Posted by | September 17, 2010 20:32 | Filed under: Contributors Sandi Behrns Top Stories

by Sandi Behrns

For months now, Democrats have taken comfort in the fact that Democratic Party donations have far out-paced those of the GOP. The lack of focus and record of floundering on the part of the Republican National Committee and its chairman, Michael Steele, seemed to indicate that despite the political climate of this midterm season, the Democrats would be sitting pretty, at least financially. Still, we always knew that last June’s Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case would come back to haunt us.

Sure enough, there is a flood of money flowing into races across the country. Huge amounts are being poured into ad buys to benefit corporate-friendly conservative candidates. The latest instance of this appears set to take place in Arizona’s 7th District. The face of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representative Raul Grijalva (D- AZ), is the target.

A source close to real estate developer and Republican fund-raiser Don Diamond reports that Mr. Diamond is making no secret of the fact that he is set to dump millions of dollars into ads opposing the Congressman. Ever since the passage of Arizona’s SB-1070, the right in Arizona and nationally have been targeting Grijalva, because of his calls for a boycott of the state. In retrospect, that may have politically been a bad move; but Grijalva has never been shy about speaking his mind and expressing his progressive values. Perhaps this is why he has never been on Don Diamond’s good side (although, naturally, an environmentalist and a land developer are going to butt heads).

Don Diamond, for those not familiar, is the same land speculator we learned of in the run-up to the 2008 Presidential election. He is a good friend, and elite fund-raiser, for Senator John McCain. During the 2008 campaign, it was revealed that Sen. McCain had intervened to help Mr. Diamond get a sweetheart deal on coastal land at the former Ft. Ord Army base in Seaside, California. That revelation developed into a minor scandal of the 2008 race.

Of course, when ads hit the airwaves attacking Congressman Grijalva, it may be impossible to know for certain that Diamond is behind them. That’s the beauty part of the Citizens United ruling: not only can Don Diamond and Diamond Ventures pour unlimited funds into the fray, they can do so with complete anonymity. My source, however, tells me that that kind of discretion isn’t really Mr. Diamond’s style. The same thing isn’t true across the country. (Witness: the Koch Brothers.)

In the short term, progressives can counter this by turning out support for Rep. Grijalva. In the long term, the only solution is to keep pressure on Congress to pass legislation to blunt the effects of the Citizens United precedent. We deserve transparency in our government and in our elections.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Sandi Behrns

Sandi Behrns is a noted policy nerd, new media & web developer, and consultant to progressive organizations and campaigns. She is a senior contributor to Liberaland, and the Executive Editor of Progressive Congress News.