Sunday, September 30, 2007

Watch the money go 'round and 'round

From my post earlier today (Show me the money - see below), there were several folks named in the LA Times story who didn't seem to have a close connection to California or the now-defunct ballot initiative that would have divided the electoral college votes of that electoral college vote-rich state. (There is a link to the full story in my post below.)

You may recall that with the California effort on the outs, spokespeople indicated the money was going to be re-directed to the Utah voucher campaign. In fact it was this in the original story that first caught my eye:

"Wilcox said the group was planning to donate to other conservative causes around the country, including one in Utah to create school vouchers."

One oddity from that news story that seemed really out of place was the Missouri attorney, Charles Hurth III who appears to be the conduit for the "large donor" who gave to the defunct ballot effort. Hurth lives and works in a small town in Missouri so it puzzles me why he would get involved in such an initiative so far away.

Missouri is, after all, a ballot initiative state much like Utah, so why would Hurth be so interested in an electoral college initiative only in California? Why not Missouri?

And, what else has Hurth been involved in?

Well, heavens be. I did a little research and found Hurth's name attached to the so-called "First Class Education" effort bankrolled by Utah's Patrick Byrne, the mercurial CEO of and funder of the Utah legislators' pro-private school voucher political issues committee (PIC) and major donor to PCE.

You can see some of the ties here and here as reported by San Francisco and national reporters.

Not only was the "First Class Education" effort by Byrne an utter failure, he wasted more than $1 million trying to foist it on states only to find that it cratered in every place where it was brought up -- including Utah and Missouri. You can read all about Byrne's mis-steps and mis-guided education reform package here.

SO, if the California money is to be re-directed to Utah, will that money be Hurth's? Or Byrne's, re-routed through Missouri and California? Or some other shadowy Libertarian who shuns the spotlight?

Byrne admits to being a Libertarian. Or at least he did here when he was in Florida (nice place to be in winter) flacking for his so-called education "reform". And that brings me back to speculating that Libertarians are funding PCE. They certainly were vocal last week in their support for vouchers, even if their logic was a little convoluted.

But until the donor or donors come forward big questions remain: Who is funding PCE? And, why don't they want to tell us?

If it is just Byrne, why doesn't he tell us? If it is Byrne, Hurth, Howie Rich from New York City, and other like-minded Libertarians, why aren't they proud of what they are doing?

Doesn't anyone supporting vouchers have enough conviction in the issue to say he/she/they are willing to put their funds where their convictions are??

No comments: