The crack researchers at the Center for American Freedom tell me that totaling the reported revenue of only a portion of the groups participating in the Democracy Initiative gives you a figure of around $1.69 billion. Somewhat ironic, isn’t it, that an association of organizations with combined revenue of more than a billion dollars is launching a campaign to get “big money out of politics.” Like all such campaigns, of course, the Democracy Initiative is less about getting money out of politics than it is about getting the wrong sort of money out of politics—in this case, the sort of money dispensed by industries and ideologues opposed to the progressive agenda.
The Democracy Initiative will “target” Chevron, “which gave $2.5 million to a Super PAC backing House Republican candidates in 2012.” The Democracy Initiative will target Google “for its continued membership with the generally pro-Republican U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” The Democracy Initiative will target the American Legislative Exchange Council, an association of businesses and state-legislators that promotes conservative laws and has been under ferocious assault from liberals seeking to stigmatize its donors and thereby cause its collapse. “We’re going to put the pressure on ALEC even more,” Phil Radford of Greenpeace told Mother Jones. ALEC should consider itself warned.
And not only ALEC: The Democracy Initiative seems to be a fairly straightforward attempt to change the rules of the game so that greens and unions can push their agenda through the Senate. The logic here is that the Democrats have at least a chance of retaking the House in 2014, in which case Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) would be the only obstacle to in-your-face progressivism. Why else the emphasis on filibuster reform?