on 7 august 2008 at 16:08, tom matzzie (with others) launched a new organization called "accountable america". from its name, one might think that this was an organization aimed at holding americans, particularly those in politics and the public forum, accountable.
but no, no, no. perish the thought!
the initial post on their website says this:
Welcome to Accountable America. We're working to stop the Right Wing special interest groups who are pushing lawmakers in Washington.
Accountable America works to stop the outrageous policies of right-wing and special interests in Washington especially in the areas of economic policy, energy policy, national security policy and government reform.
Our first project seeks to discourage groups and right-wing donors trying to "swiftboat" progressives. We aim to educate the public about the connections between these donors, many with unsavory business and personal stories, and lawmakers in Washington.
Accountable America is a non-partisan, non-profit corporation. We do not seek to elect or defeat candidates or endorse candidates for federal office.
Our funding comes over the Internet, from individuals and from unions and progressive political organizations.
however an article in the ny times paints quite a different picture. accountable america is an organization that is, according to leader matzzie, "going for the jugular" in its attempt to "stop the swift boating before it gets off the ground." and how do they intend to accomplish this feat? by sending letters to 10,000 gop backers threatening to expose the donors behind any ad containing an "anti-obama"message.
tom matzzie, the former washington director of moveon.org (ultra-liberal money/politics machine for those of you who have been asleep for the past several years) is the leader. his research director is none other than judd legum who previously served in the same capacity for senator clinton's ill-fated presidential campaign.
you can read the whole ny times article here if you are so inclined. in michael luo's article, the letters are described as being the "first shot accross the bow" in an effort "to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions" to conservative groups. it is their intention to alert donors who might be considering giving money to a conservative group of potential troubles including "legal trouble, public exposure and wathdog groups digging through their lives."
so far the group has raised only $200,000 of it's goal of $2,000,000 - they need this money so they can run ads "outing" the donors of the ad with an anti-obama (or democrat) message in order to counter that conservative ad. and oh yeah, before i forget, they are also offering a $100,000 award to obtain:
information that is material to either a criminal conviction for committing a felony or a misdemeanor, or a final and unappealed judicial or administrative determination of civil liability that entails the imposition of fines or penalties of at least $10,000, for a violation of federal campaign finance, tax or other statutes or regulations by an organization that operates or purports to operate under Internal Revenue Code Sections 501(c)(4), 501(c)(6) or 527 and that primarily serves business or ideologically conservative interests.
there are more disclaimers and condition; you can read the whole thing here. seems to me, what with the current story flitting around about the original oompa loompa obamaoompa campain finance woes, these guys would be a little more agressive against conservatives. i mean, how effective can matzzie's current scheme really be? after all, unlike the campaign itself, those contributing to these groups - conservative or liberal - are protected by anonimity laws...
btw, am i the only one who finds it ineteresting how many democratic presidential candidates (a least in recent years) have been accused of violating campaign finance laws. on the other foot, here are tuns of accusations by those on the left that the republicans are in the hand of certain high dollar industries, but no accusations of campaign finance laws being broken by the gop. i'm still investigating that side of things, but it is intriguing, to say the least.
one has to wonder what constitutes an ad message that is worthy of being "countered" by accountable america. would it include ads such as this one where the words come directly from obama's mouth? phforamerica bills this as "the most explosive 527 ad of the 2008 election". they may just be right - so far.
non-partisan my patootie. if it's a non-partisan organization why not go after any advertisment containing anything negative about any candidate? well, the nyt asked matzzie and they had this to say about his response:
"Mr. Matzzie said he had decided to focus exclusively on conservative donors because such an effort could be done cheaply."
call me cynical, or perhaps mjust blonde, but my take on that response is that there are just too many negative ads being offered by the liberal groups to ever be able to afford going after them. chris lacivita, a republican strategist and former swift boat organizer, was questioned in regards to accountable america and he indicated that effect on potential donors would probably be opposite of what tom matzzie’s group intended saying:
“They’re not going to be intimidated by some pipsqueak on the kooky left."
personally, i agree with mr. lacivita. i, for one, am fired up and looking for a 527 to donate to. what say all of you?