Politics

Soros-supported ‘Secretary of State Project’ dealt blow in midterm elections

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Matthew Vadum
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      Matthew Vadum

      Matthew Vadum is a senior editor at Capital Research Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank that studies the politics of philanthropy with a special focus on left-wing advocacy groups. An award-winning investigative reporter, Vadum's book, <em>Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers</em>, was published in 2011.

Democracy Alliance members opened their wallets this year to help candidates endorsed by the SoS Project.

According to IRS reports, members of the Democracy Alliance gave significant contributions. Alliance member and SoS Project co-founder Michael Kieschnick, who heads Working Assets, a long distance provider that funds so-called social justice projects, donated $10,000. Office furniture heir John R. Hunting gave $20,000 and Paul Rudd (not the comic actor) donated $10,000. Heiress Pat Stryker gave $25,000 and financier Nicholas Hanauer donated $5,000. The McKay Foundation, headed by Taco Bell heir and Alliance chairman Rob McKay, donated $10,000.

Four Democracy Alliance members gave Ritchie money this cycle: real estate heiress Patricia Bauman ($250); child psychologist Gail Furman ($200); activist Megan Hull ($500); and attorney Scott Wallace ($500). Contributors to Ritchie’s 2006 campaign included Soros, Drummond Pike, and veteran community organizer Heather Booth, a Saul Alinsky disciple who co-founded the Midwest Academy, a radical school that schools activists on the finer points of political agitation.

Jocelyn Benson, defeated candidate for secretary of state in Michigan, was lauded by the SoS Project as an “[e]lection law scholar and community organizer.” Benson hardly needed the help: she raised at least $802,273, according to state campaign filings.

Frances Kieschnick gave Benson $1,000. She is the wife of Michael Kieschnick who himself gave Benson $3,400. Philanthropist and Alliance member Barbara Lee (not the California congresswoman) gave $2,000.

Other Alliance members who donated money to Benson: Rockefeller heiress Anne Bartley ($250.00); Patricia Bauman ($750); financier Blair Hull ($3,400); Megan Hull ($9,400); Rob McKay ($3,000); founder of ACORN’s Project Vote affiliate Sanford Newman ($500); and Atlantic Philanthropies executive William J. Roberts ($500).

Alliance members gave California’s Bowen money this year too. Michael Kieschnick gave $1,000.

Defeated endorsee Iowa Secretary of State Michael Mauro took in $4,000 from Megan Hull and $4,000 from Michael Kieschnick. Cashiered endorsee Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher received $525 from Frances Kieschnick and from these Democracy Alliance members: Michael Kieschnick ($525); software entrepreneur Tim Gill ($1,050); and Pat Stryker ($1,050). Unsuccessful endorsee Maryellen O’Shaughnessy in Ohio took in $4,000 from Michael Kieschnick and $1,500 from Megan Hull.

Nevada’s Ross Miller won re-election last week without Soros’s assistance. The SoS Project endorsed Miller in his successful 2006 run but refused to endorse him this time after his office participated in an investigation of ACORN’s voter registration fraud ring in Las Vegas. One ACORN official has already been convicted and another, Amy Busefink, goes on trial with ACORN itself in Las Vegas on Nov. 29.