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Begich, Reid lead the league in hypocrisy

  • Author: Paul Jenkins
  • Updated: June 29, 2016
  • Published October 11, 2014

If the political left is anything, it is prone to bouts of hypocrisy. The public is catching on to the sad reality that a rational person must take anything liberals say - anything - with a grain of salt.

Take, for instance, the left's obsessive fascination with the industrialist brothers Koch, who early on became a convenient burr under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's saddle. He hand-picked them, targeted them for a cynical disinformation campaign, a bit of political theater that would do ol' Joe Goebbels proud. If the Kochs did not exist, Reid would have been forced to invent them.

In the finest traditions of McCarthyism and cheesy politics, Reid set out to render the brothers - and their millions - politically radioactive as part of a calculated strategy to keep his job and retain U.S. Senate control. He has called them everything from "shadowy billionaires" who are "un-American" for trying to "buy the country" to being "immoral and dishonest" in trying to "rig" the political system.

Their crime? The conservative businessmen's libertarian-leaning Americans for Prosperity group pumps uberbucks into tax-exempt organizations backing conservative candidates who support - gasp! - free markets, low taxes and limited government. They are very bad news for Democrats, who believe in none of that and wish the brothers and their cash would go away

Reid, who long ago jettisoned principles for power and owes his career to billionaire currency speculator George Soros, is joined by Democrats who certainly should know better in hammering away at David and Charles Koch as if they were the devil incarnate. The brothers are slandered nationwide and Alaska's junior senator, Mark Begich, carries the ball here.

But Reid, Begich and Co. have an ugly secret. The campaign against the Kochs is a lie - a very big, very bold, very calculated lie. The Kochs, it turns out, are not the problem when it comes to big money in Alaska elections - not by a long stretch.

Federal Election Commission records analyzed by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics show hypocritical Harry Reid is the problem when it comes to big outside money flooding into campaigns.

He is closely linked to an independent expenditure group, the Senate Majority PAC. It is the top outside spender when it comes to campaigns, the FEC says - and not just in Alaska but across the entire nation. At last report, it had spent $34.5 million. In Alaska, it almost single-handedly is paying for Begich's independent re-election effort.

The Koch brothers? They are nowhere near the top of the list. You cannot even see them from Sarah Palin's front porch.

Where does the Senate Majority PAC gets its dough? Liberal billionaires such as Tom Steyer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for starters. They could not care less about Alaska. Their concern is keeping Democrats in charge. The top of the PAC's donor list also include several huge unions that depend on Democrats.

While Reid cried crocodile tears about big money in politics and the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision reaffirming the First Amendment, the Senate Marjority PAC that follows his lead funneled millions to Democrat candidates. Much of it came to Alaska.

Here, Put Alaska First, an independent expenditure group, has received $7.1 million, almost all of it evil "outside" money from the Senate Majority PAC with about $6.7 million of it used against opponent Dan Sullivan. That is nearly as much as the Begich campaign had raised at its last report in July and much more than the $4 million Sullivan had in his campaign coffers then.

Lalita Clozel of OpenSecrets.Org reports it is "fashionable" for regional PACs to use a state name for cover. She tallied all 34 of the super PACs with state or regional references in their names that have spent money on ads this election cycle. Only 17 received at least half of their contributions of more than $200 from within the state, she said.

Put Alaska First PAC was the top spender of the 34 and relied overwhelmingly on out-of-state funds, she said.

So much for the left's incessant complaining about the Koch brothers and money flooding into elections.

If you can say anything about Begich and Reid, it is that their hypocrisy is breathtaking. Any rational person must, indeed, take anything they say with a grain - make that a truckload - of salt.

Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com, a division of Porcaro Communications.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary@alaskadispatch.com.

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