Bruce Murphy, a columnist for the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-area webgazine Urban Milwaukee, wrote this piece on my work exposing the ties between Thad Nation, the founder of the Milwaukee consulting firm Nation Consulting and the employer of Wisconsin Democratic chairperson candidate Jason Rae, and several right-wing political organizations that have supported far-right Republicans like Scott Walker.
I have several points to make about Murphy’s piece:
- While Murphy called me the “proverbial blogger in pajamas working on a basement computer”, I actually wear sweatpants most of the time, and my computer is located in my bedroom. I don’t quite fit the proverb, although I do live at my parents’ house.
- Westville, Illinois is not “just east of Champaign”. It’s a small village located in the east-central part of the state, located roughly 32.5 miles east by south of Champaign, just west of the Illinois/Indiana border. I take offense to my hometown essentially being called a suburb of Champaign. “Just east of Champaign” is a term I would use to describe places like Urbana or St. Joseph, Illinois, not Westville.
- Murphy neglected to mention that Rae, in addition to his work at Nation Consulting itself, either is or was an Associate Director of Wired Wisconsin, a Thad Nation-led organization that has openly attacked landline telephone users in Wisconsin. Landline telephone service still exists in Wisconsin because many Wisconsinites are not adequately served by mobile phone networks. Rae was hired by Wired Wisconsin in mid-2010, although it’s not clear to me if Rae is still employed by Wired Wisconsin.
- There’s absolutely nothing in either Wisconsin state law or DPW by-laws that I know of that would prohibit Rae, or, for that matter, any of his opponents, from working for Nation Consulting and/or other organizations and being DPW Chair simultaneously. Because of that, I would not assume that Rae would resign from Nation Consulting and other groups that he works for if elected chair; in fact, I would assume the opposite unless Rae is elected chair and decides to leave Nation Consulting and any other groups he works for.
- Although Murphy did not ask for permission, I do automatically allow other websites to use any photos of me that are taken by me and are on this blog, so Murphy did not have to ask for permission in this specific instance. For any photos that I have credited to another individuals and/or do not depict me in any way, I do require permission for use on other websites/blogs. If I’m the creator of the photo in question, I would determine whether or not to give permission. If I’m not the creator of the photo in question, I would direct whoever is seeking permission to the creator of the photo, who would then decide whether or not to give permission.
- As I like to say, criticizing someone isn’t mudslinging if the criticism is not false.
Additionally, I’ll explain why I like to write about Wisconsin politics: Fourteen members of the Wisconsin State Senate fled to my home state in 2011 in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the union-busting Act 10 from becoming law in Wisconsin. Since then, I’ve developed an interest in writing about Wisconsin politics, which I’ve continued for two reasons: 1) I’ve had all sorts of trouble getting viewership for my blog posts about Illinois politics (although I will continue to write about Illinois politics from time to time), and 2) I have been able to get quite a few viewers for my blog posts about Wisconsin politics, especially in regards to blog posts about the upcoming race for DPW Chair.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I have made edits to the blog post and title to accurately reflect Nation Consulting founder Thad Nation’s use of a 501(c)(4) organization to give money to right-wing organizations and Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairperson candidate Jason Rae’s employment by Nation Consulting.
I’ve found information that proves that Thad Nation, Wisconsin Democratic chairperson candidate Jason Rae’s boss at Nation Consulting, has provided money to at least seven right-wing organizations, including at least four that are funded either directly or indirectly by the Koch Brothers. Nation himself was listed in a 2012 IRS 990 filing as the principal officer of Coalition for the New Economy (CftNE), a 501(c)4 organization that opposes government-run broadband internet services in areas where private-sector firms currently provide broadband internet service. CftNE has also given money to at least several right-wing political groups that have actively opposed Democratic and liberal political candidates, have actively supported Republican and conservative political candidates, and/or have advocated for far-right policies that would have a negative impact on America. Here’s the organizations that CftNE has given money to, according to page 17 of the 2012 IRS filing by that organization:
- $15,000 for “general support” to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), a right-wing anti-tax organization that has, among other things, effectively supported allowing the U.S. federal government to default on the national debt. NTU has received a total of $32,500 from the Koch Family Foundations from 1998 to 2008, including $5,000 from Charles Koch’s own foundation in 2008.
- $5,000 for “general support” to the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF), a right-wing organization that spent $1.9 million in television advertising in an attempt to help Republicans win U.S. House races that were seriously contested by both major parties in the 2012 elections. CIF spent a slightly larger amount of money on a similar effort in the 2010 elections.
- $5,000 for “general support” to Americans for Prosperity (AfP), a far-right political organization founded by the Koch Brothers themselves. In Wisconsin, AfP spent $866,000 in ads designed to help Scott Walker win the 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial race and approximately $2.9 million in ads in opposition to the 2012 recall effort against Walker that was strongly supported by Wisconsin progressives.
- $10,000 for “general support” to FreedomWorks, a far-right organization that has, among other things, ran several anti-union campaigns in states like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and supported far-right extremist Chris McDaniel, who, among other things, blamed rap music for many of our country’s problems, in his unsuccessful 2014 Republican primary challenge to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
- $5,000 for “general support” to Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), a right-wing organization that was founded by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and, among other things, opposes taxation and supports privatizing Social Security. IPI has received $35,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which is identified by the Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch as one of the four Koch Family Foundations. IPI is the only one of the organizations listed in the CftNE filing that is a 501(c)(3) organization; all of the others are listed as 501(c)(4) organizations.
- $15,000 for “general support” to the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a right-wing organization that has, among other things, attacked the federal government over the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, two of the largest cable television providers in the country.
- $14,740 for “general support” to the 60 Plus Association (60 Plus), a right-wing organization funded by Koch Brothers-funded organizations like Freedom Parners and American Encore as part of a complex web of Koch Brothers-funded organizations. In Wisconsin, 60 Plus ran this advertisement attacking now-Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin for supporting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), federal legislation that provided millions of Americans with health insurance.
That’s a total of $69,740 that Thad Nation has, through CftNE, provided to right-wing organizations that have supported Republicans like Scott Walker, ran smear campaigns against Democrats like Tammy Baldwin, and have supported far-right policies that would make America a much worse place to live. Thad Nation is also the same person who employs Jason Rae as a senior associate at Nation Consulting, and Rae is running for Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. If Rae is elected DPW Chair, it would be at least an apparent conflict of interest for someone like Rae to be the head of a state-level Democratic organization if he were to remain employed at Nation Consulting, because the founder of that organization was the head of a 501(c)(4) organization that gave money to groups that support Republicans and their destructive far-right agenda.
Let me finish this post by saying two things about Rae and his supporters. One, Rae’s supporters are some of the most vile people I’ve ever interacted with online. Two, Rae completely lacks the temperament to be in a Democratic Party leadership position of any kind.