Malacandra.me

The rump establishment on the grift

The rump establishment on the grift

by digby


This piece
by Sam Stein at the Daily Beast is fantastic. Read it all:

According to internal documents obtained by The Daily Beast, No Labels encouraged financiers known for backing hyperpartisan causes to back its own super PACs. Among those courted were individuals who’ve bankrolled massive parts of the Republican Party’s infrastructure, including David Koch, former AIG head Hank Greenberg, and billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer; as well as top supporters of President Donald Trump, including PayPal founder Peter Thiel, businessman Foster Friess, and Home Depot founder Ken Langone. No Labels also courted liberal-minded moneymen, including Michael Vachon, a top political adviser to George Soros (one of the biggest funders of Democratic and progressive causes) and Reid Hoffman, an investor and entrepreneur who has called Trump “worse than useless.” The group also targeted Wendi Murdoch (ex-wife of Rupert and rumored Ivanka Trump pal), uber-agent Ari Emanuel, and Dallas Mavericks owner and oft-rumored presidential aspirant Mark Cuban. Another possible 2020 candidate, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was also among dozens of high net-worth individuals approached about donating to No Labels’ super PACs.

Most of those targeted for financial support didn’t end up donating to No Labels super PACs. But some notable names did, including former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who was encouraged to donate by former Democrat-turned-independent Senator Joe Lieberman, according to internal records.

The attempt to recruit these financiers was, according to sources, part of a concerted effort by No Labels to steer emphasis away from its nonprofit arm and toward campaign operations designed to boost preferred political candidates and target those deemed too extreme or impediments to its policy agenda.

By the end of the 2018 cycle, six No Labels-affiliated super PACs—No Labels Action, Forward Not Back, United Together, Govern or Go Home, Citizens for a Strong America, and United for Progress—had collectively raised more than $11 million from 53 individual donors. The average contribution to the groups was about $124,000, illustrating their reliance on high-dollar donors rather than grassroots financial support.

To court those deep-pocketed donors, No Labels leaned on individuals with ties to other prominent potential givers. The group appears to have sought support from Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate who was just elected to the U.S. Senate, though it’s unclear whether it hoped that support would be financial, political, or both. In internal company notes, No Labels proposed having Lieberman contact Brad Bloom—the leader of the private-equity firm Berkshire Partners and a high-dollar donor to a pro-Romney super PAC in 2012—“to discuss Mitt” and arrange a meeting with other potential supporters in Boston. Internal documents also note that another super PAC donor prospect, financier David Nierenberg, is a “close friend of Mitt Romney.”
[...]
Officials tied to the organization said they are disillusioned with how much emphasis has been placed on raising and spending money.

“The more one looks under the rock, the more one turns over that rock, it is not an attractive picture. It is a big fundraising operation run with limited results,” said one former No Labels official. “You go in first, there are donors, they’re having discussions and you think it’s healthy. And then you’re in it for a few months and you wonder, what are we doing?”

The overtly political approach has also landed No Labels in legal drama. The group is being sued by the firm Applecart, formerly one of its top political consultants, which has accused No Labels of not paying them for millions of dollars of work and of firing them in favor of consultants with personal ties to Jacobson. No Labels alleges Applecart’s performance was error-filled and ineffective and in an emailed statement, Dan Webb, counsel for No Labels’ political groups, blamed Applecart for the leaks of internal documents.

I'm not sure it's ever been anything but a grift but they seem to have launched into high gear now, hovering the huge bucks. It's no surprise to me. Those who've read this blog for years know that I've never exactly been a fan since "no-labels" is, even without the money-grubbing, a nonsensical, ineffectual notion. The problem is that the establishment is addicted to the idea that there exists some "sensible" halfway point between the two parties when that's not how it works. That's not how it's ever worked.

Like I said, read the whole thing. This article exposes them for what they are. And the only thing that's "sensible" about it is that they've found a way to sensibly enrich themselves by tapping into rich people who are mostly, by definition, looking out for themselves.