Two pro-port privatization robocalls are floating around, and it's unclear who's behind them.
We broke the story in this morning's Daily Press about a call that blasts Virginia International Terminals' outgoing CEO Joe Dorto for his high salary and bonuses. Another call that was just sent to me this morning is more generally supportive of installing private industry and introducing free market principles at the piers. Though it seems to make a strange argument about how a privatization would drive out union dockworkers from Virginia's piers.
VIT is a nonprofit company formed by the state, where two take over proposers, APM Terminals and a consortium led by
Both calls were put out by a group called Checks and Balances for Economic Growth, a 501(c)(4), a label that refers to its federal tax code status. These groups are allowed to both lobby and take part in political campaigns so long as it maintains as its core purpose the promotion of social welfare.
And the robocalls encourage listeners to contact their delegates and state senators.
According to its 2011 annual filing with the
Dan Perrin, listed as the group's president, said he couldn't comment on the robocall immediately, when reached by the Daily Press Tuesday, though he said he would call back later that night. He did not.
Checks and Balances also aired TV spots targeting U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and President
Virginia Maritime Association vice president Art Moye, whose organization opposes the two proposals, called the robocall slimy and "a misinterpretation" Tuesday.
Moye said Checks and Balances used a phone list that included lawmakers and businesspeople. It's unclear who paid for the call, he said, but "we intend to find out."
But that could be difficult.
Groups like Checks and Balances are not required to disclose their donors.
Though it's not clear who funded the robocall, an APM official said it was not involved in the effort. Though aware of one of the robocalls,
Here are those scripts, and to hear the first call, check that news article: link:
Call 1 script:
This is an update on the
"While teacher and police officer pay across the state is frozen, Joe Dorto pocketed over $6 million in pay and bonuses in just three years. As CEO of Virginia's port terminal operation, Joe Dorto made megabucks while operating a state business that consistently loses millions."
Now Joe's retiring with your money in his bank account. Call your delegate today and tell them to support Gov. McDonell's efforts to run the Port of Virginia like a business, by business. It's time to privatize the Port of Virginia
To be removed from list call 757-279-8381
Call 2 script:
This is an update on the Virginia General Assembly concerning the Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads. This call is authorized by Checks and Balances for Economic Growth.
Special interest groups continue to protect bureaucrats who are losing millions of taxpayer dollars while operating our port. Gov. Bob McDonell wants to let the private sector lease and operate the port, a move that will generate more than $8 billion over the next 50 years. Call your delegate and state senator and tell them to get state (unintelligible) labor unions out of our port and let the free market work.