The “Vast Left-wing Conspiracy”: George Soros’s Democracy Alliance remains a potent force in the 2014 elections

This special issue of Foundation Watch updates our previous profiles of the Democracy Alliance published in December 2006, January 2008, and December 2008.

The “Vast Left-wing Conspiracy”:  George Soros’s Democracy Alliance remains a potent force in the 2014 elections

By Matthew Vadum, Foundation Watch, October 2014 (PDF here)

Summary:  The political landscape in America is much different than it was in 2005 when the nine-year-old Democracy Alliance was founded.  The secretive club for radical millionaires and billionaires who want to turn America into Greece was founded soon after John Kerry’s unexpected defeat in the 2004 presidential election.  The outlook for the Left was bleak at that time but no longer.  The Left has regained its footing and is on the march, determined to dismantle the First Amendment and reorder society through Obamacare, a wealth redistribution scheme disguised as health care policy.  The Democracy Alliance, once determined to remain separate from the Democratic Party, is more partisan than it has ever been as its seeks to expand left-wing political infrastructure across the country.

The Democracy Alliance—a secretive, pro-Democratic Party funding powerhouse—is embracing more union bosses as members, amid growing fears in left-wing circles that Republicans are poised to take over the U.S. Senate in the November elections. This trend adds to organized labor’s already considerable clout within this elite fundraising empire, which claims to have funneled more than $500 million into liberal and pro-Democratic organizations. The invitation-only Alliance, co-founded by far-left billionaire philanthropist George Soros, calls itself a “first-of-its-kind partnership of change-makers who are committed to a stronger democracy and a more progressive America.”

It claims to be the “center of gravity” for left-wing funding and, “over the past nine years,” has “aligned leaders in the progressive movement and political infrastructure” in order to secure “victories at the ballot box and in policy fights. “

The Democracy Alliance funds many key institutions on the Left. One of them is Catalist LLC, formerly known as Data Warehouse. This for-profit company was created by Clinton aide Harold Ickes and Democratic operative Laura Quinn to help leftist groups get out the Democratic vote. It describes its mission as providing “progressive organizations with the data and services needed to better identify, understand, and communicate with the people they need to persuade and mobilize.” The chairman of Catalist is Democracy Alliance member Albert J. Dwoskin, a Virginia-based real estate developer. (For a complete profile of Catalist, see Organization Trends, November 2012.)

The Democracy Alliance has also funded staples of the left-wing activist community including People for the American Way, EMILY’s List, ACORN, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Progressive States Network, Center for Community Change, Sierra Club, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund, and the (now defunct) Secretary of State Project, which helped elect left-wing candidates to be the chief electoral official in at least nine states (these little-noticed officials become critical when vote fraud occurs).

The Alliance and its ultra-wealthy supporters drone on endlessly, wringing their hands about the importance of getting money out of politics as they pump millions of dollars into politics. As the Washington Free Beacon reports, Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig told prospective donors to his Mayday PAC this year that attacking the First Amendment’s corporate political speech protections would be easier if those on the other side were gagged by new laws. “We have no protection for network neutrality because of the enormous influence of cable companies’ money in the political system,” he said. “If NN is your issue, then this is why you should see that politics is your issue too.” Lessig is also an advisor to the Fund for the Republic, a campaign finance reform organization that uses soothing, bipartisan language and reaches out to those on the political Right. The Fund acknowledges receiving financial support from Democracy Alliance members.

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Brett Kimberlin and the Threshold Foundation’s radical ties

What do self-described “communist” Van Jones, his good friend Arianna Huffington, radical philanthropist George Soros, the Threshold Foundation, and the Tides Foundation all have in common?

They all are connected in some way to convicted “Speedway Bomber” Brett C. Kimberlin, a man described by Michelle Malkin as “a radical, violent, lying, dangerous felon.”

Kimberlin, as blogger Liberty Chick previously reported,

spent nearly 17 years in prison after being convicted of launching a week-long bombing spree that terrorized the residents of Speedway, Indiana in the late 1970’s. One of the blasts horribly maimed a man so badly that it directly led to that man’s suicide a few years later, which was proven when the widow of that bombing victim successfully sued and won a civil judgment against Kimberlin for $1.6 million.

Kimberlin is a political trailblazer of sorts. He is a tactical innovator whose tried and true methods would have impressed the father of modern community organizing, Saul Alinsky. The late conservative Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart recognized Kimberlin’s unique talents last fall, tweeting that the convicted terrorist and his confederates needed “exposure.”

Kimberlin is focusing on bullying conservatives into silence, which is the same thing that so much of progressivedom is concentrating on nowadays. But unlike Van Jones and the various Marxist agitators who have inflicted damage on conservative talk radio and innocuous groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) through innuendo and smears, Kimberlin gets in his enemies’ faces. While in prison he taught himself the law. Nowadays he sues conservatives who write about him and obtains restraining orders against them – the First Amendment be damned.

Amazingly, a leading Kimberlin detractor, conservative blogger Aaron Walker, was jailed by a Maryland judge yesterday after criticizing Kimberlin.

JTMP and another nonprofit Kimberlin founded, Velvet Revolution, receive money from left-wing funders. Of course it’s their privilege to do what they want with their money even if it means funding nonprofits operated by “a radical, violent, lying, dangerous felon.” Similarly, since 1984 it has been Capital Research Center’s mission to report on and analyze what charities do with their money.

The Threshold Foundation has been in the news in recent days because the San Francisco-based philanthropy gave $20,000 in 2008 to the Justice Through Music Project, a seven year old Bethesda, Maryland-based 501c3 nonprofit entity. JTMP was founded by Mr. Kimberlin a few short years after his release from prison. (See its latest IRS Form 990 [tax return] here.) Threshold has also given $60,000 to the related nonprofit, Velvet Revolution, since 2007. (For more information on Threshold, see Bonner Cohen’s July 2006 Foundation Watch article.)

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Tides Founder Drummond Pike Resigns

According to a Canadian nonprofit, Drummond Pike, CEO of the San-Francisco-based Tides Foundation, an innovative leftwing grantmaker, has resigned as head of the group he founded 34 years ago.

A little-known benefactor to radical activist groups, Pike achieved notoriety in 2008 when he personally contributed $700,000 to help coverup and compensate the radical community organizing group ACORN for a nearly $1 million embezzlement by ACORN financial officer Dale Rathke. Dale Rathke is the brother of Pike’s friend Wade Rathke, who founded ACORN and was a founding board member of Tides. 

Tides has achieved reknown for revolutionizing the way money is gathered and distributed to left-leaning groups. The Tides Foundation maintains some 300 donor-advised funds. In 2008 it accepted $114 million from individual and foundation donors and made 1800 grants totaling $105 million. The Tides Center, a spin-off group, acts as a “fiscal sponsor” lending its management and fundraising skills and, more importantly, its tax-exempt status, to new and inexperienced activist organizations that are treated as Tides “projects” for legal and tax purposes.

Capital Research Center will examine Tides in its forthcoming October Foundation Watch publication. Word of Pike’s resignation reached us after our press deadline

According to a press release Pikes’ successor is Tides board member Melissa L. Bradley,  president and founder of New Capitalist, a venture capital firm.

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