If you think that only Republicans have deep-pocket donors for PACS, your name is increasingly likely to be Harry Reid. Everyone else seems to have figured out that Tom Steyer, George Soros, and plenty of other One Percenters cough up big bucks for progressive candidates and causes, just as the Koch Brothers do for libertarian and free-market causes. Last week, Yahoo’s Matt Bai made it explicit, looking at the inner workings and financing of the Democracy Alliance and its “superrich Democrats.” Today, Politico’s Ken Vogel catches up:
Picture this: millionaires and billionaires gathering under tight security in fancy hotels with powerful politicians and operatives to plot how their network of secret-money groups can engineer a permanent realignment of American politics.
Only, it’s not the Koch brothers. It’s the liberal Democracy Alliance.
The 21 groups at the core of the Democracy Alliance’s portfolio intend to spend $374 million during the midterm election cycle — including nearly $200 million this year — to boost liberal candidates and causes in 2014 and beyond, according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO.
Vogel emphasizes throughout the piece that the Koch Brothers are in a class by themselves when it comes to fundraising, but that’s only because they’re more adept at it. Progressives pillory the Kochs for their use of money in politics and its supposedly corrupting influence, but Vogel’s report shows that progressives are perhaps more adept at corruption and influence-peddling:
But the DA document distributed in Chicago does call into question some of the plaintiff [I believe he meant “plaintive” — Ed] woe-is-us rhetoric bandied about by Democrats griping about the Koch brothers’ sophisticated efforts to use their checkbooks to manipulate American democracy.
Even though the DA’s cash projections pale in comparison to the Koch network, which is in a financial class by itself and rivals the official parties’ spending, they exceed those of most other outside spending operations on the right and left. And, perhaps more significantly, the briefing highlights what liberals believe is superior coordination between its deep-pocketed labor unions, outside groups and even the administration of President Barack Obama that has allowed their side to spend its big money more efficiently than conservatives.
In other words, while Democrats like Harry Reid shriek about the corrupting influence of conservative money in politics, it’s the deep-pocketed One Percenters on Reid’s side that actually has more corrupt influence on government. That makes Reid’s behavior on the Senate floor look less like principled populism (to the microscopic extent that it looks like that anyway) and a lot more like projection.
Don’t think that the Democracy Alliance doesn’t know this, either. They attempted to keep reporters from discovering this coordination at their recent Chicago meeting, Vogel reports, in part by passing around pictures of journalists that board members needed to avoid in case they crashed the party. They reminded DA officials not to reveal the names of their members, in order to provide “a comfortable environment for our partners.” Perhaps if they had not engaged in the grossly hypocritical Kochsteria and encouraged it with Reid and other Democrats, their meeting and their membership wouldn’t have been all that newsworthy in the first place.