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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Democracy Alliance Network Behind a Third of 2014 Super PAC Spending

    Democracy Alliance Network Behind a Third of 2014 Super PAC Spending

    Groups backed by liberal donor club spent more than $250 million on midterms
    ickr user 401(K) 2012

    BY: Lachlan Markay
    November 7, 2014 3:20 pm

    The network of political and policy groups backed by the shadowy liberal donor club the Democracy Alliance was responsible for more than one of every three dollars spent by super PACs during the 2014 election cycle, public records show.

    Members of the Democracy Alliance network that disclose political spending dropped more than $250 million on the midterms, according to data reported to the Federal Election Commission.

    That included more than $180 million in expenditures by super PACs, more than a third of the $515 million spent by all such groups during the 2014 election cycle.

    The groups’ extensive involvement in Democrats’ political efforts undercuts common media characterizations of the Democracy Alliance, which generally present the array of groups it supports as less involved in electioneering than those of similar collaborative donor networks on the right.

    Such reports frequently downplay the scale of the Democracy Alliance network, commonly reported as consisting of fewer than two dozen organizations.

    While DA’s 21 “aligned network” and “dynamic investment” groups form the core of its collaborative fundraising efforts, the Alliance in fact backs a far larger array of liberal political and policy groups.

    As Democracy Alliance president Gara LaMarche told attendees of its April 2014 conference in Chicago, DA now encourages its donors to support groups on its “Progressive Infrastructure Map,” which, LaMarche said has “now grown to 180 organizations,” in addition to its 21 primary beneficiaries.

    Progressive infrastructure map organizations include some of the wealthiest and most active super PACs of the 2014 election cycle, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D., Nev.) Senate Majority PAC and Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action.

    Seventeen of the groups that DA recommends for support by its wealthy liberal donors are super PACs that made independent expenditures during the 2014 cycle.

    However, DA network involvement in this year’s elections went beyond just super PACs. It included traditional 527 political action committees, for-profit political vendors, and officially nonpartisan 501(c)(4) nonprofit groups.

    The more than a quarter of a billion dollars that such groups spent on federal elections this cycle include disbursements through mid-October. Committees will not be required to report spending in the final weeks of the campaign until December.

    The total also does not include undisclosed spending by “dark money” groups that are not forced to report most of their expenditures to the FEC.

    Some of the most prominent recipients of DA support—aligned network groups such as ProgressNow and progressive infrastructure map groups like the Action Fund—are 501(c)(4) nonprofits, which are not required to disclose their donors or most of their spending on political advocacy.

    Some of those groups have been active in federal elections. Others, such as Organizing for Action, President Barack Obama’s revamped reelection campaign and a DA “dynamic investment,” spend millions promoting the Democratic positions on issues that were central to the campaigns of many federal candidates.

    Politico reported in June that the Democracy Alliance’s 21 core organizations planned to spend $374 million this cycle.
    The lack of disclosure from many groups in the network and not-yet-reported disbursements during the last two weeks of the campaign make it difficult to know whether the DA network achieved that goal.

    Total election-related spending by the Democracy Alliance network—which excludes transfers between its various groups—rivals, and could even exceed, political expenditures by the network of groups supported by libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch.

    “The real difference [between the Koch Network and the DA] is this,” Alliance president Gara LaMarche told the Huffington Post in September. “Democracy Alliance donors will probably always be outspent by our counterparts on the right, but our partners are wealthy individuals and families working for a world in which their money will have less of an influence on politics, and where every American has the opportunity to succeed.”

    LaMarche previously touted campaign finance reform as a means to kneecap the political opposition and make it easier to advance the Democracy Alliance’s policy goals.

    While it is not clear what percentage of the Koch Network’s funds came from Charles and David Koch themselves, reported fundraising totals by that network are only slightly larger than the partial spending totals reported by DA network groups to the FEC.

    Donors to the Koch Network planned to raise $290 million for its portfolio organizations during the 2014 cycle, according to a Daily Beast report in June.

    Recipients of that money included independent expenditure political groups and nonprofits that, like DA’s (c)(4) beneficiaries, disclose little about their donors or their expenditures.

    Unlike those “dark money” groups, Super PACs are permitted by law to engage in “express advocacy,” meaning they can explicitly ask voters to support or oppose a candidate.

    Among those groups, Democracy Alliance spending dwarfs that of the Koch Network, which primarily finances nonprofits such as Americans for Prosperity that are not as explicitly partisan.

    The leading super PAC supported by the Kochs, the Freedom Partners Action Fund, spent just $15.5 million in the 2014 cycle, about 27% of NextGen’s federal disbursements.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Meet Gara LaMarche, ‘Head of Lefties’ Koch Network’


    Gara LaMarche

    BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
    July 23, 2014 12:51 pm

    Gara LaMarche is the “militant leftist philanthropist” that has quietly “affected you, your statehouses, your businesses, and your freedom,” according to a profile of the head of the Democracy Alliance by Michelle Malkin in National Review.

    LaMarche “funnels billions of dollars from undisclosed donors to nonprofits and astroturf groups” through the secretive progressive Democracy Alliance, but you don’t hear his name on the Senate floor during Harry Reid’s (D., Nev.) rants about dark money in politics.

    Here’s why: LaMarche is a militant leftist philanthropist. He’s a protected elite — Columbia University grad, former ACLU leader and Human Rights Watch official — with ready access to the White House. He and the Left’s other dark-money managers preach transparency and openness while plotting behind closed doors to secure power at every level of government.

    LaMarche currently heads the shadowy Democracy Alliance (DA). In internal documents obtained and published this month by John Hinderaker of the Power Line blog, the group currently describes itself as the “center of gravity” for the progressive funding world. DA enrolls wealthy liberal “members” who coordinate and finance a web of at least 132 left-wing groups. Though some of their members’ and partners’ identities have been exposed, DA takes great care to promise a cloak of donor secrecy “to provide a comfortable environment for our partners to collectively make a real impact.”

    While they bash Wall Street publicly, DA leaders have quietly recruited venture capitalists, bankers, and hedge-fund moguls — along with union bosses and red-diaper trust-fund babies — to fund their takeover goals. Public-school educators who belong to the American Federation of Teachers, headed by $500,000-plus yearly salaried President Randi Weingarten, should know that $230,000 of their hard-earned union dues go to DA, as Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon has reported.

    While they bemoan “income inequality,” the DA brass has wined, dined, and wooed 1-percenter plutocrats with swanky get-togethers featuring New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, Kentucky secretary of state and Democratic Senate candidate Alison Grimes, and popular “comediennes” Stephanie Miller and Lizz Winstead.

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