5 absurd right-wing moments this week: Katrina Pierson displays most stunning ignorance yet

Katrina Pierson (Credit: CNN)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.


Hard to compete, but Tucker Carlson also had the most ridiculous hissy fit ever

Sure, sure, sure, Donald Trump had his worst and most heinous week ever. (If we had a dollar for every time we’ve said that!) The man floated the idea of assassinating Hillary Clinton; insisted repeatedly that President Obama founded ISIS, then chided everyone for taking him seriously; suggested illegally trying U.S. citizens at Gitmo; and railed about a rigged election that has not occurred. More conservatives and dozens of national security officials fled the Republican nominee, as did voters. Just another week in the Trumpoverse.

But man, this guy attracts the best and the brightest. Winners like Katrina Pierson,Jeffrey Lord and now Carl Paladino.

Not familiar with these three outstanding political thinkers, these Trumpian spinners of tales? Read on for some of their latest antics.

1. Katrina Pierson just can’t stop revising history.

It’s very hard for Katrina Pierson to keep track of who started which war. C’mon guys, that’s hard. Especially when these wars go on and on forever. Also history, schmistory. It’s all Obama’s fault.

After being severely dressed down recently for saying that Captain Khan was killed in Iraq under Obama’s watch in 2004 — when Bush was president and Obama a senator who had opposed the war — Pierson decided to put her knowledge of recent wars on display again Saturday.

This time, she accused Obama of owning the war in Afghanistan, which is odd, because he was a state senator when that war was launched in 2001.

“Remember we weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time,” Katrina Pierson told a puzzled CNN host. “Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem.”

Asked to clarify whether she meant he launched that war, she said, “That was Obama’s war.”

Well, no, though he did announce a surge there in 2009 when he actually became president.

Next up? Pierson blames Obama for WWII. Stay tuned.

2. Meet Carl Paladino! He’s completely awful!

Although Donald Trump declared the Khan family controversy over and “put to bed” this week (and Mika Brzezinski tried to point out to him that he does not get to choose when people stop talking about it), apparently the chairman of his New York campaign did not get the memo. Carl Paladino, an atrocious GOPer who has run for governor of New York and been thoroughly humiliated in that attempt, is of the belief that it’s always a good idea to attack Muslim families, no matter who they are.

On Friday, Paladino said this about Clinton and Trump to the host of “Imus in the Morning.”

“We’ve got an un-indicted felon [Author’s note: OK, not a thing] as his opponent and you’re talking about Khan, about him making a remark about this man? All right, I don’t care if he’s a Gold Star parent. He certainly doesn’t deserve that title, OK, if he’s as anti-American as he’s illustrated in his speeches and in his discussion. I mean, if he’s a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or supporting, you know, the ISIS-type of attitude against America, there’s no reason for Donald Trump to have to honor this man.”

It’s hard to be worse than Trump himself, but apparently manageable for some.

Keeping the level of discourse as high as possible, Paladino went on insist that Obama is a Muslim and Hillary Clinton is “devious” for hiding her alleged health problems, health problems that have been debunked.

“But if you’re really looking at what’s been exposed about Hillary and Hillary’s demeanor, I mean, just look at the deviousness. If it is true about her health problems, I mean, how devious can a woman possibly be? And not telling the American people that she’s got some sickness, she’s definitely impaired.”

3. Tucker Carlson’s has a new hissy fit defending Trump.

Things are getting desperate over at Fox News. To the difficult question of how to spin the Orange One’s really bad, no-good, horrible week, Tucker Carlson had to dig really deep.

The headscratcher he came up with? The fact that mean old Hillary Clinton acknowledged the existence of white privilege back in June is just as bad as all the bad things Trump has said lately.

Here’s the core of what Hillary said:

“White Americans need to do a much better job of listening when African Americans talk about the seen and unseen barriers you face every day. We need to recognize our privilege and practice humility, rather than assume our experiences are everyone else’s experiences.”

Man, that is hurtful stuff. That is like a personal attack on privileged, thin-skinned white guys like Carlson. Why doesn’t the media get all up in her face about that, like they do with Trump when he suggests assassination, or that Obama founded ISIS.

Carlson’s whine fest:

“I think [the media] have a right to ask Trump tough questions…Totally fair. But they are giving Hillary a complete pass. They’re acting on her behalf and they’re devaluing their moral authority in doing it. It’s a big mistake. […]

“He can’t back down. That’s for sure. I just wish that they would apply the same standard to Hillary when she says, for example, all white people are privileged and therefore should apologize. It’s like, really?”

Putting aside the insanity of comparing Clinton’s reasonable and inarguable statement to Trump’s incitement of violence, might we also mention that no one else seems to have heard Clinton saying all white people should apologize.

Tucker tantrumed on, undaunted:

“If you’re an unemployed machinist in Toledo, you’re really more privileged than the millionaire, Harvard educated African-American President of the United States? That’s actually an insane statement. And not one person called her on it or even noticed it. So just apply the same standard to Hillary.”

Get the sense he might still be a little upset about the whole African American in the White House thing?

4. Karl Rove loses his shit.

You know it’s bad when Karl Rove thinks you’ve gone off the deep end.

On a Fox show with host Charles Payne, Republican guru Karl Rove was unable to maintain the fantasy that Trump is a reasonable person to be the party’s nominee for the presidency. The former Bush chief of staff went off at the suggestion that it is in any way a good idea for Donald Trump, “as a New Yorker,” to “hit back” at every perceived slight.

“Yeah, well, you know what?” Rove began. “If he does that between now and the election, what do you think is going to happen? The Clinton campaign is going to provoke him every day to stay off of message. And he is going to fall for all of these things and waste valuable time. Does he want to win or does he want to respond? If he wants to be the New Yorker and punch back at everybody who comes his way — fine! That’s an open invitation for everybody to come his way with things like this.”

Might we just interject that it seems Rove is no great fan of New Yorkers in general? Also, Donald Trump has a message?

Rove was just getting started.

“He has 88 days to make his case,” Rove said. [Author’s note: 85 days now] “He has squandered the last three weeks by responding to the Gold Star mother. The day after he had his presidential nomination, he became the official nominee of the Republican Party. The first news conference he had was not devoted to laying out the case against Hillary Clinton or bashing Barack Obama or laying out what he wants to do as president. It’s renewing and revisiting all of things he said about Ted Cruz, who was yesterday’s news at that point!”

“And why? He felt compelled to do it. He ought to get control of his impulses and keep focused on the main target. Otherwise you’re going to have more of these Republicans saying ‘why do we want to stand by this guy when he just keeps going after the wrong target.’”

Your guess is as good as ours, Karl. No, we don’t exactly feel your pain, but we acknowledge it.

5. We can’t. We just can’t.

Simone Manuel won a gold medal in Olympic swimming competition this week, becoming the first African American ever to do so.

That’s big.

Michael Phelps added four more gold medals and a silver one (how terrible) to his history-making tally.

The San Jose Mercury News covered the news of these events with this headline, and an identical tweet:

“Olympics: Michael Phelps shares historic night with African American.”

And the winner of the most Olympically offensive headline is…!

Note, unlike Trump, the paper’s editors did apologize.


Rove Suggests Disregarding Millions Of Republican Voters, Nominating A ‘Fresh Face’ For President

Karl Rove talks in his mobile phone as he walks across the floor before the second session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 | CREDIT: AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE


Republicans have a big problem. The party’s two leading candidates for the GOP presidential nomination are both viewed unfavorably by a majority of the voting population and are only getting more unpopular. The third-place contender boasts a net-positive favorability but hasn’t resonated with voters outside his home state. So assuming frontrunner Donald Trump doesn’t hit the delegate threshold needed to avoid a contested convention, what are party leaders to do this July at the Republican convention in Cleveland?

GOP überstrategist Karl Rove floated an interesting answer to that question during a Thursday appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. Perhaps Republicans would be best served by nominating a “fresh face” rather than any of the flawed candidates who has actually received votes during the Republican primary process, Rove said.

“If we have somebody who we think has, has been battle tested, and has strong conservative principles and the ability to articulate them, and they are nominated at this convention, there will be a lot of acrimony from the people who were seeking the nomination,” Rove said in response to Hewitt’s question about who he thinks the most electable Republican is.

“But if it’s somebody who has, you know, has those convictions that they can express in a compelling way, we could come out of the convention in relatively strong position, because we do have, you know, look,” Rove added. “Donald Trump excites a lot of enthusiasm. But he also excites a lot of anger within the Republican Party and outside of the Republican Party. And a fresh face might be the thing that could give us a chance to turn this election and win in November against Hillary.”

Last month, Trump predicted “you’d have riots” at the Republican convention this summer in Cleveland if he receives the most votes of any Republican candidate but is blocked by delegates from receiving the nomination. Since then, however, a series of controversies and gaffes has put Trump in a spot where it’s possible he’ll end up being the most disliked presidential candidate since polling existed on the topic.

At its core the Trump phenomenon has been a repudiation of Republican establishment figures like Rove, many of whom lined up behind the failed campaign of Marco Rubio. So the notion that disregarding the votes of the 7.8 million people who have already cast ballots for Trump and the 5.7 million who have already voted for Cruz will be a winning strategy come November is a dicey one. Furthermore, the names that have been floated as possibilities to fill Rove’s “fresh face” role aren’t exactly slam dunks. The New York Times recently reported that two of the names being bandied about are former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) — a man with two failed presidential bidsalready under his belt — and former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn (R), who previously warned of “rampant lesbianism” in Oklahoma schools, said that breaching the debt ceiling wouldn’t result in a default, believed doctors who perform abortions should be executed, and thought the Second Amendment should allow people to buy bazookas.

Then again, the Trumpian dilemma Republican thought leaders like Rove find themselves facing doesn’t have any easy solutions.


Flustered Karl Rove Doesn’t Quite Deny That Establishment Will Steal Trump’s Nomination



Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.24.55 PM

Eric Bolling grilled Karl Rove Monday night about reports of a cabal of establishment Republicans plotting to change convention rules in order to deny Donald Trump the nomination.

Rove attempted to dismiss them, claiming that there might be “cosmetic” changes to the convention rules, but nothing “substantive.” The meetings Bolling referred to, he said, were aboutunderstanding convention rules, not altering them in a meaningful way. He further characterized Bolling’s line of questioning as “paranoia.”

It is possible Trump will enter the convention with a plurality of delegates, but not the decisive majority of 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. “I’m for the guy who gets the majority of the votes,” Rove asserted.

Check out the full interview above.

Don’t make us pick a side: Ted Cruz and Karl Rove engage in heated war of words

Don't make us pick a side: Ted Cruz and Karl Rove engage in heated war of words
Karl Rove (Credit: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)


Ted Cruz slams Karl Rove in his new memoir — and the political strategist is firing back

Ted Cruz didn’t just lament “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history” after the Supreme Court’s rulings on Obamacare and marriage equality late last week — he somehow also mustered up the energy to engage in a war of words with political strategist and Fox News contributor Karl Rove.

The Tea Party Senator and Republican presidential candidate is out with a new book, titled “A Time for Truth,” in which he reveals a whole host of autobiographical tidbits including claims that his Cuban-born father once tried to join Fidel Castro’s army, that he had a porn-watching session with Supreme Court justices and that Karl Rove once threatened and bullied him, a claim that Rove has already called a lie.

The all but obligatory political memoir by presidential aspirants (or sometimes not) tends to be a bore, full of forced humility and devoid of introspective honesty but conservative firebrand Sen. Cruz’s forthcoming book promises to at least be entertaining.

Cruz describes a time when as a law clerk to then Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, he had the opportunity to watch porn with Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as research for a case about online porn regulation.

“We were in front of a large computer screen gazing at explicit, hard-core pornography,” Cruz explains. “A slew of hard-core, explicit images showed up onscreen … as we watched these graphic pictures fill our screens, wide-eyed, no one said a word. Except for Justice O’Connor, who lowered her head, squinted slightly, and muttered, ‘Oh, my.’”

Cruz also discusses his father’s failed attempt to join Fidal Castro’s army and tells of the time he showed up to an Ivy League admissions interview hungover, but it is his account of political strong-arming by Texas political operative Karl Rove that is most juicy.

The conservative blog Brietbart.com, published an excerpt of Cruz’s book, highlighting the tale of intimidation by Rove after Cruz sought George H.W. Bush’s endorsement for Texas Attorney General back in 2009:

“Karl had found out about my meeting with George H.W. Bush and called me on the phone. He was irate, demanding, ‘What in the hell do you think you are doing?!”


Rove was “in the process of helping raise money for the George W. Bush presidential library in Dallas,” and that “Texas donors were giving the Bushes tens of millions, including major donors who were supporting the Dallas state rep who wanted to run for attorney general,” so those donors “were now berating Karl.”


“Yeah, well I didn’t think you were going to get support from 41.”


“He suggested that the elder Bush was too old to have good judgment anymore.”


“Return the check,” Rove replied.

“Well, I can’t do that,” Cruz responded. “We already deposited it.”

“I pointed out that under Texas’s election law, we had to list the contribution on our ethics disclosure report,” Cruz wrote, noting that Rove “paused for a few seconds.”

“All right, fine,” Rove told him. “Then I want you to do nothing whatsoever to draw attention to it.”

And then he pulled out the hammer. He implied that if I made any news about Bush 41’s support, then Bush 43 would endorse my opponent and come out publicly for him—a threat that was fairly striking given that I had devoted four years of my life to working as hard as I could helping to elect Bush and serving in his administration. I always wondered whether Karl had the authority to make these threats on behalf of the former president—he certainly acted like he did.

Continue reading

Breaking News! Prosecutors: Scott Walker at the Center of a “Criminal Scheme” (Update)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker | Spencer Platt – Getty Images

Anyone surprised at this outcome?  I’m not…

Daily Kos

200 pages of documents have been unsealed by a Federal Judge in one of the 4 legal efforts to shut down John Doe II – a secret investigation looking at whether or not there was illegal coordination between RW dark money groups and recall campaigns in Wisconsin.  They say Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-YourOnYourOwniStan) was at the center of it.

In the documents, prosecutors lay out what they call a “criminal scheme” to bypass state election laws by Walker, his campaign and two top deputies — R.J. Johnson (an advisor to both Walkers Campaign and Wisconsin Club for Growth) and Deborah Jordahl.

(information bolded is mine and information in italics is my addition)The documents allege that Walker and his associates raised money and controlled spending by conservative groups during the 2012 recall elections.  In Wisconsin, there can’t be coordination between campaigns and outside spending groups.

In an email to Karl Rove, Scott Walker said:

“Bottom-line: R.J. helps keep in place a team that is wildly successful in Wisconsin. We are running 9 recall elections and it will be like 9 congressional markets in every market in the state (and Twin Cities),” Walker wrote to Rove on May 4, 2011.

OMG! Side order of Karl Rove to go along with this, too.  Pinch me, I might be dreaming.

This case is currently being reviewed by the 7th Circuit Court after Federal Judge Rudolf Randa (a member of the Federalist Society whose wife donated often to Walkers campaign and whose Judicial Assistant is the wife of Scott Walkers lawyer) ordered the investigation shut down and evidence collected by the investigators destroyed (the 7th Circuit immediately intervened to prevent the destruction).

It is a judge reviewing the case that unsealed the documents today.

Seeing this, it’s small wonder they’ve been running to every court imaginable and writing editorials for RW newspapers to get this thing shut down.

This story is just breaking so stay tuned for further developments.


Here’s a link to the raw documents.  (Warning:  large pdf file)

So far, nobody is commenting on this, but I’ll bet Walkers hair is on fire trying to think of something to say.

UPDATE:  Link to the John Doe II prosecutors appeal of the case.  (Warning:  pdf file)

They delineate the coordination and conference calls.


For those interested in how Walker gets to pull the wool over the eyes of so many voters in Wisconsin, The New Republic has an excellent article.  I can’t recommend it more highly.


Politico has an article up.  This is becoming national news.

And MSNBC posted an article as well.

Sunday Show Round Up: The GOP Is Already Having a Meltdown over Hillary Clinton


With Bush and Obama Derangement Syndromes, the executive-turned-open wound had to actually take office before he festered. But presumed queen of 2016 Hillary Clinton is driving an over-primed GOP round the bend ahead of schedule.

From the moment Karl Rove was “caught” speculating on the structural integrity of Hillary Clinton’s brain, your humble scribe reasoned the gauche comment was intended to shimmy Clinton’s age into the national convo, even if it meant Rove had to make himself the butt of a news cycle or two. I still think that, but Rove’s doing such a frantic cleanup job that I wonder whether he underestimated the intensity of the reaction; the sputtering spinmeister below resembles the one that melted down on-air the night of the 2012 election, a specter that’s become shorthand for a party hack outliving his own narrative in real time. Fox’s leftist sentinels Juan Williams and Kirsten Powers spent this segment begging Rove to stop, for his own good:

See video here…

Meanwhile, Lynne Cheney still believes — still! — the Clintons machinated Monica Lewinsky’sVanity Fair piece to get it out of the ahead of the 2016 election. Still! Chris Wallace declined to ask her for any evidence that this happened, or even for a credible theory as to how it could have happened; that Cheney believed it to be plausible was good enough for Fox News Sunday. This is the essence of conspiratorial thinking, in which the slightest possibility of an event’s occurrence becomes irrefutable proof of its certainty. Look for Fox & Friends to report this as “some people are asking questions.”

But the right sounds unable to help itself. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, basically the GOP’s middle reliever, thinks this is all the Democrats’ fault for nominating Clinton in the first place, which they haven’t yet:

“My view, though, is given the month she just had, I actually doubt whether or not she will run for president in 2016. I know a lot of people around her want her to run, and I think that they’re purposely creating this environment around here which is causing us to talk about her today.”

“The Democrats are forcing us to criticize Hillary Clinton” is an odd defense, implying as it does that the Republican Party is so weak it can’t withstand a few Hardball segments. If that’s true, Hillary Clinton’s head should be the least of the GOP’s concerns.

Kos’ Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: GOP is apparantly proud to be the stupid party

Repeating this, but what’s truly extraordinary is that losing side from last election is demanding concessions http://t.co/…
— @mmurraypolitics

Many conservative pundits are saying: don’t pay attention to what Boehner says, watch what he does. Ok, because what he says is idiotic. And speaking of blindingly stupid, many in the GOP are apparently blithering idiots:

A surprisingly broad section of the Republican Party is convinced that a threat once taken as economic fact may not exist — or at least may not be so serious. Some question the Treasury’s drop-dead deadline of Oct. 17. Some government services might have to be curtailed, they concede. “But I think the real date, candidly, the date that’s highly problematic for our nation, is Nov. 1,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee.Others say there is no deadline at all — that daily tax receipts would be more than enough to pay off Treasury bonds as they come due.

Obama should have been arguing against the law of gravity. Everyone knows the House can repeal it with little consequence. That’s what they do with laws. And while we’re at it don’t worry about landing on the sun. We’ll do it at night when it’s cooler.

OMG this is going to be a disaster. http://t.co/…
— @BuzzFeedAndrew

Daily News:

With stocks tanking and the world watching, President Obama tore into House Republicans Tuesday, warning they were risking economic catastrophe by refusing to hike the nation’s debt limit without strings attached.But in a sign of just how far apart the sides are, several leading Republicans downplayed the potential fallout of an unprecedented national default that’s edging ever closer.

Did [Ron Suskind quoting Karl Rove] “we create our own reality” lead to: Many in G.O.P. Offer Theory: Default Wouldn’t Be That Bad?
— @DemFromCT

Chris Cillizza:

“Ransom.” “Extortion.” “Deadbeat.” “Hostage-taking.” “Blow the whole thing up.” “Insane.”Those are just a few of the words and phrases that President Obama used to describe (and deride) what he believes is the Republicans’ strategic approach on the government shutdown and debt ceiling during a news conference Tuesday. (Full transcript here.)

David Frum has a great piece on the dysfunctional GOP entitled

Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Political Parties

This looks fantastic: @popsci launches a new blog network w/too many great names to list. http://t.co/….
— @sethmnookin

Jonathan Chait:

The most telling thing about Boehner’s remarks is their brevity. The Speaker spoke for about five minutes, responded briefly to one question, and bolted out the door. Obama’s disquisition earlier today may have been long (over an hour) and professorial. But he was able to defend his position against questions, engage counterarguments, and marshal facts to support his position. Boehner couldn’t do any of those things. So he did the only thing a man in his position could do: repeat a handful of false or crazy talking points and quickly flee the premises.

Securities & Investment firms have given Richard Burr $906,377 in his career. Commercial Banks: $603,518. have to imagine calls will be made
— @samsteinhp

Ed Kilgore:

Now it’s possible this situation could be the exception that proves the rule, so wanton have Republicans been about taking the federal government and the economy hostage. But Enten’s right: when the economy does poorly, the party controlling the White House tends to take the biggest hit, even if that phenomenon is both beyond its control and largely attributable to the opposing party.It’s another reminder of the perils of our system of government at a time of asymmetric polarization: Republicans can act deliberately and unilaterally to screw up government in the reasonable belief a Democratic incumbent president and his party will ultimately lose support even if they do not objectively bear the blame.

Josh Eidelson:

Ex-GOP insider unloads: Blame “neo-Confederate insurrectionists” for shutdown!“I would take Boehner drunk over Cruz sober,” former 28-year GOP staffer-turned-author Mike Lofgren tells Salon

Pickett’s Charge.Marc Ambinder:

I have few qualms with Ezra Klein’s 13 reasons why government is failing piece, but I think his main point needs to be modified. Government is failing, he writes. I would add that it is purposely failing. It is operating precisely as a plurality of political conservatives want it to. The government is executing policies designed to reduce confidence in itself. The shutdown is not a consequence of a broken system. It is a consequence of a system that incentivizes particular outcomes over majority ones, rules that empower political minorities, and of the political and social needs of the humans who inhabit it.

Jamelle Bouie  writes about remodeling the debt ceiling:

It’s a good idea. As former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told CNBC, the whole idea of a “debt limit” is redundant. “Congress has already approved the spending,” he explained, “And then say ‘you have to then come back and agree to allow us to meet our obligations,’ that’s ridiculous.” When Congress authorizes spending, it gives an implicit OK to the president—“If you need to borrow to fulfill your obligations to the laws we passed, then do so.” McConnell’s idea [see link] would make that explicit.Indeed, it’s such a good idea that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has brought it back, to pressure John Boehner and House Republicans into ending the stand-off. As Brian Beutler writes for Salon, “Moving quickly, while Boehner and his lieutenants dither, is a can’t-lose move for Reid. If the plan fails—that is, if Republicans successfully filibuster the bill with a week before the Treasury Department’s deadline—markets will turn, and the pressure on the GOP to cave will increase. If it passes, Boehner will be isolated.”

But there remains a major obstacle to GOP concessions: The growing number of Republicans who believe that we can survive a debt limit breach with little trouble.

Fox News Pundit Shuts Down Network’s Hysteria Over Benghazi: ‘It’s Gone, Baby. It’s In Your Head’

Juan Williams
Fox News contributor, Juan Williams

It’s about time Juan Williams stop playing a “shill” and stand up to Fox News’ pundits.

Think Progress

Fox News’ Juan Williams tersely dismissed the GOP’s year-long effort to implicate the Obama administration in a so-called “cover-up” of the attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sep. 11, 2012, telling off a panelist who suggested that the debate over the incident was still ongoing.

During a heated discussion on Fox News Sunday, former Bush administration official Karl Rove regurgitated GOP claims that “someone constructed a lie” that the incident resulted from “a spontaneous reaction to a video no one saw” and suggested Obama refused to scramble necessary military assets to save the U.S. personnel. Conservative commentator Brit Hume agreed, adding, “the list of questions that remain unanswered to this day are what make this a legitimate topic of conversation. I’m sorry to say this is not over.”

Williams disputed these charges point by point and explained that months of Republican-led Congressional hearings had been unable to uncover any evidence of a cover up. “It’s gone, baby. It’s in your head. That’s the only place,” he added. Watch it:

Donors Pressure House Republicans To Act On Immigration Reform


Think Progress

With House action at a standstill on immigration reform, more than 100 Republican donors and fund-raisers urged House Republicans to take immediate action to legalize undocumented immigrants on Tuesday. In a move to sway House Republicans when immigration reform stakeholders have been unable to do so, the open letter calls upon members to fix the perception of a Republican party that “would rather see nothing done than pass needed reform.” Some House Republicans want to take a piecemeal approach towards immigration, while others are hoping that the momentum will die during the August recess.

Republicans signers told lawmakers throughout the letter that an overhaul for the immigration system would secure the borders, make it impossible to hire undocumented workers illegally, and give legal status for immigrants who pay a penalty and back taxes. Such requirements are already part of the approved Senate comprehensive bill.

Notably, the Republican signers support a legalization pathway, but did not explicitly support citizenship. Legalization is a point of contention among Republicans, some of whom are only open to granting citizenship to undocumented youths who were brought to the country by their parents.

The letter warned that “doing nothing is de facto amnesty.” While eleven million undocumented immigrants would argue that their current situation is hardly “amnesty,” the conclusion of doing nothing could be a real possibility. House Speaker John Boehner pointed to such a conclusion when he vowed topass an immigration bill only with a majority of Republicans supporting it.

The letter was written by former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and signed by several signatories including former Vice President Dan Quayle, former President George Bush’s aide Karl Rove, and Mitt Romney’s campaign finance director Spencer Zwick. Romney once called for self-deportation, a statement that later hurt him at the polls.

Over 430 prominent businesses like Facebook, eBay, Adobe, and the Intel Corporation also circulated their own letter urging immigration reform on Tuesday. Their letter emphasizes the economic growth of allowing legalized immigrants to “complement” the U.S. workforce by “generating greater productivity and economic activity that will lead to new innovations, products, businesses, and jobs” in the U.S. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is expected to publicly speak about immigration reform next month. During the Senate bill, Zuckerberg’s political group FWD.us spent over $5 million on a pro-immigration reform campaign.

Earlier in July, former Republican President Bush voiced his support for immigration reform. But given that immigration reform collapsed under his administration, it remains to be seen whether House Republicans would be encouraged by the support of his former administrative staff.


The Federal Law Enforcement Officer Association (FLEOA), comprised of over 26,000 federal law enforcement officials from 65 agencies, threw its support for a comprehensive immigration reform bill on Tuesday. The letter addressed to Congress states, “While FLEOA understands the theory of the piece‐meal approach put forth by the House leadership, FLEOA questions if this will ever lead to any meaningful immigration reform legislation in the foreseeable future.” The letter further states that it hopes for the House to take up the Senate immigration bill.

The Top 10 Dark Money Donors — That We Know Of, Sort Of

Karl Rove

TPM Muckraker

Thanks to the folks at the Center for Responsive Politics, who have spent the past year and a half putting together the largest publicly available set of IRS data on politically active non-profits, the world of dark money got just slightly less opaque on Tuesday.

The Center’s employees manually inputted thousands of records from tax documents, including annual reports (called 990s) and applications for tax-exempt status (called 1024s), submitted to the IRS by 501(c)4 “social welfare” groups, 501(c)5 union groups, and 501(c)6 trade associations. The compiled information is now live on the Center’s website, OpenSecrets.org.

As the center points out, the biggest part of the data details grants to, from, and between politically active non-profits. While these groups don’t have to disclose their donors, they do have to report grants to other organizations. The Center found that grants to political active non-profits amount to almost $200 million so far. That number is soon expected to rise dramatically. Non-profit groups have an 11-month window following the end of their fiscal years in which to submit 990s, meaning that most 2012 filings will not be turned in until this fall.

The grant information is useful. We can’t know the individuals or corporations behind the hundreds of millions of dollars received and spent by dark money groups. But the figures show us which groups have been most active giving to politically active non-profits, getting us one layer of the onion closer to the source of millions of dark dollars.

Here are the top 10 politically active non-profits ranked by their giving to other non-profits, as compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (The Karl Rove-linked Crossroads GPS ranks No. 3 on the list):

1. Center to Protect Patient Rights
Non-profit type: 501(c)4
Amount of money given: $55,740,985
Top recipient: American Future Fund

2. Sea Change Foundation
Non-profit type: 501(c)3
Amount of grant money given: $26,986,150
Top recipient: League of Conservation Voters

3. Crossroads GPS
Non-profit type: 501(c)4
Amount of grant money given: $13,875,000
Top recipient: Americans for Tax Reform

4. TC4 Trust
Non-profit type: 501(c)4
Amount of grant money given: $11,787,800
Top recipient: American Commitment

5. Donors Trust
Non-profit type: 501(c)3
Amount of grant money given: $8,832,250
Top recipient: Americans for Prosperity Foundation

6. Republican Jewish Coalition
Non-profit type: 501(c)4
Amount of grant money given: $8,000,000
Top recipient: American Action Network, Crossroads GPS (tie)

7. Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America
Non-profit type: 501(c)6
Amount of grant money given: $7,100,000
Top recipient: American Action Network

8. Green Tech Action Fund
Non-profit type: 501(c)4
Amount of grant money given: $5,775,300
Top recipient: League of Conservation Voters

9. Advocacy Fund
Non-profit type: 501(c)4
Amount of grant money given: $5,632,488
Top recipient: League of Conservation Voters

10. Alliance for Freedom
Non-profit type: 501(c)4
Amount of grant money given: $4,190,000
Top recipient: Alliance for America’s Future

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