According to Fox News’ Joseph Abrams, the Service Employees International Union, Change to Win, the Communications Workers of America, the National Education Association, the Teamsters Union, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union and others are involved in this scheme.
A new Web site targeting the tea parties is a part of a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions and trickling slowly into political slush funds for Democratic activists.
A seemingly grassroots organization that’s mounted an online campaign to counter the tea party movement is actually the front end of an elaborate scheme that funnels funds — including sizable labor union contributions — through the offices of a prominent Democratic party lawyer.
A Web site popped up in January dedicated to preventing the tea party’s “radical” and “dangerous” ideas from “gaining legislative traction,” targeting GOP candidates in Illinois for the firing squad.
“This movement is a fad,” proclaims TheTeaPartyIsOver.org, which was established by the American Public Policy Center (APPC), a D.C.-based campaign shop that few people have ever heard of.
But a close look reveals the APPC’s place in a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions into political slush funds for Democratic activists.
The most recent backers of the Patriot Majority and Patriot Majority West, which helped fund the APPC and thus the Tea Party site, form a veritable Who’s Who of the country’s top labor unions: the Service Employees International Union, Change to Win, the Communications Workers of America, the National Education Association, the Teamsters Union, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union and others besides.
But by far the largest donations have come from a collection of unionized government workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) — which in 2008 alone donated $5.8 million to Patriot Majority and another $4.1 million to Patriot Majority Midwest.
Using this arrangement, Varoga and Rakis are managing what NPR called a “never-ending pot of union money” that they dispense among the 527s they run, which in turn pay for ads in hotly contested election districts.
That means that taxpayer dollars, sent up as union dues, have been going to fund a host of Democratic causes and help quash the tea party movement.
What’s more, Varoga and Rakis are not actually present in Suite 1102. That is the office of their lawyer, Joseph Sandler, a longtime general counsel to the Democratic National Committee.
Sandler, whose firm and trust account raked in over $500,000 in Democratic party money in 2009 alone, told Fox News that there was nothing irregular in their setup.
It is not clear whether TheTeaPartyIsOver.org is the start of a larger campaign run by Varoga and Rakis to target tea party activists. Additional attempts to reach Varoga at a California number were unsuccessful. A staffer answering the phone in Varoga’s Oakland office last week told FoxNews.com that he was unavailable for comment and hung up.