SCRG’s arch-nemesis

Have you heard about the group that Bill Cotty is heading up to take on Howard Rich, SCRG et al.?  Somehow, I had not focused on it until I saw this piece in the Spartanburg paper.

It’s called "South Carolinians for Truth and Disclosure." The Spartanburg story left off the "disclosure" part, and yet that seems to be the main point of the exercise. Here’s the group’s raison d’être:

South Carolinians for Truth [hey, they left it off, too!] is a grassroots organization whose
purpose is to advocate for the reform of South Carolina’s current
campaign finance laws. We demand new laws requiring issue advocacy
groups that mention an elected official or candidate by name to follow
the same laws of disclosure that candidates and party organizations are
required to follow.

We are a watchdog group working to set the record straight when organizations misrepresent the truth.

What does that mean? Well, what I think it means is that organizations spending money to influence your vote should tell us where their money comes from. What is the organization most associated with not wanting to tell us where their money comes from? SCRG.

SCRG likes to holler that we’re trying to take away its First Amendment rights when we say it should disclose. This, of course, is a load of horse manure. We think SCRG should disclose, and we also agree with SCRG when it says the S.C. School Boards Association should disclose. Goose, meet gander.

S.C. TAD (I see that our friend Tim wrote about them and referred to them merely as "TAD" on second reference) seems like some good folks, with a good purpose. But I’m not endorsing them, on general principles. I have too much of a sense of irony. When I see a clickable tab on the TAD home page that says "The Truth About Third-Party Groups," I can’t help thinking, Aren’t you a third-party group?

But I don’t mean to play moral relativity games here. Is there a difference? Sure. The "third-party groups" being criticized here are financed by sneaky, out-of-state residents of the ideological fringe who are offended by the very idea of public schools. This newer group consists (as near as I can tell) of South Carolinians who want to maintain and improve public schools (that’s certainly what Bill Cotty has always tried to do), and don’t want them done in by misleading campaigns by outsiders.

So there are third-party groups and third-party groups. I just didn’t want you to think I missed the irony.

Oh, and speaking of our blog friends, several are involved with the items I linked to above. You’ll see Earl Capps is working with Mr. Cotty. And in the Spartanburg story, you’ll see a less-than-complimentary reference to our friend Joshua Gross.

And of course, let’s not forget Ross Shealy, author of the recently-revived (just in time for the primaries) "BBQ and Politics." More about that in a separate post, if I can get to it today…

13 thoughts on “SCRG’s arch-nemesis

  1. bud

    Brad, I don’t disagree with you on principal with this. Third party groups should disclose their funding sources. No argument from me. But just step back a bit and look at the bigger picture. If the voters would just do a bit of thinking and research they could determine what the issues are in an objective manner and just ignore all the ads and propaganda spouted off on a daily basis. After all Fox News is nothing but a propaganda network for the GOP. Just watch it for 5 minutes and that becomes crystal clear. Yet I watch it all the time just for the entertainment value it offers. I just don’t take it seriously.
    Same thing with all these various outside influence groups. Trying to expose all of them is something like playing wack-a-mole. It’s impossible to eliminate all the self-interest nonsensical claims out there. So keep on trying but I doubt you’ll have a huge effect.

  2. Lee Muller

    Sounds like another case of Big Media types angry when citizens go around them to get the story.
    If the infotainment media did their job, citizens wouldn’t have to do it for them.
    By the way, journalists are a “third-party group”. Citizens are the first party.

  3. Jason

    Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Sitting back at a desk and writing editorials isn’t going to beat the groups.
    Don’t think I’m bashing you because I believe your editorials give these people the ammo they need to fire back. Just don’t bash them for putting your words into action.

  4. Doug Ross

    Bud is on the right track. The whole assumption that Brad and others make is that the voting public is too dumb to figure out whether the third party groups are telling the truth. And that very well may be true. I mean, there are many people who watched George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” photo op and thought we had actually done something in Iraq.
    Political consultants and media vendors get rich on putting a message out to the ill-informed and apathetic electorate.
    I personally don’t care who spends money on promoting their view of an issue. I don’t care if they do it secretly either because as a voter, I should be smart enough to process all the information and make a decision. To even suggest that just because a group called “South Carolinians for Truth and Disclosure” discloses who is paying for the propaganda, makes it more useful is ridiculous.
    This is just another red herring in the anti-voucher game. When you can’t defeat the message, try to demonize the messenger. Nothing new here.

  5. Phoney Fred

    Please. This is a front group run by Shealy/Tompkins/Sullivan, dedicated solely to protecting their political clients. This is the same crew that’s running illegal recorded calls, fake newspapers, etc. Ethical, they are not.
    This isn’t some good government, “looking out for South Carolina type” outfit. Not by a long shot.

  6. AmericanHistoryStudent

    This is for all the other people who wonder…why is D-Day called D-Day.
    Courtesy BBC Newsround
    Why was it called D-Day?
    The ‘D’ in D-Day does not stand for anything, it’s a just a name the military use when planning an event.
    The military started planning the details of the invasion before they knew the date when it would take place. In order to organise things like when the troop ships should leave England they referred to it as D-Day.

  7. Lee Muller

    This is a tempest in Brad’s teapot, a distraction from much larger scale corruption.
    Right now, you should be focused on the money behind Obama, and why he has all these K Street lobbyists running his campaign.

  8. USAReader

    Obama is funded by McCain so he’ll have a pseudo contender. It’s a fairytale w/ a twist — the R’s annihilate the D’s…
    [I only surface when I can hijack the blog for my own obsession]
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~Viva La Hillary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  9. Tired of good ole boys

    The irony is that both ReformSC and the Club for Growth PAC disclose their contributors with the Ethics Commission so we know where all of their money comes from.
    Yet we sure don’t know who is funding this supposed “Truth and Disclosure” group. If they were legit, wouldn’t they let us know where there money comes from? Talk about hypocrisy.
    Another article in The Spartanburg paper says that that lobbyist/consultants Terry Sullivan’s “clients include Kelly, Talley and House District 34 candidate Mike Forrester. His firm was hired by the new group ‘South Carolinians for Truth.'”
    So the “truth” group is clearly breaking our state’s ethics laws because a consultant is working for both some candidates and a third party group helping the candidates, all incumbents.
    Also ironic at best to hire Warren Tompkins firm for a “truth and disclosure” campaign after all the unethical things he’s done, including the fake Fred Thompson website and representing that insurance company that had the state’s business for decades without ever bidding on it.
    Phoney Fred called this one right – more good ole boy incumbent protection, pure and simple.

  10. Shannon

    Let me bottom line this whole thing.
    Mark Sanford makes $106,000 per year as governor.
    Between his campaign account and his 6 nonprofits, he has amassed nearly 6 million dollars that he can use generally as he pleases after he leaves office…salary, perks, expenses, travel, philanthropy, etc.
    How many of you libertarians would hire a man to work for you, then allow him to make millions from people other than you or your customers? Where is his allegiance?
    Sanford gave us $106,000 of his time, and he gave $5, 600,000 of his time to the out of state fat cats that sent him all that money.
    So is there any surprise why he failed in every way? Or…perhaps…he did as his paymasters wanted. You tell me.

  11. abc

    “Josh Gross is infamous for untrue and misleading attacks. Club for Growth has repeatedly done it. It’s not about the issues for a lot of these groups, it’s about personalities and petty politics.”

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