Media whores are throwing Marco Rubio's name in the ring for President since his water boring incident. There was even a misguided OpEd in the Miami Herald this morning by a Cuban born Journalist called "Marco Rubio's march to the White House". Looks like I will have to revive my Stop-o-Marco, Rubio Sucks Campaign.
I had a chance this weekend to view Marco Rubio's PAC Reclaim America briefly. I saw some money fly out to American Caging for 'Caging'. Whatever that is.
|Just some of the disbursements to American Caging from Rubio's Pac Reclaim America.|
|From American Caging, website. They do database management and credit card processing, etc.|
For the real story on the President Maureen E. Otis
American Caging is in Texas, so they say. I looked at all the pictures on their website:
|Just look at all that data...and who else is looking at it?|
I hope to God it is number 3. Would serve Rubio right.
However, I hope they are not sending personal voter information of voters they wish to challenge (Democrats) overseas, opening them up to identity theft and more. Let them do that to their own party.
Some entries I found on the internet on American Caging:
Now as background to this, I have reported how something was rotten with American Caging in Houston Texas. A caging company usually handles the donations for certain groups. Mainly processing and other matters. Well American Caging is associated with what to say the least appear to be conservative groups that seem to be making a lot of money for themselves versus money spent on the "cause".
Seems that these posters are annoyed with the movers and shakers lining their pockets while stirring up unfounded fears.
The long and the short of it is that some old material got dredged up simutaneously with the Washington Times articles on money mismangement by Simcox and the Minutemen. Names like Politechs and Mary Parker Lewis came up along with the use of Diener Consulting and American Caging, which led to Maureen Otis and her dozens of organizations, Richard Norman, Phil Sheldon, William Greene and several others, all of whom are tied to the Alan Keyes Universe of issue creation and fundraising.
The problematic part of this incestuous little circle is that it now reaches into many areas of the GOP, and these populist gadflies are gaining political traction.
In any event, it is a long thread and a bit of a data dump, but there's some good stuff for anybody who wants to dig a little deeper.
and more on caging:
Vote caging, as commonly known, is a voter suppression tactic. The term is derived from a direct mail term. In the direct mail industry, when a third party runs a direct mailing campaign on behalf of a client organization, one of the activities undertaken is to compile all of the responses, handle contributions and to deposit received funds into the client's account, and also update the database of names and addresses that were mailed to with the responses or corrected addresses obtained. Since some of the activities were controlled carefully (donations and deposits) and conducted in a manner similar to the activities within a "teller's cage," the process is called "caging" and the end result of the data entry updates and address corrections is called a "caging list." This led to the term "voter caging" for voter registration analysis and challenges conducted via mass mailings.
Voter caging is the process of sending mail to the addresses of registered voters with the intent of challenging their votes if the mail goes undelivered and the voter still shows up at the polls. It still happens, but the most famous instance occurred in 1981, when Republicans sent thousands of letters to black and Latino voters in New Jersey, hoping to block as many as possible of these likely Democratic voters from voting. As a result of that stunt, the Republican National Committee entered into a consent decree with the Democratic National Committee agreeing not to engage in voter caging unless a court says it's okay. They leave it to third-party conservative groups now.
Minutemen leader defers to caging house
This blog has previously reported on the criticism from current and former members of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) regarding how the organization has accounted for over $1.6 million in donations. Jerry Seper at The Washington Times published another article this week updating his previous reports on the group's secret finances. Seper claims he was told the caging facility would answer recent questions, however instead the reporter was deflected:
Maureen E. Otis -- president of American Caging Inc. in Stafford, Texas, an agency hired to collect, deposit and disburse donations to the civilian border-patrol group -- told The Washington Times that neither MCDC President Chris Simcox nor the group's board of directors had given her permission to "disclose any numbers."Part of the controversy stems from the donations being routed through a Virginia-based charity headed by conservative activist Alan Keyes.
Instead, Mrs. Otis issued a statement saying only that all Minuteman donations have been "securely collected, counted and deposited" in MCDC bank accounts.
In addition to MCDC, the American Caging clients include Declaration Foundation, Declaration Alliance and the Declaration Alliance Political Action Committee. It also has handled funds for Mr. Keyes' unsuccessful political campaigns, including his failed 2004 senatorial race in Illinois, for which it was paid $30,530.The current President of the Minutemen, Chris Simcox, continues to blame criticism on "a small handful of disgruntled people who have been terminated." However, it seems like Alan Keyes may be the one with questions to answer.
American Caging also handles other clients aligned with MCDC, Mr. Keyes and the Alliance organizations, including Diener Consulting Inc., which serves as the Minuteman group's public-relations arm, as it did in Mr. Keyes' unsuccessful presidential and senatorial campaigns; and Renew America, a fundraising organization founded by Mr. Keyes that provides a link for donations to MCDC through Declaration Alliance.
Other American Caging clients include Response Unlimited, which makes mailing lists -- including the MCDC membership -- available to conservative mailers and telemarketers and has an "exclusive contract" with Declaration Foundation; and RightMarch.com, which raised $500,000 for Mr. Keyes' 2004 senatorial campaign and helps raise Minuteman donations through a link on its Web page to Declaration Alliance.
Maureen Otis: A Mystery Inside A MysteryWhile reporters have given their utmost attention to anecdotal points and gaffes of political candidates, Maureen Otis has passed invisibly among great events, given no notice, a figure of almost no possible consequence; she is something like an attractive woman whose face blends into the crowd, of small notice in a photo taken on the cusp of some national tragedy, except: she slowly develops an eerie presence as you flick through other pictures of historical significance, and there she is, always off to the side, in every one of them.
I enjoy looking out for interesting people on the fringes, yet it was only after I read the excellent “The Gary Johnson Swindle and the Degradation of Third Party Politics” by Marc Ames that I came across her name. Ames isn’t dazzled by this idiosyncratic candidate as others have been, bur disgusted instead at what he sees as a very dirty, nasty trick by a few powerful men. He notices something that the roving herd which must invest every Mitt Romney “golly” with existential significance doesn’t have time for: the filing papers for this clean hands third party candidate’s PAC, “Our American Initiative”, are signed by two long time conservative operators, James Lacy and the near invisible woman, Maureen Otis.
(the Our American Initiative registration documents can be found here; I’ve also uploaded them to sendspace)
Before we move entirely to Otis, a short note on Lacy will indicate why Ames was so disturbed at seeing his name on the filing document, as well as hinting at Otis’s own skills. Lacy specializes in direct mail, often employing mailers that are deceptive, cajoling seniors that some unrelated new proposition will cause medicare cuts, or say, convincing liberals to vote against a minimum wage law by sending out a flier that has a panel of prominent democrats with the directive to vote against the new law1. The politicians whose likenesses are used, are all in support of the law, and have no knowledge of the fliers.
Otis shares some of the skill set of Lacy, but where Lacy is a contained virus, Otis is closer to a wide-ranging avian flu. She runs a firm in Stafford, Texas, called American Caging and the name may or may not have a malign connotation. Caging, in this possible sense, came to broader attention when Monica Goodling, former justice department counsel, testified that the deputy attorney general had not been fully honest about his knowledge of an appointee’s involvement with “vote caging” in the 2004 election. “What the heck is vote caging, and why does nobody care?”, asked Dalia Lithwick in Slate. She then gave a succinct, solid answer:
Vote caging is an illegal trick to suppress minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) by getting them knocked off the voter rolls if they fail to answer registered mail sent to homes they aren’t living at (because they are, say, at college or at war).The appointee, Tim Phillips would pointedly disagree, in a short piece by Jane Mayer, “Bullets”:
“Caging is not a derogatory term,” he [Tim Phillips, the appointee in question] said, as soon as he got on the phone.”It’s a direct-mail term. It derives from caging categories of mail in steel shelves and files.” He said that the implication that he had run an operation to suppress African-American voters, which could be a violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, was “false and close to libelous.”By contrast, the description that American Caging gives of its activities on its website leaves one puzzled. They appear to be involved in noble, charitable work for the betterment of those in urgent need, that has nothing to do with direct mail, with or without voter suppression, or elections at all:
Headquartered in Houston, Texas, American Caging is one of the leading providers of lockbox and data management services, founded in 1990. Since the company’s foundation, it has maintained its core focus for accurate, trustworthy and affordable lock box services.
Our first clients hired us, not because we were located in Washington, D.C. or because we had expensive processing equipment. They came to us because of the high level of customer service, our affordable pricing and because they trusted us to accurately process their contributions.
Over the years our company grew and expanded primarily because of referrals from existing clients who were part of the ACI family. In early 2001, the national headquarters of the American Red Cross joined ACI’s family. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, ACI processed hundreds of thousands of contributions from around the world to the American Red Cross. In 11 years, we went from a very small operation with a handful of clients, to the caging company primarily responsible for handling contributions during one of our worst national tragedies. We are proud and honored to be a part of the effort to heal the nation.