Liberals Seek to Ape Right's Money Machine

Alliance turns focus to Democrats' state-level efforts

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 5, 2014 11:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – As many on the left criticize big, secretive money funding Republican races, liberals have decided to fight fire with fire. Leading donors, organized by the likes of George Soros and venture capitalist Rob McKay, are quietly putting their cash behind the Democracy Alliance. The group says it has donated some $500 million to groups on the left over the past nine years. That's not as much as it would like to be generating, however, given that competing nonprofits on the right raised $400 million in the 2012 election cycle alone, the Washington Post reports.

Still, the Democracy Alliance has recently been garnering new members, it says. Instead of donating money itself, the group requires members to give at least $200,000 per year to selected organizations. Its new focus is on Democratic efforts at the state level, particularly when it comes to redrawing districts. Yet the goal of the Democracy Alliance, members say, is to limit the power of money in politics. President Gara LaMarche acknowledges the apparent disconnect: "There is a degree of irony in using the current system to change the system," he notes. "But the alternative is a kind of unilateral disarmament." At Politico, however, Kenneth Vogel sees a double standard on secrecy. Counters one donor: "You can focus on the irony, but it’s not hypocrisy because we’re not trying to get something for our donations."

In this Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010, file photo, philanthropist George Soros speaks during an interview with the AP in New York.
In this Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010, file photo, philanthropist George Soros speaks during an interview with the AP in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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