(TEA PARTY) REPUBLICAN
THE ENEMY AND TRAITORS TO AMERICA? by R. Blackbird
Extremist (Tea Party) Republicans are selfish, power hungry, hateful of the poor, disloyal
to the nation and its people, dishonest, avaricious, scornful of the
nation's history, the dignity of its institutions, its standards of
political morality, and its vision of advancement for all the
people. The Republicans love war as long as they and theirs do not
have to put on helmets and carry guns into the fighting. They use lies
to start wars that kill hundreds of thousands of innocents and thousands
of our own military service people. They love massive war-time profits,
unavailable to their rich masters if war is absent.
Extremist Republicans hate the rest of us, which they must, in order to
pass away from themselves and onto us, the financial burdens and losses
their crimes, schemes and thefts cause. They are prolific, incessant,
and destructive liars. They are blasphemers for they insist that
their hateful and destructive deeds are the work of God. They are
apostates for they gleefully attack the poor, the immigrants, the
old and the sick, of whom God has commanded all of us to be mindful.
There is no reasoning with them, for all their logic is built on false
premises. There is no appealing to them for honor's sake for they have
lost all sense of shame and have no honor, there is no appealing to them
for the nation's sake for that it what they hate the most.
Extremist (Tea Party) Republicans are the enemy.
Fred Lennon has always supported a Conservative
Christian position especially when it comes to Church and State issues. It is
apparent from the data collected, that the first amendment may be in danger from his past
and future actions.
Upon calling his office we find that Witchcraft "..isn't a
"Real" religion." What is a real religion, Mr. Lennon? What you
have been practicing? Read the following and remember: "By their Works may they
(Remember it is best to investigate on your own when looking at allegations about
anyone. Don't believe us, think for yourself and investigate for
yourself! And remember, the Religious Freedom and First Amendment Coalitions do not
represent any political party nor do they recommend any political candidate, nor are they
involving ourselves in the political process.
The pantheon of American billionaires is filled with
legendary names--John D. Rockefeller and J. Paul Getty, Armand Hammer and Howard Hughes,
Bill Gates and Fred Lennon. Fred who? If you haven't heard his name--and most of the
country hasn't--that's fine with Fred Lennon. At 90, he is the nation's most secretive
Lennon's success is rooted in a humble Cleveland pipe-fitting business, Crawford Fitting,
that he and a former partner founded nearly half a century ago. Today that company, and
countless related businesses, comprise a worldwide empire with 140 exclusive
distributorships and representatives in 39 foreign countries.
Lennon's motto is: "Secrecy is success, success is secrecy." He refuses to grant
interviews or return reporters' calls. A devout Catholic, Lennon avoids attention by
skipping public Sunday Masses to attend a private Saturday Mass in the chapel of a nearby
prep school. So rare are his public appearances that in the early '90s, Forbes magazine,
in its annual list of America's 400 wealthiest individuals, had to settle for a 1957 photo
Lennon's low profile is even more extraordinary given the level of his involvement in
politics. In recent years, he has bestowed more money on the Republican Party and its
far-right candidates than any other individual in the nation. In fact, he towers above
every other contributor, Republican or Democrat.
A computer analysis of Federal Election Commission records, undertaken by the nonprofit
Center for Responsive Politics, shows that over the past two and a half years Lennon gave
a staggering $524,450 to the Republican Party and those GOP candidates who share his
conservative creed. In the past, he is said to have raised large sums for Ronald Reagan,
as well as thousands for Pat Buchanan and Jesse Helms, and is now putting his formidable
largesse behind his presidential candidate of choice, Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas. In a
single afternoon last August, a Lennon-sponsored fundraiser netted Gramm a hefty $200,000.
But even these numbers are not a true measure of Lennon's clout. In addition to giving
generously himself, Lennon politely pressures his many distributors to contribute to the
candidates he champions. Federal campaign records reveal an unmistakable pattern. In
near-perfect lockstep, dozens of Lennon's distributors and their spouses give as Lennon
bids. Through them he accomplishes what he cannot do alone: give far more than the $1,000
federal limit on direct contributions to individual candidates.
In one 14-week period just prior to the 1994 congressional elections, for example, Lennon
choreographed an elaborate fundraising operation, directing distributors and their spouses
to contribute more than $234,000. Coming from distributors scattered across dozens of
states, all of this money went to just four Republicans, each hand-picked by Lennon. Three
four candidates were running to represent Ohio--Lennon's corporate headquarters and
An understanding of just who Fred Lennon is and why he gives provides a rare glimpse into
the stratosphere of campaign finances and, ultimately, helps explain why many Americans
today believe "representative government" is an oxymoron.
Fred Lennon founded Crawford Fitting in 1947 with then-partner Cullen Crawford. Crawford,
an engineer, had developed a revolutionary pipe fitting called the "Swagelok"
but lacked sales expertise and financial backing. Lennon offered both, and the two became
equal partners in the enterprise. Less than a year later, Lennon bought Crawford out for a
pittance and assumed full control of the company, which he has built into a billion-dollar
For decades Lennon has imposed a strict companywide dress code on distributors. That means
white shirts, conservative ties, and cordovan wing-tip shoes, buffed to a high polish. No
facial hair of any kind is tolerated. Lennon's factories are spotlessly clean, with
workers dreading his inspections. "He's probably more fanatic about cleanliness than
Howard Hughes," says one former employee.
Above all else, Fred Lennon is a man accustomed to getting his own way. "Fred is very
much about control," says Larry Dietz, a former Lennon distributor. "He
surrounded himself with yes-people." Some within the company refer to him as
"the Great White Father."
Lennon once offered rich bonuses to workers in his factory who maintained perfect
attendance records, but they forfeited those bonuses if they missed days--even on account
of family death, divorce, or medical emergency. "Fred is a benevolent dictator, with
more emphasis on dictator than benevolent," Dietz says.
Lennon's distributors, although nominally independent, are strictly controlled from above.
According to former distributors, those who deviate from Lennon's list of suggested retail
prices for his pipe fittings or who break his explicit rule against selling products made
by other manufacturers are putting their distributorships at risk.
"He presents an image of a very benevolent old gentleman who sits very near the
presidency or near God and has everybody's best interest at heart," says Steve
Pendleton, a former distributor now working for a Lennon competitor. "But he is
extremely shrewd and ruthless and has pushed aside a great many people to get where he
is." Pendleton likens Lennon's distributors to "puppets on a string."
Strict guidelines on how to do business are not all that Lennon passes down to his
distributors. He also drafts them into his right-wing political crusades. Distributors who
want to stay in Lennon's good graces are expected to make the proper political
contributions. "You got a phone call from him and you would donate whatever he deemed
the figure was, and it was not only how much but who to," Dietz says.
"Politically, it wasn't very smart to turn Fred down."
Another former distributor, James S. Kone, remembers Lennon's calls for contributions. An
ardent Democrat, Kone found himself in an awkward position. "I found out how much it
was customary to give and that's what I gave, even though it was to the Republican
Party," he admits. "That was just good business. It didn't reflect my true
Sometimes Lennon puts his requests in writing. A May 14, 1982 letter Lennon sent to
Maryland distributor Ray McGarvey reads: "Dear Ray, I need your help. As you know,
John Ashbrook recently passed away and I had counted on him to defeat Liberal Senator
Metzenbaum.... Senator Helms has asked me to help Bill [Ress] beat Metzenbaum. I will be
so grateful if you see your way clear to send me a check for $1,000 made out to Bill Ress
for U.S. Senate."
"I didn't know who the hell Ress was," says McGarvey, who sent Lennon a check
nonetheless. (Solicited contributions customarily go directly to Lennon, who forwards them
to the candidates. It's his way of making sure his distributors honor their pledges.)
Federal election laws limit individual contributions to $1,000 per candidate in the
general election, and a maximum total of $25,000 to all candidates. But Lennon's use of
his distributors renders those limits meaningless. A detailed analysis of 74 distributors
in Lennon's nationwide network reveals that of them at least 52--more than
two-thirds--made political contributions in a 14-week period just prior to the 1994
congressional election. Between them, they generated 154 checks, totaling $146,000, made
out to just four Republican candidates: Sen. Michael DeWine, Rep. Steven LaTourette, and
candidate Gregory White (all three from Ohio), as well as Michigan's Ronna Romney, who
lost a Senate bid in the primaries.
Nor is it only the distributors who heed Lennon's solicitations. At least 34 distributors'
spouses (all of them listing their occupation as "homemaker" or
"housewife") wrote out checks totaling at least $88,000 to the four candidates
selected by Lennon. Reached by phone, Rebecca Boner of Birmingham, Alabama, said she had
never heard of DeWine, LaTourette, or White. When told that federal records indicate that
little more than a year ago she wrote $1,000 checks to each of their campaigns, her memory
was refreshed. "This is something I did for my husband," she admitted. She said
her husband, Steve Boner, had also contributed--at Fred Lennon's request.
Mrs. Robert Fouke of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, gave a combined $2,500 to the campaigns of
DeWine, LaTourette, and White. Contacted at home, Fouke also did not recognize the names.
"Oh, yeah, OK, OK," she stammered when told they were political candidates from
Ohio. "We know that Mr. Lennon was sponsoring--er, not sponsoring, but backing--some
these candidates. It was not a mandatory thing," she said. "You need to talk to
Says Ellen Miller, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, "We see
this pattern all the time, where you have 20 executives of a firm giving money." She
adds that such giving "violates every intent of the laws designed to limit who can
contribute and how much," but it is probably not technically illegal, provided no
explicit coercion was involved.
Even those distributors who admire Lennon acknowledge that he is difficult to refuse. Mel
Martin, a distributor who retired in 1994, says, "Fred Lennon is tough, very tough. I
mean that in a positive way. He has steel blue eyes and, believe me, you can feel them
coming out of the back of your head sometimes."
Martin still remembers the day more than three decades ago when he had the unenviable task
of informing Lennon that his son, John, who then worked for Martin, had quit Lennon's
company. He dreaded breaking the news. "Here was a father who had hoped his son would
inherit the business," says Martin. "You know what he said to me? 'How are your
interviews going?' In other words: What are you doing to replace him?" He was, says
Martin, not cold, but "stoic."
Although John Lennon later became a distributor of his father's products, the friction
between them remains. In 1994, John Lennon did the unthinkable: He contributed $1,000 to
failed Senate candidate Mary Boyle, an Ohio Democrat.
Why does Fred Lennon make such astronomical contributions? Few know and those who do
aren't talking. "He doesn't share his motivations with me," says son John.
"I don't know what motivates him."
Lennon's contributions do not appear to be part of an effort to win federal contracts.
Although over the years Lennon's distributors have benefited from a multitude of
government contracts with such entities as the Joliet Arsenal, the Oak Ridge National
Laboratory, the labs of Lawrence Livermore and Sandia, the U.S. Navy, and the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, most of his revenue comes from private industry, not
Only once has Lennon publicly expressed himself on why he gives. In a 1992 letter to the
editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, responding to an article that suggested his $11,000
contribution to a candidate for Ohio's Supreme Court was motivated by self-interest,
Lennon wrote: "I and many others who contribute to campaigns do so because we believe
in the candidates and their philosophy, not because we are seeking any special treatment.
I believe in him and the judicial philosophy he represents.... I would never try to
influence him on a pending case."
Still, it doesn't hurt Lennon's bottom line if his contributions help stack the Ohio
Supreme Court with Republican justices inclined to reduce corporate liability and damage
awards in lawsuits. Chief Justice Tom Moyer estimates that Lennon contributed between
$25,000 and $30,000 over the course of his two campaigns, making Lennon one of Moyer's
not the largest--contributor. Lennon is also a major donor to Ohio's Republican governor,
Lennon is a true believer in the conservative movement. Devoutly anti-union, he is also
committed to beefing up the military's budget, slashing business regulation, and reducing
government. He is eager to cut estate taxes and prides himself on paying as little income
tax as possible--one former distributor says Lennon named one of his companies OBIT, an
acronym for Ohio Beat
But however strongly felt, Lennon's politics are also what are best for his business.
Those he has helped elect are at work on an agenda that would do any billionaire proud,
and those he has helped defeat over the years could have cost him plenty in higher taxes
and additional regulatory compliance. A case in point: Rep. Steven LaTourette, whose Ohio
district includes both Lennon's home and his corporate headquarters. LaTourette estimates
that, in the last election cycle, Lennon (who served as his finance committee co-chair)
raised between $70,000 and $80,000. Since then, LaTourette has co-sponsored legislation
would amend the Internal Revenue Code to exclude much of the value of family-owned
businesses from estate taxes. Another LaTourette-sponsored measure would shift the burden
of proof in all tax matters to the Treasury Department, making it more difficult for the
government to prevail in audits and other tax challenges.
Nowhere is Lennon's personal interest in LaTourette's legislative agenda more clearly
spelled out than in his July 31, 1995 letter to LaTourette: "Before you break for the
August recess, I believe you will be voting on the Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations
Bill. This is a very important vote. I hope you will vote to pass it just as the
Appropriations Committee sends it to the floor.... My information indicates that the bill
cuts more than eight billion dollars out of these three agencies. It cuts 176 federal
programs.... And along with many other reforms, [it] would defund the Clinton Executive
Order on striker replacements. The measure would also scale back the [National Labor
Relations Board]. This agency has grown to be perhaps the biggest enemy of American
business. I hope you vote to pass this bill in its current form."
LaTourette voted for the appropriations bill, which passed last August by a vote of 219 to
Lennon's correspondence with Ronald Reagan further confirms his status as a political
player. (Lennon's fundraising efforts on Reagan's behalf did not go unappreciated--he was
invited to the White House on January 21, 1981, the day after Reagan's inauguration.)
Archived at the Ronald Reagan Library, their correspondence suggests that Reagan may have
opened doors overseas for Lennon or paved the way for a quasiofficial trip. In a September
1981 thank-you note, Lennon wrote Reagan, "Alice [Lennon's late wife] and I have
returned from our trip to China and I want you to know how much we appreciate the
opportunity to make this trip."
In another letter, dated May 26, 1987, Lennon thanked Reagan for an extraordinary video
the president made to honor Lennon, a chairman emeritus and primary financial contributor
to the Ashbrook Center (located at Ohio's Ashland University). A conservative public
affairs center named after the late Republican Congressman John Ashbrook, the center has
honored conservative leaders such as Pat Buchanan, Ed Meese, and Jesse Helms. In 1987, it
was Lennon's turn.
In his May 26 letter, Lennon wrote Reagan, "At the annual dinner of the Ashbrook
Center I was sitting next to Howard Baker enjoying a very interesting conversation, when I
heard Cliff White announce that the Fifth Anniversary dinner was dedicated to me.... [T]he
lights were lowered and you appeared on a television screen that had to be the largest
screen I have ever seen. I was still in the dark as to what was going on until I heard
your nice talk."
Lennon concluded, "It is difficult to tell you how grateful I am to you for this kind
expression, and I only wish that I could do more to help stave off the vicious attack that
goes on against you. If you know of anything I can do to help, I hope you will let me
know. Warmest Wishes, Fred." (The "vicious attack" was apparently the
Iran-Contra scandal, then unfolding.)
Other Lennon letters in the Reagan Library, not yet processed for public release, deal
with the economy and political contributions. There are also notes with anniversary wishes
and a get-well card from Reagan to Lennon.
As well-known as Lennon may be within far-right political circles, however, the secretive
billionaire remains a political mystery man even within his own state. For example, Sen.
Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), who retired voluntarily in 1994, has never met Lennon even
though Lennon specifically targeted him for defeat by generously supporting his opponents.
"I knew him by reputation only," says Metzenbaum of his fellow Clevelander.
"I don't think I'd recognize him if he walked in the door."
Similarly, Eric Fingerhut, the first-term Democratic representative beaten by the
Lennon-sponsored LaTourette in 1994, doesn't know what Lennon looks like. "I've just
seen his name on lots of lists," says Fingerhut. Ironically, during his short tenure
in the House, Fingerhut was the leading proponent of campaign reforms that would have
limited the influence of large donors. "I thought the system was outrageous," he
says, adding, "There's no question the amount of money my opponent [LaTourette]
raised was indicative of the problem."
Even at 90, Lennon, who is ill, shows no signs of reducing his political generosity--or
his quest for privacy. His son-in-law, Ed Lozick, who works closely with Lennon on
fundraising, told Mother Jones, "We don't want our names in neon lights in any of
this stuff. Obviously we help some causes and some people. We're happy to do it and will
continue to do so."