The New York Times today has a piece about the myriad groups trying to hold-up Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as the next Defense Secretary.
Such organizations, anonymous and amorphous, are a direct descendant of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling giving nameless dollars even more power in the electoral sphere. Yet none of these anti-Hagel groups really think they can use their new positions to actually stop the former Republican senator’s confirmation. They just want to erode the president’s political capital.
Jim Rutenberg reports: “[At least seven groups are] organizing to stop Mr. Hagel’s confirmation, a goal even they acknowledge appears to be increasingly challenging. But the effort comes with a built-in consolation prize should it fail: depleting some of Mr. Obama’s political capital as he embarks on a new term with fresh momentum.”
One of these groups is Use Your Mandate, which launched itself last week with a series of ads denouncing Hagel’s past comments about gay people and Israel.
Most LGBT activists wondered whether this “pro-gay” group really had roots in the equality movement, or if it was just a smoke screen for GOP machinations. Not surprisingly, it was the latter:
[Use Your Mandate] has no Web site and it only lists as its address a post office box in New York. But paperwork filed with the Federal Communications Commission link it back to Tusk Strategies, a bipartisan political group founded by Bradley Tusk, a former strategist for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York.
In an interview, Mr. Tusk would only identify its financiers as Democratic “gay and L.G.B.T. people who have been active in campaigns around the country.”
Yet federal records show that Use Your Mandate uses Del Cielo Media, an arm of one of the most prominent Republican ad-buying firms in the country, Smart Media, with clients that have included the presidential campaigns of former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah and Senator John McCain of Arizona; the 2010 Senate campaign of Christine O’Donnell, who was known for positions against homosexuality, in Delaware; and, as it happens, the Emergency Committee for Israel.
And there you have it…