Air America, Other Leftist Groups Keep Ultrarich Donor Names Secret
One of the frequent complaints liberals make about the Bush admin is that it is far too secret with everything, cutting off the public from information that it has a right to know. It's a complaint that's usually made by either party when it's out of power. The minority party usually tries to paint the majority as a corrupt and less-than-transparent.
Curiously, though, some new Democratic complaints of a lack of transparancy are now arising, but they're not about Republicans. Via Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters, we learn that more moderate Democrats are raising questions about a liberal group lavishing millions of dollars on leftist groups like Air America and Media Matters in exchange for silence about their finances:
An alliance of nearly a hundred of the nation's wealthiest donors is roiling Democratic political circles, directing more than $50 million in the past nine months to liberal think tanks and advocacy groups in what organizers say is the first installment of a long-term campaign to compete more aggressively against conservatives.
A year after its founding, Democracy Alliance has followed up on its pledge to become a major power in the liberal movement. It has lavished millions on groups that have been willing to submit to its extensive screening process and its demands for secrecy.
These include the Center for American Progress, a think tank with an unabashed partisan edge, as well as Media Matters for America, which tracks what it sees as conservative bias in the news media. Several alliance donors are negotiating a major investment in Air America, a liberal talk-radio network.
But the large checks and demanding style wielded by Democracy Alliance organizers in recent months have caused unease among Washington's community of Democratic-linked organizations. The alliance has required organizations that receive its endorsement to sign agreements shielding the identity of donors. Public interest groups said the alliance represents a large source of undisclosed and unaccountable political influence.
This goes against everything that liberals claim to value in government. They have spared no opportunity to demand the release of all sorts of information about Republican officeholders and their contributors. During the Clinton administration, liberals kept accusing Richard Mellon Scaife of funding all sorts of efforts to undermine his presidency, leading to Hillary Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy" accusations.
Now George Soros and Tim Gill, among others, do not want to let people know who funds Democracy Alliance or their outreach programs to outfits like Media Matters. Their excuse? Contributors do not want to receive criticism for their politics -- while funding groups who routinely criticize others for theirs.
In fact, the whole operation appears to be a political protection racket. Anyone who wants to join these big-ticket donors who comprise the Democracy Alliance have to pay their way into the guild. Membership requires a $25,000 initiation fee and $30,000 a year from that point forward. Membership brings the privilege of secrecy, as well as the force multiplier of combining their efforts with donors such as Soros and Peter Lewis.
Read the rest.