The NewDEAL: Dark Money, Democrat Style


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Over at Vice, Lee Fang, an investigative fellow with The Nation Institute, looks at some of the "dark money" flowing around Democratic political circles. Turns out some secret sources of Democrat campaign funding are the very mega-companies many progressives rail against, especially when they're donating to Republican causes. 

From Fang: 

"While much of the talk about a progressive revival revolves around populist figures like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Elizabeth Warren, there are other, better funded efforts afoot. Corporate titans from finance to natural gas to big retail and telecom are attempting to steer the party, and as the midterms shape up, these interests are pushing to ensure they continue to have wide sway over America's only viable outlet for center-left expression at the polls. Which brings us to the latest venture in corporate-centered party-building and the group hosting a chat in (the America's Natural Gas Alliance's) headquarters: The NewDEAL."

The NewDEAL was created by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) to support pro-business progressives (DEAL stands for "Developing Exceptional American Leaders"). Led by Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the NewDEAL is a 501(c)(4) issue advocacy non-profit, allowing for campaign activity without disclosure of donors. But Vice claims to have uncovered a NewDEAL donor list:

"VICE has obtained a 'supporter list' showing donors of the NewDEAL, which reads like a who's who of corporations seeking government access: Comcast, Fluor, Merck, Microsoft, New York Life, Pfizer, Qualcomm, Verizon, Wal-Mart, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, among others, including, of course, the host of Tuesday's event, ANGA.

[…] the same corporate forces that Democrats are leaning on are propping up the far right tilt of the Republicans as well. On the local level, meaning state legislative races, there are two competing committees, the RSLC for the GOP and DLCC for Dems. A VICE review of recent campaign filings show that the two committees share many of the same top 25 donors: Wal-Mart, Pfizer, tobacco giant Reynolds America, PhRMA (a drug industry trade group), AT&T, and Comcast cut the biggest checks for both the RSLC and the DLCC."

Obviously, corporate-funded Democrat activists are nothing new. And I guess you could say this highlights the influence of corporations on the political process, but that's a point already pretty well illuminated. So, mostly, I just find this news delightful because the recent push from Democrats to paint the Republicans as somehow uniquely influenced by secret corporate money is so sickeningly disingenuous.

Read the whole thing here.