The Menage a trois between Big Business, Government, and Religion – A birds-eye view
By Nicole Nichols
Climbing mountains is never easy, however, if you are climbing those mountains in the metaphorical sense, it behooves you to have beaucoup bucks behind you and a lot of powerful people to push you all the way to the top. If you are a Dominionist hell-bent on taking over the world, you really don’t much care who you climb in bed with or who scratches your back. Hence, we are now witnessing the co-mingling and fraternization of religious extremists, politicians, think-tanks, Super PACs, and big business as the Dominionists seek to reach the pinnacle of that mountain of government.
What we are truly watching is a union, a marriage, if you will, of the church and the state. One of the most coveted tenets of the Founding Fathers of this country was the separation of these two entities, yet those who bellow the loudest about preserving the Constitution and the ideals of those Fathers, are fighting within the framework to circumvent the very doctrine which has served us so well.
For an eye-opening experience, we now take a look at just one of the many groups who are in the midst of that battle and how they have managed to wrangle their way into the inner circle of power brokers.
The passage of Citizens United by the Supreme Court of the United States sent shockwaves throughout the nation. Affording corporations the same rights as people and allowing an unprecedented wave of money to be sent into campaign coffers allows the mega-wealthy to purchase elections of officials who will be even more beholden to their benefactors than they are to their constituents. Petition drives are being held all over our country and congressmen and women are being lobbied to put an end to that ruling as the general populace understands the ramifications of such an enactment. Yet, do they really?
The Citizens United Foundation was begun in 1988, as the brainchild of Floyd G. Brown. It is a nonprofit corporation with a 501(c)(4) Tax exempt status affiliated with the Presidential Coalition and the Conservative Victory Committee and located on Pennsylvania Avenue in the Capitol Hill District of Washington, D.C. The Foundation has been instrumental in creating many controversies and in successfully helping to elect many extreme-right candidates. Besides Floyd G. Brown, Founder and Chairman of the Board, its officers include: David Bossie, Chairman; Michael Boos, President and General Counsel; Brian J. Berry, Director; Douglas L. Ramsey, Secretary-Treasurer; Ron Robinson, Director; and Bob Barr, Congressman and Honorary Chairman.
The stated mission of the organization is:
“CUF is dedicated to informing the American people about public policy issues which relate to traditional American values, including: the Constitution as the supreme limit on federal power, a strong national defense as the primary role of the federal government; free enterprise as the economic system that has enabled the American people to attain and maintain an historically high standard of living; belief in God and Judeo/Christian values as the fundamental attribute of our way of life; and the recognition of the family as the basic social unit of our society.”
There are a daunting number of groups engaged in running an extreme right-wing agenda on the American people, and following the money and power trails of any of those groups will lead to the same results. However, because of the numerous congressional candidates endorsed by Citizens United and its various entities, it became the obvious place to begin this trek into the dark realm of the blending of religion and politics and the impending marriage of church and state.
For a visual explaining the immediate reach of Citizens United, as a whole, click the chart below – and remember this is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the influence and power that this one group has.
Back in the year 2000, colleagues David Bossie and Floyd G. Brown collaborated on a book entitled, “Prince Albert: The Life and Lies of Al Gore.” There’s little surprise there given the fact that both men are devout climate change deniers and evolution myth theorists.
David Bossie, an acolyte of Ronald Reagan, went to work for Floyd Brown at the Presidential Victory Committee back in 1992. He had already come into prominence, and perhaps flown into Brown’s radar, when he and another colleague attempted to show that Susann Coleman had become impregnated by, and committed suicide, after an affair with her law professor, Bill Clinton. Interestingly, Bossie was hired by Fred Thompson’s U.S. Senate Investigation of the Whitewater Scandal as a lead investigator, to look into Clinton’s financial abuses.
During the investigation it came to light that Bossie, et. al. had published tapes that had been redacted. Bossie was summarily fired.
Once sitting pretty in Brown’s Citizens United Foundation, and feeling right at home with those of the same mind-set, Bossie began to focus his attention on the Citizens United Productions division. Creating such films as: Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration; Celsius 41.11; Rediscovering God in America, hosted by Newt and Callista Gingrich; Hillary: The Movie; and Occupy Unmasked, Bossie and friends were riding high in their saddle as a major righ-ring propaganda mill.
It was, of course, Hillary: The Movie that brought them into the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court of the United States. When they were sued before the film was scheduled to be released in early 2008, the suit also brought with it an injunction. Unfortunately, for Bossie and friends, the appeals court did not hear the case until 2010, and the movie was then untimely. However, the Supreme Court ruling referred to by us today simply as Citizens United, sent an outcry throughout the country which is still reverberating today.
In addition to his office at Citizens United, Bossie is a member of the National Conservative Campaign Fund, and has served as Director of Programs at the prestigious right-wing Leadership Institute which is home to many of the Christian right politicians. Additionally, he is listed as the President and Manager of the Presidential Coalition, a Republican front group that is closely affiliated with Citizens United and instrumental in funding state and local candidates – so close, in fact that they share the same address at 1006 Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s a cozy relationship. But, that’s not the only coziness that Bossie enjoys. Sleaze or not, his gallery of running buddies is vast as you can see on the chart below:
FLOYD G. BROWN
As the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Citizens United, Brown can only be categorized as an “ultra-conservative, dominionist” with a radical agenda for the United States of America. Along with Citizens United he has served as the Executive Director of Young America’s Foundation, an outreach program whose goal is indoctrination of our youth into the culture of extreme politics. Active on college campuses, the YAF engages such speakers as John Stossel, Ann Coulter, and David Horowitz. The YAF also promotes Horowitz’s Intellectual Diversity Movement which believes that the curriculum being taught is based in liberalism and that the conservative ideology is not being presented.
The YAF operates the Reagan Ranch, also known as Rancho Del Cielo where it conducts conferences, seminars, internships, and disseminates “educational” materials throughout the nation.
Brown’s ultra-conservatism doesn’t stop there, however. He is also President of Excellentia, Inc. which he founded in 2007. Excellentia, Inc. bills itself as a Conservative and Christian Marketplace. They provide fundraising; campaign and strategy development; direct mail; copy writing and production; radio and TV production and scripts; and ad placement and analysis services. According to their website:
“Climb your mountain of success with our help. We have a passion for serving in the marketplace of ideas. We have been in the business of promoting conservative and Christian ideas for over 30 years. Our professionals have developed some of the most memorable marketing campaigns in recent history. We will help you reach your community of interest with unparalleled success. Successful clients have included non profit organizations, political campaigns and publishing organizations.”
A frequent guest on network and cable TV shows, and a contributor to several publications, Brown became obsessed with the Clinton’s. He published a slim paperback entitled “Slick Willie: Why America Cannot Trust Bill Clinton,” in which he went on the standard diatribe about Clinton being a friend of labor unions and a “draft dodger” he also asserted: “Bill Clinton’s America sees no difference between families of ‘homosexual lovers’ and the traditional, monogamous, faithful family…In addition, Mr. Clinton has surrendered completely to the pro-abortion feminists who dominate the Democratic Party.”
In 2007, Brown co-founded the National Campaign Fund along with Bruce E. Haekins, James V. Lacey, Tim Kelley and Michael Reagan. The purpose was to fund the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani as they were concerned about the popularity of Hillary Clinton.
In 1992, during an interview with the Washington Times, Brown stated:
“I have a sense of what connects with people like me. We’re not culturally Republicans. We’re not libertarians. We’re not neo-conservatives or former liberals. We’re just old-fashioned, blue collar social conservatives. These are people who couldn’t care less about politics, want to be left alone by government, but if their country calls for them to fight abroad, will. You win elections by cultivating people like me.”
Nothing could have been further from the truth. The barely thirty-one year old Brown had waded into the dark side of the political arena several years earlier when he started Citizens United and began to organize political campaigns along with an effort to secure Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas an appointment, and the campaigns against Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton. Brown came to notoriety, however, during the Dukakis campaign when he produced the infamous “Willie Horton ads.” Later, he played a prominent role in the Whitewater Scandal.
Brown and his National Campaign Fund created an anti-Obama website which they update regularly at ExposeObama.com. Filled with anti-Obama hatred and venom accusing him of being soft on crime and islamo-fascism, the website has been criticized nationally for the misinformation that it distributes.
Brown sits on the Council for National Policy, a powerful and highly secretive group of largely Dominionist political figures who hold clandestine meetings and initiate policies to further an extreme agenda of theocracy and ultra-conservatism.
While Brown is considered odious in many circles, he carries a big stick and hob-nobs with others even more tainted than he. His expertise in the area of swift-boat advertising is much sought after by the right and the desperate. This does not, however, diminish the effectiveness of Brown’s campaign acuity. His associates are every bit as ruthless as Brown, and every bit as determined to succeed.
To realize just how connected Floyd Brown is, check out the chart below which depicts those with whom he hob-nobs, infuences, and supports as well as some of their affiliations.
Michael Boos is the Vice President and General Council for Citizens United. He is also the Director of the American Sovereignty Action Project of Manassas, Virginia which is yet another fundraising arm of Citizens United. In addition, he is in charge of the Presidential Coalition and in 2007, he registered another 527 Committee, the 2007 Conservative Victory Committee. Of course, all of this is nothing less than circumventing campaign finance laws and finding creative ways to channel and funnel large sums of money into the election process. We get that.
That being said, it also muddies the waters and helps to make things much more difficult for the unwashed peasants, which are the American people to these folks, to understand and realize just what the hell is going on and how they are being hoodwinked by a bunch of greedy bastards who want nothing less than to rule the world.
In addition to his other various and sundry duties, Michael Boos acts as the Program Director for the Young America’s Foundation. In short, the organization, another offshoot of Citizens United, is engaged in the promotion of conservative ideas on college campuses throughout the United States. However, the group has come under a lot of fire as one of their unstated objectives is to “keep track of what the left-wing opposition is up to,” according to Fredric L. Rice from SkepticFiles.org. in 1988.
Rice accused Boos of “keeping files, making lists, taking photographs all to keep an eye on students and professors he says ‘need watching.’ Boos didn’t deny that he does just that. In fact, he justified his actions by claiming that two top-level Reagan Administration officials, Ken Cribb, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, and Frank Donatelli, the President’s chief political advisor support his work. Of course, both of those men serve on the YAF’s Board of Directors, and it isn’t the first time that Donatelli has been linked to Citizens United.
Prior to joining the YAF staff, Boos was the Campaign Director for the National Conservative Political Action Committee. He also served as the Executive Director for the Legal Affairs Council where he gallantly represented conservatives and their values in the nations court system.
Boos is closely tied to the Conservative Victory Committee and the Presidential Coalition. Along with his other endeavors, he can only be considered as a mover and shaker in our national elections, and a front man for some very powerful people. Given the fact that the American Sovereignty Action Project is listed as a member of the Free Congress Foundation, it must be noted that Michael’s arms reach far and wide. See the chart below.
Brian J. Berry
Brian J. Berry serves as the Director of Citizens United. Berry has been around the horn a time or two and has lots of experience in directing political campaigns. In 1993, Brian directed the successful campaign of Kay Bailey Hutchison, the big-oil candidate from Texas, as well as the primary campaign for George W, Bush’s first run for Governor in 1994.
He is now the head honcho at Strategy Group for Media, a production and promotion media firm that creates campaign ads for right-ring conservatives who they deem “good people.” In 2012, they worked closely with “Restoring America” and the “Freedom Club,” to produce ad campaigns for state, local, and national campaigns.
On Berry’s Board of Directors is none other than Rex Elsass, who presides over the group and lends his advice to several notable candidates, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Todd Akin, to name a few. As a born-again Christian, he has been labeled as the ring leader of a GOP dirty-tricks group called “The Nasty Boys.” This relationship shouldn’t come as any major surprise as many of the Citizens United group are known to be nothing less than smear-merchants who will stop at nothing when it comes to besmirching the wicked liberals who threaten to gain any seat of power.
In the November, 2012, elections the Strategy Group engaged in more than 300 campaigns across the country and now boast an 80% win rate. They elected seven of 35 freshman members of Congress, (Scott Perry (PA); Keith Rothfus (PA); Thomas Massie (KY); Andy Barr (KY); Steve Daines (MT); Markwayne Mullin (OK) and Ann Wagner (MO). They re-elected more than 25 incumbent members of Congress, defeated two of five incumbent Democrats, and elected one of the four GOP gubernatorial winners.
Their biggest victories, however, were at the state level where they managed to retain majorities in the Ohio State House and Senate, the Wisconsin Assembly, and the Pennsylvania Senate. They flipped the Wisconsin State Senate back to the GOP and made significant gains for Republicans in the Kentucky State House. Additionally, they take the credit for the election of the infamous Supreme Court Justice in Alabama – Justice Roy Moore.
Consequently, Brian J. Berry and his twisted group of slanderous manipulators fit quite well into the deviant and unscrupulous realm of Citizens United.
Douglas L. Ramsey
Douglas L. Ramsey is somewhat of an enigma within Citizens United. Serving as the Secretary – Treasurer of Citizens United, he is also the Director of Strategic Alliances at Victory Studios, a full-service media company out of Seattle, Washington.
Ramsey is described as a “Career media veteran with extensive management and business development experience in all media forms. He held senior management positions with the Seattle Seahawks as Senior Director of Business Development and the Seattle SuperSonics as Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Broadcast Development.
Undoubtedly, he brings management, marketing, and business acumen to Citizens United.
Like so many of his cohorts, Ron Robinson is a Reaganite. He served as an advisor to the United States Department of Education during the Reagan Administration and holds Reagan in the highest regard. Currently, he serves as Director for Citizens United, and has been the President of the Young Americans Foundation for over thirty years.
Time Magazine referred to Robinson as “one of the seasoned generals of the right,” who is leading the “diverse and well-funded” generation of conservatives who are “winning battles on campus.”
He is the co-author of “Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement, Published, of course, by the right-wing Regnery Publishing Company.
Not surprisingly, Robinson served as a Trustee at the Philadelphia Society, a membership only organization that has had considerable influence over the Conservative Movement in this country. He currently serves as a Trustee for the Phillips Foundation, a group that advances Constitutional principles and American Values. The Phillips Foundation awards the annual Reagan Scholarship. Additionally, he is the Vice President of the Free Speech Defense and Education Fund. The FSDEF is noted for its assistance to the Christian Action Network.
Robinson is married to Michelle Easton who is the founder and president of the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute, a right-wing think tank that seeks to advance women through conservative ideas.
Robinson has all of the credentials and contacts that make him a valuable asset to Citizens United.
Former Representative Bob Barr
What we know about the former Representative from Georgia’s 7th District is that he is the exact kind of sleazebag that we would expect to be affiliated with Citizens United. He is a former federal prosecutor and one of the leaders of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
He served for a short time as the President of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, an Atlanta based law firm and policy center that largely litigates in support of limited government, economic freedom and the free enterprise system.
Columnist Bill Schipp, at one point, called Barr, “the idol of the gun-toting, abortion-fighting, IRS-hating hard right-wing of American politics.” We can take that even further. Barr is a member of the racist, radical group “Sons of Confederate Veterans,” who favor secession and an all-white homeland. He is also the darling of the Council of Conservative Citizens. Both of these groups have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Barr authored the Defense of Marriage Act, yet he currently claims that it should be repealed. One can only wonder how that plays out with his far-right, Christian-minded buddies. Of course, he then advocated for the practice of Wicca to be banned in the military.
Bob Barr is a contributing editor to the conservative monthly magazine The American Spectator, published by Alfred Regnery and Regnery Publishing, and is on the Board of Advisors for the Texas Review of Law & Politics.
He serves as the 21st Century Liberties Chair for Freedom and Privacy at the American Conservative Union and is on the Board of the Constitution Project as well as the Patrick Henry Center.
As an Honorary Chairman for Citizens United, Bob Barr should feel right at home with the nefarious miscreants who make up that organization.
Every organization needs an infusion of cash and Christian charity now and then, right? Enter Foster Freiss right smack-dab into the midst of chicanery, mud-baths, and the wheeling and dealing that surrounds Citizens United.
Freiss is a businessman and generous supporter of Conservative Christian causes. In 2012, he kept the campaign of Presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum, afloat by financing a super PAC, the Red, White and Blue Fund which ran television advertisements on behalf of the candidate.
In addition, Freiss donated at least $100,000 to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to help fight against the recall campaign that was being waged against him; $3 million dollars to Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller website, and a cool million to the Koch Brothers political activities.
Along with his benevolence, Foster Freiss in a member of America’s Foundation, Campaign America, Inc., and the Center For Security Policy.
He has served in several capacities, including president, on the Council For National Policy, an extreme right, Christian outfit that wields a ton of power in the halls of Congress. He also sits alongside a bevy of hard-right individuals in the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a pro-Israeli, pro war outfit.
Among his other beneficiaries are the Good Government For America Committee, Grow PAC, Restore Our Future PAC, the Prosperity PAC, and the John Templeton Foundation. The latter claims to give away about $70 million dollars a year in research grants and programs.
Spreading the wealth around, is what Freiss does best, and his friends at Citizens United can smell money from hundreds of miles away. Deep pockets, a little charisma, and a whole lot of clout makes Foster the golden boy of a lot of very devious and money-grubbing organizations and individuals. Money might not buy everything, but it sure speaks with a very loud voice.
Again, Citizens United is a small group in comparison with others – but their power reaches far beyond their inner circle. All throughout our halls of government and our policy making institutions, the inner-workings of groups just like this are furthering the dissolution of the coveted separation of church and state and attempting to create a merger of business, government, and theocracy. It is in their hands that our fate lies.