New York Times: Groups Form to Aid Democrats With Anonymous Money

Written by admin on May 1st, 2011

Democrats are forming identical fund raising groups as the Republicans; ones which will have no limits on abilities to raise and spend undisclosed contributions.  Floodgates set to open.

New York Times

A group including former White House officials, union leaders and one of Hollywood’s biggest producers have joined forces to start an outside effort to help President Obama and Congressional Democrats in 2012 by using the very sort of anonymous, unlimited donations from moneyed interests that the president has so deplored.

Co-founded by the former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton and with seed money from the Service Employees International Union and the film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, the group’s entrée into the early 2012 contest all but ensures that the presidential race will be awash in cash from undisclosed corporate and labor sources with huge stakes in Washington policy making.

At the heart of the effort, introduced Friday morning, are two groups: Priorities USA Action, which will engage directly in electioneering backed by donors who will have to be identified but can give unlimited amounts, and Priorities USA, which will advertise about related campaign issues using money from undisclosed sources.

The effort is modeled on the one Republicans started last year — with help from the Republican strategist Karl Rove — that attacked Democrats with a barrage of advertisements, mailings and phone calls. It was widely credited with helping the party to take control of the House and diminish the Democrats’ edge in the Senate last fall. One of those groups, Crossroads GPS, was set up under a section of the tax code that allowed its donors to remain anonymous, leading Mr. Obama to refer to such groups collectively as “a threat to democracy” for the way they had shielded corporate interests from view as they sought to sway elections.

Democrats had eschewed the formation of such groups last year at Mr. Obama’s public urging, but after the elections in November prominent liberals vowed to form with outside groups of their own to combat the likes of Crossroads.

Speaking aboard Air Force One on Friday, the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said that the president’s views had not changed and that the administration had nothing to do with the new groups.

“We don’t control outside groups,” Mr. Carney said. “These are not people working for the administration.”

The Priorities USA organizers said they hoped to raise enough money to keep pace with the Crossroads groups, which have set a goal of raising $120 million for the 2012 election cycle.


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