, meet behind closed doors - invitation only - and with no press. Richard DeVos famously described the CNP as bringing "together the doers with the donors." The expenditure report of Students First PAC shows a $575 dollars for conference registration for the Council for National Policy.
Betsy DeVos, who heads Alliance for School Choice, founded All Children Matter in 2003, American Federation for Children, and American Federation For Children Action Fund, registered in 2010. Alliance for School Choice and American Federation for Children have almost identical board of directors, including Kevin P. Chavous, a former D.C. council member who describes himself as having "helped shepherd" the D.C. and New Orleans charter school programs. DeVos' pro-voucher organizations pump millions of dollars into campaigns around the country, including last minute media blitzes. Advertisements sometimes omit the word "vouchers" but accuse their rivals of opposing equal opportunity education and and not caring about the education of African American students in failing urban schools.
Until recently it appeared that the voucher movement had fizzled. In 2000, both California and Michigan voters overwhelmingly rejected voucher schemes despite the DeVos campaigns being advertised as having broad based support. Kids! Yes! First! spearheaded the unsuccessful voucher drive in Michigan in 2000 and raised four million dollars in six months. But of the four million, three million came from the DeVos family, including one million each from Dick DeVos, Betsy Devos, and Betsy's mother, Elsa Prince. The Michigan Catholic diocese contributed $740,000.
Betsy DeVos` organizations have had significant legal problems. All Children Matter 
was fined 5.2 million dollars for funneling campaign money into Ohio in 2006 through their various state networks and lost its legal appeal in February 2010. Misconduct has been reported in several states, including a case in Wisconsin that resulted in a fine.
Following these legal troubles, All Children Matter disappeared and a new entity emerged under the name American Federation for Children. This new DeVos-led organization has affiliate groups in several states and its board of directors includes Chavous, John F. Kirtley, Boykin Curry, Joel Greenberg, and Carrie Penner. The American Federation for Children website links to right-wing think tanks funded by the DeVos, Scaife and Koch foundations, including the Cato Institute, the Center for Education Reform, Heartland Institute, Heritage Institute, Institute for Justice, and State Policy Network.

Board member Kirtley also serves on the board of the James Madison Institute, which has been heavily funded by Koch foundations. J. Stanley Marshall, the founding chairman of the institute also signed the proclamation at Alliance for Separation of School and State calling for the end of public education.
American Federation for Children sponsored rob-o-calls, which urged Wisconsinites not to sign recall petitions for eight state senators who have supported Governor Scott Walker's anti-union agenda. The groundwork and talking points for Walker's war on public sector unions was prepared by the same DeVos/Scaife/Koch-funded think tanks that promote the privatization of schools. (The three SIG founders who funded Anthony Williams' campaign in Pennsylvania, each contributed $6,000 dollars to Scott Walker's campaign.)
The anti-public school crusaders have attacked their opponents with self-righteous zeal. In late October 2010, advertisements describing Florida attorney general candidate Dan Gelber as "Toxic to Jewish Education" were published in Florida's larger Jewish communities. The words were in a red Halloween font and criticized Gelber's refusal to support vouchers that could be used to fund students at parochial schools. Dan Gelber is Jewish and the ad did not originate from the opposing candidate.  From the Broward Palm Beach New Times article titled,""Anatomy of the Gelber Attack: From Amway to Huizenga,"

"The ad was funded through a state 527 committee that itself was funded a quarter million dollars by a federal organization called the American Federation for Children. That group is aiming these kinds of scurrilous attacks against Democratic Jewish candidates in several races.

The American Federation for Children is chaired by a woman named Betsy DeVos. ... Dick DeVos is the son of billionaire Amway founder (and Orlando Magic owner) Richard DeVos. The DeVos family is among the largest political contributors in America today -- and they generally back an extreme right-wing agenda. The vice chairman of the group is John F. Kirtley, a 'venture capitalist' and sizable Florida Republican Party donor out of Tampa. Prior to starting the current organization, DeVos and AFC Executive Director Greg Brock collaborated on a similar group called All Children Matter (ACM)."

The article continues with a list of other questionable campaign maneuvers by All Children Matter in Florida, Missouri and Virginia.
The New Right partnership has roots in some organizations that were overtly racist, and racism has frequently reared its head since President Obama was elected. Despite this problematic history, the anti-public school activists have ruthlessly exploited the inequities in our public school systems, inequities that their policies have arguably exacerbated. Millions of dollars have been spent advertising unproved radical free market agenda as the solution instead of the problem. Opposition is demonized as intentionally obstructing a bright future for disadvantaged children and sometimes implied to be racist. The effort has successfully courted (and funded) a small group of Democratic African American leaders who have become the public face of the privatization movement.
Targeting Pennsylvania Public Schools
The Family Research Council website features a speech given in 1999 by Hubert Morken, a Pat Robertson biographer and Regent University professor. Titled "The Naked Public School: Religion, Education and Character in the Aftermath of Columbine," Morken describes the alliances and outreach efforts to African Americans in Pennsylvania,

"The leadership dimension of education reform is the most exciting of all today. For example, for decades, school choice went nowhere as long as it was perceived as a Catholic issue. Evangelical Protestants who prevented this reform now join with Catholics to promote it, and these religious groups now ally themselves with free-market advocates and members of the African-American community."
"The Pennsylvania story is similar and involves not just entrepreneurs but also lawyers, churches, policy think tanks, and grassroots organizations. In Pennsylvania, the alliance of Catholics, evangelicals, and free-market organizations goes back to the 1980s and earlier. The late William Bentley Ball, a devout Catholic and distinguished religion and education litigator, not only represented Protestants before the Supreme Court, but also served as in-house counsel for the Association of Christian Schools International, the largest evangelical school organization in the nation. Also, in Harrisburg, the Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank, and the Pennsylvania Family Institute, associated with Focus on the Family and Family Research Council, have close ties with the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference on education issues. The REACH (the Road to Educational Achievement through Choice) Alliance is a clearinghouse and public face for this coalition. Recently, these supporters of school choice formed ties to black legislators based in Philadelphia, including Dwight Evans. This was big news for the Pennsylvania education reform movement because Evans is a powerful legislator and community leader."

The Commonwealth Foundation, mentioned in Morken's quote, and the Allegheny Policy Institute located in the Pittsburgh suburbs, are funded by the Scaife foundations. Richard Mellon Scaife also owns the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Michael W. Gleba is president of one Scaife foundation and treasurer of another. He also serves as chairman of the Commonwealth Foundation, whose emeritus directors include former Club for Growth president and new Republican Senator Pat Toomey.
PA State Rep. Dwight Evans, referenced in Morken's speech, is one the board of directors for the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). [Note: The "O" in BAEO is for "Options" not "Opportunity" as originally stated in this report.] It was founded in 2000 by Howard Fuller, director of the Institute for Transformation of Learning at Marquette University, heavily funded by the Walton foundations. Kevin Chavous became chair of the BAEO in 2009 and also chairs Democrats For Educational Reform (DFER). Both Chavous and DFER board member Boykin Curry also serve on the board of Betsy Devos' American Federation for Children. The Philanthropy Roundtable's Catholic School Guide describes the DFER, launched in 2007. "Non-tax deductible contributions come from individuals like hedge-fund investors William Ackman, R. Boykin Curry IV, Charles Ledley, John Petry, and Whitney Tilson."
BAEO directors include Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Pennsylvania's Dwight Evans, Anthony Williams, and Dawn Chavous. Chavous is Executive Director of Students First and was the campaign manager of Williams' gubernatorial campaign. Since 2006, the program of the annual symposium of BAEO has included a statement in its program extending thanks for the support of the Honorable Dwight Evans, (PA state Representative) and the Honorable Anthony Williams, (PA state Senator). Also in the programs is recognition of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, among others.
Anthony Williams is now the Democratic PA Senate Minority Whip and Democratic co-sponsor of Pennsylvania's SB-1. He has drawn statewide attention due to huge contributions to his campaign, funded by pro-voucher PACs including Students First PAC which had been funded with millions from Joel Greenberg and his SIG partners Arthur Dantchik and Jeffrey Yass. (This is perfectly legal in Pennsylvania since there are no personal campaign contribution limits in state races.) Shortly after his entry into the campaign, Williams raised a stunning 1.7 million dollars. Perhaps more shocking was the additional 1,625,000 dollars that the three funders contributed to Students First PAC, that was then contributed to Williams campaign in the week before the primary election.
Contributions to Students First PAC from March to May totaled over 1.5 million from Jeffrey Yass, 1.7 million from Arthur Dantchik, and 1.9 million from Joel Greenberg. Photobucket

Sometimes the group would contribute in unison. For instance on May 11, 2010, one week prior to the primary election, Yass gave $533,333.00, Dantchik gave $533,333.00 and Greenberg gave $533,334.00. The graphic above is the trio's contributions to Students First PAC from March through May, compiled from the figures on the Pennsylvania Department of State Finance Reporting, and does not include the trio's contributions to other PACs which supported Williams' gubernatorial campaign. The American Federation for Children Action Fund also donated 1.2 million dollars to Student First PAC immediately prior to the election. The total receipts for Students First PAC in 2010 were $6,521,450.00 according to campaign finance reports.

[Note 4/21/11: Dantchik total corrected from over 1.4 to over 1.7 million]

Pennsylvania press described Williams' contributors as school choice supporters but failed to mention their affiliation with organizations and think tanks with ideological objections to public education. Joel Greenberg is a director of the Betsy DeVos-led American Federation for Children. Jeffrey Yass is on the board of the Cato Institute (Scaife/DeVos-funded). Ed Crane, founder and president of Cato, signed the Alliance for Separation of School and State proclamation to end public schools.

The Merry Band of Libertarian Lawyers and Their Religious Right Counterparts
Dantchik is on the board of the Institute for Justice (Scaife/DeVos/Koch-funded), which describes itself as a "merry band of libertarian lawyers." Institute for Justice, co-founded by Clint Bolick, is known for its legal battles against affirmative action, but now promotes its work as advocacy for the disadvantaged and school choice. Bolick was vocally opposed to the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, labeled Lani Guinier, President Bill Clinton's nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights as "one of Clinton's quota queens."
Dantchik was one of only eight investors in an investment fund called the Free Enterprise Action Fund (FEAF or Ticker: FEAOX). The fund was managed by Thomas Borelli and global warming denier Steven J. Milloy, also known for his website JunkScience.com. The fund was
notorious for trying to bully companies into abandoning support for environmental causes. They accused corporations in which they invested of being too environmentally friendly, including Walmart, GE, and Goldman Sachs.  They sent letters to Goldman Sachs stockholders lobbying for their support for a proposal to end company involvement in environmental causes and alleging that Henry Paulson's leadership of the Nature Conservancy Board was a conflict of interest with his role as CEO of Goldman Sachs. Thomas Borelli told Walmart stockholders to quit pandering to an altruistic society and "use your marketing muscle to get Ayn Rand's timeless novel Atlas Shrugged into thousands of homes." [Video]
Documentation for the FEAF recommended the fund as "appropriate for investors who seek to promote the American system of free enterprise while pursuing their long-term financial goals." The Fund's guiding principle is described with a quote from Milton Friedman,

"The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits."

Of the eight FEAF investors, one was CLAWS, the foundation through which Arthur Dantchik makes his charitable contributions, and another was Robert A. Levy.  Levy is also on the board of the Institute for Justice and chairman of the board of directors of the Cato Institute. In 2009 the fund merged with the Congressional Effect Fund, which pulls out of the stock market when the U.S. Congress is in session. The FEAF's former website now features a short announcement that ends,
"Stay tuned for more in the fight to keep big businesses from becoming wholly-owned subsidiaries of Marxist-Socialism, Inc."

Libertarian-minded investment and hedge fund managers have contributed shocking amounts of money to promote the privatization of schools, but they are not the primary source of marketing of the anti-public education, anti-union, and anti-federal regulation agenda to the general public. This is how the partnership of the "doers and donors" described by Richard Devos works. The talking points are developed in the think tanks but are then largely distributed to the public by Religious Right organizations. For instance, the anti-environmental stance of the investors of the FEAF fund is echoed in a recent media production marketed by the Cornwall Alliance, a coalition of Religious Right leaders. The two groups have little else in common. One group objects to environmentalism as competition for dollars; the other objects to environmentalism as a competing religion.
The Cornwall Alliance's pseudo-documentary is titled 
"Resisting the Green Dragon." Marketed on DVD, it features national Religious Right leaders who claim that global warming is a hoax and that environmentalism is a religion in competition with Christianity.  They describe environmentalism as "the cult of the green dragon."
Several of the organizations represented in the video production have been supported by the DeVos and Prince families. The Cornwall Alliance is headed by Calvin Beisner, a fellow of the Acton Institute (DeVos/Koch/Scaife-funded). Betsy DeVos has served on the Acton board and Dick DeVos was given the institute's Faith and Freedom Award in 2010. Acton's fellows also include other signers of the proclamation to end public schools, including Marvin Olasky.
Noted religious historian Randall Balmer describes the Acton Institute as part of a "powerful coalition to oppose environmental protection" that combines the Dominion Theology of the Religious Right and the wise use ideology of some corporate and business leaders. Dominion Theology is the belief that Christians should take authority or dominion over society and government.  Acton has sponsored dominionist conferences including American Vision's Worldview Super Conference 2010.

Religious Right groups are often portrayed as only concerned with social issues like opposing gay rights and women's reproductive rights.  But "Biblical Capitalism" or the belief that laissez-faire economics is biblically mandated, has been growing in popularity for more than two decades.  Although the merry band of libertarians and the dominionists may have little in common, the anti-environmental, anti-union, anti-regulatory agenda of each is empowering the other.  The combined front has become a formidable force for radical free market fundamentalism and the eradication of the public sector.
The Future of Public Schools in Pennsylvania

In October, Pennsylvania's auditor general Jack Wagner warned that a "flawed funding system" for the already existing charter schools was costing the state millions of dollars. Wagner, a Democrat, was also a candidate for governor in the 2010 primaries. He had voted for charter schools as a state senator and voiced support for them during his campaign, but prior to the general election released a report calling for a temporary moratorium on new charter and cyber schools, similar to those imposed in several other states. Pennsylvania taxpayers spent almost a billion dollars on 116 charter and 11 charter cyber schools in the 2008 -2009 school year.  

Simultaneous with the huge cuts in the state's education budget, proposed by New Republican Governor Tom Corbett, the Senate will be voting on SB-1 which would provide vouchers for low income students and cost the state hundred of millions of dollars.  Philadelphia's public schools could lose 40 million dollars of funding next year. Meanwhile Governor Corbett refuses to tax gas drilling in the state's abundant Marcellus Shale.  He claims it would be unpatriotic.

The Future of Vouchers  

The huge donations did not result in a win for Anthony Williams, but they did add to the media hype surrounding the push for vouchers. After the primary, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato changed course and made a public appearance with Williams in support of portions of his voucher plan. The conservative publication National Review Online responded that Williams was a "force to be reckoned with" and concluded that Onorato's about face on vouchers should be considered a win for Tom Corbett since "Onorato becomes basically Republican-lite on education." Onorato lost and even failed to carry his home base in Allegheny County.  Again, from National Review Online,

"Now that it's clear Onorato won't be gaining financially from this move -- at least from the Williams backers -- this "grant" position on education looks all the more like an ill-conceived attempt to appeal to a demographic already likely to vote Republican, while inviting alienation of the union base that he'll need in lock-step to close a gaping 10-point deficit in the polls."

The word "grant" in quotes in the NRO article refers to the fact that Onorato would not use the word voucher.  In hindsight, the huge campaign contributions to Williams may have been a well orchestrated trap for the Democratic Party, providing the illusion that support for vouchers was becoming more broad-based.    
Williams' official website has a list of organizations which have signed up to support SB-1. The list of churches and religious organizations are primarily those with right-wing political leanings and the rest of the list is dominated by a who's who of pro-privatization think tanks. It is a list you would have expected to find on the website of Rick Santorum, not on the website of a Democratic state senator.
Polls have shown as many as two thirds of Pennsylvanians are opposed to using tax money to fund private and parochial schools, but on April 19, with the vote only a week away, Students First PA released a poll showing 54 percent of Pennsylvania's likely voters support the pending voucher legislation. Students First PAC list its public relations contact as Brabender Cox, one of the leading Republican media firms.
Students First PA held a rally in support of the bill at the state capitol on April 12. Video of the rally is part of an ad campaign on the Internet throughout the state, sponsored by Dick Armey's FreedomWorks. FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity spun off from the David Koch-founded Citizens For A Sound Economy.  The media campaign is amplifying the voice of voucher supporters in preparation for the vote next week.
The videos of the rally produced by Students First PA are compelling, as was the conveniently-timed 
pro-school privatization movie, Waiting for Superman. They feature students and parents who have very legitimate concerns about education in their communities and good reason to fight back against the inequities in public education. Before Pennsylvanians begin to dismantle the state's public school systems, perhaps they should educate themselves about the agenda of the movement's leading advocate, Betsy DeVos.
DeVos wrote a biting op-ed for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call in 1997 in which she stated that her family did indeed expect a return on their huge investments.

"I know a little something about soft money, as my family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican Party. ...I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point."

It is highly doubtful that the expected return on the millions of dollars  invested by the advocates for free market education is improving Pennsylvania's public schools.  Their goal is privatization and we should take them seriously.

Part Two below, is a report tracking over $4.6 million dollars contributed to American Federation for Childrens' Indiana PAC in 2010, prior to the election ($5.8 million total).

Rachel TabachnickSun Apr 24, 2011 at 10:55:09 PM EST

Pro-Voucher Astroturfing: Campaigns Across Nation Coordinated by DeVos, Funded by a Few Mega-Donors


In addition to the millions spent in Pennsylvania, over $4.6 million dollars was raised by the Indiana affiliate of the Betsy DeVos-led pro-voucher organizations prior to the 2010 elections, all from 13 mega-donors ($5.8 million for the year). The Indiana PAC money also funded campaigns in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin and other states.

The Indiana state senate passed a sweeping school voucher bill on Thursday, April 21, 2010, following an intensive crusade by the Betsy DeVos-led  American Federation For Children and affiliated organizations.  The blitz campaigns in Indiana and other states are similar to the one in Pennsylvania (described in detail in the previous report).  A small core group of donors, ideologically opposed to public education, contribute millions of dollars to the pro-voucher movements in states across the nation. The massive funding and distribution of the funds around the nation is a classic case of astroturfing, creating the illusion that there is a spontaneous wave of grass roots and bipartisan support for vouchers.

Borrowing the definition from Sourcewatch, astroturf lobbying "refers to apparently grassroots-based citizen groups or coalitions that are primarily conceived, created and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms."

The pro-voucher astroturf model is being repeated throughout the country:

-- DeVos-led organizations fund a local entity and political action committee (PAC) in the state.

--Funding comes from a few mega-donors who make contributions in one location. These funds are then moved to non-profits and PACs in other states, obscuring the identity of the small group of original donors.  (This report focuses on the affiliated PAC in Indiana which had over $4.6 million in receipts from 13 donors prior to the 2010 election, and sent most of the funds to six other states.)  The pro-voucher 501(C)(3) nonprofits across the nation, which do not directly fund candidates, are also largely funded by the DeVos-led entities.

--Contributions are made primarily to candidates in state and local campaigns, and for advertising, direct mail, and canvassing, helping to promote the illusion of a surge of grass roots support.  Funding is spent to commission a poll prior to the legislative vote which shows majority support in the state for school vouchers.

--Funding and advertising support is provided to small group of Democrats who become the face of the movement, promoting the illusion that there is significant bipartisan support.

--Teachers who have spent years in the classroom, teachers' unions, and opponents of vouchers, are demonized as not caring about urban children and accused of obstructing the altruistic efforts of pro-voucher supporters. The radical privatization agenda of DeVos and wealthy backers is not revealed.

In Pennsylvania millions of dollars were raised from a few donors, and contributed to Students First PAC, an affiliate of American Federation for Children.  In turn, this money was donated to the Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign of vocally pro-voucher supporter Anthony H. Williams.  Contributions, some as much as $100,000, were also made to other candidates' campaigns.  Attack ads have demonized teachers' unions as big money "special interests" and claimed legislators opposed to vouchers are being influenced by union contributions.  However, the campaign contributions from the DeVos-led entities and affiliates in Pennsylvania dwarfed that of teachers unions, who represent hundreds of thousands of educators.  The pro-voucher funding across the nation, on the other hand, can be tracked to a few wealthy individuals and family foundations.

As in Pennsylvania, millions of dollars were raised for the American Federation for Children affiliate PAC in Indiana. However, the Indiana PAC sent most of that money to six other states to fund contributions to candidates and advertising.  The money trail led to attack ads in the 2010 elections in Florida and Wisconsin, some attacking opponents of the pro-voucher candidates being supported, but mentioning nothing about vouchers or school choice.

Betsy DeVos, the Four Star General General of the Voucher Wars

Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick, son of Amway founder Richard DeVos, have founded and funded pro-voucher organizations and registered PACs in numerous states. Betsy is the daughter of the late Edgar and Elsa Prince and sister of Erik Prince, founder of the controversial mercenary private army, Blackwater, Inc. The Devos family are major donors to the Republican Party, Religious Right organizations, and right-wing think tanks.  Leaders of both the Religious Right organizations and free market fundamentalist think tanks that the DeVos family support, openly advocate the eradication of public schools.

Also see the 2010 Church and State article by Rob Boston, titled "Michigan Multi-Millionaire Betsy DeVos is Four-Star General in a Deceptive Behind-the-Scenes War on Public Schools and Church-State Separation."

Betsy DeVos has headed a confusing array of state and national pro-voucher entities under different names, including different types of non-profits and PACs. The current Betsy DeVos-led organization at the helm of the voucher movement is the American Federation for Children (AFC).  As noted in the Pennsylvania report, the AFC was established after Betsy DeVos and  All Children Matter have failed to pay a 5.2 million dollar fine in Ohio for funneling money from the affiliate organization in Virginia in amounts exceeding Ohio's campaign finance laws.  The organization was also fined $500 for providing media support for candidates without registering as a PAC in Wisconsin.

All Children Matter was heavily funded by John Walton with contributions and a bequest (after he was killed in a plane crash in 2005) totaling $4,151,750.  The organization received another 4.6 million from other large donors between 2005 and 2007, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.  Funding was then distributed to affiliated PACs in other states.  

For instance, on October 17, 2006, All Children Matter moved 1.99 million dollars to the All Children Matter PACs in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, and Indiana.  When money is moved from one state PAC to another it obscures the source of the original funding because the state disclosure form will only show the source as the contributing PAC.  For instance, Florida residents would have no way to know that John Walton and a few wealthy donors were the source of the $550,000 which transferred to the Florida PAC on October 17, 2006.  Although it is difficult now to follow the money trail, Super PACs which qualify under the Citizens United ruling will not be required to report their donors and tracking the money will be impossible.

All Children Matter is now defunct and Betsy DeVos is at the helm of the American Federation for Children, incorporated as a 501(C)(4).  The website indicates that tax deductible donations are to be given to its affiliate 501(C)(3), Alliance for School Choice. Those who want to donate to candidates supported by the organization are directed to contribute to the American Federation for Children Action Fund with a Washington, D.C. address.  Another DeVos-led nonprofit, Advocates for School Choice, also changed its name to American Federation for Children in 2009.

Advocates for School Choice funded other nonprofit pro-voucher organizations across the country including:

Children's Education Council of Missouri
Believe in Louisiana ($225,000 in 2008)
All Children Matter  - Michigan
DC Children First ($583,000 in 2007)
Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education
Alliance for School Choices in Education - Michigan
Parent for Choice in Education - Utah (I$750,000 in 2007)
Parents for Choice in Education Issues Committee -Utah ($350,000 in 2007)
School Choice Indiana
Rhode Island Scholarship Advocates
REACH Alliance - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
BOAST Alliance - Maryland
Partners for Educational Freedom in North Carolina
Texans for School Choice

The Pennsylvania affiliate organization of AFC, Students First PAC was initiated in early 2010 and was the focus of the Pennsylvania report. A few individuals contributed millions in funding, much of it spent in support of a single candidate.  This was possible because there are no limits on personal contributions in state races in Pennsylvania.  

This report follows the money trail from the Indiana affiliated PAC to other states, to demonstrate how millions of dollars from a few wealthy mega-donors can manufacture the illusion that there is broad-based and nationwide support for an issue.

The Indiana Money Trail

The Indiana-registered American Federation for Children PAC raised over $4.6 million dollars prior to the election in 2010 from only 13 mega-donors, none from Indiana. The chart shows one filing period, between 4/10/2010 and 10/08/2010. (Some of the names are repeated and personal information is removed). Of this total, more than 1.3 million came from the trio that were the largest donors for the Pennsylvania effort - Arthur Dantchik, Joel Greenberg, and Jeffrey Yass.  As noted in the PA report, Greenberg is a member of the board of the American Federation for Children; Yass is on the board of the Cato Institute; and Dantchik is on the board of Institute for Justice.  The Waltons listed are heirs of the Walmart fortune. Alice Walton gave an additional $887,137.25 after the election and another contributor, Julian Robertson, gave $1 million dollars on 10/12/2010. The total for the year, before and after the election, was over $5.8 million dollars.

Campaign finance records show the American Federation for Children Action Fund was registered in Indiana on January 18, 2010. (The address is the law firm of Bopp, Coleson and Bostrom and Barry Bostrom is the contact.) The defunct All Children Matter shows up in the Indiana campaign finance records, but with no 2010 activity.  Total contributions to AFC Action Fund in 2010 were $4,684,755.26 with the balance of  $274,245.11 remaining at the end of 2010.  

Some of the money donated and filed as receipts to the Indiana-based PAC stayed in Indiana and was contributed to the Hoosiers For Economic Growth PAC.  That PAC in turn contributed to a long list of state political candidates in amounts from $500 to $50,000.(Select expenditures to see the list on this link.)

The AFC Action Fund was the major donor to Hoosier's For Economic Growth with aggregate contributions of $285,000. Other donors included Patrick Byrne, who heads Overstock.com.  The chart at left is compiled from AFC Action Fund's disclosure and shows a total of  $240,000 in contributions to this PAC.

Only one direct contribution was made to a candidate by the Indiana-registered AFC Action Fund, and that was Shumate for House 73 in Tulsa Oklahoma, in the amount of $4,500.  Most of the money was passed on to affiliated PACs in other states, as shown in the chart, and used to fund campaign contributions, advertising, mailers, and canvassing.

Following state PACs is difficult, particularly when they have affiliates in multiple locations.  The Citizens United case will now make it impossible to do this type of research on contributors since qualifying PACs will no longer have to reveal their donor information.

The online state disclosures provide the same Washington DC address for the Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, and New Jersey AFC entities which makes tracking confusing. For instance, Students First PAC in Pennsylvania received $1,100,000 from the Indiana PAC.  This was made in two contributions of $450,000 on 10/4/2010 and $650,000 on 10/08/2010, also shown on the Indiana AFC Action Fund disclosure.  However the Students First PAC disclosure filed in Pennsylvania shows receipt of these two contributions and an additional $100,000 from American Federation for Children on 10/15/2010 and all three contributions list an Alexandria address.  This makes it is almost impossible to track where the other contribution originated in this case as well as who donated the money.

From Indiana to Pennsylvania Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Utah, Iowa, and New Jersey

Despite the past legal troubles of All Children Matter, there may be nothing  illegal about American Federation for Children's 2010 campaign activities, as many PACs move their money around the country. Whether or not campaign finance laws are being broken is irrelevant to this report. This report is also not focused on the pros and cons of school choice, but to show that a small core group of activists supported by a few mega-donors can create the impression of a growing grass roots national campaign.


The Indiana AFC PAC contributed $1,100,000 to Students First PAC in Pennsylvania, an organization initiated in 2010 which has spent millions supporting candidates, a poll, and extensive advertising, including attack ads.  This is the topic of the report on Pennsylvania in Part One of this series.


The AFC Action Fund donated $255,000 to the Committee for Florida's Education and the funds were spent on media buys, including attack ads against the Democratic candidate for attorney general  Dan Gelber.  This is described further in the PA report.  Gelber is Jewish but was demonized in the ads for damaging Jewish private education by opposing vouchers.  The graphic at right was a full page ad in the Jewish Press  purchased by the Committee for Florida's Education. The attack ads created a furor. Kim Kirtley, wife of John Kirtley, vice chairman of American Federation for Children, was a spokesperson for the candidate running against Dan Gelber, and AFC was the sole donor to Committee for Florida's Education.  However, the chairman of Committee for Florida's Education is a Jewish political consultant from Teaneck, New Jersey. There is significant Orthodox Jewish support for vouchers in some areas since they can be used to fund private religious schools. The Orthodox Union is listed by Students First as supporting the vouchers bill (SB-1) in Pennsylvania.

The Florida Federation for Children PAC received $450,000 from the Indiana AFC Action Fund, but shows a total of $950,000 of receipts from AFC (D.C. address) in its Florida campaign finance reports for the general election 2010.  The vast majority of the expenditures went to media and consulting firms who do consulting, advertising, and direct mail.


The Indiana-registered AFC PAC contributed to two affiliates in Georgia with the AFC name, with $149,000 to the AFC GA Independent Committee and $50,000 to the AFC Action Fund  GA PAC.  The GA PAC funds were contributed to a list of candidates who received between $500 and $2,400, and were also spent for canvassing.  The AFC GA -Independent Committee expenditures were for direct mail and canvassing.

Both the Georgia affiliate PAC and Independent Committee list Allan Hughes under chairperson information and a registration date of 5/12/10.  Hughes has also served as chairman fro All Children Matter (Georgia).


The Indiana AFC PAC contributed $63,450 to the Wisconsin AFC PAC.  The expenditures for the Wisconsin AFC PAC were primarily for canvassing, and advertising.   Additionally, the Wisconsin PAC received $25,000 on 9/03/2010 from Education Reform Now, led by Joel Klein.  Media buys in Wisconsin were used to support pro-voucher Democrats running against Democrats not supporting vouchers in the primaries and for support of pro-voucher candidates in the general election.  The AFC financed numerous attack ads that mentioned nothing about vouchers or school choice. The mailer shown was sponsored by AFC, as shown on the return address.  There is nothing about school choice or vouchers.  The mailer attacks the incumbent state senator Pat Kreitlow for "killing" Wisconsin jobs.





Another large contributor in the 2010 Wisconsin elections was the conduit group named Fund for Parent Choice.  In Wisconsin and some other states, conduits raise money for candidates similar to PACs, but conduits must report the original donor and the specific amount that individual is giving to each candidate.  The Wisconsin conduit Fund for Parent Choice contributed $118,000 to candidates in September and October prior to the general election.  The list of contributors in the Wisconsin is similar to the donors of the 4.7 million to the Indiana AFC PAC and included:  Dick DeVos, Betsy DeVos, Christy Walton, Jim Walton, Lynne Walton, Alice Walton, William Obendorf, Susan Obendorf, George Mitchell, and Susan Mitchell (president of School Choice Wisconsin).  The Pennsylvania trio of mega-donors who gave millions to Students First PAC and to the Indiana AFC Action Fund, also gave direct donation to candidates in Wisconsin, including $6,000 each on 9/29/2010 to gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker.

During the 2010 election, the publication Express Milwaukee warned that there was no way to account for large sums of money coming into the state and that Wisconsin voters had no way of knowing who was paying for attack ads or why.

On the right, there are innocuously named groups such as the Washington, D.C.-based pro-school voucher corporation American Federation for Children (AFC) Action Fund, which has been promoting three Milwaukee Democrats in their primaries--state Sen. Jeff Plale, Stephanie Findley and Angel Sanchez--with fliers, robocalls and radio and TV ads. 

It's difficult to figure out who, exactly, is funding these entities. 

For example, AFC Action Fund's latest campaign finance report merely shows $50,000 in "other income and commercial loans" from--you guessed it--AFC. As of this writing, AFC has spent more than $70,000 on the three races."


The Indiana disclosure showed a contribution of $20,750 to Educational Opportunities on 9/24/2010 in Des Moines, Iowa.  Educational Opportunities subsequently contributed to over 50 political campaigns in amounts from $100. to $1000.  The committee code is 9805 in the Iowa campaign disclosure database. https://webapp.iecdb.iowa.gov/publicview/ContributionSearch.aspx

Educational Opportunities is registered under the name of Linda Duffy in Davenport Iowa, who also is a board member of Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education, shown as a recipient of funding from the Devos-led Advocates for School Choice, now renamed American Federation for Children.  AFC/Advocates for School Choice contributed $65,000 in 2007 and $50,000 in 2008 to the Iowa organizations according to the organizations 990 tax reports.  The 990 tax report for 2007 for Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education shows $15,000 in total income in 2007 with no grants, and $15,000 in grants and total income in 2008.


Utah online disclosure report function is currently not working so there was no way to track the  Parents for Choice PAC which received $50,000 from the Indiana-registered American Federation for Children Action Fund.  In the past, however, the DeVos-led All Children's Matter was the primary donor to the Utah PAC, according to an AP article in Deseret News.  The April 14, 2007 article states,

"Byrne is Parents for Choice in Education's largest donor from Utah. Nearly half the money the group spent on legislative campaigns came from a political action committee called All Children Matter based out of Alexandria, Va., that has its headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich. All Children Matter donated $240,000 to Parents for Choice in Education in 2006 and about $250,000 during the 2004 campaign cycle, finance reports in Utah show.

Utah was one of 10 states that All Children Matter has targeted to affect state elections, spending about $8 million nationwide in the 2003-04 election cycle. It is an organization dedicated to supporting candidates who favor charter schools and voucher programs. It's largely financed by heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune and the founders of Amway, according to finance reports in Virginia.  In 2004, Jim Walton and John Walton, children of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, each donated more than $3 million to All Children Matter, the reports showed.

In 2006, the estate of John Walton donated another $4.1 million, the reports showed.  "It's certainly not a grass-roots operation. These are heavy hitters," said Rich Robinson, director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a nonpartisan organization that tracks campaign spending.

New Jersey

The New Jersey campaign finance online system is limited.  The NJ American Federation for Children PAC is registered under the AFC Washington DC address.  The documentation available online shows a contribution from Boykin Curry, (board member of both AFC and of Democrats for Education Reform), in the amount of $7,200 on 6/7/10, and a disbursement of $2,500 to as single entry listed as Friends of Bombelyn, Johnson, and Aroco.  No other receipts or disbursements were itemized.

Another pro-voucher entity in New Jersey is E3 or Excellent Education for Everyone, which is also heavily funded by the Walton family. An independent watchdog group that monitors foundations, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, published the following in 2004:

"Excellent Education for Everyone, or E3, the state's leading proponent of school vouchers, has been granted at least $1.65 million from the Walton Family Foundation, a perennial underwriter of "family values" think tanks, Christian schools and Republican candidates for national public office, according to federal tax filings."

The article continues, quoting Dan Gaby, then the executive director of E3 (now deceased),

"Dan Gaby, executive director of E3, said it is no secret that most of its funding comes from organizations that promote a distinctly conservative agenda.
`We have no compunction about where our funding comes from,' Gaby said. `And we get money from them every year. Look, the people who fund us believe in free-market solutions. I don't care what rhetoric you throw around about the right wing and conservatives. It's all ridiculous.'

Back to Indiana

This report traced the money trail - from one single Indiana PAC in one election year - to demonstrate that the DeVos-led pro-voucher movement is a classic example of astroturfing and allows a few very wealthy people to manipulate policy.  The huge sums of money pouring into these organizations pays not only for campaign contributions and advertising, but also the polls which they commission.  In January 2010, prior to the legislative vote, the Foundation for Educational Choice in Indianapolis released a poll which supposedly proved that there was majority support for school vouchers in Indiana. The mission of this foundation is included on its masthead,

"Advancing Milton & Rose Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All"

Milton Friedman, was the patriarch of the "Chicago School" of economics. Much of the evidence quoted in support of vouchers comes from this same ideologically-driven institute, including the touted 2010 publication "A Win-Win Solution:  Empirical Evidence on School Vouchers." Friedman made the following statement recorded in a briefing paper for the Cato Institute and also featured on the website of the Foundation for Educational Choice. (The Cato Institute was founded and continues to be led by Ed Crane, one of the signers of the Alliance for Separation of School and State's proclamation to end public education.)

"Vouchers are not an end in themselves; they are a means to make a transition from a government to a market system." -Milton Friedman

Cherry-picked research from Friedman's foundation and other ideologically driven pro-voucher institutes are being cited as subjective evidence of the success of voucher programs, despite substantial evidence to the contrary.  Polls commissioned by the pro-voucher entities have been conducted across the nation and show majority support for vouchers, despite substantial evidence to the contrary.  Yet, led by the four-star general of the movement Betsy DeVos, the pro-voucher movement is framing the debate in states across the nation. Millions of dollars from a few donors allows them to do so.

Pro-Voucher Astroturfing Campaigns Across Nation Coordinated by DeVos, Funded by a Few Mega-Donors

Betsy DeVos Announces PA Governor Tom Corbett Will Keynote Pro-Voucher National Policy Summit

Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled Out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech

Protesters Object to School Privatization Efforts of DeVos, Michelle Rhee and PA and WI Governors

Betsy DeVos Announces PA Governor Tom Corbett Will Keynote Pro-Voucher National Policy Summit

Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled Out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech

Protesters Object to School Privatization Efforts of DeVos, Michelle Rhee and PA and WI Governors

Vouchers/Tax Credits Funding Creationism, Revisionist History, Hostility Toward Other Religions

Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers, Religious Right






The Democratic National Committee wasted no time in blasting Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour for being the second Southern governor to blow off slavery as a non-issue. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell drew much heat from the White House on down when he whited-washed slavery from his Confederate History Month declaration. (McDonnell made a tepid, halfhearted, after-the fact-apology.) The DNC also demands that Barbour apologize. Barbour is unrepentant, and that's not likely to change. Slavery is just too tantalizing and enduring as a race card for Barbour and the GOP to snatch it off the table.

When Ohio Congressman Tony Hall introduced two resolutions in 1997 and 2000 asking Congress to officially apologize for slavery, he was blasted from pillar to post. Irate whites filled the airwaves with long denunciations of the resolutions as wasteful and even racism in reverse. Virginia, ironically, in 2007 didn't back-peddle from the issue. Both houses unanimously passed a resolution apologizing for slavery. The resolution was mild, innocuous, and ultimately toothless, but at least it acknowledged the monstrous wrong of slavery. But it went no further than that and for good reason. To continue to talk about it, and back it up with special initiatives to deal with failing education, high rates of joblessness, and incarceration among blacks, all very much legacies of slavery, would have been to risk a full scale political backlash

The passage of a health care reform that conservative and tea party activists loathe and use to whip their troops into a frenzy, another Supreme Court pick, the recent stirred up Southern Republican confab dominated by tea party shill Sarah Palin, and the top heavy racial divide on Obama makes this the perfect time to play the slavery card. Apologies notwithstanding, it's a no-cost code signal to millions of whites, South and North, who loathe Obama's policies and Obama that Southern whites, especially white males, are still the party's bread and butter.

This is no accident. Polls show that the GOP's relentless Obama bashing complete with borderline racial appeals to white males is having some success. Obama's approval ratings have flat-lined or dipped among lower income whites and independents. Among white males in the same bracket they've plunged into free fall.

The spark to reignite the GOP's traditional conservative, lower income white male loyalists has always been there. The final presidential vote gave ample warning of that. While Obama made a major breakthrough in winning a significant percent of votes from white independents and young white voters, contrary to popular perception, Republican presidential candidate John McCain (not Obama) won a slim majority of their vote in the final tally. Among Southern and Heartland America white male voters, Obama made almost no impact. Overall McCain, garnered nearly 60 percent of the white vote.

The GOP could not have been competitive during campaign 2008 without the bailout from white male voters. Much has been made since then that they are a dwindling percent of the electorate, and that Hispanics, Asian, black, young, and women voters will permanently tip the balance of political power to the Democrats in coming national elections. It's true that blue collar white voters have shrunk from more than half of the nation's voters to less than forty percent. The assumption based solely on this slide and the increased minority population numbers and regional demographic changes is that the GOP's white vote strategy is doomed to fail. This ignores three major factors in voting patterns. Elections are usually won by candidates with a solid and impassioned core of bloc voters. White males, particularly older white males, vote consistently and faithfully. And they vote in a far greater percentage than Hispanics and blacks.

Most importantly to the GOP brain trust, blue collar white male voters can be easily aroused to vote on the emotional wedge issues; abortion, family values, anti-gay marriage and rights, and tax cuts. GOP presidents and aspiring presidents, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr. and W. Bush, and legions of GOP governors, senators and congresspersons banked and still bank on these voters for victory and to seize and maintain regional and national political dominance.

The GOP is, as is widely seen, an insular party of Deep South and narrow Heartland, rural and, non-college educated blue collar whites. But that's not a demographic to be totally sneered at, because the numbers are still huge.

The GOP driven by personal instincts, political leanings, history, demographics, and raw political necessity will do what it has done for decades, and more times than not successfully. And that's use every political card at its disposal to batter an African-American president, and inflame its base with racially loaded code appeals. Slavery more than fits that bill. The DNC's accused Barbour of sending a strong message that slavery was a trifle. That was idea.  excerpts from an article on the huffingtonpost.com web site: Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of How Obama Governed.
























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