As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Only Astroturf Front Groups Deserve Handouts

Mark Sanford's getting a lot of heat in his home state. People have set up a tent city in front of the Capitol and called it "Sanfordville," bearing an eerie resemblance to the Bonus Marcher's tent city that bedeviled Herbert Hoover. Maybe Sanford will call in the National Guard to shoot them, too.

For now, he's put up a TV ad explaining himself.

A nonprofit group with close ties to Gov. Mark Sanford will spend $230,000 on television ads defending Sanford’s opposition to some federal stimulus money.

Sanford will appear in the ads, sponsored by Carolinians for Reform. The group was founded by a handful of Sanford campaign donors and aims to educate the public about the governor’s positions. Sanford frequently has appeared in ads by similar groups that support his agenda.

Sanford said the ads, which begin airing today, are meant to clear up “confusion” about his position. Opponents, including lawmakers and the Democratic National Committee, have tried “to frighten a lot of teachers and law enforcement,” Sanford said.

How has this group, Carolinians for Reform, raised the money to put up ads in the past?

The group that is paying for the ads has been the subject of controversy.

Sanford directed more than $100,000 left over from a 2006 national governor’s conference, held in Charleston, to Carolinians for Reform. The convention had received a $150,000 state grant.

After state Sen. Jake Knotts, R-Lexington, discovered the transfer, Carolinians for Reform returned the money to the state. Sanford said there was nothing illegal or wrong about sending the money to the group though it did create an image problem.

In other words, Sanford has vowed for months not to give state money to help build schools or increase unemployment insurance, but he has no problem giving state money to a wingnut welfare front group that glorifies him in TV ads. Unbelievable.

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