Earlier this evening, I posted an article outing the SEIU as the driving force behind MassUniting. Knowing, of course, that this would get the progressives in Massachusetts in a tizzy. Well, it didn’t take long. Almost as if on cue, David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix> wrote a self-described “mocking” blog-post about the discovery.
But A) they aren’t being secretive about the things RedMassGroup says they’re being secretive about; and B) you really don’t get to complain about lack of disclosure for political activity, in defense of THE GUY WHO CAST THE DECIDING VOTE TO PREVENT THE DISCLOSE ACT FROM PASSAGE, unless you want me to mock you mercilessly. (With love.)
Anyway, after a slight detour through Wisconsin unions and godaddy domain registrations and sending somebody to the secretary of state’s office, Eno and his RedMass chums uncovered what I learned this morning before I finished my first cup of coffee: Bobblehead Brown is a campaign of Mass Uniting — as it says on its web page. (Another clue, later in the day, was the headline of the press release: “MassUniting Releases New Ad & Web Site — Bobble Head Brown.”) I was already aware of the group, but I got more information at Mass Uniting’s web site, cleverly concealed at massuniting.org, which lists its coalition partners. I mentioned several of them in my blog post, and if I was letting loose state secrets, someone forgot to inform the national Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, which blasted out my post in a mass email, without even removing my description of Mass Uniting as “a coalition of progressive organizations, including City Life/Vida Urbana, Massachusetts Jobs for Justice, the Chinese Progressive Association, Chelsea Collaborative, MCAN, and Project RIGHT.” (DSCC didn’t even correct my erroneous undercaffeinated “Jobs for” instead of “Jobs With” Justice.)
I made another quick click to see that Mass Uniting registered in Watertown, Massachusetts, in April, listing Patrick McCabe and Cliff Cohn as officers; as RedMassGroup’s sleuthing revealed, McCabe and Cohn make little secret of the fact that they are executive directors for SEIU locals 888 and 509 respectively — two of the member organizations of Jobs With Justice, whose name on the Mass Uniting web page should have been a pretty clear signal that labor is part of the Mass Uniting coalition.
The funny thing is Bernstein didn’t write in his first post that it was the SEIU that was behind the website. Oh and it was never a secret by the way that MassUniting was behind the ad. I never said as such, the Wisconsin stuff was just showing who registered the website, a guy that works/ed for Wisconsin Unions. But I digress, here is who Bernstein (the reporting of which I did not see until just now) reported was behind the ads.
MassUniting’s purpose, if I understand correctly, is to spend the next 15 months or so insulting Senator Brown; it is a coalition of progressive organizations, including City Life/Vida Urbana, Massachusetts Jobs for Justice, the Chinese Progressive Association, Chelsea Collaborative, MCAN, and Project RIGHT.
I mean who the heck, besides the die-hardiest of progressives, even knows who these organizations are? Jobs for Justice? I mean that could be the front group for any number of organizations. Pardon me for not knowing they were the SEIU. I mean, I know who the SEIU is. They’re the guys and gals that get a little bloody with black TEA-Party members, the organization whose leaders propose economic terrorism to destabilize the economy, who got their start in politics as a wing of the “community organizing” movement of Saul Alinsky, and oh who happened to spend significant money in a failed attempt to defeat Scott Brown in 2010. I know who they are.
Bernstein didn’t report that they are actually behind MassUniting. He even goes so far as to claim they don’t really take part in it anymore. You know that sounds an awful lot like how Doug Rubin liked to say that Deval Patrick wasn’t really involved in the running of Ameriquest, even though he was on it’s board.
Incidentally, it sounds like McCabe and Cohn, after helping facilitate the creation of Mass Uniting, are not particularly key players in the operations. At least, that’s according to Mass Uniting’s spokesperson Jason Stephany, with whom I chatted about the organization.
Now of course, we can get to the matter of the DISCLOSE act. You see, what really has Bernstein incensed, is the fact that I pointed out the hypocrisy of the left hiding the true source of their donors. He cites the following from my post.
So, when Rob Eno writes “So much for openness and transparency in their advertising,” I think he means “Gosh, these guys are pretty straightforward about who’s involved, despite the fact that Scott Brown personally ensured that they are not required to disclose any of this — indeed, they could have learned from Mitt Romney and funneled unlimited contributions to a SuperPAC through a fly-by-night Delaware-registered LLP in total anonymity. And all because Scott Brown cast the deciding 41st vote to prevent the DISCLOSE Act from reaching a floor vote in the Senate!”
About that vote by Scott Brown. The DISCLOSE Act as presented to the Senate would have required the right to unilaterally disarm. Yes there was a loophole for the NRA, but the reason the Democrats allowed it was for the unions. As Scott Brown stated in his letter outlining his opposition.
Rather than reform our campaign finance laws and provide increased transparency, the DISCLOSE Act advances the political agenda of the majority party and special interests in an effort to gain a tactical and political advantage little more than 100 days before an election. No matter how one feels about McCain-Feingold, at least that was an honest attempt to reform campaign finance laws that would not have gone into effect until after the next election cycle. The DISCLOSE Act does the opposite – it changes the rules in the middle of the game to provide a tactical advantage to the majority party.
Even more astonishing, this bill does not treat all organizations equally and does not apply to everyone. For example, not all the disclosure requirements apply to labor unions and other special interest groups – despite these groups being among the most active political organizations. Labor unions and their political action committees spent more than $450 million to help their allies in 2008, and they have already pledged to spend upwards of $100 million in the midterms. Yet they would be carved out of this legislation and not face the same regulations that would apply to everyone else.
A genuine campaign finance reform effort would include increased transparency, accountability and would provide a level playing field to everyone.
Although I will cede this one point, the DISCLOSE Act would have required the union donors to be disclosed on the actual ad in question. But they still would have been able to participate in those ads, and other people and corporations would not have. Remove the spending limits, and the special union, and large organization exemptions, and I think Scott Brown may have supported the DISCLOSE Act.
In closing, if David Bernstein knew the SEIU was behind the group, why didn’t he DISCLOSE it?