Citizens for the Republic Education Fund
In 1996, the nonprofit Citizens for the Republic Education Fund, controlled by Triad Management Services, "spent more than $1.3 million on ads, radio and direct mail targeting 13 races", including an issue ad "opposing Jill Dockings' Senate candidacy in Kansas."
In 1997, "Democratic investigators" for the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs "obtained bank records showing that $1.2 million of the $1.3 million spent by Citizens for the Republic Education Fund came from a single source, an entity called the Economic Education Trust, alleged to be funded by Charles Koch and David Koch. "The Koches and other employees of Wichita-based Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held company in the country, separately contributed $31,650 to Brownback's Senate campaign."
Triad, "which bills itself as a contribution advisory service for conservative donors, steered contributors Brownback's way, helped him make fund-raising calls and recommended that its clients give money to political action committees that in turn contributed to Brownback's campaign. Brownback, for his part, shared his contributor list with Triad so it could prospect for clients."
The Annenberg Public Policy Center's Issue Advocacy During the 1996 Campaign: A Catalog, the "most comprehensive study of this explosion of issue ads", "found that 90 percent of the so-called 'issue ads' run in 1996 named a specific candidate, and the majority of them were attacks on the sponsoring groups' political opponents."
Additionally, "records subpoenaed by Senate investigators" showed that Triad's two nonprofits—Citizens for the Republic Education Fund and Citizens for Reform—"performed no education or social welfare function beyond running ads, direct mail campaigns and phone banks intended to influence particular races. Nevertheless, these groups used their nonprofit status to shield the identity of their donors - from whom they accepted unlimited contributions. Thus their partisan political activities went on below the radar screen of campaign disclosure laws - and was subsidized by American taxpayers."
Related SourceWatch articles
- "Washington's Other Scandal: Issue Ads," PBS Frontline, undated.
- Ruth Marcus, "Funds Consultant Helped Senator Behind Scenes," Washington Post, December 12, 1997.
- "Phony 'Issue Ads': The Newest Loophole," Public Citizen, undated.