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Who Is The Benghazi Accountability Coalition?

Many familiar names are on the list of coalition partners for the disastrous event held at the Heritage Foundation on Monday.

The Benghazi Accountability Coalition is nothing more than repackaged far-right mental cases who hate anyone and everyone who doesn't think like them. But instead of plotting their 30-front war in email and relying on 'messaging', they're going all out to ramp up the hate and fear, led by Frank Gaffney and his sidekick Brigitte Gabriel.

Yes, the Heritage Benghazi Coalition encounter was just as bad as Dana Milbank said it was. All of the apologists out trying to rehabilitate this hateful event while the Erick Ericksons of the world do a dance around whether they were actually affiliated or just provided space are ridiculous. Of course it was hateful, and of course Heritage Foundation was far more than simply a "host."

So who is this Benghazi Accountability Coalition, anyway?

Groundswell II

The Benghazi Accountability Coalition is a recycled version of the Groundswell "messagers," except this time it appears they have some funding or other support lacking the first time around.

On their website, they list the following people as "leaders." Those in bold were among those who were plotting a year ago to make Benghazi an impeachable event.

  • General Jerry Boykin
  • Col. Allen West
  • Frank Gaffney
  • Andy McCarthy
  • Dan Bongino
  • Steven Bucci
  • Elaine Donnelly
  • Brigitte Gabriel
  • Paul Vallely
  • Anita MonCrief
  • Gayle Trotter
  • Everett Woolum
  • Dick and Patricia Schermerhorn
  • Tony Papandrea, Private Citizen, USNA
  • Col. USMC, Ret. David Percy
  • Susan Creed Percy, Advocate for Military Families
  • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster, PhD, Chaplain (Colonel), USA, Retired

This list on the website isn't the full list as of June 16th, however. Here's the full list of leaders, via their PDF announcement dated 6/16:

  • General Jerry Boykin
  • Frank Gaffney
  • Tom Fitton
  • Clare Lopez
  • Allen Roth
  • Dan Bongino
  • Steven Bucci
  • Elaine Donnelly
  • Brigitte Gabriel
  • Col. Allen West
  • Paul Vallely
  • Amb. Henry F. Cooper, “Former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative”
  • Demos Chrissos, Rapid Response Media
  • Anita MonCrief
  • Gayle Trotter
  • Everett Woolum, CMSgt USAF (retired)
  • Dick and Patricia Schermerhorn
  • Tony Papandrea, Private Citizen, USNA
  • Col. USMC, Ret. David Percy
  • Susan Creed Percy, Advocate for Military Families
  • Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster, PhD, Chaplain (Colonel), USA, Retired
  • Chris Farrell, Judicial Watch
  • Jake Jacobowitz, SOS Speaks
  • Ginni Thomas, Liberty Consulting
  • Tommy Sears
  • Stephanie Coleman
  • Joseph Tranchini, Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

Funny how Ginni Thomas doesn't appear on the website roster but does here, eh? Maybe this was even a little too much for Justice Thomas to own? And of course, we have the usual Republican agitators from Judicial Watch, Rapid Response Media, and True the Vote popping up too. Though True the Vote isn't listed here or on the June 16th roster, Catherine Engelbrecht signed off on the letter to John Boehner in January along with all of the coalition partners.

Here's some background on others on the list. Dan Bongino is running for Congress in Maryland's 6th District, and Special Operations Speaks (SOS Speaks) is a PAC supporting Senate candidate Rob Maness in Louisiana. Tommy Sears is an independent political consultant with ties to the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, and Concerned Veterans for America, among others. Allen Roth is the president of Secure America Now, the nonprofit affiliated with Fox News hosts. Steven Bucci is director of the Allison (as in John Allison, former president of BB&T Bank) Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

Elaine Donnelly is president of yet another nonprofit, the Center for Military Readiness. Paul Vallely is a retired general and cohort of birther Thomas McInerney, Henry Cooper heads up an organization dedicated to promoting missile defense, and Stephanie Coleman appears to be a friend of Ginni Thomas. If Twitter social graphs are to be believed, Stephanie's first follower was Ginni.

Center for Security Policy

Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy is plugged in tight to hard-right Islamophobes. On the 2012 IRS filing, the Center paid large consulting fees to anti-Sharia litigators at the American Freedom Law Center ($400,000), the David Horowitz Freedom Center ($324,024), Israeli nationalist Schlomo Blass' Rogatka, Ltd ($259,681), and former Love Boat star and ardent Islamophobe Fred Grandy ($157,000).

Gaffney's organization is closely tied into what I would call the xenophobic hard right. Try as everyone might to marginalize them, they are as connected to power as any Koch-head. They might express their anti-black/brown sentiments in terms of Muslims, but Muslims are just the proxy for the black guy in the White House and every black and brown person on the street. Don't be fooled.

The right-wing doesn't really have any policies to promote, so they are betting 2014 on two prongs: fear and opposition. This group represents the worst of both, and they're aiming to stir the fearful masses into voting Republicans into the Senate.


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