Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #465 The Gipper and the Underground Reich

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram is For The Record’s con­tri­bu­tion to the many memo­ri­als to Ronald Rea­gan upon the occa­sion of his pass­ing. Unlike the hagiogra­phies in most of the US media, this pro­gram doc­u­ments a fun­da­men­tal real­i­ty of Reagan’s presidency—its pro­found con­nec­tion to the Under­ground Reich and the piv­otal role of Nazi ele­ments in the most notable “achieve­ment” of the Rea­gan presidency—the roll­back of com­mu­nism and the breakup of the Sovi­et Union. (This should not be inter­pret­ed as an endorse­ment by him of the Sovi­et sys­tem.) After con­trast­ing the squeaky-clean, All-Amer­i­can cel­lu­loid Frank Gipp with the cyn­i­cal, cor­rupt Frank Gipp of real­i­ty, the pro­gram notes the equal­ly strik­ing con­trast between the false, ide­al­ized pres­i­den­cy of Ronald Rea­gan and the dark real­i­ty of his tenure. (Gipp was the Notre Dame foot­ball play­er whom Rea­gan played in a movie and whose nick­name he adopt­ed for his own. Far from being the ide­al­ized role mod­el Rea­gan por­trayed, Gipp was thor­ough­ly cor­rupt.)

The broad­cast traces the evo­lu­tion of a Nazi émi­gré milieu with which Rea­gan was asso­ci­at­ed through­out much of his life. These Nazis were brought into the US under a pro­gram called the Cru­sade for Free­dom, for which Rea­gan served as a spokesman. The per­son­nel brought to the US under the CFF evolved into an impor­tant ele­ment of the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion and became a key ele­ment of US nation­al secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy. These ele­ments came to fruition dur­ing Reagan’s presidency—a stage upon which many of the major play­ers from the CFF milieu were to real­ize the goal of Hitler’s Ost­min­is­teri­um with the even­tu­al breakup of the Sovi­et Union. Behind the sun­ny façade of the Rea­gan pres­i­den­cy, Nazis con­tin­ued to pur­sue the polit­i­cal agen­da of the Third Reich.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Dis­cus­sion of Reagan’s asso­ciates in the Cru­sade for Freedom—Allen Dulles, Richard Nixon and William Casey; the role of the elder George Bush in mak­ing the CFF Nazis a per­ma­nent branch of the Repub­li­can Par­ty; the career of Otto von Bolschwing—Adolph Eichmann’s supe­ri­or in admin­is­ter­ing Hitler’s per­se­cu­tion of the Jews; von Bolschwing’s emi­gra­tion to the US under Dulles’ CFF pro­gram; the role of von Bolschwing pro­tégé Helene von Damm in select­ing the per­son­nel from which Rea­gan made his cab­i­net appoint­ments; the Free Con­gress Foundation’s use of GOP Nazi big­wig Las­z­lo Pasz­tor; the FCF’s piv­otal role as the Reagan/Bush admin­is­tra­tions’ point ele­ment in the for­mer USSR and East­ern Europe; dis­cus­sion of the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion as the cul­mi­na­tion of the CFF machi­na­tions with Rea­gan, William Casey (CIA direc­tor), von Bolschwing pro­tégé von Damm and the elder George Bush (a long-time inti­mate of the CFF Nazis) occu­py­ing cen­ter stage and real­iz­ing the goals of the Nazi-gen­er­at­ed Roll­back or Lib­er­a­tion the­o­ry; the con­nec­tions between the GOP eth­nics, the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations and the for­mer World Anti-Com­mu­nist League; the World Mus­lim Con­gress and its links with the Pak­istani branch of WACL); Nazi oper­a­tive Haj Amin al-Husseini’s found­ing of the WMC; WMC’s role in the anti-Sovi­et Afghan war; the elder George Bush’s stew­ard­ship of the Afghan mujahideen.

1. The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of Reagan’s nick­name “the Gip­per”, derived from Reagan’s role as Notre Dame foot­ball play­er Frank Gipp in the movie “Knute Rockne: All-Amer­i­can.” Gipp, dying of pneu­mo­nia, sup­pos­ed­ly gave Rockne a deathbed request. “His [Gipp’s] pur­port­ed deathbed request to Rockne, ‘Win just one for the Gip­per,’ was used dur­ing a lock­er room pep talk and helped to inspire Rockne’s 1928 team in its upset vic­to­ry against Army. And, as the Gip­per incar­nate, Rea­gan used the line to inspire vot­ers to elect him to the Cal­i­for­nia governor’s man­sion and lat­er the White House. To those who saw the movie and lis­tened to Rea­gan utter those now-famous words, Gipp epit­o­mized the virtues of good char­ac­ter, sports­man­ship, and ‘the right way of liv­ing.’”
(Inter­fer­ence: How Orga­nized Crime Influ­ences Pro­fes­sion­al Foot­ball; Dan Mold­ea; copy­right 1989 by William Mor­row and Com­pa­ny [HC]; ISBN 0–688-08303‑X; pp.19–20.)

2. The pro­gram con­trasts the real­i­ty of Gipp with the cel­lu­loid myth embod­ied in Reagan’s polit­i­cal per­sona. The real­i­ty of Reagan’s pres­i­den­cy con­trasts just as sharply with his mytho­log­i­cal “Gip­per” per­sona as the real­i­ty of Gipp con­trasts with Reagan’s Hol­ly­wood car­i­ca­ture of him. “His­to­ry, how­ev­er, now shows that Gipp, a man of tru­ly ques­tion­able moral val­ues, prob­a­bly nev­er made any such request on or off his deathbed; that Rockne, who was known for grasp­ing at any­thing to incite his play­ers, had fab­ri­cat­ed the inci­dent and that Reagan’s movie fur­ther embell­ished the Gipp/Rockne cha­rade. . . .Regard­less of the facts, the Amer­i­can pub­lic con­tin­ues to believe the leg­end of George Gipp’s deathbed request to Knute Rockne.” (Idem.)

3. “The dif­fi­cul­ties in debunk­ing the myth about one col­lege coach and one of his play­ers is an indi­ca­tion of the prob­lems in dis­pelling the leg­ends about an entire insti­tu­tion. . . . Pow­er­ful forces in Amer­i­ca have built empires around these myths; and the preser­va­tion of these empires and the per­son­al wealth of those who own them depend upon the main­te­nance of the leg­ends.” (Idem.)

4. “In the Rea­gan movie myth of the lives of Rockne and Gipp, there is one scene in which Rockne chas­es away a gam­bler who is look­ing for an edge. Rockne, played by actor Pat O’Brien, tells him, ‘We haven’t got any use for gam­blers around here. You’ve done your best to ruin base­ball and horse rac­ing. This is one game that’s clean and it’s going to stay clean.’ Con­sid­er­ing that Gipp, with the knowl­edge of Rockne, was a noto­ri­ous sports gam­bler, the O’Brien quote per­haps best illus­trates my point.” (Idem.)

5. Mold­ea lat­er points out that, when being chas­tised by Rockne for being unmo­ti­vat­ed, Gipp explained that he had $500.00 bet on the game and was, as a result, very moti­vat­ed. (Ibid.; p. 437.)

6. The rest of this pro­gram high­lights the rela­tion­ship between Ronald Rea­gan and the Under­ground Reich, cul­mi­nat­ing in his administration’s adop­tion of “Roll­back” or “Lib­er­a­tion Theory”—a Third Reich geopo­lit­i­cal strat­e­gy for elim­i­nat­ing the Sovi­et Union. Reagan’s involve­ment with Under­ground Reich ele­ments began when Rea­gan was still in Hol­ly­wood. Ronald Rea­gan served as the front man for an ille­gal domes­tic intel­li­gence oper­a­tion known as the Cru­sade for Free­dom. Devised by Allen Dulles (who invest­ed Bush fam­i­ly mon­ey in the Third Reich and lat­er became direc­tor of the CIA), this oper­a­tion was over­seen by Richard Nixon. William Casey (Nixon’s direc­tor of the SEC and man­ag­er of the Rea­gan-Bush cam­paign in 1980) over­saw the State Depart­ment machi­na­tions that brought these Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments into the Unit­ed States. Casey lat­er became direc­tor of the CIA. The Repub­li­can eth­nic branch (which grew out of this Nazi émi­gré com­mu­ni­ty) lat­er became a repos­i­to­ry for Islam­o­fas­cist ele­ments asso­ci­at­ed with Al Taqwa and Al Qae­da. “As a young movie actor in the ear­ly 1950s, Rea­gan was employed as the pub­lic spokesper­son for an OPC front named the ‘Cru­sade for Free­dom.’ Rea­gan may not have known it, but 99 per­cent for the Crusade’s funds came from clan­des­tine accounts, which were then laun­dered through the Cru­sade to var­i­ous orga­ni­za­tions such as Radio Lib­er­ty, which employed Dulles’s Fas­cists. Bill Casey, who lat­er became CIA direc­tor under Ronald Rea­gan, also worked in Ger­many after World War II on Dulles’ Nazi ‘free­dom fight­ers’ pro­gram. When he returned to New York, Casey head­ed up anoth­er OPC front, the Inter­na­tion­al Res­cue Com­mit­tee, which spon­sored the immi­gra­tion of these Fas­cists to the Unit­ed States. Casey’s com­mit­tee replaced the Inter­na­tion­al Red Cross as the spon­sor for Dulles’s recruits. Con­fi­den­tial inter­views, for­mer mem­bers, OPC; for­mer mem­bers, British for­eign and Com­mon­wealth Office.”
(The Secret War Against the Jews; by John Lof­tus and Mark Aarons; Copy­right 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0–312-11057‑X; p. 605.)

7. More about the gen­e­sis of the CFF: “The truth was quite sor­did: With the help of the Dulles-Angle­ton clique, the Vat­i­can had sent many of the East­ern Euro­pean Nazis to West­ern coun­tries, includ­ing the Unit­ed States, Aus­tralia and Cana­da, where the right wing recruit­ed them to get out the rest of the East­ern Euro­pean eth­nic vote. The man who ran the polit­i­cal recruit­ment was Richard Nixon.” (Ibid.; p. 122.)

8. Frus­tra­tion over Truman’s 1948 elec­tion vic­to­ry over Dewey (which they blamed on the “Jew­ish vote”) impelled Dulles and his pro­tégé Richard Nixon to work toward the real­iza­tion of the fas­cist free­dom fight­er pres­ence in the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion. “As a young con­gress­man, Nixon had been Allen Dulles’s con­fi­dant. They both blamed Gov­er­nor Dewey’s razor-thin loss to Tru­man in the 1948 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on the Jew­ish vote. When he became Eisenhower’s vice pres­i­dent in 1952, Nixon was deter­mined to build his own eth­nic base.” (Idem.)

9. “Vice Pres­i­dent Nixon’s secret polit­i­cal war of Nazis against Jews in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics was nev­er inves­ti­gat­ed at the time. The for­eign lan­guage-speak­ing Croa­t­ians and oth­er Fas­cist émi­gré groups had a ready-made net­work for con­tact­ing and mobi­liz­ing the East­ern Euro­pean eth­nic bloc. There is a very high cor­re­la­tion between CIA domes­tic sub­si­dies to Fas­cist ‘free­dom fight­ers’ dur­ing the 1950’s and the lead­er­ship of the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic cam­paign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financ­ing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to off­set the Jew­ish vote for the Democ­rats.” (Idem.)

10. “In 1952, Nixon had formed an Eth­nic Divi­sion with­in the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee. Dis­placed fas­cists, hop­ing to be returned to pow­er by an Eisen­how­er-Nixon ‘lib­er­a­tion’ pol­i­cy signed on with the com­mit­tee. In 1953, when Repub­li­cans were in office, the immi­gra­tion laws were changed to admit Nazis, even mem­bers of the SS. They flood­ed into the coun­try. Nixon him­self over­saw the new immi­gra­tion pro­gram. As vice pres­i­dent, he even received East­ern Euro­pean Fas­cists in the White House.” (Ibid.; pp. 122–123.)

11. The venal­i­ty of the ele­ments import­ed by Nixon & com­pa­ny is exem­pli­fied by the VorKom­man­do Moskau—an entire SS intel­li­gence unit incor­po­rat­ed com­plete and intact into the US under the CFF. “VorKom­man­do Moskau was an elite for­ward unit of SS intel­li­gence on the Sovi­et front. Its pri­ma­ry mis­sion was anti-Com­mu­nist intel­li­gence col­lec­tion, but it also was respon­si­ble for secu­ri­ty screen­ing of the occu­pied pop­u­la­tions in a broad sec­tor of the East­ern Front, which held near­ly 6 mil­lion Jews. Pre­cise­ly this secu­ri­ty and intel­li­gence expe­ri­ence made the men of the unit so attrac­tive to West­ern intel­li­gence after the war and led them to their jour­ney to the Unit­ed States and mem­ber­ship in Nixon’s Repub­li­can ‘eth­nic groups.’” (Ibid.; p. 496.)

12. VorKom­man­do Moskau did not kill the Jews. It hired the col­lab­o­ra­tors, who recruit­ed the exe­cu­tion­ers, who killed the Jews. From 1940 to 1942, this one small unit act­ed as an employ­ment agency for the archi­tects of Nazi geno­cide in East­ern Europe. Con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, while the Ger­mans mas­ter­mind­ed and con­trolled the machin­ery of the Holo­caust, the foot­sol­diers who car­ried it out were not pri­mar­i­ly Ger­mans, but local vol­un­teers from Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine, and White Rus­sia. Those non-Ger­mans who wished to serve Hitler’s New Order first had to pass a secu­ri­ty check by VorKom­man­do Moskau.” (Idem.)

13. One of the most impor­tant of the fas­cists brought into the coun­try and incor­po­rat­ed into the GOP was Las­z­lo Pasz­tor. Lat­er in the dis­cus­sion, we will see Pasz­tor in his role as “lib­er­a­tion direc­tor” of the Free Con­gress Foundation—the pri­ma­ry ele­ment real­iz­ing Reagan/Bush admin­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy in the for­mer USSR and East­ern Europe. “Twen­ty years after the birth of Israel, the Nazis were com­ing out of the clos­et in the Unit­ed States. One of the most promi­nent East­ern Euro­pean Fas­cists was Las­z­lo Pasz­tor, the found­ing chair of Nixon’s Repub­li­can her­itage groups coun­cil. Dur­ing World War II, Pasz­tor was a diplo­mat in Berlin rep­re­sent­ing the Arrow Cross gov­ern­ment of Nazi Hun­gary, which super­vised the exter­mi­na­tion of the Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion.” (Ibid.; p. 297.)

14. “As a mem­ber of a wartime ‘move­ment hos­tile to the Unit­ed States,’ Pasz­tor would have been barred by the Dis­placed Per­sons’ Act of 1953. For­mer mem­bers of Fas­cist gov­ern­ments became eli­gi­ble, as long as they did not advo­cate form­ing a total­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ment in the Unit­ed States.” (Idem.)

15. When Nixon became pres­i­dent, the fas­cist emi­gres became a per­ma­nent branch of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. As will be seen below, the elder George Bush (as chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee) presided over the incor­po­ra­tion of these Nazi ele­ments as a per­ma­nent part of the GOP. “Pasz­tor labored on the fringes of the Repub­li­can Party’s Eth­nic Divi­sion dur­ing the Eisen­how­er admin­is­tra­tion, but the loy­al Fas­cists were always dropped as soon as the elec­tion cam­paign was over. The Eth­nic Divi­sion was allowed to be active only dur­ing pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns. In 1968, Nixon changed all that. Accord­ing to Pasz­tor, Nixon per­son­al­ly promised to estab­lish a per­ma­nent eth­nic orga­ni­za­tion in the Repub­li­can Par­ty if he became pres­i­dent.” (Idem.)

16. “Nixon kept his promise. As dis­cussed in Chap­ter 5, the 1972 secret Aus­tralian memo revealed that the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion had dis­cov­ered that Fas­cist groups were use­ful to get out the eth­nic votes in sev­er­al key states. Nixon need­ed the Nazi vote to avoid anoth­er Dewey deba­cle. Just a few more votes would have made all the dif­fer­ence in Nixon’s race against Kennedy in 1960. In sev­er­al key states, the East­ern Euro­pean vote could pro­vide the mar­gin for vic­to­ry in 1968.” (Idem.)

17. “The road to temp­ta­tion was clear, and after Nixon won, he approved Pasztor’s appoint­ment as chief orga­niz­er of the eth­nic coun­cil. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Pasztor’s ‘choic­es for fill­ing émi­gré slots as the coun­cil was being formed includ­ed var­i­ous Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist orga­ni­za­tions.’ The for­mer Fas­cists were com­ing out of the clos­et in droves.” (Idem.)

18. Note that the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations became a key ele­ment of the GOP fas­cist com­po­nent. The ABN began in 1943 under Hitler, who orig­i­nal­ly named the orga­ni­za­tion the Com­mit­tee of Sub­ju­gat­ed Nations. The renamed and relo­cat­ed ABN became a key ele­ment of the GOP, the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League and, lat­er, the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion. “The pol­i­cy of the Nixon White House was an ‘open door’ for émi­gré Fas­cists, and through the door came such guests as Ivan Docheff, head of the Bul­gar­i­an Nation­al Front and chair­man of the Amer­i­can Friends of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations (ABN). The ABN, as we doc­u­ment­ed in our pre­vi­ous book, had been con­demned even dur­ing the Eisen­how­er admin­is­tra­tion as an orga­ni­za­tion dom­i­nat­ed by war crim­i­nals and fugi­tive Fas­cists. Yet Nixon wel­comed them with open arms and even had Docheff to break­fast for a prayer meet­ing to cel­e­brate Cap­tive Nations Week. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 297–298.)

19. “ . . . It should be recalled that the State Depart­ment told its Aus­tralian coun­ter­part that local offi­cials in ‘sev­er­al key states’ depend­ed on the Nazi vote. In fact, the émi­gré eth­nic fac­tions, such as the Croa­t­ian Ustashi, were impor­tant in fed­er­al elec­tions as well. The ‘Nixon for Pres­i­dent’ cam­paigns appear to have been the pri­ma­ry ben­e­fi­cia­ry of their sup­port. The pres­i­dent him­self need­ed the East­ern Euro­pean vote so des­per­ate­ly that he was not about to con­demn the Fas­cist eth­nic edi­tors who could reach the vot­ers, even if their hatred of the Jews was well doc­u­ment­ed.” (Ibid.; p. 298.)

20. “Dur­ing Nixon’s ‘Four More Years’ cam­paign in 1971–1972, Las­z­lo Pasz­tor again played a key role in mar­shal­ing the eth­nic vote. No longer a mar­gin­al play­er on the fringes, now he held a key posi­tion as the Repub­li­can Nation­al Committee’s Nation­al­i­ties Direc­tor. At a two-day orga­niz­ing con­ven­tion in Novem­ber 1971, Pasz­tor cas­ti­gat­ed the ‘ultra-lib­er­al’ and left­ist Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, which he felt had aban­doned eth­nic Amer­i­cans, and boast­ed of the work he had done to fun­nel their votes to the Repub­li­cans. Sev­er­al grate­ful Nixon cab­i­net mem­bers respond­ed with promis­es of increased fed­er­al fund­ing for their favored eth­nic groups. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 298–299.)

21. “ . . . After 1953, the Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion changed the rules, and even mem­bers of the Waf­fen SS could immi­grate to the Unit­ed States as long as they claimed only to have fought the Com­mu­nists on the East­ern Front.” (Ibid.; p. 299.)

22. “By the 1970s, Pasz­tor wasn’t afraid to asso­ciate pub­licly with For­mer sup­port­ers of Ger­man fas­cism. Nor did Nixon seem to care, as long as the Ger­mans vot­ed for him. In Octo­ber 1971, the sec­ond All Ger­man-Amer­i­can Her­itage Group Con­fer­ence ‘received a let­ter of ‘warm greet­ings’ from Pres­i­dent Nixon and a note of wel­come from Mrs. Nixon, who accept­ed the title of hon­orary chair­man and not­ed her own Ger­man ances­try.’ It does not take a genius to real­ize that some of the con­fer­ence mem­bers were not typ­i­cal Ger­man-Amer­i­cans. Among the Fas­cist pro­pa­gan­da offered at the con­fer­ence were adver­tise­ments for books that denied that the Final Solu­tion had tak­en place; one of the fea­tured speak­ers had argued that the reports of 6 mil­lion Jews killed by the Nazis were ‘part of a Com­mu­nist-Zion­ist pro­pa­gan­da effort. . . .” (Idem.)

23. “ . . . The evi­dence is unequiv­o­cal that suc­ces­sive Repub­li­can lead­er­ships knew exact­ly what they were doing and with whom they were work­ing. Nixon could not have failed to notice the adverse press the Fas­cists’ rela­tion­ship with the Repub­li­can Par­ty was get­ting, but appar­ent­ly the votes they could deliv­er out­weighed any doubts he may have had about their cre­den­tials.” (Ibid.; p. 300.)

24. “Pasz­tor ws absolute­ly self-con­fi­dent. He knew that even after the press scan­dals, the Fas­cists would remain as part of the Nixon team because of the impor­tance of the eth­nic Fas­cist vote as a counter to the Jews. ‘It was my job to bring [them] into the Repub­li­can Her­itage Groups Coun­cil . . . In 1972 we used the Coun­cil as the skele­ton to build the Her­itage Groups for the re-elec­tion of the Pres­i­dent.’” (Idem.)

25. “Accord­ing to sev­er­al of our sources in the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty who were in a posi­tion to know, the secret ros­ters of the Repub­li­can Party’s Nation­al­i­ties Coun­cil read like a Who’s Who of Fas­cist fugi­tives. The Republican’s Nazi con­nec­tion is the dark­est secret of the Repub­li­can lead­er­ship. The ros­ters will nev­er be dis­closed to the pub­lic. As will be seen in Chap­ter 16 deal­ing with George Bush, the Fas­cist con­nec­tion is too wide­spread for dam­age con­trol.” (Idem.)

26. “Accord­ing to a 1988 study by Russ Bel­lant of Polit­i­cal Research Asso­ciates, vir­tu­al­ly all of the fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions of World War II opened up a Repub­li­can Par­ty front group dur­ing the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion. The cal­iber of the Repub­li­can eth­nic lead­ers can be gauged by one New Jer­sey man, Emanuel Jasiuk, a noto­ri­ous mass mur­der­er from what today is called the inde­pen­dent nation of Belarus, for­mer­ly part of the Sovi­et Union. But not all Amer­i­can eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties are rep­re­sent­ed in the GOP’s eth­nic sec­tion; there are no black or Jew­ish her­itage groups.” (Idem.)

27. “Accord­ing to a num­ber of for­mer intel­li­gence offi­cers, Nixon was fund­ing the Nazis in the Unit­ed States with the tax­pay­ers’ mon­ey. Each of the eth­nic groups was the ben­e­fi­cia­ry of covert CIA sup­port for ‘anti-Com­mu­nist pro­pa­gan­da’ that enabled them to pub­lish right-wing news­pa­pers, hold con­ven­tions, and gen­er­al­ly estab­lish dom­i­nance over the demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly inclined, anti-Nazi, eth­nic immi­grants. For years the mon­ey was tak­en from the CIA’s covert accounts and laun­dered through legit­i­mate orga­ni­za­tions, such as Radio Free Europe and Radio Lib­er­ty. . . .” (Idem.)

28. “ . . . The truth is that the Nazi immi­grants were ‘tar babies’ that no one knew how to get rid of. Dulles had brought in a hand­ful of the top émi­gré politi­cians in the late 1940’s. They in turn spon­sored their friends in the 1950’s. By the 1960’s, ex-Nazis who had orig­i­nal­ly fled to Argenti­na were mov­ing to the Unit­ed States. Every­one turned a blind eye. . .” (Ibid.; p. 301.)

29. While serv­ing as chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, the elder George Bush shep­herd­ed the Nazi émi­gré com­mu­ni­ty into posi­tion as a per­ma­nent branch of the Repub­li­can Par­ty. “It was Bush who ful­filled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘eth­nic emi­gres’ a per­ma­nent part of Repub­li­can pol­i­tics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Depart­ment spokesman con­firmed to his Aus­tralian coun­ter­part that the eth­nic groups were very use­ful to get out the vote in sev­er­al key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee exact­ly coin­cid­ed with Las­z­lo Pasztor’s 1972 dri­ve to trans­form the Her­itage Groups Coun­cil into the party’s offi­cial eth­nic arm. The groups Pasz­tor chose as Bush’s cam­paign allies were the émi­gré Fas­cists whom Dulles had brought to the Unit­ed States.”(Ibid.; pp. 369–370.)

30. The same Nazi ele­ments were present in Bush’s cam­paign in 1988. “Near­ly twen­ty years lat­er, and after expos­es in sev­er­al respectable news­pa­pers, Bush con­tin­ued to recruit most of the same eth­nic Fas­cists, includ­ing Pasz­tor, for his own 1988 eth­nic out­reach pro­gram when he first ran for pres­i­dent.” (Ibid.; pp. 370–371.)

31. One of the most impor­tant Nazis brought into the coun­try through the Dulles-spon­sored CFF was Otto von Bolschwing. Lat­er, his pro­tégé Helene Von Damm became the per­son who select­ed the list from which all of Ronald Reagan’s cab­i­net appoint­ments were made. “Eich­mann was replaced on the Mid­dle East­ern scene by a far more skilled intel­li­gence offi­cer, Otto von Bolschwing. Before World War II, von Bolschwing set up an import-export busi­ness in Pales­tine as a cov­er for his espi­onage activ­i­ties. He was an edu­cat­ed man from a good fam­i­ly and an enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­er of Hitler. After the war, von Bolschwing became one of Allen Dulles’s senior agents in the CIA.” (Ibid.; p. 46.)

32. “Dulles helped von Bolschwing emi­grate to Cal­i­for­nia, where he estab­lished a busi­ness asso­ci­a­tion with Helene von Damm, lat­er Ronald Reagan’s ambas­sador to Aus­tria. In lat­er years, his busi­ness went bank­rupt and he was forced to sur­ren­der his Amer­i­can cit­i­zen­ship on the grounds that he was a Nazi war crim­i­nal.” (Idem.)

33. Next, the pro­gram reviews Von Bolschwing’s career in the Unit­ed States, after being brought here by Allen Dulles. In par­tic­u­lar, this part of the pro­gram notes the rela­tion­ship between Von Bolschwing and his pro­tégé, Helene Von Damm. As not­ed above, Von Damm became the per­son who select­ed the lists from which the Rea­gan per­son­nel appoint­ments were made.
(“Ex-Nazi’s Bril­liant U.S. Career Stran­gled in a Web of Lies” by Pete Carey; San Jose Mer­cury News; 11/20/1981; pp. 1A-24A.)

34. The broad­cast presents more infor­ma­tion high­light­ing Helene Von Damm’s role in select­ing the lists of per­son­nel that Ronald Rea­gan used to select his cab­i­net appoint­ments. (“Big Pro­mo­tion for Reagan’s Ex-Sec­re­tary;” San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 8/3/82.)

35. Much of the sec­ond side of the pro­gram con­sists of excerpts from AFA 37. This excerpt doc­u­ments the Free Con­gress Foundation—the orga­ni­za­tion that became the point ele­ment for the Reagan/Bush admin­is­tra­tions’ pol­i­cy in the for­mer USSR and East­ern Europe. As men­tioned above, the direc­tor of the FCF’s “lib­er­a­tion pol­i­cy” was none oth­er than Las­z­lo Pasz­tor, the king­pin of the GOP’s Nazi émi­gré com­mu­ni­ty. The Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion became the embod­i­ment of the Third Reich-gen­er­at­ed “Roll­back” or “Lib­er­a­tion” the­o­ry. That geopo­lit­i­cal tac­tic involved the uti­liza­tion of the var­i­ous eth­nic groups inside the for­mer Sovi­et Union in order to break the USSR into its com­po­nent eth­nic republics. This (obvi­ous­ly) was real­ized. In addi­tion, the var­i­ous Third Reich-affil­i­at­ed East­ern Euro­pean groups that achieved promi­nence in the GOP’s fas­cist émi­gré com­mu­ni­ty ulti­mate­ly recon­sti­tut­ed them­selves in their coun­tries of ori­gin and became agents of influ­ence in the post-com­mu­nist soci­eties that emerged after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is impor­tant to note the evo­lu­tion of the Nazi emi­gres from the CFF (Cru­sade for Free­dom) into the FCF (Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion) and to note how the Reagan/Bush admin­is­tra­tions rep­re­sent­ed the cul­mi­na­tion of the events that began in the imme­di­ate after­math of WWII. The Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments brought in by Dulles and Nixon blos­somed in the Reagan/Bush admin­is­tra­tions. With the ascen­sion of Rea­gan (the chief spokesper­son for the CFF), William Casey (the chief State Depart­ment oper­a­tive for the CFF) became CIA direc­tor. (Casey had been the man­ag­er of the Reagan/Bush cam­paign in 1980.) The Vice-Pres­i­dent was George H.W. Bush, who had over­seen the per­ma­nent incor­po­ra­tion of the Nazi emi­gres into the GOP dur­ing Nixon’s pres­i­den­cy. The per­son­nel who peo­pled the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion were select­ed from lists drawn up by Helene Von Damm, a pro­tégé of Otto von Bolschwing—brought into the US by Dulles’ CFF. The pol­i­cy embod­ied by Reagan—Rollback or Lib­er­a­tion Theory—had its gen­e­sis with the Third Reich’s Ost­min­is­teri­um. It was real­ized (in part) through the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion. The “Lib­er­a­tion Direc­tor” of the FCF was Las­z­lo Pasz­tor. The FCF was very close to the ABN and the for­mer World Anti-Com­mu­nist League, ele­ments of which were also deeply involved with the ille­gal Con­tra-sup­port effort, which cul­mi­nat­ed in the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal.
(“The Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion Goes East” by Russ Bel­lant and Lou Wolff; Covert Action Infor­ma­tion Bul­letin; Issue #35; Win­ter 1990–1991.)

36. Con­tem­plat­ing the use of Under­ground Reich-relat­ed ele­ments in the clos­ing phase of the Cold War, the pro­gram reviews the World Mus­lim Con­gress, found­ed by the Grand Mufti. The WMC over­lapped the lead­er­ship of the Pak­istani branch of the for­mer World Anti-Com­mu­nist League, with which many of the CFF “Free­dom Fight­ers” were asso­ci­at­ed as well. The WMC became a pri­ma­ry ele­ment of the anti-Sovi­et war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. “Anoth­er favorite IHR speak­er and col­lab­o­ra­tor was Issah Nakleh of the World Mus­lim Con­gress (WMC). Based in Pak­istan, the WMC was ini­tial­ly head­ed by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who, like his friend H. Kei­th Thomp­son, stood by the Third Reich until his death in 1974. A few years lat­er, the WMC, then head­ed by Pak­istani Dr. Ina­mul­lah Kahn, mailed Holo­caust-denial lit­er­a­ture to every mem­ber of the U.S. Con­gress and the British Par­lia­ment. The WMC’s offi­cial mouth­piece, Mus­lim World, car­ried the ads for The Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion and Hen­ry Ford’s The Inter­na­tion­al Jew. Dr. Khan’s con­gress also pub­lished Freema­son­ry, a book warn­ing that Jews were using lodge mem­bers to extend secret con­trol over reli­gion and society—a para­noid the­o­ry that has long been pop­u­lar among Lib­er­ty Lob­by sup­port­ers and neo-Nazi groups around the world. Acknowl­edg­ing their polit­i­cal kin­ship, WMC sec­re­tary-gen­er­al Khan sent a let­ter to the Spot­light prais­ing its ‘superb in-depth analy­sis’ and stat­ing that the paper deserved ‘the thanks of all right-mind­ed peo­ple.’ Dr. Khan also served as an advi­sor to the Sau­di Ara­bi­an roy­al fam­i­ly, which lav­ished funds on the WMC. In addi­tion, the Sau­di Ara­bi­an gov­ern­ment retained the ser­vices of Amer­i­can neo-nazi William Grim­stead as a Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ist. . . . Soon, the World Mus­lim Con­gress began work­ing close­ly with U.S. intel­li­gence and Pak­istani mil­i­tary offi­cials, who were covert­ly sup­port­ing the Afghan mujahideen in their fight against the Sovi­et-installed regime in Kab­ul. This effort was strong­ly endorsed by Dr. Khan, who served for many years as the Pak­istani rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Nazi-infest­ed World Anti-Com­mu­nist League, which played an impor­tant role in the Rea­gan administration’s ‘secret war’ in the Gold­en Cres­cent.”
(The Beast Reawak­ens; Mar­tin A. Lee; Copy­right 1997 [HC]; Lit­tle, Brown & Co.; ISBN 0–316-51959–6; pp. 225–226.)

37. It is inter­est­ing and sig­nif­i­cant that the point man coor­di­nat­ing US sup­port for the Afghan Mujahideen sup­port effort was the elder George Bush, who also played a cen­tral role in bring­ing the CFF Nazis into the Repub­li­can Par­ty. The col­lab­o­ra­tion between the Reagan/Bush admin­is­tra­tions and the Islamists paved the way for the incor­po­ra­tion of Islam­o­fas­cist ele­ments into the GOP’s Eth­nic pro­gram. “More to the point, now, in the Afghanistan War, Vice Pres­i­dent Bush’s inter­ests and Osama bin Laden’s con­verged. In using bin Laden’s Arab Afghans as proxy war­riors against the Sovi­ets, Bush advo­cat­ed a pol­i­cy that was ful­ly in line with Amer­i­can inter­ests at that time. But he did not con­sid­er the long-term impli­ca­tions of sup­port­ing a net­work of Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist rebels.”
(House of Bush/House of Saud; by Craig Unger; Scrib­n­er [HC]; Copy­right 2004 by Craig Unger; ISBN 0–7432-5337‑X; pp. 102–103.)

38. “Specif­i­cal­ly, as vice pres­i­dent in the mid-eight­ies, Bush sup­port­ed aid­ing the mujahideen in Afghanistan through the Mak­tab al-Khi­damat (MAK) or Ser­vices Offices, which sent mon­ey and fight­ers to the Afghan resis­tance in Peshawar. ‘Bush was in charge of the covert oper­a­tions that sup­port­ed the MAK,’ says John Lof­tus, a Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cial in the eight­ies. ‘They were essen­tial­ly hir­ing a ter­ror­ist to fight ter­ror­ism.’” (Ibid.; p. 102.)

39. As has been well doc­u­ment­ed, the Afghan Mujahideen effort spawned Al Qae­da. “Cofound­ed by Osama bin Laden and Abdul­lah Azzam, the MAK was the pre­cur­sor to bin Laden’s glob­al ter­ror­ist net­work, Al Qae­da. It sent mon­ey and fight­ers to the Afghan resis­tance in Peshawar, Pak­istan, and even the Unit­ed States to bring thou­sands of war­riors to Afghanistan to fight the Sovi­et Union. The MAK was lat­er linked to the 1993 bomb­ing of the World Trade Cen­ter in New York through an office in Brook­lyn known as the Al-Kifah Refugee Cen­ter. It is not clear how much con­tact he had with bin Laden, but Sheikh Omar Abdel Rah­man, the ‘Blind Sheikh,’ who mas­ter­mind­ed the 1993 bomb­ing of the World Trade Cen­ter, also appeared in Peshawar on occa­sion.” (Idem.)


2 comments for “FTR #465 The Gipper and the Underground Reich”

  1. Here’s a reminder that myths don’t ‘cat­a­pult’ them­selves. They need to be repeat­ed:

    How Repub­li­cans cre­at­ed the myth of Ronald Rea­gan
    With the Gip­per’s rep­u­ta­tion flag­ging after Clin­ton, neo­con­ser­v­a­tives launched a stealthy cam­paign to remake him as a “great” pres­i­dent.
    Will Bunch

    Mon­day, Feb 2, 2009 05:28 AM CST

    The myth of Ronald Rea­gan was already loom­ing in the spring of 1997 — when a high­ly pop­u­lar Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton was launch­ing his sec­ond-term, pre-Mon­i­ca Lewin­sky, and the Repub­li­can brand seemed at low ebb. But what neo­con­ser­v­a­tive activist Grover Norquist and his allies pro­posed that spring was vir­tu­al­ly unheard of — an active, mapped-out, auda­cious cam­paign to spread a dis­tort­ed vision of Reagan’s lega­cy across Amer­i­ca.

    In a sense, some of the cred­it for trig­ger­ing this may belong to those sup­pos­ed­ly lib­er­al edi­tors at the New York Times, and their deci­sion at the end of 1996 to pub­lish that Arthur Schlesinger Jr. sur­vey of the pres­i­dents. The below-aver­age rat­ing by the his­to­ri­ans for Rea­gan, com­ing right on the heels of Clin­tons’ easy reelec­tion vic­to­ry, was a wake-up call for these peo­ple who came to Wash­ing­ton in the 1980s as the shock troops of a rev­o­lu­tion and now saw every­thing slip­ping away. The first Rea­gan salvos came from the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, the same con­ser­v­a­tive think tank that also had fet­ed the 10th anniver­sary of the Rea­gan tax cut in 1991. After its ini­tial arti­cle slam­ming the Times, the foundation’s mag­a­zine, Pol­i­cy Review, came back in July 1997 with a sec­ond piece for its 20th anniver­sary issue: “Rea­gan Betrayed: Are Con­ser­v­a­tives Fum­bling His Lega­cy?”

    The com­ing con­tours of the Rea­gan myth were neat­ly laid out in a series of short essays from the lead­ers of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment: that the Gip­per deserved all or at least most of the cred­it for win­ning the Cold War, that the eco­nom­ic boom that Amer­i­cans were enjoy­ing in 1997 was the result of the Rea­gan tax cut (and not the march toward bal­anced bud­gets, low­er inter­est rates and tar­get­ed invest­ment), and that the biggest prob­lem with the GOP was, as the title sug­gest­ed, not Reagan’s lega­cy but a new gen­er­a­tion of weak-kneed lead­ers who were get­ting it all wrong. The tone was estab­lished by none oth­er than Reagan’s own son, Michael, now him­self a talk-radio host, who wrote: “Although my father is the one afflict­ed with Alzheimer’s dis­ease, I some­times think the Repub­li­cans are suf­fer­ing a much greater mem­o­ry loss. They have for­got­ten Ronald Reagan’s accom­plish­ments — and that is why we have lost so many of them.”

    Michael Rea­gan, like most of the oth­ers, men­tioned Reagan’s fre­quent calls for less gov­ern­ment — pre­sum­ably his accom­plish­ment there was sim­ply in call­ing for it, since he nev­er came close to achiev­ing it. Gary Bauer, anoth­er for­mer Rea­gan aide who lat­er ran for pres­i­dent as an antiabor­tion “fam­i­ly val­ues” can­di­date, took a sim­i­lar tack on the speak­ing-out issue, not­ing that Rea­gan “spoke of the sanc­ti­ty of human life with pas­sion” — again regard­less of his lack of con­crete results on that front. One of the writ­ers argued: “On the inter­na­tion­al scene, Rea­gan knew that only Amer­i­ca could lead the forces of free­dom” — it was for­mer assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Elliott Abrams, who’d plead­ed guilty in a deal to with­hold­ing infor­ma­tion about Iran-Con­tra from Con­gress and was par­doned by Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush. Okla­homa Gov. Frank Keat­ing even went the dis­tance and com­pared Rea­gan to the 16th pres­i­dent with his argu­ment that “Reagan’s achieve­ment can be com­pared to Lincoln’s, because he faced immense chal­lenges in an era char­ac­ter­ized by deep and fun­da­men­tal philo­soph­i­cal divi­sions among the peo­ple he set out to lead.” Of course, Keating’s anal­o­gy implied that stagfla­tion and a left-wing gov­ern­ment in Nicaragua were on an equiv­a­lent plane with slav­ery and a civ­il war that killed hun­dreds of thou­sands of Amer­i­cans on our own soil — dra­ma­tiz­ing the rhetor­i­cal extent to which con­ser­v­a­tives were now will­ing to go in order to sal­vage their move­ment.

    One of the more down-to-earth trib­utes was writ­ten by Norquist, who said: “Every con­ser­v­a­tive knows that we will win rad­i­cal tax reform and reduc­tion as soon as we elect a pres­i­dent who will sign the bill. The flow of his­to­ry is with us. Our vic­to­ries can be delayed, but not denied. This is the change wrought by Ronald Rea­gan.” Norquist all but revealed one of his mis­sions in the com­ing two years — find­ing a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who would assume the Rea­gan man­tle in a way that nei­ther Bush 41 nor Dole ever could — but not the oth­er. His sec­ond big push was prac­ti­cal­ly a guer­ril­la mar­ket­ing cam­paign to make sure that the less-engaged Mid­dle Amer­i­ca would get the mes­sage that Rea­gan belonged in the pan­theon of all-time greats right next to Lin­coln, Wash­ing­ton and FDR. Norquist had learned the lessons of Nor­mandy and of the Bran­den­burg Gate, which was that pow­er­ful sym­bols can mean a lot more than words (espe­cial­ly in a lit­tle-read pol­i­cy jour­nal), that a motorist under the big Sun­belt sky of Ronald Rea­gan Boule­vard will absorb the mes­sage of the Gipper’s great­ness with­out ever pon­der­ing if ketchup should be a veg­etable in fed­er­al­ly fund­ed school lunch­es or if “the moral equiv­a­lent of our Found­ing Fathers” in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca were drug-deal­ing thugs, the kind of stub­born things that popped up in those news­pa­per arti­cles rank­ing the pres­i­dents.

    The Ronald Rea­gan Lega­cy Project was hatched in the spring of 1997 — and per­haps like any suc­cess­ful guer­ril­la oper­a­tion, there was an ele­ment of sur­prise. There was no for­mal announce­ment, noth­ing to tip off any alarmists on the left. Rather than incor­po­rate the Rea­gan project as a sep­a­rate enti­ty, which car­ried the poten­tial of greater scruti­ny of its oper­a­tions and its finances, it was sim­ply a unit of the group that Norquist had been over­see­ing for more than a decade, the Amer­i­cans for Tax Reform. The Rea­gan Lega­cy Project would not even get its first men­tion in print until Octo­ber 23, 1997 — by then its first bold pro­pos­al had two key back­ers in Geor­gia Rep. Bob Barr and that state’s Repub­li­can Sen. Paul Coverdell. They had endorsed leg­is­la­tion that would rename the Capi­tol region’s busy domes­tic air­port, Wash­ing­ton Nation­al, as Rea­gan Nation­al. The renam­ing would not only mean that mil­lions of air trav­el­ers would pass through the facil­i­ty named for the 40th pres­i­dent, but a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber would be from the nation’s lib­er­al elites, espe­cial­ly in Big Media, who used the airport’s pop­u­lar shut­tle ser­vice. Sim­ply put, Rea­gan Nation­al Air­port would be a week­ly thumb in the eye of the Yan­kee elites who were still belit­tling the aging Gipper’s pres­i­den­cy.

    The announce­ment didn’t even get cov­er­age in the home­town Wash­ing­ton Post until exact­ly one month lat­er, when Norquist’s behind-the-scenes lob­by­ing push had already bagged the endorse­ment of the influ­en­tial Repub­li­can Gov­er­nors Asso­ci­a­tion — includ­ing George Allen, the gov­er­nor of the state where the air­port is locat­ed (in Arling­ton, Va.) on fed­er­al land — as well as House Speak­er Gin­grich. With Rea­gan out of pub­lic view with Alzheimer’s for three years now, advo­cate Barr cast the mea­sure as a feel-good pro­pos­al that sur­passed par­ti­san­ship. “Peo­ple appre­ci­ate how Ronald Rea­gan gave voice to Amer­i­cans’ basic good feel­ings, includ­ing a lot of Democ­rats, ” he said. Democ­rats, in fact, did what you would expect them to do … they hemmed and hawed. The may­or of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., at the time — with thus the largest pres­ence on the region­al pan­el that ran Wash­ing­ton Nation­al — was Demo­c­rat Mar­i­on Bar­ry, a bit­ter foe of Reagan’s pol­i­tics, who could only fret that there were a “host of oth­er” peo­ple who should be con­sid­ered, too; in a lat­er arti­cle, Geral­dine Fer­raro, who was Wal­ter Mondale’s run­ning mate in 1984, said that Reagan’s real lega­cy was the moun­tain of debt, but then she offered a ver­bal shrug: “The man was pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States; he served two terms.” It almost brought to mind Reagan’s cru­el remark about Michael Dukakis a decade ear­li­er, that “I’m not going to pick on an invalid.”

    After a cou­ple of years in the wilder­ness with the rest of the inside-the-Belt­way right wing, Norquist had found a new cause that not only advanced the move­ment but that he could also have fun with. “The guy end­ed the Cold War; he turned the econ­o­my around,” Norquist told the Bal­ti­more Sun. “He deserves a mon­u­ment like the Jef­fer­son or the FDR — or the Colos­sus at Rhodes! Nation­al Air­port is a good place to start.”


    With that lit­tle les­son in the his­to­ry of orga­nized applied his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism, a ques­tion is raised: So when does the Bush Lega­cy Project start? Is it pos­si­ble that, like the Rea­gan Lega­cy Project’s qui­et launch, the Bush Lega­cy Project is already under­way? Tis the sea­son of revis­ing, after all.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 9, 2015, 5:54 pm
  2. The micro­cosm in the macro­cosm:

    Wash­ing­ton Post
    How rich con­ser­v­a­tives bilk the rank and file into mak­ing them rich­er
    By Paul Wald­man Feb­ru­ary 17 at 3:16 PM

    In the last few years, polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions of var­i­ous kinds have pro­lif­er­at­ed, as all kinds of peo­ple seek to take advan­tage of the post-Cit­i­zens Unit­ed world in which mon­ey can flow in so many direc­tions. This has pro­vid­ed a splen­did oppor­tu­ni­ty for the par­tic­i­pants in an old game, one in which gullible con­ser­v­a­tives are scammed out of their mon­ey by a seem­ing­ly lim­it­less num­ber of con artists.

    Some of those con artists are obscure con­sul­tants and oper­a­tors, but some of them are quite famous, which we’ll get to in a bit. But today, John Hawkins of Right Wing News released a report on a group of con­ser­v­a­tive PACs that took in mil­lions of dol­lars in con­tri­bu­tions in 2014, osten­si­bly for the pur­pose of elect­ing Repub­li­cans, but spent almost none of it on actu­al polit­i­cal activ­i­ty. Instead, the mon­ey went into the pock­ets of the peo­ple who run the PACs and their asso­ciates. Jon­ah Gold­berg, react­ing to the report, calls this the “right wing scam machine.”

    This, I’ll argue, is in some ways a micro­cosm of the entire con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. But first, Hawkins explains how it works:

    For exam­ple, let me tell you how con­ser­v­a­tives can be (and have been) ripped off by scam groups. Let’s say Ronald Rea­gan is still alive and some­one starts the Re-Elect Ronald Rea­gan To A Third Term PAC. Because peo­ple love Rea­gan, let’s sup­pose that con­ser­v­a­tive donors pony up $500,000 to help the orga­ni­za­tion. How­ev­er, the donors don’t know that Ronald Rea­gan has noth­ing to do with the PAC. Fur­ther­more, the real goal of the PAC is to line the pock­ets of its own­er, not to help Ronald Rea­gan. So, the PAC sets up two ven­dors, both con­trolled by the PAC own­er: Scam Ven­dor #1 and Scam Ven­dor #2. Let’s assume it costs $50,000 to raise the half mil­lion the PAC takes in. Then, the PAC sends $100,000 to the first com­pa­ny and $100,000 to the sec­ond com­pa­ny to “pro­mote Ronald Rea­gan for Pres­i­dent.”

    Each of the com­pa­nies then goes out and spends $1,000 on fliers. The “inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures” that show up on the FEC report? They’re at 40%. That’s because the FEC doesn’t require ven­dors to dis­close how much of the mon­ey they receive is eat­en up as over­head. The dubi­ous net ben­e­fit that Ronald Rea­gan receives from an orga­ni­za­tion that raised $500,000 on his name? It’s $2,000. On the oth­er hand, the net prof­it for the PAC own­er is $448,000. Is that legal? The short answer is, “It’s a bit of a grey area, but, yes, it is legal.”

    For the most part, the big­ger and more elite PACs Hawkins looked at are the ones that spent mon­ey in the way they said they were going to; for instance, Club for Growth Action spent 88 per­cent of its con­tri­bu­tions on can­di­dates. On the oth­er end, the Tea Par­ty Express spent only 5 per­cent of its con­tri­bu­tions on can­di­dates; Hawkins even found a cou­ple of small­er PACs that spent noth­ing at all on can­di­dates.

    This par­tic­u­lar con is just one vari­ant of a wider sys­tem, one that has been in oper­a­tion for decades. While there may be some cas­es of sim­i­lar scams on the left, they’re absolute­ly ram­pant on the right, because they’ve been so cen­tral to the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment for so long. In the 1960s, con­ser­v­a­tives real­ized that the nation­wide grass­roots net­work that activists built to sup­port Bar­ry Gold­wa­ter could be an ongo­ing source of funds, not only for con­ser­v­a­tive caus­es but for peo­ple want­i­ng to sell snake oil. Lists of names and address­es became a val­ued com­mod­i­ty, built, bought and sold again and again for the ben­e­fit of those who con­trolled them and those who used them (Rick Perl­stein lays out that his­to­ry here).

    That tra­di­tion con­tin­ues, but in new and more com­pli­cat­ed ways that I like to call the cir­cle of scam. Orga­ni­za­tions like the Her­itage Foun­da­tion and Free­dom­Works pay radio hosts like Rush Lim­baugh and Sean Han­ni­ty big mon­ey to offer on-air endorse­ments that are the radio equiv­a­lent of “native adver­tis­ing.” Future pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mike Huck­abee sells his email list on “mir­a­cle can­cer cures” hid­den in the Bible. Con­ser­v­a­tive media fig­ures like Dick Mor­ris solic­it con­tri­bu­tions that some­how are nev­er turned to the polit­i­cal ends they claim. Nobody wants to upend the sys­tem, because too many peo­ple are get­ting a taste.

    The com­mon thread can be found in the marks: the lit­tle old lady in Tupe­lo who sends in $50 think­ing that she’s strik­ing a blow against Barack Oba­ma, the cou­ple in Tope­ka who hopes Mike Huckabee’s bib­li­cal can­cer cure can save their daughter’s life, the man in Tole­do who thinks that the group with “Tea Par­ty” in its name is going to have an impact on his state’s races. What none of them know is that their mon­ey is just going to make some­body who’s already rich a lit­tle bit rich­er.

    And that’s where we get to the larg­er pic­ture. There’s a line that runs from those donors to the biggest play­ers in con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics and the politi­cians they sup­port. When thou­sands of vol­un­teers set out to knock doors on behalf of Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty, what are they seek­ing? A bet­ter Amer­i­ca, more free­dom, a return to the sim­pler time they remem­ber from their youth? All that and more. But what are they actu­al­ly going to get? They’ve been set to work by AFP’s prime donors, Charles and David Koch (whose com­bined net worth may exceed $100 bil­lion), to elect can­di­dates who will work tire­less­ly to low­er invest­ment tax­es, destroy the right of work­ers to bar­gain col­lec­tive­ly, and lessen the ter­ri­ble bur­den of envi­ron­men­tal, con­sumer pro­tec­tion, and work­er safe­ty reg­u­la­tions that so oppress the likes of the Kochs.


    If there’s one thing con­ser­v­a­tives of all stripes hate, it’s redis­tri­b­u­tion. But with­in their move­ment there’s a nev­er-end­ing redis­tri­b­u­tion at work, in which the mon­ey and efforts of ordi­nary peo­ple feed the inter­ests of those who enlist them, or in many cas­es just prey upon them. I’ve often won­dered why con­ser­v­a­tives them­selves aren’t angri­er about the most appalling scams, not only because of the oppor­tu­ni­ty cost when a dona­tion goes to some con­sul­tant instead of to an effort that could have a real polit­i­cal impact, but also because it’s their peo­ple who are get­ting fleeced. I think the rea­son is that so many peo­ple are, in one way or anoth­er, in on the game.

    This part real­ly cap­tures the extent of the scam:

    And that’s where we get to the larg­er pic­ture. There’s a line that runs from those donors to the biggest play­ers in con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics and the politi­cians they sup­port. When thou­sands of vol­un­teers set out to knock doors on behalf of Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty, what are they seek­ing? A bet­ter Amer­i­ca, more free­dom, a return to the sim­pler time they remem­ber from their youth? All that and more. But what are they actu­al­ly going to get? They’ve been set to work by AFP’s prime donors, Charles and David Koch (whose com­bined net worth may exceed $100 bil­lion), to elect can­di­dates who will work tire­less­ly to low­er invest­ment tax­es, destroy the right of work­ers to bar­gain col­lec­tive­ly, and lessen the ter­ri­ble bur­den of envi­ron­men­tal, con­sumer pro­tec­tion, and work­er safe­ty reg­u­la­tions that so oppress the likes of the Kochs

    Yep, since groups like Amer­i­cans For Pros­per­i­ty are actu­al­ly work­ing to achieve the Kochs’ goals — goals which are vast­ly dif­fer­ent from the “return to sim­pler times” goals that their small donors are hop­ing for — the groups that sim­ply take all the mon­ey and enrich them­selves are actu­al­ly less of a scam than the one’s like Amer­i­cans For Proper­i­ty. At least the small time grifters are just tak­ing your mon­ey. The big boy scam­mers tell you they’re going to use your mon­ey to rebuild the soci­ety of your child­hood mem­o­ries and instead use the mon­ey to take over and destroy your soci­ety! Now THAT’s how you run a scam!

    But wait, should­n’t the mag­ic of the unreg­u­lat­ed mar­ket have fixed this prob­lem by now by weed­ed out all the bad actors? That’s how it’s sup­posed to work, right? Per­haps all those dona­tions will still going to trick­le down at a lat­er date. Yes, that is like­ly the case.

    So patience, dear donor. It’s not all a scam. Every­thing will even­tu­al­ly be as it should be. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 18, 2015, 11:54 am

Post a comment