Because “Cudgel For Growth” Wouldn’t Sound as Warm and Fuzzy

You may have noticed I’ve been rather absent for awhile. I had volumes of data to digest and boil down to what follows. I have boiled it down as far as I can.  At nearly 6,000 words, I could easily break it down into six segments of 1,000 words apiece, and still be accused of unwarranted loquacity. Tough. This is as stripped down as I could make it for you. Trust me, it’ll go a lot faster than you think. OK? Ready? Steady? Let’s go:

Robert Leroy Mercer of East Setauket, New York (Long Island)

Welcome to Constitutional Jeopardy. You have the answer (the title): now, what’s the question?

Bob Mercer donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat Peter DeFazio in the Fourth Congressional District of Oregon. He didn’t succeed, either, with loony-tunes candidate Art Robinson, crank scientist, global warming denier and John-Galt-lovin’ home-schooling guru. DeFazio prevailed, as usual, and a particularly comatose and unprofessional Oregon media sat around in their usual pose, with their heads firmly up their overlarge asses.

The national media followed suit, with the exception of the Rachel Maddow Show, who ventured into non-easy-for-video waters, and dropped the investigation.

But there is a huge misperception here, and one that needs to be talked about: the idea that Bob Mercer had some “personal” grudge against Peter DeFazio because DeFazio and Tom Harkin of Iowa had co-sponsored a “transactions tax” on trades, and that, therefore, was the REASON that Mercer was slushing cash into the Oregon congressional race.

Because Robinson lost, this isn’t “news” and has been dropped. But it ought not: it’s important in understanding the buying of our election, and the manner in which future elections may well be run.

Idaho Prologue:

2006 was a busy year for Laird Maxwell, of Boise, Idaho.

702 West Hayes in Boise (commercial property)

From his small office on the outskirts of  Boise — at 702 W Hays Suite 16, Boise ID 83702 —  he was running the “This House Is My Home” one of a  number of Eminent Domain initiatives in the American West for Howie Rich, as its chief petitioner;  was signing checks for literally, millions of dollars that were going into related initiatives in Nebraska, California, Missouri* and others under the former small-time Virginia PAC, “America At Its Best” and way down there, somewhere, he started the year by awarding James Sali the Idaho “Conservative of the Year” title out of an organization whose mailing address was that same office.

[* From Boregasm [emphasis added]:

We already know that America At Its Best is funded entirely by Howard Rich and friends of the peripatetic “Americans for Limited Government.” And we know that AAIB is led by Laird Maxwell in Boise, Idaho, but that monies have been disbursed to Laird Maxwell’s Idaho “This House Is My House” initiative from AAIB in Kalispell [Montana], and to Nebraska from Duncan Scott’s law office in Kalispell.

In Idaho, the “House” initiative has been mysterious because the money came from AAIB in Montana, and no one knew where AAIB was getting its money. But Missouri documents reveal that America At Its Best in Boise, Idaho sent $640,000 to “Missourians in Charge.”

His fiancée, Lori Klein of Arizona, had met him at a National Taxpayers Union convention in 2005, and was running Arizona’s version of Eminent Domain, “Arizona HOPE” for Howie Rich, ALSO as chief petitioner.  Millions of dollars flying about under a variety of guises and putative sources, who was going to notice James Sali and his “award” from Maxwell’s astroturf organization? In the face of everything else, it was small potatoes.

Pun intended: Maxwell had, and still has multiple domains, and a blog, Liberty Spuds. (Come up with your own punchline.)

from the eponymous blog

He’s never written in it much, though.

But I did notice an interesting thing that I had laid aside until Bob Mercer sparked a reason to notice the campaign of James Sali, who, with the help of Club for Growth members around the USA (and not mostly from Idaho) slushed money into Sali’s primary race for an open congressional seat and then the General Election, where in Idaho, except for 2008, running against incumbent James Sali, the Republican nominee is virtually assured of election. Take a gander:

FEC filing (click for original) Sali for Congress 2006

Yup. It’s Bob Mercer of Renaissance Technologies in East Setauket, (Long Island) New York. $2100. The maximum amount he could contribute to the welfare of the good citizens of Idaho. BTW that address IS for Renaissance Technologies, not Mercer’s home. There were a WHOLE lot of Club for Growth “bundled” contributions in that Sali campaign. There were a LOT of out of state “Club for Growth” contributions, three and four figures all. Take a look here, if you’d like.

Who is the “Club for Growth”?

They tell you right up front that they’re the “Club for Growth.” But they don’t actually mean any sort of association. They mean a shillelagh.

There’s a Sharon Angle angle to this, and there’s a Peter DeFazio angle to this, and a Koch angle to this, but we have to get down into the thicket to really begin to see the forest for the trees.

And let me tell you up front, it gets complicated, but I’ve suppressed all sorts of amazing side issues to tell you in the simplest and most straight-forward manner that I can. Yes, it’s complicated, but that is intentional, and was, undoubtedly, designed to make the story as difficult to report as possible.

So, let’s start with Stephen Moore.

Moore on MSNBC

Moore works for Rupert Murdoch now at the Wall Street Journal, but he used to work for Dick Armey.  Wikipedia:

From 1983 through 1987, Moore served as the Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Budgetary Affairs at the Heritage Foundation. Moore also was a fellow of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Moore was the senior economist of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee under Chairman Dick Armey of Texas.[1] There, he was also an architect of the Armey flat tax proposal in 1995. He was also part of the research team hired by Americans For Fair Taxation to create the FairTax

Moore also founded the Club for Growth in 1999, while he was a fellow at the Cato Institute, founded and funded by Charles Koch, who made big headlines in yesterday‘s New York Times.  But he wasn’t JUST a “fellow.” He was the Director of Economic Policy for several years before and after he founded CFG in 1999. What is CFG? Glad you asked. Science fiction author and right wing zealot Jerry Pournelle puts it simply as he osculates CFG and climate-change Über-denier Art Robinson recently [emphasis added. Pournelle’ commentary noted in GREEN:


Thursday, Octrober [sic] 14, 2010

I understand that I just pounded on everyone during my pledge drive. I have been asked for my recommendations on political donations for this key upcoming election. Self government is not free. (Skip political)

Club For Growth

The following is a political announcement. They didn’t pay me to include it. I do donate to the Club for Growth because in general I support their candidates. Usually I do so in primary elections rather than general, but this really is the most important mid-term of a lifetime. I don’t always support all their candidates and I am usually very specific about who I do support.

Dear Jerry,

Nineteen days from the biggest mid-term election of our lifetime, I wanted to send you a brief update on the top priority races we’re watching most closely.

First, five on the Senate side:

ALASKA: A new poll shows pro-growth rock star Joe Miller with just a two point lead over incumbent RINO Lisa Murkowski, who is running a write-in campaign to save her career. Democrat Scott McAdams also is within striking distance. This is a premiere opportunity for Club members to make their voices heard – a text book match-up between a true economic conservative and two big government, establishment liberals.

COLORADO: Fiscal conservative Ken Buck is leading incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet by just five points in one recent public poll, but trails by a point in another.

NEVADA: Four polls came out this week that show our friend Sharron Angle running either ahead by one or two points or behind by two or three points in her race with liberal Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid.

PENNSYLVANIA: Pro-growth hero Pat Toomey is up an average of 7.8 points over far-left Congressman Joe Sestak, though it is far from a done deal. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has stepped up its attacks on Pat and released its own poll showing Sestak narrowly ahead.

KENTUCKY: Constitutional conservative and economic libertarian Rand Paul leads Democrat Jack Conway by an average of just 5.3 points in the last three public polls. Ads from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee continue to bash Rand.

On the House side, we’re watching five races very closely:

CA-11: In the most recent poll, Club PAC-endorsed constitutional lawyer and education reform crusader David Harmer leads incumbent liberal Jerry McNerney, 48%-42%.

PA-04: Former Pat Toomey campaign volunteer Keith Rothfus is believed to be still behind incumbent Democrat Jason Altmire, but this race is narrowing. This is a great opportunity for pro-growth conservatives to push a great candidate over the finish line.

SC-05: Club PAC-endorsed candidate Mick Mulvaney is giving 28-year incumbent Democrat John Spratt the run of his life, and is poised to pull off an upset in a very winnable district.

AZ-08: Our new friend Jesse Kelly is running neck-and-neck with incumbent liberal Gabrielle Giffords. The latest poll shows Kelly leading by just one point.

NY-19: Finally, anti-ObamaCare ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth is tied with liberal Democrat John Hall, 42%-42% in one poll and ahead by three points in another.

Every one of these races is a pick-up opportunity for the pro-growth, pro-freedom movement. Every one is a race where a well-timed, hard-hitting ad buy can make the difference between victory and defeat.

That’s where we come in. In races like these and many others, Club for Growth Action can be the difference-maker. Your contribution to Club for Growth Action – economic conservatism’s most powerful political weapon – can make or break Election 2010.

As you know, Club for Growth Action is bound by NO CONTRIBUTION LIMITS. Every dollar you can give us is a dollar we can invest immediately in TV ads where they are needed most in these and other states and districts.

We are closer than ever to a pro-growth majority in Congress. In the next 19 days, together we can make history.

Help us spread the word about Club for Growth Action! Please forward this email to your friends, family and neighbors and encourage them to take action by contributing to Club for Growth Action.

Please click here to make your most generous contribution to Club for Growth Action now.

Best Regards,



Art Robinson

While we are on the subject of political donations and candidates I approve of:

I very much support Art Robinson, editor and publisher of Access to Energy.

He has a real chance in Oregon in a district that does not usually elect Christian Libertarians.

for display only. links do not work.

Uh, I didn’t realize that there WERE a lot of Christian Libertarians. I mean, when you can get a candidate who buddies up to hyper-Conservative Science Fiction writers like Jerry Pournelle AND is in sympatico enough to the  founder of the Christian Reconstructionism movement, R. J. Rushdoony that he even has an interview with him up on his website, it seems more like you’ve fallen down the rabbit-hole than you’ve uncovered a vast and undiscovered demographic.

Demongraphics, more likely.

(Just look at L. Ron Hubbard.)

I could tell you the tale of how Cato Institute Fellow Stephen Moore founded the Club for Growth while he was working for Cato, and continued until his … er, departure. But that’s not important. Suffice it to say that Howard Rich serves and served on board of the Cato Institute, serves and served on the board of Club for Growth, and is and was president of “Club for Growth – State Action” in 2006, when all the hoohaw emerged.

None of the other Idaho GOP primary  candidates  — whose traditional contributions ranged from one figure to two in a small, grass-roots Western state — had any way of fighting off the gusher of campaign cash, which translates into advertising, which translates into votes more and more and more anymore.

Sali sailed to an easy November win, following a tidal wave of Club for Growth cash in the primaries.

And donors like Robert Mercer of East Setauket, New York leading the charge.

If you click on Robert Mercer at the FEC website, he becomes a “who’s who” for Club for Growth congressional candidates. It’s a rathole that leads to race after race, as the CFG bettors get their chips down on the Congressional Sweepstakes.

And Laird Maxwell ponied up $465 for Sali, too. Of course, it is an “in kind” donation of “office furniture” which seems a little steep, but then, Laird was about to marry Lori Klein in late summer and move to Arizona. So it’s understandable. Note the name above his on the FEC filing, though, Park Avenue South, New York, New York, and Biloxi, Mississippi — both with the notation “Bundled by Club for Growth.” Here’s just a few of the 263 individual contributions to Sali’s campaign of 2006:

Contributor Address Date Amount Employer/Occupation Image Number
IL 60302
09/16/2005 250.00 SEYFARTH SHAW/LAWYER 28991251493
NY 10005
09/16/2005 250.00 28991251494
NY 10005
09/18/2008 250.00 RETIRED/RETIRED 28992568174
AL 35209
09/05/2006 250.00 STERNE AGEE & LEACH/REGISTERED REP 28991251922
AL 35209
09/29/2005 500.00 STERNE AGEE & LEACH/REGISTERED REP 28991251494
ID 83711
09/30/2008 250.00 SELF-EMPLOYED/INSURANCE AGENT 28992568187
IL 60614
09/03/2005 500.00 RPG, INC./BUSINESS 28991251494
IL 60614
09/23/2005 500.00 RPG, INC./BUSINESS 28991251495
VA 22101
09/21/2006 250.00 SOLERS/DEFENSE CONTRACTOR 28991251922
VA 22101
10/30/2008 1000.00 SOLERS/DEFENSE CONTRACTOR 28934759262
VA 22101
03/31/2006 250.00 SOLERS/DEFENSE CONTRACTOR 28991251625
VA 22209
12/07/2005 250.00 SOLERS/DEFENSE CONTRACTOR 28931877370
NJ 08540
09/29/2005 2100.00 N.A./RETIRED 28991251495
VA 22204
11/13/2007 250.00 CLEAR CHANNEL/DIR. GOVERNEMENT AFF 28993142892

There’s hedge fund managers and captains of industry. And none of those first fifteen names at the top of the “Mercer” page is IN Idaho, and just about as far FROM Idaho as you can actually get, and still be within the continental limits of the USA. Oh: and Kavalier and Kellogg are sometimes “Bundled by Club for Growth” and other times not. Whether this is a clerical error or not, I cannot say, but it is dubious that Arlington, Virginia and Chicago, Illinois are all THAT concerned about what happens in Boise, Idaho.

Like I said, no need to explain where Club for Growth (CFG) came from. The results speak for themselves. Wikipedia:

Election activities

On September 19, 2005, the Federal Election Commission filed suit against the Club for Growth for violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act for failing to register as a political action committee in the 20002002, and 2004 congressional elections.[3] In September, 2007 the Club for Growth agreed to pay $350000 in civil penalties and criticized the FEC for the lawsuit.[4] The agreement, if approved by a federal judge, would mark the end of the lawsuit.

2002 Congressional elections

In the 2002 Congressional races, 17 out of 19 candidates endorsed by the organization’s PAC won. It also endorsed Mark Sanford in the South Carolina gubernatorial Republican primary as he defeated Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler.

2004 Congressional elections

In 2004, the Club for Growth’s PAC caused a stir within the Republican Party by endorsing and heavily supporting U.S. Representative Pat Toomey, who challenged incumbent Senator Arlen Specter in the Republican primary in Pennsylvania. The organization was reported to have collected contributions totaling over $934,000 for Toomey. It also spent $1 million on its own independent television advertising campaign on Toomey’s behalf. Specter, who had the support of President Bush, the RNC, and Sen. Rick Santorum, defeated Toomey by a narrow margin of 51%–49%. Afterwards, Toomey accepted the position as President of the Club for Growth which he served as until April 2009.

2006 Congressional elections

After a good deal of electoral success in 2004, the Club continued its policy of supporting candidates who support its positions for federal office, especially during contested primaries. Freshmen U.S. Congressmen Adrian M. Smith (R-NE), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Bill Sali (R-ID), and Tim Walberg (R-MI) all won their heavily contested primary elections in large part because of the Club’s involvement. In fact, Rep. Walberg defeated moderate incumbent Republican Congressman Joe Schwarz in the August 2006 Michigan primary. Schwarz … was the only incumbent Republican congressman defeated in a primary that year. Walberg went on to lose the seat to Democrat Mark Schauer in 2008.

Well and good.  In 2006, Robert Mercer contributed the maximum $2100 to Tim Walberg’s campaign, as did he Bill Sali’s, And Adrian M. Smith’s.

Wikipedia continues:

They were less successful in supporting the “Three Mikes” for the US Senate (Mike Bouchard in MI, Mike McGavick in WA, and Michael Steele in MD.)

Michael Steele? FEC:

09/12/2006 2100.00 26020972528

And this from Wikipedia:

Sharron Angle was defeated in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District (CD) in the Republican primary. Angle was the first candidate endorsed by the Club for the 2006 campaign and it spent over a year raising close to one million dollars for her.

Mercer contributed quite a bit to Sharron Angle in her PREVIOUS incarnations. (From the FEC website):



08/09/2006 2100.00 27930498403
08/30/2007 5000.00 28930994293
05/05/2008 5000.00 28931927810
02/11/2009 5000.00 29991763266
03/26/2010 5000.00 10990672137

And let’s not forget Chris Chocola. Wikipedia:

The Club also supported incumbent congressman Chris Chocola in his losing race in Indiana …

The Federal Election Commission database:

09/06/2006 2100.00 26940439184

But let’s get back to Wikipedia for a moment:

2009 special election

The Club endorsed in the special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district the Conservative Party of New York candidate, Doug Hoffman instead of Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava. With the Club pouring money into Hoffman’s campaign, Scozzafava realized that she could not win and withdrew from the race the Sunday before the November 3 special election, endorsing the Democratic candidate Bill Owens.[19] Owens won the election in a district where portions had not had a Democratic congressman since the 19th Century.[20]

And here’s the FEC record:

10/08/2009 2400.00 10930311922
10/15/2009 2400.00 10930204215

Pat Toomey took the position of “President” of Club for Growth, and then, in turn supported his winning bid for the U.S. Senate. Wikipedia:

In 2004, the Club for Growth’s PAC caused a stir within the Republican Party by endorsing and heavily supporting U.S. Representative Pat Toomey, who challenged incumbent Senator Arlen Specter in the Republican primary inPennsylvania. The organization was reported to have collected contributions totaling over $934,000 for Toomey.[who?] It also spent $1 million on its own independent television advertising campaign on Toomey’s behalf.[citation needed] Specter, who had the support of President Bush, the RNC, and Sen. Rick Santorum, defeated Toomey by a narrow margin of 51%–49%. Afterwards, Toomey accepted the position as President of the Club for Growth which he served as until April 2009.

FEC, Robert Mercer contributions:

06/04/2009 -2400.00 29020373517
06/04/2009 2400.00 29020373517
06/04/2009 4800.00 29020373517

Here are some more fun FEC election figures, and then I think I’ve made my point:

12/28/2009 10000.00 10990222058
03/24/2010 5000.00 10930561593
03/03/2009 12300.00 29991945597

And, of course, what STARTED the whole ruckus in the first place:


09/13/2010 100000.00 10991419975
09/23/2010 100000.00 10991419976
10/12/2010 150000.00 10931730913

Or, $350,000 if you’re doing the math. There may be even more when the next cycle of filings shows up.

There’s more. But you get the point.

Now, I want to make the point that I’ve been painstakingly leading up to:

The Club for Growth is a national banding together of plutocracy, carefully picking off congressional races to eventually take over congress, whether it be their district or not. This is  counter to the concept of self rule.

I will not fulminate here: either the rich purchase our democracy and run things (first priority: tax breaks for the rich and estate tax breaks), in which case, we are doomed to a hereditary oligarchy, as wealth flows freely from generation to generation, because this is a GENERATIONAL plan. I shouldn’t have to explain the implications of that to you, or gild the lily: it is there, and it is real, and it represents a growing cancer on our democracy/republic.

Bob Mercer is just one of many CFG’ers. What Bob Mercer does when he’s not playing high stakes poker tournaments with his daughter the former place kicker, Heather Sue Mercer, is Renaissance Technologies Corp. They engage in thousands of trades, in everything imaginable, using computer algorithms, and, Bob’s former specialty when he was a researcher at IBM Laboratories nearby on Long Island: speech recognition technology. You know, data mining, maybe like, radio broadcasts, to get the latest information first, and the computers make the trades automatically.

Which is why DeFazio and Tom Harkin (D, IA)’s bill to add a 1% tax to transactions would absolutely KILL Renaissance Technologies, who trade thousands of times a day, sort of the ultimate Day Traders, or HAL 9000 with a hobby, take your pick.  That could explain why Mercer felt the need to donate the federal maximum to Art Robinson and have two of his daughters donate a like amount. (Wonder what’s in their Christmas stockings this year?)

Dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars in what was SUPPOSED to be a secret astroturf group, “Concerned Taxpayers of America” is something more like a grudge bet than a rational poker bet.

Heather Sue Mercer at the World Series of Poker 2010

If they’re in the business of mining information and targeting investments using increasingly sophisticated and successful computer algorithyms, why wouldn’t they be doing the same kind of trading in political races? Much of the information is the same, from the same sources. And, contributing to political campaigns in a strategic manner can net you guaranteed seats, if your algorithyms are successful enough.

Mercer bet and lost in Oregon.

Why? I think that it’s because if you don’t LIVE in the Fourth Congressional District, it LOOKS doable. The voter registration numbers are roughly even. But if you have boots on the ground, you know that’s an illusion. Peter DeFazio gets a lot of loyal Republican votes, and, even with the media heebie-jeebies this year, he won a “close” race 60-40. They tried this in 2004 with a Washington D.C. Pentagon boy, who was sent back to his boyhood home in Roseburg, Oregon, just long enough to establish credible residency. He lost bigtime, even though the national GOP was sending him a lot of cash.

Because they are reading the NUMBERS. The congressional races are only a question of demographics and the “right” candidates. As far as representing the district whose voters selected them?

But Bob Mercer didn’t just bet on Oregon. Sure, he dropped a few hundred thousand to take down Peter DeFazio. Maybe he DID have a grudge, but I doubt it. Robert Mercer was busy elsewhere: Sharron Angle lost, of course. But Pat Toomey won. And Kelly Ayotte won.

With Bill Sali in Idaho, Mercer contributed in the general election. But the algorithm’s gotten better since then: now he puts his cash into the primaries, as he did with Art Robinson, and, if needs be, follows up in the general election. He’s even learned Howie Rich’s old trick of creating “grass roots” organizations out of thin air, just for perhaps one election cycle: “Concerned Taxpayers of America.” Makes you all warm and fuzzy, don’t it?

Here’s Mercer ponying up before the Primary:

12/29/2009 2400.00 10020094386
12/29/2009 2400.00 10020094309

In poker, a good run of cards and a couple big pots and you can win yourself a bundle. You don’t have to win ’em all.

So, did Bob Mercer win or lose his bet along with his comrades in Club for Growth?

Here’s the bottom line. Wikipedia (condensed):

2002 Congressional elections

In the 2002 Congressional races, 17 out of 19 candidates endorsed by the organization’s PAC won.

2006 Congressional elections

After a good deal of electoral success in 2004, the Club continued its policy of supporting candidates who support its positions for federal office, especially during contested primaries.

2008 Congressional elections

Nine Club-supported candidates won seats in the general election: […]

Ten Club-supported candidates were defeated in the general election: […]

2010 Congressional elections

The Club for Growth supported the winning candidates in 20 of the 26 general election races in which they endorsed and supported a candidate. It marked the most successful election day in CFG’s history. Only two of their endorsed candidates lost in the primary. [5]

Did I mention that David Koch is on the Board of Directors of (and funds) the Cato Institute? Where Stephen Moore founded Club for Growth?

Idaho Postscript.

Things worked out for Lori Maxwell née Klein in 2006. She married Laird Maxwell. Her Howard-Rich-Funded initiative was virtually the only electoral success of the long initiative fight that lit up the blogosphere and barely interested the Old Guard media. They claimed otherwise, but turns out they were taking credit for elections they had nothing to do with, and conveniently forgetting the ones they’d funded which lost.

In Idaho, Laird Maxwell’s virtually identical (drafted by the same lawyer) proposition went down 74%-26% or nearly three to one. Idahoans didn’t like the idea of some Manhattan plutocrat meddling in their affairs, evidently, and what ought to have been a slam dunk in Libertarian Idaho went down in flames. What Idahoans never knew, of course, was that Bill Sali WAS elected, selected by the selfsame clot of political conspirators who had authored, authorized and financed “This House Is MY House.”

Laird Maxwell moved to Anthem, Arizona with his new bride.

It didn’t seem to work out. Maxwell moved to Flagstaff and got into the vermiculite business.

As for Lori Klein, she entered the GOP primary for Arizona State Senator, District 6.  There was a little stop, first. Klein entered the sweepstakes to be appointed to take the place of the retiring incumbent in early 2010.

Lori Klein (via Ballotpedia)

Blogger and opponent in that “convention” was a fellow named Bob Haran, who gives us a unique fly-on-the-wall perspective on the Klein campaign:

Here’s from Bob Haran’s amazing post that ALSO outed a little scandal that played out in that election, later:


Bob Haran, Publisher, American Conservative Republican


Klein ran into some major problems in her quest for the senate appointment. The first problem was that not being a Republican Precinct Committeemen in LD 6 and having never run for office before, she was unknown by the District 6 Committee. In addition, having never attended a district meeting or making her intentions known, until the last moment, she came on the scene late and was considered an outsider by many of the rank and file.

And, at the bottom of the page, this first comment:

Anonymous said…

Klein has a DUI:

More on that later.

Lori Klein had entered the sweepstakes and been one of the three candidates for the County Supervisors to appoint to the vacant Senate District 6 seat and lost.

So she entered the primary race. (OK, according to the Arizona Secretary of State, she was already IN the race, having filed her paperwork on January 19th, 2010).

As Lori Klein notes in the online Voters Pamphlet (Page 33 in the .pdf):

I led the fight to protect our private property rights (Prop 207 in 2006) and to protect our health care freedom from programs like ObamaCare (Prop 101 in 2008).

By “led the fight” she means, of course, was well-recompensed to act as the Arizona agent for the Ballot Proposition business in Arizona that Laird Maxwell used to represent in his branch office in Idaho.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s records, three of the first four donors to Lori Klein’s campaign were from out of state:

Schedule C2 – Individual contributions Date Amount Cycle To Date

Lawless, Timothy

1702 E Highland Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85016

01/29/2010 $150.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: President, NAIOP*

[* According to their website, “NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP provides unparalleled industry networking and education, and advocates for effective legislation on behalf of our members….” I still have no idea what the acronym means, except that you could hurt your jaw if you tried to fully enunciate it. Great name for your first contributor in Arizona, don’t you think? Lawless? And he’s only the president of the Arizona chapter, not the national NAOIP.] $410 seems to be the Arizona campaign contribution limit.

Robert McNair (via Forbes, see below)

McNair, Robert

Reliant Stadium Two Reliant Park, Houston, TX 77054

02/02/2010 $410.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: Owner, Houston Texans

That would be the Owner of the Houston Texans (who lost in overtime tonight to the Baltimore Ravens) #326 Robert McNair – The Forbes 400 Richest Americans 2009. Raises an eyebrow or three, especially since McNair jumped up 236 spots from the #562 richest person in America in three years between 2006 and 2009. So maybe he’s got money to burn in Arizona. And speaking of Rich:

From her old Lassaiz Faire bookstore online catalog

Rich, Andrea

1420 Walnut St, Ste 1011, Philadelphia, PA 19102

02/02/2010 $410.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: retired

And our old pal,

Rich, Howie

1420 Walnut St, Ste 1011, Philadelphia, PA 19102

02/02/2010 $410.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: Investor, Self

If you don’t know who Howard S. Rich is, you have obviously never read my blog or its predecessors. Educate yourself HERE.

click for larger

Sweet that couples both donate, to double the campaign contribution limit, kind of like Bob Mercer’s daughters donating the limit in the DeFazio campaign to help out their dad, or Howard Rich using a gazillion shell companies to flout South Carolina campaign limits.

Like Fitzgerald says, the rich are different than you and me. And, while there are several other names on Lori Klein’s donor list, here’s one more couple that ought to be familiar to you.

As he pictures himself on his website

Friess, Foster

PO Box 9790, Jackson, WY 83002

07/01/2010 $410.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: Investor, Self

Memo: paypal

Friess, Lynn

PO Box 9790, Jackson, WY 83002

Name: 07/01/2010 $410.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: Housewife

Again, if you don’t know who Foster Friess is, etc. etc. Educate yourself HERE.

I won’t bother to mention Clint Bolick. You get the picture.

Clint Bolick via Media Transparency

With pals like that, Lori Klein easily swept aside the DUI, as a Republican running in a Republican year. Even “law and order” guy, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, The self-styled “toughest Sheriff in America” turned a blind eye and endorsed Klein in the primary and general elections. (He endorsed BOTH candidates in the primary.) One can’t help but wonder if her treatment would have been the same had she been a Navajo kid convicted of DUI in Phoenix. IOKIYAR!

click for larger

Here’s the case URL from above. (Warning, I don’t know how often they purge.)

According to Ballotpedia (run by Leslie Graves, wife of ex-Cato Board Member and Sam Adams Alliance founder Eric O’Keefe):

Klein defeated incumbent Republican David Braswell in the August 24 primary by a margin of 10,846-8,324. Klein then defeated Pat Flickner in the November 2 general election.

Arizona State Senate, District 6 General Election (2010)

Candidates Votes

Lori Klein (R) 38,999

Pat Flickner (D) 19,190

And that’s about it, really.

After Bill Sali got elected with all that Club for Growth money, he rather angered his Idaho constituents. Walter Minnick, a Democrat, defeated Bill Sali for re-election in 2008 by 1.22 percentage points. In 2010, Republican Raul Labrador defeated Minnick for re-election. In a surprise move, Labrador used mostly in-state money for his campaign, which is unusual these days.

Walt Minnick,
Lame Duck Congressperson

Bob Mercer and his daughter have gone back to playing poker instead of politics. Howie and Andrea Rich are doing whatever they do in Philadelphia. The Club for Growth will undoubtedly celebrate their most successful year ever. Pat Toomey and Lori Klein will take office in January, and Chris Chocola is now the President of Club for Growth, appearing weekly on that radio show I told about. (“” 18 Nov 2007, and ” 20 Nov 2007.)

Foster Friess leaves meddling in other states’ politics and returns to having his picture taken with sick children and trumpeting his various philanthropic contributions. (Sometimes he’s a Jackson Hole, Wyoming resident; other times he’s a Scottsdale, Arizona resident. This is all so very confusing.)

Kochs are doing fine. Cato is doing fine. This has been their grand triumph, whether through FreedomWorks, the Sam Adams Alliance* or any of a hundred other masks. The Lori Klein scenario undoubtedly played out in legislatures throughout the land as the generational strategy is pursued and new candidates are groomed to move up as congressional seats become available and Club for Growth members ante up. [* SEE LINK!]

Laird Maxwell on LinkedIn (enhanced)

As for Laird Maxwell? His whereabouts are unknown, although he left this cryptic message during the campaign season, on 5 March:

I had a major project come my way and am working on it full-time.  Therefore, I’ve delayed the launch of the University of Conservatives until, likely, the middle of the year 2010.

He’s not back yet. But then, bad as the Recession might be, there’s always work for a political operative who’s handled millions of dollars going to several states, without ever once spilling the beans.*

[* His former employers are a tight-lipped bunch, as their walking away from their “Good Government” initiative in Alaska and flushing away $800,000 plus rather than reveal their donors proves.  See “” 25 August 2010. Montana courtrooms finally saw the revelation last month as to WHO had actually funded “Montanans in Action” in 2006. Yup. Howie Rich and Co. The Helena Record reports:

Conservative group settles political practices complaint

By MIKE DENNISON IR State Bureau | Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:06 am

A Montana group that financed three conservative ballot measures in 2006 has settled a long-running dispute with the state’s chief campaign cop, agreeing to disclose the source of $1.2 million used to support the measures.


In documents filed with the settlement, Montanans in Action revealed that nearly all the money it used to support the ballot measures came from groups that [Plaintiff Jonathan] Unsworth said are associated with New York real estate developer Howard Rich — a prominent supporter of conservative, Libertarian causes.

[Unsworth] said Wednesday the group [MIA] settled the case, including payment of a $75,000 penalty, because it knew it faced a difficult court battle over the disclosure issue.

But there is, at present, no trace of Mr. Maxwell’s whereabouts since around March. One can infer what that “big project” was, but it would be wrong.]

When he returns, he’ll once more take up the mantle of President of a virtual “University” that doesn’t yet exist — and won’t exactly exist even when it does. Here’s the tag:

Laird Maxwell is President of the soon-to-be launched University of Conservatives.

Which seems an apt metaphor.



UPDATE: The Mercer-DeFazio blog series now runs long enough for a Table of  Contents:

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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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