The ads you see above help keep us bloggers on blogspot blogging away freely. This equitable exchange is the genius and hallmark of our vigorous free-market society. Owing to this blog's title, however, sometimes those ads can be incongruous to its content. Such is the case with George Soros
' front-group "National Committee for an Effective Congress."
The billionaire - who emigrated here 50 years ago from Hungary (via England) - has pledged to spend all the money he's amassed in our country on fronting groups like NCEC to "take back the country" for himself and his radical liberal minions. Soros is staking his entire fortune on helping an AnyoneButBush Demonrat "reclaim" the White House, which to him is "a matter of life and death
." He also used that money to lobby
for passage of campaign finance reform measures, the most recent being McCain-Feingold which effectively silences all free speech by grass-roots organizations during the final two months
of the presidential election. The only folks after August who'll be able to actually talk about any of the candidates are the candidates themselves, "objective" (sneer quotes required) reporters at ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, New York Times
, etc., and of course King George the Soros and the groups he funds under his regime. That's because Soros believes
all his front groups are exempt from these speech bans by virtue of being "527s" - or, as David Tell of The Weekly Standrad explains
(Hat tip: Lane Core
), "organization[s] 'operated primarily for the purpose' of exercising 'influence' over elections and appointments to 'Federal, State, or local public office,'" not all of which "need be FEC-registered political committees" under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Other organizations that commit any acts of free speech during September and October will have its officers fined tens of thousands of dollars and imprisoned (that's right, imprisoned) for up to five years, comrade. In typical liberal fashion, Soros has used his money and the power it's bought him to try to fix the rules so that they apply only to you and me and the organizations we support, not at all to him or any of his groups.
If you believe the highly touted Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 has done away with so-called soft money, just look at what Washington Post staff writers Dan Balz and Thomas B. Edsall uncovered in their report
printed on March 10:
Democrats Forming Parallel Campaign
Interest Groups Draw GOP Fire
Led by veterans of presidential and congressional campaigns, a coalition of Democratic Party interest groups, armed with millions of dollars in soft money, is rapidly constructing an unprecedented political operation designed to supplement the activities of Sen. John F. Kerry's campaign in the effort to defeat President Bush.
Nothing to see here. Move along...MoveOn
The newest visible sign of the coalition's activities will be seen beginning today, when a $5 million advertising campaign begins in 17 battleground states. But behind the scenes, Democratic operatives are moving to set up coordinated national and state-by-state operations that amount to the equivalent of a full presidential campaign, minus the candidate.
Telling people to vote for
AnyoneButBush™ is the same as saying vote against
President Bush. But let's not confuse that with "express advocacy
" - nosiree.
The Democratic groups have created five organizations to oversee facets of the campaign: paid advertising; voter identification and turnout; communications, polling, research and rapid response; fundraising; and the coordination of the operations of more than two dozen liberal organizations.
- Paid ads
- "Censure Bush", "polygraphing" Bush about Iraq, "Guess who's going to pay off President Bush's $1 trillion deficit?"
- voter identification and turnout
- Are you voting against Bush? If you are, we can give you a ride to the polls?
- polling, research
- Q: How much is Bush like Hitler? X-same -very -somewhat -only a little.
- communications and rapid response
- *ring* *ring* Hello? - Did you know that Bush is speaking in your hometown today? - Really? - Yes, and if you want to protest him when he speaks, we're handing out signs on the lot next door. - OK, bye. *click*
- Dear potential AnyoneButBush contributor: As you may have heard, our recent polling shows that 20% of
folks we talk to Americans believe that Bush is Hitler. If you don't want someone like Hitler to get elected, please send your generous contribution of $50 or more to us today. Thank you. Sincerely, No-Connection-To-The-Qerry-Campaign-Whatsoever Campaign.
- coordination of operations
- Did someone say conspiracy with intent to violate campaign finance laws? Nah, must be a "loophole."
This parallel Democratic campaign, already under legal challenge, grows out of changes in campaign finance laws. Those changes prohibit the national party committees from raising and spending soft money -- large, unregulated contributions -- on behalf of their presidential candidates. The Democrats have taken the expertise they developed in past campaigns and applied it to the new, separate operation. By law, coalition members cannot coordinate with the campaign of Kerry (Mass.), the presumptive Democratic candidate.
Ok, sure. We'll not coordinate. That means "talking on the phone to him a lot and/or sending checks made out to his HjQ," right?
"Our sense was we needed to have a message up on the air that tells the truth about the Bush record and defends the Democratic position on the issues," said Ellen Malcolm, president of Emily's List and a driving force behind the coordinated effort.
Against Bush. For Democrat. Where's the "express advocacy" in that? After all, we're just telling "the truth."
"There is no question that Bush has $100 million and Kerry is down to zero. It's very important that there are alternative voices out there talking about the Bush record."
Against Bush. For AlternativeToBush™. See?
Most of these new organizations have been established as "527s," shorthand for the provision of the tax law that covers their activities. The 527s are controversial because they accept soft money from corporations and unions, which critics say represents an evasion of the ban on large, unregulated contributions in the new campaign finance law known as the McCain-Feingold Act, and because they operate under less stringent disclosure regulations.
Yeah, but ours is good soft money. Theirs is bad, very bad - even
A new ad to be launched today was produced by the Media Fund, the principal vehicle for pro-Democratic television commercials by the coalition. But the coalition's advertising effort will be shared by MoveOn.org, the Internet-based liberal advocacy group that has become part of the umbrella operation established by the Democratic organizations.
Part of that
coordinating stuff they're doing. Move along.
The new ad -- one of three tested in focus groups in Tampa and Pittsburgh -- states that "George Bush's priorities are eroding the American Dream."
Very neutral ad. Just talking about "The Truth"®.
Ben Ginsberg, a lawyer for the Bush-Cheney campaign, called the Media Fund ads "a blatant circumvention of the new campaign finance law." He said the president's campaign plans to immediately file a complaint that seeks to have the Federal Election Commission determine whether groups "knowingly and willfully" solicited donors "to contribute in excess of federal law and to determine whether they [the donors] knew that the money was to defeat a federal candidate."
Harold Ickes, president of the Media Fund, said: "We would expect nothing less than scorched-earth harassment by the Republicans."
Them mean ol' repukes just want us to not have money so we can break the law and stuff. That's harassment, I say, harassment! Plus they want to scorch our earth as well as strip-mine the land and kill every spotted green turtle. They're environment harassers, too!
But in addition to the Bush-Cheney complaint, Democratic 527 groups face legal scrutiny by the FEC, which plans to issue new rules governing the organizations' activities. Republicans said the complaint is likely to take at least six months to process, and the new 527 rules will not be effective until late July at the earliest.
Plenty of time to
coordinate their AnyoneButBush Campaign, Inc., and run
Vote Against Bush!
Republicans say that if the Democratic 527 activity is ruled legal, GOP groups will be quickly formed to match the opposition.
That's not fair. Only Democrats are allowed to
find loopholes around here!
Republicans have been under less pressure to raise non-party money because of the success of the Bush campaign, which has already raised about $150 million [Soros' groups are raising $300 million], and the Republican National Committee. In addition, past corporate soft-money donors to the RNC are reluctant to risk legal repercussions while the status of 527s remains in limbo ["Keep Hope Alive" © 2004, Washington Post].
The Democratic groups have created an operation that combines close coordination with a division of labor designed to avoid duplication of effort and maximize resources.
"Close coordination" intended to "avoid duplication of effort" while
maximizing resources. Just Really Innocently Coordinated Organizations
we are, that's all.
Beyond the Media Fund, the entities include Americans Coming Together (ACT), which is responsible for get-out-the-vote efforts; America Votes, the umbrella organization that will stitch together the activities of various progressive organizations; the Thunder Road Group, which will concentrate on research and rapid response; and the Joint Victory Campaign 2004, a combined fundraising committee.
Malcolm, of Emily's List, said the groups have raised about $75 million, although other Democrats questioned whether all that money is in hand ["Nothin' To See Here MoveAlong" © 2004, Washington Post].
The Democratic 527 organizations have drawn support from some wealthy liberals determined to defeat Bush. They include financier George Soros and his wife, Susan Weber Soros, who gave $5 million to ACT and $1.46 million to MoveOn.org; Peter B. Lewis, chief executive of the Progressive Corp., who gave $3 million to ACT and $500,000 to MoveOn; and Linda Pritzker, of the Hyatt hotel family, and her Sustainable World Corp., who gave $4 million to the joint fundraising committee.
The Democratic coalition includes many of the party's most experienced strategists, spokesmen and fundraisers, as well former staffers for Kerry's campaign and the campaigns of several of his rivals. They include Ickes, who was deputy White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration, Steve Rosenthal, a former political director for the AFL-CIO who is executive director of ACT, and Jim Jordan, formerly Kerry's campaign manager, who heads the Thunder Road Group.
Just because we were all contributors and officers for solely the Democratic Party and its candidates doesn't mean we have any connection with them. Move along.
Bill Knapp, who did ads for the Gore and Clinton presidential campaigns the past three elections, oversees the advertising operation for the Media Fund. Five pollsters, several with presidential experience, are sharing the coalition's survey research work.
I said move along.
MoveOn.org already has spent millions of dollars on anti-Bush ads.
Er, that's "TheTruth"AboutBush ads.
Much of the group's work, according to several Democrats involved in the coalition, will be concentrated in five states that Democrats hope to pick up in November: Florida, Ohio, Missouri, West Virginia and Nevada.
*ring* *ring* Hello? - Hi, Mr. Floridian. Voting against Bush? Need a ride to the polls?....
The group ran ads for 10 weeks in those states, including a prescription drug ad that ran for four weeks. [Just
poisoning the ground getting TheTruth out there. Move along.] Polling conducted by Stan Greenberg, Bill Clinton's 1992 pollster [Move. A. Long.], showed the ad was particularly effective in enlarging the Democrats' advantage on that issue, according to sources familiar with the research. That has convinced Democrats they can move the battlefield in Kerry's direction.
The New Democrat Network, a coalition member, plans a separate $5 million television campaign aimed at [just anti-Bush] Latino voters in four states.
On the organizing front, Rosenthal said he has hired state directors in 10 battleground states modeled on techniques successfully used by organized labor. Labor will be responsible for contacting union members. That will leave ACT free to concentrate on motivating other members of the Democrats' core constituencies, as well as some swing voters, using research from the National Committee for an Effective Congress to build sophisticated precinct vote goals.
Cecile Richards, executive director of America Votes, said her umbrella organization has hired eight state directors, with coordinating efforts beginning in 15 states. Individual organizations, from the Sierra Club to NARAL Pro-Choice America, will conduct their own activities.
See, no soft money at all. Just lots of coordinatin'.
But the Democrats hope to avoid a problem of past elections, when groups sent similar direct-mail messages to voters at the same time or concentrated on one area of a state to the exclusion of other areas. "We don't all need to be in Tampa," Richards said.
That's all right. King George the Soros is calling the team's plays from his imperial sky booth.
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