John Boehner and the Freedom Project

by Karoli on September 18, 2009 · 120 comments

John Boehner
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I’ve been busy working on a project involving FEC and IRS filings for political action committees and astroturf organizations, and while researching, I fell into the FEC filing for Minority Leader John Boehner‘s PAC, The Freedom Project. The Freedom Project is described this way on their website:

The Freedom Project 1) provides direct financial assistance to Republican candidates for federal office; 2) supports the travel of Congressman Boehner on behalf of Republican candidates across the country; and 3) maintains FreedomProject.org — a web-based clearinghouse for Republican activism featuring online fundraising and grassroots tools, and regular updates on key races and critical issues. The Freedom Project’s online disclosure information is available at FEC.gov.

Since they invited me to look at their FEC filings, I did. The nice thing about the FEC is that reports are required to be made monthly, so information is pretty fresh and full of timely, interesting things.

2009 Donors (Partial List)

$5,000 Gold Donors (Partial List)

  • Abbott Laboratories Employees’ PAC
  • AFLAC PAC
  • Altria Group, Inc. PAC
  • American Council of Life Insurers PAC
  • American Dental Association PAC
  • American Express Company PAC
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants PAC
  • American Physical Therapy Institute PAC
  • Americas Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) PAC
  • Amgen, Inc. PAC
  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • Bank of America Corporation PAC
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield PAC
  • Capital One Financial Corp. Assoc. PAC
  • College of Clinical Pathologists PAC
  • Davita, Inc. (Kidney Dialysis)
  • Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America PAC
  • Koch Industries, Inc. PAC
  • Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company PAC
  • Medco Health Solutions, Inc. PAC
  • Merck & Co., Inc. Employees PAC
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. PAC
  • New York Life Insurance Co. PAC
  • Novartis Corp PAC
  • Roche Inc. Good Government PAC
  • Wellpoint, Inc. PAC
  • Zeneca, Inc. PAC

Keep in mind, that’s a partial list, and yes, I chose the insurance and pharma donors from the list, though it would have been as simple to make this a list of banks, finance companies, oil and gas concerns, telecommunications companies or retailers.

Through July, 2009, The Freedom Project has received $599,750 from PACs such as the ones I’ve listed above, along with $168,492 from individuals. Some of those individuals include Stephen Clark of Clark and Associates, Mark Dion of Revolution Media Group, LLC, John Fish (RJR VP), Bruce Gates and Michael Szymanczyk (Altria VP and Chairman, respectively), and Michael Oxley (Partner, Baker & Hostettler). Those are just a few names. There are lots of insurance agents, and other industry executives on the list.

The Project has sent $5,000 to other Republicans’ election committees, including the one supporting Joe Wilson’s re-election bid. Altogether, $213,412 has been passed along to Republican candidates around the country.

Even more interesting: some of the expenditures in July, 2009, particularly those which do not appear to be consistent with the stated purpose of supporting Republican candidates, maintaining FreedomProject.org, or supporting John Boehner’s ‘travel around the country’. Let’s see now….

2009 Expenses (Partial List)

  • $4,009.40 – Bobby Van’s (7/2009)
  • $5,000.00 – Disney Resort Destinations(7/2009)
  • $ 600.00 – Hampton Inn, NC (7/2009)
  • $3,035.23 – Morton’s of Arlington (7/2009)
  • $1,445.40 – Rosa Mexicano (7/2009)
  • $2,695.95 – The Caucus Room (7/2009)
  • $3,900.21 – The Greenbrier (WV)(7/2009)
  • $4,363.44 – Rosa Mexicano (6/2009)
  • $ 887.44 – SLS Hotel, Beverly Hills (5/6/2009 Mr. Boehner was here)
  • $ 750.00 – Rosa Mexicano
  • $20,816.65 – Ritz Carlton Naples (FL)(5/6/2009)
  • $3,450.73 – Hyatt Hotels Chesapeake
  • $4,345.13 – Acadiana (Washington, DC)
  • That’s just a couple of month’s worth. That Ritz Carlton bill would’ve paid my health insurance for a year, for example. Don’t forget — these are tax-exempt organizations, so that list of expenses went to wine and dine whoever…and put them up in some really posh hotels…on the taxpayer’s dime.

    Related entities

    Just because it amuses me to point out who is related to whom: Some tidbits from the organization statement on file with the FEC.

    The Freedom Project has a related entity called “Americans for a Conservative Course.” That entity collects contributions, pays expenses, disburses funds for 2 or more committees which are not candidate committees. Here are those committees, in addition to The Freedom Project:

    • For Americas Republican Majority PAC
    • Next Century Fund
    • Republican Majority Fund

    The assistant treasurer of Americans for a Conservative Course is Ted Koch, principal in the firm of Koch & Hoos, LLC. Koch & Hoos specializes in the accounting and setup of PAC/527 groups like Stop Her Now, a committee funded to attack Hillary Clinton when she was the junior senator from New York, the Tommy Thompson for President 2008 committee, and the really awful attack ads funded by the National Republican Trust at the end of last years election against Jim Martin in Georgia. These ads.

    Boehner’s organization is a front for lavish retreats and auctions to the highest lobbyist, and it should be reported as such. (h/t Rachel Maddow).

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