Americans for Job Security

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

Americans for Job Security (AJS) is a "pro-business advocacy organization" based in Arlington, VA.[1] AJS spun off in the late 1990s from a group called The Coalition: Americans Working for Real Change, a group that had been formed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to counteract the extensive soft money spending by the AFL-CIO starting in the 1996 elections.[2]

AJS has long been ahead of the trends for dark money political spending. "You could say Americans for Job Security has been keeping donors anonymous since before it was cool," Talking Points Memo wrote in December 2012.[1]

Koch Connection

The Koch Brothers are the conservative billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.

Later in a FEC Complaint, Public Citizen wrote that AJS is a "sham front group that would be better called Corporations Influencing Elections ... masquerading as a non-profit to conceal its funders and the scope of its electioneering activities,"[2] the Center for Responsive Politics wrote in April 2007.[3] Incorporated October 1997 in Virginia, AJS was described by the Center as "pro-Republican", "pro-business", and "established to directly counter labor's influence".[4][5] In 2008, the Federal Elections Commission found "reason to believe" AJS had violated election law but not registering as a political committee-- which would have required more disclosure-- but the FEC's Republican commissioners blocked any action against the group.[6]

The Center also reported that, in 1998, AJS "pledged to raise and spend $100 million on issue ads over the next five years."[7]

It is alleged that AJS was founded by Marc F. Racicot from the American Insurance Association and the American Forest and Paper Association, each of whom gave a $1 million donation to the group.[1]. Racicot headed George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign and is a former Republican National Committee chairman.[8] In June 2005, Racicot coincidentally became the new head of the American Insurance Association, which "represents 435 major property and casualty insurance companies."[9]

Tax-exempt status

AJS is officially registered as a 501(c )(6) nonprofit "trade association," meaning that the organization is designed to promote the “common business interests” of its members.[3], but does not appear to advance the interests of any particular industry or trade. Additionally, "it is not prohibited from intervening in political campaigns so long as political campaign intervention is not its primary activity." he group claims that as a 501(c )(6) "trade association," it raises funds not through donations earmarked for political ads, but from voluntary "membership dues,"[10] which the group's leaders decide on their own how to disburse-- allowing it to hide its donors by claiming none of the donations were made for the purpose of funding its election-related activities. However, the Washington Post reported in August, 2010, that AJS spends "the vast majority of its budget on television and radio ads before elections.[4]

According to Public Citizen, if the advertising constitutes campaign intervention (electioneering), the activity would be considered AJS's primary activity, resulting in loss of tax-exempt status and imposition of taxes under Section 527(f)."[11]

On April 11, 2007, Public Citizen wrote to the IRS and FEC, complaining that the group should lose its non-profit status, due to its "electioneering." [12]

Issues

Member of anti-estate tax coalition

"In the months prior to the 2002 election, pro-repeal organizations ran estate tax issue ads in South Dakota, Missouri, Minnesota, lowa, and Arkansas. In Missouri, the United Seniors Association and Americans for Job Security (phony grassroots organizations fronting for corporate interests) targeted former Senator Jean Carnahan's position on the estate tax. In Minnesota, Americans for Job Security ran full-page newspaper ads attacking the late Senator Paul Wellstone for voting against full repeal, and flew a banner at the Minnesota state fair: 'Wellstone Quit Taxing the Dead!'."[13]

In summer 2005, AJS, "which devotes nearly all of its spending on advertising, concentrates nearly entirely on messages that aim to influence elections as opposed to influencing the outcomes of discrete public policy issues", departed "from that practice" and "targeted" four senators "with issue-related advertisements that supported a repeal of the estate tax. They were former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn), and Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.)."[14]

Active opponent of the Employee Free Choice Act

In the weeks following the 2008 election Americans for Job Security has "a new ad out for their opposition to Card Check, and they have bought air time for it on almost all of the television networks." [5]

CBS refused to air the ad, which was featured here. In a statement Stephen DeMaura said, "Americans for Job Security attempted to advertise on the CBS Network but our advertisement titled 'Secret' was denied. It is one part of a serious and ongoing public policy debate on the Employee Free Choice Act. According to our media buyers, CBS officials cited the appearance of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom the advertisement shows in visual form only, as one of the primary reasons for the denial of the advertisement. One CBS representative felt that viewers would be 'confused' by its contents within their program. The advertisement was approved by other broadcast networks."

The advertisement and its placement on Fox News Sunday drew additional criticism as the message of the ad was parodied by host Chris Wallace just before the commercial break. [6]


Against the Pebble Mine in Alaska

Americans for Job Security took a strong and active stance against the controversial Pebble Mine in Alaska which threatens the commercial and sport fishing industry of the area. The active opposition of the organization created controversy as it coincided with Ballot Measure 4 which would have stopped the effort. Elizabeth Bluemink of the Anchorage Daily News wrote "The major group funding this campaign is Americans for Job Security." [7]A seperate account of the effort by the Anchorage Daily News wrote, "Americans for Job Security -- a secretive, Republican-oriented group in Virginia that doesn't identify its members -- contributed nearly $3 million to back Measure 4," and that they, "also funded "issue" ads in the form of mailers and radio spots. The cost of those ads was not disclosed." [8]

AJS' push for Pebble Mine came under scrutiny after the upswell in ad dollars spent in Alaska and prompted the Alaska Public Offices Commission to fine the group $20,000 and issue a report stating, "Americans for Job Security has no purpose other than to cover various money trails all over the country."[6]

The Pebble Mine would be the largest open pit mine in the world and is being actively supported by international mining companies who donated more than $8 million to Ballot Measure 4. [9] Many argued it was weird that AJS would oppose the project but Stephen DeMaura group President said in a Daily News Miner story “We believe the Pebble Mine is bad for the commercial fishing industry in Alaska,” DeMaura said. “We’re going to continue to engage in that discussion for as long as it takes.” [10]

Election Activities

Dark Money Shell Game to Influence California Anti-Union Ballot Measure

On November 5th, 2012, the day before the election, an enforcement action by California's elections board revealed that Americans for Job Security had provided $11 million to a California political committee that spent that same amount supporting California Proposition 32, a piece of anti-union legislation that seeks to eliminate the deduction of dues from a worker's payroll. [15] It was further made clear that AJS had initially received the $11 million it gave to the political committee from another dark money non-profit group, the Center to Protect Patient Rights, implicating it as a part of a campaign money laundering shell game.[16]

In 2011, the group launched a coordinated effort against Big Labor "Infesting the Workplace". AJS activities included placing a large inflatable rat outside of the National Labor Relations Board headquarters, and buying ads before, during, and after the October 11th Republican primary debate in New Hampshire [17] The campaign also included a site, http://www.richietherat.com, but site activity stopped by the end of the year.

Election Cycle 2012

Americans for Job Security has spent $15.8 million towards conservative candidates backing a "pro-growth, pro-jobs" agenda. The majority of these contributions went towards attacking Democrats.

The group's first buy in 2012 was an attack ad aimed at influencing the Wisconsin Senate Primary. On August 2nd, Americans for Job Security made a $462,000 dollar ad buy [18] attacking Eric Hovde, a candidate opposing Tommy Thompson and Mark Neumann. The Ad, entitled Hovde Stimulus, accuses Hovde of supporting the 2009 Stimulus, and taking stimulus money through ePlus, one of the companies he invested in. Hovde claims that the ad was untrue, and that his company never accepted stimulus money, and that AJS was illegally coordinating with the Thompson campaign. Americans for Job Security once did work for Persuasion Partners, a PR firm which acted as a consultant for the Thompson campaign [19]

On September 27th, the coalition spent $8.1 Million dollars attacking incumbent president Barack Obama with an ad buy targeting Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. The ad constituted their first spending in the 2012 race and attacks Obama for slow job growth and failing to turn the economy around. The ad concludes that "the future is getting worse under Obama." [20]

"Run"

Election cycle 2010

Zach Space

AJS launched a television ad criticizing Zack Space (D-OH) for "supporting Nancy Pelosi's liberal agenda." It accuses the congressman of voting for higher energy taxes which would "kill Ohio jobs."[11] In response, Space denied that he is a clone of Speaker Pelosi, and has "the gravitas to stand up to his party leadership."[12]

Jane Norton

In the Republican primary race for Colorado Senate, AJS released an ad attacking Jane Norton, the former Colorado Lieutenant Governor. The ad argued that Norton supported "the largest tax hike in Colorado history" and oversaw "a state bureaucracy that grew by $43 million in just three years." Politifact.com checked the veracity of both these claims. It revealed that the tax hike referred to in the ad was not a tax increase, but a repeal of a rebate that was approved by the voters of Colorado in a referendum, which Norton also supported. Furthermore, the increase in state revenues it created was not the largest in Colorado history, but only one of the largest in recent history.[13] With regard to the growth of bureaucracy, AJS' ad left out the fact that the $43 million increase was due to an influx of federal funds. State tax revenues actually deceased during Norton's tenure as Lieutenant Governor.[14]

Bill Halter

AJS spent roughly $1.5 million to defeat Arkansas Senate candidate Bill Halter.[15] One of their ads was subjected to complaints of racism. The ad depicts Indians thanking Bill Halter for outsourcing jobs from America to Bangalore, in reference to his time spent on the board of WebMethods. Halter's opponent, Senator Blanche Lincoln, decried the ads and supported their removal from the airwaves. But Lincoln's campaign distributed materials with a picture of the Taj Mahal and a charge that Halter supported outsourcing. Halter responded to the ads by calling it "petty politics" and filed a complaint against AJS with the Federal Elections Commission.[16] The Securities and Exchange Commission also stated that WebMethod's opening of a development center in India had no effect on job loss in the United States.[17]

Election Cycle 2006

In an attempt to influence 2006 elections, the Campaign Finance Institute reports the following for AJS:[21]

  1. "Ran an estimated $1.5 million in ads on behalf of Republican Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania Senate race, praising his past votes for anti-tax stance and Social Security initiative."
  2. "Sponsored prerecorded phone calls in an Oklahoma House Republican primary that criticized two of the six candidates."[22]
  3. "Ran ads in two House races in Indiana and Minnesota supportive of Republican candidates."

Santorum and ASJ used same ad footage

In December 2005, Sen. Rick Santorum ran an interne that used the same ad footage as that in an ad "placed on TV stations" by Americans for Job Security. Blogger mantooth of The Square Circuit Blog commented that "this wouldn't be news, of course, if it were not borderline unethical. It seems clear that two ads--one for Santorum directly, and one in support of Santorum--that used EXACTLY THE SAME FOOTAGE were probably cooked up by the same people. But no! say the parties. Just a fantastic coincidence."[23]

"According to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton NEWS-LEADER, 'Michael Dubke, president of the Republican-leaning third-party group, and John Brabender, Santorum's media consultant, each denied that the two sides had collaborated in any way. They each said it was a coincidence they used the same stock footage in their respective ads'," mantooth related.[23]

Supporting Santorum

"Santorum is using every trick he learned as the Senate liaison to K Street lobbyists to game the system and have the special interests pay for his reelection campaign," Larry Smar with the Bob Casey campaign wrote in July 2006.[24].

AJS had launched its "fifth ad in support of Santorum's candidacy," spending "$2 million for Santorum in addition to $1.5 million from the Santorum campaign."[24]

"The press has reported that AJS has been backed by the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry," both of which "are big Santorum donors and Santorum consistently votes with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries over seniors and patients," Smar wrote.[24]

By the end of August 2006, "Americans for Job Security and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce [had] spent close to $1.3 million on television ads combined supporting Santorum’s record on taxes, Social Security, and Medicare".[25]

On December 1, 2005, the Philadelphia Daily News asked "Who owns you, Senator?", commenting "Santorum doesn't seem too concerned about who is behind Americans for Job Security, a Virginia-based anti-tax group that refuses to identify contributors. He declined to tell one of our reporters whether his financial backers should step out of the shadows. How discreet.

"If supporters of Americans for Job Security want to step into our state and influence our elections - fine. Just have the guts to tell Pennsylvania voters your name as you send your checks.

"As for Sen. Santorum, he should remember he owes the voters of this state a lot more than he owes some slippery little front group."[26]

A Stronger America - Minnesota

In November 2006, Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party gubernatorial nominee Mike Hatch[27] sent an email to supporters which read[28]

A Stronger America-Minnesota purposefully structured itself to conceal its identity and its donors. It registered with the Campaign Finance Board on October 2, [2006] listing its address as a dropbox in Alexandria, Virginia. Its contributions were timed to avoid disclosure of its donors until after the November 7 election.
A reverse directory search of 'A Stronger America's' phone number listed on its registration statement, however, shows that it and its ad agency share an office address with another PAC called 'Americans for Job Security.' The executive director of Americans for Job Security is the former political director of the Bush White House. ...
This is not the first time we have seen this unseemly activity in Minnesota. In 2002, Americans for Job Security tried to buy the U.S. Senate race by purchasing $1 million in negative attack ads against Paul Wellstone.

According to ASA-MN's October 27, 2006, filing with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board (MCFPDB), Joseph Deoudes was listed as treasurer, with the organization's address given as 107 South West Street, PMB499, Alexandria, Virginia.[29] ASA-MN's registration form shows Sean Henry as ASA-MN chair.[30]

In its initial filing, ASA-MN reported receipts of $40,300 from only four Minnesota contributors: Stanley S. Hubbard, CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting ($10,000); CAR of St. Paul ($20,000); Robert J. Ulrich, CEO Target ($10,000); and the "business lobbying firm"[31] Lindquist & Vennum PLLP ($300).[29]

On November 2, 2006, Robin Marty reported in the Minnesota Monitor[32]

"A few days and $450,000 worth of donations later, they may be a force that could sway the election. ... It will be unclear where the last minute surge of donations came from due to the fact that they arrived after the final reporting deadline. However, the early reports feature the $20,000 donation from CAR, a group of car dealerships that Gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch believes could have reason to prefer incumbent Tim Pawlenty in this race. According to the Star Tribune Hatch states 'I've sued a lot of car dealers.'"

The following day, on November 3, 2006, ASA-MN contributor and spokesman Joe Weber told the Associated Press that "the group has now raised close to $700,000." The group was not required to report its "fundraising and spending again until January [2007]."[33]

Attack ads linked to Swift Boat lawyer and funder

On November 3, 2006, the Associated Press reported that ASA-MN's Hatch attack ads were connected to Benjamin Ginsberg, the Washington lawyer "who represented the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in the 2004 presidential campaign."[33]

Ginsberg, who resigned in 2004 as a lawyer for President George W. Bush's "campaign after acknowledging he was providing legal advice to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which made unsubstantiated allegations about Democratic candidate John Kerry's Vietnam War record," was also confirmed as being the lawyer for ASA-MN.[33]

In a December 19, 2006, follow-up, the Associated Press reported the same wealthy Houston, Texas, businessman, Bob Perry, who had helped finance the Swift Boat ads against Kerry, was the "main funder" behind ASA-MN. A "recent filing with the Internal Revenue Service" showed that Perry had contributed $500,000 to A Stronger America, whose Minnesota chapter had spent about $750,000 in its anti-Hatch campaign.[34]

ASA-MN spokesman Joe Weber said the "infusion of Texas cash" was wired into ASA's bank account "about three weeks before the Nov. 7 election. That timing allowed the group to avoid reporting the contributions before the election.

"It also allowed the group to mount an extensive television campaign that it otherwise might not have been able to muster."[35]

Minnesota Complaint

In a February 7, 2007, complaint filed with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board by the Minnesota DFL Party[36] "points out that two organizations exist with similar names: A Stronger America, an organization established under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code ('the National Organization'), and A Stronger America – Minnesota ('ASA-MN' or 'the Committee'), the political committee registered with the Board. According to documents filed with the complaint, the two entities use the same mailing address, which is a private mailbox."

The Minnesota DFL pointed out that both organizations reported "some of the same contributions and expenditures on their reports even though" only ASA-MN was registered with the Board, particularly "a number of contributions received from corporations which are not disclosed on the ASA-MN report." The only reports considered were "year-end reports obtained by the Board for both entities."[36]

The Minnesota DFL's position was that the two organizations "may be a single entity, selectively reporting contributions and expenditures on each report, or that the donations are received by the National Organization and are then used by, transferred to, or merely reported by ASA-MN." Additionally, there were no reports of separate "expenditures for overhead or support such as telephone, private mailbox rent, office space, or similar items," indicating that there was no separate operation.[36]

The Board's findings favored ASA-MN, only requiring the organization to amend its 2006 report to more accurately reflect some minor financial transactions.

Election Cycle 2004

Texas District 1

The special January 2004 Texas District 1 race "pitted former state Rep. Sadler of Henderson against a brace of Republicans, including former Tyler Mayor Eltife and [then] state Rep. Tommy Merritt, R-Longview," to replace Sen. Bill Ratliff, who retired early. "Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst personally endorsed Eltife -- not surprising against a Democrat, but also a direct snub of House District 7 incumbent Merritt, who angered fellow Republicans by opposing congressional redistricting and voting against the final map. Merritt ran a distant third, and said he would turn his attention to the March primaries and his House re-election campaign," Michael King wrote January 23, 2004, in The Austin Chronicle.[37]

"The race is hot with state partisan interest, and a D.C.-based but Austin-wired trade association with insurance industry ties calling itself Americans for Job Security ran 'issue ads' denouncing Merritt -- provoking a campaign finance law complaint from Austin-based Campaigns for People, charging illegal use of corporate funds for electioneering," King wrote.[37] "The daisy chain continues -- Americans for Job Security is run by Rick Perry consultant Dave Carney, a prominent 'tort reform' player also hooked up with capital GOP operatives Ray Sullivan and Reggie Bashur."

"Campaigns for People President Fred Lewis told The Longview News-Journal that the ad campaign 'looks like electioneering, it smells like electioneering, it might be electioneering. We have a corporate prohibition, and the reason is so large corporations don't so overwhelm our elections that the rights of the average people are unimportant. ... If it isn't nipped in the bud, it's going to be out of control'," King wrote.[37]

Complaint

In January 2004, the Texas watchdog group Campaigns for People (CFP) filed a complaint alleging that AJS funneled corporate money "to pay for attack ads against a state representative just days before a six-way special election." Republican Rep. Tommy Merritt, the target of the ads, CFP alleged, was attacked because he "opposed his own party’s redistricting plan that was being pushed through the legislature at the behest of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas)." AJS countered that the ads "weren’t intended to influence the election but rather to further AJS’s promotion of 'pro-paycheck issues'," even though, as CFP pointed out, "AJS did not air its ads during the legislative session, when the bills were being debated, but rather in the closing days of an election campaign."[38]

Supporting N.C.'s Richard Burr

"Richard Burr is Congress’ No. 1 recipient of money from Big Tobacco—and a host of other special interests. So, who does he really represent?" Jennifer Strom headlined the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina Independent Weekly on July 7, 2004.[39]

Americans for Job Security had "launched a $600,000 ad campaign on Triangle and Charlotte television stations, praising the Republican's commitment to his constituents while flashing feel-good video of the casually dressed congressman shaking a lot of hands," Strom wrote,[39] adding "AJS has been active in federal races since 1998, spending nearly $12 million in select races during the last presidential cycle in 2000. With close ties to the current president and his father, as well as other key GOP leaders, the group has earned a reputation for anti-Democrat attack ads, including slamming Sen. John Edwards in billboard and newspaper ads during his presidential run. Because it is a so-called 'issue group' rather than a political action committee, AJS is not required under campaign finance laws to disclose its donors or its expenses, though various media have reported it was initially seeded with $1 million from the insurance association, took in another $2 million from that group and the American Forest and Paper Association in 2000, and has received financial support from pharmaceutical companies--all corporate interests that have contributed to Burr and received his support in Congress."

Targeting John Edwards

In June 2003, AJS targeted North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, "a former trial lawyer who [had] received many campaign contributions from fellow attorneys ... [P]assengers arriving at the Manchester, N.H., airport, the jumping off point for reporters covering the nation's opening-gun primary, [were to] see billboards with legends like this: 'Next time you see him, tell John Edwards it's time for lawsuit reform.'"[40]

AJS, "which advertised heavily in the 1992 congressional campaigns in support of free-market economic nostrums, [only spent] about $10,000 on these airport ads in Manchester and, eventually, Des Moines."[40]

Paul Wellstone

'Who is Mike Dubke?', Joe Conason asked October 24, 2002, in Salon. "Dubke is the president of Americans for Job Security, a mysterious group with ties to the Republican congressional leadership and big business that intervenes in political races around the country, always on behalf of conservatives. It first gained notoriety a few years ago when Trent Lott, then the Senate majority leader, shook down a group of Washington lobbyists to donate money to the organization, which was helping a Republican senatorial candidate in Michigan. [In 2002], the same outfit has targeted Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone with radio and TV ads of dubious accuracy. In fact, AJS is spending a million dollars attacking the Democrat during the weeks leading up to Election Day."[41]

"AJS bills itself for tax and regulatory purposes as a 'nonpolitical trade organization'," Conason wrote.[41] "As such, AJS is forbidden from partisan activity on behalf of a candidate; legally, it can only run issue-oriented advertising. But the AJS advertising against Wellstone has gone way over that blurry line. That is why Dubke uttered the consummate lie in an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Asked whether his latest anti-Wellstone commercial is 'intended to influence the election,' Dubke replied, 'Absolutely not.' He embroidered his mendacity by adding that the ad 'is not an attack on Wellstone's integrity as much as bringing up the issue of the trustworthiness of public officials.'"


Election Cycle 2000

Microsoft

"[I]n 2000, Microsoft allegedly used Americans for Job Security (AJS) as a conduit for political money. AJS is a trade association that represents no industry or group of companies and doesnot disclose its membership. According to the Campaign Finance Institute, in 2000 Microsoft gave an undisclosed amount to AJS, which claimed to have spent between $10 and $12 million on political ads that year. The group’s political activity included spending around $700,000 on ads praising [Spencer] Abraham and attacking [Debbie] Stabenow, and spending upwards of $500,000 on ads attacking Washington Democratic nominee Maria Cantwell. The Campaign Finance Institute reports that Cantwell is an executive at a firm that competes with Microsoft."[42]

"Stealth PAC"

In the July/August Election Update, the National Committee for an Effective Congress reported:[43]

"One challenge Representative Stabenow faces is competing with Abraham’s massive war chest. While Stabenow has raised roughly $2 million, Senator Abraham has over $5 million. Attack ads aired by the Federation for American Immigration Reform may have forced Abraham to devote resources to a response, but Stabenow has faced similar problems. One group, Americans for Job Security, has already spent nearly $450,000 on negative advertisements. The massive financial advantage may be counteracted by The Washington Post's discovery of the unscrupulous tactics used by Abraham’s campaign to raise the money. Senator Abraham staffers, with help from Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, have extorted money from high-tech industries by linking their contributions to important legislation. Much of the funding has been directed to a 'stealth PAC', Americans for Job Security, used to attack Representative Stabenow. At a time when Americans are more concerned than ever before with campaign finance reform, this scandal does not bode well for the Abraham campaign."

Funding

AJS has "steadfastly refused to disclose its contributors. The group’s explanation underlines why disclosure of funding sources of grassroots lobbying campaigns is needed: AJS President Mike Dubke has said that such disclosure would distract from the group’s message," Public Citizen wrote in a January 2007 report on astroturf groups.[14] AJS "has a history of injecting itself into Congressional campaigns," Carl Hulse wrote July 14, 2002, in the New York Times,[44] and "was apparently used solely as a conduit to hide corporate political spending and insulate companies from accountability," a May 2006 report by the Center for Political Accountability stated.[45]

In the wake of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, the FEC issued advisory opinions which stated that any group making an "independent expenditure" intended to influence a political race, either for or against a candidate but independent from any candidate's campaign, should register with the FEC as a political action committee and disclose their finances. AJS declined to do so, interpreting FEC rules to mandate disclosure only when a donor mandates that their money be used in a specific time, place and manner; a situation that almost never occurs.[18]

Known Funders

One known funder of AJS is the Center to Protect Patients' Rights (CPPR), which gave AJS $4.8 million in 2010 as part of a $55 million dollar block of donations to conservative groups that spent millions in the 2010 elections including the American Future Fund, the 60 Plus Association and Americans for Tax Reform. [46]

Another known funder is the Wellspring Foundation, which gave AJS $346,098 in 2010; the foundation also gave to political groups like the American Action Network, American Majority, and the Franklin Center. [47]

Republican affiliations

  • Political Solutions[48], "founded to help ensure Republican candidates, free enterprise PACs and conservative causes achieve success."[49]
  • Public Opinion Strategies, a self-described "Republican polling firm", which "used mall intercept testing" in "issue campaign experience on behalf of" AJS "and others".[50]

Crossroads Media, Black Rock Group & TargetPoint Consulting

AJS lists its address at a drop box at a UPS store in Alexandria, Virginia, but the New York Times discovered in 2010 that the group's acting president DeMaura works in an office space shared with Crossroads Media and the Black Rock Group, which were founded by AJS co-founder Dubke.[53][54] AJS made almost all of its 2012 media buys through Crossroads Media, as did American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS- which are led by Carl Forti, who along with Dubke leads the Black Rock Group.[55]. "Dubke, over the last five years operating as an advertising agency, has placed attack radio and television commercials in races all over the country. He has been investigated, threatened and described as a 'political jackal' because he represents groups that don't disclose the sources of their money. He says that is deliberate, because keeping the sources secret means the debate is on his targets rather than his donors."[8][56]

In addition AJS shares an office with TargetPoint Consulting who are described "As the exclusive supplier of MicroTargeting research and data to the Republican National Committee, the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign and several Fortune 500 companies, TargetPoint Consulting offers the gold standard in voter-relationship management," its website states. [[19]]

The partners of TargetPoint are Alex Gage, Michael Meyers who were chief strategists for the Presidential campaign of Mitt Romney and the third partner is Brent Seaborn who held the same position for the presidential campaign of Rudy Giuliani. [20]

Ad Coordination

Some of AJS' ad buys appear to be coordinated with Karl Rove's Crossroads groups. For example, AJS made an $8 million buy in late September 2012 urging disaffected Obama supporters not to vote for him again, a message whose timing and tone was in sync with ads run during the same period by American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies- and all three groups used Crossroads Media as their media buyer.[57]

In Pennsylvania, AJS spent $1.2 million on ads in Philadelphia at the same time American Crossroads spent the same amount on ads across the rest of the state.[58]

The ties don't end there: For an unknown reason, AJS has disbursed nearly $1 million directly to Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategices.[59]

Principals and consultants

According to Public Citizen, the following are principals and consultants affiliated with AJS, post past and present.[60]

Principals or staffers

Former Principals

Consultants

Affiliated consultants or vendors

Contact information

66 Canal Center Plaza
Alexandria, VA

Note: YellowPages.com shows AJS at 1240 N. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: (703) 535-3110 .[63]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Eric Lach, "The Dark Money Forerunner of Secret California Millions", Talking Points Memo, December 3, 2012
  2. Evidentiary file for Americans for Job Security electioneering, Center for Responsive Politics, April 2007. 41-page pdf.
  3. "Stop AJS. Non-Profit Front Group Violates Tax Status, Electioneering Laws," Center for Responsive Politics/Public Citizen, April 2007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Americans for Job Security, 2004 Election Cycle", Open Secrets.org, undated, accessed October 2007.
  5. In March 2004, AJS was described as "neoconservative/far right wing in The Texas Observer. See Jake Berstein, "Meet the Attack Dogs. The Virginia-based Americans for Job Security loves to get involved in Texas politics," The Texas Observer, March 12, 2004.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Mike McIntire, "Hidden Under Tax-Exempt Cloak, Political Dollars Flow", New York Times, September 23, 2010.
  7. "Issue Ads: Loophole of the 2000s?" OpenSecrets.org, undated.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Controversial Americans For Job Security President Placed 'She' Anti-Holland Commercials; Document Shows He's Advertising Agency 'Partner'," The McCarville Report Online, October 8, 2006.
  9. Al Kamen, "Premium Pay," Washington Post, June 12, 2005.
  10. "About AJS", Americans for Job Security, Accessed January 14, 2012.
  11. Jack Siegel, "New Fundraising Opportunity for Charities: Turn Your Opponents in to the IRS and Collect the Bounty," Charity Governance Consulting LLC (Blog), April 12, 2007.
  12. "Stop AFC: Non-Profit Front Group Violates Tax Status, Electioneering Laws", Public Citizen, April 11, 2007.
  13. Rosie Hunter and Chuck Collins, "'Death Tax' Deception. Who's behind the movement to repeal the nation's only tax on inherited wealth?" Dollars and Sense Magazine (ThirdWorldTraveler), January/February 2003.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Organizing Astroturf: Evidence Shows Bogus Grassroots Groups Hijack the Political Debate; Need for Grassroots Lobbying Disclosure Requirements Public Citizen/CleaUpWashington.org, January 2007.
  15. Lagos, Marissa The Source of $11 Million Contribution Revealed Accessed November 5th, 2012
  16. Brendan Fischer, "California Elections Board Peels Back Layer of Dark Money Onion, Finds More Onion", "PR Watch", November 6, 2012.
  17. Alex Burns: [Americans for Job Security to Slam "Greedy Union Bosses" in Debate http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/65610.html], Politico, 10/11/11. Accessed August 6th, 2012.
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External resources

External articles