Since silly season is now fully under way with crazy ads like this one and this new one marginalizing women, I decided to have a look at the other organizations receiving large amounts of corporate funding.
News Corp, David Koch and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce donated their future tax cuts to the Republican Governors' Association, but what about Newt Gingrich's American Solutions for Winning the Future, and Karl Rove's American Crossroads?
American Crossroads is the Citizens United incubator. Here are some of the bigger donors in May and June:
- $1,000,000 - Trevor Rees-Jones: Chief Oil and Gas, LLC
- $1,550,000 - B. Wayne Hughes: Public Storage, Inc.
- $1,000,000 - Southwest Louisiana Land LLC (Contran)
- $1,000,000 - TRT Holdings (Robert Rowling, Omni Hotels)
Smaller donors include oil and gas investors, private investors (euphemism for rich guys counting dividends), and ranchers.
American Crossroads does its media buys (about $340,000 in June) through Crossroads Media, and uses BlackRock Consulting. The common link there is Michael Dubke, who is best known as the man behind "Americans for Job Security", the astroturf organization that has actively opposed Card Check and the estate tax.
American Solutions for Winning the Future is the Newt Gingrich organization. Initially funded by Sheldon Adelson, it's matured into a pyramid of small donors, largely driven by the "buy your Newt affiliation with a donation" campaigns. You might remember the one last year for small businesses -- donate $2500, get a certificate and an invitation to dinner with Newt...unless you happen to be a lesbian business owner. Then it's something else entirely.
Still, Newt had some fairly large donors in June. George Osborne, a builder who makes lots of his money building government-contracted buildings, gave $50,000. Joseph G. Fogg, Guiliani supporter and true blue Republican, gave $25,000. Plains Exploration Production Co in Houston gave $100,000, Windway Capital $50,000, auto dealer Mandell Oursman gave $25,000, Hubbard Broadcasting - $25,000, Contran Corporation gave $25,000 and Trio Petroleum $13,000.
Sheldon Adelson still doesn't seem to mind funding the private jets. In June, he made a donation of $500,000.
Where Rove's organization is responsible for attack ads and media buys, Newt's is the telemarketing arm of the operation. Infocision Corporation in Ohio is by far the largest recipient of funds from American Solutions. They use Infocision for fundraising and push-polling. What isn't spent with Infocision goes to pay for Newt to fly by private jet, throw lavish parties, and travel by limo. Indeed, after Infocision, Moby Dick Airways is the single largest expenditure of American Solutions.
There is a pattern emerging here. For all the sound and fury from Dick Armey about the Tea Party taking over the Republican party, it's just smoke. What's really happening is a division of labor and outreach. Each has their own role -- Armey, Gingrich, Rove, Gillespie and Steele.
Now they're beginning to close ranks, line up for November, but there was never any "independent" conservative movement. It was all just a way to keep the base engaged while moving toward midterms. It was also a way to spread the money around to more people in more organizations by the few billionaires who can afford such things.
Imagine what good could be done if we didn't have such amazing amounts spent to get elected? Imagine the good candidates we might be able to recruit.
Imagine this. Of course, I'd have to find something else to write about. I'm sure I could find something.
Update: Sunlight Foundation's Paul Blumenthal explains why this matters so much. It's more than appearance.