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.