The 21 groups at the core of the Democracy Alliance’s portfolio intend to spend $374 million during the midterm election cycle — including nearly $200 million this year — to boost liberal candidates and causes in 2014 and beyond, according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO.
While growing sums of that cash are being spent vilifying the billionaire conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch over their own network’s political spending, the documents reveal the extent to which the Democracy Alliance network mirrors the Kochs’ — and is obsessed with it.
“Conservatives, particularly the Koch Brothers, are playing for keeps with an even more pronounced financial advantages than in recent election cycles,” reads the introduction to a 62-page briefing book provided to donors ahead of April’s annual spring meeting of the DA, as the club is known, at Chicago’s tony Ritz-Carlton hotel.
The briefing book reveals a sort of DA-funded extra-party political machine that includes sophisticated voter databases and plans to mobilize pivotal Democratic voting blocs, air ads boosting Democratic candidates, while also — perhaps ironically — working to reduce the influence of money in politics.
Liberals and conservatives have been jealously eyeing and trying to copy each others’ extraparty political and intellectual infrastructure since at least the early 1970s, when future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell encouraged the business community to build institutions to fight well-financed “Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries,” including Ralph Nader. The Powell Memo was cited approvingly by the liberal strategists who started the DA back in 2005, while Karl Rove and operatives associated with the Kochs pointed to the DA and the unions as a model for their side to replicate after Obama’s win in 2008.