A major conceit of the left is that opposing viewpoints aren’t just wrong, they are evil or, at least, morally suspect. Leftists reveal much about themselves when they argue that a conservative’s position is driven only by self-interest or greed. Rather than argue intellectually against a conservative view, they need to discredit it, make it illegitimate and beneath public debate. So too is political speech to argue conservative values. The left has an enormous financial infrastructure to further its views, but conservatives doing the same are using “dark money.”
The Huffington Post, which keeps hyperbole permanently stuck on 11, spooks its readers with warnings that “dark money groups have already spent more than you think.” The HuffPo and the rest of the left define “dark money” groups as non-profits who don’t have to disclose the identity of donors. This non-disclosure of donors is actually a byproduct of the civil rights struggle, when the government sought to protect donors from intimidation by groups like the KKK. Given that conservatives feel the need for anonymity over their political speech is a stark reflection of how far leftist rhetoric has devolved.
Ahead of his reelection in 2012, President Obama published an “enemies list” of donors to his opponent Mitt Romney. Obama’s campaign even urged supporters to “report” attacks on the President’s record. Business Frank VanderSloot found himself the subject of two IRS audits, an investigation by the Department of Labor and the subject of an investigation by a Democrat Senate staffer, just days and weeks after being publicly named as a major Romney donor.
At the end of 2013, a cancer patient, Bill Elliot, went public with the news that his health insurance had been cancelled due to ObamaCare. An insurance broker, C. Steven Tucker, heard about his situation and helped Elliot get new insurance coverage. Both men appeared in the press about the events. Both men also, on the exact same day, were notified by the IRS that they were being audited.
Given the details revealed last year about how the IRS targeted conservative and grass roots organizations for extraordinary scrutiny and review, it is not unreasonable for conservatives to worry that they will be targeted for their political activity.
David and Charles Koch, who are both long-time libertarians, are attacked repeatedly by HuffPo and other leftist outlets for their political giving. Leftist billionaires like Michael Bloomber, George Soros, Peter Lewis or Tom Steyer, who spend millions each year supporting left causes merit no attention. Groups like Americans for Prosperity, which receive support from the Koch’s are considered a “dark money group”, while the ACLU, which received $20 million from the Koch’s to challenge George W Bush’s Patriot Act escapes any mention.
The left’s goal here, of course, is to try to silence conservatives. It wants to intimidate conservative activists and institutions so that they withdraw from the public square. A couple years ago, the left organized protests against ALEC, a membership association of state legislators. The left was largely successful in getting ALEC to retreat on several issues. This year, the left is targeting the State Policy Network, a loose association of state-based free market think tanks that would be hard-pressed to organize a picnic, as some kind of insidious right-wing cabal. The left doesn’t want to debate these groups. It wants them to disappear.
The left is terribly overexposed heading into the 2014 midterm elections. ObamaCare is an ongoing disaster and the weak economy shows signs of further trouble. A quirk in the electoral map makes Senate Democrats especially vulnerable. The Republicans have very decent odds on taking control of the Senate as the issue landscape favors the GOP.
The left knows they are at a disadvantage. HuffPo’s warning about “dark money” is just the first salvo in the campaign to silence the right this year. To paraphrase the old legal saw, if neither the facts or the law are on your side, pound the table. The left is going to pound the table loudly until November.