Monday, April 27, 2015

Drennen Gets It Wrong on “Soros-Funded” Expert

MRC Watch Dept. - Kyle Drennen thinks a “Soros-Funded Expert Changes Tune: Clinton Foundation a ‘Slush Fund.'” Last week, Drennen and Curtis Houck followed a particularly dismal MRC practice in deploying the anti-Semitic Puppet Master trope, dismissing the Sunlight Foundation’s Bill Allison, the expert in question, as merely a mouthpiece for wealthy Jewish philanthropist George Soros.

Today, Drennen recounts that, in a soundbite aired Thursday and Friday on NBC, Allison was “dismissing the Clinton Foundation scandal: ‘There’s no smoking gun, there’s no evidence that she changed a policy based on the donations to the foundation.'”:
“However, as reported in Sunday’s New York Post, Allison seemed to change his mind, now describing the nonprofit as ‘a slush fund for the Clintons.'”
Drennen declines to outline how this brief quote can possibly be regarded as a change of tune–it’s obviously possible that both the Foundation is a slush-fund and the allegations now circulating around it lack any substantial evidentiary basis. As detailed here Saturday, the Sunlight Foundation is, contrary to the MRC writers’ comments, extremely critical of Hillary Clinton and of the apparent shadiness of some of the dealings surrounding the Clinton Foundation. That earlier article quoted a blog post written by Allison last month:
“A trio of super PACs — Priorities USA Action, American Bridge and Ready for Hillary — are promoting Hillary Clinton. One of them, Ready for Hillary, successfully fended off a complaint to the FEC last month over its purchase of the mailing list compiled by Clinton’s last presidential campaign. The FEC concluded that the sale by Clinton’s 2008 campaign, which comprised names of her donors and supporters, to a super PAC promoting her 2016 campaign did not require Clinton to register as a federal candidate.
“That decision has allowed Clinton — and the two floors’ worth of close associates she brought with her from the State Department — to continue her work with the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation undisturbed, an organization that takes funds, sometimes in multi-million dollar chunks, from foreign governments, foreign corporations and foreign individuals, among others.”
Allison was writing about the Clinton Foundation years ago. A blog post from 2009: “Digging down deep into the list of Clinton Foundation donors, the New York Times finds that a donor had gotten considerable help from Sen. Hillary Clinton.” It concludes by asking, “How many other donors to the foundation also had business before the junior senator from New York?” Two days later, Allison followed up, citing that earlier entry and a story in Forbes about donations to the Clinton Foundation from Iranian interests to argue in favor of a bill requiring more stringent disclosure of donors to presidential libraries. Months before that,
Bill Allison and Larry Makinson of Sunlight created a DabbleDB database of the Clinton Foundation donor list released yesterday. This database is the place to go if you’re interested in pouring through this data without trying to access the constantly crashing – thanks to the journalist/blogger stampede – Clinton Foundation web site. (It’s as though journalists and bloggers have this obsession with the Clintons. Who knew?) And just to make sure we cover all our bases, here’s a quote from Bill (emphasis mine):
“I should also note that disclosing this information isn't required by any law (but should be); the Obama transition and the Clintons themselves deserve some marks for releasing the information. But all these donations to presidential foundations–for Bushes as well as Clinton (and Carter) should be publicly disclosed.”
The lesson here is that, while anti-Semitic tropes can inflame and excite those moved by such rot, they provide no basis for understanding the real world.


[Note: This article was written for MRC Watch, a blog dedicated to a critique of the Media Research Center]

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