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Landmark Legal Foundation

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The Landmark Legal Foundation is a conservative legal advocacy group that focuses its efforts on the environment and education. Landmark litigates, but an equally important part of its strategy is filing complaints with government agencies on various issues. Founded in 1976, Landmark has offices in Missouri and Virginia. Landmark has a reputation as the "conservative's American Civil Liberties Union."[1]

Funding

The Landmark Legal Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3.[2] In 2002, Landmark had revenues of $1,628,015 and expenses of $1,133,391.[1]

Funders

"Defunding the Left"

Landmark has been said to practice the strategy of "defunding the left." Landmark has filed FOIA requests with the EPA to determine which non-profits it has issued grants to, possibly to establish that the liberal groups receiving funding from the government aren't properly accounting for their expenses, and as a result should no longer receive government funding, or possibly have their tax-exempt status revoked. Landmark pursues similar actions against the National Education Association (NEA), exhaustively studying any actions it takes, determining how to label them as "political" and then filing complaints with the IRS because the NEA lists no political expenditures. In this instance as well, the perceived goal is to make the NEA pay taxes on anything it does which can be construed as political. According to the Center for Corporate Policy, the logical next step would be to lobby for NEA members to demand a refund of union dues used for political purposes, essentially depriving the NEA of the ability to participate in public discourse (e.g. the privatization of school systems through the introduction of charter schools).[1][4]

Issues and Complaints

Landmark urges "disciplinary action" against 29 Wisconsin judges

Landmark filed a complaint in March 2012 against 29 Wisconsin judges for signing recall petitions against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The complaint claims that the 29 circuit court judges "appear to have violated the Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct by improperly engaging in partisan political activity." The complaint calls for an investigation "into this important and timely matter" and requests that the Wisconsin Judicial Commission "take all appropriate disciplinary action, including reprimand, censure, suspension, and removal."[5]

Raising the issue of abuse of the "appointments clause"

At present, Landmark bills itself as "the only public interest legal group - from the right or the left - to use the Lewis Libby prosecution by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to raise the issue of abuse of the 'appointments clause' in the U.S. Constitution to circumvent constitutional limitations on the power of the federal government to investigate suspected violations of federal law."

On August 17, 2007, Landmark filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, supporting Lewis Libby's argument that the appointment of Patrick J. Fitzgerald, US Attorney of the Northern District of Illinois, as Special Prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation violated the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. Landmark also filed a motion for permission to file the amicus brief the same day.

On August 20, 2007, the appeals court granted the motion to file the amicus brief.

Landmark has posted the amicus brief, more than 30 pages long, on its web site. The same argument was made before the U.S. District Court and was rejected by Judge Reggie B. Walton; the amicus brief requests that the lower court's decision be overturned.{{{author}}}, {{{title}}}, [[{{{publisher}}}]], {{{date}}}.

Education

In the early 1990s, Landmark twice presented arguments before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in support of Governor Tommy Thompson's "school-choice voucher program" to channel public funding to private schools. It has frequently clashed with the NEA, the country's largest teachers' union.{{{author}}}, {{{title}}}, [[{{{publisher}}}]], {{{date}}}.

Landmark has filed lawsuits against labor unions and school desegregation and has fought for legislation that would allow parents to direct public education funding toward their children's private schools.{{{author}}}, {{{title}}}, [[{{{publisher}}}]], {{{date}}}.

501-C Project

The President of Landmark, Mark Levin, announced in February 2001 that it was launching its "501-C Project" to "ensure that liberal non-profit organizations that lobby against presidential appointments comply with U.S. tax and lobbying laws."{{{author}}}, {{{title}}}, [[{{{publisher}}}]], {{{date}}}.

Civil Rights Group Violating Tax-Exempt Status

The Unification Church-owned Washington Times reported that Landmark has asked the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) "to investigate accusations that several civil rights groups and other nonprofit organizations violated their federal tax-exempt status by participating in lobbying efforts against the nomination of John Ashcroft as attorney general."[4]

"Published reports reveal that scores of liberal, 501(c) tax-exempt groups spent the last month, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, in a well-coordinated and highly organized lobbying campaign against the Ashcroft nomination. They have also announced that they will lobby against future nominees who they consider too conservative. The IRS must look at these activities very carefully to ensure that these organizations are not skirting the law or failing to pay their taxes," Levin wrote in the Washington Times.

Ties to Landmark

Former Whitewater special investigator Kenneth Starr also has ties to Landmark, which played a key behind-the-scenes role in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton.[1]{{{author}}}, {{{title}}}, [[{{{publisher}}}]], {{{date}}}.

Personnel

Contact information

Landmark Legal Foundation
19415 Deerfield Avenue, Suite 312
Leesburg, VA 20176
Phone: (703) 554-6100
Fax: (703) 554-6119

- or -

3100 Broadway, Suite 1110
Kansas City, Missouri 64111
Phone: (816) 931-5559
Fax: (816) 931-1115

Email: eric AT landmarklegal.org
Web: http://www.landmarklegal.org

External links

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Center for Corporate Policy, Corporations and the Constitution: Landmark Legal Foundation, organizational profile, accessed March 21, 2012
  2. Adversity.Net, Inc., Legal Help for Victims of Reverse Discrimination, organizational profile, accessed March 21, 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Media Matters Action Network, Landmark Legal Foundation: Funders, organizational profile, accessed March 22, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bill Berkowitz, Defunding the Left, AlterNet.org, February 19, 2001
  5. Eric W. Dolan, Conservative legal group urges "disciplinary action" against 29 Wisconsin judges, Raw Story, March 20, 2012