Behind the ABQ 20 Week Abortion Campaign | Political Action Committee | Anti Abortion Movements


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BEHIND THE CAMPAIGN: ALBUQUERQUE’S 20-WEEK ABORTION BAN MOVEMENT On November 19th, Albuquerque voters rejected a 20-week abortion ban conceived by national anti-abortion organizations. Almost identical to a national ban advanced by Sen. Graham (R-SC), the Albuquerque measure provided a first-inthe-nation opportunity for organizations advancing the issue to test their messages and tactics on voters. Why Albuquerque? Albuquerque has long been a test market for products and companies. In addition to sizeable Anglo and Hispanic populations, the city’s neighborhoods are still generally homogenous by income level, providing good models for other parts of the country. McDonald’s, Redbox, IT’Z and others have all publicly conducted market tests in the city. Additionally, the city’s charter provides for citizen initiatives and provides for no prior legal review of ballot questions advanced by citizens. The Campaigns. City ethics and election codes require any groups or individuals involved in attempting to place a measure on a ballot or in support of a ballot measure to disclose all contributions and expenditures. Reporting of finances occurs through the City Clerk, appointed by the mayor, and a citizen ethics board investigates complaints. Campaign groups, traditionally called Political Action Committees (PACs) are called Measure Finance Committees (MFCs) in city ordinances and are referred to here as such. PROGRESSNOWNM has identified at least six different organizations and six individuals principally leading the assault on women’s rights through this campaign. While most properly disclosed their involvement, at least some national groups – notably Operation Rescue – provided behind-the-scenes support that was improperly unreported. Ethics complaints are pending. Campaign model. This report provides the first deep dive into the major donors, political operatives and tactics advanced by various groups advancing the ban. Many of the organizations are national and already publicly involved in the national 20-week abortion ban push. Operatives who worked on the Albuquerque ban gained experience that can be exported to other cities and states, as well as Congress. This report is intended to provide insight into this emerging 20-week ban movement and the people and money behind it. While we tracked more than 20 mail pieces, 5 TV and radio commercials, countless press events and volunteer training sessions, this report is not intended to be all encompassing. We could not attend every event and some expenditures and contributions were not publicly reported.




By The Numbers Contributions reported Votes cast FOR the ban Cost per FOR vote Spent TV & Radio Ads Estimated number of mail pieces sent to voters

$445,374 38,898 $11.45 $218,000 141,100
The Breakdown

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ABQ Voters For Late Term Abortion Ban MFC WHO: Publicly founded by Bud & Tara Shaver, former interns for Kansas-based Operation Rescue who relocated to Albuquerque in 2010 with the expressed purpose of shutting down abortion clinics in the state. Though the couple founded a splinter group, Project Defending Life, upon arrival they maintain close ties to Operation Rescue. Troy Newman, President of Op. Rescue called the Shavers the former interns he is “most proud of.” Operation Rescue provided technical and IT support to the Shavers as they began the process of collecting signatures to get the ordinance language on the ballot. The group is closely connected with Created Equal, an Ohio-based graphic anti-abortion advocacy group currently using a graphic billboard-sized truck to advocate for the ban (see below). DOLLARS (as of Nov 18, 2013): • CONTRIBUTIONS: $31,187 • EXPENDITURES: $15,507 • CASH ON HAND: $11,610 MAJOR SUPPORTERS: • Project Defending Life, the Shaver’s personal Operation Rescue-like organization affiliated with Catholic Church leaders, $10,500 • Mostly other small $10-$1000 individual donors MAJOR EXPENDITURES: • $2,500 in video production for DVD-based videos distributed through local churches • $1,615 for 11,500 ! page flyers, 4000 ! page flyers, 25 full-page flyers • $3,672 for 500 yard signs and other printing • $3,149 for 750 yard signs and 1,000 bumper stickers • $2,035 to Univision for Spanish-language advertising • $500 to Vicente Franco, publisher of El Seminario newspaper • $1,979 to blog ETHICS COMPLAINTS AGAINST • Through emails and via the group’s website, they are promoting English and Spanish-language radio ads promoting the ordinance. These expenditures have not appeared on finance reports. Our investigation uncovered at least one $700 purchase of radio ad time on Christian Radio 101.7 KNKT that is not, yet, reported. [Ethics complaint pending]



WhoIs domain data shows that Operation Rescue manages the domain and website for the group’s website ( [Ethics Complaint filed and under investigation]

Protect ABQ Women and Albert Brown MFC WHO: Primarily supported by Albert Brown, a Sandia Labs employee who has given more than $53,000 to the group thus far, the group is managed by Elisa Martinez, a conservative issue and campaign operative who most recently worked for the Texasbased Libre Initiative, a Koch-brothers funded group designed to turn Hispanics into conservative voters. Some volunteers and staff for the Protect ABQ Women and Albert Brown MFC assisted in the gathering of qualifying signatures but then split off to form their own MFC. Their tactics are more traditional campaign activities (mail, phones, door-to-door) and do not use the graphic fetus pictures advanced by other groups such as ABQ Voters. DOLLARS (as of Nov 18, 2013): • CONTRIBUTIONS: $97,828 • EXPENDITURES: $55,394 ($7,622 as in-kind) • COH: $34,812 MAJOR SUPPORTERS: • Sandia National Labs/Lockheed employees, $59,272 total (60.5% of total raised) • Arcelia Litchfield, Dept of US Forest Service in ABQ, $5,000 • Dennis Vigil, Engineer/Lin Media (KRQE), $5,000 MAJOR EXPENDITURES: • $31,077 to Red Tag Strategies, a Republican mail and media firm run by Adam Feldman, a former Gov. Martinez administration official turned mail and campaign consultant for McCleskey Media and Martinez-affiliated candidates. o Includes $29,345 for Absentee Ballot Mailers to 41,000 households (Oct. 25) • 7,000 post card stamps • $3,000 for telephone town hall system (Oct. 25) ETHICS COMPLAINTS AGAINST • Albert Brown, the group’s single largest funder, has provided more than $53,000 to the MFC. The Election Code requires any group receiving contributions greater than 1/3 of the mayor’s salary to rename the group after those large donors. [Ethics complaint filed with City Clerk on Nov. 11]



Knights of Columbus MFC WHO: Supported by donations from multiple in-state chapters of the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal arm of the Catholic Church. The group funds billboard advertisements through Clear Channel Outdoor. DOLLARS (as of Nov 15, 2013): • CONTRIBUTIONS: $7,583 • EXPENDITURES: $3,913 • COH: $3,670 MAJOR SUPPORTERS: • Chapters of the Knights of Columbus from across New Mexico • Albert Brown, $1,000 MAJOR EXPENDITURES: • $3,400 to Clear Channel Outdoor for billboards in favor of the ordinance.

ABQ Deserves Better MFC WHO: Run out of the FaithWorks Gifts & Bookstore at 3301 Menaul NE, ABQ Deserves Better is funded almost entirely by a single Knights of Columbus chapter of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, a conservative donor from Belen and Sarah Wilson of Tijeras. The group has primarily funded newspaper ads in the Albuquerque Journal and a handful of flyers. DOLLARS (as of Nov 18, 2013): • CONTRIBUTIONS: $45,798 ($1,198 in-kind) • EXPENDITURES: $31,956 • COH: $13,842 MAJOR SUPPORTERS: • Knights of Columbus chapter of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, $5,000 • Sarah Wilson of Tijeras, $11,500 and in-kind support • Carlsbad Caverns Trading Co., $20,000 MAJOR EXPENDITURES: • $30,756 for advertisements in the Albuquerque Journal



$1,200 for radio ads on Christian radio station KNKT-FM

Susan B Anthony List & Charlotte Lozier Foundation MFC WHO: A national political action committee (PAC) originally conceived to support pro-life candidates for office, the group has expanded its mission to include advocacy for a national 20-week abortion ban. That ban was most recently advanced by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC). The group was a late arrival to the ABQ abortion ban debate but they appear to be using ABQ’s municipal campaign as a testing ground for strategy and messaging to be used on the national level. Andreson “Andy” Blom a national conservative leader who led Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign state offices in Hawaii and Hawaii’s ballot initiative effort to define marriage to exclude LGBT couples runs the group’s ABQ effort. Blom has also been a fellow at the Center for Civic Virtue and American Principles Project, both super-conservative advocacy organizations. Susan B Anthony List MFC pamphlets and campaign material often appear alongside ABQ Voters MFC’s at ABQ Voter MFC events. DOLLARS (as of Nov 18, 2013): • CONTRIBUTIONS: $262,978 • EXPENDITURES: $299,944 • COH: $-36,966 MAJOR SUPPORTERS: • Charlotte Lozier Foundation, a 501c3 affiliate of the Susan B Anthony List PAC, $45,000 • George Suter of Dekalb, IL. Republican super-donor ($123,000+ in contributions to Republicans in 2012) and processed food company heir, $10,000 • Am erican Values Action Fund, conservative PAC, $30,000 • Albert Brown, Sandia Technologist (sponsor of Protect ABQ Women), $40,000 • M ary Sundy, St. Louis Homemaker, $10,000 • Trinity Industries, Hobbs, NM oilfield service company, $40,000 MAJOR EXPENDITURES: • $195,200 on advertising (TV) • $10,400 for television ad buy consulting and production • $18,194 to Susan B Anthony List national for staff salaries, consulting and various administrative expenses • $12,086 to Blom Andresen for consulting, campaign management • $27,210 for various printing and design • ETHICS COMPLAINTS AGAINST



The MFC reports spending more than $40,000 more than they reported receiving, indicating a failure to disclose contributions in a timely manner [Ethics complaint pending] The Charlotte Lozier Foundation, the group’s single largest funder, has provided more than $45,000 to the MFC. The Election Code requires any group receiving contributions greater than 1/3 of the mayor’s salary to rename the group after those large donors. [Ethics complaint filed with City Clerk on Nov. 1

Created Equal (not independently registered) WHO: An Ohio-based anti-abortion group known for using graphic pictures to protest abortion rights on campuses, Created Equal ( launched on Albuquerque a billboard-sized box truck complete with graphic pictures of dead fetuses. The disclosure on the truck clearly says it is paid for by Created Equal but the group has not registered as an MFC as city ordinances require. DOLLARS (as of Nov 8, 2013):! • CONTRIBUTIONS: ??? • EXPENDITURES: ??? • COH: ??? MAJOR SUPPORTERS: • Unknown MAJOR EXPENDITURES: • Unknown ETHICS COMPLAINTS AGAINST • The organization has not registered and the City Clerk reports no Ethics Complaints or attempts to register the organization.

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