Friday, August 1, 2014

Big Labor Taking Over Soros Piggybank

My article from the May 8, 2014 issue of FrontPage magazine:

Big Labor Taking Over Soros Piggybank

By Matthew Vadum

An ultra-secretive left-wing money machine for super rich radicals is bringing more representatives of Big Labor into the fold in order to prevent the likely Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate this November.

Thanks to a Democracy Alliance member’s oversight, Americans are getting a sense of what the nation’s wealthy left-wingers have in store for the fall elections and beyond.

As Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon reported, leftist billionaire George Soros’s son Jonathan left behind a partial membership list of the Democracy Alliance at a meeting in a fancy Chicago hotel last week.

The names on the document suggest that organized labor is becoming increasingly influential within the left-wing plutocrats’ invitation-only club.

New Democracy Alliance members from the labor movement include Noel Beasley, president of Workers United, a textile union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Keith Mestrich, president of the union-owned Amalgamated Bank. 

Other new members from Big Labor include Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. CWA senior director George Kohl and Michelle Ringuette, Weingarten’s assistant, also secured memberships in the Democracy Alliance.

But not all new members are professional parasites. Business people joining the Democracy Alliance recently include Adam Abram (insurance and real estate), Rick Segal (financial services), and Paul Boskind (psychology, behavioral health).

The Alliance has also added a slew of limousine liberals to its membership ranks. Heirs and heiresses to get the nod from the gold-plated leftist piggybank include Amy Goldman (real estate) and Henry van Ameringen (manufacturing). Trust fund baby and New School professor Philip Munger, son of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charles Munger, became an Alliance member.

The group’s leadership was not pleased. Former George Soros lieutenant Gara LaMarche, now president of the Democracy Alliance, whined that some members were “not wild about” their names being published.

Those donors are “determined not to be distracted by sideshows,” and they “knew the Free Beacon was sniffing around at our conference, and they are under no illusions about what kind of ‘journalism’ they practice. It’s annoying, but unfortunately that’s the world we live in.”

Meanwhile, there seems to be an effort underway to depict the scores of billionaires and multi-millionaires of the Democracy Alliance as underdogs struggling heroically against the Koch brothers, the billionaire siblings who fund conservative and libertarian causes.

The Washington Post misleadingly observes:
“The [Democracy Alliance] has pumped an estimated $500 million into an array of organizations on the left over the past nine years, according to the alliance. The group’s leaders had originally hoped the sums would be larger by now. By comparison, a network of politically active nonprofits backed by the Kochs and other conservative donors raised $400 million just in the 2012 elections.”
The problem is we have no way of knowing if the $500 million figure, which sounds low — the Democracy Alliance has been batting that number around for years — is accurate or meaningful. It (probably) does not include its members’ personal contributions to candidates and causes. So much money may not appear in the final tally because it wasn’t the subject of a formal giving recommendation from the Alliance. Shouldn’t it count as well?

When George Soros gave $1 million Media Matters for America, was that sum included in Democracy Alliance totals? Nobody outside the group knows because the Alliance is not transparent. We have no idea what the numbers they provide actually mean.

And then there’s the weaselly wording of the Washington Post article that suggests that the comparison between the Kochs and the Democracy Alliance is apples and oranges. There is no entity comparable to the Democracy Alliance on the Right, yet the article speaks of “a network of politically active nonprofits backed by the Kochs and other conservative donors” that raised $400 million for the 2012 elections. 

The Democracy Alliance is a consortium of donors. This phantom conservative “network” that is referenced is apparently a group of grant recipients. You can’t compare the two sets of actors — unless you’re a political propagandist.

Besides, it is well established that the Right is severely outgunned on the philanthropic battlefield. The collective assets of liberal-progressive grant-making foundations are in fact 10 times the size of the assets of conservative foundations. Left-wing nonprofit groups vastly outspend conservative groups, which tend to rely more on grassroots donations. Leftist organizations operate with almost complete impunity nowadays, unimpeded as they influence and pervert American politics in an effort to fundamentally transform our republic.

The Left is Goliath; the Right, David.

The Democracy Alliance itself is a collection of more than 100 socialist venture capitalists, spoiled brat rich kids, heirs and heiresses, Hollywood moguls, and unethical bankers that funds left-wing groups that aspire to smash the American system. It was created following the 2004 elections, which brought stinging defeats to the Left in battles for the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives — long before most in the media had even heard of the Koch brothers. Leftist blogger Markos Moulitsas has called the Alliance “a vast, Vast Left Wing Conspiracy to rival” the conservative movement. 

George Soros, the preeminent funder of the Left in the United States, was a huge player in the formation of the Democracy Alliance. His financial contributions to left-wing groups dwarf what the Kochs have given to right-leaning groups. Quite appropriately, “Saturday Night Live” has mocked the octogenarian Gordon Gekko as the “owner” of the Democratic Party.

Soros openly favors American decline and has said European-style socialism “is exactly what we need now.” The radical philanthropist praises Communist China effusively, saying the totalitarian nation has “a better-functioning government than the United States.” 

The Democracy Alliance is registered as a taxable nonprofit (in the District of Columbia) in order to prevent public scrutiny of its finances and internal affairs. The organization has been promising to become more transparent in its operations for years but has never delivered. This is understandable considering its close ties to anti-American charities such as the Tides Foundation which the Alliance’s leadership would never want to become the focus of the media’s spotlight. 

As Markay notes,
“The group emphasizes secrecy in all of its operations, even as its members and the DA ‘favored organizations’ to which they donate decry the role of ‘dark money’ in American politics. DA does not disclose details of any of the transactions it facilitates, and its members and donation recipients are prohibited from speaking publicly about the organization and its operations.”
But the Democracy Alliance is only secretive when doing so serves its interests. Officials recently told the Washington Post that 11 new donors became members of the group in the last few months. San Francisco hedge fund manager Tom Steyer and Houston trial lawyers Steve and Amber Mostyn became members in recent years, they added.

Clinton administration official Rob Stein founded the Democracy Alliance with the aim of creating a permanent political infrastructure of nonprofits, think tanks, media outlets, leadership schools, and activist groups—a kind of “vast left-wing conspiracy” to battle the conservative movement. The donors group has channeled its members’ funds to fairly well-established pressure groups, watchdogs and think tanks, get-out-the-vote operations, and political action committees (PACs). It is intensely secretive. Members of the group meet twice a year to decide which causes to support with their checkbooks. The money is not funneled through Democracy Alliance bank accounts; members send it directly to the approved recipient organizations.

The Democracy Alliance is expert in the use of capitalist vocabulary to advance socialism. The group’s New Media Ventures project has “invested” upwards of $4 million into “startups” that use media and technology to force “progressive change” on an unwilling nation.

The project’s website boasts:
“Entrepreneurs we work with are revolutionizing the political landscape — expanding the reach of progressive ideas in everything from media distribution and content consumption to online organizing and small dollar fundraising.”
It needs to be pointed out that the Democracy Alliance’s original mission was to focus on building political infrastructure and to center its energies on long-term organizational issues as opposed to the more mundane task of helping Democrats get elected every election cycle.

The Democracy Alliance has been experiencing mission creep at an accelerated pace since the lead-up to the 2012 election. To make sure the most radical president that America has ever had got reelected, Alliance members largely abandoned their commitment to funding long-term left-wing political infrastructure — as opposed to electoral campaigns — and this angered some members. 

The recently deceased billionaire Peter B. Lewis, CEO of Progressive Insurance, ditched the Alliance because in his view it had become just another Democratic Party fundraising outfit interested only in short-term projects like elections. He was reportedly especially incensed by the group’s support for big money super PACs.

Lewis was no fool. 

The Democracy Alliance is becoming a much more partisan and far less ideological organization. It remains committed to advancing and expanding the same old radical left-wing social engineering schemes, entitlements, and welfare programs that are destroying America. 

But Alliance members know that an electoral tsunami that threatens to reverse the progress they’ve made in undermining the American way of life and shredding the Constitution could be just a few months away. They’re terrified that the American people are fed up with the lawless regime in Washington that so accurately reflects their ugly values that are alien to the American experience — and they should be. 

It appears that a great reckoning is coming and it is not at all clear that cash injections from George Soros and his merry band of Daddy Warbucks will be able to prevent a changing of the guard.

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