Conservative groups take on Hagel nomination
Several anonymously-backed conservative pressure groups have launched a campaign to shoot down former Senator Check Hagel’s nomination for defense secretary, the New York Times reports. The push, which faces an uphill battle, highlights a new way that contributions from unnamed backers can influence high level activity in Washington in the post-Citizens United era.
New York Times:
A brand new conservative group calling itself Americans for a Strong Defense and financed by anonymous donors is running advertisements urging Democratic senators in five states to vote against Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee to be secretary of defense, saying he would make the United States “a weaker country.”
Another freshly minted and anonymously backed organization, Use Your Mandate, which presents itself as a liberal gay rights group but purchases its television time through a prominent Republican firm, is attacking Mr. Hagel as “anti-Gay,” “anti-woman” and “anti-Israel” in ads and mailers.
The paper reports that even if the push fails, it is a relatively inexpensive – a few million dollars – way to deplete the President’s political capital at the beginning of a new term. At least seven groups are involved in the campaign against Hagel.