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Hullabaloo


Sunday, December 08, 2013

 
The right's not done yet

by digby

News flash: the right has hardly given up. In fact, they've expanded their work to encompass not only the federal government but all 50 states:
Most of the "think tanks" involved in the proposals gathered by the State Policy Network are constituted as 501(c)(3) charities that are exempt from tax by the Internal Revenue Service. Though the groups are not involved in election campaigns, they are subject to strict restrictions on the amount of lobbying they are allowed to perform. Several of the grant bids contained in the Guardian documents propose the launch of "media campaigns" aimed at changing state laws and policies, or refer to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings", in ways that arguably cross the line into lobbying.

The documents also cast light on the nexus of funding arrangements behind radical right-wing campaigns. The State Policy Network (SPN) has members in each of the 50 states and an annual warchest of $83 million drawn from major corporate donors that include the energy tycoons the Koch brothers, the tobacco company Philip Morris, food giant Kraft and the multinational drugs company GlaxoSmithKline.

SPN gathered the grant proposals from the 34 states on 29 July. Ranging in size from requests of $25,000 to $65,000, the plans were submitted for funding to the Searle Freedom Trust, a private foundation that in 2011 donated almost $15m to largely rightwing causes.

[…]

The proposals in the grant bids contained in the Guardian documents go beyond a commitment to free enterprise, however. They include:

• "reforms" to public employee pensions raised by SPN thinktanks in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania

• tax elimination or reduction schemes in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska, and New York

• an education voucher system to promote private and home schooling in Florida

• campaigns against worker and union rights in Delaware and Nevada

• opposition to Medicaid in Georgia, North Carolina, and Utah
This really is a matter of stupid amounts of money being devoted to a political ideology. This sort of coordinated, multi-pronged attack at several levels of government could not happen if it weren't for the multi-billionaires who are willing to use their discretionary mad money on political causes. When you're as rich as the Kochs, you can pretty much create a political industry from the ground up and fund it generously. Which is what they are doing.

I don't know what to do about this. It seems almost impossible to stop it, although the democratic process should be able to create some countervailing pressure. But it's hard to imagine that with the kind of resources they have behind them that they will not make at least some progress, in more than a few places, on enacting this agenda. And that's just horrible.

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