A new donor group called the Election Administration Fund has raised $5.1 million–$1 million from George Soros’s foundation, the Open Society Institute (OSI), and about $2.5 million from the Democracy Alliance (here) and (here), a consortium of wealthy liberal donors–which it intends to distribute to programs that will make sure the November elections work this time. The Fund’s purpose is to make sure that everyone can vote and every vote is counted, says its program coordinator, Lisa Versaci, a consultant who formerly worked in Florida for the Knight Foundation, the People for the American Way Foundation, and Emily’s List.
According to a story in the June 26 Chronicle of Philanthropy (subscription required), the Fund was set up last December at the behest of the above grantmakers as well as the Atlantic Philanthropies (whose president Gara LaMarche formerly directed giving at OSI), the Carnegie Corporation, the HKH Foundation in New York, and the Cedar Tree Foundation in Boston. The Fund is housed at the Tides Foundation in San Francisco.
There are four primary recipients of the Fund’s money, reports the Chronicle: Project Vote, which once employed Barack Obama, as noted by CRC’s latest Foundation Watch (page 9) (Project Vote is a 501(c)(3) arm of the radical group ACORN); the Advancement Project, a civil rights litigation and strategy program (Clinton Justice Department officials Bill Lann Lee and Gerald Torres and entertainer Harry Belafonte are board members); the National Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.
Of course, the obsession of all these groups is not to make sure that all registered voters vote but to make sure that liberal candidates win. That’s why they say the U.S. Supreme Court has disenfranchised voters by upholding Indiana’s law requiring voters to show government I.D.s, why they oppose a Florida law requiring individuals to produce a driver’s license or social security card to register to vote, why they are suing HUD to require the agency to bring back public housing residents to New Orleans as soon as possible, and why they want to restore voting rights to convicted felons.
The Fund’s aim is to register liberal-leaning voters and get them to vote for liberal candidates. Just as Barack Obama has concluded that his donors will lose their right to contribute to his campaign if he accepts public financing, so too liberal foundations are deciding that grantmaking to get-out-the-vote advocacy groups is the key to a leftward electoral realignment. Everyone expects a big turnout will set the stage for a new cycle of social reforms. But will it? Liberals have been known to delude themselves.