With the excellent detective work from around the bloghive (hat tips to Bob Aagard, Mata Hari (twice!), Utah Conservative and a shall-remain-nameless e-mailer), the picture has become clear: Mark Towner sent the now-infamous "Voucher News" e-mail AND has been paid $5,000 through his consulting business just weeks prior. Is there a solid link? Not enough to completely hold up in court, but enough that any reasonable person can read the writing on the wall.
We know that Towner is the owner of the utahnsforpublicschool.com domain since it has a directory on it named thepsyglass. If we look at the registration info, it was registered on September 4. It's also registered with the same host as spyglass.us, the domain Towner used on his last round of spam. The registration was less than two weeks prior to the PCE filing that shows a payment to SG Consulting (excellent job Mata Hari), a company whose address is the same as Towner's home address (good work Bob). We have two solid links: Towner got a fat sack of cash for providing "web services" to PCE and Towner was later behind the faked "Voucher News" e-mail that made the Deseret Morning News on Thursday. (Hey newspaper? A bunch of bloggers just scooped you. How do you like them apples?)
Of course, Mark did his usual thing and called me a liar and a thief (again) instead of owning up to what he did. Now he's been spanked publicly by the whole bloghive and likely faces a thrashing in the papers once they pick up on the same facts we did. There's also the implications that he used a phishing attack to solicit contact information from folks who received the e-mail and attempted to deceive people on the source of the message. In a political campaign, I think they usually consider that to be illegal.
As a voucher supporter, I have gone from embarrassed with to disgusted by PCE. This event, going from unethical and sleazy to potentially illegal, is absolutely inexcusable and I would encourage every Utahn to immediately stop donating to them and every candidate to refuse their filthy money and return whatever campaign contributions they've been given. Utah businesses should refuse to do business with them and Utahns should refuse to work for them. Astroturfing, phishing, push polling… these are not acceptable. PERIOD.
If you truly support vouchers like I do, you will run as far away from PCE as possible and give them the stern and harsh punishment they now deserve. Starve them for dollars and make them wither and die in this state. They have done more to damage the concept of vouchers than any anti-voucher group could ever dream of. Their loud and visible bad example makes everyone else look bad by association. Thanks to PCE, anyone who supports vouchers, no matter how honest, sincere and open they are, will be tainted with the labels of dishonesty, trickery and ulterior motives.
PCE, get out of our state and don't leave until the Virgin River hits you on the way out. Voucher supporters don't need or want your help anymore.