Believe it or not, the so-called birthers are back. As if the post Citizens United world of campaign finance wasn’t sketchy enough, along comes a new super PAC created specifically to regurgitate racist conspiracy theories claiming President Obama is not a natural-born American, and thereby supposedly barred from holding the presidency.
The group has already started running ads.
The new super PAC, the Article II Political Action Committee, claims to be “dedicated to the development and organization of a virtual army of patriots whose mission is to ensure that all citizens and elected officials clearly understand the true intent and meaning of the presidential eligibility clause in Article 2 Section 1 of the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the land.” The PAC launched on December 8 and was registered with the Federal Election Commission on December 13, 2011.
Release of the Obama birth certificate last year didn’t deter this group even a bit. They’ve repeatedly claimed that many of Obama’s documents, including his certificate of live birth, are forgeries and they’ve developed a long list of new rationales for their racism.
On December 20, the super PAC launched with a full-page ad in the print edition of the conservative Washington Times national weekly. The ad contains yet another twist in the birther conspiracy, this time claiming that president Obama has a false Social Security Number. This new twist melds racism with a nativist appeal, the headline blaring “Obama’s SSN Fails E-Verify System.” It also wrongly contends that because his father wasn’t an American citizen, that he “was Born a British Subject Governed by the British Nationality Act of 1948, and is currently also a British Protected Person and/or a British Citizen to this Day.” See ad here, and watch their first web ad below.
The ad was financed by Charles F. Kerchner Jr. a retired Commander in the US Navy Reserve. Kerchner has been running similar ads for the past two and a half years, and was party to one of the many different birther lawsuits that have been tossed out of court. Kerchner is an active member of the 1776 Tea Party faction.
The super racist super PAC is run by a who’s who of Tea Party birthers. Helen Tansey, a disgruntled former Democrat from Virginia who runs the website, T-Room, is the Article II super PAC director. Tansey has been highly critical of those concerned about the impact of birther attacks on the 14th Amendment, “trust me, NO thinking person is fooled by the blah blah blah coming from the extreme left side of the aisle regarding their silly 14th amd blabber. I know. I was one of you, that is until you put forward a candidate who has tri-allegiances – Britian[sic]/Kenya, Indonesia and American. Good grief, not all the Dem’s fell in line, rather thousands of us high tailed it outta there.”
Gary Wilmott of Simi Valley, California serves as the PAC treasurer. In addition to running the vitriolic birther blog, Give Us Liberty, Wilmott is also an active member of the Ventura County Tea Party. Oxnard resident George Miller, who sits on the steering committee of the Ventura County Tea Party, is also listed as a board member of the Article II super PAC. Despite the well-known stance of leaders like Miller, the Ventura County Tea Party partnered with the Tea Party Express last fall to be an official co-sponsor of the Tea Party Express / CNN GOP presidential candidate debate.
Retired Army Captain Pamela Barnett of Sacramento is also on the Article II PAC board of directors. Barnett runs the birther site Obama Ballot Challenge and has been a plaintiff in lawsuits filed by the self-anointed queen of the Obama-isn’t-a real-American crowd, Orly Taitz. Barnett has also served as a campaign manager for Taitz when she unsuccessfully ran for California Secretary of State in 2010 (Taitz claims to be running for Senate this year).
Richard (Rich) Garoutte of Eugene, Oregon rounds out the Article II super PAC board of directors. He is also currently serving as the NW Regional Coordinator for the Birther Summit USA and has been actively supporting the Obama State Ballot Challenge 2012.
To go along with the super PAC, they’ve also set up the Article II Legal Defense Fund to pay for more lawyers to file more lawsuits. After failing in Georgia, the group’s next target is Pennsylvania, where Kerchner is leading a group to file a ballot access challenge to President Obama.
Financial information for the Article II super PAC has not yet been filed with the Federal Election Commission, so it is not yet known how successful the group will be in raising funds. IREHR will be watching closely to see what comes of these maneuvers.
Aggressive moves by the Article II PAC group have generated dissention in the birther ranks. Orly Taitz, once a close ally to several of the Article II figures (and a member of Tea Party Nation), openly trashed the group and called on her followers to stay away from it and any blogs that advertise for the group. Taitz wrote on her blog, “Even though I’ve been working on this issue for 3 years and have done 99% of the work in this area, I never received 1 single cent from this group. Not only that, several member of this group engaged in vicious defamation of my character. None of these bloggers is an attorney. Director of this group is a lifelong Democrat from Virginia, big Clinton supporter, Helen Tansey. Tansey is not an attorney, according to her bio she is unemployed since 2009, has only a BS. She sent mass-emails defaming me.”
Taitz also publicly pulled out of the upcoming “Birther Summit” scheduled for March 28-30 in Washington DC. The summit, which will feature several of the Article II super PAC board members, includes a conference, rally, and day for lobbying Congress.
In related news, Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that his office has scheduled a March 1 press conference to release the “findings” of the “Cold Case Posse” that has been “investigating” President Obama’s birth certificate and eligibility to be president. Arpaio’s decision to investigate Obama follows an August 17, 2011 meeting with Tea Party representatives from Surprise, Arizona. The 1776 Tea Party and the Minuteman PAC have been actively promoting Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse.