Matthew Continetti, writing for the Washington Free Beacon:
Last night the Center for American Progress celebrated its tenth anniversary with a “Progressive Party” at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on the National Mall. Don’t feel left out: I wasn’t invited either.
The partygoers had reason to celebrate. Over the last decade the Center for American Progress, also known as CAP, and its political arm, the CAP Action Fund, have established themselves among the most influential policy and activist organizations in America. CAP has revenues of $34 million. Its alumni occupy positions inside the Obama administration, in media, in business, and in the academy. Speakers at its policy conference this week included cabinet secretaries Kerry, Perez, and Lew; the presidents of the NAACP and the SEIU; the two liberal hosts of Crossfire; the leaders of left-wing parties in Canada and Australia; and Al Gore. President Obama, President Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid all said nice things about CAP in its anniversary video. From its headquarters on H Street, in downtown D.C., CAP exerts a pull over the Democratic Party like no other liberal institution. The right has no equivalent.
CAP’s power flows from two sources. The first is structural: John Podesta, CAP’s founder, is an expert at combining the Democratic Party platform with favor trading. He separated the tax-deductible, educational side of his think tank from the tax-exempt, political side. He lined up support from George Soros, from subprime mortgage kingpins Herb and Marion Sandler, from the secret donors behind the Democracy Alliance. He created a Business Alliance that solicited corporate and foreign contributions in exchange for “network-building” and “policy education” and other euphemisms for lobbying. Members of the Business Alliance reportedly include Boeing, GE, Goldman Sachs, Comcast, Walmart, and the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey—you know, the little guys.
Podesta used the CAP Action Fund’s website, Thinkprogress.org, to nudge the mainstream media in an ideological direction. A former lobbyist whose brother still runs the family firm, Podesta harnessed the power generated by the revolving door. CAP became a way station for individuals like Steve Spinner, who went from investing in alternative energies in California, to donating to Barack Obama, to financing green energy companies with tax dollars, to advocating further taxpayer “investments” from his perch at CAP. Spinner is not a household name. But Solyndra is.
Whole thing here.