Democrats will win at all costs: just like the Republicans
HOUGHTON — The Democratic National Party at their August convention officially adopted a platform that calls for a major overhaul of campaign finance laws. This included enacting laws that would force the disclosure of sources of political spending — or, who and what organizations fund super PACs.
In fact, as recently as Monday, the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) filed a complaint against Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James, alleging that James attempted to solicit financial support from political organizations, reported mlive.com Tuesday.
The Mlive report, “Michigan Democrats claim John James solicited support from ‘dark money’ group,” stated that the complaint is the result of internal memo from the James campaign that was published by Politico, Mlive reported.
The finance memo argues James is in a strong position to win the election, partly because he is consistently out-raising his Democratic opponent, but has “no corresponding conservative ally” buying media ads, Mlive stated.
The memo states that James has out-raised Democratic incumbent Gary Peters in five consecutive financial periods and out-raised Peters for the cycle.
“James $20,477,030 to Peters $19,458,343,” the memo reads, “despite James not being a candidate for the first 6 (six) months of 2019.”
Yet, while the MDP has filed complaints already against James for receiving dark money for his campaign, as far back as Feb. 24, 2020, the Intercept reported that “As Democrats seek to flip a number of competitive Senate seats this November, they’re relying on a network of undisclosed donors to match the GOP’s massive funding apparatus. At a time when swearing off so-called dark money is something of a litmus test in the party, at least six races where candidates have the backing of national Democrats are seeing major funding from super PACs, whose donors will not have to be disclosed.”
The Center for Responsive Politics (Open Secrets) reported on May 19, that “Liberal groups aired nearly three times as many of these dark money ads during the 2020 election cycle than their conservative counterparts. This comes after the first election cycle where Democratic dark money groups reported more spending to the Federal Election Commission than their counterparts on the right.”
At the same time, as recently as Aug. 19, the Roll Call (rollcall.com) reported that super PACs and nonprofit organizations that may shield their donors’ identities are “going all in for the 2020 campaigns, funding ads and other efforts for candidates in both parties.”
On the Republican side, James has been helped by a super PAC called Better Future Michigan, which raised $800,000. The contributions came from members of West Michigan’s influential DeVos family, reported the Detroit News on Feb. 13.
Michigan Radio reported on Feb. 17 that the best-funded contender right now is Republican John James.
“A super political action committee (PAC) established to help James unseat U.S. Senator Gary Peters has raised $800,000. The group, Better Future Michigan, had six donors, the latest disclosure showed. All six were members of the DeVos family.”
But while the MDP is quick to file complaints against James for accepting outside dark money, Peters has faced similar accusations.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, the Washington Times reported on Dec. 19, 2019, accusing Peters of illegally coordinating with the progressive dark money group. The Times stated that was the second time Peters had faced such charges.
FACT had previously accused Peters and his reelection campaign of illegally coordinating with VoteVets, a progressive veterans’ advocacy group, the Times reported. This time, FACT said Peters expanded the illicit coordination to include Majority Forward, another progressive advocacy group.
Majority Forward is a Democratic Party-aligned advocacy group that campaigns against Republicans and conservative causes, states influencewatch.org. It works on voter registration and voter turnout operations. It is associated with the Senate Majority PAC and has established working relationships with other left-of-center groups such as Vote Vets.
Majority Forward is associated with Senate Majority PAC, the super PAC aligned with Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate and controlled by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), according to Influence Watch. The two organizations often share personnel: Majority Forward founder Rebecca Lambe is a former Senate Majority PAC staffer, and J.B. Poersch simultaneously served as president of Senate Majority PAC and Majority Forward. Susan McCue is a co-founder of Senate Majority PAC.
These are not the only dark money groups Peters has been accused of involvement with.
The National Review reported on Jan. 21 that Peters had come under fire after publicly condemning the malign influence of “dark money” in politics despite benefiting from a $1.4 million ad campaign by VoteVets Action Fund.
VoteVets, was described as a “liberal ‘dark money’ nonprofit” by the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity the Review stated. VoteVets ran a $750,000 ad buy in November to counter a similar GOP effort, and has only increased its support for Peters since then.