It is election season in New Hampshire, which means that the activist left is attacking Republicans as pawns of out-of-state interests. They scream about out-of-state money and organizations on the right while happily embracing both on their own side. The hypocrisy is stunning.
Almost every Jeanne Shaheen campaign solicitation mentions the Koch brothers or Karl Rove or millionaires (Shaheen is one, by the way). A July 24 email actually used the phrase “the right-wing’s henchmen.” These solicitations direct people to donate to Shaheen’s campaign through Act Blue. The state chapter, ActBlue New Hampshire, whose stated purpose is “to support Democratic candidates,” is registered not in New Hampshire, but in Somerville, Mass. (Most of its donations come from New Hampshire, though.)
Other left-wing activist organizations purport to be from or based in New Hampshire, but are not. Democracy for America-NH, whose stated purpose is “to support candidates standing up for progressive values and fighting for progressive change,” is based in Burlington, Vt., a city so liberal that it is the only place in Vermont to elect members of the Vermont Progressive Party to the municipal government.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC, which gave an illegal donation to Gov. Maggie Hassan’s campaign in June, is registered in Washington, D.C., as are two other union PACs, the SEIU and UFCW PACs, that donated another $20,000 to Gov. Hassan in violation of state law. Democrats can take undisclosed out-of-state donations (even illegal ones!), but Republicans can’t.
The left’s favorite bogeyman is a pair of bogeymen, the Koch brothers (see Kathy Sullivan’s column nearby). It is interesting that liberals so upset about the Koch brothers are entirely silent about left-wing billionaires, such as Tom Steyer, who fund a mix of super PACs that disclose their donors and issue advocacy groups that do not. Steyer’s $20 million (so far) NextGen Climate PAC is backing Jeanne Shaheen, who held a fundraiser at Steyer’s San Francisco home on the very weekend that she denounced “outside” money and challenged Scott Brown to oppose it. It has spent $42,420 (so far) to oppose Scott Brown’s Senate candidacy, but we do not hear any liberals complaining about that.
By the way, Steyer is the nation’s top political donor of 2014, according to the Sunlight Foundation. In fact, the top three political donors this year are liberal billionaires — not conservatives — the foundation reported in July.
The fact is that the activist left does not care a bit about where political contributions originate. The movement is happy to take money from out-of-state groups, even out-of-state billionaires. Heck, the New Hampshire Democratic Party actively encourages out-of-state residents (primarily college students) to vote in New Hampshire elections. The yelping about outside interests is just a cheap attempt to discredit Republicans and avoid talking about actual issues.