During the last election cycle one of the more nefarious actions by those nasty conservative interest groups was the flushing of millions of dollars into “independent expenditure” advertisement campaigns. This horrible, society threatening practice was loudly criticized by liberal watchdogs of democracy such as Media Matters.
Still stinging from the loss of more than three score seats in the House of Representatives, Democratic supporters seem to have finally found a way to blunt these attacks and set things to rights in our electoral process. The Gray Lady reports:
Effort for Liberal Balance to G.O.P. Groups Begins
In what may prove a significant development for the 2012 elections, David Brock, a prominent Democratic political operative, says he has amassed $4 million in pledges over the last few weeks and is moving quickly to hire a staff to set up what he hopes will become a permanent liberal counterweight over the airwaves to the Republican-leaning outside groups that spent so heavily on this year’s midterm elections.
Mr. Brock said in an interview that he planned to formally file papers with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday to set up American Bridge as what is known as an independent-expenditure-only political action committee, meaning it will be able to take in contributions of unlimited size from individuals and corporations but must regularly disclose its donors.
I see. So when conservative groups were channeling funds in this fashion it was “shady outsider money influencing our elections,” but now that Mr. Brock is doing it, it’s “liberal balance” and a much needed “counterweight,” eh? Well, at least he can maintain the moral high ground and make sure there aren’t any of those nasty anonymous contributions.
Certain to set off debate, however, is that Mr. Brock appears to be positioning his new organization so that fund-raising consultants can raise money for Democratic-oriented media efforts not just through American Bridge but also via one of the nonprofit organizations Mr. Brock currently runs, Media Matters Action Network, which does not disclose its donors.
Fans of irony should find themselves applauding in delight over this story.
For what it’s worth, I spent the last year of my life shepherding a congressional campaign which was the beneficiary of millions of dollars in independent expenditures from American Crossroads. (And yes, we still lost 51-49. Thanks for reminding me. Why don’t you just give me a nice paper cut and rub some lemon juice in it.) If there was any sort of “grand conspiracy” going on between these groups and the campaigns they invested in, we were never invited to the party. We found out about the American Crossroads investment from an article in the Wall Street Journal just like everyone else and they never contacted me about it.
The advertisements they ran were slick and well produced, but the expected dirty tricks and gutter politics which our opponent complained so bitterly of never materialized. They quoted facts and figures regarding the deficit, tax rates and votes our opponent had cast. If that’s what passes for dirty politics today, then there’s no such thing as a clean race left in America.
Still, none of that stopped our Democratic opponent from issuing public demands that we “denounce” the American Crossroads ads before the first one ever hit the airwaves. I’m not sure, but there may be a lesson in there for you somewhere.
It will be interesting to see what sort of ads come from this “counterweight” and how they stack up in the fair play department. Be sure to stay tuned to Hot Air during the next cycle, as I have no doubt we’ll be keeping you up to date on this group’s activities.