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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

‘Sith Lords of the Ultra-Right’ Back Santorum

At Politico, Kenneth P. Vogel posts on “Santorum’s Secretive Fundraisers,” a group which includes “some of the right’s richest and most powerful players.” Vogel explains:

…Its members have been credited with solidifying the rise of George W. Bush’s Republican presidential campaign in 2000 and working to undercut the 2008 bids of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani…And, last weekend, when conservative bigwigs gathered in Houston for a meeting of the Council for National Policy, they helped raise $1.8 million in pledged donations for Santorum’s cash-strapped campaign and the super PAC supporting it…
…”Hopefully, this will just be the first of a number of these types of events where the conservative movement leaders are coming together and saying ‘this is our man,'” said Richard Viguerie, a founding member of the Council for National Policy and an organizer of the main fundraiser for Santorum, on the sidelines of the Houston meeting.
…”These people have large networks out there,” said Viguerie. “They have members, they have donors, they have supporters, subscribers, listeners, readers, and if they get engaged,” he said, it will mean “many, many, many seven figures” worth of contributions to Santorum and the super PAC devoted to him.
The council meets in secret three times a year under tight security. And while it bills itself as “a nonpartisan, educational foundation” that does not “lobby Congress, support candidates, or issue public policy statements on controversial issues,” gatherings of its members have played key roles in presidential politics.

Vogel adds that “The group’s rules forbid members from discussing it, and the media is barred from covering its meetings, even when top government officials speak…The secrecy has led to scrutiny and conspiracy theories from the left, with liberals demanding that Bush release audio of his 1999 address (he didn’t), and the lefty website DailyKos dubbing the group the “Sith Lords of the Ultra-Right.”
Not everyone is convinced of the groups effectiveness, as Vogel notes. But no one should be surprised if Santorum is soon rolling in dough from anonomous contributions.

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