On Sunday’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, James Carville revealed that Obama’s SuperPACs were driving the recent attacks against Mitt Romney and Bain Capital:
One of the big things that has happened in this campaign is kind of surprising [crosstalk] we thought that the Citizens United was going to help the Republican SuperPACs because they were going to have so much money [crosstalk]. The surprising thing of this campaign is that the Democrat SuperPACs have been more influential thus far, Priorities USA, American Bridge. They have driven the debate in this campaign much more than the Republican SuperPACs. Now whether that continues through September and October, I’m not willing to say. But as of July 15th, it’s the Democratic SuperPACs that have basically driven this whole Bain/tax returns whatever it is. For better or for worse that is what happens.
Once upon a time, Obama fought against the influence of big money in politics. In 2010, for example, he berated the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision in his State of the Union speech, claiming it would “open the floodgates for special interests… to spend without limit in our elections.”
But this past February, Obama began singing a different tune, encouraging wealthy donors to support his SuperPAC. On Obama’s website, Campaign Manager Jim Messina wrote, “the campaign has decided to do what we can, consistent with the law, to support Priorities USA in its effort to counter the weight of the GOP Super PAC… Senior campaign officials as well as some White House and Cabinet officials will attend and speak at Priorities USA fundraising events…”
This isn’t the first time Obama has strategically – hypocritically – shifted his position on campaign fund-raising. In 2007, he proposed a voluntary agreement between the party nominees to limit fund-raising for the general election. Then, not quite so nobly, he abandoned that promise when he realized he could out-raise Republican candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and went on to become the highest-fundraising presidential candidate in history.
David Brock, head of the Media Matters empire, is treasurer of Obama’s SuperPAC, called American Bridge 21st Century. That PAC has now joined forces with PrioritiesUSA SuperPAC, headed by two former Obama Administration officials.
Brock’s American Bridge PAC is a 527 organization. By law, a 527 organization must disclose its donors. But, fortuitously enough, the PAC’s sister-organization, American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, isn’t required to disclose donors. As a 501c4, it’s considered a charity for “social welfare” and not required to note its donors in public filings.
Brock’s 21st Century Foundation has funneled over $200,000 to the American Bridge SuperPAC, therefore keeping the original donors secret. Donors donate anonymously to the c4 organization and Brock bundles their donations right along to the PAC (which only lists the donor as the c4). Given this shell game, it’s hypocritical in the extreme that Obama urged the FEC to block Republican 501c4 non-profits from running ads if they fail to disclose their own donor lists. Per Obama’s own stance, the FEC should reject American Bridge’s ads.
Brock’s sleight-of-hand with donations might be shifty, but then, Brock’s got a lot of enemies to worry about. He’s previously believed himself to be a target of a hypothetical right-wing sniper, and he’s unashamedly published anti-Semitic propaganda and fearmongering against Christians. According to reports, the stress from the 2008 presidential campaign exacerbated what appeared to be his “mania.” This is the man the Obama campaign has trusted to direct campaign messaging?
Follow Elizabeth on Twitter.