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Media Matters Funded By A Secret Group

Some details about about one of the major sources of Media Matters’ funding from Discover The Networks:

Democracy Alliance

Founded in the spring of 2005, Democracy Alliance is a self-described “liberal organization” whose long-term objective is to raise $200 million to develop a funding clearinghouse for progressive groups…  

Political operative Rob Stein, who served as chief of staff to Commerce Secretary Ron Brown during the Clinton administration, conceived of the project and is directing it….

As of August 2005, Stein had shown his PowerPoint presentation, titled “The Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix,” to more than 700 key people in private meetings…

Democracy Alliance was forged from the remnants of the Phoenix Group, an assembly of financiers who backed pro-Democratic 527 organizations such as MoveOn.org during the 2004 election cycle.  

Major donors George Soros and Peter Lewis, who each gave roughly $23 million to 527s for the 2004 elections, have latched onto the Democracy Alliance cause and are attracting other donors. A constellation of Hollywood elites (including Rob Reiner), are also backing the cause. As of August 2005, some 80 founding donors were already onboard

Prospective donors are asked to make an initial pledge of $200,000 per year for five years to Democracy Alliance-endorsed think tanks and advocacy groups. 

“There is enormous capacity for financial giving,” said former Clinton White House spokesman Mike McCurry, who is now a spokesman for Democracy Alliance

According to author Joseph Klein, Democracy Alliance has also “received significant support from some of Hillary Clinton’s most important backers including Susie Tompkins Buell and her husband, Mark Buell, and financier Alan Patricof.”

Moreover, Democracy Alliance reports that one of its officials, Jonathan Adler, served as Regional Campaign Coordinator for Senator Clinton’s successful 2006 Senate re-election campaign.

The current Managing Director of Democracy Alliance, Kelly Craighead, is, according to Newsday’s Glenn Thrush, “one of the Clintons’ closest friends.” In the 1990s Craighead worked as an assistant to President Clinton and as director of the advance team for Hillary, who was then the First Lady.

The depth of the friendship between Craighead and Mrs. Clinton is evidenced by the fact that Hillary, acting as a justice of the peace, performed Craighead’s 2001 marriage ceremony to political consultant Erick Mullen, a former aide to Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York and a former informal advisor to Mrs. Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign.

Recipients of Democracy Alliance grants are sworn to secrecy about the funds they receive from this organization, thus only a small percentage of its grantees are known to the public. Among them are Media Matters, EMILY’s List, ACORN, and the Center for American Progress

According to Glenn Thrush of Newsday, Democracy Alliance members report that their organization “advises Democratic donors on where to spend their political contributions” and, in so doing, “steered more than $6 million to [David] Brock‘s group” — Media Matters — between 2004 and 2006.

Being a 501c3 tax exempt “charity” doesn’t Media Matters have to list any contributions it receives on its Form 990?

I have checked Media Matters’ public Form 990 from 2005, 2004, and 2003 and have found no listings of any contributions.

It is not immediately clear from the IRS’s opaque rules whether this is a requirement or not. Though one would expect it to be.

(As we have previously noted, even the Soros organization the Open Society Institute lists its contributions, including those from the US government and a Palestinian Relief agency.)

But even if there is no legal requirement for Media Matters to disclose this information, where is our watchdog media?

They were more than eager to report on Richard Mellon Scaife’s (by comparison rather paltry) contributions to rightwing organizations.

Why this lack of curiosity about the left, when a handful of highly suspect characters are pouring millions of dollars into one party, indeed into the efforts of one candidate?

Where is the outrage?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, October 5th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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