by Structured Settlement Watchdog®
Diane Swenson, a former Executive Vice President of, with 13 years of service to . the American Tort Reform Association, WAS listed on as the TREASURER of the National Structured Settlements Trade Association Political Action Committee (NSSTAPAC), according to the official filing with the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") dated January 25, 2008. Download NSSTA PAC 2008 FEC Form 1 Diane Swenson SmithBucklin
On January 31, 2008, SmithBucklin released a press release which announced that Diane Swenson would be the Executive Director of two associations it manages, one of them being the National Structured Settlements Trade Association(NSSTA).
That release was followed by a February 8, 2008 post reiterating the same on DealFlow Media's now defunct Structured Settlements Wire
Having an Executive Director associated with tort reform was a disaster for an association that is meant to represent all of its members in an impartial way and their efforts to market to trial lawyers.
On February 15, 2008, following an announcement by then NSSTA President Henry Strong, this author published NSSTA President Clarifies Story Concerning Executive Director Search
On February 15, 2008, NSSTAPAC filed an amended FEC Form 1 listing Russell Snyder as Treasurer. Snyder is Senior VP Client Management at Smith Bucklin.
On March 1, 2008 this author published Serious Questions For All NSSTA Members to Ask NSSTA Board and NSSTA Board Accountability , in which serious questions were raised in the build up to the 2008 NSSTA Annual Meeting. Among those questions:
"Hiring of NSSTA Executive Director Debacle
1. Was the issue of Diane Swenson 's hiring actually voted on by the NSSTA Board?
2. If answer to number 1 is yes, which Board members voted for her?
3. If answer to number 1 is yes, was there an instruction or go ahead given to Smith Bucklin Management to make an announcement?
4. If the answer to number 3 is no, then why hasn't NSSTA commenced legal action against Smith Bucklin management for damages that NSSTA and its members have already suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of the January 31, 2008 press release which was believed to have been circulated throughout key members of the trial lawyer community?
5. Why did it take NSSTA two weeks to address the "premature" Smith Bucklin press release?
6. Was there an NSSTA spokesman who spoke to DealFlow Media coinciding with its "Hello Goodbye" story of February 28? If so who?"
Item #4 is especially important at the present when the competence of SmithBucklin in serving NSSTA and its members is again in question. NSSTA terminated its relationship with SmuithBucklin effective June 30, 2010.
On April 3, 2008 Diane Swenson resigned from the "other association" that Smith Bucklin manages The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, 3 months after her appointment, with Russ Snyder taking over just like NSSTA.
- This author can't help asking why didn't NSSTA leadership just can SmithBuckllin in 2008?
- The FEC Form 1 lists the banking relationship of NSSTAPAC as SunTrust Bank. How ironic is it that the Political Action Committee of the National Structured Settlements Trade Association shares a banking relationship with The Halpern Group and Peachtree Settlement Funding?
- According to its December 15, 2006 FEC Form 1, the sole banking relationship for NSSTAPAC was Chevy Chase Bank
- This author' "Serious Questions" letter questioned an apparent September 2006 NSSTA effort to discredit the late Richard Halpern, through materials provided by NSSTA counsel to a now retired New York Supreme Court judge Paul Victor, mentioning Halpern's 130X trust product in the same breath as that of convicted felon James Gibson and SBU Download NYJudicialInstitutePretendertrusts. Such materials ended up in written materials presented to New York judges which certain NSSTA members then used in marketing efforts against Halpern. While Halpern passed away in December 2009, NSSTA members may not be aware of the exposure that such actions brought to NSSTA and its members.
- According to its November 9, 2007 FEC Form 1 filed bv Russ Snyder of SmithBucklin and only months after NSSTA discredited Halpern, the NSSTAPAC first used SunTrust Bank as its banking relationship. SunTrust is the one of the primary corporate trustees used by The Halpern Group for the tens of thousands of trusts it has placed for tort victims.
- SunTrust Bank was listed as the sole banking relationship for NSSTAPAC on its filed FEC Form 1 statements of:
January 25, 2008 (the one made by Diane Swenson, then of SmithBucklin)
February 15, 2008 (filed by Russell Snyder of SmithBucklin)
June 22, 2009 (filed by Joseph Ricci, of SmithBucklin)
March 8, 2010 (filed by Scott Lynch of SmithBucklin)
Under FEC Regulations, the Statement of Organizations (FEC Form 1) must be filed electronically if the campaign raises or spends more than $50,000 in any calendar year, or has a reason to expect to do so.