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March 11, 2005
Ryan Sager Follows The Money

Ryan Sager writes a powerful column in today's Tech Central Station that exposes the big money behind campaign-finance reform and the BCRA. Sager spots a report by Political Money Line which traces an astronomical amount of money that got spent by just a handful of sources to push the BCRA, and all of them from the Left:

Consider a report just out from the folks over at Political Money Line, "Campaign Finance Reform Lobby: 1994 to 2004." Ignored by the media to date, it details how the supposedly grass-roots campaign-finance reform movement has been funded over the last decade to the tune of $140 million. Of that $140 million, the vast majority ($123 million) came not from retirees scraping together their last nickels for the cause of democracy, nor from schoolchildren collecting deposits on cans plucked from dilapidated playgrounds.

No, the money came from just eight ultra-liberal foundations (including the Ford Foundation and George Soros' Open Society Institute), the same folks who fund: the Earth Action Network, the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, the Naderite Public Citizen Foundation and the Feminist Majority Foundation. ...

Payments to the media found by Political Money Line include: the $132,000 to the Prospect, $69,000 to Public Radio International, $935,000 to the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation and more than $1.2 million to National Public Radio for items such as, in the words of the official disclosure statements, "news coverage of financial influence in political decision making."

No wonder McCain-Feingold contained a "media exemption." The media -- on top of having their voices amplified when private citizens, labor unions and corporations are barred from speaking -- are relatively easy to write some checks to. (Millions of bloggers, on the other hand, might be a little harder to corral -- hence the calls for a crackdown.)

In fact, some of the same people can be found through the donors page of John McCain's Reform Institute, a fact that Sager misses although he savages McCain's connections to RI. As I blogged on Wednesday evening, the RI appears not only to float key McCain election aides between campaigns (which Sager notes), but it does so using foundation grants from some of the most left-wing organizations in the US. George Soros' OSI has been one of RI's biggest donors, as has Teresa Heinz Kerry's Tides Foundation and Tides Center, The Proteus Fund, and the Educational Foundation of America.

Politics make strange bedfellows, but it looks like the media also likes to hop into the same bed despite all protestations of purity. Now we know why the BCRA gave the old-line media its exemption but its sponsors sued the FEC to strip the Internet of theirs. More than ever, we need to repeal the BCRA and eliminate the Byzantine campaign-finance laws and IRS exemptions that create these backchannel corruptions. The only reform we need is direct contributions, directly and immediately disclosed. (via Tapscott's Copy Desk)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 11, 2005 5:07 PM

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» Show Me the Money from Philippics
here he links to an excellent article by Ryan Sager at TechCentralStation, who does more of the same. [Read More]

Tracked on March 11, 2005 5:52 PM

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