Note: This is part of a series.
Both Seattle dailies had decent coverage and both pointed out something unusual about I-933. It’s financed (and orchestrated) by a shadowy out-of-state group that’s pushing its agenda in a dozen states.
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Here’s the Times:
Americans for Limited Government, a national organization based in Chicago, has given $200,000. The group, whose leaders are associated with the term-limits movement and other conservative causes, is backing property-rights and spending-cap measures in a dozen states this year.
The lion’s share of the pro-933 campaign spending—$240,000 through the end of May—has gone to Citizen Solutions, a Lacey paid-signature-gathering firm.
And here’s the Post-Intelligencer:
Nearly half the pro-933 cash contributions have come from Americans for Limited Government, a Chicago organization founded by New York landlord Howard Rich, who also advocates for term limits and conservative issues. The group, which has contributed $200,000, is bankrolling ballot measures in 12 states.
In Idaho, the Boise Weekly was canny enough to pick up on the same turn with Idaho’s initiative:
Except for $50… the entire budget for This House is My House came from out of state, according to reports from the Idaho Secretary of State. $100,000 came from Montana-based America At Its Best. Another $237,000 came from the New York-based Fund for Democracy, headed by Howard Rich, a libertarian activist and major donor.
I’m not one to believe in smoky backroom conspiracy theories, but this is starting to get a little creepy.
More to come, next week.
UPDATE 7/10/06:Great article in the Helena Independent Record on similar issues with Montana’s Initiative 154. Here’s a sample:
A Montana-based political group that has spent $1 million on initiative campaigns here and elsewhere is being challenged legally by a Helena attorney, who may try to force disclosure of its financial backers.
Attorney Jonathan Motl, a veteran of many ballot-measure campaigns in Montana, said Friday he believes Montanans in Action may be skirting campaign-finance laws by concealing its donors.
He said the group “appears to have no existence other than as a conduit for ballot committee money,” and therefore should reveal the source of its money.