Thursday, November 16, 2006

Howie Rich Sets Up Shop in Wisconsin

Our friends at the national Center for Public Integrity are reporting that Howard Rich has located two of his tax-exempt political organizations in Wisconsin and appears to be operating them illegally in our state.

Sure enough, the groups – the Parents in Charge Foundation and the Legislative Education Action Drive – list their addresses as 10 East Doty Street, Suite 800, Madison, WI 53703. And as of today, neither organization has been authorized to conduct business in Wisconsin by the state Department of Financial Institutions, the agency with which all nonprofit corporations must register if they are going to operate in Wisconsin.

Both of these private school voucher advocacy groups pulled up stakes across the border in Illinois and ran from the law there before landing here.

Who is Howard Rich? He's a New York real estate magnate. Friend of Grover Norquist. Godfather of the national movement to put a "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" in state constitutions. Sugar daddy to state puppet groups, like-minded candidates and a dizzying array of shell companies – Club for Growth State Action, Fund for Democracy, U.S. Term Limits, Americans for Limited Government and America at its Best. The list goes on and on.

He clearly likes to play dress-up, creating organizations around the country that sound like grassroots citizen movements but are actually pure Astroturf. There's "Oklahomans for Good Government" and "Colorado at its Best." And "Missourians in Charge." Also "Montanans in Action" and "Oregonians in Action." And "South Carolinians for Responsible Government." Then there's my personal favorite: "Protect Our Homes Idaho." All of them are really One Multimillionaire New York Real Estate Mogul with a Right-Wing Agenda.

For more on Rich and his operations, check out Also go here, here and here.


Jericho said...

Thanks for pointing this out. I've long watched Howie Long's activities, so how exciting is it he is setting up a shop in my backyard! I plan on popping by that address later today to see what it's looking like.

Mike McCabe said...

Since posting this item, we have learned that two of Howard Rich's lieutenants, Eric O'Keefe and Nick Zahn, have been operating out of the Madison office for about three months. O'Keefe is president of both the Parents in Charge Foundation and the Legislative Education Action Drive, has been on the board of directors of Americans for Limited Government, and has long been affiliated with Howard Rich's various organizations. Nick Zahn has been project manager for Americans for Limited Government and U.S.Term Limits, another group of which Howard Rich is president.