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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Revealed: The Dark Money Group Attacking Senator Sherrod Brown

Revealed: The Dark Money Group Attacking Senator Sherrod Brown

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica

In May, a previously unknown group started pouring money into Ohio’s U.S. Senate race, considered one of the most important in the country and currently the nation’s most expensive.  The group, the Government Integrity Fund, has spent over $1 million so far on TV ads bashing Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown and praising his Republican opponent, Josh Mandel.

Like many other such non-profit groups that are playing a dominant role in this year’s elections, the Government Integrity Fund is shrouded in mystery. It isn’t required to reveal donors, nor has it answered questions about who runs the group. The Fund’s barebones website lists no contact information beyond a P.O. Box.

The only name listed on incorporation papers for the group is a Columbus lawyer, William Todd, who told ProPublica, “I really have no role in their affairs.” (In June, Todd also declined to respond to questions from a Huffington Post reporter, citing attorney-client privilege.)

But previously unreported documents filed with an Ohio television station pull back the curtain a bit: the Government Integrity Fund is run by a state lobbyist who in turn employs a former top Mandel staffer.

The lobbyist, Tom Norris, is listed as the Government Integrity Fund’s chairman and treasurer. Norris owns an Ohio lobbying firm, Cap Square Solutions, and last year hired a top Mandel aide, Joel Riter, to work at the firm.

Riter’s role in the Government Integrity Fund, if any, is not clear. The former Mandel aide declined to say whether he is involved with the group that is chaired by his current boss and running ads in support of his former boss.

“I can’t talk to you about this,” he told ProPublica. “I’m not going to comment on any kind of involvement I have with anyone.”

Norris did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the Mandel campaign.

The documents identifying Norris as the chairman of the Fund are public because of a Federal Communications Commission rule requiring TV stations to keep detailed records about political advertisers. The files can be valuable, offering a look at exactly who is spending and how much. Until recently, the documents were only available by physically traveling to stations. ProPublica’s Free the Files project has spotlighted the issue and this summer the FCC passed a rule requiring the stations in the nation’s top markets to upload the files to agovernment website.

The documents were filed with a Cincinnati NBC affiliate, WLWT, one of the stations the group has been advertising on. Here is a Fund ad that attacks Senator Brown for purportedly turning his back on his younger, more honorable self. “Young Sherrod Brown was independent of Wall Street,” the announcer says. “Today Sherrod Brown takes big money from those same corporate interests.”

The Associated Press reported last month that outside groups have spent $15 million supporting Mandel compared to about $3 million on the Democratic side.

We still don’t know who is putting up the money for the Government Integrity Fund’s ads because the group is a non-profit “social welfare” group, which don’t have to release donor information or register with the Federal Election Commission. Such groups are supposed to be “primarily” engaged in promoting social welfare but they have been flooding the airwaves with political ads in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United case and decisions by regulatory agencies.

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Copyright 2012 The National Memo
  • The Dark Money Cartels, operating under a phony, non profit, Social Services Organizational Label; has really demonstrated the success of the, “BIG LIE!” The Rich, Neo-CON, Godless Republican Leaders, and their well healed, Corporate Types, bought the Wisconsin Election some weeks ago; and now they are back at it again, in Ohio. This Rising Oligarchy, which has TOTAL CONTROL of Nation’s Economic, Political, and Social Systems; has undermined Democracy, and Capitalism; as originally envisioned by the Founders, Adam Smith, and John Locke.


    Here’s the thing; after a couple of generations, the, then – – Majority – – will just have internalized the belief that: well, that’s just the way things are; it is the way things have always been.” Best to, “kiss up,” to the, MAN!” Isn’t that the way things are in the rest of the World? “There is no such thing as a, “Middle Class.” Throughout History, there have only been two economic groups; the few, very Rich, and very Bright, at the Top; and the mindless Masses at the Bottom. Who do the American Founders; Adam Smith, John Locke; along with that,worthless Henry Ford, think they are?! And these Guys like, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet, are just stirring up the Peasants. (Oh, not Peasants any more? Got’cha; the new Operative Term for the 90%, is PARASITES!)

    One other relevant fact: These immoral Dark Money Cartels are, “taking no prisoners,” in their attempt to defeat Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the Senate in Mass.; against Scott Brown. This is Ted Kennedy’s old Seat. The Rowe Money Machine fears her greatly. So much so, that they blocked Obama from naming her, our Consumer Protection Chief. This lady knows the Banking and Investment Business better than most of the Wall Street Crooks. She was one of the Whistle Blowers; and knows where the Bodies are Buried. She must be defeated because she is much to Smart – – and Honest – – to be elected. THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN, IN A STRONG, DEMOCRATIC PARTY STATE! Just gives you the ideal of just how RICH, and POWERFUL, these IMMORAL’s are! They ARE destroying our Democracy; and now pretty much have CONTROL of the Three Branches of Government.

    My friends; she is EXACTLY what the Country so desperately needs! Send her a buck or two; to help thwart off the Shadow, and, Immoral,Chikin Sh . . . You would be doing the Country a big favor!

    • hilandar1000

      How right you are! The GOP is getting an obscene amount of money from large corporations. The GOP will have a HUGE debt to pay to those corporations. To do otherwise would not get that money into GOP coffers the next time around. The sad part is that the small business owners (many of whom feel that Romney is going to offer them the opportunity to be part of the 1 percent) will get bought out or forced out of business by the large corporations who are funding the GOP candidates. Another sad fact is that our tax dollars are actually funding the GOP candidates, when you consider the subsidies received by large corporations. It would be very revealing to see which companies are contributing to the GOP, and compare that to the amount those corporations are receiving in subsidies. Corporations like Walmart are receiving outright subsidies in the amount of around 2 Billion dollars per year. In addition they are being subsidized in other ways — like being able to hire part time employees at low wages. For those employees, in many cases we are paying for their medical care — which the large corporation does not have to provide, and in many cases, providing food stamps to those people — so that Walmart can continue to hire them at low wages, with no medical coverage from the corporation.

      By his own admission Romney wants to “privatize” all businesses — even businesses which should not be part of the profiteering world of the GOP — like the post office and medical facilities and drug companies. Check out your local hospitals. They may be called not-for-profit in order to receive government subsidies, but check it out thoroughly and you’ll find that most of them are run by corporations. It may be called something different, like management companies, but it is still a corporation, and that corporation has control of other facets of the “business” of running a hospital that does not have the label of “not-for-profit” and, therefore, can show a huge profit — like clinics that are associated with the hospital, food service companies, insurance companies, medical supply companies, etc. A corporation’s one concern is profit — not serving the best interests of the people.

      More legislators like Elizabeth Warren is exactly what this country needs. The Supreme Court has given corporations just what they needed in order to be able to “buy” control of our great country. If they succeed in winning a majority of legislative and executive posts in this election, we can say good-bye to democracy.

  • Ed

    The repubs do not believe that any of us who have to get up and go to work in the morningb should no anything about what they plan for this country!

  • The only way things will swing in favor of the working class is if one or more of the ULTRACONSERVATIVE Supreme Court Justices is replaced by a moderate or liberal Justice. At least then there would be a chance to turn corporations and labor unions back into corporations and labor unions, rather than “PEOPLE” who are no more than enormous slush funds for the Tea Party and liberal PACs. (By the way, aren’t large, wealthy corporations actually comprised of many people? If so, doesn’t that mean that the corporations are actually subverting the wishes of the MAJORITY of the workers in order to provide political funds for a few owners, executives and upper management people of the corporations? Shouldn’t corporations and labor unions have a democratic vote as to which SUPERPAC the funds should be directed to, and how much?) WHY SHOULD THE OWNERS AND EXECUTIVES BE THE ONLY VOICES HEARD BY THE RECIPIENTS OF THESE FUNDS?

  • another way to buy the goverment —

  • There is a good chance we will lose the Senate races in Michigan and Minnesota. I think we will hang on to the Senate, but only by a very slim majority.

  • rustacus21

    The ‘Originalists’ on the SCT – I’m going to presume – totally didn’t see this one coming… Or… Anyway, this is the perfect time to discuss landing a solid re-election initiative for President Obama, as well as ensuring a Liberal/Progressive majority takes over congress – to be overseen by the 99%. Forgotten are the ‘Federalist’ dialogues & the Constitutional imperatives imploring us to stay vigilant against the tyranny of ‘monarchcal’ wealth & corporations. The curse of conservatism is that we’re all now hypnotized by the obsession of ‘wealth’ so much that we pity them for being so out of control & think if we just wait a bit longer, they’ll see the errors of their ways, repent & behave as ‘normal’ people do. Understand what this article is SAYING!!! Stop acting like U (the indecisive & helpless!!!) never heard of the ‘robber barons’ or the ‘confederacy’ or the War of 1812 ‘conservative’ traitors, or even the ‘loyalists’ who betrayed patriots – those living RITE NEXT DOOR – & continued fighting for the British Crown til the very end. THIS is the same progeny active 2day battling AGAINST Democracy in America & around the world. What will it take America!?!?! Aren’t the crazies talking to empty ‘chairs’ & psycho’s talking reprise of supply-side policies of 1928-’29, 1981-1993, 2001-2009 enuff already!?!?

  • Gees; the Minions are wising up; and I are one. Lots of good comments and information below in all of the Posts.

    Don’t quite now! There is too much at stake for our Children and Grandchildren.

    God Bless you all!