What a fantastic talent liberals possess, the ability to talk out of both sides of their mouths. One side utters platitudes about campaign finance reform and the nefarious influence of money in politics, while the other whispers in the ears of oligarchs and plutocrats. One side slanders Republicans as the tools of corporate interests, while the other solicits donations from some of the largest corporations in the world. The next journalist to examine influence peddling on K Street need only walk two blocks south, to H Street. There he’ll find one heck of a story.
H Street is the home of the Center for American Progress (CAP), founded by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta in the fall of 2003. Originally conceived as a think tank to match the conservative Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, CAP quickly dropped the thinking and became, simply, a tank. Its objective was to overpower conservatives and Republicans, to devastate them with a fusillade of government activism, to pulverize their fortifications with ammunition loaded into the progressive echo chamber.
Good weapons don’t come cheap. CAP requires considerable stimulus to acquire, track, and destroy its targets. Podesta’s fundraising methods, as one might expect from a Clintonite, were ingenious. He incorporated two entities: The Center for American Progress as a tax-deductible nonprofit 501(c)(3), and the Center for American Progress Action Fund as a tax-exempt 501(c)(4). Donations would not be disclosed, allowing contributors the protection of anonymity even as CAP called for transparency in political giving and government regulation of political speech.