Have You Passed the New Democratic Sniff Test?
Posted on Jul 17, 2006
The George Soros-backed Democracy Alliance pools contributions from the richest progressive donors in the country to fund advocacy groups capable of building a counterweight to the well-entrenched conservative infrastructure.
But the Washington Post says the group has effectively become an “accreditation agency for political advocacy groups,” and if your group’s progressive ideology doesn’t conform with the Alliance’s, you will find yourself cut off from the nation’s big Democratic money.
An alliance of nearly a hundred of the nation’s wealthiest donors is roiling Democratic political circles, directing more than $50 million in the past nine months to liberal think tanks and advocacy groups in what organizers say is the first installment of a long-term campaign to compete more aggressively against conservatives.
A year after its founding, Democracy Alliance has followed up on its pledge to become a major power in the liberal movement. It has lavished millions on groups that have been willing to submit to its extensive screening process and its demands for secrecy.
These include the Center for American Progress, a think tank with an unabashed partisan edge, as well as Media Matters for America, which tracks what it sees as conservative bias in the news media. Several alliance donors are negotiating a major investment in Air America, a liberal talk-radio network.
But the large checks and demanding style wielded by Democracy Alliance organizers in recent months have caused unease among Washington’s community of Democratic-linked organizations. The alliance has required organizations that receive its endorsement to sign agreements shielding the identity of donors. Public interest groups said the alliance represents a large source of undisclosed and unaccountable political influence.