Committee to Elect
Vivian Houghton Attorney General
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 4, 2002
Robert Bohm, Coordinator
Committee to Elect Vivian Houghton Attorney General
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
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
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
800 West Street
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
Green Party of Delaware
Green Party of the United States
Common Cause of Delaware
1304 N. Rodney St., 3rd Floor, Wilmington, Delaware 19806
The Center for Public Integrity
910 17th Street, NW, Seventh Floor
Washington, DC 20006