How Will The Progressive Caucus PAC Live Down The Disgrace Of Endorsing Against Nina Turner?
A couple weeks ago we saw how Democratic Party establishment consulting firm Global Strategy Group has been playing a key role in the union-busting tactics at Amazon. We also noted how the DCCC, the scummy House Majority PAC and corporate Democrats like Joe Manchin, Tom Carper, Josh Gottheimer, Dwight Evans, Val Demings and Bill Foster-- to name a few-- are all in bed with the pernicious GSG.
This morning, Judd Legum with co-writers Tesnim Zekeria and Rebecca Crosby reported that "a spokesperson from GSG told the New Yorker that the company 'deeply regret[s] being involved in any way.' Yesterday, GSG released a statement saying that 'there have been factual inaccuracies in recent reports about our work for Amazon,' but that it is 'deeply sorry' and has 'resigned that work.' GSG has not, however, confirmed the full scope of its work on Amazon's anti-union effort, what it is doing with the proceeds from that work, or if Amazon is still a client. The company has also not disclosed whether it will continue working with other clients on union-busting projects. When Popular Information asked GSG about these issues, the company did not respond. In the meantime, GSG continues to count major Democratic committees, campaigns, and groups, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), as clients-- many of which profess to be pro-union."
The DCCC has spent $522,800 on GSG consulting in 2021 and 2022. The DSCC, the pro-union umbrella fundraising committee for Senate Democrats, spent $108,250 on GSG consulting in 2021 and 2022.
Emily’s List, a fundraising powerhouse that elects Democratic, pro-choice women, argues that “we must fight to defend workers' rights and support our strong unions.”
“The relationship between unions and pro-choice Democratic women running for office is crucial,” the group tweeted in 2018. When employees at it’s own organization unionized, the group tweeted that it “supports unions and the rights of workers to unionize, including our own staff.”
Between 2021 and 2022, Emily’s List spent $272,750 on GSG consulting.
There was a lot of commotion on Twitter last night and this morning because the Congressional Progressive Caucus just announced its shameful endorsement for New Dem Shontel Brown over fiery progressive champion Nina Turner. (You can contribute to Nina's campaign here.)
The problem stems from Mark Pocan's decision to sell memberships in the Progressive Caucus to conservative New Dems, like Brown, as "insurance policies" against primaries from the left. Nearly 20% of the CPC now consists of New Dems like Brown. Another is political hack Joe Morelle, another hack machine politician from Rochester, who has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of progressive movement. Legum noted that Morelle "says he “know[s] firsthand how important unions are to supporting working families.” Last month he tweeted this:
Morelle spent $32,500 on GSG consulting in 2021. What Legum hasn't gotten to yet is a thorough investigation into the political back-scratching between Democrats in Congress connected to GSG and GSG's corporate clients, although he did mention that "This isn’t the first time GSG has been caught playing both sides. Last summer, Jefrey Pollock, founding partner and president of GSG 'helped craft' Andrew Cuomo’s response to accusations of sexual harassment, The Intercept reported. Pollock was also 'in direct contact with Cuomo’s top aide…[as he announced his resignation], urging the governor to sound more contrite.' ... Other clients of GSG include Uber and Lyft. The rideshare giants hired the firm to conduct polls that support their campaign to continue classifying “gig workers” as independent contractors instead of employees. If reclassified as employees, gig workers would have more rights and protections, as well as the ability to unionize. Recently, Joe Manchin (D-WV), another client of GSG, was one of three Democratic senators to reject David Weil, a vocal critic of gig companies’ classification of workers and Biden’s pick to head the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division. For Uber and other gig companies, Weil’s defeat was a major victory."
Back to Pocan's catastrophic strategy of recruiting New Dems into the Progressive Caucus. This morning Julia Rock blamed the whole mess on Pramila. Rock's got it wrong. The caucus has made two terrible endorsements in the last couple of weeks: conservative Republican Robert Garcia (pretending to be a Democrat) over ass-kicking progressive Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia and, then the much better-known case of Shontel Brown-- who was put in office with Israeli Adelson money through Mark Mellman's pretend-Democratic PAC, Democratic Majority for Israel-- over Nina Turner. [T]he Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, which is headed by Pocan, "has painted," explained Rock correctly, "the decision as a pro forma one. But progressive lawmakers are now intervening in a hotly contested House race to back a corporate-aligned Democrat over a progressive candidate who co-chaired Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and who the party’s conservative wing set out to destroy last year. Pro forma or not, the refusal to endorse Turner may be the logical endpoint of where progressive leader Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has led her caucus over the past year-- prioritizing inside-game strategies and fealty to Democratic Party norms, even when such tactics conflict with progressive goals... Now, with Turner once again challenging Brown in the regular election for the seat, the CPC has picked sides, endorsing the incumbent-- who belongs to both the CPC and the rival, pro-business New Democrat Coalition-- even though CPC Chair Jayapal endorsed Turner in the special election less than a year ago."
Jayapal can't dictate who the CPC PAC endorses. Neither can Pocan, who actually runs it, but he has over a dozen New Dems in his pocket. These are the New Dems inside the Congressional Progressive Caucus:
Donald Norcross, vice chair (NJ)
Veronica Escobar, deputy whip (TX)
Don Beyer (VA)
Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE)
Brendan Boyle (PA)
Shontel Brown (OH)
Andre Carson (IN)
Madeleine Dean (PA)
Steven Horsford (NV)
Sara Jacobs (CA)
Brenda Lawrence (MI)
Joe Morelle (NY)
Jimmy Panetta (CA)
Adam Smith (WA)
Darren Soto (FL)
Lori Trahan (MA)
Juan Vargas (CA)
Rock, who mentioned the New Dems in passing-- and Pocan not at all-- seems more intent on blaming Jayapal for all the shortcomings than on getting to the bottom of the problem. "Along with backing down at key moments," she concluded, "Jayapal and the CPC have also proven unwilling to challenge the culture of the Democratic Party, which is wedded to norms and hostile to radical change."
That culminated this week in the CPC’s endorsement of Brown.
Brown joined the CPC when she took office in January, after defeating Turner in a primary battle in which Brown racked up support from the fossil fuel-funded, pro-Israel DMFI PAC (support she requested), Ohio Republicans, and a contractor that she had awarded $17 million to as a city councilor, a potential tit-for-tat that resulted in an ethics probe.
After Turner aired an advertisement touting her support for Medicare for All, corporate lobbyists-- including those representing Big Pharma-- held a fundraiser for Brown, and the anti-Medicare for All lawmaker Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) intervened to support her campaign.
DMFI PAC and the corporatist dark money group Third Way spent $2.4 million promoting Brown and opposing Turner.
Even so, the CPC welcomed Brown with open arms. She also joined the CPC’s adversary caucus, the New Democrat Coalition, which includes several CPC members.
Perhaps it’s not a bad thing to welcome any member who is willing to vote with the caucus. Brown signed on as a co-sponsor to Jayapal’s Medicare for All legislation in early February, for example.
But if the strategy ends up with the caucus endorsing a candidate who ran a campaign backed by pharmaceutical lobbyists, the pro-Israel lobby, and Republicans-- all constituencies whose interests are vehemently opposed to the CPC’s agenda-- against a progressive like Turner, the inside game has gone awry.
Sanders, meanwhile, the only Senate member of the CPC, endorsed Turner just one day before the CPC endorsed Brown.
And the Lever News crew should also be looking into the CPC endorsement of Robert Garcia over Cristina Garcia. It will help them understand the pattern and not just see the Pocan/New Dem influence on the PAC as a one-time aberration. Remember, the PAC, headed by Pocan, and the Caucus, headed by Jayapal, are not the same entity and not identical. This morning, one CPC insider e-mailed me after I posted the tweet below: "Hmmm... I guess Mark is yet again going with the strategy of 'fuck with people and then blame Pramila.'"