Archive for Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wireless company finances bulk of PAC

January 22, 2009

Editor’s note: The Lawrence Journal-World is owned by The World Company, which also owns Sunflower Broadband. Sunflower Broadband and Lawrence Freenet are competitors in the Lawrence Internet service provider market.

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A new political action committee that says it is trying to keep special interests out of Lawrence City Hall has received the bulk of its funding from a Lawrence businessman that last year sought a $5 million deal from city commissioners.

According to a financial report filed at the Douglas County Clerk’s office, IMpac — a new political action committee seeking to raise money for April’s Lawrence City Commission election — has received more than half of its funding from Community Wireless Communications Co.

Community Wireless Communications Co. is run by Joshua Montgomery, who also is the founder of Lawrence Freenet.

Last January, Montgomery and Freenet unsuccessfully lobbied city commissioners to co-sign a $4.9 million loan to allow the Internet service provider to expand in the city.

Community Wireless Communications Co. is the for-profit company that is paid to run the day-to-day operations of the not-for-profit Lawrence Freenet.

The director of IMpac — which stands for Independent Moderate Political Action Committee — said people should not perceive the financial donations as a sign that the PAC was working as the political arm of the Internet company.

“This is not a show horse for Lawrence Freenet by any means,” said Jacob Beaumont, director of IMpac.

Montgomery also said he was not supporting the PAC in an effort to win favor for his company.

“I just believed in Jacob and his mission and he asked for some donations, and we’ve been generous,” Montgomery said. “That is pretty much it.”

Freenet, though, still has business before the Lawrence City Commission. The company has several contracts with the city that allow Freenet to use city right of way for below-market rates. The company also asked the city to allow Freenet to place wireless Internet equipment on downtown light poles, a proposal that city staff members have previously recommended against.

According to the financial reports, Community Wireless provided the PAC with its first donation.

The company had donated $750 to the PAC prior to the Jan. 1 reporting deadline. That represented more than half of the $1,440 the PAC raised during the period. Community Wireless also has provided the PAC with two months worth of office space, which is an in-kind donation valued at $270 per month.

Some members of the PAC said the relationship with the company created concerns.

C.J. Brune, who is listed a member of the PAC’s advisory board, said the relationship potentially could be a “big problem.” But Brune said she thinks the issue may soon become moot. She said she expects the PAC to soon cease operations because of difficulty in finding other donors, and because the group is falling short of its stated goal of finding three candidates to endorse for the upcoming City Commission elections.

Brune said if the group doesn’t disband, she likely would drop out of the organization. She said the group has been promoting itself as a coalition for moderates.

“I’m absolutely not moderate,” said Brune, a social activist who has worked with members of Lawrence’s anarchist community.

Beaumont stopped short of saying the PAC would disband, but he acknowledged that it did need to improve its finances. Thus far, the group has endorsed one candidate.

Candidate Aron Cromwell received the group’s endorsement and a $500 donation prior to the Jan. 1 reporting period.

“I’m not part of the inner circle of the group to know where the money is coming from,” Cromwell said. “I just saw that we shared some common goals. But frankly, I haven’t heard anything formally from IMpac for quite some time.”

Comments

Joshua Montgomery 6 years, 3 months ago

Wow, Community Wireless contributed over HALF of $1,440. That is over $720!With city commission races running over $30,000 per candidate, this HUGE financial contribution is sure to effect the outcome of the race.Once again, the LJWorld writes a one sided and heavily biased article about a "competitor".Lord forbid they should report on something like this: http://tinyurl.com/4nuh5y

cowboy 6 years, 3 months ago

when the world company has a virtual monopoly on all communications in Lawrence they have little grounds to complain about anything. If they are feeling threatened it is only because they have consistently abused the monopoly status by always charging more than area companies who have open competition for business. One only need to look at the degradation of the newspaper , the website which has the same stories , poorly written , for two days at a time , If you are feeling the heat as Dish / Direct take your business , and little ole Freenet bites into your internet biz , then improve the quality and cost effectiveness of your product.

Wellington 6 years, 3 months ago

If your business is run in the same manner as your political venture, I am sure the World Company has nothing to worry about.

Michael Capra 6 years, 3 months ago

rundle and ermeling are the head of impac and ermelings music shop is across the street from the anarchist house I knew rundle and ermeling were messed up but this explains it all and the FBI is watching them.chad if your going to tell it tell the whole story and dont forget one of there canidates is gwen klinkenberg anarchist

Michael Capra 6 years, 3 months ago

what next take over city hall and inject all with commy juice and chant hail to Brune,Rundel,ermeling,and klinky what a joke

Michael Capra 6 years, 3 months ago

Marion did you forget anarchist Pac called IMpac.org can you link this

Michael Capra 6 years, 3 months ago

my bad its www.myimpac.org hide behind anarchist kromwell and klinkenberg rundel and ermeling

coolhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

Why is this story relevant? Did they investigate where the Simons' family (Sunflower owners) directs their political contributions? Was Patrick Knorr (CEO) investigated to determine how his money is spent? Or how about any of the executive staff, of which there are several. Why is there no balanced reporting? Sunflower encourages its' employees to support (through financial contributions) a D.C based PAC that supports lobbying efforts on behalf of independent cable operators. So where is the story? In any case, Sunflower supports PACS and local candidates through paid contributions either from individual employees or the executive team. As a result, are they trying to sway the votes of officials on the local, state and federal level. You better believe it. LJW, do some investigative reporting and determine where money is directed from your sister company (Sunflower) in addition to how your executive staff and employees contribute to local, state and federal political candidates. Then you have a story. It is called yellow jouranlism - look in the history books and refer to William Randolph Hearst - writing so called "news" and slanting it in such a way that it supports or advances your position or promotes something that is to your benefit. LJW, clean your own house before you start complaining about the furniture not being dusted in another.

honestone 6 years, 3 months ago

458casul says...rundle and ermeling are the head of impac and ermelings music shop is across the street from the anarchist house I knew rundle and ermeling were messed up but this explains it all and the FBI is watching them.chad if your going to tell it tell the whole story and dont forget one of there canidates is gwen klinkenberg anarchist1. I am pretty sure rundle is not the head of anything. Where did you get this info???2. there is no anarchist house across the street from Mass music. What house are you talking about??? Where did you get your info???3. How does any of this "explain" anything about FBI and anarchists??? Where did you get your info???

Michael Capra 6 years, 3 months ago

the one on 14th Rundel and ermeling were on this web site when it came out check lj world web site they did a story on it as for my info if a group supports a pac that is tied to anarchist then myimpac.org and there canidates must have known which would make them the same

Michael Capra 6 years, 3 months ago

I find it real strange that Rundel and Ermeling pull there names off the impac web site what chad lawhorn caught them with there pants down dealing with anarchist and they try to run and hide not this time

honestone 6 years, 3 months ago

458 I respect your opinion but get your facts straight. Rundel nor Ermeling are associated with this PAC...they were associated with the Progressives but this ain't the group.andthe anarchist used to rent a building by the music store but that was 5 or 6 years ago.anddidn't ya read the article? The anarchist said, "...she likely would drop out of the organization. She said the group has been promoting itself as a coalition for moderates.", I guess they just didn't meet her brand of revolution. Try checking out IMpacts site and find out what they really want to do rather then guessing.

Michael Capra 6 years, 3 months ago

when impac first came out rundel and ermeling names were all over it I saw it and have copy and will suppy it to chad lawhorn so dont tell me they werent involved I have it in color and you better get your brain checked because where did half there funds come from anarchist put that in the impac web site

Sigmund 6 years, 3 months ago

Politics in Lawrence has been corrupt for years and unless and until the much promised "transparency" and "openness" that was tearfully promised after the Dechipera Debacle, it will be business as usual payoffs and bailouts for special interest groups. Instead we are left with depending upon Chad Lawhorn (of the LJW, Sunflower Broadband, World Company, Sunflower Cablevision) to pick and choose what disclosures benefits their friends and businesses partners and which do not. A $5,000,000 "loan" for Freenet (which isn't free, is a lousy network, and couldn't get a credit card with a $5,000 limit to save its life) is peanuts to the $3 million Lawrence wastes every year for the empTy. What is the difference? The World Company doesn't own a taxi cab service or a bus company.

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