Re: Louisiana Justice Fund
Louisiana Justice Fund has made a purchase of air time to stations across the state to run political commercials. The issue of the advertisement is noted as “Louisiana Justice Fund - AG Education”, but in reality the advertisement is an attack against Mr. Alexander's candidacy.
I. The following documents are attached:
- Letter from James Lamb, a Washington DC Attorney, who represents
Louisiana Justice Fund. In this letter Mr. Lamb claims that Louisiana
Justice Fund is not a Louisiana Political Action Committee and that it does
not have to report to the Louisiana Board of Ethics (the oversight
entity for statewide elections) because "the Louisiana Justice Fund
does not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly
identified candidate." It should be noted that this is a rather
disingenuous reading of the case law which requires exempt
advertisements to be "issue only" and the LJF advertisement is clearly
concerned with defeating Royal Alexander bid to become Attorney General.
- IRS Tax Form 8871 for Louisiana Justice Fund list Derek Fitch as the Executive Director and provides a Baton Rouge P.O. Box which was rented in October as his address. Paragraph 12 of the form states that the purpose of the organization is "To communicate with the citizens of Louisiana on issues of importance in a manner that does not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate."
- Newspaper Articles concerning the Republican State Leadership Committee, a Section 527 organization, which was fined $20,000.00 for violating state campaign finance laws when it failed to file the appropriate reports with the State Ethics Committee in the 2003 Attorney General Race. It should be noted that the group claimed that it did not have to file the reports because "the state's disclosure laws are vague." This is the same excuse given by James Lamb, the attorney for Louisiana Justice Fund, in the letter cited above.
- Letter to Internal Revenue Service concerning the failure of Louisiana Justice Fund to include a physical address as required by the Internal Revenue Service Regulations. Form 8871 and 8872(Download Form8871Instructions.pdf) (Download Form8872Instructions.pdf) state, " Public Inspection of Form 8871 and Related Materials - Form 8871 (including any supporting papers), and any letter or other document the IRS issues with regard to Form 8871, are open to public inspection at the IRS in Washington, DC, and on the IRS Internet website at www.irs.gov/polorgs (IRS Keyword: political orgs). In addition, the organization must make available for public inspection a copy of these materials during regular business hours at the organization's principal office and at each of its regional or district offices having at least three paid employees. A penalty of $20 per day will be imposed on any person under a duty to comply with the public inspection requirement for each day a failure to comply continues.
- Letter To All TV Stations requesting that the identity of
Louisiana Justice Fund be ascertained before running the advertisements.
Based upon the nature of the ad and the fact that it is clearly an attack ad against Mr. Alexander, it is obvious that the Louisiana Justice Fund is purposefully and admittedly avoiding the registration requirements of the State of Louisiana and the FEC. The advertisement is expressed advocacy against Royal Alexander. This is not issue advocacy only as claimed by Mr. Lamb.
The Louisiana Justice Fund is using a very generous and disingenuous reading of the case law to support its stance that it is issue only advertising. The text of the advertisement states that Alexander is "Shaking down contributors" and "selling favors." It also says "Don't let Alexander's ads fool you...". The only ads run by Mr. Alexander are the ads for Attorney General and therefore the only ads the Louisiana Justice Fund could be opposing are the ads promoting his candidacy. This is clearly express advocacy against Mr. Alexander's candidacy. As such the Louisiana Justice Fund is required to comply with the Louisiana Campaign Finance Disclosure Act and it is admittedly not doing so.
II. This is a synopsis of the information that has been gathered on the Louisiana Justice Fund.
NABForm-16 Issues from KTBS Channel 3
- This form is from the political file at KTBS for Louisiana
Fund (hereinafter LJF). The form shows the contact for LJF to be Derek
Fitch with a phone number of 202-423-4742 and a Baton Rouge
P.O. Box 6638, BR, La. 70896.
- The media group making the buy was Buying
Time, LLC with an Erica Corso as the signatory for the media
- A letter was sent to the TV stations complaining about the advertisement the Alexander Campaign was contacted by the Washington, DC attorney for KTBS, James P. Riley, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC., 1300 North 17th Street, Arlington, VA 22209, Tel: 703 812 0450, Fax: 703 812 0486.
- Mr. Riley requested further information from Buying Time, LLC
concerning the identity of LJF. The day after his request
Erica Corso with Buying Time, LLC was contacted and she referred the
matter to Catherine
- Catherine Herrick sent a copy of a letter from Jack Lamb with
the law firm of Harmon, Curran, Speilberg & Eisenberg. The letter
was addressed to "To Whom it May Concern" and stated that he
- The letter from LJF also stated that it was a 527 organization
had Derek Fitch and Catherine Birdwell as its Directors.
- The letter from LJF said
that it would not be filing with the Louisiana Campaign Finance because
was "Issue Only" advertising.
- Along with the letter was a copy of IRS
Form 8871 which listed Derek Fitch as the contact person. The form
showed the date established for LJF to be October 4, 2007.
- The from did not contain a physical address for LJF as required by IRS rules. A physical address is required by the IRS because the public has a right to physically inspect certain documents concerning the 527's activities.
- Buying Time, LLC is a very large Democratic Media group. The national Democratic Party paid over $100 million during the last Presidential election cycle to this company. The company is owned by Catherine Herrick. The fact that the owner of this rather large group took the time to talk to me and send me information suggest to me that this is not a small time client we are dealing with.
- Jack Lamb and his law firm state on their website
that they specialize
in, "For more than 25 years, we have successfully served the legal
needs of a wide variety of nonprofit organizations and citizen groups,
political action committees, and individuals."
The Baton Rouge P.O. Box - P.O. Box 6638, BR, La. 70896
It is believed that Fitch rented the P.O. Box in October when LJF was set up.
The Phone Number - 202-423-4742
- A web search check through Intelius on the phone number and it was listed to a Thomas Dent as a land line and to a Katie Buchanan and a Stronger America Now. Katie Buchanan and Stronger America Now had the same address and it was a cell phone.
- A search of the FEC database for Stronger
America Now revealed an FEC form that was filed by Stronger America Now
(Download stronger_america_now.pdf)that has Katie Buchanan listed at the top of it as sender fax. It also shows Melanie Hudson as the director of Stronger America Now. Stronger America Now is a 527 organized by the Dewey Square Group (DSG) ( and here). the Dewey Square Group is a public affairs firm out of DC which specializes in "grassroots and grasstops campaign." Melanie Hudson is an employee ( scroll down to 527 section) of Dewey Square Group.
- The phone number also shows up for the Forward
Together PAC filing with the Iowa Election Commission and has
Katherine Buchanan listed as the contact.
- Phone calls to the number are answered by a voice mail. Messages
have been left for Derek Fitch, Melanie Hudson, Katie Buchanan, and
Dent. No one has called back.
- Derek Fitch is the listed Louisiana contact to La. Justice Fund and named as a director by James Lamb.
- Derek Fitch works (and here)for an organization in Baton Rouge called BREADA, he is also a Board Member for a group called Forum 35. This is a list of the other Board Members.
- His address is 5120 Butter Creek Lane, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and phone (225)218-6181.
- His name also appears as a contact for a meeting being held for Sean Reilly by Blueprint Louisiana.
- Derek Fitch's help was enlisted by James Nickel of the Baton
Rouge lobby group Courson & Nickel.
Birdwell is a 2006 Graduate of Rhodes College and who works
for Hilltop Public Solutions in DC.
- Her email is email@example.com.
- Her biography states, "Catherine Birdwell, an associate at Hilltop Public Solutions, which is a subsidiary of S&B Public Solutions specializes in maintaining client relationships and is responsible for the overall administration of the office. Birdwell has significant experience in political campaigning at the state and local level. Catherine graduated from Rhodes College in 2006 with a major in International Studies and a minor in French Studies. Her senior thesis focused on human rights issues in post-Soviet Ukraine, Poland, and Latvia. While in college, Catherine studied international politics for a semester in Strasburg, France and spent a summer in Paris, improving her fluency. A proud Texan, she currently lives in Arlington, Virginia.
Louisiana Justice Fund and Planned Parenthood
- A Google search of "Louisiana Justice Fund" in quotes provides a link to Planned Parenthood.
- The link states, " A donation to the Justice Fund goes directly to fund abortion services provided through Planned Parenthood of Southeast Texas Surgical and Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. This is for anyone that feels strongly that women must have the right to determine what's best for their lives and want to ensure that essential reproductive healthcare is accessible for all women in our community. Give a Gift to the Houston Justice Fund --- Give to the Louisiana Justice Fund"
- The link to LJF just goes to a Houston Planned Parenthood site.
- James Lambs law firm, Harmon, Curran, Speilberg & Eisenberg, has been involved with a case with Planned Parenthood
- And here ; there also several organizations that both sponsor together
- Louisiana Justice Fund was established by Planned Parenthood to
provide abortions to women displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Dewey Square Group and Hilltop Public Solutions
Nicholas R. Baldick is the President and founder of Hilltop Public Solutions. Prior to forming Hilltop, Baldick served for five years as a principal at the Dewey Square Group, focusing his efforts in grassroots and public affairs strategies.
Dewey Square Group and Planned Parenthood
- Dewey Square Group has worked with Planned Parenthood on Proposition 85 in California
- Dewey Square Group represented Planned Parenthood on Proposition 73 in California. "The Campaign for Teen Safety bills itself as "A Project of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California" and lists 29 major medical, health care, civil liberties, and women's organizations as allies. The campaign is being managed by the Dewey Square Group, a public affairs firm specializing in grassroots politics."
- Dewey Square Group represented Planned Parenthood to fight for Medi-Cal Reimbursement. Planned Parenthood holds a press conference to unveil radio ads urging the governor and Legislature to increase Medi-Cal reimbursement rates. Location: Dewey Square Group, second floor, 1100 11th St., Sacramento Contact: Ana Sandoval, 916-712-6239
- There are many other such links between the two.