Union Sock Puppets Well Laundered

Fox News has a story this morning about the elaborate web of funding behind TheTeaPartyIsOver.org, which includes most major American labor unions. In the 2008 election cycle, NEA dropped $260,000 on one of the many front groups operated by Craig Varoga and George Rakis, two men Fox News identifies as “Democratic Party strategists.”

Readers of this blog will not find such news surprising, but if you delve through the pertinent EIA list of NEA donations to advocacy groups, you won’t find this money. That’s because the expenditures are listed in NEA’s financial disclosure report as expenses for “media,” going to Independent Strategies, one of Rakis and Varoga’s groups, for “generalized message, program expenses,” or “membership communication development,” or “legislative policy development.” Without further information, it was difficult to justify classifying Independent Strategies as an advocacy group. This news, however, suggests NEA’s advocacy spending extends well beyond the easily identifiable groups.

One other thing: Fox News, like many media outlets before it, fails to mention anywhere in the story that the scoop came from the blogosphere, namely Lee Doren on January 29.