Black Dems Key for Pro-Cochran PAC | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Black Dems Key for Pro-Cochran PAC

From left, Bishop Ronnie Crudup, developer Socrates Garrett and late Mississippi Development Authority official Gene McLemore attended an endorsement announcement for former Gov. Haley Barbour in 2007.

From left, Bishop Ronnie Crudup, developer Socrates Garrett and late Mississippi Development Authority official Gene McLemore attended an endorsement announcement for former Gov. Haley Barbour in 2007.

A super PAC that supports Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran leaned heavily on well-known operatives in state Democratic politics.

All Citizens for Mississippi, formed to help Cochran in his bid over state Sen. Chris McDaniel, reported to the Federal Election Commission that it raised $144,685, all of which came from Mississippi Conservatives, another pro-Cochran super PAC.

All Citizens reported paying Bill Washington $34,000 in three separate payment and Roosevelt Daniels $20,000 in four separate payments, all for the purpose of get-out-the-vote efforts. Washington and Daniels also recently worked for state Sen. John Horhn during the 2014 special election for Jackson mayor; Daniels is a former aide to Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.

James Warren, known as Scooby Doo, or just Scooby usually, in political circles, received $16,000 in three separate payments. Warren confirmed to The Clarion-Ledger in mid-June that he would get involved with the Republican primary despite his longtime association with the Democratic Party.

"I called D.C. and told them what was going on with the tea party ... But I can't do anything after (June) 24th because I'm a Democrat," Warren told the newspaper, adding that either Cochran or McDaniel would have to lock horns with him in November when he would be working to elect Democrats.

Other canvassers who were paid in smaller amounts include Ronny Barrett, Levon Owens and Democratic state Rep. Credell Calhoun.

In addition to the door-to-door canvassers, the report detailed other campaigning expenses including brochures, consulting, use of private vehicles, rent for office space, and payments to the leader of the PAC, Crudup, and its treasurer, Jacqueline Vann.

All Citizens for Mississippi also reported paying $19,000 to Best Solved Solutions with a recorded address identical to that of James Warren. Best Solved Solutions is a cleaning service registered with the Mississippi secretary of Sate to Mary Jackson and Cleo Ratliff, with a different address than recorded with the FEC.

The FEC report shows $33,562.10 left over after the reporting period and covers activity from June 6 to June 30.

Crudup told The Clarion-Ledger on July 9 that he had raised $200,000 through friendly fundraisers in mostly black communities, but the campaign reports shows only two receipts, both from a super PAC called Mississippi Conservatives, and totaling $144,685. Henry Barbour—a nephew of former Gov. Haley Barbour and a member of the state and national Republican executive committees—founded Mississippi Conservatives.

Mississippi Conservative's FEC filings show a $142,000 disbursement to All Citizens. The Jackson Free Press reported on July 10 that All Citizens bought racially charged radio advertisements on June 20 at the Jackson radio stations WKXI, WJMI and WOAD totaling $9,825 to air June 21-24,but All Citizens has not listed any of these expenditures on of its filings with the FEC. The PAC also failed to file 24-hour reports for its expenditures before the runoff as required by federal election law.

Media buyer Jon Ferrell from National Media Research Planning and Placement signed checks to those radio stations through the buying firm American Media Advocacy Group, which shares an address with National Media. None of All Citizen's FEC filings showed payments to Ferrell, National Media, American Media or Triton, the company that owns the radio stations on which All Citizen's ads appeared.

Previously, conservatives question whether the National Republican Senatorial Committee was involved with paying for racially charged advertisements that spurred Democrats to turn out and support Cochran. So far none of the campaign-finance records the Jackson Free Press has reviewed has reported receiving any money from the NRSC even though the group reported giving $175,000 to Ferrell's National Media Research Planning and Placement.

Contacted this morning at his Alexandria, Va. address, Ferrell told the Jackson Free Press that he could not talk about his clients, and named NRSC and All Citizens.

Bishop Crudup, who started the All Citizens PAC, has a longstanding relationship with Gov. Haley Barbour. He participated in a 2007 endorsement of Barbour for re-election, along with black Jackson businessman and power broker Socrates Garrett. Garrett, a local contractor and owner of the black newspaper The Mississippi Link, was the largest contributor for recently elected Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber. Garrett told the Jackson Free Press this week that he has handed his business concerns and newspaper over to his children.

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