Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Letter to The Advocate: La. GOP panel has suspect roots

The following letter appeared in the Wednesday, September 26, 2007 edition of Baton Rouge's The Advocate.

• • • •

In an article in Friday’s paper, John Diez of the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority tried to dismiss my charges about the sinister nature of the organization by declaring that Bob Perry does not attend LCRM board meetings.

My suspicions about LCRM are not based on who is attending meetings; they’re based on the organization’s roots. The LCRM modeled itself after a criminal enterprise — Tom DeLay’s Texans for a Republican Majority PAC — at a time when leaders of that Texas group had already been indicted and convicted for violations of Texas election laws.

TRMPAC was indicted by a grand jury in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 8, 2005. Tom DeLay was indicted for his role in those alleged violations by that same grand jury on Sept. 28, 2005.

Once indicted, DeLay resigned his position as Republican majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. James W. Ellis, who also ran DeLay’s older national version of the franchise, ARMPAC (Americans for a Republican Majority), was indicted along with him. ARMPAC was recently terminated after paying off its last fines and court judgments.

This is the sort of business that LCRM modeled itself on. These events took place in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which may account for why many in Louisiana may not be familiar with the timeline.

Texan Bob Perry gave $165,000 to Texans for a Republican Majority in that scandal-ridden 2002 Texas election cycle. According to Texas Monthly magazine, Perry has given upward of $10 million to that and other 527 attack-themed PACs. In November 2006, he gave LCRM $100,000.

Louisiana campaign finance reports filed by the LCRM show that the enterprise got rolling on Jan. 20, 2006. DeLay’s legal troubles were well known by that time, as were those of both the Americans for a Republican Majority and its Texas franchise. DeLay had stepped down as majority leader.

If the LCRM does not intend to use its franchise’s business model, why would it name itself after that criminal enterprise, and why would it seek funding from Bob Perry, a donor who personifies that enterprise? And if the LCRM is so benign, why (according to its most recent campaign finance report) has it not endorsed any candidates, thus setting itself up to spend all of its money attacking Democratic candidates.

Smear campaigns are the modus operandi of political organizations that receive Bob Perry’s money. The founders of LCRM created an operation that they modeled after a corrupt enterprise. That was not an accident. That was not an oversight. It was a deliberate choice.

That’s why the LCRM’s actions are suspect, Mr. Diez.

Mike Stagg
IT consultant

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