• The Alabama Foundation for Limited Government is a front group being used to attack Republicans.
• The foundation has been suspected of hiding its connection to the Alabama Education Association (AEA) and to liberal political operatives funneling millions of dollars into their attack ads.
• Documents uncovered by Yellowhammer News reveal that the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government is in fact working closely with political operatives who work for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, pro-abortion activists, radical environmentalists and unions.
• AEA-affiliated political operatives appear to be taking advantage of Delaware laws to set up front groups because “It’s easy to set up shell companies here, no questions asked.”
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead recently called out the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government (AFLG) — which is widely believed to be little more than a front group for the Alabama Education Association (AEA) — for potentially violating Alabama’s campaign finance laws. New evidence uncovered by Yellowhammer News this week will only further build on the distrust that conservatives feel toward the deceptively-named group.
Front groups are nothing new in Alabama politics, especially for the teachers’ union. In 2010, for instance, the AEA funneled big money into a political action committee named “True Republican PAC” to influence the Alabama gubernatorial primary.
Here’s why they do it that way:
• With Republicans in control, AEA knows they have to influence GOP primaries.
• But Republican primary voters largely view the AEA as a liberal organization.
• That compels the AEA to disguise their involvement in Republican primaries.
• They funnel money into front groups with conservative-sounding names.
• Unsuspecting voters hear “This ad was paid for by ‘True Republican PAC,'” or in the current case “The Alabama Foundation for Limited Government,” and assume it’s an organization they align with ideologically.
Republicans tightened campaign finance laws after taking control of the Alabama Legislature in 2010, doing away with the PAC-to-PAC money transfers that many organizations used to disguise who was paying for political advertising. But non-profit, issue-oriented groups still don’t have to disclose their donors. Foundations have been formed on both sides of the aisle that take advantage of these rules.
But even though they don’t have to disclose their donors, it’s difficult to funnel millions of dollars around and not leave some evidence of where it came from and who’s involved.
On Wednesday, Yellowhammer News visited several television stations around the Birmingham area and reviewed public documents that must be filed when a political organization purchases television advertising time. What we found was stunning, and will give voters new insight into the liberal backing of the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government.
I’ll try to break this down as simply as possible, but the fact that it’s complicated is actually part of the story. They want this stuff to be so twisted, so convoluted that people trying to make sense of it all finally throw their hands up in the air and just say, “forget it!”
1. Here’s the first form Yellowhammer reviewed at FOX 6. As you can see, John Rice, chairman of the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government, signed off on the group buying some advertising. An identical form was also filed at Alabama’s NBC 13 and ABC 33/40.
2. The second form at Fox 6 showed who actually placed the ad buy. Political organizations use professional ad buyers to purchase their air time. As you can see below, “Bozzi Productions LLC” made the ad buy for the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government.
3. There is almost no information available online about Bozzi Productions LLC, other than the fact that it was formed in Delaware on February 24th of this year. But the address they used on their public disclosure forms at both FOX 6 and Alabama’s 13 is in Chicago, Ill., as you can see below.
4. A quick search for the address listed above revealed that Bozzi Productions LLC is actually operating out of the offices of Adelstein Liston, an exclusively liberal media firm whose clients include Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, and a host of far-left organizations, including pro-abortion groups, radical environmentalists, labor unions and perhaps most notably in our case, teachers’ unions.
Yellowhammer suspected that Bozzi Productions was just a shell company created by Adelstein Liston to keep people from uncovering the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government’s direct connection to liberal political operatives.
What we found at ABC 33/40 seems to confirm those suspicions.
An Adelstein Liston employee appears to have forgot to tell ABC 33/40 that they were calling from “Bozzi Productions,” so for about six hours, the public disclosure forms listed Adelstein Liston as the media buyer for the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government. When Adelstein Liston realized what they had done, they called back and asked for ABC 33/40 to change the name on the public disclosure form to Bozzi Productions, but it was too late. As you can see below, the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government’s attempt to cover up the involvement of Obama-affiliated political operatives has now been exposed.
The image on the bottom shows the original form filed with ABC 33/40 that shows Adelstein Liston as the media buyer for the Alabama Foundation for Limited Government. The image on top shows it having been corrected at Adelstein Liston’s request to read “Bozzi Productions” instead.
Oh, and remember how Bozzi Productions was founded in Delaware exactly two months ago on Feb. 24? Another new AEA-affiliated organization was also founded in Delaware only four days later. National Research Services LLC, into which the AEA’s PAC has funneled over $700,000, was formed in Delaware on Feb. 28.
Why Delaware? The New York Times explained in a recent article:
Big corporations, small-time businesses, rogues, scoundrels and worse — all have turned up at Delaware addresses in hopes of minimizing taxes, skirting regulations, plying friendly courts or, when needed, covering their tracks. Federal authorities worry that, in addition to the legitimate businesses flocking here, drug traffickers, embezzlers and money launderers are increasingly heading to Delaware, too. It’s easy to set up shell companies here, no questions asked.
“Shells are the No. 1 vehicle for laundering illicit money and criminal proceeds,” said Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general for the criminal division of the Justice Department. “It’s an enormous criminal justice problem. It’s ridiculously easy for a criminal to set up a shell corporation and use the banking system, and we have to stop it.”
So needless to say, it looks like there is plenty more evidence to unearth on what the AEA and Alabama Foundation for Limited Government have going on in Alabama, Delaware and beyond.
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims