President Trump was cast into the tinfoil hat crowd and accused of anti-Semitism when he stated that the protestors who descended on the Capitol for Justice Kavanaugh''s confirmation hearing were professional protestors paid for by George Soros. One woman who freely admits she opposes Donald Trump and Justice Kavanaugh's confirmation, decided to share what she has found out about these organizations.
Asra Q. Nomani penned an oped in today's Wall Street Journal that outlined her research into the funding of some of the groups that appeared in D.C. this weekend and it seems the President may have gotten more right than he did wrong. According to Nomani:
> Yet he [President Trump] has a point. Many Americans genuinely oppose Mr. Trump and Justice Kavanaugh. I am a liberal feminist whose views on abortion and same-sex marriage align with the Democratic Party’s. Yet while most demonstrators are not paid for their efforts, the protests at the Capitol Saturday, and the ones that have included stalking lawmakers inside and outside their offices, are organized by groups of which Mr. Soros is an important patron.
Nomani said she started tracking funding for the #Resistance shortly after the election in 2016. She has also participated on conference calls and planning sessions related to protest activity. Her detailed accounts of the money flows is in a spreadsheet document she has made public. According to her analysis:
> At least 50 of the largest organizations that participated as “partners” in the Jan. 21, 2017, Women’s March had received grants from Mr. Soros’s Open Society Foundations or similar funds in the “House of Soros,” as his philanthropic empire was once called internally. The number of Soros-backed partners has grown to at least 80. At least 20 of the largest groups that led the Saturday anti-Kavanaugh protests have been Open Society grantees.
She goes on to explain how many of these groups facilitate the protests by booking travel, hotel room and churches to meet, coordinate and train protestors. It has already been well reported the activist who cornered Jeff Flake in an elevator was the co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy, a Soros grantee. According to Nomani her salary was listed as $156,333, with a bonus of $21,378, in a recent Internal Revenue Service 990 form.
She also notes the tactics used to harass and intimidate senators were outlined by Moveon.org, another grantee. Called 'bird-dogging'. MoveOn calls it a necessary tool to get members of Congress and others on the record. Nomani shares that MoveOn has frequent planning calls and the most recent ones have involved #StopKavanaugh.
In her final paragraph, Nomani says the following:
> Mr. Soros, much like the Koch brothers, funds causes he cares about. There’s nothing wrong with that, but democracy is better served if we follow the money on the right and left and find solutions where they are likeliest to lie: in the middle.
While I appreciate her sentiment, I feel I have to argue the premise. Without putting words in her mouth, the tone of the article leads me to believe that she has some recognition that the aggressive and chaos producing tactics of some of the organizations she has listed are counter-productive.
A similar review of Koch linked organizations does not show any organization that has used similar tactics. The grassroots organization that was originally funded by the Koch's and is now independently funded is Americans For Prosperity. They do a bang up job influencing elections with phone banks and door knocking.
However, their visits with legislators are scheduled in advance face to face meetings. Not accosting people in elevators with screaming and crying. The same with the rest of the organizations listed. They operate largely in the world of policy advocacy and traditional lobbying.
The problem most Conservatives and moderates have with Soros is not that he funds causes he supports. This is of course to be expected. It is that these organization's have a strategy of disruption and a complete disregard for the norms of civility. And that there seems to be real potential for violence when tensions escalate.
So I am happy to follow the money on the right. And denounce anyone who funds groups who behave like the ones who were in D.C. this weekend if they exist. Meanwhile, Senator Hirono can't even say chasing people out of restaurants and going to people's homes is not going too far for the radical Left. Until our friends on the other side of the aisle can put a box around the groups on their side that go too far, calling out the funding source for such disruption will likely continue.