So, I guess Miss Daisy finally fired her chauffeur

Lenore Broughton’s pointlessly expensive superPAC, Vermonters First, isn’t known for putting out press releases. Its activities were ultra-top-secret in its own self-aggrandizing view of the world. Broughton is notorious for dodging photographers, and I gave her right-hand man the nickname “Tayt Brooks, International Man of Mystery” for his refusal to speak with reporters. And outfitted his photo with an impenetrable disguise.

The Tayter managed to spend more than a million dollars of Broughton’s inheritance while doing absolutely nothing to move the needle of the 2012 campaign. Still, he seemed to be in her good graces.

But last week’s “Fair Game” column by Paul “The Huntsman” Heintz brought some fresh news. Heintz referred to Brooks’ tenure with VF in the past tense, and reported that since January, Brooks has been the Vermont executive director of American Majority, a national conservative astroturf group with shadowy connections to the Koch Brothers empire.

Yeah, American Majority’s not big on press releases either. The only sign of Brooks on the organization’s website is a pair of brief posts about current events; no hint of his organizational role.

For those just joining us, AM is a tea party-connected group that focuses on raising “a national farm team of conservative leaders.” Last month, it held a seminar in Rutland for aspiring conservative candidates, as documented on GMD here.  And, as noted by colleague Jack McCullough, Brooks has claimed credit for the electoral success of Burlington School Board candidate Scot Shumski — a fact that apparently caught Shumski by surprise.

Anyhoo, nice to know that the Tayter has found himself a comfy landing spot.  

As I’ve said, repeatedly, ad infinitum, ad nauseam, the conservative movement’s ability to keep on employing the same ol’ same ol’ hacks, no matter how many times they lose, is both inspiring and befuddling. The movement certainly doesn’t operate on free-market principles; otherwise, they’d ditch these no-account losers.

As, apparently, Lenore Broughton finally did with the I.M.O.M. It’ll be interesting to see if Vermonters First tries again Under New Management, or if (as I suspect) Broughton has had her fill of writing big checks and getting nothing in return.

One curious thing, though: the undistinguished men of Vermont conservatism — Brooks, Rob Roper, John McClaughry, Jim Barnett, Corry Bliss, et al. — have no trouble getting gigs no matter how many times they crap out. It’s different for Darcie Johnston, the only woman in the Green Mountain Tea Party Brigade; she’s too aggressive, too scorched-earth. And she’s having a hard time finding work.

Could it be that the treehouse of Vermont conservatism is basically a little boys’ club, more welcoming to those endowed with external genitalia? It would seem so.  

4 thoughts on “So, I guess Miss Daisy finally fired her chauffeur

  1. signals the end of her rightwing private super-PAC, or another election cycle of Ms. Moneybags flitting hither & yon to avoid the snapshotting papparazzi laying wait or standing sentry around every corner & behind every tree to fill their dossiers with glossies of the mystery woman as she attempts to hide in the varying venues she slips in & out of while being forced to answer “very silly questions”:… she does appear in public therefore fair game.

    If they rack up enough they could form a baseball-card trading club.


  2. In addition to the Rutland training, American Majority also advertised another candidate training May 31st in Northfield.  (No actual word on whether or not either training actually happened – just that they were advertised).

    I would strongly suspect that Lenore Broughton is writing checks to American Majority to fund Tayt Brooks’ position and the Vermont events.

    Think about it – why would a national right wing organization devote any resources to funding activities here in tiny little left wing Vermont? Any national group would much prefer to spend their own resources on places with more political importance – swing states, states with more electoral votes, states with competitive elections for Congress and control of the state legislature, or red states where they can support a teavangelical take-over of the state Republican Party.

    According to the group’s Wikipedia page they have “staffed offices in Virginia, Wisconsin, Vermont, and Pennsylvania”. Which one of these things is not like the others?

    The only logical reason for a group like American Majority to have a staffer in Vermont, to be spending money here is that they’ve got a local donor underwriting the whole thing (no doubt with a nice 10-20% administrative fee for doing the paperwork).

    And it makes sense for Lenore too. She hates the spotlight focused on her, goes out of her way to avoid being highlighted (refusing to have her picture taken as though she is a vampire, writing her donation checks so they don’t appear in candidate financial reports until after the election, etc).  

    If she keeps pouring money into her SuperPAC, her donations will be subject to public disclosure. And there is the public connection of candidates it supports  to the toxicity of her name.

    But if she launders the money through a national 501c3 like American Majority, there is no reporting required, no public disclosure – and there is a charitable deduction.. And with a nice cooperative group like that, the funds can be targeted to financing a guy like Tayt Brooks to run around the state doing right wing organizing, recruiting and training stealth right wing candidates to run for office, and advancing Lenore and the national conservative movement’s priorities in the state.  (And, if she wants to be more overtly political, American Majority Action is a 501c4 that can run political advocacy ads – although no tax deduction…)

    Because of lax reporting requirements (and the unwillingness of Broughton, Brooks or American Majority to share details with the press), we’ll never have confirmation of whether it is true or not. But I’d be stunned if that isn’t the way the money trail would go if we could actually trace it.  

    Of course if that isn’t the case, they could also disclose their donors and put my suspicions to rest – couldn’t they Tayt?  

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