Democratic Cash for Democratic Operatives
When controversial Hillary Clinton ally David Brock took over Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), it made explicit what had been hiding under the surface since CREW’s founding. The so-called “watchdog” group began as a front for Democratic Party money-men and political special interests and it remains so. Our updated profiles of “Who’s Who at CREW” and “Who Funds CREW” show this clearly.
In addition to Senate Democratic staff alumnus Noah Bookbinder, CREW’s new boss, several current CREW employees and alumni have backgrounds in liberal and Democratic politics.
- Research Director Matt Corley used to write for ThinkProgress, a blog run by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress;
- Communications Director Jordan Libowitz worked for the Alaska Democratic Party and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak; and
- Former Policy Director Jeremy Miller worked for numerous Democratic Senators.
CREW’s funders are even more deeply involved in the liberal establishment. In recent years, liberal political “mega-donors” like billionaire New York financier George Soros, Colorado heiress Pat Stryker, Colorado software tycoon Tim Gill, California liberal technology multimillionaire Steven Silberstein, Getty family heiress Anne Getty Earheart, and Texas oilman and abortion-rights activist Leland Fikes (among others) have given hundreds of thousands of dollars each to CREW through their foundations. (CREW does not disclose its donors, but IRS regulations require foundations to disclose the recipients of their contributions on their tax returns.) Additionally, CREW has been funded by labor unions to the tune of $245,000.
But CREW’s money web goes beyond simple liberalism—there’s strong evidence that CREW has engaged in pay-for-play advocacy under both former Executive Director Melanie Sloan and current leader Noah Bookbinder. In one case, it appears that CREW was a cog in a hidden money advocacy scheme on behalf of a for-profit college empire founded by a Democracy Alliance donor. Additionally, Melanie Sloan’s Triumph Strategy allegedly used her CREW connections (and $40,000 in Herbalife’s money) to get CREW to intervene on the side of her then-client Herbalife–until The New York Times found out about it.
Brock taking over at CREW and Sloan leaving to form a P.R. firm hasn’t changed CREW’s outlook. The organization is still (if not more) partisan, still funded lavishly by Democratic interests, and still serves its funders’ interests—including the interests of funders it doesn’t disclose.