Opinion

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Closing Range

No Honor

Not one of the creatures dumping their slime into your home gives a rat’s patootie about anything but the power your vote might give them

You’ve seen the TV ads hitting Sen. Steve Daines over opposing coverage of pre-existing conditions: “Paid for by Duty and Honor.” Never heard of them, right?

That’s the plan, kids. The Center for Responsive Politics’ website, opensecrets.org, shows Duty and Honor (D&H) as having operated only in 2018, making about $470,000 in “independent expenditures.” It’s not yet listed as active for 2020, but obviously buying airtime.

The Center does reveal that D&H made “unspecified media buys” ($449,000, all with Waterfront Strategies, a well-known Democratic public relations “vendor”) and “miscellaneous media” with SKDKnickerbocker ($20,000, another Democratic-aligned vendor), which a further web page finally reveals was spent in West Virginia on behalf of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) during the 2018 primary.

Who paid into Duty and Honor? In electronic Federal Elections Commission (FEC) Form 5 linked to by Open Secrets, “Duty and Honor [FEC registry C90017708] has no contributors to report; as a matter of policy, it does not accept contributions earmarked for a specific political purpose.” Guess what else? While its adverts (there’s another) have been running in Montana for weeks, FEC records as of mid-August contain no new 2020 filings. Imagine that.

Who is responsible? Duty and Honor’s 2018 filings are e-signed by Booth Goodwin, more fully West Virginia lawyer R. Booth Goodwin II, formerly President Barack Obama’s U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia. He resigned to run for West Virginia governor, losing the 2016 Democratic primary.

But there’s more. In 2018, the Daily Beast revealed yet another PAC playing in West Virginia’s U.S. Senate primary, revealing, Duty and Country (D&C), FEC registry C00666388. Treasurer? Goodwin II, of course, who signed out $1.8 million to mess around in West Virginia’s Republican U.S. Senate primary – plus more later, adding up to $2.4 million in 2018.

Or, as Roll Call reporter Stephanie Akin wrote in late November 2018, “Party Leadership Duped Voters With Millions.” Her story worked from a Campaign Legal Center paper, which determined Duty and Country “filed reports after the election” proving Country was funded by a “handful of Democratic donors.” FEC records show 31 donors, with 30 giving over $25,000 each and James H. Simons (Wall Street’s first “big data” hedge-funder) giving $400,000 out of his $23-billion stash. Simons gave $12.7 million to 2018 Democratic super PACs in just seven checks. 2020? Seven million in just three PAC checks so far.

There’s more. Daily Beast reporter Gideon Resnick idly noted Country “shares a Washington D.C. address with the Democratic Senate Majority PAC [SMP],” which eventually dropped $12 million into West Virginia that year, and is already dumping millions into Montana.

Sure enough, Country and Honor both list the same address in FEC filings: 700 13th Street Northwest, Suite 600, Washington DC 20005. Who else, besides SMP? How about Majority Forward, which spent $40 million in 2018 and “works with an affiliated super PAC, Senate Majority PAC”), plus at least 10 other mysterious Democratic-aligned entities. But who holds the lease on Suite 600? How about Perkins Coie, LLP? Heard of them? Sure!

In October 2017, the Washington Post reported that between April and October of 2016, the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign passed money for the research and creation of Fusion GPS/Christopher Steele’s infamous and discredited “Russian dossier” through Perkins Coie, which the firm reluctantly verified.

How much exactly? Nobody has confessed, but a January 2020 Forbes followup reports DNC and the Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie a little over $12 million for “legal” and or “compliance consulting” in 2016.

Here’s our GOP front, One Nation, and Democratic front, Duty and Honor. Any similarities? Lots. Neither is Montana-based nor -funded. Both appear closely linked to, and controlled by, their respective top-scum party national establishments, funded by each side’s secretive highest-dollar rainmakers. Both play roles in much larger arrangements of multiple coordinated entities, sharing treasurers, home office addresses, ad firms, narratives, and as they dang well should, law firms.

Why? That’s complicated, but the bottom line is simple: Not one of the very shiny creatures dumping their slime into your home gives a rat’s patootie about anything but the power your vote might give them – power over you. Be careful.