Question: Who shows up to a closed-door meeting of power house Democratic supporters and donors?
Answer: Among others, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, Van Jones, and George Soros representative Michael Vachon.
According to Politico, some of the most infamous Democratic backers held a private meeting on Tuesday to discuss strategy in light of runaway GOP victories this fall. The meeting, held at the posh Mandarin Oriental hotel, was organized by the Democracy Alliance, a wealthy liberal group with the goal of building a "progressive infrastructure that could help counter the well-funded and sophisticated conservative apparatus in the areas of civic engagement, leadership, media, and ideas."
Another question: Who is the treasurer of the Democracy Alliance?
Answer: Former Tides Foundation CEO Drummond Pike.
Organizers worked hard to keep the meeting's discussions secret. Off-duty police officers and other security personnel patrolled the halls looking for reporters and other uninvited guests, and promptly escorted them away. But that didn't keep "sources" from talking to Politico.
"The conference itself featured mostly big picture analyses of the midterm elections and their predicted impact on the donors’ favored policy causes, rather than strategic planning for the 2012 elections," Politico reports.
But such a meeting would not be complete without discussions of money:
But the source said some donors on the sidelines of the conference discussed whether they should try to match the GOP’s outside advertising effort in 2012, and, if so, how to balance that giving with their support for the groups recommended by Democracy Alliance, which focus largely on shaping policy and the media, as well as mobilizing voters around issues.
With that in mind, who else showed up?
There was Erik Smith:
Democratic operatives with experience in advertising campaigns, including Erik Smith, a Democratic operative who worked for the Media Fund in 2004, could be seen mingling with attendees. That group and a linked organization called America Coming Together raised a combined $139 million, much of it from donors now involved in Democracy Alliance, such as Soros, to air ads boosting Sen. John Kerry’s unsuccessful Democratic challenge to George W. Bush’s reelection.
Smith – who is also executive director of a group called Common Purpose Project, which has received Democracy Alliance support in the past – declined to comment. But another operative who planned to attend the conference told POLITICO that the donors who funded the anti-Bush efforts “told us in 2004 that we couldn’t come to them every two years and ask them for $10 to $20 million.”
Among the organizations represented at this week’s conference were the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the centrist NDN think tank, Campaign for America’s Future, Campaign for Community Change, Advancement Project, Brave New Films, State Voices, and union-related groups that work to mobilize liberal voters, including Working America, Progressive Majority and America Votes.
Among the donors spotted at the conference on Tuesday, the second day of the three-day gathering, were former Stride Rite chairman Arnold Hiatt, hedge fund financier Donald Sussman, electronics pioneer Bill Budinger, real estate developer Wayne Jordan and Suzanne Hess, the wife of real estate mogul Lawrence Hess.
And even a former Clinton operative:
Other attendees who are influential in liberal politics and policy also milled about Tuesday, including Fitz-Gerald, president of the influential political organizing group America Votes; Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future; Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the Wallace Global Fund; Matt Ewing, director of a Democracy Alliance-funded project that invests in early stage new media organizations; Philip Dufour, a Washington event planner; Eric Liu, a former speechwriter and deputy domestic policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton; fundraiser Lisa Versaci and radio host Thom Hartman.
So how exactly did Politico obtain all of this information? Sources, as mentioned before, but also first-hand reporting: its writer snuck in before being kicked out by security.