DeMint Claimed Convention of States Was Not Paying Him. It Was.
Written by Alex Newman
While promoting the Convention of States (COS) plan for convening a constitutional convention to change the U.S. Constitution, former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina claimed that he was not being paid by the COS movement. IRS documents, however, show that DeMint (shown) was receiving money from COS — lots of it, in fact.
Speaking to the Greenville County GOP on April 1 of 2019, DeMint denied receiving any payment for his activism. “There is another thing I have talked to this group before, and I just want to give you a quick update — it is the Convention of States, on a constitutional Article V,” the former senator explained. “I don’t work for these guys, they don’t pay me. I do it as a volunteer.” The reason DeMint supposedly volunteers for COS is “because I can tell you from 20 years in Washington, they are going to keep spending until they run out of money.”
However, conservative activists in South Carolina working to stop the Con-Con effort in that state were not convinced by the denial. Attorney Jeff Davis decided to actually pull the records and find out: “Trust but verify,” as the old saying goes. In particular, Davis got a copy of the IRS Form 990 from 2017 for Convention of States Action, the lobbying arm of the COS movement. It showed a major discrepancy.
According to the IRS form, DeMint actually received a whopping $140,000 from COS Action that year as an independent contractor. The document said the payment was for unspecified “government relations” work, presumably involving lobbying and using his influence to promote the Con-Con movement in South Carolina and other states.
DeMint and his representatives did not respond to e-mailed requests for comment about the discrepancy between his public statements about serving as an unpaid volunteer, and the COS Action documents proving he was paid several times more than an average American makes in a year. A publicly listed phone number for DeMint could not be located. COS did not immediately respond to a phone message asking for comment either.
Also receiving big bucks from COS Action, according to the group’s COS 990 Form filed on November 21, 2018, was former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Coburn, another one of the major boosters of COS, was paid almost a quarter of a million dollars for “government relations” work that year, the documents revealed. He made similar amounts in other years, too.
DeMint, the former U.S. senator from South Carolina, has a reputation in some circles of being a stalwart conservative and even a constitutionalist. However, according to The New American magazine’s Freedom Index, which ranks lawmakers’ voting records based on how they align with the U.S. Constitution, DeMint’s cumulative score for voting in accordance with his oath was a mere 69 percent. If the score were for school, that would be a D.
Among other anti-constitutional votes, DeMint voted to leave in place flagrantly unconstitutional schemes purporting to allow the U.S. government to indefinitely detain anyone — including Americans — without charges or trial. He also voted to extend the unconstitutional Patriot Act. And he voted to give Obama “Trade Promotion Authority” to advance the Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite the Constitution reserving powers over trade to Congress. While complaining about never-ending government spending, DeMint also voted to spend billions in supplemental funding on undeclared wars and for globalist United Nations agencies.
Between DeMint’s less-than-stellar voting record and his apparently misleading claims about being an unpaid volunteer for COS, South Carolina Field Coordinator Evan Mulch with The John Birch Society, which publishes this magazine, slammed the former senator as “Deep State DeMint.” Mulch recalled hearing DeMint tell a crowd that the former senator did not need to be paid by COS because he had a congressional pension, which is enormous. But the video and the IRS documents show clearly that “Jim DeMint misled people at that event,” Mulch said.
Mulch, who is on the front lines of the Con-Con battle in South Carolina, argued that the solution to a lawless and bloated federal government was not to change the Constitution, but to make sure it is followed and enforced. One way to do that is “for more Americans to be educated with the tools available from The John Birch Society,” he said. “The more John Birch Society members we have in America, the better the chances we have of getting our federal government back under control.”
Of course, this is not the first time the COS or its agents have been exposed using what critics have referred to as dishonesty.
In a 2018 interview with The New American, for example, Representative Dorothy Moon of Idaho, a conservative Republican, exposed how proponents of a constitutional convention were using fraud to push their agenda in her state. Among other tactics, advocates of an Article V Convention of States used phony signatures on petitions. In some cases, the COS forces even forged signatures of John Birch Society members that Rep. Moon knows personally. When she called them, they explained that no, they obviously did not and would not sign a pro-COS petition.
Speaking in California in 2016, meanwhile, COS boss Mark Meckler maliciously smeared The John Birch Society, falsely claiming that decades ago it had “issues of racism and antisemitism,” as if that were a reasonable argument in favor of a Con-Con. Ironically, the California legislature investigated that claim at the request of JBS and found “no evidence of anti-Semitism on the part of anyone connected with the John Birch Society in California, and much evidence to the effect that it opposes racism in all forms.” It was not clear why Meckler decided to smear his political opposition instead of addressing the arguments in question.
Last year, meanwhile, COS posted a deceptively edited video that made it seem like late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia supported a Con-Con. What COS failed to reveal, though, is that Scalia recognized this process would be a “constitutional convention,” as he referred to it. COS also failed to show that later in life, Scalia came down firmly against such a move. “I certainly would not want a constitutional convention,” he said in a 2014 interview. “I mean, whoa! Who knows what would come out of that.” Why COS would avoid sharing those facts with its supporters was not clear, either.
Last summer, Constitution advocate Judi Caler, a key figure in the opposition to a Con-Con and the COS movement, compiled a partial list highlighting elements of the “Great Deception” being perpetrated to advance a constitutional convention. Writing in News With Views, Caler warned that Meckler was deceiving Republicans on issue after issue in an effort to advance the COS agenda.
Just this week, a special legislative hearing on the Con-Con movement was held at the South Carolina Capitol. Two experts opposed to the Con-Con, Robert Brown and Joanna Martin (aka Publius Huldah), spoke against it, while Meckler and others spoke in favor. Meckler spent much of his time spewing vitriol against Huldah, and walked out before Brown spoke. Attendees told The New American that many formerly pro-Con-Con activists in the audience appeared to be having second thoughts after the performances.
Meckler and COS recently refused to respond to an invitation to debate Brown and Shawn Meehan at the Idaho legislature, with the COS seats sitting empty. COS efforts in Idaho and many other conservative states — most recently South Dakota — have repeatedly been rebuffed thanks to the combined efforts of the John Birch Society, the Eagle Forum, Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, Publius Huldah, Meehan’s Guard the Constitution, and many other grassroots supporters of enforcing the existing Constitution rather than opening it up for potentially catastrophic changes.
State legislators being pressured by COS lobbyists to push for a constitutional convention should carefully consider the evidence of dishonesty from COS that continues to grow more and more extreme. If COS campaigners cannot be relied upon to tell the truth about simple matters, such as whether or not they are being paid by COS, how can they be trusted to tell the truth about the potential benefits and risks of a Con-Con? The short answer is they cannot. Americans deserve the truth — especially when the safety of the Constitution and the rights it protects may be at stake.
Update: After the publication of this story, Wesley Denton with DeMint’s Conservative Partnership Institute reached out to The New American. “DeMint’s comments in 2019 were completely accurate,” he said. “He worked with COS part-time from mid 2017 to mid 2018, and has been an unpaid volunteer since that time.”
Courtesy of The New American