Monthly Notes

Briefly Noted: February 2013

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar has created a new charity called the Democracy Fund in order to invest “in social entrepreneurs working to ensure that our political system is responsive to the public and able to meet the greatest challenges facing our nation.” The organization’s website is filled with buzzwords like bipartisan and consensus but has few specifics on what kind of programs and groups it intends to fund; so it remains to be seen what that actually means.

No Labels, the phony two-year-old “centrist” group that embraces left-wing causes, has decided to shift its focus from grassroots organizing to pressuring Congress. At the group’s recent convention in New York, Jon Huntsman, a liberal Republican former governor of Utah, and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat representing West Virginia, assumed leadership roles in the organization. No Labels has also created a “problem-solving caucus” in Washington, D.C., that it claims 24 members of Congress have joined. The group ridicules Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge in which lawmakers promise not to vote to increase taxes.

Community organizer Ilyse Hogue, a former staffer for Media Matters for America and MoveOn, will become president of the abortion lobbying group NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation on a date uncertain, Roll Call reports. Hogue replaces Nancy Keenan, president for the past eight years who announced last year she planned to retire. NARAL’s political action committee burned through more than $1.5 million backing pro-abortion candidates in the 2012 election cycle. Recently Hogue co-founded Friends of Democracy, a super PAC that raised more than $2.4 million last election cycle to support candidates who don’t believe corporations should be allowed to fund political campaigns.

The Obama administration is asking its deep-pocketed friends in the world of philanthropy to assist in its fresh assault on the Second Amendment. One of them, George Soros, has spent a lot of money over the years through his Open Society Institute attacking Americans’ rights to own guns. So far the Soros-funded Center for American Progress has been leading the new war on the Bill of Rights.

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband, Mark Kelly, have launched a new pressure group to lobby for stricter gun controls. Giffords, who miraculously survived after being shot in the head by a madman two years ago, created Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC in order to “launch a national dialogue and raise funds to counter influence of the gun lobby.”

Meanwhile, all this discussion of gun control has helped the National Rifle Association add 250,000 new members since the schoolhouse attack in Newtown, Connecticut, in December. This brings NRA membership to 4.25 million, a figure the group expects to rise to 5 million later this year, which would make the NRA about ten times the size of the ACLU or the NAACP.

The IRS should crack down on the political activities of nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups like the Karl Rove-advised Crossroads GPS in order to not “risk looking weak and useless,” counsels the far-left Mother Jones magazine. “The government’s going to have to investigate them and prosecute them,” says attorney Marcus Owens, former head of the IRS’s tax-exempt division for a decade. “In order to maintain the integrity of the process, they’re going to be forced to take action.” Revealingly, the article’s author Andy Kroll doesn’t cite a single abuse by a left-wing 501(c)(4) group.