Now what was all that talk last year from the left about Tea Parties being Astroturf? It looks like the left is doing some serious Astroturfing theselves.
From Fox News:
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, 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.
And this whitewash is entirely legal, say election law experts, who told FoxNews.com that this arrangement more or less the norm in Washington.
The whole concept of an Anti-Tea Party movement should have sounded suspicious to begin with. Since the Tea Party movement was started by the people to stand up to the excesses of big government, it would seem obvious that an Anti-Tea Party movement would probably an Astroturf effort.
When the Supreme Court handed down their decision on campaign finance, I said that the problem isn’t who can or who cannot give, the problem is the honest reporting of who is giving. If people really want more honest elections, then tricks like this should be outlawed. People should be free to give whatever they want, but they must do it out in the open for the entire world to see. No 527’s, no sham websites, no chain of organizations. This way we the voters can make up our own minds as to who is or isn’t worthy of our votes.
Make sure to read the whole article to follow the money.
Via: Fox News