Citizens United Carpet Bombing Democracy - Cartoon
Last week the lavish, secretive Koch donor meeting got a lot of media attention. So in the interest of "both sides do it," Politico reports on the sort of equivalent Democracy Alliance, which also recently had a big, sort of secret meeting and compares the two organizations.

When you come right down to it, it's just insane amounts of money coming from very wealthy people, on both sides. But there are some real differences in scope and in intent between the left's big funders and the right's.

While the DA takes credit for steering more than $500 million in donations to recommended groups since its creation in 2005, the Koch network spent more than $400 million in 2012 alone.

Koch network donors are expected to provide almost every penny of the Koch operation’s $290 million 2014 spending goal. By contrast, DA donors—or “partners,” in the club’s parlance—are projected to provide a maximum of $39 million toward the $200 million 2014 spending goal of the 21 core DA groups, according to the briefing booklet. That means most of the cash raised by DA-linked groups actually comes from donors, institutions or revenue streams outside the DA’s cloistered ranks. Another difference: While DA partners are required to donate at least $200,000 a year to recommended groups, they ultimately decide to which group their money goes. The Koch network, on the other hand, collects contributions in the nonprofit political hub Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, which then distributes the cash mostly as it sees fit to groups in the network.

The Kochs are taking all of their billionaire friends' money and investing it in buying a government that will make sure they are able to keep making those billions and billions without worrying about how they make that money or being scrutinized or regulated or having to pay taxes to help the poor. The DA, democratically, demands money but you get to decide where it goes, and it often goes to people and organizations who have a primary goal of trying to have fewer poors. That and equality and clean air and water and not so many people getting shot at.

Other than that, pretty much the same. Rich people who hang out with other rich people and like to have their privacy while they're doing it, and that's the part Politico focuses on because, of course, both sides do it. But the part where they're not the same—that part of how and why they want to influence government—that's the meat of the discussion and that's the part that isn't in this particular story.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 10:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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