Tuesday, April 26, 2005

'Reform' and a Hidden Agenda

Looks like the some of the same groups that used deception and outright fraud to foist campaign finance reform upon us, have been busy in Illinois. Specifically, the Illinois Supreme Court race. Ryan Sager, who exposed the fakery used to support, pass and defend McCain-Feingold, sheds some light on those involved in the Illinois issue.

Money rolled in from pro- and anti-tort-reform forces around the country. And so one group appointed itself traffic cop: the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, the state's resident good-government watchdog. The "nonpartisan" group spearheaded a Tone and Conduct Committee — organized under the aegis of the state Bar Association — aimed at keeping advertising by outside interests to a minimum.

The media bought this charade hook, line and sinker, referring to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform as "nonpartisan" and the Tone and Conduct Committee as "independent."

In fact, the group has extensive ties to the trial-lawyer lobby. That fact was only brought to light this year, in a report from the business-funded, pro-tort-reform Illinois Civil Justice League. How does the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform answer that evidence? "Our work speaks for itself," says Cindi Canary, the group's executive director. (She also says ICPR reaches out to Republicans, Democrats, business and labor.)

But out of three senior staffers listed on the group's Web site, two have extensive ties to trial lawyers. The assistant director, David Morrison, used to work for the Coalition for Consumer Rights, a typical "consumer" group opposed to tort reform. The project manager of ICPR's Judicial Campaign, Mary Schaafsma, has been affiliated for almost two decades with a group, Illinois Citizen Action, that is funded by trial lawyers and also aggressively opposes tort reform.
Once again the MSM is either hoodwinked, stupid or perhaps in cahoots with this group. How can a group formed under the aegis of any bar association not be supportive of anything that benefits the bar's membership? As for independent, pigs will fly first.
It turns out that the eight groups under the umbrella (ICPR, the Sunshine Project, the Citizen Advocacy Center, Protestants for the Common Good, the Better Government Association, Common Cause Illinois, Illinois Public Interest Research Group and the League of Women Voters of Illinois) have received about $3 million in grants from George Soros' Open Society Institute and the Joyce Foundation since 1997.

Those names should sound familiar to anyone who has followed the unmasking of the campaign-finance lobby at the national level. They are two of the eight liberal foundations that spent more than $120 million between 1994 and 2004 to fake up a "grass-roots movement" to pass the McCain-Feingold law, defend it in court and lobby for further restrictions on political speech.

These state groups are part of the same effort to restrict all political speech deemed unworthy of a hearing by a cadre of liberal foundations.

These groups exist in nearly every state. And just as at the federal level, they get almost no scrutiny from the press. "The news media in Illinois have not really done the kind of reporting that shows who's playing this game," says Murnane.

"They accuse us of being a front for big business . . . We don't hide from that," he says, referring to his group's business backing. "They're hiding, pretending they're somebody that they're not." As in neutral, nonpartisan.
Once again, we see the convicted swindler, George Soros, funding groups that are deceiving all of us by claiming to be nonpartisan and only "concerned" about cleaning up campaign financing. What they are really doing, is trying to shut up their opposition, by what ever means possible. As fore the MSM, as usual they are failing to do their jobs. Of course, it seems the MSM always has a problem doing their jobs, when it is liberal/leftist groups using subterfuge and deceipt. It could be some in the MSM are just looking the other way because they support the ultimate goals of those groups. Once again, it will be up to the bloggers to expose them. - Sailor

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