As Democratic Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s announced resignation approaches – set for 10am on Wednesday, February 18 – it’s time to examine his successor. Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown, by all appearances, is further to the Left politically than even Kitzhaber was. She also enjoys some of the same liberal billionaire connections that Kitzhaber had, including the ones that were at the heart of the scandal that took him down. Let’s examine what led to Kate Brown’s sudden promotion, and her billionaire connections.
As John Kitzhaber’s political universe came crashing down on him last week, it was reported that leftist billionaire Tom Steyer, who has made it his personal crusade to end
man-made global warming, was at the center of the unreported payments to Kitzhaber’s fiancee, Cylvia Hayes. The $118,000 payment for ‘consulting services’ – that went unreported both to the IRS and the Oregon Ethics Commission in Kitzhaber’s listing of household income – was paid by the Clean Energy Development Center (CEDC), funded by Steyer and run by Dan Carroll. This payment was to pay for Hayes’ advocacy of environmentalist policies in Oregon. Carroll subsequently landed a job in Kitzhaber’s administration, serving as his highest-paid policy advisor.
The CEDC is one nexus that reveals many connections to environmental groups funded by both Tom Steyer and George Soros. (There will be many other nodes of influence and connection revealed as we go, sort of like a Borg collective.) The embattled First Lady, Cylvia Hayes, was of course a board member on the CEDC (and maybe still is, as an archived version of their website still showed her bio as of 2014). Other board members included Andy Stern, Jules Bailey and Kate Gordon.
Bailey is a far-left Portland politician and environmental activist. According to his bio on the CEDC website, “Jules Bailey runs Pareto Global, an economic consulting and clean energy financing practice. Prior to founding Pareto Global, Jules was an economist and sustainable development specialist at ECONorthwest. He works at the intersection of economics, public policy, the environment, and urban development and brings a specialization in financing.”
Stern is the former president of Service Employees International Union – a huge supporter of Kate Brown’s several political campaigns. Meanwhile, Gordon leads the energy and climate division of Center for the Next Generation.
The Center for the Next Generation (and its associated Super PAC, NextGen Climate Action) has received funding directly from Tom Steyer. Next Generation is also intricately intertwined with the Center for American Progress (CAP). Steyer sits on CAP’s board of directors, while Gordon is a former VP at CAP and still serves as a senior fellow. CAP, of course, is the brainchild of leftist billionaire George Soros:
The Center for American Progress (CAP) describes itself as “an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action” in such areas as “energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care.” CAP is a key member of the Shadow Party, a network of non-profit activist groups organized by George Soros and others to mobilize resources — money, get-out-the-vote drives, campaign advertising, and policy initatives — to advance Democratic Party agendas.
The network of far left dark money runs deep in Oregon politics – Steyer and Soros each have direct ties to both Kate Brown and John Kitzhaber.
It is well known that Kate Brown was elected with the support of Soros’ Secretary of State Project:
The Secretary of State Project (SoSP) was established in July 2006 as an independent “527” organization devoted to helping Democrats get elected to the office of secretary-of-state in selected swing, or battleground, states; these were states where the margin of victory in the 2004 presidential election (between George W. Bush and John Kerry) had been 120,000 votes or less.1 One of the principal duties of the secretary of state is to serve as the chief election officer who certifies candidates as well as election results in his or her state.2 The holder of this office, then, can potentially play a key role in determining the winner of a close election.
SoSP’s co-founders were Becky Bond (who also had affiliations with the New Organizing Institute and Working Assets); Democracy Alliance member Michael Kieschnick (who also founded Working Assets and serves as a board member of the leftist evangelical group Sojourners); and James Rucker (who co-founded Color of Change and formerly served as director of grassroots mobilization for MoveOn.org Political Action and Moveon.org Civic Action).
A few names pop out from this introduction: Color of Change, and Michael Kieschnick.
Color of Change, of course, is where Van Jones first came up with the idea for Occupy Wall
Street and subsequently Occupy Portland. Jones visited Portland, Oregon in January 2011 to plant the seeds of the Occupy movement – under the guise of a speech about ‘green jobs’. Jones was intimately familiar with CAP as one of its senior fellows – one wonders how much Van Jones knew about CEDC and Cylvia Hayes.
Michael Kieschnick is the other prominent name in this list. Kieschnick, the co-founder of CREDO Mobile and an associated PAC (along with Drummond Pike of the Tides Foundation and the Democracy Alliance – another Soros connection), is good friends with Tom Steyer and his wife Kat Taylor. Kieschnick has deep ties to the radical left and its billionaire funders, even beyond Steyer:
Kieschnick has a credit card company, a cell phone company, is on the Board of Directors with Soros’ Secretary of State project. Kieschnick is director of ACT Blue and other radical groups. He brags of spending $5 Million dollars to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. He is associated with all the usual suspects, including Soros, Drummond Pike, Wade Rathke, Van Jones from Ella Baker Center.It appears he is looking to become the next Soros.Keischnick is co founder of CREDO Mobile.CREDO is a cell phone company that uses its profits to promote and fund radical organizations.
The extremist organizations funded by CREDO include all the usual suspects on the radical left, including the ACLU, Mother Jones Investigative Fund (*keep this name in mind for later on), Planned Parenthood, the Brennan Center for Justice, and dozens of others.
Back to Steyer’s wife for a moment. Inspired in part by a conversation with Michael Kieschnick, Kat Taylor founded a bank with the purported purpose of operating in traditionally under-served communities. After funding many Democratic candidates for several years, Taylor was hopeful that her husband would be added to a potential John Kerry administration, and was deeply disappointed by the personal loss of stature represented by the Bush victory in 2004:
“Tom would have gone to D.C. and served in the administration,” Taylor said. After George Bush won re-election, Taylor and Steyer had to regroup.“We got 15 friends in a room and said, ‘What can we do where it doesn’t matter who wins the presidential election?’”
So Taylor, on the advice of Kieschnick, started a bank. That bank, One PacificCoast Bank, benefits from the Community Development Financial Institution program of the US Treasury. The CDFI program provides funding for banks that operate in “underserved communities”. Taylor openly admits to the bad optics of a wealthy hedge fund manager starting such an institution:
After Kerry’s 2004 defeat, Taylor thought the time was finally right to heed Kieschnick’s advice. She also realized Tom’s success — Farallon Capital manages $23.1 billion of investments for institutions and wealthy families — would make a traditional community bank a bad idea. “That would be a bad headline,” she said. “‘Hedge fund manager profits from poor economic communities.’”Instead of setting up a traditional community bank, Taylor and Steyer devised a unique corporate structure where all of the profits from One PacificCoast Bank flow into a foundation and get pumped back into the community. Fittingly, Kieschnick is on the board of the foundation.
The Beneficial State Foundation board includes Taylor, Steyer and Kieschnick. One of the highlighted recipients of a grant from the Foundation is Washington Community Action Network (CAN). Their goals are described on the website:
With a long history of achieving victories for low and moderate-income people, Washington CAN! (Community Action Network) is a statewide network of activists, community leaders and families working together for economic justice and racial equity. With a diverse membership of over 44,000 people in every county in the state of Washington, the organization is a powerful force that fights for individuals to have a voice in the systems and policies that impact their lives. Currently, Washington CAN! is working on several, broad initiatives including affordable healthcare, good jobs and living wages, foreclosure prevention, community and leadership development, environmental justice and public education.
One PacificCoast Bank bought Albina Bank of Portland, after the local institution was placed under regulatory order in 2010 to raise more capital and deal with the bad loans on its books.
This is not the only local connection to Kieschnick, Steyer and Soros. Winthrop “Win” McCormack of Portland is a major funder of leftist causes. McCormack ranked as the #1 overall political donor in Oregon in the 2012 election cycle. McCormack has donated several thousand dollars to Kate Brown over the years, and was the major funder of Suzanne Bonamici’s campaign in the special election to replace David Wu.
McCormack has direct ties to several organizations involving both Tom Steyer and George Soros. A long time journalist and Democrat operative, McCormack first came on the scene in the 70s, with his co-founding of both Mother Jones Investigative Fund (remember that CREDO Mobile is a major donor) and the Liberty Hill Foundation. The Liberty Hill Foundation, which grants tens of millions annually to leftist causes, is a particularly confrontational organization:
The California-based Liberty Hill Foundation facilitates the transfer of donor-advised funds from wealthy benefactors to a host of leftist groups and causes. It was established in 1976 by wealthy scions Larry Janss, Anne Mendel, Win McCormack, and Sarah Pillsbury, who were inspired by the writings of the socialist novelist Upton Sinclair to do whatever they could to radically transform American society, which they perceived as a bastion of class inequality and exploitation. This Foundation focuses its philanthropy primarily on grassroots community organizations it perceives to be working for “social and racial equality, environmental sustainability, economic justice, and shared social responsibility” in Los Angeles. It favors organizations that base their tactics on the confrontational strategies outlined by the famed organizer Saul Alinsky.
The Liberty Hill Foundation has been a major supporter of the League of Conservation Voters over the years. Among the extreme environmentalist candidates who have received donations from the Oregon chapter (OLCV) have been Kitzhaber, Brown, Jules Bailey, and just about any other Democrat who wants to get elected in Oregon.
Along with these and other initiatives, McCormack is also a major funder of American Bridge 21st Century PAC, which employs aggressive political trackers to document everything said by any Republican candidate. American Bridge’s goals are ambitious, and they don’t even try to hide their partisan bias. The website states that “American Bridge 21st Century is a progressive research and communications organization committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions and helping you ascertain when Republican candidates are pretending to be something they’re not.”
Win McCormack has given several hundred thousand to American Bridge over the years, but his donations pale in comparison to those of the largest donors: George Soros and AFSCME.
Remember that CEDC, which paid Cylvia Hayes the ill-begotten consulting fee that brought down John Kitzhaber, once had SEIU’s Andy Stern on its board. AFSCME and SEIU are both major donors to Kate Brown’s campaigns.
In 2012, McCormack donated $200,000 to Kieschnick’s CREDO PAC, indicating yet another direct link between McCormack, Kieschnick, Steyer and Soros.
McCormack shares another trait with several prominent Oregon Democrats – involvement in covering up a sex scandal. The laundry list of Democratic politicians and donors involved in shocking sexual scandals is quite a rogue’s gallery: Jeff Cogen, Sam Adams, David Wu (whose successor, Suzanne Bonamici, is married to Wu’s defense attorney), Terry Bean, and the worst of all, former Democratic Governor Neil Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt was the Golden Boy of Oregon politics. Rumored to be in line for a cabinet post in the Carter administration, Goldschmidt could do no wrong. That’s why the revelation that he groomed a 13 year old girl for a sexual relationship that lasted several years rocked the Oregon political establishment.
What does this have to do with Win McCormack? He admitted that he knew all about the continual rape of the girl in question and did nothing about it. Local reporter Nigel Jacquiss won a Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for blowing the lid off Oregon’s biggest scandal in the last half century, and Win McCormack’s fingerprints are all over it:
In addition, McCormack has long been a large contributor to statewide and national campaigns. In October, for example, he gave what the Oregon Follow the Money Project says is the biggest single political contribution in the state’s history: $1 million to America Coming Together, a Democratic get-out-the-vote operation.McCormack told WW he learned of Goldschmidt’s secret not long after the governor’s surprise announcement in 1990. “The brother of a friend of mine was dating [Susan] when Goldschmidt said he wasn’t going to run again,” recalls McCormack. “He said, ‘Let me tell you the real reason he isn’t running.'”With his journalistic experience, McCormack knew what a huge story he had been handed. Still, he chose to do nothing. “I didn’t feel like it was my business, and even though I don’t like Neil, I didn’t want to destroy him,” McCormack says.McCormack says he never shared the secret, even though Goldschmidt’s surprise decision remained perhaps the greatest mystery in Oregon politics over the past 15 years.Last winter, several months before the story about Goldschmidt became public, McCormack attended a party at the home of real-estate investor and Democratic Party activist Terry Bean.McCormack found himself in a conversation with a number of people, including former Gov. Barbara Roberts.The conversation turned to Goldschmidt, as has so often been the case across the state for the past 30 years. Why, Bean wondered, had he never run for a second term as governor?McCormack said he knew but would not tell.
The deep, hypocritical irony of McCormack is reflected in his later work, including supporting David Wu through his sex scandal; supporting the wife of Wu’s attorney, Suzanne Bonamici, in the special election to replace Wu; and maybe most hypocritical of all, his 2008 book, You Don’t Know Me: A Citizen’s Guide to Republican Family Values. The book purports to document Republican and Conservative hypocrisy by listing sex scandals involving individuals in the party of Family Values – and attempts to trace their “possible common intellectual origins”.
McCormack was also a major fundraiser for President Obama’s inaugural parties.
The connections don’t end there. Another organization was founded in 1976, the same year as McCormack’s Liberty Hill Foundation – The Tides Foundation, founded by Drummond Pike and directly tied to SEIU and ACORN (via Board Chairman Wade Rathke). The Tides Foundation grants hundreds of millions of dollars to leftist causes on an annual basis. Tides and Liberty Hill often show up as major donors to the same organizations, and have even awarded each other grants.
As Secretary of State, Kate Brown has received several honors through the years from some of the most leftist organizations out there: The “Bi-partisan” Bus Project, a Profile in Courage award from Basic Rights Oregon, and Rodel Fellowship and Rising Star award from the Aspen Institute.
It is the Aspen Institute that is of particular interest. The Aspen Institute has been around for decades, advocating for some of the most extreme leftist positions in the political spectrum:
Encompassing a broad range of issues, many of AI’s policy-work programs are rooted in the belief that the United States is a nation whose history amounts largely to an unbroken narrative of injustice; that government intervention frequently represents the best remedy for social and economic problems; and that America’s deep-seated “structural racism,” while “harder to see than its previous incarnations,” is just as likely as its forerunner to “perpetuate racial group inequity.” This latter perspective is consistent with the views of a prominent AI board of trustees member, Henry Louis Gates.
This organization is yet another direct tie between Kate Brown and George Soros, who funds AI via the Open Society Institute. Remember that Soros got Kate elected to her current position via the Secretary of State Project. AI has also received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but the Soros connections are extensive:
AI has numerous noteworthy connections to the billionaire philanthropist George Soros. For example, in August 2004 Soros and other wealthy Democrats gathered at the Institute to brainstorm ways in which they could use their fortunes to engineer the defeat of George W. Bush in the upcoming presidential election. That same year, Soros spoke at an AI seminar (which also featured an appearance by Al Gore) titled “America’s Role in the Fight Against Global Poverty.” In 2006 Aspen sponsored a Soros talk where the billionaire promoted his book The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror. Jim Spiegelman, Aspen’s director of communications, formerly worked as a “special assistant” to Soros. And Arjun Gupta, who serves on Aspen’s board of overseers, is a vice president with the Chatterjee Group which advises Soros and the Soros Fund Management Group.
All of these influences show up in the agenda Kate Brown has advanced as Secretary of State. From the partisan change to the race for Labor Commissioner in 2012, to attempts
to radically alter the initiative process to punish political rivals, to her attempts to undermine ballot security, to the latest entry – doing the bidding of corporate giant Comcast – it’s clear who will benefit from our new governor.
By all appearances, the likelihood is high that the agenda of the far left billionaire’s club, instead of being halted by the resignation of John Kitzhaber, will be put into hyperdrive by the even more partisan Kate Brown. The connected nodes of influence between George Soros, Tom Steyer, Michael Kieschnick, Win McCormack, Van Jones, Drummond Pike, SEIU, AFSCME and the various leftist foundations will find a willing servant in the new Democratic Governor of Oregon. Our state is likely to see an even more radically leftist agenda that will be replete with Occupy language, sustainability as a goal, social justice as its roadmap and carbon taxes paying the freight. With the controversies she’s already caused, it may not be long before the hashtag #KorruptKate begins to follow Brown around once again.