Let’s Look at Justice Democrats

As requested in the comments, I took a look at how Justice Democrats spends their money. It ain’t pretty.

In the last cycle, they raised $2.7 million and spent $2.5 mil. Here’s where it went.

That teeny tiny purple slice ($33K) is direct contributions to candidates. The bulk of the money is spent on overhead. I was thinking that “Strategy & Research” might be a category of indirect spending on the part of candidates, but it doesn’t look like it. Almost all of it ($605K) was sent to a PAC called Brand New Congress, which was founded by former Sanders campaign staff. Brand New Congress has a similar financial profile as Justice Democrats — very little of their money goes directly to candidates.

So, if you want to spend money to pay salaries and push money to another PAC, Justice Democrats should get your cash. If not, you might want to contribute directly to candidates via ActBlue. There’s nothing wrong with starting an organization that evaluates and endorses candidates without funding them, and Justice Democrats is clear that the contribution to them benefits them, but it doesn’t take a couple million bucks to do that.








Open Thread: Oh, Look, Another GOP (Alleged) Felon!

Can’t throw an ore-bearing rock around the Peepot Dome Gang without hitting one. From the NYTimes, “Investigation Intensifies Into Top Trump Fund-raiser”:

Federal prosecutors have intensified their wide-ranging federal investigation into Elliott Broidy, a top fund-raiser for President Trump, signaling the Justice Department’s continued interest in questions about foreign influence on the administration.

In recent months, federal authorities have searched Mr. Broidy’s Southern California office and subpoenaed records related to him from a onetime business partner and from Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee. They have reportedly asked the authorities in Romania for assistance investigating associates with whom Mr. Broidy worked to win military intelligence contracts potentially worth as much as $64 million.

They have also charged four people who worked with Mr. Broidy on plans to influence the administration, including on behalf of interests in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. While the charges against three of his associates were unrelated to their work with Mr. Broidy, most have been asked about their relationships with him, according to several people familiar with the investigation.

Taken together, the steps suggest mounting pressure on Mr. Broidy. And they underscore the legal questions raised by his efforts to parlay his access into business advantage in the frenetic weeks after Mr. Trump’s election, and then to influence the new administration’s policies toward the Middle East, where he was pursuing contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The scrutiny comes as the Justice Department has stepped up its enforcement of foreign lobbying laws and continues to investigate whether foreign money was illegally funneled into Mr. Trump’s super PAC or inaugural committee.

Mr. Broidy’s lawyers have contended that he did not do anything that would require him to lobby. One of the lawyers, Chris Clark, said in an email on Monday that he dismissed as “utterly false” the idea that his client used his connections to Mr. Trump to drum up business…

We never had to *ask*, Your Honor. Once we’d inserted our guy into office, we could count on him doing what was best for The (GOP) Family…

The AP story is more painstaking with the details:

Broidy, a 61-year-old Los Angeles businessman, made a fortune in investments before moving into defense contracting and has played prominent roles in GOP fundraising, including as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2006 to 2008 and vice chair of the Trump Victory Committee in 2016.
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Open Thread: Trump Tries to Steal Independence Day

Literally, steal from the Park Service (not to mention the military). Per the Washington Post:

The National Park Service is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks across the country to cover costs associated with President Trump’s Independence Day celebration Thursday on the Mall, according to two individuals familiar with the arrangement…

The diverted park fees represent just a fraction of the extra costs the government faces as a result of the event, which will include displays of military hardware, flyovers by an array of jets including Air Force One, the deployment of tanks on the Mall and an extended pyrotechnics show. By comparison, according to former Park Service deputy director Denis P. Galvin, the entire Fourth of July celebration on the Mall typically costs the agency about $2 million.

For Trump’s planned speech at the Lincoln Memorial, the White House is distributing VIP tickets to Republican donors and political appointees, prompting objections from Democratic lawmakers who argue that the president has turned the annual celebration into a campaign-like event.

The Republican National Committee and Trump’s reelection campaign confirmed Tuesday that they had received passes they were handing out for the event.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” Sen. Tom Udall (N.M.), the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the interior, environment and related agencies, said in a phone interview. “No ticketed political event should be paid for with taxpayer dollars.”…

By tapping entrance fees to cover the presidential event, Interior is siphoning money that is typically used to enhance the visitor experience either on the Mall or at smaller parks across the country, with projects ranging from road and bridge repair to habitat restoration. The transfer amounts to nearly 5 percent of the funds that less-profitable parks used last year for upgrades, according to budget documents.

“This is a breach of trust with the public,” Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, said in an email. “The public pays parks fees to fix national parks and for educational programs, not the president’s parade.”…

The “Salute to America” marks the culmination of Trump’s two-year quest to mount a military-style extravaganza inspired by his visit to a Bastille Day celebration in Paris in 2017. His previous efforts to stage a Veterans Day military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in 2018 were scuttled after estimated costs ballooned to the tens of millions of dollars…

Jon Chait, NYMag“Trump Is Packing the July 4 Fireworks Because He’s Afraid of Getting Booed”:

The Fourth of July celebration exposes Trump to the sort of crowd from which he has been traditionally insulated. The event is held in Washington, which (along with its surrounding suburbs) is heavily Democratic. It is also drawing protesters who will fly the famous Baby Trump blimp. Trump is also alienating nonpolitical attendees who might resent him turning a hallowed ritual that is a traditional venue for unity and a respite from politics into another divisive spectacle.

Trump’s efforts to control the rally should be seen in the context of his fear that the crowd will boo him. He is advertising the event on his Twitter feed, cordoning off the immediate area around his speech for ticket holders, and giving tickets away to Republican donors…

Trump has spent his presidency representing his supporters, without even bothering with the pretense of representing the majority that voted against him. He is attempting to conscript patriotic rituals into this effort. He deserves the reception he fears: loud, merciless boos.








Late Night Open Thread: All the BEST People…

Example 1:

Example #2:








Open Thread: Duncan Hunter, GOP Poster Boy of the Week

And here I thought Rep. Duncan was just a California-gated-community version of Jared Kushner — the entitled scion of a successful grifter who misused campaign funds because he felt he was entitled to a nicer lifestyle than he could afford honestly. Give Jared this much credit: either he has the sense keep his pants zipped, or he picks partners who have as much to lose from exposure as he does. Duncan was using campaign funds to ‘party’ with lobbyists — and using the campaign credit card he knew his ‘campaign manager’ wife would be auditing!

… “I’m saying when I went to Iraq in 2003 the first time I gave her power of attorney and she handled my finances throughout my entire military career and that continued on when I got to Congress since I’m gone five days and home for two,” Hunter said at the time. “She was also the campaign manager.”

“So whatever she did, that will be looked at, too, I’m sure,” he continued. “But I didn’t do it.”…

Bonus ‘Party of Family Value’ points:


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