You should begin to think of the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, as the religious right equivalent of the Koch brothers after reading this article in Salon about the millions they sent to a Christian donor-advised fund to funnel into the pockets of organizations fighting to limit the rights of the LGBT community and women while advancing their extremist corporate agenda.
Salon writer Eli Clifton has uncovered evidence that the Greens donated millions to the National Christian Charitable Fund (NCCF) to fund the current anti-contraception effort heard by the Supreme Court this week, and also the Arizona anti-gay bill that was vetoed by Jan Brewer a couple of weeks ago.
The NCCF is a donor-advised fund, much like Donors' Trust. Donors give to the fund, or assign their assets to it, and then "advise" fund trustees on where those assets should be directed. If the organization is a non-profit organization with a valid address, that advice is acted upon. It's a form of legal money laundering.
Newly-uncovered evidence shows that in this case it's legal money laundering that the Greens are using to push far more than their delicate objections to covering contraceptives for their employees.
But a document published here for the first time reveals Hobby Lobby appears to be going much further than protecting freedom, providing funding for a group that backs a political network of activist groups deeply engaged in pushing a Christian agenda into American law. The document shows entities related to the company to be two of the largest donors to the organization funding a right-wing Christian agenda, investing tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars into a vast network of organizations working in concert to advance an agenda that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians and deny their employees contraceptives under a maximalist interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause of the United States Constitution.
The donations are on page two of this document:
Jon Cargill and Crafts, Etc are the two donors which can be traced back to the Greens.
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The exact use of Jon Cargill’s and Crafts, Etc.’s contributions to the foundation aren’t clear, but National Christian Charitable’s outgoing grants reveal a series of disbursements to groups that have offered legal services to Hobby Lobby or signed on to amicus briefs supporting the lawsuit. In 2012, the NCF contributed $94,340 to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the D.C.-based legal group representing Hobby Lobby in the upcoming Supreme Court case. Between 2002 and 2012, National Christian Charitable also contributed to at least 40 of the groups that signed on to amicus briefs supporting Hobby Lobby’s case.
Salon's article is very detailed and I recommend reading it. It details the flow of millions from Hobby Lobby addresses to the National Christian Charitable Foundation. That foundation then funneled grants to the Alliance Defending Freedom, which was the primary proponent and coordinator of the case heard by the US Supreme Court this week.
However, the millions in funding wasn't just to fight the ACA. Clifton explains their clout behind the effort to discriminate against gays in Arizona, too:
Seen in this light, the ideological connection between the Hobby Lobby suit and Arizona’s recently vetoed legislation becomes clearer: One seeks to allow companies the right to deny contraceptive coverage while the other would permit businesses to deny services to LGBT people. “There are really close legal connections between [Arizona’s anti-gay SB 1062 bill] and the [Hobby Lobby] Supreme Court case,” Emily Martin, vice president and general counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, told Salon. “Ideologically, the thing that unites the two efforts is an attempt to use religious exercise as a sword to impose religious belief on others, even if it harms others, which would be a radical expansion of free exercise law,” said Martin.
And the common thread is the much bigger trend across the country. “Individuals and entities with religious objections to certain laws that protect others are seeking to use their religion to trump others,” Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, told Salon.
Now take that and put it together with the unholy alliance between libertarians like Koch and these people. What emerges is a disturbing and frighteningly clear portrait of how the right wing intends to elevate corporate power in this country in order to subjugate individuals.
If the Supreme Court decides to carve the baby in half on this contraception challenge by allowing "small, family-owned businesses" to hide behind a religious liberty exemption in order to avoid doing what every other company has to do, it will be the equivalent of granting the oligarchs free rein to buy whatever exceptions they want, all in the name of Jesus.