Friday, June 13, 2008

HRC Leaders: $0 for Obama, $4,300 for Clinton

The leaders of the gay division of the Democratic Party, alias the Human Rights Campaign, made contributions to their favorite candidates during the primary race, and as expected by many independent gay pundits, the top recipient of their contributions was the other HRC, Senator Clinton. The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, received nothing from the HRC leaders.

FEC records show which 2008 Democratic contenders were lucky enough to take in dollars from the top people at HRC:

Hillary Clinton: $4,300
Chris Dodd: $3,000
John Edwards: $ 750
Bill Richardson: $ 500
Barack Obama: $ 0

Who at HRC did the giving? Here's the list:

Georgie Aguirre-Sacasa, Field Director
Dodd: $2,000
Edwards: $ 750
Clinton: $ 250

Timothy S. Bahr, Fundraiser
Clinton: $250

Jennifer Brooks-Miller, Development
Clinton: $250

Raymond Deeb, HRC Atlanta
Richardson: $500

Frank November, Director of Volunteers
Clinton: $500

Martin Rouse, Field Director
Clinton: $250

David M. Smith, Vice President
Clinton: $2,300
Dodd: $1,000

Chris Speron, Development
Clinton: $500

As if it weren't enough for current HRC executives to write checks to Clinton, former executive director Elizabeth Birch's FEC file reveals she gave the maximum allowed by law to the New York senator, $4,600, in 2007.

What else is being said out in the blogosphere regarding HRC? Former Washington Blade publisher Chris Crain, who has long tracked HRC's Democratic tilt and slavish devotion to Clinton, blogged this week on how the gay group, through gritted teeth, declared its endorsement of Obama:
For an important moment like announcing a presidential endorsement, you would think HRC would pull out all the stops -- something we know the resource-rich organization usually revels in doing.

Instead, this is how the Obama nod got announced on HRC's Back Story blog:

The following is from Jason Boeckman, HRC Communications and Marketing Intern. Jason is a senior at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, OH.

Today the Human Rights Campaign announced its support for Barack Obama in his bid for the presidency.

That's right, the Obama endorsement was communicated by an HRC college intern. The weekly message by HRC chief Joe Solmonese was likewise lukewarm, barely containing his disappointment that candidate HRC wasn't the
nominee . . .

Regular readers of this blog know that HRC the candidate was always the candidate for HRC the organization (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here). So there was no chance that HRC would endorse Obama at a time when it might actually gain some leverage with his campaign -- the type of courageous move we saw from NARAL Pro-Choice America, which endorsed Obama in mid-May.

Even still, you would think HRC and Solmonese would get over their "anger and grief" long enough to do their jobs.
Um, Chris, they were doing their jobs -- remaining loyal to Clinton first, to the bitter and depressing end, and putting bold gay advocacy last. Boring HRC business as usual.

Click here to see HRC's new ad campaign targeting gays in San Francisco. Just one more way HRC squanders precious gay community dollars.


Anonymous said...

McClurkin was the "ex-gay" version of the Jeremiah Wright swift boat tactic against Obama and his supporters. Sen. Obama denounced both men and made it clear that their beliefs were not his own.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous, ever hear of Rev. Mayberry and Bishop Eddie Long? HRC, the candidate, had her own anti-gay clergy and she even PAID them.

Funny how you were eager to support a candidate who gave a platform to those ideas.

Anonymous said...


SO true, yet you support the candidate who help pass DOMA and DADT. how smart.

Anonymous said...

I am NO fan of the useless, money sucking Human Rights Campaign, but it seems to me that the axe to grind here is that nobody gave any money to St. Obama. Boo f-ing hoo! No laws were broken and everyone already knows how self-serving and self-important the "Campaign" truly is.

PS--Here is a hint to the Obama folks, it would be a lot easier for those of us who have major doubts about him to choke down the Kool Aid if you stop accusing us of Democratic heresy and continue trying to malign the also-rans (read: Hillary).

But since when is Michael Petrelis a reasonable barometer of guardian of what is decent and right? God save us. Seriously.

Unknown said...

It does seem surprising when you realize that McClurkin has sung for the Clinton's. Bottom line, Hillary took a soft line to Gay rights, especially with DOMA. Obama has been clear on the full repulsion for sometime. I'm an artist that doesn't understand why the HRC would ignore the facts.

Anonymous said...

I'm not the biggest fan of HRC myself, but the reason that there is a 0 next to Obama's name is because he doesn't take money from lobbyists. Any check sent to the campaign by these folks would have been refunded.

I work for an environmental NGO in DC and my check for Obama was sent back to me.

Andrew Adam Caldwell said...

(sound of me PUTTING AWAY my checkbook)

Anonymous said...

Did Edwards also decline donations from lobbyists? If so, how is he on the list? Did he distinguish between registered federal lobbyists and firms with lobbying operations? (Or did he simply lie?)

Anonymous said...

Couple things:

'Sen. Obama denounced both men and made it clear that their beliefs were not his own.'

No, Obama refused to pull McClurkin from the conference, and gave him a public platform from which he promulgated his odious belief that homosexuality is a choice. It was offensive when the Republicans did it at the 2004 convention, and it was offensive last year when Obama did it.


'SO true, yet you support the candidate who help pass DOMA and DADT. how smart.'

I never claimed to support Clinton. Obama folks might win over a lot more hearts and minds if they stopped putting words into the mouths of people who aren't enthusiastic about their candidate. The flame wars and sarcasm aren't winning over anyone.

Anonymous said...

So you seem only to be counting staff as leaders. Why didn't you go through the board list? While I have no doubt you'll find a strong majority of Clinton donors, it took me less than 5 minutes of going through the board list and putting in Bruce Bastian's name at to discover that he gave $2300 to Obama before he gave $2300 to Clinton. How about looking through the whole list? It may vindicate your overall point about the bulk of the giving going to Clinton. But I think looking at the board members, who make the policy decisions at HRC, is better than just looking at a few staff.

Anonymous said...

These were PERSONAL contributions, not contributions from the organization. I think that is an important distinction to remember. Also important to remember is that most of Obama's money comes from small donations and you can't search FEC records for donations smaller than $250. If you could, I bet you'd find lots of HRC staffers (who don't have rich partners) who have given to Obama. I totally agree though that HRC needs a serious overhaul. Also, can't we be nicer to each other? For the sake of 88 year old Justice Stevens and ailing Justice Ginsburg, a Dem needs to win in November! Unite.

Mike in Texas said...

Both Obama and Edwards declined contributions from lobbyists.