The Soros-Axelrod Axis of Astroturf

Ed Lasky
In politics, things can be other than what they seem on the surface - especially when George Soros and David Axelrod are involved

Last year at about this time, I scripted a column suggesting that George Soros, billionaire sugar daddy of the Democrats, ardent ally of Barack Obama, and fierce anti-Israel critic and activist, was a founder and major funder of the anti-Israel group J Street . Recent revelations confirm that Soros and family members were major donors-despite J Street's previous denials.

I also suggested that Soros may have worked with David Axelrod, Obama's campaign strategist and now Obama's domestic policy advisor,  to create J Street.

I thought that was a logical presumption: Axelrod has a lot of experience creating fake grassroots groups such as J Street (so-called Astroturf groups) and also probably would have had dealings with Soros, the emperor of such groups as MoveOn.Org (and now J Street). This speculation now may have its smoking gun. Axelrod has been the beneficiary of Soros's money in the recent past.

Politico's Ben Smith reports that Axelrod's firm (he still has ties there and receives money from the relationship) has been on Soros's payroll-at least indirectly. The ties go back to at least 2004:
That year, one of Axelrod's firms collected at least $229,000 from The Media Fund, Harold Ickes' 527 organization funded by Soros and other mega-donors, which ran some $53 million in ads aimed at supplementing John Kerry's campaign.

Another Axelrod firm earned at least $46,500 making ads for a Democratic 527 backed by the Sandlers, Citizens for a Strong Senate, which poured $5.4 million into that year's Senate races.

Those 527s were criticized for their woefully slow disclosure, with donors' names emerging long after ads had done their damage. The Media Fund also later paid a giant fine to the FEC for, allegedly, flouting federal election law by relying on huge contributions. 

Axelrod's old firm also specialized in running run high-stakes, expensive advocacy campaigns on the state and local level that -- as he deplores today -- did no disclosure at all of their corporate backers.
The Sandlers are a husband and wife team of billionaires who made their fortune during the savings and loan bubble that led to disaster. But they were experienced enough to know the type of risky loans they were peddling and sold out to Wachovia before the bombs started exploding on their S and L's balance sheet. They never paid a price for their shenanigans. Since then they have been partners with George Soros in many of his partisan ventures-including the founding of the Center for American Progress (Obama's Idea Factory and Hiring Hall).

The evidence mounts that Soros and Axelrod have worked together to create and fund a variety of Astroturf groups, including J Street, and, at least indirectly, the Coffee Party.
In politics, things can be other than what they seem on the surface - especially when George Soros and David Axelrod are involved

Last year at about this time, I scripted a column suggesting that George Soros, billionaire sugar daddy of the Democrats, ardent ally of Barack Obama, and fierce anti-Israel critic and activist, was a founder and major funder of the anti-Israel group J Street . Recent revelations confirm that Soros and family members were major donors-despite J Street's previous denials.

I also suggested that Soros may have worked with David Axelrod, Obama's campaign strategist and now Obama's domestic policy advisor,  to create J Street.

I thought that was a logical presumption: Axelrod has a lot of experience creating fake grassroots groups such as J Street (so-called Astroturf groups) and also probably would have had dealings with Soros, the emperor of such groups as MoveOn.Org (and now J Street). This speculation now may have its smoking gun. Axelrod has been the beneficiary of Soros's money in the recent past.

Politico's Ben Smith reports that Axelrod's firm (he still has ties there and receives money from the relationship) has been on Soros's payroll-at least indirectly. The ties go back to at least 2004:
That year, one of Axelrod's firms collected at least $229,000 from The Media Fund, Harold Ickes' 527 organization funded by Soros and other mega-donors, which ran some $53 million in ads aimed at supplementing John Kerry's campaign.

Another Axelrod firm earned at least $46,500 making ads for a Democratic 527 backed by the Sandlers, Citizens for a Strong Senate, which poured $5.4 million into that year's Senate races.

Those 527s were criticized for their woefully slow disclosure, with donors' names emerging long after ads had done their damage. The Media Fund also later paid a giant fine to the FEC for, allegedly, flouting federal election law by relying on huge contributions. 

Axelrod's old firm also specialized in running run high-stakes, expensive advocacy campaigns on the state and local level that -- as he deplores today -- did no disclosure at all of their corporate backers.
The Sandlers are a husband and wife team of billionaires who made their fortune during the savings and loan bubble that led to disaster. But they were experienced enough to know the type of risky loans they were peddling and sold out to Wachovia before the bombs started exploding on their S and L's balance sheet. They never paid a price for their shenanigans. Since then they have been partners with George Soros in many of his partisan ventures-including the founding of the Center for American Progress (Obama's Idea Factory and Hiring Hall).

The evidence mounts that Soros and Axelrod have worked together to create and fund a variety of Astroturf groups, including J Street, and, at least indirectly, the Coffee Party.