Thursday, August 5

Progressives for secrecy and big money

We were told that super PACS were only for Republicans, weren’t we? That days-long secret meetings were evil? That there shouldn’t be such a thing as secret-money nonprofits? But Democrats and liberals love this too, reports Politico.

“Democratic super PACs get jump on 2014, 2016,” by Kenneth P. Vogel and Tarini Parti: “Winning changes everything. It took Democrats a while to warm up to super PACs, but … they’re already busy at work courting their wealthiest supporters and planning even more ambitious efforts for future elections. Shortly after Election Day, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and top White House aides spoke at a three-day secret meeting of major Democratic donors and officials … gearing up for 2014 … Among the groups represented: Priorities USA Action, the [pro-Obama] super PAC … ; American Bridge, the oppo shop that helped sink Todd Akin; the Pelosi-backed House Majority PAC; the secret-money organizing non-profit America Votes; and the pro-choice group EMILY’s List. Some of those groups or their allies are considering expanding into state politics, policy fights or even primaries on both sides. And they have already gone back to their 2012 donors to ask for more cash while the euphoria from winning is still fresh. Their goal: a permanent network of officially blessed independent groups that leverages liberals’ increasing acceptance and appreciation of outside money …

“The three-day conference — the annual winter conference of the Democracy Alliance, an exclusive club comprised of some of the biggest liberal donors — at Washington’s W Hotel featured presentations by top Obama campaign and administration officials including Mitch Stewart, Matthew Barzum, Gene Sperling and Jon Carson. Democracy Alliance donors donated or pledged more than $14 million to super PACs and secret-money nonprofits this year after a vigorous debate about whether Democrats should participate in the wave of unlimited political spending that Republicans rode to control of the House of Representatives in 2010. … Democrats need to balance distaste for big money politics with pragmatism, said Rodell Mollineau, president of American Bridge, a super PAC and non-profit that combined to spend $15 million in 2012 circulating damaging information on GOP candidates … Pelosi and Schumer thanked the donors for their support …

“Priorities USA Action, which was represented at the Democracy Alliance conference by co-founder Bill Burton and pollster Geoff Garin, reported spending $65 million attacking Romney. … ‘We’re not going to go away,’ [said Paul] Begala [who helped Priorities]. ‘Democrats have had a tendency to reinvent the wheel every cycle. And one of the reasons the president won is that he built a spectacular campaign apparatus in 2008 and improved and built on it in 2012. We’re likely to follow his example.’

See Democratic super PACs get jump on 2014, 2016.