Skip to comments.Fox News reports on union attack site against Tea Parties
Posted on 02/10/2010 12:26:25 PM PST by ocr1
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.
Tea Partiers are using our OWN money to stage events, and do our activities. The Unions are using dues required from their MEMBERS, even if some of those members might not share the leaders' political views.
I wouldn’t doubt that some of that union money even filtered down to some phony “conservative” posters right here on FR.
I kind of wonder if the campaign finance laws may come into play with this bunch.
I'd be willing to bet that more than a few Tea Partiers are Union members themselves.
I've noticed more and more, that at conservative places like the Wall Street Journal editorials and Townhall.com, when an article is newly posted, more often than not, the first comment comes from a liberal within minutes. Paid stalkers, IMHO
I think you’re right. “Ellie Lite”s.
I sure hope Sarah Palin and the folks working alongside her are informed of this union funding effort to destroy the tea party movement.
If the thugs are against it, it is righteous.
It’s time to repeal any federal protections given to unions and to start peeling off current members. The more we point out, and the LOUDER we do it, how corrupt the unions are, the more decent Americans will refuse to be members. Several officers, including my husband, of the police department here have started to refuse to pay their union dues to SEIU. We only recently found out that was the union behind the police union here.
September 8, 2008 Patriot Majority is one in a network of 527 organizations run by veteran political consultant Craig Varoga in order to help Democrats in Senate, House and gubernatorial races this year.
Varoga, manager of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack's short-lived presidential campaign, has set up several affiliates to Patriot Majority, which ran ads in 2006 to help defeat the Republican candidate for Massachusetts governor. Patriot Majority West, for example, produced an ad in the New Mexico Senate race this year. It used to be called Citizens for Progress, which ran ads criticizing the Republican candidate for Colorado governor in 2006. Patriot Majority Midwest, which used to be the Oklahoma Freedom Fund, received $2 million in union money this year to target Republican members of Congress. Varoga also set up Patriot Majority New Mexico and Patriot Majority For A Strong America this year. Varoga traditionally raises money from unions and the Democratic Governors Association, which has contracted Varoga's firm in the past. Varoga also has a group, Alliance for North Carolina, targeting the Republican candidate for governor in that state. It used to be called Pioneer Majority.
Varoga groups include: Bluegrass Freedom Fund (which ran ads to help defeat Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky in 2007); American Alliance for Energy Independence; American Public Policy Committee; American Affordable Health Care; and Midwest Alliance for Better Government (formerly Public Security Now).
Majority: In 2008, $1.2 million from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; $500,000 from the Change to Win labor federation (which is spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union); and $125,000 from the United Food and Commercial Workers union. In 2006, $400,000 from SEIU Local 1199; $250,000 from the Massachusetts Teachers Association; $200,000 from the Democratic Governors Association; $50,000 from Patricia Cornwell of CEI Enterprises.
Majority West: In 2008, $2.18 million from AFSCME. In 2006, $250,000 from the Democratic Governors Association; $200,000 from Colorado Education Association; $120,000 from AFSCME; $100,000 from SEIU; $25,000 from Tim Gill.
Majority Midwest: In 2006, $370,000 from the Democratic Governors Association.
Alliance for North Carolina: In 2006, $45,000 from Democratic Governors Association.
Bluegrass Freedom Fund: In 2007, $1 million from William Yung of Columbia Sussex; $640,000 from the Democratic Governors Association, $238,000 from AFSCME.
American Public Policy Committee: In 2008, $60,000 from the Democratic Governors Association.
Midwest Alliance for Better Government: In 2008, $50,000 from AFSCME, $45,000 from the Democratic Governors Association.
Leadership: Craig Varoga, Dave Contarino, Mike Rice, Patrick J. Hall, Joe Householder, George Rakis. Read more about these leaders in The Secret Money Project's Who's Who Directory of Key Leaders of Independent Groups.
That was the silly thing about the campaign finance laws. The Unions found ways around them to advocate for candidates. I think my hubby said that the Unions spent 40 million to elect Obama, and some of it was all through small groups, and you didn’t know they were run by the Unions.
Oh, I’m sure they’re VERY aware of it!
We need to stop forcing companies to deduct union dues from paychecks. Let the union pass their own hat around and I suspect they’ll weaken and fracture.
Instead of Campaign Finance Laws, we just need transparency, so that you don’t have to dig through a whole bunch of carp to find out who is at the root of an advocacy group, and who’s paying their bills.
He and Michelle Malkin will have more on it on his show tonight.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.