The ACORN Precedent
Here's another example of what's becoming increasingly clear is a systematic program to dismantle the institutional left:
Last month, scores of public officials across Los Angeles County opened their mail to find nearly identical requests for information: Members of the Los Angeles City Council and the county Board of Supervisors, the Community Redevelopment Agency and Community College District Board of Trustees, the city of Long Beach and untold others were asked to produce records relating to the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. It was the first blow, silently delivered, in what could be a nasty fight, of a sort that is becoming increasingly common in American and California politics.
LAANE, as it's known, is an 18-year-old advocacy organization that seeks to fashion and influence public policy relating to jobs, the environment and community development. The group, widely perceived as having a strong liberal slant, has a staff of 45 people and an annual budget of $4 million, and it is headed by a shrewd executive director, Madeline Janis. Housed in a tiny suite of offices just west of downtown (LAANE rents the space from the union UNITE-HERE), its modest quarters give little evidence of its impact, which is profound. In project after project -- from winning passage of the city's Living Wage Ordinance to revamping the way the Los Angeles port handles truck traffic to reimagining the region's approach to recycling -- LAANE has shown itself to be one of Southern California's most potent political organizations.
That has made it plenty of enemies, and one of them is now quietly but unmistakably striking back. The group that filed the requests for information under the California Public Records Act is called MB Public Affairs, a Sacramento-based operation that specializes in "opposition research," the art of ferreting out dirt on one's enemies. MB Public Affairs is headed by Mark Bogetich, a garrulous operative known to his friends as "Bogey," who has helped a number of Republican candidates neutralize their opponents...
When MB Public Affairs filed more than 50 public records requests for information on LAANE, it was not a casual act. It was almost certainly intended to find something damaging, and it's costing someone serious money. One operative who knows this business well estimated the price of such a digging campaign at roughly $50,000.
The politics of personal destruction have turned into the politics of institutional destruction. No evidence is needed since the real intent is to smear through innuendo and intimidate public figures through guilt by association.
The left could make them pay a price for this by similarly going after the massive rightwing infrastructure and wingnut welfare, but it wouldn't be polite.