Saturday, December 16, 2006

Is Dick in Trouble?

The Associated Press has reported that the Michigan based school voucher group has broken Wisconsin law.

The "money" quote:

"The complaint filed Friday with the state Elections Board says an All Children Matter political action committee based in Virginia should have registered in Wisconsin before it donated $35,000 in October to its Wisconsin PAC.

The complaint also alleges that a $90,000 donation made to the Virginia PAC from a group not registered with Wisconsin election officials — the Milwaukee-based Alliance for Choices in Education — violated a state law barring corporate contributions."

Gee -- does the corporate group's name start with an "A" and end with "Y"?

Further more:

"The complaint asks the Elections Board to require the Virginia PAC to comply with reporting and disclosure requirements under Wisconsin law, showing who made contributions, and return the $90,000 to the Alliance for Choices in Education.

Richard Saks, of Milwaukee, a lawyer who filed the complaint on behalf of two individuals, the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Care Professionals and the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, said Alliance for Choices in Education faces a penalty of up to three times its donation, or $270,000."

This may be worth watching because:

"The new complaint is in addition to one the board took up at its November meeting related to All Children Matter's spending in the election.

Elections Board Chairman John Savage said at that meeting that the board may pursue criminal charges for making a false filing against All Children Matter if there is evidence showing that someone other than the Wisconsin PAC paid for the ads in question."

Update and Explanation

According to an October 22, 2006 article from the Des Moines Register (and posted on the All Children website):

“One of the founders of All Children Matter is Dick DeVos, the retired president of Amway Corp. who is running for Michigan governor on the Republican ticket. His wife, Betsy, is national chairman of All Children Matter. Another founder is Richard Sharp, chairman of CarMax Inc. and former chairman of Circuit City Stores.

Relatives of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have been major benefactors, contributing millions of dollars to All Children Matter, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance network.

The group is independent of any campaign or lobbying efforts by groups affiliated with church-operated schools, said political director Nikkila. "We just want to make sure parents can choose the best school for their child.”

The People for the American Way also reports that:

“Dick and Betsy DeVos started All Children Matter (ACM) in the spring of 2003, to recruit, train and fund candidates who will promote vouchers across the country. Today, ACM Inc, a federal “527” organization, is the lead organization of a network of affiliates classified as state or federal Political Action Committee’s (PACs), which can donate money directly to and campaign on behalf of political candidates. With its base of wealthy funders and ability to stealthily intervene in local, state and federal political races, the ACM network is an effective tool for the movement to privatize public education.”


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