Today is the thirteenth day (for review, see parts twelve, eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two and one) in which I look at Unity08’s 4th Quarter donors, straight down in order from top to bottom of Unity08’s 4th Quarter IRS report. My intention is to provide some context to claims by Unity08 about itself. If you visit http://www.unity08.com/believe, you will find that Unity08, the president-electing corporation, makes this bold assertion:
Unity08 intends to fix this broken system by electing a bipartisan “Unity Ticket” to the White House in ’08 funded solely by small-dollar donations from everyday Americans. As a result the Unity08 President and Vice President will enter office not with favors owed to lobbyists and special interests but with a clear mandate from the American people to cooperate and provide courageous leadership on the most crucial, complex issues facing our country.
“Small-dollar donations” from “everyday Americans” and “people like you”? Let’s look at the actual donations and find out. Here’s today’s set:
1. Howard S. Rich and Andrea M. Rich, $5,000 donation. As with so many other of its reported donations, Unity08 does not report the occupation or employer of Howard S. Rich and Andrea M. Rich. And the address reported is not to a home, but rather to a suite in a Manhattan office building. This address is also listed as the home of U.S. Term Limits, of which Howard S. Rich is president. Together, the Riches have donated millions to libertarian political causes, given large donations to Republican candidates and party organizations (source: FEC search), and put large sums of money into ballot initiatives in various states. They sit on the board of the Cato Institute and are chummy with the likes of John Stossel. Howard Rich is on the board of the Club for Growth, which inserted itself into the Democratic Primary race in Iowa by paying for an advertisement against Howard Dean in which two paid actors railed, “I think Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs.”
2. Andrew Tsai, $5,000 contribution. Unity08 does not disclose Mr. Tsai’s occupation or employer, and there are a number of different people with the name “Andrew Tsai.” The location where this Andrew Tsai lives is a luxury apartment building in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City, with valet service, doormen, porters and its own gym and yoga club. An 1100 square foot apartment rents for $4,795 a month. Is that an everday American we’re talking about?
3. Malcolm Peabody, $100 donation in 4th Quarter, $350 total donations in 2006. The DC Charter Schools web page provides this biography of Malcolm Peabody:
Mr. Peabody is President of Peabody Corporation, a real estate development corporation he established in 1975 in Washington, DC. Mr. Peabody graduated from Harvard College in 1950 and Harvard Business School in 1952. He served as Executive Secretary of the New York State Commission Against Discrimination from 1959 to 1962. From 1967 to 1969 he was the Secretary of the Mayorï¾’s Committee of Minority Housing for the Boston Renewal Authority and the Civil Rights Advisor to his brother, Endicott Peabody, the Governor of Massachusetts. In 1969-73 he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Equal Opportunity at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Peabody was Chairman of the Washington International School from 1984-1995. In 1995 he established the Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS), which serves as the chief advocate for the public charter school movement in the District. He continues to serve as Chair of FOCUS, as well as the DC Public Charter School Coalition, to which all DC charter schools belong.
Mr. Peabody lives in a 3,520 square foot home with a tax-assessed value of $1.4 million.
4. Peter Muller, $5,000 donation. Peter Muller’s employer and occupation are not reported by Unity08, and his address is reported simply as “One Pierrepont Plaza”, a very large Brooklyn office building. There is no search result in google for a Peter Muller at that address. There are no federal campaign contributions with the name “Peter Muller” and the zipcode within which One Pierrepont Plaza sits. Peter Muller is too common a name to narrow down by itself. In short, I have absolutely no information to provide regarding Peter Muller.
And finally, that’s it for the 4th Quarter of 2006. Tomorrow, I’ll provide a summary, and a link to a static web page on which this information will be archived. Then it will be on to the 3rd Quarter!
My goal is, eventually, to provide information on all donors to Unity08 so that the movement’s support can be as fully characterized as possible. Unity08 COO Anya T. Harris has invited me to profile donors to Unity08 of less than $200 — but of course has not provided me with the currently non-public information necessary to do so, and has not responded to e-mail requests from me to provide that information.