June 11, 2012 at 13:37:58
Cross-posted from Republic Report
Across the country, state lawmakers have pushed forward bills to
lower democratic participation. State after state have adopted laws that
criminalize voter registration drives, limit the ability of low-income
people and college students to vote, and otherwise restrict qualified
voters from casting a ballot.
As Republic Report revealed earlier this
week, the controversial purge of Florida voters is tied to a slush fund
of secret cash from corporate executive bents on spending $1 billion in
political funds this year. The shadowy American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC) helped advance anti-voter laws until a mass exodus of its
corporate members forced the group to retreat
. But there's evidence that big business is getting involved in the act from other sources as well.
In Maine, Gov. Paul LePage (R) approved a bill that ended same-day
voter registration in Maine. Residents challenged the law last year in a
referendum, but a mystery donor contributed $250,000 to the effort to
the campaign seeking to keep the law on the books. The referendum ultimately
passed, and the voter suppression law was repealed. But questions
remained about the source of the secret anti-voter registration cash.
As Think Progress' Scott Keyes reported, a disclosure filed after the election revealed
that a single 501(c) group, called the American Justice Partnership,
provided the entire $250,000 check. But like so many other political
groups, AJP appears to be a front, an organization set up simply to
conceal the true donors. Who put up the money?
AJP has refused to tell the public about its donors.
Republic Report has found some of the money going into AJP, the group
that tried to prevent same-day voter registration in Maine. And it's a
surprising source: Wisconsin.
Tax forms from the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Issues Mobilization Council Inc. show that the group, which is run
by corporations like the Boldt Company
and Wausau Paper
, provided at least $865,000 to the group:
disclosure shows that the Wisconsin business group gave American
Justice Partnership the money to support "shared mission of educating
the public about business issues." But this vague description is applied
to every grant. For more clarity, we asked Jim Pugh, a communications
executive with the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group. "Our 990
form speaks for itself," he wrote back. "Thanks for your interest."
LEE FANG is an investigative researcher/blogger for ThinkProgress.org at
the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Lee is a lifelong
resident of Prince George's County, Maryland, and holds a B.A. in
Government and Politics from the University of (more...
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
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