Fox News reports on union attack site against Tea Parties

posted at 2:25 pm on February 10, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Almost two weeks ago, Lee Doren and I reported on the new website TheTeaPartyisOver.org and its funding by unions, through a front group calling itself the American Public Policy Committee.  Fox News picks up where we left off in a report today that exposes even more shady union funding of the astroturf effort against the Tea Party grassroots movement:

A new Web site targeting the tea parties is a part of a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions and trickling slowly into political slush funds for Democratic activists.

A seemingly grassroots organization that’s mounted an online campaign to counter the tea party movement is actually the front end of an elaborate scheme that funnels funds — including sizable labor union contributions — through the offices of a prominent Democratic party lawyer. …

But a close look reveals the APPC’s place in a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions into political slush funds for Democratic activists.

Here’s how it works: What appears like a local groundswell is in fact the creation of two men — Craig Varoga and George Rakis, Democratic Party strategists who have set up a number of so-called 527 groups, the non-profit election organizations that hammer on contentious issues (think Swift Boats, for example).

Varoga and Rakis keep a central mailing address in Washington, pulling in soft money contributions from unions and other well-padded sources to engage in what amounts to a legal laundering system. The money — tens of millions of dollars — gets circulated around to different states by the 527s, which pay for TV ads, Internet campaigns and lobbyist salaries, all while keeping the hands of the unions clean — for the most part.

The system helps hide the true sources of funding, giving the appearance of locally bred opposition in states from Oklahoma to New Jersey, or in the case of the Tea Party Web site, in Illinois.

Yes, this is entirely legal.  In fact, it’s more the norm in the post-McCain-Feingold era, as the money continues to flow but gets buried more deeply than ever.  This is why I entitled my original post “Another good reason to transparency rather than McCain-Feingold for reform.”  Since unions and corporations could not pay for political advertising until Citizens United v FEC struck down those restrictions, they simply started sinking money into front groups they could control to do it for them.  McCain-Feingold did nothing  but create an industry of money laundering which brought opacity rather than transparency to politics.

Be sure to read through the entire report.  Democratic Party and union activists apparently intend to use this website to hunt down Tea Party backers and political candidates who appeal to the grassroots.  Of course, now that unions can operate in the open, they may choose to hammer these candidates more directly than with an obscure website whose impact will be seen as iffy at best, at least as compared to open opposition from unions.  It’s good to know the players involved in this effort, as they will certainly be working at many levels to blunt the impact of the Tea Party on the midterm elections.

Another good reason to use transparency rather than McCain-Feingold for reform


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The unions are obviously scared of all those Tea Party “thugs” and their message. That in itself is telling about what the real situation in America is these days. November is going to be an ugly month if you are a Democrat or one of the affinity groups.

highhopes on February 10, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Unions can’t stop Tea Parties, because the Tea Parties are the American People. The American people outnumber union thugs.

BottomLine5 on February 10, 2010 at 3:43 PM

boy, unions sure are great for this country!!!! /sarc

search4truth on February 10, 2010 at 3:45 PM

i think the tea party movement as an official organization could gain more ground if they stopped doing stupid stuff like announcing they are going to burn Pelosi in effigy.

this was the DAnville, VA teaparty. and they ended up cancelling the event. and Nancy Pelosi deserves to be burned in effigy.

but there are mainstream Americans who will vote for less-govt, less-taxes candidates that find protesting too much.

kelley in virginia on February 10, 2010 at 3:47 PM

I read the page, they are only going to appeal to the very leftist fringe, and there just aren’t that many with money to donate to fund what?

It seemed like a child might have put that page together. The page repetition Danger…Danger… Dangerous….Danger Will Robinson Danger. It’s pretty laughable. Oh no today’s Democrat Party isn’t the party of FEAR MONGERING Yeah Right.

This one looks pretty easy to shoot down – Amateurish.

Dr Evil on February 10, 2010 at 3:47 PM

AW1 Tim on February 10, 2010 at 2:51 PM

If you did that, you’ll love this prank!

massrighty on February 10, 2010 at 4:02 PM

kelley in virginia on February 10, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Your ahem! concerns are noted.

massrighty on February 10, 2010 at 4:07 PM

This group isn’t about taking on the tea party, they’re about playing the GOP. I mean, think about it, they’ve clearly got a lot of money, and we’re supposed to believe the best operatives they can hire don’t recognize that they’re actually helping these “tea party candidates” out during primary season?
They’re trying to play the tea partiers in order to push primaries towards weaker general election candidates, look at the targets, does anyone actually think that those people are actually their top enemies?

Creepier stuff is this group “votevets.org”, they’re running ads against Mark Kirk right now. 501(c)4 corporation, meaning unlimited anonymous contributions.

galenrox on February 10, 2010 at 4:21 PM

I’ll bet that laundered stimulus money is funding this astroturf campaign.

BottomLine5 on February 10, 2010 at 4:25 PM

BottomLine5:

Yep, I was wondering the same thing…how much stimulus money will end up in thier coffers?

Also—recalling the travails of Joe the Plumber—how long before those “government employees” use their access to private information to discredit Tea Party members?

It really is turning into “The Machine vs. The People”.

jeanneb on February 10, 2010 at 4:34 PM

I don’t get it. The website is one page, with the option to “share” it.

What’s the purpose?

bridgetown on February 10, 2010 at 3:38 PM

To sucker you into giving them someone else’s e-mail address for spamming purposes. It’s what scammers do.

MNHawk on February 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

I believe that the one year anniversary, 2.27.10, of the Tea Party movement should be celebrated loudly and openly, in front of the cameras, in front of politicians, in front of union thugs.

Trying to silence the American voice is no longer viable. We will make our own destiny.

madmonkphotog on February 10, 2010 at 4:59 PM

That website even looks offensive – given the mood of the country – I can\’t imagine this is going to help their cause.

Queen0fCups on February 10, 2010 at 5:12 PM

These thugs are nothing more than the USFL of politics.

Reacting to a grass roots movement through organized thuggery, well – defeats the purpose.

Who is their target audience? I am pretty sure the “anti-Tea Party” crowd is lined up daily at 30 Rock.

One other thing about these cowards really bothers me:
SEIU are made up of janitors and doormen… thats right folks – the union with a seat in the WH, supporting thug websites and “causes” are nothing more than janitors and doormen.

I am sure most Americans require their economic and social guidance to better America…

Odie1941 on February 10, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Our Mission
To prevent the Tea Party’s dangerous ideas from gaining legislative traction.

Our Strategy
Our Strategy is simple. This movement is a fad.

Geez Louise.

If the movement is a fad, then what the heck are they worried about?

missl on February 10, 2010 at 5:31 PM

It’s interesting how forced union states are mainly blue states. Right to work is the way to go.

mike_NC9 on February 10, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Apparently the SEIU did’nt get the memo, the people are taking back the country.

heshtesh on February 10, 2010 at 6:11 PM

What befuddles me is how the unions still have so much political clout in spite of representing only 12% of the workforce – and even that figure goes down with time. I do not see why, in a country with this much labor protection laws, why unions need to exist. It should be an open market for employees – if you don’t like a company, either change it, or, if you can’t – and the company did something illegal – sue the company in court on the basis of existing labor laws.

peter_griffin on February 10, 2010 at 2:45 PM

I have wondered about this power myself. Union membership in the public sector, those who work for the government (including teachers) have swelled union membership in much greater numbers and proportion. This factor also explains ObaMao’s enchantment with service employment. As McCain called ObaMao in the debates, ObaMao was Senator Government. Now, he is President Government. Every job that he claims to “save or create” can be found in the public sector. ObaMaoScare will be no exception.

onlineanalyst on February 10, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Ar ewe moving to an ‘On the Waterfront’ moment?

daesleeper on February 10, 2010 at 6:55 PM

Fox News reports on union attack site against Tea Parties

As someone earlier pointed out, TEA is short for Taxed Enough Already. The individuals of this group believe they are taxed enough already.

The anti-tea party movement is the opposite of the tea party movement. These individuals must not believe they have been taxed enough already.

The solution to this conflict appears to be:

1) Let those that say they are taxed enough already keep their money and use it as they desire.

2) Let those that believe they are not taxed enough already give more of their money to the government.

Problem solved.

rukiddingme on February 10, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Rumors of My Demise have been greatly exaggerated

Jones Zemkophill on February 10, 2010 at 10:06 PM

The lies and deceptions of the Obama administration have become so obvious that it is embarrassing to think we have voluntarily elected someone this incompetent to be the leader of the free world.

volsense on February 10, 2010 at 10:37 PM

As someone earlier pointed out, TEA is short for Taxed Enough Already. The individuals of this group believe they are taxed enough already.

The anti-tea party movement is the opposite of the tea party movement. These individuals must not believe they others have been taxed enough already.

2) Let those that believe they others are not taxed enough already…

rukiddingme on February 10, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Unfortunately, this is what they really mean, and they do claim a difference between the two (whether or not it’s warranted).

RD on February 11, 2010 at 9:49 AM

RD on February 11, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Good point. Strange how everyone knows what is best for everyone else, but no one is allowed to decide what is best for themselves.

No one would move from group 1 to group 2. On the other hand, if the individuals in group 2 were required (they would not do it willingly) to give up more of their own money, there would be a massive migration from group 2 to group 1.

rukiddingme on February 11, 2010 at 10:29 AM

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