Jane Hamsher’s Running Out Of Sheep

One of the terms you often see thrown around over at various “progressive” (quotes intended) sites like FireDogLake is “ObamaBots.”  The term is usually applied to those who support the President even if he’s offended Jane Hamsher, Glenn Greenwald, or one of the other bloggers/commenters at the site.  Being offended by the President is their usual state, because after all, they have to have something to do.   The implication is that they are “independent-minded” people who are not just repeating talking points like a robot,  all appearances to the contrary.    The most shrill is the owner, Jane Hamsher.   Recently, she’s been getting more and more out there (which is saying something), and it recalled an … interesting … exchange I had over at Rooted Cosmopolitan at the end of June .

My comment was that Jane had a history:

It’s been her pattern for a while, and after watching her in action, it’s pretty apparent that she regards the various “purity” groups on the Left as a cash cow and a way to promote herself, rather than a means for political action

Which was replied to by bmull, who had been busily defending Jane at various blogs:

She’s not and never has been “lining her pockets.” She was doing all right off her producer earnings before she got into the blogging business and as far as I can tell it’s been a money pit. Are FDL Action PAC and Accountability Now PAC funds spent with an eye toward synergies with FDL? Wouldn’t surprise me. Has any donor ever complained about it? Not to my knowledge.

What made that reply interesting was that  I’ve been looking through FEC documents for a few years now.  I’m weird that way, when someone piques my interest.  I’m not the only one, because other people have also examined Accountability Now, which Jane and Glenn Greenwald launched with great fanfare a few years ago.  Ostensibly it was to recruit progressive candidates, but it seemed to end up putting money into Jane and Glenn’s pockets.

Accountability Now collected $113,695 in donations during 2009, as it reported to the FEC, and spent $169,992 that year on nine consultants … including Hamsher ($24,000) and PAC cofounder Glenn Greenwald ($24,000)….

But it’s not Jane’s only PAC.   Although most of the scrutiny has been on Accountability Now,  when you look at FDL Action PAC’s FEC summary, you see something very interesting:

Rank Vendor/Recipient Total Expenditures
1 Fire Dog Lake $90,063
2 McMahon, Squier & Assoc $39,923
3 Abar Hutton Media $36,924
4 Soule, Bethany $17,921
5 JJB Media Ecology $13,388
6 Actblue Technical Services $12,692
7 KMP Research $11,984
8 Target Marketing Usa $11,197
9 Catalist $11,124
10 Commonsense Media $9,920

Hmm… it looks like there’s about $100K of “synergy” going on.  FireDogLake may be a “money sink,” but it doesn’t look like it’s Jane’s money sink.  No one’s complained about it?  Maybe they haven’t looked?  Or maybe they have.  You see, recently Jane had a little blow-up, right  after OFA announced what the President had raised:

President Obama‘s campaign will report raising a staggering $47 million in the past three months, his campaign manager said in a web video released early Wednesday morning.

FDL Action’s fundraising wasn’t quite as good:

Total Receipts $2,440
Total Spent $2,690
Begin Cash on Hand $3,191
End Cash on Hand $2,941

No wonder she’s pissed! Apparently all the previous donors have been thoroughly shorn, and new sheep aren’t lining up.  Maybe “the dumbest motherfuckers in the world” aren’t as dumb as she thinks.

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “Jane Hamsher’s Running Out Of Sheep

  1. Hi Norbrook.

    Been a while since I’ve done any commenting (but I’m always reading ;) ) but this one deserves a thought I’ve posted on a conservative site I read as well.

    I opined there that campaign donations should be prohibited from groups like corporations, unions, PACs etc., and only be allowed to any candidate from individuals. Also, no funneling monies through Party organizations to the candidates either. Maybe this would bring down the high amounts of money spent on campaigns for office?

    Monies from those other organizations could be spent on issues or general campaign ads, voter registration drives, etc.

    Naive I suppose, but IMHO i see it as a way to remove so much taint from elected officials and get them back to listening to their constituents.

    Hope all is well with you?

    • Hi there, long time no see. :) I’m doing fine, just very busy these days so I don’t have as much time for reading and blogging as I used to.

      I think it’s an interesting idea, but where I’ve seen the most abuses of campaign “donations” is through the political action committees. It’s now distressingly easy to set one up, dump huge amounts of money into it, and then do various things to “slant” the political arena your way. I think there’s some disgust even in businesses now with it, in that I notice that one of the major offenders, the Chamber of Commerce has been notably irritated with the Republicans, who they used to support.

      This particular post has been sitting in the hopper for a while – albeit in a rough draft – and there are some circumstances that made it “good timing” to finish it up and post it. :D

  2. Great work Norbrook!

    I have a question for you. In political organizations, is it acceptable to spend almost as much money on admin/fundraising as it is on a PAC’s actual activities? I notice that’s the case for the FDL Action PAC in the summary you link to.

    I ask because I manage a nonprofit and if we were to do that – we’d be run out of the business. We’re extra careful about that and tend to keep admin/fundraising under 10%. I think out industry standard is to never see it go over 30-35%.

    But I don’t know if the standards are different for political organizations.

    • Thank you! Yes, the standards are different for political organizations. There aren’t any, really, when it comes to salaries and “administrative costs.” I should point out that Jane hasn’t broken any laws by doing this, either with FDL Action or Accountability Now. But, it’s interesting that a very sizable percentage of the money raised for “political action” goes right back into businesses owned by her.

      • Thanks Norbrook. Yes, this is all very interesting – as is the information about her current lack of donations. I sure hope that means folks are wising up.

        • I think the fundraising drought is an explanation for her “meltdown.” I don’t think it’s “real,” in terms of “she lost it,” but is meant to play to the peanut gallery and get them to get their wallets out. It’s like the current “outrage” over Deaniac’s postings. It’s not based on refutation of actual points, it’s designed to posture and keep the dollars rolling in. But I think people are very tired of it, hence the lack of money. :D

  3. Nathan Katungi

    “Maybe “the dumbest motherfuckers in the world” aren’t as dumb as she thinks.”

    Keep exposing them, Norbrook! I think more and more people are beginning to catch on their con games. They can go on a rampage all they want, but the fact remains that, when it comes to elections, the record of the so called “purity progressive” is total failure. Jane Hamsher, Adam Green, Glenn Greenwald, and the rest, cannot point to any evidence that the money they’ve raised has resulted in electing “pure” progressives. This may be because most of the money goes into their pockets and not in the funding and supporting “pure” progressive candidates.

    • Oh, I plan on it. One of the things that I’ve been watching for quite some time is those FEC filings. It’s one thing to say you’re raising money for one purpose, another when a sizable chunk is going into your own pockets and not actually getting anything accomplished on the ostensible purpose.

      I said this in an earlier post:

      I have one of those memories which squirrels away stray facts and incidents. Even worse, I’ve been a researcher for decades, which means I know how to look for information and organize it. When I’m really irritated, I combine those two. I start getting busy looking into things, and “connecting the dots.” Then I will publicly smile, and calmly, reasonably proceed to smack the living crap out of whomever has pissed me off. To make it even worse for them, I’ll have warned them in advance that I’m going to do it.

      I drop little “I know a lot of things you really don’t want me to bring up” hints, and this post is an example of my doing just that. :D

  4. I am so glad I found this site. I am with you all the way. Hamsher and Urgur are determined to defeat President Obama and open the door for years of abuse and horror when the Republicans assume control. Good work!

    • Cha

      Yes, so they can make even more money..they are nothing but craven media Wh$$$.

    • Fonsia

      Absolutely. That’s the game. They became successful by peddling outrage against the Republicans, and they want that kind of traffic again. Much easier to attract hits when the outrage is real.

      • Exactly. You get lots of web traffic, people buy your books,and you get on television as an “opposition pundit” to lend “balance” to the talk shows.

  5. Cha

    Thanks Norbrook for this important research.

  6. Dorothy Rissman

    Nice! Jane the Shame is a malicious, destructive woman. I admit at times, I wish I could wipe that smirk off of her face.

    Talk about a con artist. She is a master at it. The fact that she calls us Obots is outrageous when you consider the know truth, that if you are with Jane, you do what you are told to do and if not, off with your head.

    I have had a few run-ins with BMull. He is not a truthful person. I guess that is the way she wants her sheep.

  7. I am curious about the FDL’s Gosprey Circle where does it fit within all of the fund raising?

    • From what I can tell, it’s a “super special no, really!” level of membership, which gets you a dinner with Jane and the FDL writers. Whoopie. That, along with “membership drives” that they’ve been pushing relentlessly are attempts at direct funding. There’s really nothing wrong with that, but what it tells me is that their advertising revenue and other funding sources are getting thinner.

  8. Eagerly bookmarked and shared. I guess the veal pen captivation scheme (“con game”) has run its course!

    • Thanks. :D I’ve found it interesting that the FDL associated “political action” efforts seem to be more interested in funding things that aren’t really “political action,” unless you use a very broad definition.

  9. Fred

    The good thing about all this is that outside of small political junkie circles these people are largely unknown. Even less so now. So what you are seeing is that they feel they need to scream even louder to be heard.

    IMHO people should spend more of their energy getting good Dems elected instead of wasting their energy attacking these nobodys which is what they thrive on.

    • Not quite true, in that Jane and others like her often appear on television to spread the meme to the media that “the base” is disappointed with Obama. That Obama’s approval ratings among Democrats and self-identified Liberals are very high and remain so gives lie to that.

      They are the bitter minority whose main function is to continually poison the well, and yes, they do need to be addressed before the election. I can quite easily do two things: Work to elect good Democrats, and let people know what is going on with these idiots.

  10. I love OCD

    Nice work Norbrook! I miss you when you’re busy. You have an iron head and I mean that as the strongest of compliments.

  11. What do you bet that little Janie will be all over the media on Monday, crying about how the Prez had her arrested for Civil Disobedience. She is totally shameless as I don’t believe she is even interested in environmental causes, just in filling her personal coffers.

    OT I tried to reply to you yesterday at TPV but Disqus hates me.

  12. Dang! And here I thought I could win a few $$ with my Granny ♥ that I could donate for a local candidate I support. Next time I won’t be so open with my “tell” (lol) You should play poker with me some time. I’m not as easy as you might think.

  13. namekarB

    I followed a link at AngryBlackLady to get here. Glad I did. Bookmarked and faved. Keep up the good work