Who are the Concerned Taxpayer’s of America and how are they able to fund over $160,000 worth of attack ads against Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio in Oregon’s 4th congressional district?
How are they able to do this less than a month after filing a letter with the Federal Elections Commission signaling their intention to “raise funds in unlimited amounts?” How are they able to do this less than a month after registering their domain name (http://www.concernedtaxpayers.us/) with Godaddy.com?
Irony Alert: They must have rounded up and organized and solicited small donations from a large number of “concerned taxpayers” in record time! If you believe that, as the saying goes, I’ve got a bridge for you …
What does all this have to do with the fact that DeFazio’s only opponent for re-election, Art Robinson, is a retired science teacher and global warming denier who (according to DeFazio) lives in a survivalist compound on Social Security? ((Robinson, according to Rachel Maddow, says the government wants to “enslave the American people through energy regulation.” ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ for Thursday, September 30th, 2010. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/39459613/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/ )) Robinson, in other words, is not likely to be the sole funding source behind these attacks ads.
So who’s behind Concerned Taxpayers of America? A corporation? A group of people? The Koch brothers? A foreign government?
Not only do we not know, we can’t know.
This is the rapidly developing shape of the campaign finance landscape since the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v FEC in January of this year.
According to the Sunlight Foundation:
“In the 6 weeks following an advisory opinion issued by the Federal Elections Commission allowing some political organizations—called independent expenditure-only PACs—to receive unlimited contributions from corporations and labor unions, 23 groups have registered as such. The FEC is anticipating 67 more to do so as well. To see both FEC lists click here.”
Rachel Maddow, in her excellent segment below, gives a short recipe for creating a campaign finance money-laundering operation. All you have to do, she says, is:
- File a five-page form with the Federal Elections Commission.
- Register a domain name with GoDaddy.com.
- Create a quick website using stock photos of “concerned taxpayers.”
Voila! You have just created a money-laundering machine.
With that machine in place, it’s perfectly legal to spend $500,000 against DeFazio in that race, or in any other local race. Or $1 million. Or $100 million! There’s no limit.
Can our system survive this efficient method of toppling representatives at will, given sufficient funds?
Rachel and her researchers have gone as far as it’s possible to go in digging into who’s behind Concerned Taxpayers of America: