Monday, August 30, 2010

Lobby that got $14.6 million from MI taxpayers stages Sandbox Party convention to lobby for more government spending

(Genuine) Tea Party supporters are already fuming about the dirty trick of a (fake) "The Tea Party" political party created with the assistance of Democratic Party operatives; another abuse of democracy this week may add to their ire: A government entity that received $14.6 million of taxpayer money in the current state budget organized a publicity stunt to lobby for more government spending, called the "First Ever Sandbox Party Convention" in East Lansing.

The culprit is the "Early Child Investment Corporation" (ECIC), a government entity created in 2005 explicitly to expand the size, scope, reach, budgets and spending of government welfare, preschool, social work and related programs. This was accomplished through the device of an "interlocal agreement" between the Department of Human Services (the state welfare department) and Intermediate School Districts, which are among the recipients of any additional taxpayer loot the entity extracts. ECIC is essentially an adjunct of the DHS and appears on its organization chart.

The "interlocal agreement" gimmick may sound familiar to those who have followed the Mackinac Center's home child care worker "stealth unionization" lawsuit, which was perpetrated by another such contract between DHS and Mott Community College.

Here's how the press release prepared by a Lansing PR firm hired by ECIC described this week's event:

Thirty-five hundred people from across Michigan — parents, grandparents, children, policy makers, elected officials and others — hooted, hollered and made their voices heard at … the first-ever Sandbox Party Convention today.

The candidates for Michigan governor — Republican Rick Snyder and Democrat Virg Bernero — each got a rousing reception from the crowd, which included scores of families, some from as far away as Delta County in the Upper Peninsula. Four busloads of kids and families came from Lenawee County."

It's likely that taxpayers picked up the tab for those buses as well.

The event was promoted solely for political action — ECIC officials even boasted about timing it during the week before the two major state political party conventions.

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