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Last summer the Washington Post exposed the very dubious fund-raising operations of Linda Chavez, the conservative commentator and former Reagan Administration official. Chavez—who withdrew as George W. Bush’s choice for labor secretary after making payments to an illegal immigrant—and immediate family members had raised tens of millions of dollars by founding political action committees “with bankable names,” the Post reported: the Latino Alliance, Stop Union Political Abuse, and the Pro-Life Campaign Committee. (“If we stop now, the terrorists win,” said a 2003 pitch for the anti-union outfit.)
Chavez’s groups promised to lead the struggle against “big labor bosses” and to cripple “liberal politics in the country.” A good part of what her PACs actually did, as the Post reported, was to provide a modest but “steady source of income for Chavez and four family members, who served as treasurers and consultants to the committees.” One of the four members was Chavez’s husband, Christopher Gersten. Just 1 percent of the $24.5 million raised by her groups between 2003 and 2006 was actually passed on to politicians—an ostensible purpose of her fund-raising operations—and less still went to pay for the independent political activities that were hyped to would-be donors.
The Post article almost surely hurt fund-raising for the Chavez family PACs. So how have they responded? That’s right—the Chavez crew set up a brand new PAC, which is headquartered, according to public records, at the family home. The new PAC is called “Republicans for Traditional Conservative Values.” Federal Election Commission records show it was created in mid-November. Chavez’s husband is listed as the treasurer.
Look for fund-raising pitches from Chavez soon.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Number of free condoms handed out by the Brazilian government in advance of Carnival this year:
The best way to measure happiness is simply to ask people how happy they are.
Following three weeks of clashes between protesters and government forces that killed at least 17 people, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro announced a two-day extension of Carnival. “Happiness will conquer the embittered,” he said during an appearance at a recreation center.
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”