PART 2: The Shadow Party

by Richard Poe
Friday, October 7, 2005

12:00 am Eastern Time

Header for Shadow Party Report, Part 2

by David Horowitz and Richard Poe

Friday, October 7, 2005

GEORGE SOROS is an exacting taskmaster. In return for his money, he demands productivity. What he requires of employees and business associates in the investment world, Soros also demands from the political operatives he funds. “Mr. Soros isn’t just writing checks and watching,” notes Wall Street Journal reporter Jeanne Cummings. “He is also imposing a business model on the notoriously unruly world of politics. He demands objective evidence of progress, and assigned an aide to monitor the groups he supports. He studies private polls to track the impact of an anti-Bush advertising campaign, and he is delivering his money in installments, giving him leverage if performance falters.” (1)

By early 2004, the Shadow Party’s infrastructure had assumed a coherent shape, under Soros’ guidance. At its heart lay seven ostensibly “independent” non-profit groups which constitute the network’s administrative core. Let us call them the Seven Sisters. In chronological order, based upon their launch dates, they are:


Launched September 22, 1998

2. Center for American Progress (CAP)

Launched July 7, 2003

3. America Votes

Launched July 15, 2003

4. America Coming Together (ACT)

Launched July 17, 2003

5. The Media Fund

Launched November 5, 2003

6. Joint Victory Campaign 2004

Launched November 5, 2003

7. The Thunder Road Group LLC

Launched early 2004

With the exception of — based in Berkeley, California — all Seven Sisters maintain headquarters in Washington DC. Testifying to the close links between these groups are their interlocking finances, Boards of Directors and corporate officers. In some cases, they even share office space.

For example, two of the Seven Sisters — The Media Fund and Joint Victory Campaign 2004 — share an office in Suite #1100 at 1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Three other groups — America Coming Together (ACT), America Votes and The Thunder Road Group — lease offices in the Motion Picture Association Building at 888 16th Street, NW. It is tempting to consider that the clustering of these three groups in a building owned by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) may not be coincidental. The MPAA has long enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Democratic Party; many high-ranking Democrats have slipped comfortably from government jobs into glamorous posts in the MPAA’s upper management.

In March 2004, for instance, Dan Glickman succeeded Jack Valenti as MPAA president. Valenti was a Democrat lobbyist and former aide to President Lyndon Johnson. Glickman was formerly a Democratic Congressman from Kansas, who later served as Secretary of Agriculture in the Clinton White House. Now, as MPAA president, Glickman holds what is arguably the most powerful position in Hollywood.

The Shadow Party draws much of its funding from the entertainment world. According to the Center for Public Integrity, Jane Fonda is the fourth largest donor to Democrat 527 groups and Hollywood producer Stephen L. Bing takes third place. The top four Shadow Party donors are as follows:

Top Four Shadow Party Contributors
(August 2000 – August 2004)

Contributors to Democrat 527’s

George and —————————————– $24,170,000.00
Susan Soros

Peter B. Lewis ———————————— $23,147,220.00

Stephen L. Bing ———————————- $15,382,555.00

Jane Fonda —————————————— $13,085,750.00

Courtesy The Center for Public Integrity

Below is a brief overview of the Seven Sisters and their function in the Shadow Party network. The profiles appear in chronological order, according to their launch dates.
Launched September 22, 1998

“It feels so bourgeois!” exclaimed a man who had just made the first campaign contribution of his life. Recorded by LA Weekly writer Brendan Bernhard, this man’s outburst bespeaks a mass phenomenon for which can largely take credit. (2)

More than a Web site, is a movement cleverly tailored to lure the young, the Net-savvy and the self-consciously fashionable into supporting mainstream Democrats such as John Kerry — the sort of candidate whom today’s digital hipsters would normally dismiss as a square. MoveOn’s peculiar contribution to the Shadow Party is its ability to draw into the political process America’s ever-growing hordes of self-absorbed cyber-existentialists — “tech-savvy progressives,” in the words of writer Michelle Goldberg — and convince them that a vote for the Democrats is a blow against middle-class conformity. MoveOn is the Joe Camel of the Shadow Party, playing to the deepseated antipathy that bohemians of every age group harbor toward all things normal, wholesome, traditional and adult.

Regarding MoveOn’s success at harnessing popular entertainment to the Democrat cause, whether in the form of rock-concert fundraisers or Bush-bashing ads with an MTV edge, the LA Weekly‘s Bernhard concludes, “[I]t’s all part of a giant, perhaps unprecedented effort by the country’s intellectual and artistic communities to unseat the conspicuously unintellectual, inartistic man in the Oval Office.”

High-tech entrepreneur Wesley Boyd and his wife Joan Blades created MoveOn. Their software company Berkeley Systems Inc. of Berkeley, California made a fortune in the early ’90s with its “After Dark” screensaver, featuring the famous animated “flying toasters.” When the screensaver market peaked in 1994, Berkeley Systems rolled out a successful line of CD-ROM computer games. (3) Company sales had reached $30 million annually by the time Boyd sold Berkeley Systems in 1997 for $13.8 million. (4)

Idle, wealthy and still full of fight, Boyd and Blades sought new challenges. Angered by the Clinton impeachment, the couple wrote a one-sentence petition and e-mailed it to friends, who then e-mailed it to others in chain-letter fashion. It said, “Censure the president and move on to pressing issues facing the nation.” At the same time, Boyd and Blades launched a Web site enabling people to sign their petition electronically. To their astonishment, 100,000 supporters registered in the first week.

Boyd and Blades realized they were onto something. They launched on September 22, 1998. One month later, on October 23, they rolled out MoveOn PAC, a federal political action committee designed to siphon political contributions from MoveOn’s fast-growing membership. MoveOn PAC raised millions of dollars for Democrat candidates in the elections of 1998, 2000 and 2002. Today, MoveOn boasts an e-mail list of more than 2.2 million members in the USA and over 800,000 abroad. (5) The lean-and-mean operation rents no office space. Its ten full-time staffers work from home, staying in touch via e-mail, instant messaging and weekly conference calls. (6)

MoveOn’s fundraising feats have impressed Beltway strategists. On April 17, 2004, MoveOn held a national “Bake Sale for Democracy,” in which members conducted more than 1,000 bake sales around the country, raising $750,000 in a single day for MoveOn’s anti-Bush campaign. (7) When a Republican redistricting plan threatened Democrat incumbents in the Texas state senate in May 2003, an appeal from MoveOn brought in $1 million in contributions in two days, to support the beleaguered Democrats. (8)

In 2002, Boyd and Blades hired 32-year-old Zack Exley as MoveOn’s organizing director. A computer programmer and Web designer by trade, Exley had gained national attention during the 2000 campaign when he launched, a Web site featuring doctored photographs portraying candidate Bush as a dope fiend. Exley was a hardened activist of the extreme Left. Trained by the AFL-CIO, he had worked as an undercover union organizer for five years, and also done a stint training activists for the Ruckus Society, an anarchist group whose violent tactics first caught the public eye during the 1999 riots against the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. (9) Exley brought a ruthless edge to MoveOn’s fundraising and propaganda drives which soon aroused the admiration of mainstream Democrats.

In May 2003, the Howard Dean presidential campaign hired Exley away from MoveOn for two weeks in order to turbocharge Dean’s Web operations. Exley finally left MoveOn for good in April 2004 to become Director of Online Communications and Online Organizing for the Kerry-Edwards campaign.

In the meantime, George Soros had incorporated MoveOn into his Shadow Party. Following the September 17, 2003 meeting between Soros and Boyd mentioned in Part 1, Soros and his associates poured nearly $6.2 million into MoveOn over a period of six months, according to the Center for Public Integrity. The contributions include $2.5 million from George Soros personally; $2.5 million from Peter B. Lewis of Progressive Insurance; $971,427 from Stephen Bing of Shangri-La Entertainment; $100,000 from Benson & Hedges tobacco heir Lewis Cullman; and $101,000 from Soros’ 34-year-old son Jonathan T. Soros, an attorney and financier recently promoted to deputy manager of Soros Fund Management LLC.

Jonathan Soros has become personally involved with’s activities. In December 2003, he collaborated with techno-rocker Moby to organize “Bush in 30 Seconds,” an online contest for the best 30-second anti-Bush TV ad. MoveOn agreed to air the winning commercial on national television. Among the 1,500-odd submissions to the contest were two ads juxtaposing footage of George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler. MoveOn posted these ads on its site. Under pressure from Jewish groups and Republicans, MoveOn pulled the Hitler ads and apologized for them. (10)

Despite such gaffes, MoveOn need not worry about its media image. Major networks and newspapers pour forth an endless flood of free publicity for the group. Calculated in terms of equivalent advertising fees, the millions MoveOn raises in political contributions doubtless pales in value beside the worshipful profiles and saccharine coverage which major media never tire of bestowing upon Boyd and Blades’ Web site and political campaigns.

Center for American Progress (CAP)
Launched July 7, 2003

The Center for American Progress (CAP) is widely understood to be what one inside source called, “the official Hillary Clinton think tank” — a platform designed to highlight Hillary’s policies and to enhance her prestige as a potential presidential candidate. (11)

Robert Dreyfuss reports in the March 1, 2004 edition of The Nation: “The idea for the Center began with discussions in 2002 between [Morton] Halperin and George Soros, the billionaire investor. […] Halperin, who heads the office of Soros’ Open Society Institute, brought [former Clinton chief of staff John] Podesta into the discussion, and beginning in late 2002 Halperin and Podesta circulated a series of papers to funders.” (12)

Soros and Halperin then recruited Harold Ickes — chief fundraiser and former deputy chief of staff for the Clinton White House — to help organize the Center. It was launched on July 7, 2003 as the American Majority Institute, but has operated under the name Center for American Progress (CAP) since September 1, 2003.

The official purpose of the Center was to provide the left with something it supposedly lacked — a think tank of its own. Where was the left’s Heritage Foundation, asked Soros and Halperin? Of course, the left had plenty of think tanks, including the Brookings Institution, the Urban Institute, the Economic Policy Institute, the Center on Budget and Policy, the Institute for Policy Studies, and the Progressive Policy Institute — not to mention the Kennedy School for Government at Harvard and numerous similar academic institutions firmly under leftist control. But Shadow Party leaders seemed to be looking for something different — something that no existing institution on the left offered.

Regarding the alleged need for CAP, Hillary Clinton told Matt Bai of The New York Times Magazine on October 12, 2003, “We need some new intellectual capital. There has to be some thought given as to how we build the 21st-century policies that reflect the Democratic Party’s values.” (13) Expanding on this theme, Hillary subsequently told The Nation‘s Dreyfuss, “We’ve had the challenge of filling a void on our side of the ledger for a long time, while the other side created an infrastructure that has come to dominate political discourse. The center is a welcome effort to fill that void.” (14)

Soros and Hillary seemed to understand the need for the new Center, even if they did not always succeed in explaining it to others. They found fault with every existing leftwing think tank. Even Bill Clinton’s personal favorite, the Progressive Policy Institute, was too moderate, too middle-of-the-road for their purpose. But what was their purpose?

Hillary Clinton tries to minimize the depth of her involvement with CAP — as indeed she does habitually in all matters concerning the Shadow Party. Beltway insiders are not fooled, however. Persistent press leaks confirm that Hillary calls the shots at CAP — not John Podesta. “It’s the official Hillary Clinton think tank,” an inside source confided to Christian Bourge of United Press International. (15)

Many ideological purists on the Left dismiss the Center as a platform for Hillary’s presidential ambitions. No doubt, they are right. Dreyfuss notes the abundance of Clintonites on the Center’s staff, among them Clinton’s national security speechwriter Robert Boorstin; Democratic Leadership Council staffer and former head of Clinton’s National Economic Council Gene Sperling; former senior advisor to Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget Matt Miller; and so on. Dreyfuss writes: “[T]he center’s kickoff conference on national security in October [2003], co-organized with The American Prospect and the Century Foundation, looked like a Clinton reunion, featuring Robert Rubin, Clinton’s Treasury Secretary; William Perry, his Defense Secretary; Sandy Berger, his National Security Adviser; Richard Holbrooke and Susan Rice, both Clinton-era Assistant Secretaries of State; Rodney Slater, his Transportation Secretary; and Carol Browner, his EPA administrator, who serves on the center’s board of directors.” Hillary Clinton also attended the event, notes Dreyfuss.

“In looking at Podesta’s center,” Dreyfuss muses, “there’s no escaping the imprint of the Clintons. It’s not completely wrong to see it as a shadow government, a kind of Clinton White-House-in-exile — or a White House staff in readiness for President Hillary Clinton.” (16)

“Rapid Response”

Another of CAP’s missions is to carry out “rapid response” to what it calls conservative “attacks” in the media. CAP’s Web site promises that it will soon be capable of “responding effectively and rapidly to conservative proposals and rhetoric with a thoughtful critique and clear alternatives.” To this end, CAP offers a stable of talking heads — coiffed, credentialed and fully briefed — ready to appear at a moment’s notice on national talk shows to interrupt, side track, browbeat and otherwise prevent conservative commentators from getting their message out. Notable among CAP’s line-up of talking heads are The Nation‘s Eric Alterman — who claims expertise on the subjects of media and democracy — and Morton H. Halperin, who offers to speak on national security.

CAP helped launch Media Matters for America, a 501(c)(03) public charity better known for its Web site, which opened for business on May 3, 2004. Inasmuch as Media Matters aspires to serve as a media watchdog, monitoring “rightwing” journalists for errors and ethical violations, it is odd, to say the least, that David Brock has been appointed its President and CEO. Brock is a former conservative journalist who defected to the Left amidst an outpouring of dramatic public apologies and confessions that he had built his career on lies, writing political hit pieces filled with flimsy evidence and outright fabrications. Even so, whatever Brock lacks in credibility, he more than makes up for in the quality of his schmoozing. Brock told The New York Times that he conferred with Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Tom Daschle and former Vice President Al Gore before launching his Web site. (17)

The New York Times, which generously provided a 1,041-word feature article to announce Brock’s grand opening, reports that, “Mr. Brock’s project was developed with help from the newly formed Center for American Progress […]. [CAP president John] Podesta has loaned office space in the past to Mr. Brock and introduced him to potential donors.” Brock received $2 million for the start-up. His donors include friend-of-Hillary Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of the fashion company Esprit; former cable TV mogul Leo Hindery Jr.; and San Francisco philanthropist James C. Hormel, an enthusiastic promoter of the “gay lifestyle” whom Clinton appointed ambassador to Luxembourg in the 1990s. (18)

In its short life, Media Matters has already acquired a reputation for zombie-like partisanship and reckless disregard for the truth. Brock and his team seem to sleepwalk through their work, rubberstamping, with mind-numbing monotony, virtually every conservative utterance that finds its way into major media as a “lie,” a “smear,” a “slander,” or a factual “error.”

War on Rush Limbaugh

Among Brock’s high-priority projects is a campaign to pressure Congress and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to ban Rush Limbaugh from American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) — thus depriving our troops in Iraq of one of the few radio programs they are allowed to hear that wholeheartedly supports them and the cause for which they fight. Only one hour of Limbaugh’s three-hour show is broadcast on one of AFRTS’s thirteen radio channels, five days per week — constituting less than one percent of the network’s total weekly programming. (19) Nevertheless, that is one percent too many for the Shadow Party and its operatives.

Shortly after Media Matters began its campaign, Democrat Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa obligingly proposed an amendment to the 2005 Defense Authorization Act mandating “political balance” on AFRTS. The Senate approved Harkin’s amendment unanimously on June 16. It stops short of banning Limbaugh outright, but the amendment effectively requires AFRTS to balance Limbaugh with more leftwing commentary. Given the fact that one of the network’s two news channels currently airs National Public Radio 24 hours per day, seven days per week, it is hard to imagine how AFRTS can broadcast more leftwing commentary than it already does. (20) Even so, Senator Harkin complained in a June 17 Senate speech, “[T]here is no commentary on the service that would even begin to balance the extreme right-wing views that Rush Limbaugh routinely expresses on his program.” (21)

In the interests of full disclosure, it should be mentioned that both co-authors of this article have been targets of stunningly mendacious hatchet jobs on Mr. Brock’s Web site.

America Votes
Launched July 15, 2003

America Votes is an umbrella group encompassing a national coalition of grassroots, get-out-the-vote organizations. It was formed on July 15, 2003 to help coordinate the activities of the growing number of non-profit groups that now constitute the Shadow Party. According to its Web site, America Votes now commands the political loyalty of “more than 20 million Americans in every state in the country,” through its 33 member organizations.

The McCain-Feingold soft money ban took effect on November 6, 2002. Shortly thereafter, Democrat operative Gina Glantz called a meeting at the Washington restaurant BeDuCi’s. Glantz was then an official for the leftwing government union SEIU. She later became a key strategist for the Howard Dean campaign. According to The Wall Street Journal, attendees at Glantz’s meeting included Clinton operative Harold Ickes; SEIU president Andrew Stern; Steven Rosenthal; Ellen Malcolm and Carl Pope. Glantz argued that the proliferating Democrat 527 committees needed a central command structure — an “umbrella group” — to avoid duplicating efforts and wasting money. Everyone liked her idea, but no donors stepped forward. Glantz’s idea for an umbrella group languished for the next eight months. (22)

In describing the genesis of America Votes, The Texas Monthly lists a cast of characters similar to those who attended Glantz’s meeting — but with one puzzling addition: Jim Jordan. When the Shadow Party launched America Votes, Jordan was still John Kerry’s campaign manager. He was not fired from that job until November 9 — nearly four months later. If indeed Jordan helped launch America Votes while working as Kerry’s campaign manager, he violated FEC regulations, which bar coordination between campaign officials and independent political committees. (23)

The Texas Monthly further reports that the group decided to appoint Cecile Richards — then deputy chief of staff for minority leader Nancy Pelosi — to head America Votes. “We wanted to find a way to bring progressive groups together for the election. […] It was a monster coalition, and we universally agreed that Cecile was the best person to coordinate it,” said Ellen Malcolm. Richards’ primary job would be to keep the organization’s thousands of activists from duplicating efforts and stepping on each others’ toes. “With America Votes, we really have a way now to settle who is in which neighborhoods, who is taking which precincts,” Richards explains. “And the role of our state directors is to hold those folks accountable for what they said they’d do.” (24) Member organizations of the America Votes coalition are listed below:

1. ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now)
2. ACT (America Coming Together)
3. AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor — Congress of Industrial Organizations)
4. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees)
5. AFT (American Federation of Teachers)
6. ATLA (Association of Trial Lawyers of America)
7. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
8. Clean Water Action
9. Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund
10. Democracy for America
11. EMILY’S List
12. Environment 2004
13. The Human Rights Campaign
14. League of Conservation Voters
15. The Media Fund
16. The Million Mom March
17. Voter Fund
18. Moving America Forward
19. Music for America
20. NAACP — National Voter Fund
21. NARAL Pro-Choice America
22. National Education Association
23. National Jewish Democratic Council
24. National Treasury Employees Union
25. Partnership for America’s Families
26. People for the American Way (PFAW)
27. Planned Parenthood Action Fund
28. Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
29. Sierra Club
30. USAction
31. Voices for Working Families
32. Young Voter Alliance
33. 21st Century Democrats

Cecile Richards has a personal as well as an ideological ax to grind against President George W. Bush. She is the daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards, whom Bush soundly defeated in 1994, ending her political career.

Like many of Bush’s harshest critics, Cecile Richards harbors a deep antipathy toward the so-called “Christian Right.” After her mother’s 1994 defeat, Richards founded the Texas Freedom Network, a grassroots organization aimed at countering the political influence of conservative Christians, especially on school boards. Richards subsequently moved to Washington, DC, where she served as organizing director of the AFL-CIO, then as a pro-abortion activist for the Turner Foundation and Planned Parenthood, and finally as deputy chief of staff for Democrat minority whip Nancy Pelosi, soon to become minority leader. Richards held that post for eighteen months, before joining America Votes.

George Soros’ son, Jonathan T. Soros, has donated $250,000 to America Votes. Several of the organization’s top donors, such as Rob McKay and Robert Glaser, are also close Soros associates.

America Coming Together
Launched July 17, 2003

Only two days after the team from BeDuCi’s restaurant launched America Votes, George Soros held his much-publicized July 17 meeting in Southampton, where he and his associates pledged $23.5 million to America Coming Together (ACT) and $3 million to “the official Hillary Clinton think tank,” the Center for American Progress (CAP). IRS filings give July 17, 2003 as ACT’s official launch date. However, the public announcement did not come until August 8, 2003, when The Washington Post announced the roll-out of a new political action committee called America Coming Together (ACT), naming as its co-founders Ellen Malcolm and Steven Rosenthal. (25)

On the surface, ACT is simply one of 33 member organizations under the umbrella of Cecile Richards’ America Votes. However, ACT plays a special role among the affiliate groups. As Richard Holbrook explains in The Wall Street Journal, affiliates such as Planned Parenthood and the NAACP pay $50,000 apiece for the privilege of joining America Votes. What do they get in exchange for that money? Holbrook suggests that at least one important benefit is gaining access to ACT’s high-tech, get-out-the-vote system.

He relates an encounter between Rebecca Barson, an official at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and cyber-activist Rob O’Brien from ACT, whom Holbrook describes as a “tattooed young man sporting a black t-shirt and earring” with a laptop computer. Ms. Barson wants to canvass single, local young women, ages 18-30, who are registered Democrats and likely to respond to a pro-abortion message. Mr. O’Brien hits a few keys on his laptop and, voila, up pop the names of 812 local women answering Ms. Barson’s target profile to a “T,” their addresses marked by dots on a street map. From that point, Harwood explains, “it was up to Planned Parenthood — and a host of affiliated liberal organizations working with ACT to divide up the terrain — to reach the voters, assess their political inclinations and cajole supporters to vote on Nov. 2.”

“This is the first time we’ve really done field work on this level,” Ms. Barson told the Wall Street Journal. “We would never be able to afford the voter file and mapping software on our own.” (26) It all sounds so exciting and cutting-edge — applying state-of-the-art splinter-group marketing techniques to a political campaign. But columnist Craige McMillan of sees a more sinister dynamic at work. Voter registration drives are considered non-partisan, and therefore permissible to 501(c)(3) non-profit groups such as Planned Parenthood. Thanks to ACT’s software, however, Democrat activists such as Ms. Barson can now go through the motions of pretending to carry out a non-partisan voter registration drive while in fact targeting only single Democrat women who, if they can be prodded to vote at all, will surely vote only for Kerry. “Is this your idea of nonpartisan activity by a public charity?” McMillan asks rhetorically.

In McMillan’s view, the transaction between Ms. Barson and her be-earringed young friend from ACT constitutes but the tip of a giant iceberg of corruption. When they fork over their $50,000 membership fees to America Votes, what those Democrat non-profit groups really appear to be purchasing is access to an orgy of what McMillan calls “illegal coordination” via “private cell-phone conversations, within encrypted e-mails, and on password-protected websites.” (27) In short, their fees buy access to the Shadow Party and its resources.

On its Web site, America Coming Together claims to be running, “the largest voter contact program in history.” ACT coordinates, facilitates and provides foot soldiers for the Shadow Party’s “ground war” — its grassroots voter mobilization drives, using manpower both from its own ranks and from its “partner” organizations in America Votes. ACT claims to employ over 1,400 full-time canvassers, as well as thousands of volunteers working from 55 offices throughout the battleground states. ACT’s Web site boasts that the voters it mobilizes “will derail the right-wing Republican agenda by defeating George W. Bush and electing Democrats up and down the ticket.”

In order to ensure that the voters it mobilizes will cast their ballots only for Democrats, ACT canvassers focus on “swing” voters (which it defines as “pre-retirement women” and “younger voters,” whom the ACT Web site describes as less likely to be politically informed than other demographic groups). It will also target what ACT calls “Democratic base voters” — such as African-Americans and Hispanics — who vote Democratic but need extra contact to persuade them to vote.”

ACT and its affiliate groups use intrusive, high-pressure tactics to register and mobilize voters, both by phone and by door-to-door canvassing. Not only do its canvassers register voters, but they compile extensive personal dossiers on them — including such private information as their drivers’ license numbers, social security numbers, and favored candidates in the election — information which can be retrieved on demand through canvassers’ hand-held Palm Pilots. Follow-up is key to ACT’s get-out-the-vote strategy. According to ACT’s Web site, its canvassers extract firm “promises” from individual voters, then follow up to make sure that “promises are kept.”

ACT’s Web site does not explain precisely how its canvassers will enforce the “promises” they exact. However, the menacing demeanor of at least some ACT canvassers will no doubt prove motivating to many voters. On June 23, 2004, the Associated Press revealed that an undetermined number of ACT’s fulltime canvassers were felons, convicted for crimes that include burglary, assault and sex offenses. (28)

Joint Victory Campaign 2004
Launched November 5, 2003

Harold McEwan Ickes keeps a low profile. However, as the Shadow Party’s unofficial chief executive, his growing power is obvious to Washington insiders. “[H]e is the most important person in the Democratic Party today,” outside the official Kerry campaign, says Democrat strategist Howard Wolfson. (29)

Like most Shadow Party leaders, Ickes rose from the New Left. A Freedom Rider in the civil rights movement of the early 1960s, Ickes subsequently traveled to the Dominican Republic, where he involved himself in a coup attempt by a junta of leftwing colonels in 1965. (30) He worked on the 1968 Eugene McCarthy campaign and the 1972 George McGovern campaign. Ickes met Bill Clinton in 1972, while both were working on Operation Pursestrings, a grassroots lobbying effort aimed at cutting off aid to South Vietnam. Ickes later spent fourteen years as a partner in the Mineola, Long Island law firm Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, notorious for the long list of violent, mob-run labor unions it has represented. (31)

Ickes left the firm to join the Clinton White House as deputy chief of staff from January 1994 through January 1997. One of his key duties in the White House was suppressing Clinton scandals and defusing federal investigations. “Whenever there was something that [Bill Clinton] thought required ruthlessness or vengeance or sharp elbows and sharp knees or, frankly, skulduggery, he would give it to Harold,” former Clinton advisor Dick Morris told Vanity Fair. (32)

Ickes’ true loyalty is to Hillary, however. The Boston Globe called him “a special favorite of the president’s wife.” (33) During his stint at the White House, Ickes headed a secret unit for Hillary, dedicated to suppressing Clinton scandals. It operated, in effect, as a Counsel’s office within the White House Counsel’s office. In his book The Seduction of Hillary Rodham, David Brock refers to Ickes’ special unit as the “Shadow Counsel’s Office.” (34) Its operatives included Mark Fabiani, Chris Lehane, Jane Sherburne and perhaps others. Ickes reported directly to Hillary Clinton on all matters related to the work of this special unit. In time, Ickes would graduate from running Hillary’s Shadow Counsel’s Office to running an entire Shadow Party.

Hillary recruited Ickes as chief campaign advisor for her 2000 Senate run. According to Ickes, he accepted the job after a four-hour meeting with Hillary on February 12, 1999 — the same day that the U.S. Senate voted on Bill Clinton’s impeachment. “I’m really doing this out of my friendship for Hillary, pure and simple,” Ickes told the Associated Press on June 17, 1999. “She called and there was no way I was going to say no to Hillary.” (35)

Harold Ickes formed the Joint Victory Campaign 2004 on November 5, 2003 — the same day that he also formed The Media Fund (see below). JVC 2004 is the chief fundraising entity for the Democrat Shadow Party. A 527 committee, it is run jointly by America Coming Together (ACT) and The Media Fund (TMF). JVC collects contributions for these two groups and divides the money between them, whence the funds are disbursed further down the line, as needed. In 2004 alone, JVC has channeled more than $53 million into the Shadow Party network — $38.4 million to The Media Fund (TMF) and $19.4 million to American Coming Together (ACT).

Since it is little more than a money conduit, JVC has attracted less press attention than its sister organizations ACT and the Media Fund. However, JVC did surface briefly in a February 5, 2004 Washington Post editorial questioning the shadowy nature of its financial transactions. (36) The editorial noted that a mysterious 527 committee calling itself the Sustainable World Corporation had suddenly sprung into existence in Houston, Texas on December 10, 2003. Seven days later, it donated $3.1 million to Joint Victory Campaign 2004, which then divided the money between ACT and the Media Fund. The Washington Post attempted to discover the source of the $3.1 million donation, but hit a brick wall. The editorial notes:

‚ÄúSustainable World Corp. lists only a post office box in Houston as its address. Directory assistance has no number for it. Searches of ordinary business databases come up empty. We tracked down Lewis Linn, the Houston accountant who is listed as its registered agent, and asked him about Sustainable World; he said he was bound by professional constraints to keep information about it confidential. Asked if he would check to see whether those behind Sustainable World would let him reveal their identity, Mr. Linn called back to say, `I’ve talked to my clients, and they wish to remain private.'” (37)

When the Post called Harold Ickes, it was lucky enough to catch him in a candid and forthcoming mood — which is not his usual posture toward the press. Though under no legal obligation to answer the Post’s question, Ickes generously explained that Houston investor Linda Pritzker of the Chicago Hyatt hotel family was the mystery benefactor behind Sustainable World Corporation. “It’s nice that Mr. Ickes answered. But a system that permits these kinds of huge donations to be made under a cloak of anonymity is deeply troubling,” commented the Post. Janice Ann Enright — Ickes’ partner in the Washington lobbying firm The Ickes and Enright Group — also happens to act as Treasurer for the Joint Victory Campaign 2004.

The Media Fund
Launched November 5, 2003

While Malcolm, Glantz and Rosenthal were cobbling together the coalition of labor unions, pro-abortion activists and environmentalists that would later emerge as America Votes, Ickes sought to organize what he informally called a “presidential media fund” or sometimes just “a media fund” — a 527 committee that would raise money for campaign advertising. Unable to think of a catchy moniker for his “media fund,” Ickes finally just settled on The Media Fund, launching it under that name on November 5, 2003.

The Media Fund (TMF) functions as an in-house advertising agency for the Shadow Party. TMF conceptualizes, produces and places political ads on television, radio, print and the Internet. “The Media Fund is the largest media buying organization supporting a progressive message,” says its Web site. Ickes explained to New York Magazine in a June 28, 2004 interview. “The goal of the Media Fund is to create, test, and then air ads that raise issues that we think are important in this election. […] [However,] we are not in the business of electing or defeating candidates.” (38) Ickes had to add that last sentence for legal purposes. Such paper-thin disclaimers form the Shadow Party’s only bulwark against federal prosecution under the McCain-Feingold Act. Ickes’ denial notwithstanding, electing and defeating candidates is of course The Media Fund’s sole purpose.

TMF — whose president is Erik Smith — has been extremely active in creating and airing attack ads against President Bush in battleground states. Drawing on top talent from Madison Avenue advertising firms, The Media Fund seeks to convince Americans that President Bush pursues what its Web site calls a “radical agenda” which has “given us a country less secure, a foreign policy in disarray, record job losses, deficits that mortgage our children’s future, environmental policies that abandon common sense and attacks on civil liberties that undermine the very premise of our democracy.”

The Media Fund has received over $51.6 million in donations since its launch. Much of the money is hard to trace, however, since it was first laundered through Joint Victory Campaign 2004. Soros money has doubtless found its way into the mix. Soros has poured millions into Joint Victory Campaign 2004, as have close Soros associates Peter B. Lewis and Stephen Bing.

The Thunder Road Group
Launched early 2004

Launched in early 2004, The Thunder Road Group was the last of the Seven Sisters to appear, but arguably the most vital of the lot. The Boston Globe called Thunder Road the “nerve center” of the Shadow Party — its unofficial headquarters. “[The Thunder Road Group] is an operation unlike any other in politics, devising strategy, message, and public relations services for the 527s,” writes Brian C. Mooney of The Globe. (39)

A soup-to-nuts political consultancy, Thunder Road combines the roles of strategic planning, polling, opposition research (dirt-digging), covert operations (dirty tricks) and public relations. It coordinates strategy for The Media Fund, America Coming Together and America Votes. Its founder Jim Jordan is frequently quoted in the press as a spokesman for other Seven Sister groups.

Jordan is an attorney long active in Washington as a Democrat spin doctor. Among other high-profile assignments, Jordan handled press relations for the Senate committee investigating DNC fundraising in 1997 and for the House Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment. Riding the whirlwind of Clinton-era scandals charged Jordan with a zest for what he calls “intense political, hand-to-hand combat.” (40)

Jordan attained his highest public profile when he served for nearly a year as John Kerry’s campaign manager, from December 2002 to November 2003. But, as Kerry’s poll numbers sank, so did Jordan’s power in the campaign. Kerry fired Jordan suddenly on the night of November 9, accepting resignations the following day from other top staffers loyal to Jordan. It was a full-fledged purge. As Jordan’s team left, Kennedy loyalists moved in. Mary Beth Cahill, Stephanie Cutter, Bob Shrum and other well-known operatives of Senator Ted Kennedy quickly siezed control of the campaign. New York Times pundit William Safire credits Jeanne Shaheen, national chairwoman of Kerry’s campaign, with masterminding the putsch. On November 12, 2003, Safire wrote:

“The Kennedyization of the Kerry campaign was carried out by Jeanne Shaheen, the former New Hampshire governor. She prevailed on the candidate to fire his longtime manager, Jim Jordan, and replace him with Mary Beth Cahill, Ted Kennedy’s chief of staff. Cahill has impeccable far-left credentials, from Emily’s List fund-raising to Representative Barney Frank’s staff. She is an ideological soulmate of the superb writer and Kennedy Boston braintruster Robert Shrum[…]” (41)

Jordan did not remain long out of work. Less than a month passed before Harold Ickes and Ellen R. Malcolm recruited Jordan to handle publicity and strategy for the Shadow Party — in particular, for The Media Fund, ACT and America Votes. In order to handle the growing volume of work pouring in from his newfound friends, Jordan launched his own company in early 2004. He named it Thunder Road after a Bruce Springsteen song whose lyrics declare, “It’s a town full of losers, and I’m pulling out of here to win.”

A July 27, 2004 article in The Hill reports that Jordan had collected about $1.7 million in consulting fees and was drawing an $85,000 salary at that time. (42) But what exactly was Jordan doing for that money? He is no mere press secretary. Jordan freely acknowledges that his group engages in “opposition research” — the favored euphemism for dirt-digging among political strategists. Some reports indicate that Jordan’s covert operations go beyond the garden variety of Washington smear-mongering. For instance, the American Spectator reported on April 9, 2004 that Jordan may have helped stage-manage the media circus that disrupted the work of the 9-11 Commission, nearly bringing the investigation to a standstill. (43)

Even before Condoleeza Rice made her opening statement to the Commission, Thunder Road operatives began bombarding reporters with e-mails attempting to discredit her. The e-mails continued for three hours straight, while Rice testified. More seriously, the American Spectator reports that a staffer for America Coming Together said, “We’d heard that [former National Counterterrorism Coordinator Richard] Clarke had some help with writing his testimony and in prepping for the questioning. […] The rumor is that he ended up getting some help from Kerry’s people, but indirectly through Thunder Road.”

Richard Clarke’s testimony to the Commission later turned out to be rife with contradictions and misinformation, as the Commission’s final report makes clear. If indeed the Thunder Road Group helped prepare that testimony, then it helped obstruct an investigation of grave importance to America’s national security.

Since Jordan’s firing, a new shake-up at Kerry headquarters appears to have put Clinton operatives back in the driver’s seat. Mike McCurry, Joe Lockhart, James Carville, Paul Begala, and other Clinton loyalists now seem to be calling the shots at Team Kerry. What this portends for the Shadow Party is hard to discern. Some commentators have questioned whether Kerry’s new handlers necessarily have the Massachusetts senator’s best interests at heart. Given the Shadow Party’s evident commitment to running Hillary for president — quite possibly in 2008 — a Kerry administration would only get in the way. Certainly, the Shadow Party has a wide range of options at its disposal for subtly undermining Kerry, even while pretending to help him. Only time will tell whether it chooses to exercise those options.

The Shadow Party

A Three-Part Investigative Report

October 6 – October 11, 2005

by David Horowitz and Richard Lawrence Poe

   The Shadow Party – Introduction

   Part 1: Origins

   Part 2: The Network

   Part 3: The Puppetmaster and His Goals

Posted to Tuesday, August 15, 2006 2:45 pm ET

Cross-posted from 10.07.04

FrontPageMag Comments 10.07.04

Free Republic Comments 10.07.04

Free Republic Comments 01.07.05


1. Jeanne Cummings, “Soros Has a Hunch Bush Can Be Beat,” The Wall Street Journal, 5 February 2004

2. Brendan Bernhard, “Tempest in a Teapot,” LA Weekly, August 6, 2004, 22

3. Steve Ginsberg, “Expanding the House that `Jack’ Built,” San Francisco Business Times, January 26, 1996, 7

4. Bernhard, “Tempest in a Teapot”; Chris Taylor and Karen Tumulty, “MoveOn’s Big Moment,” Time, November 24, 2003, 32

5. Bernhard, “Tempest in a Teapot”

6. Bernhard, “Tempest in a Teapot”; Chris Taylor and Karen Tumulty, “MoveOn’s Big Moment”

7. Bernhard, “Tempest in a Teapot”

8. Chris Taylor and Karen Tumulty, “MoveOn’s Big Moment”

9. Lowell Ponte, “Zack Exley: Kerry’s Toxic Web Spider,”, August 31, 2004

10. Renuka Rayasam, “Piqued? Make an Anti-Bush TV Spot,” The Austin American Statesman, October 30, 2003, A11; “RNC Attacks Bush-Hitler Ad,”, January 4, 2004; “2nd Bush-Hitler Ad Posted,”, January 5, 2004

11. Christian Bourge, “Liberal Think Tank Debuts,” United Press International, July 7, 2003

12. Robert Dreyfuss, “An Idea Factory for the Democrats,” The Nation, March 1, 2004, 18

13. Matt Bai, “Notion Building,” The New York Times Magazine, October 12, 2003, 82

14. Dreyfuss, “An Idea Factory for the Democrats”

15. Bourge, “Liberal Think Tank Debuts”

16. Dreyfuss, “An Idea Factory for the Democrats”

17. Jim Rutenberg, “New Internet Site Turns Critical Eyes and Ears to the Right,” The New York Times, 3 May 2004, 21

18. Rutenberg, “New Internet Site Turns Critical Eyes and Ears to the Right”

19. Hans Nichols, “Limbaugh Stirs Democrats’ Angst Over Forces Radio,” The Hill, 14 September 2004, 6; Suzanne Gamboa, “Liberals Want More Antidote for Limbaugh on American Forces Radio,” The Associated Press, 28 June 2004; Jake Thompson, “Limbaugh Protests Harkin Move,” Omaha World-Herald, 19 June 2004, 04A

20. Nichols, “Limbaugh Stirs Democrats’ Angst Over Forces Radio”, The Hill; “Harkin Leads Senate in Unanimous Vote Demanding Political Balance on American Forces Radio and Television Service,” US Newswire, 16 June 2004

21. “Statement of Senator Tom Harkin on American Forces Radio,”, 17 June 2004

22. Jeanne Cummings, “A Hard Sell on ‘Soft Money’,” The Wall Street Journal, 2 December 2003; Michael Crowley, “Shadow Warriors,” New York Magazine, 12 August 2004

23. S. C. Gwynne (with reporting by Michael Hardy), “The Daughter Also Rises,” The Texas Monthly, August 2004, 112

24. S. C. Gwynne, “The Daughter Also Rises”

25. Thomas B. Edsall, “Liberals Form Fund to Defeat President,” The Washington Post, 8 August 2004, A03

26. John Harwood, “In Fallout from Campaign Law, Liberal Groups Work Together,” The Wall Street Journal, 27 July 2004, A1

27. Craige McMillan, “Making a List, Checking it Twice,”, 29 July 2004

28. David A. Leib, “Political Group Paid Felons for Door-to-Door Voter Registration Drive,” Associated Press, 23 June 2004

29. Crowley, “Shadow Warriors”

30. John Aloysius Farrell, “The President’s Get-It-Done Guy,” October 15, 1995, 14

31. Micah Morrison, “Who is Harold Ickes?” Wall Street Journal, 26 October 2000

32. Judy Bachrach, “Seduced and Abandoned”, Vanity Fair, September 1997

33. John Aloysius Farrell, “The President’s Get-It-Done Guy,” October 15, 1995, 14

34. David Brock, The Seduction of Hillary Rodham (New York: The Free Press, 1996), 406-07

35. Marc Humbert, “Ickes, a Tenacious Operative, Mrs. Clinton’s `Oak Tree’ in New York,” The Associated Press State & Local Wire, June 17, 1999

36. “Unsustainable Secrecy,” The Washington Post, February 5, 2004, A20

37. “Unsustainable Secrecy,” The Washington Post, February 5, 2004, A20

38. Crowley, “Shadow Warriors”

39. Brian C. Mooney, “Kerry’s Ex-Manager Spurs Anti-Bush Effort,” The Boston Globe, 26 July 2004, A1

40. John Mercurio and John Bresnahan, “Who’s Who at the Party Campaign Committees?”, Roll Call, 13 September 1999

41. William Safire, “Never Love a Stranger,” The New York Times, 12 November 2003

42. Alexander Bolton, “Parties’ Loss is 527s Gain”, The Hill, 27 July 2004

43. The Prowler, “The Collusion is Complete,” The American Spectator, 9 April 2004

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