ELECT
VIVIAN HOUGHTON
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF DELAWARE

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©_2002_Authorized and_paid_for_by_the Committee_to_Elect Vivian_Houghton Attorney_General, 800_N_West_St., Wilmington_DE_19801

Committee to Elect 
Vivian Houghton Attorney General

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

Monday, November 4, 2002

Contact:

Robert Bohm, Coordinator
Committee to Elect Vivian Houghton Attorney General
(302)239-2572
rebsalerno@msn.com

Houghton Questions "Secret" Organizations' Support of Brady

American Taxpayers Alliance and Republican Attorney Generals Association (RAGA) refuse to list its members and contributors. Houghton maintains independence by relying on grassroots community support. 

Wilmington, Delaware - The American Taxpayers Alliance, a Washington D.C.-based organization, and the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), have recently aired radio commercials in Delaware supporting Jane Brady's candidacy for Attorney General.  These secret organizations keep secret their members and financial backers claiming they are not political action committees (PACs).  As PACs, they would be required to list their members and contributors. 

Some claim these organizations are a front for hundreds of multi-million dollar corporations with a Republican political agenda that illegally skirt campaign finance laws. Scott Reed, a former executive director of the Republican National Committee, headed the American Taxpayers Alliance. It has run ads critical of Republican opponents including former President Jimmy Carter and California Governor Gray Davis. RAGA funnels it's soft-money through the Republican National Committee which in turn contributes to Republican State Committees. Both organizations have paid for political ads for Jane Brady this election year. 

American Taxpayers Alliance

Despite legal efforts to get the American Taxpayers Alliance to list its members and contributors, it has kept them secret from the public arguing First Amendment rights. This argument rests on a fine legal point where their negative attack-ads do not expressly ask voters to put a candidate out-of-office. The Delaware ads for Brady tout her qualifications to serve as attorney general and clearly endorse her candidacy.  

"The American Taxpayers Alliance does not have a web site and when I tried to call them in Washington D.C., there was no phone listing," said J. Roy Cannon, Green Party member and Houghton volunteer.  "I called the Brady campaign and was told that they were unaware of why their campaign was being supported by the American Taxpayers Alliance. They said they did not know how to reach the organization and claimed that the ads were being run without their prior knowledge. The pretense of "not-knowing" who the American Taxpayers Alliance is strikes me as unbelievable," Cannon continued.  "It's hard for me to understand how the Brady campaign can claim not to be aware of a group that has spent so much money to support it," he said. "It's scary that  a candidate for Attorney General would skirt illegality so closely by accepting this kind of support. I know that Vivian Houghton would find out who supports her and insist that they follow not only the letter but also the intent of the law." 

"In my opinion, these Delaware radio ads refer to a particular result in the AG election and, therefore, require that the American Taxpayers Alliance register as a PAC; as a PAC, they would be forced it to list its contributors for public scrutiny," said Vivian Houghton.  "Until then, Brady should to disavow their support of her campaign and denounce their quasi-legal activities." 

Republican Attorneys General Association

According to a Center for Public Integrity report by Marianne Holt and Kathryn Wallace,  "RAGA is financed by unlimited and undisclosed soft-money contributions from individuals, corporations and political action committees. The main objective of RAGA appears to be to put pro-business Republican attorneys general in every state house. It is clear that RAGA is courting the very corporations that currently or potentially face litigation over their consumer practices, for example, Microsoft, telecommunications giant SBC Communications, and huge insurance companies like Aetna and U.S. Healthcare. RAGA's meetings are closed to the public and no membership or donor list is available to nonmembers."  

In a recent letter to Jane Brady, John Flaherty of Delaware Common Cause wrote, "I have been unable to locate any information regarding RAGA's public disclosure of financial contributors and their amounts." Scott Harshbarger, former Massachusetts Attorney General and current president of Common Cause wrote, "This is absolutely an effort by people with special interests to stop attorneys general from pursuing their traditional role as protectors of the public interest, not special interests," Harshbarger said. "I think this erodes every attorney general." 

"It's bad enough that the Brady campaign gets thousands of dollars in soft-money contributions from the Republican National Committee through direct contribution to her campaign and funding of ads supporting her candidacy," said Terri Maurer-Carter. "Now it is clear she is getting support from secret organizations that side-step the law in their effort to control our political leaders. No politician, including Brady, should accept such money." 

Both Attorney General candidates Schnee and Brady have denied during the campaign that they would be influenced by "big money" contributions to their campaign coffers.  Only Green Party candidate Vivian Houghton has owned up to the potential influence inherent in big money contributions and has maintained her independence by not accepting corporate donations  or PAC money. 

"Voters should beware of where Jane Brady gets her support and who she will be beholding to if she wins the elections Tuesday," said Karen Lienau, Green Party member and Wilmington Social Worker.  "She may deny that she's "under the influence" of her big campaign contributors but I think Jane is in 'denial' of her dependency on big money." Lienau continued, "The Attorney General should be beholding to the ordinary citizen of Delaware, not addicted to large amounts of soft-money laundered through organizations like the American Taxpayers Association and RAGA." 

"Brady's actions have a familiar ring, similar to that of Tom Gordon's campaign shenanigans," said Bernie August. "While the letter of the law is perhaps being followed, the spirit is being sorely abused. The Houghton campaign refuses to accept PAC money, even from such legitimate organizations as the UAW who endorsed her candidacy," August continued.  "The voters need to look where Brady and Schnee get their support. Vivian is THE independent voice in this election.  Because she's independent, I know she has my interest at heart, not just those of the  rich and powerful.  She has my vote this Tuesday." 

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Committee to Elect Vivian Houghton Attorney General
800 West Street
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
652-0670
agcandidate@vivianhoughton.com
www.vivianhoughton.com/vivian

Green Party of Delaware
www.gpde.org
(302)738-9963
greenpartyde@yahoo.com

Green Party of the United States
www.greenpartyus.org
866-41GREEN

Common Cause of Delaware
1304 N. Rodney St., 3rd Floor, Wilmington, Delaware 19806
(302) 521-0394                       
jdf0000@aol.com

The Center for Public Integrity
910 17th Street, NW, Seventh Floor
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-466-1300
Fax: 202-466-1101
www.publicintegrity.org

 

PEOPLE FIRST IN THE FIRST STATE: IT'S ABOUT TIME