John Ashcroft

Conservative Megadonors & John Ashcroft Buddies Try To Elect Ashcroft’s Son And Roll Back Voting Rights In Missouri

Missouri’s state constitution, unlike the U.S. Constitution, explicitly protects an individual’s right to vote.

But a group of prominent Republican donors, Christian conservative activists and friends of John Ashcroft, a former Missouri senator and governor who served as U.S. attorney general during the George W. Bush administration, have come together in an attempt to elect Ashcroft’s son Jay secretary of state of Missouri, with the hope that he will roll back that constitutional right and push through a strict voter ID law.

Jay Ashcroft has made voter ID a centerpiece of both his primary and general election campaigns. Last year, he took advantage of a Missouri law that allows citizens to propose ballot initiatives to file a proposed constitutional amendment that would roll back the state’s constitutional right to vote and allow the state to enforce a voter ID law. Ashcroft’s amendment will be on the ballot in November.

Ashcroft’s arguments center around the usual conservative voter-fraud boogeyman. “We’re talking about potential fraud that changes statewide elections,” he has argued.

Ari Berman of The Nation reported this year that “5 percent of the electorate [in Missouri]—220,000 registered voters—lack a government-issued photo ID, according to the secretary of state’s office, and [voter ID] would cost the state nearly $17 million to implement in the first three years.”

The current secretary of state, Democrat Jason Kander, is running for U.S. Senate, hoping to unseat Roy Blunt. Of the eight secretary of state races in the country this cycle, six are for offices that are currently held by Democrats.

Behind Ashcroft’s campaign to roll back the right to vote in Missouri is a confluence of big-money donors, Religious Right activists and friends of the candidate’s father. According to campaign finance reports, nearly half of the $824,788 donated to Ashcroft’s campaign has come from just four individuals, three of whom are related to each other.

David Humphreys has contributed $200,000 to Ashcroft’s campaign, while his mother Ethelmae and his sister Sarah Humphreys Atkins each donated $50,000. The Humphreys family are the owners of TAMKO, a manufacturer of building products. According to the Kansas City Star, the family has “poured $2.75 million into a political action committee that for months has been targeting Republicans who oppose a ‘right to work’ law.” David Humphreys also contributed $1,000,000 to a super PAC supporting Marco Rubio’s failed presidential campaign.

The last 990 tax form filed by the Humphreys’ family foundation shows that in 2014 the foundation contributed to a variety of organizations connected to the conservative Koch brothers, including a $500,000 contribution to Americans for Prosperity and smaller contributions to the Heartland Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Mercatus Center.

Another $100,000 donated to Jay Ashcroft’s campaign came directly from the corporate treasury of the CNS Corporation, a Missouri-based holding company owned by pastor and businessman Charles Sharpe. Sharpe Holdings is one of the numerous companies that filed suit against the Obama administration’s contraceptive insurance mandate, an issue that ended up being heard by the Supreme Court as part of the Hobby Lobby case.  

Sharpe is also the founder a school called the Heartland Christian Academy that has come under scrutiny for its sometimes extreme use of corporal punishment.

Beyond these four individuals, Ashcroft has received contributions from influential members of the Christian Right, including $5,000 from Pat Robertson, chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network. John Ashcroft is a professor at Robertson’s Regent University.

Other major funders include other friends of John Ashcroft, including his business partner David Ayers, Bush administration colleague Donald Rumsfeld, former Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh, and the chair of Scooter Libby’s legal defense trust, Mel Sembler.

This group has joined together to fund a campaign that at its core is about rolling back the right to vote and the protection of that right in Missouri’s constitution.

Ben Carson Keynotes Pat Robertson's Birthday Extravaganza

Likely GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson was the keynote speaker at televangelist Pat Robertson’s birthday party this weekend, which also featured appearances from Donald Trump, Pat Boone, John Ashcroft and Kenneth Copeland, as well as a card from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Carson thanked Robertson for his “positive” outlook on life, seeming to ignore Robertson’s regular pronouncements about America’s imminent destruction at the hands of gays and the Obama administration.

Robertson also received quite a present for his birthday: a replica of the president’s “Resolute” desk in the Oval Office.

Senate Corrects a 15-Year Old Injustice and Confirms Ronnie White

The Senate did today what it should have done in the 1990s when Ronnie White was nominated by President Clinton.

Regent U: Pat Robertson's Sorbonne

A new web ad for Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School makes clear that, for both students and faculty, "law is more than a profession, it is a calling" as everyone from Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow to John Ashcroft and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonald hail the impact that the school has already had on society.

And while Robertson declares that his mission for Regent University is not simply to rival the likes of Harvard or Yale but "to rival Oxford and the Sorbonne in the Middle Ages as a school that can impact the whole society," students are dedicated to ensuring that they "use the law to further the kingdom of God" and "line up human law with what God wants it to be":

Romney Adds Ashcroft to List of Extreme Advisers

More mainstays of the Republican establishment announced their endorsement of Mitt Romney over the weekend. However, it’s not just the current faces of the party like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senator Tom Coburn who have tipped their hats; Romney is also registering the support of ghosts of GOP past: Bush Administration attorney general John Ashcroft.

Romney is apparently trying to court as many extremists to his campaign as possible – the addition of Ashcroft dovetails closely with the fringe views of his legal adviser, the rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

As attorney general, Ashcroft oversaw a relentless assault on Americans’ civil liberties. He approved warrantless wiretapping, secret military tribunals, racial profiling, aggressively implemented the PATRIOT Act, and created the “enemy combatant” status in an attempt to justify ignoring the Constitution in order to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects without charges.

Many of Ashcroft’s longstanding views still sit squarely with current GOP priorities:

  • He singlehandedly sabotaged confirmation of judicial nominees he didn’t like and has helped pack the federal courts with extreme Right-Wing judges;
  • He perpetuates the War on Women and has sought to amend the Constitution and pass legislation that would eliminate a women’s right an abortion, even for rape and incest victims, and supported making common birth control methods illegal;
  • He opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, designed to protect vulnerable groups of Americans who have long experienced overt discrimination for reasons having nothing to do with their job qualifications; 
  • He opposed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would have amended federal law to recognize hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender and disability;
  • He opposed school desegregation in Missouri;
  • He disregards the separation of church and state by helping funnel government funds to religious organizations that discriminate based on religion and led daily prayer and Bible study sessions at the Justice Department;
  • He helped rig the vote by investigating Republican claims of voter fraud while ignoring charges of voter disenfranchisement.

Ashcroft’s own words perfectly sum up his policy positions:

“There are voices in the Republican Party today who preach pragmatism, who champion conciliation, who counsel compromise. I stand here today to reject those deceptions. If ever there was a time to unfurl the banner of unabashed conservatism, it is now.” --April 10, 1998

If Mitt Romney shares Ashcroft’s extremist sentiments, he will be unable to unite the country should he win the nomination. Ashcroft’s open hostility to the Bill of Rights has no place in this campaign.

However, singing lessons are always welcome.



The full video is here.


The Case Against the Confirmation of John Ashcroft As Attorney General of the United States: Part II

An examination of John Ashcroft's record as Governor and Attorney General of the state of Missouri.

The Case Against the Confirmation of John Ashcroft as Attorney General of the United States: PART I

On January 4, People For the American Way published an overview of John Ashcroft's six-year record in the United States Senate. The report shows clearly that John Ashcroft does not meet the high standards of fairness and integrity required of the Attorney General. He has not demonstrated a sufficient commitment to equal justice under the law to be entrusted with upholding the Constitution and our nation's civil rights laws.

John Ashcroft's First Six Months at the Justice Department: The Right Wing Dream Team Takes Over

This report examines the nomination of John Ashcroft for Attorney General by President George W. Bush. Based on Ashcroft's record as a senator and as Missouri state attorney general and governor, public interest advocates believed that Ashcroft was a right-wing ideologue who should not be entrusted with overseeing the enforcement of laws and the protection of constitutional guarantees affecting civil rights, civil liberties, religious liberty, reproductive rights, environmental protection, and more.

Editorial Memorandum: John Ashcroft’s Relentless Assault on Civil Liberties

This editorial memorandum examines how U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has failed to pursue a responsible and balanced approach to achieving security and preserving liberty, but has promoted legislation and instituted policies at the Department of Justice (DOJ) that could threaten civil liberties and undermine civil rights for years to come. These recent actions continue a dangerous trend that was already evident in his first six months on the job.

John Ashcroft's First Year as Attorney General

In January 2001, a remarkably broad coalition of civil rights and other public interest organizations opposed the confirmation of John Ashcroft as U.S. Attorney General. People For the American Way helped lead that effort. One year later, Ashcroft has done much to ensure his legacy as a right-wing ideologue who is willing to bend the Constitution and laws to his worldview, disregard the constitutional principle of checks and balances, and endanger Americans' basic rights and freedoms.

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