MADISON, Wis. – It should come as no surprise Wisconsin liberals coordinated with national left-wing and Democratic Party officials in recent elections.
Progressives had their plan of attack outlined in a road map to take and hold power, according to Wikileaks documents reviewed by Wisconsin Watchdog.
A 2008 PowerPoint presentation titled, “Building a Permanent Progressive Majority Combined Fundraising, Messaging and Mobilization Plan for 2008 and Beyond,” pretty much says it all.
The document, attached to other 2008 political communications from a national inner-circle progressive to Wisconsin liberal groups and others, lays out the fundraising and message duties of the state and national Democratic parties and the independent 501(c4) and 527 groups that would assist.
The spring 2008 PowerPoint included the strategic goals pitched in building a “Permanent Progressive Majority:”
- Create the conditions for a tidal wave against the right wing.
- Keep the President’s (George W. Bush) numbers down and brand all conservative candidates as “Bush Republicans.”
- Ensure that demographics is destiny.
- Control the political discourse.
- Set the stage for future progressive actions.
These progressives sure did set the stage, and they attempted to control the political discourse. They trotted out phrases like “dark money,” used to paint as nefarious or corrupt the same kinds of fundraising activities they would be doing. They relied on unelected bureaucrats to promulgate controversial rules and regulations stifling right-of-center speech in particular. And those bureaucrats worked with friendly, partisan prosecutors in targeting limited-government groups and politicians in bogus campaign finance investigations.
Exhibit A: Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, who in August 2012 launched an unconstitutional John Doe investigation into 29 conservative groups and the campaign of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Chisholm and his assistants worked alongside the now-defunct state Government Accountability Board in investigating scores of conservatives on a roundly rejected theory of illegal coordination.
The investigators conducted predawn, armed raids on the homes of people never charged with any crimes and operated a wide-ranging spying operation that involved the seizure of millions of documents.
Yet, as Wisconsin Watchdog reported last week, these investigators never seemed to consider that, through their prism of what constituted illegal coordination, liberals in Wisconsin as far back as 2008 might have participated in similarly questionable coordination activities.
Even as state and national progressive players described their activity as an “unprecedented, coordinated effort by individual, in-state donors” – donors were assisted by national political players.
John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, former counselor to President Barack Obama and namesake of the now-infamous “Podesta emails,” is copied on spring 2008 fundraising emails, alongside national and Wisconsin liberal grassroots campaign and community organizers.
Noted in one of the emails from the National Education Association are then-Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, and his controversial fundraiser.
“(Talked to) Katie Boyce, Governor Doyle’s political staff person about getting help from the Governor’s (volunteer) finance team to assist with raising in-state money for Advancing Wisconsin. She has promised to get back to me this coming week,” wrote John Stocks, who was at the time the NEA’s deputy executive director. He is the education association’s head man these days.
Boyce, Doyle, and Stocks have not returned Wisconsin Watchdog’s requests for comment. Neither has Reid Magney, who served as spokesman for the Government Accountability Board and now does the same for its successor, the state’s Ethics and Elections commissions.
Wisconsin Watchdog forwarded Magney emails contained in the Wikileaks release and asked if the ethics division could comment on whether the communications raise questions about illegal coordination – as similar activities certainly did when the GAB and their prosecutorial partners were investigating conservative groups. Magney did not respond.
The PowerPoint was sent to multiple progressive players by John Halpin, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress. Halpin is the co-author with John Podesta of The Power of Progress: How America’s Progressives Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate, and Our Country, a 2008 book about the history and future of the progressive movement.
The power-grab PowerPoint presentation included Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Ohio as “Progressive Targeted States.”
Coordinators noted the Fund for America, at the time a new 527 group that would be responsible for “joint fundraising, resource allocation, and accountability for funds.”
The fund took in $12.14 million, in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Its biggest contributors included $3.5 million from the Service Employees International Union, another $3.5 million from mega liberal donor George Soros’ Soros Fund Management and $2.5 million from film production company Shangri-La Entertainment.
Messaging would be done by an “existing” 501(c)(4), nonprofit groups, something billed as the “Nerve Center,” and “surrogate ad campaigns.”
Advancing Wisconsin, which bills itself as an “advocacy organization that is engaged in educational and grassroots lobbying,” was in the thick of all the “coordinated” activity. The left-wing political action group received a $200,000 check from the Fund for America in late June 2008, according to an email.
“Larry Marx, staffperson for the (Advancing Wisconsin) collaborative, is following up with individuals. Per our last board meeting discussion and the AV/Atlas written recommendations, they are seeking $1M in matching funds from the Fund to Advancing Wisconsin by July 31 toward an overall budget of @ $5M. The Fund Board has already approved $100,000 to Advancing Wisconsin,” the NEA’s Stocks wrote.
By July 31, Advancing Wisconsin had hit its goal, according to another email from Marx.
“On behalf of all the Donor Collaborative partners, I am very pleased to announce that the group — with lots of help, including Deputy Director of the National Education Association John Stocks and former Wisconsin Secretary of Administration and Foley & Lardner partner Marc Marotta — has met the terms of the challenge grant that Grant Abert & Lynde Uihlein made in our meeting on May 21st, 2008,” Marx wrote. “More than $1 million has been raised for Advancing Wisconsin and the Progressive Wisconsin Political Fund as of today, in an unprecedented, coordinated effort by individual, in-state donors.”
Among its many goals, the PowerPoint plan called for building on “progressive assets” and increasing “campaign innovation and experimentation.” It sought to “Deliver coordinated progressive messages to state voters and more narrowly targeted messages to important constituencies.”
Depending on how that plan was delivered, this coordinated progressive effort could have found itself in a lot of trouble for campaign finance violations.