MI: Dark Money Group Targets "Woke" Schools

Liberty Alliance USA is a dark money far right group in Missouri, and one of their projects is the Woke Heat Map, a map offering "an interactive tool designed to expose the insane actions of the radical Left." All of the places marked on the map are schools. Here are the evil woke offenses being called out.

* a school offering diversity, equity and inclusion training

* some university students started a podcast entitled "Angry White Men and How They Ruined the World"

* a high school distributed safe space and safe zone stickers for staff to put up to indicate LGBTQ allies

* antiracism training for middle school staff

* a school district offered a "coming out closet"

* all state schools are hiding CRT in the curriculum

* a report of the already-removed Maya Angelou math homework assignment

* a school district hired a supporter of CRT

* a quiz about political ideology

* university students vandalized a pro-life display

* the genderbread man, used in some school

* and a  probably-legitimate concern about the district where the admin told teachers to just hide any lessons that might cause trouble

I'll link to that site again, just in case you feel moved to use the handy reporting form for telling them about any other places exhibiting naughty wokeness.

We've seen these kind of tattling on school sites before, but this one is different because this is aimed at a larger audience, not just people upset about schools. Which means the widest possible audience of anti-wokers (sleepers?) now has a set of handy targets. And really, if there's anything we don't need in this country, it's people drawing targets on schools.

Who are these people? For that part, I'm going to turn this over to a twitter thread I've unrolled from Lindsey Simmons, a Missouri attorney who ran unsuccessfully for the legislature in 2020. There's a lot here. 

It has been one week since the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

In response, a dark-money group from Missouri launched a "Woke Heat Map" so that fascists can "fight back" against a "woke agenda."

Twelve locations are tagged.

All of them are schools.

First, some history.

Missouri is a safe haven for dark money groups.

Dark money is cash used to influence our politics from a concealed source. Usually it's passed through a non-profit on its way to support a candidate or cause. 
You might be thinking, "But wait! I have to input my info everytime I make a donation--with my employer and everything."

Yup. You do.

But the Supreme Court has made a distinction between giving to a candidate and independent expenditures. 
An independent expenditure is money spent on communications to support or oppose a candidate or cause--without coordinating with the candidate's committee.

At least, technically that's the rule.

Also, these "independent expenditure" groups can accept unlimited donations. 
You probably know them best as SuperPACs.

So how does it work? Well. You can donate $10M to a so-called non-profit that doesn't have to disclose its donors + that non-profit can give your $10M to a SuperPAC that can then send out $10M worth of mailers telling your community. 
Until 2016, Missouri was one of a few states with zero campaign contribution limits. This made us ground zero for dark money operations.

Recall that Eric Greitens was accused of sexual assault--but didn't resign until his dark money contacts threatened to be revealed.Image
So it likely won't surprise you that dark money groups continue to flourish in our state.

One of them is Liberty Alliance USA--a group that has launched a "Woke Heat Map" so that their followers know which specific spots to target for "fighting back" against the "woke agenda."Image
Every single one of these 12 locations is a school.

And these schools are being targeted for supporting trans students, offering African-American and multicultural curricula, diversity education, and promoting equity.

The map reads like an anti-democracy school hit list. 
Liberty Alliance USA purports to "promote Conservative principles" while "fighting the reckless embrace of Socialism."

They mention politicians "fighting" only "half-heartedly" to "protect conservative values"--a callout to any Republican not towing the fascist line.Image
But who is Liberty Alliance USA? Why target 12 different schools?

Well. Buckle up. Because Liberty Alliance USA isn't even it's name. It's quite literally a "Fictitious Name" for Cornerstone 1791.

This allows Cornerstone 1791 to try and hide its work and avoid accountability.Image
Cornerstone 1791 listed Kristen Blanchard-Ansley as its President, Secretary and member of its Board--along with Shane Bartee and William Greim.

The Articles of Incorporation name Edward Greim as a registered agent and Matthew Mueller as as an incorporator.ImageImage
Mueller + Edward Greim are attorneys at Graves Garrett in Kansas City, MO--a law firm with strong ties to the Trump administration and that is paid by the legal defense fund for January 6th organizers.

Matthew Whitaker (of counsel at the firm) was the Acting Attorney General. 
And it should be remembered that Whitaker was appointed by Trump as the Acting Attorney General illegally. That's because he never received Senate confirmation.

I mean--there's even an on point SCOTUS decision from 2016 where Roberts, Thomas and Alito wrote that rule down.Image
But Trump put in Whitaker in charge of the DOJ to dismantle Robert Mueller's investigation. Whitaker is the same man who wrote an op-ed suggesting Mueller's investigation went too far + who shared an opinion piece asking Trump's lawyers not to cooperate with the investigation.ImageImage
When the House January 6th Select Committee issued subpoenas to those who organized January 6th, Matt and Mercedes Schlapp created a legal defense fund to "pay for counsel from the law firm of former acting attorney general Matt Whitaker"--Graves Garrett.Image
William and Edward Greim are brothers. William has been the Treasurer for a handful of anti-democracy PACs in Missouri, such as Fair Missouri, Freedom to Work and, of course, Liberty Alliance.ImageImageImage
Worth noting is the address that appears on some of these organization papers--it's the same as the Graves Garrett law firm, where William's brother Edward Greim is a partner.

And then we have Kristen Ansley who is the former Acting Executive Director of the Missouri GOP. 
She's also the current Executive Director of "Private Citizen" a non-profit that originally was organized as "Nemo Resideo Group" located at--you guessed it--the very same address as Graves Garrett law firm.ImageImage
Ansley also sits on the Board of Directors of the Herzog Foundation, where she joins Todd Graves--named partner of the Graves Garrett law firm.

Graves is the brother of Sam Graves--United States Representative to Missouri's 6th Congressional District.Image
Yes, the same Sam Graves who signed the amicus brief undermining the 2020 election + who later voted against certifying election results.

But let's go back to Todd for a second. He's the former Chair of the MO Republican Party and is now on the U of Missouri Board of Curators.Image
If you dig into dark money groups, you'll learn that Graves Garrett partner Lucinda Luetkemeyer represented a Montana Representative during his case over the use of dark money.

Lucinda is married to MO State Senator, Tony Luetkemeyer--who voted for Todd Graves's appointment. 
Oh, and, Tony Luetkemeyer's cousin, once removed, is sitting U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer from Missouri's Third Congressional District.

And so what you have is one law firm, with strong familial connections to state and federal legislators, employing Trump loyalists. 
And now they're pushing out their latest effort to create a surveillance state. One where schools are placed on a list for doing any number of things that far-right radicals define as "unAmerican."

In chat rooms and on message boards since the sites launch, posters have pointed out exactly the kind of harm the targeting of schools and individuals can lead to.ImageImageImageImage
Concerned citizens are already reporting this targeted list of schools to law enforcement agencies.

Our country is playing with fascism. And our democratic republic will not last if our institutions protect + permit the targeting of democratic institutions by dark money groups.