Well-Funded Minuteman PAC Light on Contributions to Candidates

The Minuteman PAC, founded to provide direct support to anti-immigrant candidates in accord with the principles of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, appears to carry the same symptoms of financial mismanagement as the MCDC itself.

Last week we reported on the internal meltdown at MCDC, where some of the group’s officers and 15 of its state coordinators were fired en masse after requesting a meeting with MCDC President Chris Simcox. The dispute arose out of allegations that Simcox hadn’t raised as much money as he claimed and wasn’t spending it as he had promised, on things like “field equipment” or background checks. Instead, MCDC’s 2005 IRS filing revealed the bulk of the group’s budget went to unspecified “professional services.” In addition, Minuteman dissidents had questions about MCDC’s vaguely-defined relationship with Alan Keyes’ non-profit Declaration Alliance and various consulting businesses associated with Keyes.

A look at the most recent FEC filings of Minuteman PAC, which lists Simcox as its honorary chairman, shows that while the group raised over $300,000 in the first quarter of 2007, and spent more than $270,000, only $10,000 went toward a candidate running for office. As the Washington Times reports, 97 percent of the money the group raised went to “‘operating expenses,’ including advertising, fundraising and telemarketing to promote the Minuteman PAC.”

And, as the Times reports, much of this money went to firms associated with Keyes. In some cases, Minuteman PAC spent tens of thousands of dollars with small marketing firms repeatedly used by the Minutemen, Declaration Alliance, and Keyes’ past political campaigns. Other expenditures went to consulting firms run by Keyes advisors, such as $10,000 to a for-profit firm run by the executive director of Keyes’ non-profit.

If you look at Minuteman PAC’s filings from the 2006 campaign, the same pattern emerges. Strangely, while this Minuteman PAC is registered in Texas, there is a second Minuteman PAC registered in Virginia. Officially titled the “Declaration Alliance Minuteman Civil Defense Corps PAC,” it originally shared a website with the Texas version. In any event, a look at its own filings reveals again the pattern of disproportionate spending on fundraising, consultants, and other operating expenses rather than on candidate races. The money was spent on the same firms with ties to Keyes.

As with the “Draft Keyes” effort apparently being pushed by Keyes’ own employees, it’s difficult to pin down exactly how the organizational structure of Keyes’ groups is designed – or where the money goes. All this confusion is certainly frustrating to disgruntled Minutemen. From the Times:

Gary Cole, who served as the MCDC national operations manager until he was fired in 2005 for asking about the organization’s finances, said the Minuteman movement was being destroyed from within.

“The Minutemen are being attack by a cancer also,” he said. “Our cancer is in corporate form. It devours our financial resources, our time, our imaginations and ultimately our hope. I will continue to fight until the enemy is vanquished or death separates me from your midst.”