Last Friday, the first few shoots of that weed were exposed when three Democratic Legislators - Sen. Shannon Robinson, Sen. James Taylor, and Rep. Dan Silva - filed a lawsuit alleging illegal political activity involving one Eli Il Young Lee. According to the suit, Lee's Center for Civic Policy and the League of Young Voters New Mexico (now New Mexico Youth Organized) funneled money to six other non-profit organizations for the purpose of defeating both the targeted candidates and New Mexico Campaign Disclosure laws.
The lawmakers, all Democrats, allege in the lawsuit a "secret campaign" among opponents Eric Griego, Tim Keller and Eleanor Chavez to distribute literature, make phone calls to voters and funnel at least $180,000 of undisclosed campaign funds using local nonprofits.The game being played by Lee and his cohorts is to use non-profits like Lee's Center for Civic Policy to send out hit, uh... "educational" mail pieces and to provide other campaign services that target politicians who won't play ball with them.
Officials for the Center for Civic Policy said in May they had sent out literature for the Legislative Accountability Project in conjunction with several other nonprofits, including the SouthWest Organizing Project.The problem is that the mailers can't help but be coordinated since all of the players are associated with one another.
They said they sent the materials out as mailers starting after the end of the last legislative session as educational materials for voters based on the legislators' voting records, not as campaign materials intended to unseat lawmakers.
According to the lawsuit (it's posted on Haussamen here), candidates Tim Keller, Eleanor Chavez and Eric Griego (a long time Soltari client) shared a campaign manager, Neri Holguin. Holguin is a former employee of Eli Lee at Soltari and is the current Treasurer for Conservation Voters Alliance of New Mexico.
Meanwhile Keegan King another former Soltari employee runs New Mexico Youth Organized, is employed by 1Sky New Mexico where Lee is a "consultant," and is Executive Director of New Energy Economy, Inc. Another respondent, Javier Benavidez is the Executive Director of Conservation Voters Alliance and an employee of 1Sky New Mexico - again, where Lee is a "consultant."
You already need a score card to keep track of all of the players, their non-profits, and their entanglements and we haven't even gotten to the other non-profits like Southwest Organizing Project, ACORN (like they've ever been above board), or the role that Congressional Candidate Martin Heinrich played as an advisor to New Mexico Youth Organized when the illicit campaign cash was being meted out.
The filing further alleges that the non-profits were used to raise and funnel tax deductible contributions to the three campaigns, along with providing manpower for get out the vote efforts. The candidates are alleged to have full knowledge of the contributions and in fact are purported to have approved individual mail pieces distributed by the non-profit organizations.
The lawsuit truly does read like a who's who of far left activists and political groups and even names George Soros as a funding source. We'd like to say that we were shocked about former Councilor Heinrich's involvement, but like Eric Griego he has a long standing relationship with Lee through Soltari.
Folks, these guys are not the United Way or your local church. They're using multiple non-profits as a front for professional political activism and allegedly funneling tax deductible donations to illegally alter the outcomes of elections. In the final analysis, Lee and his cronies are no better than the corporate lobbyists that they attack in their "Hal and Bob" ads. In fact, they're probably a hell of a lot worse considering that these political "non-profits" purport to be supporting the grassroots when they're actually choking them out.