What IS Alliance for Justice?
On Friday, I delved into the left's "Koch derangement syndrome," the effort to run the 2012 campaign against the two mega-wealthy brothers who donate to conservative causes, rather than the individuals who will be on the ballot. As I explained, a left-wing outfit, Alliance for Justice (AFJ), has been one of the cheerleaders for the part of the Koch vendetta that is focused on attacking Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who ruled in favor of the primacy of the First Amendment in the Citizens United case.
Who is involved in AFJ, and what does it do? It is actually a coalition of 74 member groups including some prominent left-wing groups such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Lawyers Guild. Its most visible role is in judicial nomination fights. It has -- long before the Citizens United case -- gone after Supreme Court justices nominated by Republican presidents. AJF's executive director, Nan Aron, is invariably among the shrillest voices in these Supreme Court battles. As The Post reported in 2005:
Aron, Ralph Neas of People for the American Way and Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights have been a close-knit and consistent team of opposition to conservative judicial nominees. They led the movement that sank Robert Bork in 1987, and they've never looked back.
The names of the justices may change but the lines are remarkably similar. "Roberts court protects the powerful," she proclaimed. Sam Alito, she told us, "pursued a very consistent agenda that favors government intrusion into our personal lives and sides with powerful interests over ordinary Americans."
You would think that when, for example, Aron and AFJ line up in favor of "a code of conduct" for justices that their leftist affiliation and track record would at least be revealed.
And -- no shock to those who've been reading Right Turn -- the financial backers of AFJ are many of the same characters we've seen on donor lists of other left-wing front groups (e.g., J Street, Common Cause and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW). Six-figure donations come from George Soros's Open Society Institute, the Joyce Foundation, the Arca Foundation, the Tides Foundation). And the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is there, too.
But, as with many of these left-wing groups, it's hard to find an accurate accounting of about AFJ's donors. There is no list on its Web site. I asked AFJ a series of questions. Where I can find a complete list of AFJ's donors? Did any organization that funds AFJ participate in the Citizens United case? Did any group that received funds from AFJ participate in Citizens United? No responses were forthcoming.
From our brief inquiry into some left-wing groups, we've learned a few things. First, they share many of the same donors. Second, they often pursue the same agenda ("Get the Koch brothers!") And, while they talk an awful lot about "transparency" and the menace of "anonymous donors," their own disclosure is limited, at best.
Don't get me wrong. Rich people and foundations have every right to operate in this fashion. But it's rank hypocrisy for them to go after the Koch brothers for funding lots of conservative groups. Moreover, the mainstream media and Congress should stop pretending that these left-wing front groups are high-minded independent watch dogs. In fact, these groups are highly partisan and selective attack dogs.
A mix of diverse ideological organizations conducting pitched battles on the political playing field is a vital part of our democratic system. Let's just be honest about who the players are and who owns the teams.
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