Skip to comments.Soros-Backed Super-PAC to New York Pols: Pass Reform or We're Taking You Down
Posted on 06/18/2013 9:36:26 PM PDT by mgist
The deadline draws closer by the hour. In New York, the band of good-government reformers, labor unions, enviros, community organizers, religious leaders, and more have until Thursday night, when the current legislative session ends, to press state lawmakers to pass legislation combating political corruption and kickstarting a public financing program for statewide elections. Standing in their way: The odd coalition of breakaway Democrats and Republicans who control the state Senate and who are blocking the public financing bill, which passed the state Assembly earlier this year and is backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Friends of Democracy, the super-PAC run by political operatives Jonathan Soros and David Donnelly, is one of the most aggressive backers of public financing in New York State. Soros, the son of liberal financier and mega-donor George Soros, and Donnelly see New York as the front line in the post-Citizens United battle against big-money politics. In an interview on Tuesday, Donnelly had a cut-and-dry message for the independent Democrats, who broke away from the traditional Democratic caucus to form a new leadership coalition, and the Republican legislators who are denying a vote on public financing: Support reform, or we'll fight to replace you.
Donnelly says public financing should be a no-brainer for independent Democrats and Republicans given the public support for the issue. According to a recent Siena College poll (PDF), 61 percent of New Yorkers say they support statewide public financing. Indeed, in five Siena polls dating back to August 2012, a majority of New Yorkers backed a public financing program. The way it's proposed, a statewide public financing program would match each dollar of donations up to $175 with $6 in state money. The goal is to nudge political candidates into courting lots of less-wealthy donors instead of a few very wealthy ones.
"It's pretty painfully clear that if this leadership structure, the [Independent Democratic Conference] and Republicans together, doesn't produce on behalf of the citizens of the state a public financing law that addresses corruption, there needs to be a leadership structure that will do that," Donnelly says. "That means electing people who will lead the Senate in a way that moves that legislation. It's not so much of a threat as the reality of what we're going to have to do."
Donnelly declined to say which state senators Friends of Democracy would target. (Nor would he say how much Friends of Democracy has spent so far on New York's public financing fight.) "I'm not about one senator or not about [independent Democratic senators] Diane Savino or Jeff Klein or any of these other Republican senators," he says. "I'm agnostic about how we go about doing it. It's a numbers game; we need to take out those numbers."
Donnelly says he still holds out hope that the state Senate will pass a public financing bill before heading home for the summer. But if the state Senate fails, Friends of Democracy won't walk away from the issue. In addition to targeting anti-reform senators, Donnelly explains, the super-PAC will continue pushing for a bill in the legislature, possibly during a special session or when lawmakers return later this year to work on a state budget. "If the senators can do it under the current leadership, great. Do it by Thursday, do it in a special session, during the budget session, great," he says. "We're not going away."
The good news is that Jonathan will never be as smart as his daddy Georgie. So Johnny Boy will waste his father’s inheritance giving to Leftists and eventually his cash flow will run dry. He won’t be able to generate the same amount of Wall Street cash his dad could muster.
These public-financing schemes are almost always incumbent protection schemes.
Dubbing FOD a super PAC that hates super PACs, the Washington Post noted in July 2012: Like all super PACs, Friends of Democracy will be able to raise unlimited funds from wealthy individuals, corporations or unionsprecisely the kind of system that the group is fighting against. But in fact, FOD is somewhat of a hybrid between a PAC and a Super PAC; i.e., it is permitted to raise unlimited sums of money from individuals and corporations, and to make contributions (of up to $5,000) directly to federal candidates.
One of FOD’s three co-founders and directors, Jonathan Sorosthe son of billionaire financier George Sorossaid in a 2012 interview in Washington: We openly acknowledge the irony of being a super PAC trying to address money in politics. But our goal is to eventually decrease the influence of this kind of group.... We dont see any other path to real legislative change. Claiming that his father was not involved in FOD, Jonathan Soros gave $100,000 in seed money to help the organization get off the ground.
Another FOD founder and director is political strategist Ilyse Hogue, who has worked for and with a host of progressive groups. Shortly before joining FOD, Hogue served as a senior adviser to Media Matters for America, and as director of political advocacy and communications for MoveOn.org.
The third founder and director of FOD is David Donnelly, who previously (2008-10) served as campaign manager of the Campaign for Fair Elections, a multi-organizational national initiative that tried to pass the comprehensive Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), legislation designed to purge the political process of large contributions from big-money donors, bundlers, and lobbyists. FENA would permit candidates for federal office to accept only small campaign donationslimited to $100 apieceof which each dollar would, in turn, be matched by $5 in public funds.
Utilizing television ads, mass mailings, and Web messaging to portray Republican candidates as beholden to corporations, FOD’s modus operandi is to try to publicly embarrass these candidates (if they oppose FOD’s brand of campaign-finance reform) and their biggest donors. We want to make sure there is a political cost associated with opposing reform and accountability, says co-director Ilyse Hogue.
In the 2012 election cycle, FOD spent $2,462,566 on political activities. Of the $11,175 that FOD gave directly to candidates’ campaigns, 100% went to Democrats.
Good point! Soros the father, was also behind the last campaign "finance reform" bill of "McCain Feingold" which has an internet loophole that helped Obama elected with untraceable millions from international donors.
...so this “Friends of Democracy” is a liberal group spending millions of dollars in a push to get “big money” out of politics?
“Soros corruption spin, why doesn’t any other news media talk about this” That’s your question? Perhaps you could get a bit smarter, and be known as stupid, and lazy.
Corruption they disagree with becaus ethey are not a part of it and want it for themselevs. The son of the devil incarnate will continue his fathers scrotched earth policy for generations to come.
scrotched? scorched coming from the crotch area ha!
Any rules based system will always benefit the rule makers who know the rules more intimately than any outsider.
Merit based systems, like the competitive market place, allow innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive and destroy less effective methods.
If they really wanted to end government corruption they'd work hard to shrink government and governments role in the life of individuals. The size and scope of government is what generates corruption, not election funding.
No liberal lives by the rules they demand you live by. It’s the cause they stand for, not the example they set that matters!
Any time I hear the word democracy I think of the example of two wolves and a lamb voting on what is for dinner.
We need to point out that we live in a REPUBLIC not a democracy - the Pledge even says so....
My comment was meant with a hint of sarcasm. Your comment on the other hand is a projection of a useless and miserable exsistence. Why don't you leave venomous outbursts to the radical liberals? I've never understood why people would make their personal bitterness so obvious. It's sad, but way too repulsive, therefore counterproductive.
I am not a compassionate conservative. Sling your fling, I will never join with your supposed “compassionate conservative” idealism. Buy the by- George Soros & Co, love you, by a true compassion for the stupid and lazy.
mgist- Conservatism is true compassion, yet cannot be defined, by the latter. Conservatism is the birth father of Liberty. God being the immaculate author
msgist- Conservatism is true compassion, yet cannot be defined, by the latter. Conservatism is the birth father of Liberty. God is the immaculate author.