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Fox Hunting – Following the Money

November 11, 2010


In a followup to yesterday’s post on the Art of Deception, I wanted to take a page from real life to further illustrate how deceptive practices are affecting all Americans.

In the 80s when the Savings & Loan wipeout occurred, I decided to educate myself on the powers behind the politics of our country. I had just read the 1985 blockbuster, Citizen Hughes by Michale Drosnin, about billionaire Howard Hughes and was enlightened by the fact that he would contribute money to both parties. His motive was simple – he wanted access to the halls of power no matter who the candidate was and he was not married to either party’s principals or ideologies. I started subscribing to the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times. The LA Times had a comprehensive business section and covered California news, not just local news. The Journal was a way to follow the big money, read about the markets, find out about deal making, and start to know the names of the people involved. Even though Rupert Murdock owns the Journal now and is very much a right wing conservative, I continue to read the Journal daily to watch how the financial markets behave.

What I have come to find is most of the major players are like Howard Hughes – they care little for political ideology except that it aligns with their business and financial goals. They use the political system, called gaming the system, to get what they want. That is part and parcel why America experienced the global financial collapse in 2008. There is no oversight of credit default swaps and little regulation over the derivatives markets — ans there still isn’t. The Republicans want to keep it that way as their backers are Wall Street folks and political players who reap great profits from gaming the system.

Now taking a look at the above chart you will find John Boehner is linked to Crossroads Media, that is the non-profit organization run by Karl Rove. Let’s take a closer look. Politico reported:

Crossroads GPS is registered under a section of the tax code that does not require it to reveal its donors and won’t require the disclosure of any of its finances until as late as November 2011, so it’s impossible to ascertain the fundraising breakdown between the two groups.

Collegio said the groups, which were created this year at the encouragement of former Bush political advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie and set an ambitious $52 million fundraising goal, have raised a combined $32.5 million.

The Crossroads effort is part of a wave of big-donor-funded groups on the right that have either launched or ramped up this year in an effort to boost expected Republican gains in the critical midterm elections.

The groups — including American Action Network, which shares a downtown Washington office with the Crossroads groups, as well as Americans for Prosperity and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — aim to capitalize on voter dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress. Some of the groups also intend to take advantage of a January Supreme Court decision that loosened laws governing what types of contributions can be used to air election ads directly targeting candidates.

So, these are major players in influencing voters and backing candidates. On the surface it seems benign, but the stakes are very high and what it boils down to is influence peddling and unethical use of non-profit status. The lack of disclosure begs the question — what do they have to hide? After all, we are living in an open democracy – or are we?

Let’s look further at who ‘they’ are by looking at a report on October 27th report on NPRs Morning Edition:

The groups often bear ambiguous names — Americans for Job Security, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, the 60 Plus Association. Many of them live through the generosity of anonymous donors. The ambiguity and anonymity blur the public understanding of who these groups are.

So let’s start with who they say they are.

One of the biggest players is American Crossroads, which has run ads like one in upstate New York that says Democrat Scott Murphy “broke our trust.”

This is manipulating the message. It has been done for years and is an effective strategy. Nonetheless, it is manipulation and it is not benign. It is targeted to the masses and with purpose and foresight. The problem is the underhanded methodology and this is dangerous for our open democracy for if American citizens do not know the persons involved behind the scenes we cannot pretend to know the candidates and what they truly stand for and for whom. If a candidate is subject to special interests, or worse, beholding to those interests, then the American democratic process is in jeopardy. Regardless if this is happening on the left or right, the problem is real and it is subverting American politics and we need to address it. The bottom line is, the fox is now in the hen house. How do we kill the fox?

Sources:
Inside Job – The Movie
The Quiet Coup
Inside the Meltdown
Independent’ Groups Behind Ads Not So Independent
Untangling The Complex Foreclosure Mess

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