Two groups opposed to what they say is business as usual under “The Delaware Way” have joined forces.
Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware has donated $5,000 to A Better Delaware “to support their work to introduce new transparency and accountability measures in Delaware’s legislature and courts.”
Citizens for Pro-Business Delaware is one of the organizations founded downstream from a Delaware Chancery Court ruling that forced translation company TransPerfect to sell even though one of its partners didn’t want to. Citizens for Pro-Business is operated out of New York City and has been actively running advertisements during the current election. Among the 10 objectives stated on its website is always allowing cameras in a courtroom and more specific financial disclosures for judges and lawmakers.
A Better Delaware is a conservative pro-business organization and website focused on changing public policy in Delaware. It was founded by Chris Kenny, who owns Delaware LIVE, and Ben duPont. Its issues revolve around business and transparency issues, such as minimum wage, employer mandates and rules pushed through the Delaware General Assembly at the end of the session with little chance for public reaction.
A Citizens for Pro-Business Delaware press release said the Delaware Way “prizes secrecy and backroom deals over transparency and accountability to Delawareans.”
The Delaware Democratic Party was swift to react to the press release.
Pro-Business Delaware will roll its contribution into A Better Delaware between now and the end of the year, a press release said.
The grant “will go a long way towards advancing our fight for government transparency and accountability here in the First State,” said A Better Delaware Executive Director Zoe Callaway. “For too long, Delaware’s lawmakers have operated behind closed doors at the expense of Delaware’s hard-working taxpayers. We’re committed to putting continued pressure on Delaware’s leaders to serve the Delawareans’ interests rather than their own.”
Chris Coffey of Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware said, “We’re proud to lend our support to A Better Delaware’s ongoing efforts to reform the opaque practices of the Delaware state legislature and courts.”
The advertising efforts of both groups has drawn attention from the state Democratic Party and lawmakers.
Gov. John Carney’s campaign sent a cease-and-desist order to area television stations after the Pro-Business’s political action committee, Citizens for Transparency & Inclusion, ran ads saying Gov. John Carney had “set free” one of the men who was charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor. Carney has said the allegations were factually untrue. Reports said he had granted the man clemency over 20-year-old charges on the basis of a Parole Board recommendation.
A Better Delaware’s third-party ads in favor of three Republican candidates for the state House have also drawn fire. The State Democratic Party, who called the spending “dark money” and “anti-worker,” filed a formal complaint saying the move was illegal because the PAC was coordinating the advertising with candidates, who were not spending their own money.
State Sen. Anthony Delcollo lashed out, saying that he was indeed spending his own money.
Delaware’s Election Commissioner Anthony Albence rejected the complaint because A Better Delaware filed an affidavit saying there was no coordination.
“You state that the three candidates are ‘beholden’ to the ABD PAC as evidenced by the amounts each has reported as advertising expenditures on their 30-day campaign finance report, and as also evidenced by the limited amount of advertising each has done as indicated on those reports,” Albence wrote, according to the Delaware State News.
“You suggest these facts require a determination that ABD PAC’s expenditures were not independent and were made through ‘arrangement, coordination, or direction’ with the candidates or the candidates’ agents. However, there is no evidence for me to conclude that the level of advertising expenditures by any of the candidates relative to the amounts each has raised is the result of any such ‘arrangement, coordination, or direction’ or otherwise contrary to law.”