The New York Times is carrying out a vendetta against Charles and David Koch, two of the very few rich people who support conservative and libertarian causes. The Times is offended, apparently, that the Left does not quite have a monopoly on big money. The paper’s editorialists flat-out lied about the Koch brothers, and had to issue a retraction. But that editorial attack was just the tip of the iceberg.
Times reporter Eric Lipton misrepresented his interview with Tim Phillips, who heads Americans For Prosperity, a grass-roots organization that the Kochs have supported. That misrepresentation has not yet resulted in a correction, but it should. We have also asked Arthur Brisbane, the Times’s Public Editor, to explain whether the paper’s editorials are fact-checked, or whether they simply republish rumors that they pick up on left-wing web sites. Brisbane has not responded to my emails, and today’s paper–his column appears on Sundays–did not address the issue.
A week ago today, the Times printed an op-ed by David Callahan, a senior fellow at Demos, a left-wing “non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization.” Callahan’s op-ed is a plea for greater transparency with respect to 501(c)(4) organizations. There are, of course, thousands of such organizations. Some support liberal causes, some conservative; most are not political. However, given that Callahan is himself the employee of a left-wing advocacy organization and is writing for the New York Times, he mentions only two contributors to such entities: Charles and David Koch. The point of Callahan’s op-ed is that federal law should be amended to “require all nonprofit organizations that engage in political advocacy to reveal their donors.” Callahan writes:
In many cases, organizations have both 501(c)3 and a 501(c)4 arms that work closely together in the same building to shape government policy. One such group is FreedomWorks, which has received significant amounts of money from the Koch brothers and is a force behind both the Tea Party political movement and the conservative libertarian policy agenda it espouses.
Actually, the Koch brothers have never donated any money to FreedomWorks. Once again, one wonders: is there any fact-checking at all at the New York Times?
Callahan’s left-wing perspective comes out in this claim:
[T]he tax rules treat the brothers’ giving to medical research or modern art museums exactly the same as their gifts to ideologically driven organizations like the Cato Institute. All are classified as “charity.”
This is an unfair use of public tax subsidies.
From a far-left perspective, every tax deduction is a “public tax subsidy.” All of your money really belongs to the government; any amount that the government generously allows you to keep is a “tax subsidy.”
What is most striking about Callahan’s piece is its rampant hypocrisy. He himself is an employee of a left-wing organization that prefers not to abide by the transparency standards that Callahan advocates. At Philanthropy Daily, Scott Walter sums up the disconnect:
4. Callahan’s current “advocacy organization” — which goes unmentioned in his op-ed’s argument — lists no private donors in its latest annual report, but only foundations that are already required to disclose their giving.
5. Nor does Callahan mention that the online donation portal for his advocacy organization has a button that explicitly allows each donor to “Provide none of my personal information (anonymous).”
6. This anonymous giving is possible because every single donation at Demos’s online portal goes through a donor-advised fund, Network for Good. (Cato, by the way, lacks this ingenious innovation in online anonymity.)
7. It goes without saying that Demos is supported by the Open Society Institute, the premier institutional giving vehicle of billionaire George Soros, whose political and advocacy funding is easily in the same league as the two Koch brothers’ combined….
So the whole thing is a massive exercise in hypocrisy–typical for the New York Times, and for the Left. More to come tomorrow, since the Times’s bizarre obsession continues.
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