The “centrist” political group No Labels, that bastion of both-sidesism, has been garnering some labels of late, including “deceptive," “spoiler,” and “defendant.” The group, which was founded in 2010, claims to be a place where Democrats and Republicans who “care about this country more than the demands of any political party” can find common ground. Or find big donors who like to pretend they’re nonpartisan, where a simple guy like West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin can have his ego stroked and be told even he could be president.
No Labels has decided to move from being just a money-making group to registering in all states to become an official party and sending canvassers out to sign up members. It’s that last part that got them in trouble in Maine, where they signed people up using what appeared to be a petition but was actually a change in party enrollment form. Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows sent a cease and desist letter to the group last week telling them to knock it off after Maine voters started complaining to local clerks that their party enrollment had changed. More than 6,000 Maine voters signed those party re-enrollment forms.
They ran another petition-gathering operation in Arizona. Though they apparently didn’t change people’s voter registration, it has landed No Labels in a lawsuit. The state Democratic Party has sued to bar them from appearing on the 2024 ballot, alleging the group did not have enough signatures by last fall’s deadline to file for access to the ballot, but the group attested in an affidavit that it did and then continued to add signatures as late as Jan. 31 of this year. Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes approved their party registration in early March. Now the Democrats are suing to have that revoked.
The lawsuit also points out what should be a substantial legal problem for the group: It’s registered as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, which allows it to raise dark money, i.e., its funders don’t have to be disclosed. But by law, it has to limit its activities to the “promotion of social welfare” or lobbying. It can’t have direct political involvement, like fielding candidates, as a primary activity, which is what it is trying to do in all 50 states.
They might be relying on the “in” they have at the Supreme Court to help them out with that issue. One of their “whale” donors (yes, that’s what they call the big givers) is none other than Harlan Crow, Supreme Court Clarence Thomas’ “very dear friend” and billionaire benefactor. Crow gave more than $130,000 to No Labels between 2019 and 2021, The New Republic has discovered. That’s relative peanuts for Crow, whose one yachting trip to Indonesia with Thomas would have cost around $500,000 if Thomas had to pay for it himself. What Crow has done for No Labels beyond giving them money is to hook them up with all his rich pals–nearly two dozen of them, according to the documentation TNR found.
Crow, the best buddy of one of the most extreme Supreme Court justices the bench has ever seen, told the publication in a statement that he was proud to support No Labels because “America is in trouble if we keep going down the path of letting the two extremes dictate our politics.” Sure. “I support No Labels because our government should be about what’s best for America, not what’s best for either political party. That’s also why I’ve supported candidates from both sides of the aisle who are willing to engage in civil discussions to move our country forward.”
Both sides! Okay, he has donated to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, but does that really count?
Beyond taking Crow’s money, No Labels has wooed heavyweights in the Republican Party including “David Koch, former AIG head Hank Greenberg, and billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer; as well as top supporters of President Donald Trump, such as PayPal founder Peter Thiel, businessman Foster Friess, and Home Depot founder Ken Langone.” Not all of them coughed up, but few of them could be considered good actors in the sphere of political comity.
The spawn of No Labels, the “Problem Solvers” in the House, are currently engaged in trying to prop up House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during his debt ceiling hostage-taking if he “does the right thing” and doesn’t bow to all the Freedom Caucus’ demands. They’re the same group that helped tank President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan in his first year in office. The problem is the No Labels crowd seems most intent on removing the ability of a Democratic president and Democratic Congress to do stuff that helps people.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re behind Manchin’s presidential run flirtations. The West Virginian went on “Meet the Press” last month and didn’t rule out being the No Labels’ candidate for the White House in 2024. “When you’re asking me what I’m going to do and what my political ambitions would be, it’s to make the country work together and be a United States and not the divided states,” Manchin said. Sure, Joe.
RELATED STORY: Maine officials smack the hand of the No Labels party (those useful fools for Trump 2024)
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