Convention of States Action Shenanigans

Convention of States Actions Shenanigans



By Karen Schumacher


The Convention of States Action (COSA) conducted some groundwork prior to its coming into Idaho and promoting its calling for a Convention of States to the legislature.  COSA had over $8 million dollars in revenue in 2022.


COSA also had a Convention of States Political Fund  in 2022, and a political action committee called Conservative Action for Idaho PAC (CAI).  When Convention of States Political Fund is searched under the donor box on the Idaho Secretary of State (SOS) site, it shows that all contributions are made to the CAI.  When Conservative Action for Idaho is searched under the Candidates & PACs box, it shows how money was spent, a large part going to advertising agencies.


On the 01/01/2021 to 12/31/2021 CAI Campaign Financial Disclosure Report Summary it shows contributions were made to the Idaho Republican Party.  Much of this money went to Republican committees located throughout the state, but there were also contributions to individual candidates and different organizations.  Some of those organizations included $20,000 to Melaleuca Inc; $6,000 to Beco Construction Company; $10,000 to Richard And Peggy Larsen Farms; $10,000 to TransCanada Pipeline U.S.A.; $20,000 to Idaho Land Fund; $5,000 to Idaho Conservative Growth Fund; and $5,000 to Idaho Victory Fund, which has its own nefarious background.


Candidates receiving money included $1,000 to Julie Yamamoto; $2,000 to Jim Rice; $1,000 to Mary Souza; $1,000 to Macomber For Idaho Attorney General; $500.00 to Blanksma For Idaho; $500.00 to McGrane For Idaho; $1,500.00 to Chuck Winder; $500.00 to Wendy Horman; $250.00 to Laura Lickley; and $250.00 to Dustin Manwaring.


In 2022, CAI spent thousands of dollars in opposition to and support of Idaho candidates through advertising agencies, $36,217.00 was spent just in April, 2022, and $69,704.24 in May.  Amounts paid to individual advertising agencies can be found here, along with amounts spent to oppose Judy Boyle and support Rep. Syme, Mike Kingsley,  James Holtzclaw, Barbara Ehardt, Mike Moyle, and Kelly Anthon.  On this April, 2022 CAI Disclosure form, $5,100.00 was paid to “The Political” on the 25th to oppose Judy Boyle (pg 14).  This is a firm in Louisiana whose work is to get candidates elected.


This CAI Disclosure form shows that COSPF made contributions to the CAI in the amounts of $50,000 and $10,000 on separate dates in May, 2022.  No Super Pac called the “Convention of States Political Fund” could be found on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) website.


Also, there were two contributions made to CAI by Conservative Action for America (CAA), one on April 20 for $1,000 and another for $50,000 made on April 25, 2022.  In 2022, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) alleged that COSPF founder, Richard Johnson, formed CAA “in Arizona to hide the identity of major donors to its super PAC.”  Conservative Action for America cannot be found as a PAC when searched on the Arizona website from 2020-2024.  CMD also alleged that “Conservative Action for America used a fake address to register as a nonprofit there.”  In Montana, COSPF was found guilty of violating campaign laws by “by failing to adequately disclose its in-state activity with his office.”  In another 2022 complaint filed against COSPF in Montana, Richard A. Johnson is listed as the treasurer on page 2.


Looking at this 2022 CAI Campaign Financial Disclosure Report Summary, Conservative Action for America is listed on page three with the same Arizona address.  The reason this is so confusing is there are two separate Conservative Action for America groups, both created by COSA individuals.


This 990 tax form lists CAA Inc as a corporate 501(c)(4) non-profit in Arizona with over two million dollars in total revenue and RJ Johnson as president.  The only information that could be found on RJ Johnson is here.


There is also the CAA PAC,  Conservative Action for America PAC in Virginia, that was a FEC registered Super PAC from 7/22 through 2023 with Mark Meckler as treasurer.


Donors aren’t listed, however CAA “Inc.” made contributions: $600,000 to American Principles Project; $30,000 to Citizens Against Expanded Gambling; $51,000 to Conservative Action for America PAC; $51,000 to Conservative Action for Idaho; $876,000 to Convention of States Action; $677,000 to Convention of States Political Fund; $49,000 to Stop Prop 1 in DC; and $160,000 to Wisconsin Alliance for Reform.


When looking at CAA “PAC” donations received, a Crownquest individual donated $1 million dollars to the CAA “PAC.”  Tim Dunn is the Crownquest CEO and is on the Board of Directors for Convention of States.  CAA “Inc” in Arizona gave $51,000 to the CAA PAC.  The FEC registered Super PAC, Congressional Reform Fund, whose treasurer was Mark Meckler, also gave $39,637 to the CAA “PAC.”  All documents of the Congressional Reform Fund, which terminated in August, 2022,  can be found here,  Timothy Dunn contributed a total of $65,000 to the Congressional Reform Fund Super Pac.


Under the expenditures tab, the CAA “PAC” paid $500,000 to Secure Our Freedom Action Fund; $10,000 to Johnson Jordahl; and $7,000 to Koch & Hoos.


COSA, through its PACs, spent money to have specific Idaho legislators supported, while targeting Rep. Boyle in opposition, and engaging in the same activity in other states.


There is also a CAI Campaign Financial Disclosure Report Summary from 6/1/22 to 6/30/22 showing its expenditures.


501(c)(4) groups have very specific limitations on how money can be used and distributed, especially related to campaign finance.


While this may be considered “dark money” as was suggested by CMD and others, most information about where the money came from, who is involved, and how that money is shuffled around has been fairly easy to find, with a few exceptions.  This all feels more like a slush fund or sloppy shell game.  What is striking, is all of it was shut down when the campaign law violations were filed against COSPF in June, 2022 in Montana.


The flow of money is difficult to follow but basically it is all the work of Mark Meckler and his cohorts, creating organizations, funding them, shuffling the money around, then getting into trouble and shutting the organizations down.  They aren’t alone, much has been written about how these activities undermine our election process.  How did America get to this?  Well, it was a Supreme Court case that sanctioned this activity, it isn’t even regulated.  Corporations have free speech rights?


The CMD attacks billionaires for dumping money towards the right, and the right goes after those funders of the left like Soros.  Round and round we go.  These people are in their own little bubble creating whirlwinds of chaos for the rest of us.


Certainly the Founders did not have money thrown at them to support only certain positions, or wealthy organizations using their money to influence the populous in one direction or another.  Why has this been allowed?  Why even bother voting when there is so much monetary malfeasance behind the political arena?  Are potential candidates and incumbents for office cognizant of these monetary games in which they are the pawns?  Where do billionaires get off thinking they, through their wealth, have the ability to change the course of a country and how people should live, vote, or even think?  Can they not find a better, more positive way in which to spend their riches?  Surely, somewhere, there are some kids who need new shoes and clothes.


And now, Idaho legislators are being duped into thinking that a Convention of States is a marvelous avenue to pursue.  This agenda is not grassroots, or even from Idaho citizens.  It originates with a bunch of individuals who have money and because of that, think they can pay their way into states and lead a charge for Lord only knows what reason.  Do legislators really want to tangle Idaho up with an organization that has such questionable backgrounds and activities?  If legislators were made aware of this and other COSA activity, would they support SCR 112 or the other related bills?


It got this far because we as the self-governed have failed to do our job in holding elected officials accountable, scrutinizing every aspect of what they do, and who they are choosing to follow.  Let elected officials know this suspicious resolution should not be passed.