The Right-Wing Dough Supporting the 'Stings' at Planned Parenthood

On a conference call with bloggers convened by Media Matters for America with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and Vice President Stewart Schear, I got a little tip into where Lila Rose, who leads the right-wing sting group Live Action, gets some of her funding. Quite a rogue's gallery, it would seem.

Rose, you'll recall, has been going "undercover" to Planned Parenthood clinics for years, often posing as an underage client, and taking video with a concealed camera. Her avowed purpose is to put Planned Parenthood out of business. This week, Rose made news when a video gleaned from a New Jersey Planned Parenthood clinic revealed an employee advising a Live Action operative, posing as a pimp, on how to bend the rules for under-age sex-workers should they seek to have an abortion. The employee was promptly fired by Planned Parenthood. A Live Action video released days later of an interaction in a Virginia Planned Parenthood clinic revealed an employee acting appropriately, despite Live Action's claims to the contrary.

In response to my question about Live Action's funding, Schear said that, Lila Rose's anti-choice activism began with a grant from Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute, which has been training young right-wingers for leadership roles for more than 30 years. The grant funded Rose's newspaper, The Advocate, which she still publishes. I recently attended one of the Institute's breakfast meetings with news-makers; the speaker was Tim Phillips, president of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the astroturf group founded and chaired by David Koch. Phillips, you see, is a graduate of the Institute, as are many right-wing luminaries.

More recently, Rose has gained the support of the Gerard Health Foundation, which supports anti-choice groups, many of them Catholic. In 2008, Rose won one of the foundation's coveted "Life Prizes". That year, a total of $600,000 was divided between seven recipients. The foundation is funded by the trust of Raymond Ruddy, a former executive with Touche Ross and Maximus, on whose  board of Maximus he still sits. Maximus describes itself as providing operational services to the U.S. government, and foreign governments. (Isn't government bad, bad, bad? Aren't foreigners bad, bad, bad? Guess not when you're making big bucks off of them.)

Schear also said that Rose receives in-kind contributions -- basically, free services -- from CRC Public Relations, the firm behind the media sensation known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. You know -- the guys who sought to impugn the war-time record of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., when he ran for president. CRC is led by Greg Mueller, who worked on the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes. SourceWatch also lists among CRC's clients the Republican National Committee, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Oh, and then there's the 2009 anti-health-care-reform effort by Rick Scott -- now the governor of Florida -- known as Conservatives for Patients' Rights.

For those unfamiliar with Lila Rose, she is an associate of James O'Keefe, the wanna-be pimp who sullied ACORN's reputation with a selectively-edited video and who sought to "sting" a CNN reporter by trying to get her on a boat and sexually harass her. Oh, yeah, he's also the guy who, with two accomplices, misrepresented himself in an effort to tried to jam  the phone lines gain access to the telephones in the district office of Sen. Mary Landrieu. The accomplices posed as telephone repairmen while O'Keefe tried to shoot video on his cellphone camera.* O'Keefe received his "leadership" training from Blackwell's Leadership Institute.

On the call, Cecile Richards urged progressive bloggers to spread the word that Planned Parenthood's clients desperately need the health care provided to them by Planned Parenthood clinics, explaining that for many of the women who come in for basic gynecological services, Planned Parenthood provides the only health care they receive. Media Matters Executive Vice President Ari Rabin-Havt announced that his organization will continue be on the trail of Live Action, debunking the organization's claims, and focusing on its methods.

*This correction was made at the request of the holder of the Twitter account JamesOKeefeIII. A link to screen shot of a court documentdescribing O'Keefe's actions was included in the tweet. O'Keefe pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of entering federal property under false pretenses, was sentenced to three years' probation, 100 hours of community service, and fined $1,500.

AlterNet / By Adele M. Stan

Posted at February 3, 2011, 12:22pm

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