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Economic Freedom Fund

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The Economic Freedom Fund (EFF), based in Sacramento, California, is a "new deep-pocketed" conservative 527 committee, according to TPM Muckraker's Justin Rood. [1]

R. Keith Olberg, a former California Assemblyman, is EFF's president, according to the disclosure report filed October 1, 2006, by EFF with the Federal Election Commission. In October 2002, LA Weekly described Olberg, who was then running for California Secretary of State, as a "veteran Republican wonk and legislator." Olberg's wife, Delette Olberg, is "a $99,000-a-year official on the [California] Assembly GOP caucus staff." [2]

The group works with Meridian Pacific, Inc., "a two-year-old California consulting firm", Rood wrote September 14, 2006. As "further testament to its GOP bonafides," Meridian is "headed by" John Peschong, a "onetime senior Republican National Committee official [who] joined Meridian Pacific in 2005, after seven years as the Western States Director for the RNC," Rood wrote.

On September 14, 2006, EFF's "sole backer" was Texas millionaire Robert J. Perry, "who founded the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group during the 2004 elections," Rood wrote. [3]

Perry was joined September 21, 2006, by Carl H. Lindner, "part owner of the Cincinnati Reds and No. 133 on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, [who] has ponied up $50,000 to EFF. More precisely, EFF has recorded a $50,000 donation from the same address as Lindner uses in other FEC reports," Josh Marshall wrote October 4, 2006.

EFF hired Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm, an Arlington, Virginia, "media firm, to prepare ads against" Democratic incumbents Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) and Jim Marshall (D-GA), Paul J. Nyden reported September 14, 2006, for McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

SRC&P "also prepared the Swift Boat ads attacking [John] Kerry's military service in Vietnam, where he won a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts," Nyden wrote.

By the time the Economic Freedom Fund was only a month old, it had already been very active, dropping half a million bucks on negative TV ads against" Mollohan and Marshall, Paul Kiel of TPM Muckraker wrote September 14, 2006.


The Organization

FEC Filings

EFF is registered with the Federal Election Commission with FEC ID# C30000541. EFF's FEC files can be accessed here.

EFF Contact: Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk

Actual contact information for the Committee is limited. According to EFF's Form 9 filed with the Federal Election Commission, the organization's physical address is 455 Capitol Mall, Suite 801, Sacramento, California. The "Records Custodian" is Charles H. Bell, Jr., who "also happens to be the General Counsel for the California Republican Party," Paul Kiel wrote.

Bell, a partner in Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, LLP (BM&H), which "specializes in campaign, election and administrative law and litigation at all levels of government," is also "Vice Chairman of The Federalist Society's free speech and election law practice group" [4] and "the Republican National Lawyers Association's vice president for the election education advisory council." [5]

"Who We Are"

Information about the "Committee" is limited. According to the EFF website: [6]

"Today Americans find themselves at a critical junction – we can either take steps forward and continue on a path of effective economic development or turn back the clock to higher taxes and burdensome government regulation. To help us get through this crucial period in time, we have taken a proactive step of setting up a committee called the Economic Freedom Fund.
"The specific purposes of this corporation are to educate the public concerning issues related to the preservation of economic freedom, the promotion of economic growth and prosperity for the people of the United States of America, which purposes are consistent with Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code."

Absolutely no information is provided on EFF's website about Committee members. The only information available is to be found in the FEC filing.

Controversy

Media Campaign: Direct Mail and TV Ads

The EFF website provides links for its latest Direct Mail and Television ads for West Virginia, Georgia and Iowa. There is no other information provided on the website as to who produced the ads.

From YouTube:

  • Attributed to "Economic Freedom Fund: Jim Marshall" "from tpmmedia":

Media Buys

According to Federal Election Commission disclosure reports for Committee ID: C30000541, the Economic Freedom Fund received two initial contributions totaling $5 million from Bob J. Perry of Texas. With the addition of the $50,000 contributed by Carl H. Lindner, all payments for media buys were made by EFF from these funds exclusively to Meridian Pacific, Inc. either for television production or television buys. Note: To access records, click on 'PDF' link for each date or date cluster.

Media buys to date, as reported on a FEC Form 9, target five Democrat House candidates: Alan Mollohan, West Virginia 1st District; Jim Marshall, Georgia 8th District; Leonard Boswell, Iowa 3rd District; John Barrow, Georgia 12th District; and Darlene Hooley, Oregon 5th District.

The last reported media buy was October 16, 2006, according to disclosure reports.

  • $105,000.00 and $9,946.00 for "Television Buy - To Be Continued" re Alan Mollohan
  • $105,000.00 for "Television Buy - Chapter 2" re Alan Mollohan
  • $75,000.00 for "Television Buy - Take a Guess" re Jim Marshall
  • $105,000.00 for "Television Buy - Road Trip" re Alan Mollohan
  • $75,000.00 for "Television Buy - Double Life" re Jim Marshall
  • $12,096.02 for "Television Production - Chapter 2" re Alan Mollohan
  • $12,960.17 for "Television Production - Take a Guess" re Jim Marshall
  • $711.15 for "Television Production - Even More" re Alan Mollohan
  • $638.93 for "Television Production - Who Is This" re Jim Marshall
  • $151,200.00 for "Television Buy - Taxman" re Leonard Boswell
  • $120,058.00 for "Television Buy - Forehead" re John Barrow
  • $151,220.00, $3,666.73 and $27,500.00 for "Television Buy - Side" re Leonard Boswell
  • $9,309.50 for "Television Production - Another Georgian" re Jim Marshall
  • $1,951.35 for "Television Production - Double Life" re Jim Marshall
  • $9,200.77 for "Television Production - Just the Facts" re Alan Mollohan
  • $9,877.03 for "Television Production - Cheek" re John Barrow
  • $75,000.00 for "Television Buy - Another Georgian" re Jim Marshall
  • $120,900.00 for "Television Buy - Cheek" re John Barrow
  • $2806.32 for "Television Production - Take A Guess" re Jim Marshall
  • $15,977.09 for "Television Production - Taxman" re Leonard Boswell
  • $105,000.00 for "Television Buy - Just the Facts" re Alan Molohan
  • $11,537.87 for "Television Production - Forehead" re John Barrow
  • $13,106.71 for "Television Production - Road Trip" re Alan Molohan
  • $16,513.77 for "Television Production - Double Life" re Jim Marshall
  • $75,000.00 and $49,385.00 for "Television Buy - Nothing Wrong" re Jim Marshall
  • $6,956.34 for "Television Production - Side" re Leonard Boswell
  • $165,000.00 "Television Buy - Social Security" re Darlene Hooley
  • $151,200.00 "Television Buy - Liberal Leonard" re Leonard Boswell
  • $120,988.00 "Television Buy - Chin" re John Barrow
  • $13,612.06 "Television Production - Nothing Wrong" re Jim Marshall
  • $2,288.00 "Television Buy - Check" re John Barrow
  • $10,880.22 "Television Buy - Chin" re John Barrow
  • $165,000.00 "Television Buy - National Defense" re Darlene Hooley
  • 7,562.97 "Television Production - Liberal Leonard" re Leonard Boswell
  • $5,013.70 "Television Production - To Be Continued" re Alan Molohan
  • $13,500.00 "Radio Ad - Dirty Little Secret" re Leonard Boswell
  • 15,605.00 "Radio Ad - Fooling Georgia" re Jim Marshall
  • $9,331.00 "Television Production - National Defense" re Darlene Hooley
  • $32,548.93 "Television Buy - Social Security" re Darlene Hooley
  • $9, 331.00 "Television Production - Social Security" re Darlene Hooley

Push Polling

Calls made on behalf of the Economic Freedom Fund, with a Braddock, VA, address, were made on August 30 and September 1, 2006. See Comments posted for WhoCalled.US "Lookup" for 571 522-1575 and 571 226-6400.

For background, see Mark Blumenthal's February 23, 2006, "The Roboscam Calls" in the TPM Cafe Blog.

EFF Contributions

Those desirous of contributing to EFF are provided little real information. The EFF website asks that contributions be mailed "to our Treasurer" at the Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, LLP address. A form can be printed out and mailed with a contribution.

However, no information is provided as to the form in which a contribution should be made—check, cash, money order or credit card—and there is no online payment method provided.

Domain Name

The domain name ECONOMICFREEDOMFUND.COM was created August 22, 2006, with private registration through GoDaddy.com to Domains by Proxy, Inc.

Contact Information

Physical Address:
455 Capitol Mall
Suite 801
Sacramento, California 95814
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 191005
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916 296-0844
Email: Info AT economicfreedomfund.com
Website: http://www.economicfreedomfund.com/

Related SourceWatch Resources

External links

Note: This article was started September 14, 2006.