Those of us in and around the political process are used to the utter lack of shame and hypocrisy of the political left. But sometimes the hypocrisy is simply so ridiculous that it requires us to speak out a little.
Take the Ohio Capital Journal. Just last week, they ran a blistering headline and story entitled Lack of Sunshine in Political Money Fuels Corruption. Here’s Proof.
Their story is obviously about the HB 6 indictments and its fallout along with similar investigations in other states. In each of their examples, some right-wing GOP politician has gotten themselves in trouble because of their involvement with some group that is engaged, usually legally, in the political process. Interestingly enough, they fail to report that former Illinois House Speaker and Democrat Party Chairman Michael Madigan was ousted from office after a much more serious bribery investigation that included the indictment of the former CEO of utility giant Commonwealth Edison.
So, where is the hypocrisy you ask? Let me explain.
According to Open Secrets, which they cite, “Dark Money” refers to spending meant to influence political outcomes where the source of the money is not disclosed.”
Sound familiar? Let me explain further.
The Ohio Capital Journal is not an incorporated nonprofit entity in Ohio. It does not file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service, nor does it list its donors publicly.
Instead, it is the Ohio affiliate of a 501(c)3 charitable organization now called the States Newsroom. And according to the States Newsroom, they are nonpartisan, nonprofit, and independent.
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
As the Capital Research Center has reported, this group is simply “an activist network of left-wing websites based in Washington, DC that feeds Americans propaganda pretending to be news.”
And where does their funding come from? It is hard to tell. But there is lots of it. In fact, the group raised nearly $7 million in their first year of “independent operation” according to their IRS 990.
We do know that the group was originally founded and funded by the Hopewell Fund. Hopewell is part of a massive, left wing dark money network that dwarfs whatever is spent by conservative organizations according to a groundbreaking report from the Capital Research Center.
States Newsroom proports to list all their donors that have given over $500 and promises that they will not take donations from foreign governments or corporations. However, their donation information page is highly misleading.
For example, they fail to report that they received $250,000 in 2019 funneled through the Hopewell Fund, a fact that can only be determined by either visiting the Influence Watch page or scrolling through Hopewell’s 81 page tax return. Of course, the Hopewell Fund does not disclose all its donors either. They also disclose an “Undisclosed Virginia Foundation” as a donor but refuse to identify it or say anything about it.
They also fail to explain how their policy against taking corporation donations permitted them to take one or more donations from Google LLC, one of the world’s largest corporations.
States Newsroom spent nearly $1 million of this dark money on just three prominent left wing consulting groups. According to their IRS form 990, $500,000 was spent on advertising & audience development to Precisions Strategies LLC. According to their website, Precision Strategies LLC was formed by Stephanie Cutter, the Deputy Campaign Manager for the Obama Biden 2012 campaign and Teddy Goff, the digital director for the 2012 Obama Biden campaign.
States Newsroom spent $285,000 with ActionSprout Inc., a company that helps left wing nonprofits manage their Facebook activity. Not surprisingly, their first CEO, Andrew Bernard, is now a parttime advisor to the Facebook Social Impact Team.
States Newsroom also spent $162,500 on finance, HR & Operations with the DC based Capitol Operations. According to their website, Capitol Operations was founded by Hailey Arends, the Budget Director on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
And what about the nonpartisan status of their staff?
Let’s start with their Ohio Editor David C. Dewitt. On his bio page, he fails to list the fact that his job immediately before being hired as Editor was as the Deputy Director for Communications for the Ohio Democrat Party.
And on June 2, 2020 he posted a Black Lives Matter logo around his then profile photo on his personal Facebook profile.
On his Twitter follows, I couldn’t find more than a handful of center right elected officials that he follows. He does, however, follow Rick Wilson and the disgraced Lincoln Project along with every left of center group, politician, or fake journalist to be found.
Susan Tebben is a writer and a former journalist that worked primarily in the Athens, Ohio area. Not surprisingly, public records indicate that she has only voted in Democrat primaries. On Twitter she primarily follows left of center candidates, journalists, causes, and elected officials. On Facebook she has posted video and pics of a Black Lives Matter protest that she attended in downtown Columbus, Ohio.
Tyler Buchanan is a statehouse reporter and former journalist that worked primarily in the Athens, Ohio area. Like Susan, he has only voted in Democrat primaries. Unlike his colleagues, he follows a vast number of figures on Twitter from across the political spectrum. Meanwhile, his Facebook page is relatively closed, although it does reveal that his spouse is a Bernie Sanders supporter.
Martin Schladen, who sometimes goes by Marty Schladen, is also a longtime former reporter who apparently has spent most of his career either attacking Republicans or utility companies. Unlike his colleagues, however, he doesn’t appear to ever vote in primaries.
Nonetheless, his political views can be easily determined by his Facebook likes on his relatively open personal page. Those likes include Democrat State Representative David Leland, Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, the ACLU, and the Texas Legislative Education Equity Coalition. On Twitter, he follows a handful of center right elected officials, but most of his follows are for left wing officials, journalists, causes, and organizations.
Then there’s Jake Zuckerman. We were unable to find any public records that clearly indicated Jake’s voter registration information. We suspect that Jake isn’t his actual name.
At the same time, it’s not too difficult to determine where he stands on most issues. In fact, old Jake got so under the skin of West Virginia’s GOP Governor Jim Justice, that Justice called him out by name in a recent news conference. The problem is that Jake hasn’t even covered West Virginia for nearly 18 months.
So why is this all important? Let me explain.
The Ohio Capital Journal has long advocated that nonprofit groups that engage in any form of politics be required to fully disclose all of their donors. In fact, in their recent article on dark money they discuss how HR 1 may help put a stop to this dark money corruption. What they don’t tell you is that passage of HR 1 would actually lead to the criminalization of most kinds of speech, including much of their own speech on the Ohio Capital Journal.
The difference between leftists like the Ohio Capital Journal and States Newsroom and similar conservative leaning outlets, which includes this site, is that conservatives don’t want to put their political opponents in jail for exercising their freedom of speech.
Those of us on the right believe that the answer to left wing outlets like States Newsroom is more speech, not less. And its sad that the leftists over at States Newsroom and their affiliates cannot say the same.
Unlike the leftists at the Ohio Capital Journal, this site isn’t funded by DC dark money. If you would like to see this type of research and content continue, then please consider making a donation online here via PayPal.