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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
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”