Silent Partners: How political non-profits work the system

Center for Public Intergrety

By Derek Willis and Aron Pilhofer

WASHINGTON, September 25, 2003 — It was the morning of November 6, 2002, the day after Democrats had lost control of the U.S. Senate, lost ground in the U.S. House of Representatives and were soundly beaten in several key gubernatorial races.

The man at the top of the party, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, had some explaining to do. Standing before the gathered media in Washington, D.C., he returned to a longtime Democratic lament: Republicans simply had more money.

Fundraising figures reported to the Federal Election Commission seemed to suggest he was right. The Republican Party raised slightly more than $691 million in the 2002 election, about $228 million more than the Democrats.

The GOP “had tens of millions of dollars of special interest money on their side,” McAuliffe told the assembled reporters, and that had tipped a number of races in their favor.

In fact, the disparity was not nearly as lopsided as McAuliffe suggested. As a new Center for Public Integrity analysis shows, Democrats and their allies funneled hundreds of millions of dollars through backdoor committees designed to influence key elections. In the 2002 race, the Democratic Party’s silent partners spent more than $185 million—more than double the money spent by Republican organizations.
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The Little Engine That Couldn’t

Kucinich Surrenders on Anti-War Plank

By RON JACOBS, Counterpunch

Well, history has repeated itself and, just like the saying goes, this time around it is pure farce. In this instance, I am referring to the attempt by Kucinich supporters to attach an antiwar plank to the Democratic Party’s 2004 platform. As anyone knows, of course, these platforms don’t really mean much of anything, but the fact that the Kerry people fought even the inclusion of a statement that called the Iraq war wrong from its inception proves once again how little difference there really is in the campaigns of the two men running for president of the United States this year. It also proves the pointlessness of any group of left-leaning Democrats who still believe that their party is capable of redemption along McGovernite lines.
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A letter to the Black Caucus from a Black woman living in South Central

by Donna J. Warren, San Francisco Bay View
SF BAYVIEW

“We respect your right to run, Mr. Nader. Withdraw.? – Elijah Cummings, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus of the United States House of Representatives

To Rep. Cummings and members of the Black Caucus,

You demanded independent candidates Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo withdraw from the presidential race in favor of NAFTA approving, Iraq invading, Afghanistan bombing, Sudanese pharmaceutical plant bombing, right-wing Israeli prime minister and convicted murderer Ariel Sharon supporting, impeachment of George W. Bush for the forced removal of democratically elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide refusing, and mandatory minimum sentencing supporting – John Kerry.

Kerry’s contempt for human rights, international law, arms control and the United Nations is unforgivable.

“Anyone but Bush? was your cry when Nader and Camejo visited your offices in late June. But let’s be honest – when Bush delivered lie after lie after lie during his state of the union addresses, it was the Democrats who stood and clapped. The Democrats made the monster George Bush!
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This Is Kerry On Drugs

Reason Magazine
By Dave Kopel and Mike Krause

For those who oppose the federal government’s disastrous war on drugs, there are many things to dislike about the Bush Administration, not the least of which is its shameless—and dangerous—use of the war on terror to prop up the failed drug war and the accompanying $18 billion dollar bureaucracy. And there is no indication that four more years of a Bush presidency will offer anything but more of the same.

But anyone who thinks a vote for John Kerry means a vote for a more liberalized approach to drug policy should think again. Candidate Kerry’s choice for Homeland Security Advisor, Rand Beers, is a seasoned drug warrior who has already shown his loyalty to the well being of the drug war, no matter how many lives it destroys, or how many narco- terrorists are enriched along the way.
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Re: Chronicle of a Nomination Foretold

My thoughts on the article “Chronicle of a Nomination Foretold: The Green Deceivers” By Jeffrey St. Clair, (here, July 14th), by Roger Snyder.

See also the comments under that entry.

I think the article does lay out some of the problems with the GP and the nomination, if a bit sketchy on particulars. And I’ll note that this author has been critical of the GP in the past on different issues, so he seems not a big GP fan.

I can however understand, and share the frustration over the spot the Cobb nomination and the meaning of it puts the Green Party in.

I think the article is a little unclear on the GP convention, and makes it sound like the convention and its rules were fixed. While I thought the rules were not that good, and I helped work to better them, (being to complicated and more concerned with time that result), I don’t go along with some that call them totally unfair, and I don’t think they really affected the outcome.

The way the delegates were chosen does need to be looked at, but any bounded proportionality method is a compromise. (How do you set up a one-person one-vote ideal without giving certain areas, states, or grouping the ability to dominate.) A partial solution to that is to grow the party everywhere.

I do think the actions of some Greens in the nomination process were disingenuous. A number clearly pushed for Cobb because they support Kerry, and then many denied it (though some have been truthful throughout, and I respect them even if I disagree with them).
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Chronicle of a Nomination Foretold

The Green Deceivers

By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR, Counterpunch

So now that the American people are finally turning against the occupation of Iraq in huge numbers across both poles of the political landscape, the Green Party, the supposed banner of peace, justice and environmentalism, has settled on a plan of inaction that supports the perpetuation of the war and the corporate contamination of the American political system. That’s the real import of the party’s decision to support David Cobb, the stealth candidate, and his safe state’s presidential strategy.

This leaves the Libertarians (a laudable conclave, despite their unyielding fixation with the tax code) as the only genuine anti-war political party in the general election-unless that master GOP fixer James Baker rushes to a distress beacon from the Oval Office and orchestrates an October deus ex machina, not by whacking Iran or Syria, but by cleaning the neo-cons out of the White House, in which case Bush, itching to exit Iraq, may yet emerge as a born-again pacifist rival to Harry Browne and the Libs. In any event, the mantle of peacemaker won’t be shouldered by the patrician warrior John Kerry or his stiff proxy David Cobb.

The Greens have rendered themselves irrelevant as anything more than a feel-good subaltern to the Democratic Party, a kind of decompression tank for thumb-sucking progressive malcontents. Cobb and his gang say that the safe state’s approach permits them to engage in party-building from the ground up by recruiting fidgety progressive Democrats without scaring them off with the prospect that the party might actually do some damage in the fall elections. Even taken at face value, it’s a silly plan. Why waste time trying to lure Democrats, who long for a return a mystical era (usually represented by FDR or, even more preposterously, JFK) that never really existed? They’ll only flee back to the Democrats with the slightest flurry of rhetorical coaxing. Why not concentrate on the 50 percent of the electorate that has rightly abandoned electoral politics out of boredom, frustration or anger at having no one worth voting for?
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Why Should I Give to You, Mr. Kerry?

Contributed By: Joe Wetmore on the Tompkins County Greens web site

I have been receiving a barrage of fund raising letters from you lately. I find it kind of ironic that the richest member of the U.S. Senate, with a net worth of nearly ½ billion dollars, is coming to me for funds. It is quite clear that you could fund your entire campaign out of your own pocket and not lower your standard of living one bit. Do you really think that I am more able to fund your campaign that you are?

Your campaign has been quite successful in getting people, most of whom have far less wealth than you, to voluntarily send you money. You are receiving a million dollars a day; so much money has been flowing into your campaign that you have decided to forgo federal matching funds.

I wonder, with all that money, why turn to me for more? I remember your, previous, and continued support for the “welfare reform act”. You told the poorest members of our society to stop looking for handouts; that they should pull themselves up with their own resources. Why does this not apply to you, and your bid for the Presidency?

You claim to support Campaign Finance Reform on your website and in your speeches. Yet your actions tell a very different tale. You have taken every action you could to avoid the meager Campaign Finance limits that are on the books now. You are not just trying to work within the system. You proposed the outrageous idea of not accepting your party’s nomination until later in the year. This was you trying to open the door to a whole new level of abuse. Is this what you mean by reform?
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