Secret Campaign Cash in Oregon

Let’s see if those “insider” Rolodexes at Politico and MSNBC decide to call up Jason Miller, shall we? Who’s Jason Miller? Good question.

According to their filing Concerned Taxpayers of America was “kosher” with the Federal Elections Commission on September 1, 2010, according to the FEC website.

They have made one reported contribution this election cycle [emphasis added]:

Committee: CONCERNED TAXPAYERS OF AMERICA

Jamestown Associates

5 Mapleton Road
Suite 300
Princeton, New Jersey 08540

Purpose of Expenditure: Creative, Production, and Media Buy
Name of Federal Candidate supported or opposed by expenditure:

ARTHUR BROUHARD ROBINSON
Candidate ID: H0OR04081
Office Sought: House of Representatives
State is Oregon in District 04

Date Expended = 09/21/2010
Person Completing Form: Jason Miller
Date Signed = 09/23/2010
Amount Expended = $86000.00
Calendar YTD Per Election for Office Sought = $86000.00

Subtotal of Itemized Independent Expenditures = $86000.00
Subtotal of Unitemized Independent Expenditures = $0.00
Total Expenditures This Period = $86000.00

Generated Sat Sep 25 17:18:42 2010

Wow. $86,000 for a media buy by a Washington, D.C. “group” that suddenly appeared out of nowhere for my congressman’s seat. (Peter DeFazio is my congressman.) More than DeFazio’s opponent has spent thus far on the election.

(And Robinson, DeFazio’s opponent, claims to know nothing about where this “independent” expenditure. Claims to have never heard of them. Which is bizarre, whether true OR false.)

Congress as seen by Thomas Nast in 1877

So, who is Jason Williams? According to The Washington Post, he’s a “Republican political consultant.”

An anonymous group tries to ignite a sleepy congressional race

By Karen Tumulty
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 24, 2010; 9:55 PM

Even in this anti-Washington political climate, 12-term Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio had not been on anyone’s endangered list. He generally breezes to re-election in his southwestern Oregon district by 60 percent or better.

But last Tuesday, something curious happened.

A group calling itself Concerned Taxpayers of America started running television spots – a substantial ad buy of $86,000 – contending that DeFazio had been in league with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in wrecking the economy. It also touted DeFazio’s Republican opponent Art Robinson as “a new voice, a smarter choice, the independent leader we need.”

As attack ads go, that is pretty mild fare. But its origin puzzled both DeFazio and his little-known opponent.

“I’m delighted to have their help, but the truth is, I have no idea who is doing this,” said Robinson, a chemist who is popular on the conservative circuit for his work casting doubt that global warming is manmade.

Robinson’s benefactor has spent more on advertising on his behalf than his own campaign has. But there seems to be no record of an organization called Concerned Taxpayers of America, outside a few filings at the Federal Election Commission. The filings list a Capitol Hill address and the name of a treasurer, Republican political consultant Jason Miller.

Miller declined to say who is funding the group. He described the backers only as “folks who are concerned about the direction this country’s economy is going and want to make their voices heard.”

The names behind those voices apparently will remain a mystery – at least until the organization has to make a quarterly filing to the FEC in October.

“Is this a corporation? Is it one very wealthy, right-wing individual? Is it a foreign interest? Is it a drug gang?” DeFazio said. “We don’t know.” …

Peter DeFazio

Well, we can make some good guesses, based on who Miller’s been hanging out with. Here’s the FEC filing:

FEC Committee ID #: C00488437

Concerned Taxpayers of America
10 E Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Schedule E (INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES)
Treasurer Name: Jason Miller

And, it turns out that Jason Miller just contributed (as Treasurer of “Concerned Taxpayers of America”) $86,000 to HIS OWN EMPLOYER, Jamestown Associates:

Jason Miller
Partner, Executive VP

Jason Miller brings more than a decade of national political and press experience to Jamestown, having managed campaigns and shaped messages for successful House, Senate, and gubernatorial races in California, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Florida. He also has worked as a staffer in both chambers of Capitol Hill, most recently as Chief of Staff to former Florida Congressman Ric Keller.

In the 2008 election cycle, Jason served as National Deputy Communications Director on the presidential campaign of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, where he oversaw the campaign’s rapid response and surrogate speaker efforts.

Most recently, Jason served as a Senior Vice President for a nationally recognized high-stakes communications firm, where he specialized in counseling companies, trade associations, and prominent individuals facing crisis and extreme scrutiny. He also helped clients design and implement successful high-stakes public affairs campaigns at both the state and federal levels.

A native of Seattle, Washington, he graduated from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Jason lives in Washington, DC with his wife Kelly and their fifteen month-old daughter Sydney.

But that Rudy Giuliani thing ain’t nothin. How about Chief of Staff to Governor Mark “Appalachian Trail” Sanford in South Carolina?

Miller Time For Sanford
November 21, 2005 3:22 PM
SC Gov. Mark Sanford is announcing today that Jason Miller, currently in the role of campaign manager for Sen. George Allen’s ’06 re-elect, is coming on board the re-election campaign. Title TBD.

Miller, always the campaign junkie, is leaving Allen amicably. He’s simply looking for something to do more competitively for the ’06 cycle.

Miller: “Sanford is expected to have a more competitive and more spirited re-election campaign than Sen. Allen will.” Sources tell us that since Mark Warner announced he would not challenge Allen in ’06, Miller’s received several offers to work a more competitive race in ’06.

He’ll be moving to Columbia, SC at the beginning of Dec.

We’ll let all you Allen conspiracy theorists decide whether having a former staffer learning the ropes in SC is beneficial to Allen’s presidential aspirations.

Also, Miller, a.k.a. “Spike” is leaving on “excellent terms.” For those that don’t know, Allen’s a nickname guy and “Spike” has been Miller’s nickname since the start because “he didn’t look like a Jason.”

No announcement as of yet on who’ll deal with the formality that is Allen’s ’06 re-election. [CHUCK TODD]

And, uh, he wasn’t just whistling Dixie. According to South Carolina conservative blog “Fits News”:

Jason Miller – Sanford’s 2006 Campaign Manager is certainly getting paid like a Chief of Staff, earning $106,000 a year in his role as Deputy Chief of Staff for Coalitions and Strategic Planning. A former operative for ex-Virginia Sen. George Allen, Miller has the least experience of any of the candidates when it comes to South Carolina politics – especially managing relations with the South Carolina General Assembly.

I don’t know if it’s NBC’s Chuck Todd, White House Correspondent, but those are the circles that “Spike” was moving in. Here’s his Politico.com buddies Mike Allen and Ben Smith (click for previous coverage):

Politico.com
Ben Smith

June 24, 2009
Categories: South Carolina
Former aide: Sanford stays

E-mail from Jason Miller, a former aide to Mark Sanford who ran his reelection campaign in 2006 before going to work for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid and then for a crisis PR firm:

This is definitely a sad day for everyone who knows and is friends with the Sanford family. Mark, Jenny and their four boys are some of the best people you could ever know, and it was gut-wrenching to watch today’s press conference because nobody — nobody — saw this coming. This would be tough enough to deal with for a normal family, let alone a very public family that’s going to have this story on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper and leading every newscast.

Taking off my Sanford hat for a minute and looking at this from a crisis communications role, this will definitely cause considerable short-term public relations damage, but this will eventually fade into the background. While a handful of questions remain outstanding, this only festers and continues to worsen if there’s some remaining issue of malfeasance, and I believe Sanford put that to rest in his press conference. The media storm will be painful to weather in the short term, but it will pass. What the governor has to do now is show that he is a steady hand at the wheel when it comes to his official duties and start working on repairing his home life.

Posted by Ben Smith 04:09 PM

And here’s Jason’s buddy Mike Allen, also at Politico:

75 days to Inauguration — Gibbs to be press secretary

In the closing seconds of last night’s “Law & Order,” a reporter asks DA Jack McCoy as he’s departing a presser on the courthouse steps: “Mr. McCoy: Is it true you’ve been asked to join the Obama administration?” (Hat tip: Jason Miller, now with Dezenhall Resources).

Ah, Denzenhall Resources. Here’s  Eric Denzenhall’s “official bio” from his own website:

Eric Dezenhall

In addition to heading Dezenhall Resources, Ltd. Eric is a published author of fiction and non-fiction books, a frequent media commentator, and a sought-after speaker.
Eric co-founded Dezenhall Resources, Ltd. in 1987 and today serves as the company’s CEO. Prior to starting his own firm, Eric worked at an international public relations agency and a political consulting firm. Today, he is a frequent guest commentator on national public affairs programs and is widely quoted in leading news publications. Eric’s first book, Nail ’em!: Confronting High-Profile Attacks on Celebrities and Business, pioneered new techniques for understanding and defusing crises. Damage Control: Why Everything You Know About Crisis Management is Wrong, was co-authored with his partner, John Weber, and was released in April 2007. He is also the author of five novels, Money Wanders, Jackie Disaster, Shakedown Beach, Turnpike Flameout, and Spinning Dixie. Eric speaks frequently before groups on the news media, crisis management and popular culture. He can be reached in the Washington, DC office.

But that’s changed a little from the old version of that bio linked at SourceWatch:

Eric Dezenhall, CEO

Eric co-founded Dezenhall Resources’ predecessor firm in 1987, and today serves as the company’s CEO and President. He began his career in the White House Office of Communications during the Reagan Presidency. Prior to starting his own firm, Eric worked at an international public relations agency and a political consulting firm. Today, he is a frequent guest commentator on national public affairs programs and is widely quoted in leading news publications. Eric’s first book, Nail ’em: Confronting High-Profile Attacks on Celebrities and Business, pioneered new techniques for understanding and defusing crises. He is also the author of three damage-control novels, Money Wanders, Jackie Disaster and Shakedown Beach. Eric speaks frequently before groups on the news media, crisis management and popular culture. He can be reached in the Washington office.

Oh. And what does Denzehall Resources DO? According to SourceWatch:

Eric Dezenhall is the founder and President of Dezenhall Resources which designs aggressive public relations campaigns to attack or “counter” progressive groups. Among his prior jobs, Dezenhall previously “served in the White House Office of Communications and the Office of Presidential Personnel during the Reagan Presidency”. He also worked as an account executive at Doremus Porter Novelli (DPN) from 1984 to 1987 before founding Nichols-Dezenhall.

In a 2001 column published in the New York Post, Dezenhall argued that “corporations guarantee their defeat when they let attackers scare them into not fighting back. […]

In an interview with the Washington Times Dezenhall suggested […]

“The American public is far more offended by inconsistency than by naughty behavior,” he said.

OK. So, what was Jason Miller doing for Denzenhall?

Press Release
For Immediate Contact:
Gary Meltz, gmeltz@dezenhall.com
202-296-0263 ext 136 or 202-256-7940

Feeling Burned Up About the Cost of a Cookout?

Your Labor Day BBQ Costs More Because
Food Companies Are Raking in the Profits

Boston, August 27, 2008 — Americans are wondering why their Labor Day cookouts are costing more this year, and the reason is simple: large food companies are raising their prices. Many of the nation’s largest food companies want Americans to believe their food costs more because of ethanol, and are bankrolling a smear campaign to do so. But FoodPriceTruth.org has released this Labor Day Cookout Menu to expose the truth about why Americans are paying more for hamburgers, hot dogs, dips, crackers, pasta-salad and ice cream – all Labor Day cookout favorites.

Please click here to see the Labor Day Menu.

“Labor Day cookouts are costing Americans an arm and leg this year,” said Brooke Coleman, a FoodPriceTruth.org spokesperson. “We analyzed the connection between corporate profits and retail food costs and discovered that food companies are raising their prices to levels far exceeding any increase in operating costs. Some of these companies have increased their profits by 60 to 120 percent. If Kraft, General Mills, Kellogg’s and other food companies are so concerned about food prices and the American consumer, they should stop gouging them in the grocery aisle.”
To speak with Brooke Coleman, FoodPriceTruth.org spokesman, please contact Jason Miller, jmiller@dezenhall.com, 202-296-0263 ext 136 or 202-256-7940

Now, here’s where it gets weird. When you go to FoodPriceTruth dot org:

Who We Are

FoodPriceTruth.org is sponsored by the 2020 Project.

The 2020 Project raises money for the purpose of executing targeted public awareness campaigns on a project-by-project basis. The 2020 Project will support a diverse set of campaigns within and outside of the energy sector.

The FoodPriceTruth.org campaign is supported by contributions from a variety of constituencies, including conventional and advanced biofuel production companies and individuals.

For more information, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.

Well, perhaps WHOIS will answer that question a bit better:

Domain ID:D152662731-LROR
Domain Name:FOODPRICETRUTH.ORG
Created On:08-May-2008 15:58:33 UTC
Last Updated On:22-Sep-2010 14:20:42 UTC
Expiration Date:08-May-2012 15:58:33 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Register.com Inc. (R71-LROR)
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Registrant ID:6297618d140ee950
Registrant Name:Domain Discreet
Registrant Organization:ATTN: foodpricetruth.org

Registrant Street1:Rua Dr. Brito Camara, n 20, 1
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Funchal
Registrant State/Province:Madeira
Registrant Postal Code:9000-039
Registrant Country:PT

Registrant Phone:+361.19027495331
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:39d13a8e0a14115100f7943ade94d514@domaindiscreet.com
Admin ID:1406826d13a93998
Admin Name:Domain Discreet
Admin Organization:ATTN: foodpricetruth.org
Admin Street1:Rua Dr. Brito Camara, n 20, 1
Admin Street2:
Admin Street3:
Admin City:Funchal
Admin State/Province:Madeira
Admin Postal Code:9000-039
Admin Country:PT
Admin Phone:+361.19027495331
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:39d13a8e0a14115101224ef5909912d8@domaindiscreet.com
Tech ID:7697099d1441d075
Tech Name:Domain Discreet
Tech Organization:ATTN: foodpricetruth.org
Tech Street1:Rua Dr. Brito Camara, n 20, 1
Tech Street2:
Tech Street3:
Tech City:Funchal
Tech State/Province:Madeira
Tech Postal Code:9000-039
Tech Country:PT

Tech Phone:+361.19027495331
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:39d13a8e0a14115101a495aa16996a8e@domaindiscreet.com
Name Server:NS1.MEDIATEMPLE.NET
Name Server:NS2.MEDIATEMPLE.NET

Oh, anonymously registered out of Portugal? [Tricksy. See here.]

Well, then, what is the “2020 Project”? If you click on the link, THIS is what you get:

The 2020 Action Fund

The 2020 Action Fund implements public awareness campaigns to hold public and private entities accountable for their actions.

And there is ONE link. It leads to THIS:

Contact:

For more information about the 2020 Action Fund, please contact us at info@2020actionfund.org

And that’s it.

WHOIS?

Domain Name:2020ACTIONFUND.ORG
Created On:10-Oct-2008 20:46:25 UTC
Last Updated On:17-Dec-2009 03:06:04 UTC
Expiration Date:10-Oct-2010 20:46:25 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, Inc. (R91-LROR)
Status:CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT RENEW PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED
Registrant ID:CR37059400
Registrant Name:Registration Private
Registrant Organization:Domains by Proxy, Inc.
Registrant Street1:DomainsByProxy.com

Registrant Street2:15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Scottsdale
Registrant State/Province:Arizona
Registrant Postal Code:85260
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.4806242599
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:+1.4806242598
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:2020ACTIONFUND.ORG@domainsbyproxy.com
Admin ID:CR37059402
Admin Name:Registration Private
Admin Organization:Domains by Proxy, Inc.
Admin Street1:DomainsByProxy.com

Admin Street2:15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Admin Street3:
Admin City:Scottsdale
Admin State/Province:Arizona
Admin Postal Code:85260
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+1.4806242599
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:+1.4806242598
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:2020ACTIONFUND.ORG@domainsbyproxy.com
Tech ID:CR37059401
Tech Name:Registration Private
Tech Organization:Domains by Proxy, Inc.
Tech Street1:DomainsByProxy.com
Tech Street2:15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Tech Street3:
Tech City:Scottsdale
Tech State/Province:Arizona
Tech Postal Code:85260
Tech Country:US
Tech Phone:+1.4806242599
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:+1.4806242598
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:2020ACTIONFUND.ORG@domainsbyproxy.com
Name Server:NS51.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
Name Server:NS52.DOMAINCONTROL.COM

Another anonymous dead end. (DomainsByProxy.com):

Interesting though. Miller made that old familiar excuse in the DeFazio case (must … keep … donors … anonymous) that Howie Rich made this summer in the Alaska Initiative case. And which is being made everywhere. Stealth Agents and PR flacks sitting on huge piles of money, lying and hiding and is THIS what American politics is supposed to be about? Meantime, politicians and media fiddle while Rome burns.

FoodPriceTruth.org’s graphic

Listen to the end of the Washington Post’s version of DeFazio’s tale, by Karen Tumulty and T.W. Farnam:

[…]

With journalists from The Washington Post and the Huffington Post in tow, the congressman rang the bell, knocked on the door and then shouted through the mail slot.

Then DeFazio peered through the front window. “It doesn’t look too lived in,” he said. “A couple of pieces of furniture, some garden chairs.”

Finally, a young man answered the door.

He said he was a renter who was not acquainted with Concerned Taxpayers of America or its treasurer Jason Miller.

Miller later acknowledged that the young man at the house does indeed work for him. “He’s a junior staffer who didn’t know what to say when he got ambushed by DeFazio,” Miller said. “He shouldn’t have said that.”

[video HERE]

The ‘junior staffer’ lying to Congressman DeFazio

No. I think he was supposed to.

So, do you suppose that Chuck Todd, Ben Smith and ESPECIALLY Mike Allen will remember who Jason Miller was?

You know, THIS guy?

Potomac Flacks
APRIL 21, 2008

Former Aide to Rudy, Jason Miller, Signs on with Dezenhall

Jason Miller, a veteran of several Republican campaigns, has joined the Washington, D.C.-based Dezenhall Resources as a communications consultant. Dezenhall is an independent communications firm that advises clients on public affairs campaigns and how to handle a crisis. Prior to joining Dezenhall, Miller was based in New York, where he served as Deputy Communications Director for rapid response on former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s (R-NY) presidential campaign. Previously, he managed Gov. Mark Sanford’s (R-SC) 2006 re-election campaign and served for a time as his Deputy Chief of Staff. Miller also has Congressional campaign chops, serving as a consultant for now-Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) successful 2004 campaign and managing Rep. Ric Keller’s (R-FL) winning 2000 and 2002 House races. Miller also spent time on Capitol Hill as Keller’s chief of staff. (Roll Call’s “Shop Talk” column)

Hmmm.

Courage.

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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One Response to Secret Campaign Cash in Oregon

  1. Phil Richardson says:

    With all of these anonymous sources of funding for “issue ads” how can we be at all certain that these messages are not the work of Al Qaeda or a foreign government? Perhaps this question should be raised with more emphasis in on air reporting. Fight scare tactic slurs with scare tactic slurs.

    Thanks,

    Phil