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PICKET: David Brock super PAC provides cover for its donors and Obama

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Following the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision in 2009 that resulted in a flood of super PACs, President Barack Obama attacked the high court’s opinion during the 2010 State of the Union and September 2010 weekly address: (bolding is mine)

Now, the special interests want to take Congress back, and return to the days when lobbyists wrote the laws. And a partisan minority in Congress is hoping their defense of these special interests and the status quo will be rewarded with a flood of negative ads against their opponents. It’s a power grab, pure and simple. They’re hoping they can ride this wave of unchecked influence all the way to victory.

What is clear is that Congress has a responsibility to act. But the truth is, any law will come too late to prevent the damage that has already been done this election season. That is why, any time you see an attack ad by one of these shadowy groups, you should ask yourself, who is paying for this ad? Is it the health insurance lobby? The oil industry? The credit card companies?

But more than that, you can make sure that the tens of millions of dollars spent on misleading ads do not drown out your voice. Because no matter how many ads they run – no matter how many elections they try to buy – the power to determine the fate of this country doesn’t lie in their hands. It lies in yours. It’s up to all of us to defend that most basic American principle of a government of, by, and for the people. What’s at stake is not just an election. It’s our democracy itself.

However, two years later, the Obama campaign is finding that donations, bundled neatly by high dollar fundraisers in 2008, are not coming in so easily. As a result, President Obama’s campaign  turned to Super PACs that Obama once vilified and the Obama campaign’s super PAC, Priorities USA, according to USA Today, can team up with another super PAC known as American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC started by Media Matters founder and president David Brock: (bolding is mine)

Democratic operative David Brock launched American Bridge 21st Century in November 2010 - one of a crop of so-called super PACs created in the months after the Supreme Court ended the long-standing ban on the use of corporate and union money to elect or defeat federal candidates.

Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts but are barred from coordinating their activity with the candidates they support or with the national political parties.

They can work with other outside groups. That’s what American Bridge does each day, fact-checking commercials and sharing its research with other liberal groups, including Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama super PAC.

“It’s a lot more efficient,” said Shauna Daly, American Bridge’s research director who was deputy research director in Obama’s 2008 campaign. “If you want to look through all of the state Senate votes of a candidate, it’s best to look through it once and share what we’ve found with your friends, rather than have five groups do the same research.“Mollineau said the group plans to be part of the permanent campaign infrastructure for Democrats. It got a $1 million boost toward that goal from billionaire financier George Soros.

The partnering of the Media Matters and Obama campaign super PACs brings about a few issues for President Obama himself. First, Brock’s Media Matters found itself in a controversy involving anti-Semitic remarks made by former Media Matters foreign policy fellow MJ Rosenberg. Rosenberg accused Jewish-Americans loyal to Israel for being “Israel-firsters.” Liberal commentator, Alan Dershowitz wrote in the NY Daily News:

Let there be no doubt that Rosenberg’s accusation of dual or singular loyalty to a foreign country is an anti-Semitic canard historically reserved for Jews. Rosenberg doesn’t accuse Arab Americans who support Hamas and Hezbollah — America’s sworn enemies — of being “Palestine firsters.” Nor did he accuse Irish Americans who supported the Sinn Fein of being “Ireland firsters.”

But Rosenberg defends his charges of disloyalty to America against those who sincerely believe that it is in America’s interest to support Israel against threats from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and other enemies of both nations.

Dershowitz demanded Media Matters fire Rosenberg in February. Rosenberg left Media Matters in April.

While President Obama holds solid support among American Jews, nevertheless Jewish support for the president is slipping and is not as strong as it was in 2008. Gallup shows (H/T Haaretz):

American Jews gave U.S. President Barack Obama an approval rating of 60% in June, a slight drop from 64% in April and 68% in May, according to a Gallup poll released on Tuesday.

Despite the drop, a majority of American Jews still appear to approve of Obama, with only 32% of Jews giving a negative rating.

U.S. Jews gave Obama a 60% job approval rating in June, which marked a slight drop from 68% in May – a month in which Obama’s approval rating spiked among all Americans following the death of Osama bin Laden on May 1.

The 60% rating is the lowest one since Obama took office, and pales in comparison to his support among Jews in 2009, which stood at 83%.

In fact, Media Matters super PAC partnering up with an Obama super PAC could also bring about problems attracting Christians. Media Matters’ IRS filings for its non-profit status states, “It is common for news and commentary by the press to present viewpoints that tend to overly promote…a conservative, Christian-influenced ideology.” Christian Broadcast Network News reported:(bolding is mine)

An influential organization with ties to the White House came under fire recently for attacking Christian news outlets.

Now, CBN News has obtained a document showing that the very foundation of the group known as Media Matters for America is built on anti-Christian bias.

Media Matters is a non-profit liberal watchdog group that has the ear of not only the mainstream media, but also the Obama administration.

As part of its strategy, Media Matters frequently targets Christian organizations in an effort to counter what it views as pro-Christian “bias in news reporting and analysis by the American media.”

“It is common for news and commentary by the press to present viewpoints that tend to overly promote…a conservative, Christian-influenced ideology,” the group said in its application for non-profit status with the IRS.

“It is common for news and commentary by the press to present viewpoints that tend to overly promote…a conservative, Christian-influenced ideology,” the group said in its application for non-profit status with the IRS.

Vince Coglianese, a reporter with The Dailer Caller, has investigated the Media Matters’ attacks on Christian organizations.

“Media Matters, in its application to the IRS—outright, in the very first paragraph—declares it’s going to be an anti-Christian organization,” he said.

“Interestingly, though, in their public mission statement Media Matters makes no mention of the fact that it intends to target the Christian ideology,” Coglianese noted.

Media Matters did not respond to CBN News’ requests for comment on this story or the document.

David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, believes the Media Matters’ targeting of Christians is connected to its anti-Israel views.

Media Matters 501(c)4 (Media Matters Action Network) does not disclose its donors. Moreover, the organization has a foreign policy arm, which begs the question as to who is funding this particular endeavor. Interestingly, this situation flies in the face of what Obama promised when he look toward super PACs as a way to help his campaign.

During his State of the Union address, President Obama excoriated the idea of super PACs potentially receiving money from foreign donors. “Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities,” President Obama said.

“There’s this hypocrisy by Obama, not only because he changed his position on super PACs like he did with public finance four years ago, but he specifically said when he announced he was going to get involved with super PACs, that [the super PACs] would be ones that would expose their donors,” says Curt Levey, a constitutional attorney and president of the Washington D.C. based Committee for Justice.

“The problem is that Brock’s American Bridge is a super PAC. They share and they pool resources. They share employees, so in effect, you’d be giving money to American Bridge and they can be giving it, in effect, to the super PAC such that Obama is now partnered with a group that isn’t disclosing its donors,” Mr. Levey added.

How effective is Obama’s super PAC? According to reports in May, Priorities USA Action is underperforming. Mother Jones lists 4 reasons why it believes the Obama super PAC is having problems raising money: 

1) George Soros: Savior No More? 2) Obamaland donors are no fan of big-check politics. 

3) Donors aren’t fired up. 4) The gay donors dilemma

Such problems should be no surprise to the president. A fair weather politician does not fly over well with donors four years later when cash is not flowing into people’s pockets.  

 

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