What Jewish Voters Should Know About the Source of Those 'Support Israel? Fire Obama' Yard Signs
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Roman Sigaev
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
It would be logical to assume the "Support Israel? Fire Obama" yard signs (graphic below) come from an organization focused on Israel as an issue. They are not. The signs are from the nonprofit American Majority, a Tea Party outfit with ties to the Koch brothers. American Majority has also received substantial funding (over one million dollars in 2010) from a foundation that is headed by a member of the secretive Catholic prelature Opus Dei and shares the address of the National Organization of Marriage (NOM).
The focus of this national Tea Party group is radical free marketers and culture warriors - anti-union, anti-regulatory, anti-environmental, anti-feminist, anti-reproductive rights, and the list goes on. But it's not about Israel.
In early October American Majority opened a storefront office on Forward Avenue in the largest Jewish neighborhood in Pittsburgh. This is one of several campaign offices opened in swing states including Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio.
The American Majority Inc.'s purpose, as listed on its IRS 990 tax forms is to "create a national training institute dedicated to identifying, training, and mentoring political leaders." It is affiliated with the Valley Forge Alliance in Aledo, Texas, also formerly called the John Hancock Committee for the States and the American Liberty Alliance, and the Sam Adams Alliance. The organizations have worked closely with Glenn Beck's 912 organizations to build Tea Party networks.
In 2010 alone, the American Majority received over one million dollars in funding from the Wellspring Committee, headed by Ann Corkery. Ann and her husband Neil are Catholic leaders in the fight against reproductive rights and marriage equality. Both the National Organization of Marriage (NOM) and the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy are registered under Neil's name at the same Manassas, Virginia address as the Wellspring Committee. Ann Corkery is a self-declared member of Opus Dei.
The Wellspring Committee provides funding to the Susan B. Anthony, the anti-feminist organization founded as a counter to Emily's List. "Dark money" in the 2012 elections has been traced by journalists to the Corkerys, including something called The Annual Fund. ( Dark money refers to funding from groups not required to reveal their donors including nonprofits.) According to Propublica, The Annual Fund has funded the "Independent Women's Voice" and Citizens for the Republic, both of which have purchased political ads. In turn, The Annual Fund was funded by Ann Corkery's Wellspring Committee. The Independent Women's Voice is an affiliate of the Independent Women's Forum, an anti-feminist group.
The bulk of the funding for American Majority is reported to be from the Sam Adams Alliance, which describes itself as the "sponsor" of American Majority. The Sam Adams Alliance was founded by Eric O'Keefe, a former executive director of the Libertarian Party who worked for David Koch's Citizens for a Sound Economy and with Howard Rich's Americans for Limited Government. According to both the Center for Media and Democracy and Media Transparency, Sam Adams Alliance also provides funding to the Franklin Center and is at the hub of a network of Koch and Bradley Foundation-funded entities behind the growth of the Tea Party.
Other funding, including over $300,000 dollars in 2010 came from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, one of the major sources of rightwing think tank funding in the U.S. Harry Bradley was one of the original charter members of the John Birch Society, along with Fred Koch, father of the now famous Koch brothers. Founded in 1942, the goal of the Bradley Foundation as described by the Center for Media and Democracy is,
"...to return the U.S. -- and the world -- to the days before governments began to regulate Big Business, before corporations were forced to make concessions to an organized labor force."
American Majority and American Majority Action