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Anti-Tea Party Ads Bought With Union $

From Fox News:

Anti-Tea Party Web Site Part of Scheme to Funnel Funds

Joseph Abrams

February 10, 2010

A new Web site targeting the tea parties is a part of a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions and trickling slowly into political slush funds for Democratic activists.

A seemingly grassroots organization that’s mounted an online campaign to counter the tea party movement is actually the front end of an elaborate scheme that funnels funds — including sizable labor union contributions — through the offices of a prominent Democratic party lawyer.

A Web site popped up in January dedicated to preventing the tea party’s "radical" and "dangerous" ideas from "gaining legislative traction," targeting GOP candidates in Illinois for the firing squad.

"This movement is a fad," proclaims TheTeaPartyIsOver.org, which was established by the American Public Policy Center (APPC), a D.C.-based campaign shop that few people have ever heard of.

But a close look reveals the APPC’s place in a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions into political slush funds for Democratic activists.

Here’s how it works: What appears like a local groundswell is in fact the creation of two men — Craig Varoga and George Rakis, Democratic Party strategists who have set up a number of so-called 527 groups, the non-profit election organizations that hammer on contentious issues (think Swift Boats, for example).

Varoga and Rakis keep a central mailing address in Washington, pulling in soft money contributions from unions and other well-padded sources to engage in what amounts to a legal laundering system. The money — tens of millions of dollars — gets circulated around to different states by the 527s, which pay for TV ads, Internet campaigns and lobbyist salaries, all while keeping the hands of the unions clean — for the most part.

The system helps hide the true sources of funding, giving the appearance of locally bred opposition in states from Oklahoma to New Jersey, or in the case of the Tea Party Web site, in Illinois

[T]he center of their activity appears to be a single office in Southeast D.C. — 300 M Street, Suite 1102 — which plays host to a sprawling political shell game they have established.

Public records show at least seven political shops listed in Suite 1102, most of which are essentially clones of one another, but all of which have offered money — from measly thousands to game-changing millions — in state-level elections across the country:

– The American Public Policy Committee    
– Patriot Majority                                              
– Citizens for Progress                                 
– Oklahoma Freedom Fund                            
– Mid Atlantic Leadership Fund               
– Public Security Now                                      
– Pioneer Majority                                        
– Bluegrass Freedom Fund                            

The APPC, which developed the anti-tea party ads, has gotten all of its money for 2010 from Patriot Majority and from Citizens for Progress, which is also called Patriot Majority West…

The most recent backers of the Patriot Majority and Patriot Majority West, which helped fund the APPC and thus the Tea Party site, form a veritable Who’s Who of the country’s top labor unions: the Service Employees International Union, Change to Win, the Communications Workers of America, the National Education Association, the Teamsters Union, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union and others besides.

But by far the largest donations have come from a collection of unionized government workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) — which in 2008 alone donated $5.8 million to Patriot Majority and another $4.1 million to Patriot Majority Midwest.

Using this arrangement, Varoga and Rakis are managing what NPR called a "never-ending pot of union money" that they dispense among the 527s they run, which in turn pay for ads in hotly contested election districts.

That means that taxpayer dollars, sent up as union dues, have been going to fund a host of Democratic causes and help quash the tea party movement.

What’s more, Varoga and Rakis are not actually present in Suite 1102. That is the office of their lawyer, Joseph Sandler, a longtime general counsel to the Democratic National Committee.

Sandler, whose firm and trust account raked in over $500,000 in Democratic party money in 2009 alone, told Fox News that there was nothing irregular in their setup…

Mr. Axelrod has taught them ‘astroturfing’ very well.

Kudos to Fox News for doing some actual investigative journalism.

Though, to be fair, some of this information was first uncovered by various conservative bloggers.

(Thanks to NickB for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Anti-Tea Party Ads Bought With Union $”

  1. Steve-RVO says:

    Went a bit further on my blog to find 2008 NPR stories about Patriot Majority and where they are getting their funding.


  2. proreason says:

    It’s past the tipping point.

    The anti-Tea Party propaganda is just making the country madder.

    You can feel it in the air. People are saying “enough with the bullshit”.

    They are headed towards making Sarah Palin President.

  3. GTBurns says:

    Joy Behar and Eve Ensler’s latest dialogue on how global warming causes earthquakes was just the latest on Liberal stupid. Time Cube is starting to make more sense than Global warming.


  4. MinnesotaRush says:

    “That means that taxpayer dollars, sent up as union dues, have been going to fund a host of Democratic causes and help quash the tea party movement.”

    The Tea Party movement equals a very large group of conservative, principled, patriotic Americans who love their Country and hate what’s happening to it.

    So to interpret the quote above .. That means that taxpayer dollars .. have been going to fund a host of Democratic causes and HELP QUASH A LARGE GROUP OF AMERICANS WHO LOVE THEIR COUNTRY.

    Boy .. isn’t that admirable work (?). These folks are disgusting pukes.

    You’re right, Pro. I hope they keep infuriating folks. Give these basta_ds ALL the rope they need to hang themselves!

  5. David says:

    I don’t make much as a student but each pay check about $45 goes to the federal government and about $35 is stolen as mandatory “fair pay” to the Coalition of Graduate employees union. Of course if I want to say anything about I have to cough up another $35 bucks a month to be a member of that union. If unions want to move beyond the stereotype of thieves and thugs perhaps they should stop being thieves and thugs!

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