- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps’ political action committee, whose mission is to “find and support” political candidates to secure America’s borders, raised more than $300,000 in the first three months of this year — but gave less than 3 percent of it to any political campaign.

According to Federal Election Commission records, two $5,000 contributions to Republican Bill Greene, a conservative activist competing in a crowded field to succeed the late Republican Rep. Charlie Norwood in Georgia, were the Minuteman PAC’s only reported political gifts between Jan. 1 and March 31 — 2.9 percent of the $301,176 it raised and the $38,708 it had on hand at the end of 2006.

Instead, the bulk of the cash, 97.1 percent, went to what PAC officials reported as “operating expenses,” including advertising, fundraising and telemarketing to promote the Minuteman PAC, or was maintained as “cash on hand,” according to the FEC records.

No portion of the reported operating expenses were made on behalf or in opposition to any federal candidate, the Minuteman PAC said in a Feb. 28 memo to the FEC in response to a request for clarification of its expenditures.

The PAC’s honorary chairman, Chris Simcox, president and co-founder of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), has been the target of criticism for nearly a year over what current and former MCDC leaders, members and others have described as a lack of financial accountability.

Mr. Simcox has declined to be interviewed by The Washington Times and has forbidden his public affairs representatives from responding to inquiries.

Financial concerns have been rampant in the Minuteman movement for the past several months.

Several MCDC officials were let go last month by Mr. Simcox after they requested a meeting and asked that financial information be turned over. Members of the MCDC Leadership Committee said long-standing requests for the information had gone unanswered, that Minuteman chapters were not getting the tools and resources they had been promised, and that reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenditures were not made in a timely manner, if at all.

They also sought a “full explanation” of the relationship between MCDC and other groups, including the Minuteman PAC and Herndon-based tax-exempt charitable organizations known as Declaration Alliance and Declaration Foundation, founded and chaired by former presidential candidate Alan Keyes.

The latest Minuteman PAC report to the FEC shows that the organization has maintained its close financial ties to Mr. Keyes and his organizations, including:

Politechs Inc., a Los Angeles-based political consulting firm headed by Mary Parker Lewis, a key adviser to MCDC and a top official in several tax-exempt fundraising organizations led or founded by Mr. Keyes. In the report, the Minuteman PAC said it paid $10,000 for fundraising to Politechs. Mrs. Lewis served as chief of staff for Mr. Keyes’ 1996 and 2000 presidential runs and in his 2004 senatorial race against Barack Obama in Illinois. She also is executive director of Declaration Foundation and chief of staff at Renew America, another tax-exempt fundraising group founded by Mr. Keyes.

The Richard Norman Company Inc., another organization with a long history of fundraising for Mr. Keyes, which raised $261,000 for Mr. Keyes’ 2004 Senate bid. The report showed that the Minuteman PAC paid $83,651 to the company for direct-mail fundraising.

American Caging Inc., a Texas firm that also manages hundreds of thousands of dollars in separate donations to MCDC. The Minuteman PAC paid $22,913 to American Caging to manage money it collected as donations. In addition to the Minuteman PAC and MCDC, the firm’s clients include Declaration Foundation, Declaration Alliance and the Declaration Alliance Political Action Committee.

American Caging also handles other clients aligned with MCDC, Mr. Keyes and the Alliance organizations, including Diener Consulting Inc., which serves as the Minuteman group’s public-relations arm, as it did in Mr. Keyes’ campaigns.

Bob Wright, the MCDC former executive director who was among those fired last week, said in a statement that while Mr. Simcox claims to be holding the federal government accountable for border security, “who is holding Simcox accountable for all the monies raised from volunteers across America?”

“We can not win on the border or in our communities if we can not have honesty from our leadership,” he said.

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.”

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