Monday, October 30, 2006

Bob Perry's Dirty Robo-Callers, Dirty Ads

Even in states where they are illegal, Bob Perry is funding push-poll robo-calls with a loose grasp of the truth but a keen eye for what smears. This is part of his strategic massive effort using several techniques aimed at helping the GOP retain power in Washington. Media Transparency notes:
This electoral season Perry has already contributed at least $8 million to a host of Republican congressional candidates around the country. According to Congressional Quarterly's PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks how money is spent in politics, Perry is ranked the No. 1 donor this year. (For more on Perry's donations, see, which describes itself as "a unique website that lets you see for yourself the hidden world of American political campaigns.")

In mid-October, the Houston Chronicle reported that Perry had given $2 million to Americans for Honesty on Issues, "a new group that is buying television ads aimed at helping Republicans facing tight House races in Iowa, Colorado, Indiana, Arizona, North Carolina, Kentucky and New Mexico, according to the group's latest report to the Federal Election Commission."

Americans for Honesty on Issues "is spending more than $1 million, which accuse Democratic candidates of carpetbagging, coddling illegal immigrants, being soft on crime and advocating cutting off money for troops in Iraq," the New York Times' John Broder reported earlier this month.

The groups that Perry is funding are -- like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- "527s", "named after a provision in the federal tax code," the Chronicle's Kristen Mack pointed out. "Donations Perry and others make to those groups are not subject to the same limits as donations directly benefiting federal candidates or political parties."
Bob Perry has been a powerful force in Texas politics and has become one nationally using tactics straight out of his friend Karl Rove's dirty politics course. Perry has given over $1 million to partisan Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. I have complained before about the fake 527 charities that aren't bound by campaign contribution laws, many campaign laws at all, and provide their contributors a tax break for their expenditures.

“It will be hard enough to restore decorum, calm and logic to our elective process without people like Bob Perry throwing a match in the ammo room of politics...." - Charleston Gazette, WV

Perry's has just been found guilty of violating anti-robo calling laws in Indiana.
According to a press release from the Indiana Attorney General, the robocalling group "acknowledged to the court that it maintains a database of 1.7 million Indiana phone numbers and that its calling system may dial each number as many as three times." Using a real live person to make those calls would cost them $2 million more, they complained. A recent IRS disclosure by the Economic Freedom Fund shows that the Indiana calls didn't cost them much at all -- there's a single expenditure for $29,000 on surveys for both Indiana and Georgia.

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