Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Nation's vanden Heuvel =
$291K Democratic Party Donor

The San Francisco Chronicle on Monday turned over its entire op-ed space to The Nation's editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, to push sales of her new book via a press release masked as opinion:

My new book, "The Change I Believe In," reflects how I've navigated the Obama era - as an editor and journalist, a woman, a citizen of conscience and a small "d" democrat. I believe my journey is similar to that of millions of Americans - from the exhilaration engendered by Obama's historic election and the first months of his presidency, through the disappointments. 

Let's unpack some of this statement. First off, vanden Heuvel is a small "d" democrat and also a Big "D" Democrat as evidenced by her federal and New York state donations. More about the donations below.

Second, while her journey regarding Obama's campaign and parts of his presidency does resemble what millions of Americans have experienced, she is unlike the majority of those millions in one very important way. She's part of the 1%, able to contribute robust amounts of money to Democratic politicians and causes.

The Federal Election Commission files for vanden Heuvel reveal since 1984 she has written checks totaling $221,500, and all of it went to Democratic Party candidates or affiliated PACs such as EMILY's List. Her most recent contributions were a $25,000 to EMILY's List and $10,000 to the Working Families Party of New York.

At the federal level, vanden Heuvel's donations to the WFP come to $13,500. In New York, she's given an additional $28,500 to the WFP. Her total amount to them equals $42,000.

Another way to look at her giving to Democrats and their causes is to add up her federal contributions, $221,500, and the New York state donations, $36,500, along with the $33,350 she's doled out in various New York City races to see these three slices of her largesse come to $291,350.

If writing checks in the hundreds of thousands doesn't qualify one as a Democrat and 1%er, what does? How many 99%ers do you know who can drop this sort of serious coin on political causes?

Contributions from vanden Heuvel to the WFP were not disclosed in this piece she wrote about them in a gushing column for The Nation in October 2010. This is the closest she came to full transparency to readers:

The Nation has not only covered the WFP's advances and progress over these last twelve years, but also played a small but significant role in the party's birth. We mobilized our readers and community through editorials and outreach to help the party reach the 50,000 votes needed in 1998 to secure a line on the New York State ballot.

Um, you've also given the party $42,000, a significant sum, Katrina, and it should be disclosed when you write about them.

I will not be attending her chat tomorrow at the Commonwealth Club where she'll be chatting about her new book with Chronicle editor in chief Phil Bronstein.

(Photo credit: C-SPAN.)

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