The Louisiana Ethics Association Program’s website just released its first committee report for BAEO. The report’s filing date is listed as ten days prior to the election, which is its due date, but it just became available to the public on October 21st, 2015, or three days before the election. BAEO Action Fund Louisiana Political Action Committee’s statement of organization has been available through the Louisiana Ethics Administration’s website since September 4th.
Thus, as a lagniappe to the report that The New Orleans Tribune released yesterday, “Billionaires and Their Super PAC’s Vie for Control of Public Education in Louisiana,” I must add:
#11. Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO)
BAEO’s mission is to promote vouchers and school choice. BAEO’s former director of advocacy currently sits on the Louisiana Association of Public Charter School’s board of directors, and BAEO Louisiana partners with Louisiana Federation for Children. Shortly after the non-profit’s inception, George W. Bush’s administration financed BAEO with a million dollars.
While commonly known as a non-profit, BAEO Action Fund Louisiana PAC is affiliated with a 501(c)(4) organization: the BAEO Action Fund, which is based in Washington, DC. The committee report shows that BAEO Action Fund is the PAC’s only contributor. However, donors can contribute dark money through a 501(c)(4).
Furthermore, BAEO Action Fund LA PAC and Education Reform Now Advocacy support the same two BESE candidates. From September 15th through October 4th, the report lists two expenditures.
- $59,179 for Orange-Jones in radio ads
- $68,862 for Jada Lewis in radio ads
While these two committees support districts 2 and 8, Empower Louisiana IEC support districts 1, 3, 4 and 5. Is this a coincidence?
According to the Federal Election Campaign Act and Federal Election Commission regulations, “Super PACs,” or independent expenditure-only committees, can raise unlimited amounts of money, as long as they do not directly coordinate with the candidates and campaigns they support in terms of strategy.