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More About Donors Behind Media Matters

This is an excerpt from a July 2007 article in the Capital Research Center publication Foundation Watch (pdf file):

David Brock

Media Matters for America: Soros-Funded Watchdog Attacks Conservatives

By Rondi Adamson

Following the Money

David Brock’s confessional writings make clear that he yearns to schmooze. Deeply wounded when the conservative A-list turned against him, he now associates with Hollywood glitterati, champagne socialists and establishment movers and shakers who are financing his online mud-wrestling at MMFA. According to the New York Times,

MMFA received “more than $2 million from wealthy liberals” as start-up money in 2004. Initial donors included cable executive Leo Hindery Jr., philanthropist James Hormel, shopping mall magnate Bren Simon, and Susie Tompkins Buell, who with her husband Douglas co-founded the Esprit clothing chain.

Buell, who met Brock at a get-together of Hillary Clinton supporters, held a fundraiser for him at her San Francisco home.

Brock has been less than open – there’s a temptation to use that word “slippery” – over MMFA’s financing. At first Media Matters spokeswoman Sally Aman insisted that “neither Media Matters nor its president and CEO David Brock has received any money from Soros or from any organization with which he is affiliated.”

But George Soros has been a major force in funding MMFA – indirectly perhaps, but powerfully, nonetheless. In early 2005, MMFA, through a spokeswoman, allowed that “the group is no longer disavowing any connection” with groups “affiliated” with Soros.

The decision to come clean, more or less, was preceded – or perhaps, expedited – by Cybercast News Service, which looked into MMFA’s financial ties. According to a CNS article (March 3, 2005), “there were numerous and extensive links between Media Matters and several Soros ‘affiliates’ like MoveOn.org, the Center for American Progress and Soros ally Peter Lewis.”

And in an email to CNS regarding MMFA’s financial backers, spokeswoman Sally Aman wrote: “In response to your query regarding donor funding Media Matters for America has never received funding directly from George Soros.” Aman acknowledged support from MoveOn.org and the New Democrat Network.

She also named as a donor Soros’s friend Peter Lewis, the insurance tycoon who founded Progressive Corporation. Soros and Lewis were the top two donors to anti-Bush “527” political pressure groups during the 2004 election campaign. Each gave more than $20 million to the ostensibly independent organizations.

Regarding the dissembling and waffling around the Soros relationship, conservative activist David Horowitz said, “This is typical of Brock’ s operation. They split hairs to present an untruth…Once you have the names of donors, once you know Peter Lewis is involved, you can’t deny it [the Soros affiliation].”

Another Soros-backed think tank, the Center for American Progress (CAP), has also supported MMFA. John Podesta, CAP’s president and Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, told the New York Sun that in 2004 CAP aided Brock by offering office space and administrative assistance.

According to its tax records, MMFA took in $155,100 in grants in 2003 and $3,564,471 in grants in 2004. Its tax return dated December 31,2005, lists income of $8,489,663 and assets of $6,344,165.

Major funders of MMFA include the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, whose president is PBS pundit Bill Moyers ($500,000 in 2005), the Gruber Family Foundation ($200,000 in 2004-5), the Barbra Streisand Foundation $25,000 ($35,000 in 2004-5), the Arca Foundation ($100,000 in 2004), and the Bernard & Audre Rapoport Foundation ($50,000 in 2005).

The Bohemian Foundation gave $475,000 in2004-5. Its president is Colorado heir Patricia Stryker, the 278th richest American (on the 2006 Forbes 400 list). The Glaser Progress Foundation, whose president is Real Networks media software creator Rob Glaser, gave $100,000 in 2005.

At least two funders –the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation ($100,000 in 2003) and the Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation ($200,000 in 2004)— gave money to MMFA through the Tides Foundation, which serves as a financial intermediary for left-wing nonprofits and foundations.

The press also reports that the Democracy Alliance, the Soros-inspired consortium of extremely wealthy liberal donors, has committed to give $50 million to selected left-wing think tanks and advocacy organizations. MMFA and John Podesta’s Center for American Progress were among the first beneficiaries

Some more names for the hopper, including that great champion of “free speech,” Bill Moyers. But there are also the by now familiar names, such as the Buells.

From a footnote on page 401 of the Gerth and Van Nata book on Hillary Clinton, Her Way:

43. Newsday, September 7, 2006, A28, and New York Times, May 3, 2004, A21. Brock, in an e-mail to an author in 2007, said Hillary “was one of a large number of progressive leaders who were interested in the issue of build­ing progressive infrastructure.” One of Hillary’s closest friends, Susie Tompkins Buell, held a fund-raiser for Brock’s cause, and almost half of the Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation’s grants in 2004 and 2005 went to Media Matters. (Clinton, Living History, 334, for discussion of their friendship. Form 990 Annual Reports of the Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation for 2004 and 2005 show grants of $300,000 out of total grants of $636,000. See Byron York, “David Brock Is Buzzing Again,” National Review, June 14, 2004, for discussion of the fund-raiser.)

As the authors note, Susie Buell is often described as Hillary Clinton’s closest friend.

Hillary Clinton with Susie and Mark Buell.

Indeed, the two are so close that Clinton threw an engagement party for the Buells at the White House.

Some further (and not any too flattering) elucidation of the colorful Susie Thompkins Buell can be found here.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 8th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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