All Children Matter Inc.

All Children Matter (ACM) raises money through a network of organizations to help fund campaigns for pro-voucher political candidates.

229 S. Washington Street - Suite 115
Alexandria VA 22314
Website: www.allchildrenmatter.org

Executive Director: Greg Brock
Founded: 2003
Directors: Betsy DeVos, Richard Sharp, Greg Brock
Key Staff: Lisa Lisker, Keith Davis
Finances: $7.6 million projected expenditures in 2006

Read the latest news on All Children Matter on the group's Right Wing Watch index page

History

Dick and Betsy DeVos started All Children Matter (ACM) in the spring of 2003, to recruit, train and fund candidates who will promote vouchers across the country. Today, ACM Inc, a federal "527" organization, is the lead organization of a network of affiliates classified as state or federal Political Action Committee's (PACs), which can donate money directly to and campaign on behalf of political candidates. With its base of wealthy funders and ability to stealthily intervene in local, state and federal political races, the ACM network is an effective tool for the movement to privatize public education.

Purpose

  • All Children Matter was started to fund pro-voucher political candidates
     
  • Aside from donating directly to campaigns, ACM also funds slick 'issue ads' that heavily favor pro-voucher candidates.

Activities

  • In 2004, ACM paid for fliers in support of President Bush's re-election campaign in Florida. The fliers do not mention vouchers, privatization or even the Right's favorite euphemism "school choice." The flier falsely claimed that Senator John Kerry "opposed equal opportunity in education" and stated that President Bush supported increased education funding. Campaign finance laws require political groups to clearly identify themselves on their ads. Though the phrase "no matter what, All Children Matter" appears at the bottom of the flier, ACM inc. does not explicitly claim responsibility for it.
  • Also in 2004, ACM paid for a last minute radio ad blitz in Missouri on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Matt Blunt. After his election, Blunt appointed Ed Martin, ACM-MO's treasurer to be his Chief of Staff and personally pushed pro-voucher legislation backed by ACM.
  • In the summer of 2004, the estate of Wal-Mart heir John Walton donated more than $2 million to All Children Matter-Virginia, which, according to the Virginia Public Access Project promptly funneled money to an affiliate group in Florida. The Florida group then spent that money to support pro-voucher candidates in the state, without having to disclose the individuals who donated it. Relevant disclosure forms for the Florida groups will show only that money came in from All Children Matter-Virginia, with no disclosure of a connection to the Walton family. All Children Matter-Virginia appears to be the centerpiece of this scheme. ACM-VA is seeing an unprecedented cash flow even though it can only spend money in Virginia on state races and there are none in 2006. ACM-VA acts a conduit to stealthfully distribute money to other states.
     
  • According to campaign finance records, just before the 2006 primary elections in Missouri, businessman and financial analyst Rex Sinquefield donated $100,000 to an All Children Matter affiliate in that state, which in turn spent the entire sum in the eight days leading up to the election on behalf of only five pro-voucher candidates. All Children Matter enabled Sinquefield to donate much more to each of these candidates than would have been legal had he given money directly to their campaigns.
  • In a 2006 Colorado primary, ACM began pouring thousands of dollars into one race in the form of direct mail and advertisements to support a pro-voucher state incumbent who was far behind his opponent in fundraising.

Funding

The All Children Matter network receives large amounts of funding from a small group of ultra-wealthy donors. These donors include Dick DeVos and other members of his family, the estate of Wall-Mart heir John Walton, JC Huizenga, Ted Forstman, Dino Cortopassi, John D. Bryan, Joseph Robert, Jr., Peter Flannigan, Richard Gilder, Rick Sharp, Roger Hertog, Virginia Manheimer, and Bruce Kovner.

Quotes

"I know a little something about soft money, as my family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican Party. I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect some things in return." - Betsy DeVos (Roll Call, 1997)

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