In an era when the most vehement proponents of big government happen to be the most politically active billionaires, it is not surprising that the Democracy Alliance, a collaborative of liberal donors led by George Soros and Peter B. Lewis, has set out on an offensive to pile funds into the liberal machine.
The tactics of Soros, his constituent investors and foundations are revealed easily — and in considerable detail — by an examination of the seemingly “grassroots” groups that this very non-grassroots collection of billionaires and bureaucrats fund.
In fact, staples of the “grassroots” political movement — especially progressive websites such as MoveOn.org and ActBlue — are not driven by the average Democrat, as their image may suggest, but are rather mouthpieces for the radical agendas of the likes of Soros and labor unions.
Launched in June 2004, ActBlue is a supposedly innovative approach to fundraising for Democratic candidates: It takes no sides in primaries, purportedly takes in no profit and (jokingly) endorses donations in Euros. Its main purpose is to collect money from liberal donors and then disperse these contributions to Democratic candidates.
It asks for tips, however.
For a website run in part by a Ph.D. program dropout and minimalist in style and procedure, it has raised over $96,000,000 since induction.
What exactly is ActBlue? The website itself doesn’t exactly give a solid answer.
“For federal elections, ActBlue is a registered with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) as a Political Action Committee (PAC) and is not connected with any candidate, party, or other entity,” states the website. By definition, a PAC can receive or give over $1,000 that will have an effect on a federal election. Still, PACs are restricted by certain expenditure and collection cut-offs.
“We are also registered with the IRS as a 527 political organization for many of our non-federal political activities,” it continues. 527 organizations are tax-exempt and deal primarily with electing (and defeating) politicians: they are the “soft money” organizations — supposedly independent of candidates — that were created in the Internal Revenue Code as a result of the McCain-Feingold law. Unlike a PAC, 527s are not subjected to the same level of contribution restrictions and are not monitored by the FEC. A large amount of ActBlue’s contributions come through as 527s.
“For our state-level political activities, in more than 20 states we are registered as a political committee,” it concludes.
So, for different purposes, ActBlue is a different entity: It is subjected to different laws and filed differently in the tax code.
But perhaps the strangest line in ActBlue’s bush-beating self-description is the following canard: “It gets awfully complex at times, but that’s part of what we do. We worry about the legal issues so that you can focus on fundraising for the candidates you support.”
Apparently talking down to contributors is integral to ActBlue’s M.O. Sounds like the strategy of another prominent politician who has already received, through ActBlue, $1,064,021 for his 2012 presidential race.
While ActBlue claims not to be a “business,” data collected by the nonpartisan OpenSecrets.org — which, according to its mission statement, tracks money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy — indicates that in the 2008 election cycle the website raised $54.6 million but spent only $54.4 million.
The real question for ActBlue is whether it is honestly what it professes to be: A mouthpiece for Democratic favorites, an aggregator of public opinion that legitimately reflects the decisions of Dems as a whole.
But contributions from mega-rich liberals, like George Soros, undermine this populist façade. Soros directly donated $6,900 to ActBlue on May 11, 2008 and Andy and Debby Rappaport gave $70,000.
A closer look at non-federal 527 contributions yields similar results. Adam Freed, a Director at Google, donated $18,000.
The American Association for Justice, a civil justice activist group, donated $20,000.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of the largest labor unions in the U.S., gave $100,000. The Democratic National Committee gave $40,000.
The AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education gave $100,000 as well. The AFL-CIO is a national trade union center, the largest collection of unions in the U.S. representing 11 million members. The AFL-CIO is consistently against charter schools and voucher programs and has a fluctuating and unclear stance on No Child Left Behind.
Despite its stripped-down appearance, ActBlue is frothing with the elitist pretension characteristic of the modern Left. The hip tenets of “grassroots” campaigning, highbrow blathering and self-possessed pseudo-coolness seep through the slogans, descriptions and thematics of the website.
As unnerving and dishonest as it may be, ActBlue seems an effective way for rich donors — private parties and unions — to funnel donations to liberal candidates and get around the limitations on donations in McCain-Feingold.