Influence Analytics: Mary Cheney’s Firm Organizes Pro-Keystone XL Blitz
A note on the “Alliance for Freedom”: A Google search turned up very little on this GOP front, mentioned in the attached article, an IRS tax exemption form and nothing else. Director Karen Ahern was the Northeast finance director of the 2004 G.W. Bush re-election campaign. In 2005, she was appointed political director for VP Dick Cheney. The following year, she popped up as finance director of Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey‘s failed bid for the governor’s office. Ahern coordinateed RNC fundraising for the 2008 election under Lew Eisenberg, chairman of the ‘Victor’ campaign. Eisenberg is a former partner at Goldman Sachs. Barry Bennett, her cc-director at the Allinace, hails from Mary Cheney‘s “Alliance for America’s Future,” another Republican “social welfare” group in the business of voter perception management to promote corporate interests detrimental to social welfare. – Alex Constantine
By Nancy Watzman
Sunlight Foundation, March 12, 2014
A consulting firm whose principals include Mary Cheney, daughter of Dick Cheney, appears responsible for the bulk of the near-record breaking number of comments received by the State Department in recent weeks in favor of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, according to analysis based on Sunlight’s Docket Wrench tool.
Of the nearly 125,000 comments filed, at least 98,000 — about eight out of ten — contain similar pro-pipeline language: “The pipeline will provide much needed, good paying jobs for our economy while ensuring our country’s energy and national security.” These comments come from individuals listing “BKM Strategies,” as the originating organization. BKM Strategies is housed at the same Fairfax office complex as Alliance for Freedom, a nonprofit “social welfare” organization on which Cheney serves as director along with Kara Ahern and Barry Bennett. Tax forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service and made available by CitizenAudit.org, a Sunlight grantee, report that the trio are also members of BKM Strategies, LLC. A call to the Alliance’s offices was not returned.
The Alliance for Freedom is part of an interconnecting group of conservative nonprofits that have dived into politics in recent years; in 2010, the group reported giving $4 million to another 501(c)4 organization, Alliance for America’s Future, whose directors include Ahern and Bennett. That same year, Cheney and Ahern also established a super PAC, Partnership for America’s Future, which is not currently active.
To put the number of comments in perspective, the 125,000 comments logged by the State Department on the Keystone pipeline puts it within shouting distance of the 143,000 comments received by the IRS for its proposal to define dark money political groups. That, in turn, ranks second only to a proposed health insurance mandate on birth control among regulations drawing the most comments in recent years.
But the pro-Keystone pipeline comments are at the top of the list when it comes to choreographed writing campaigns, one of the devices used to influence regulators. The cluster of similarly worded comments organized via BKM Strategies is the largest Docket Wrench has ever identified.