What are the chances that an alleged computer hacker has connections to a George Soros-funded organization?
Here we have Aaron Swartz, 24, a “political activist, prominent computer programmer and former ethics fellow at Harvard,” who is now facing four federal felony charges” of computer hacking.
Local prosecutors said Swartz used Massachusetts Institute of Technology facilities and internet connections to access the JSTOR database. Swartz is also facing “two state felony charges for breaking into a ‘depository’ and breaking & entering in the daytime.”
Swartz is only vaguely referenced as a “political activist,” while his political activist connections are not detailed.
Fortunately, Swartz’s name immediately triggered my memory.
That Aaron Swartz is capable of hacking is no surprise. His aptitude for such a devious act becomes clear when one knows he is also the co-inventor of RSS 1.0, helped launch Creative Commons, and co-founded Reddit. He also co-founded watchdog.net, Open Library, and Jottit.
But it is Swartz’s knack for political manipulation that will stand out after you learn he is also a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC).
In November 2009, I wrote the following profile about the PCCC. Enjoy.
The PCCC is another one of those groups that slipped under the radar without notice during the January 2009 inaugural silly season — unless you’re a card-carrying progressive, that is.
Former RBO regulars already know what’s coming: PCCC is another George Soros-funded MoveOn.org “project.”
To be honest, if I had not been a Google email user, I might have remained oblivious, too. But — there it was — right at the top of the incoming email links.
Chris Bower of Open Left wrote a January 8, 2009, blog post announcing PCCC’s launch:
- An exciting new piece of progressive infrastructure is emerging to help progressive candidates in federal campaigns: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Rather than focusing on large, independent expenditures, ala the Club for Growth, it seeks to help progressive federal candidates, such as Tom Geoghegan, by providing them with expert staff, advice, strategy and connection to the netroots. The focus will be on open seat primaries, and progressives who face competitive general elections, but primaries against conservative Democrats might also come into play.
- A group of progressive operatives from MoveOn and labor circles have teamed with a prominent Internet pioneer to try to give the Sam Bennetts of the world the final push they need — and send even more [Tom] Perriellos to Congress. The organization will be the first of its kind exclusively to focus on electing progressive Democrats in congressional elections.
It won’t focus its energy on unseating conservative Democrats, but [Adam] Green, a cofounder, didn’t rule out the possibility. Instead, it will prioritize competitive open-seat primaries and help general election candidates like Bennett and Perriello run effective campaigns.
The group’s first forays are likely to be in the Illinois district vacated by Rahm Emanuel, who left to become Obama’s chief of staff. Green says the group is in talks with a progressive labor lawyer, Tom Geoghegan, in that district. Another potential target: the California district emptied by Hilda Solis, who’s been tapped to be labor secretary….
The PCCC aims to be something of a guiding resource for first-time candidates like Bennett. By helping candidates find good campaign staff and make more effective use of the Internet, the group thinks candidates could save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in consultant fees. Whereas consultants might charge thousands to record and pump out robo-calls, for instance, the PCCC could show a candidate how to do it in-house, online, for a fraction of the cost.
Adam Green is MoveOn.org’s former Director of Strategic Campaigns.
Fellow PCCC co-founders are Aaron Swartz; Periello campaign staff member Darcy Burner, affiliated with K Street’s Campaign for America’s Future; and Stephanie Taylor, “who ran Perriello’s field operation in the campaign’s final month, is a former union organizer with over ten years of field and online experience at SEIU, the AFL-CIO, the DNC and MoveOn.org. Mudcat Arnold was Burner’s field director and Michael Snook was data director and targeting analyst for Perriello.”
Lots of takeaways from the above but the one that leaps off the page is that candidates won’t have to waste campaign donor bucks paying consultants to “pump out robo-calls.” PCCC is going to teach them how to drive voters to the edge of the cliff all on their own.
Bower explains that PCCC “is for real, composed of former campaign staff, MoveOn.org staff, and labor organizers. It is also on track to raise $650,000 this year, and has MoveOn.org backing. It should hit its fundraising targets no sweat, and it’s experienced team knows what it is doing in a campaign setting.”
Fundraising “targets no sweat”? We’ll get back to this.
Now ask yourself why in the world Dems would need the PCCC. Hasn’t the DNC, DCCC, DSCC etc. etc. etc. been doing the job?
Ryan Grim gives us the answer at HuffPo:
- Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which financially backs Democratic candidates it thinks have a shot to win but does not prioritize progressive Democrats over conservative Democrats. The DCCC has had a patchy relationship with the liberal blogosphere, which charges it with relying too heavily on old-school expensive Democratic consultants and not being willing to take chances on progressive candidates.
Earth to Ryan: The “liberal blogosphere”, if you’re talking about the Great Orange Cheeto and blogs of its ilk, aren’t so “all in” for The One anymore. Might be small problem here?
And, if you need any further proof that all Dems — and the “expensive Democratic consultants” — have not always been falling meekly into line with the progressive agenda, here it is. The PCCC planned to step in to make sure they obediently toe the mark for 2010 (and beyond) — or else.
And, to make sure the cash keeps flowing, Bowers wrote that the PCCC had been “added” to Better Democrats 2010, another cog in the little MoveOn.org money laundering op called ActBlue.
It should surprise no one that ActBlue works just like the ACORN funny money puzzle — or like the Tides Center/Foundation that disburses unattributed funds to who-knows-whom-what-or-where — without leaving a legal trace behind.
If you want to see what kind of funding is flowing into ActBlue for various PCCC campaigns, look here. Prime targets you ask? Max Baucus, POTUS, Olympia Snowe, Ben Nelson, Harry Reid.
Oh. Bowers’s January 2009 parting comment is so touching: “While it may seem [shockingly] early to start a 2010 campaign page, the early bird gets to govern.”
PolitiFact even has PCCC’s number. On the statement “76 percent of Americans want a public health care option” PolitiFact says False.
- The Web site also includes a video that has no voice-over, just a list of signatures supporting a public option in the health care reform plan, plus a smattering of statistics about reform. The signatures were collected by the two liberal groups — Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee — that paid for the ad.
The ad aired for the first time on July 23, 2009, in Washington, D.C., and Montana.
Democracy for America — hmmm — Isn’t that former presidential candidate and former DNC Chair Howard Dean’s organization?