10:50am

Fri April 29, 2011
It's All Politics

Democrats Organize To Take Anonymous Cash Like GOP

Democrats have decided they won't unilaterally disarm in the war for campaign cash even though the leader of their party has publicly opposed certain fundraising tactics, like raising money from donors who remain anonymous.

Two new Democratic groups will officially kick off Friday, according to a piece by Jeanne Cummings in Politico. One is called Priorities USA, the other Priorities USA Action.

The latter group has a web site. Right now, it doesn't have much more than a mission statement, a YouTube video that refers repeatedly to Republicans as extreme and a place for visitors to submit their names and email addresses and link the new site to social media.

As Cummings reports:

The two groups, Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, aim to raise $100 million to defend Obama's re-election from an expected onslaught of attack ads from similar Republican outside money organizations activated in the 2010 midterms, organizers say.

The Priorities companion committees will have one that discloses donors — and one that doesn't, a practice Obama hammered during last year's election cycle as undermining the democratic process.

The Priorities group also is jettisoning an Obama rule aimed at limiting the influence of special interests by welcoming unlimited contributions from lobbyists, labor unions, corporations, and political action committees – sources that are still banned from giving to the president's re-election campaign, organizers said.

The new groups are reportedly an avenue for President Obama's supporters to compete against Republican groups like those funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, that spent millions on TV ads during the 2010 election cycle and that intend to spend millions more in 2012.

It's another example of how some Democrats have had to bend their idealism about campaign-finance reform to the hard realities of being able to spend enough money to be able to win and keep power in Washington.

Obama renounced public campaign money when ran in 2008 so that he could raise unlimited amounts of cash, for instance.

The latest Democratic move is just an extension of the idea that the party that's been more associated with campaign finance reform will do what's necessary to be competitive even if it goes against the grain of long-standing party principles. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.