This is what I get for not watching Fox News (or any cable political news) closely enough: I missed Karl Rove being prompted by my own reporting into making a truly hilarious historical analogy.
Earlier this week, a Fox News anchor asked Rove about the fledgling, under-the-radar effort by some Democratic state treasurers to use state pension funds' huge investments in private equity and hedge funds to force Wall Street money managers to disclose more of their political giving in the era of Citizens United. The overriding goal would be to bring more transparency to the 501(c)4 groups like Rove's Crossroads GPS, which don't have to disclose their donors as long as their main focus is "issue advocacy," not elections, a distinction that has been blurred to the point of meaninglessness. As it stands, groups like Crossroads GPS are collecting millions to spend on ads this year (ads such as this one) and we have no way of knowing which Wall Street financiers, other super-wealthy individuals or corporations might be behind them.
Here is what Rove had to say about the state treasurers' push for greater disclosure:
In the 1940s and 50s, a number of states attorneys general attempted to force a particular 501(c)4 to disclose its donors, the purpose was to intimidate people into not giving to that organization. The group was the NAACP, which is a 501(c)4, has a 501(c)4 and does not disclose donors. That effort failed, in fact a Supreme Court in a 1954 case general held the right of organizations like that not to make their donors’ names public. Let’s be honest what this is about. This is about a group of people on the left who have used this vehicle, 501(c)4, to run advertising and to run attacks on Republicans for years, who now object when Republicans began to duplicate their tactics and they want to intimidate people into not giving to these conservative efforts, and I think it’s shameful. I think it’s a sign of their fear of democracy, and it’s interesting that they have antecedents and those antecedents are a bunch of segregationist attorneys general trying to shut down the NAACP, it goes to the philosophy behind most of this.
Yup, there you have it. Anonymous plutocrats and industrialists paying unlimited and undisclosed sums for ads attacking Barack Obama over, say, the Solyndra fiasco are clearly the heirs of the early civil rights movement. In this case, I think I'm just going to have to leave the commentary to Mr. Colbert, who was the one who drew my attention to the Rove clip in last night's show:
Yes, Crossroads GPS is just like the NAACP. The National Association for the Advancement of Corporate Personhood. And Karl is their Martin Luther King, Jr. He has been to the mountaintop. Technically, it's Aspen and he took the chairlift, but that still counts!
Delightful, yes. But also not so much, because in the eyes of our current election law, Rove's absurd analogy applies to a T.
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