Mass Attack

State affiliate of George Soros-backed Democracy Alliance targets Sen. Scott Brown

Elizabeth Warren / AP
August 10, 2012

Powerful national progressive interests fund the left-wing messaging operation in Massachusetts behind an anti-Scott Brown attack site, despite claims that the operation is merely a grassroots, local project.

Sponsors of ProgressMass include numerous members of the Democracy Alliance, the secretive network of wealthy Democratic donors assembled by billionaire George Soros in 2005.

"This organization is not going to be around in Massachusetts on November 7," Rob Eno, publisher of the insider Massachusetts political blog Red Mass Group, told the Free Beacon. "This is such a blatant obvious ruse to attack Scott Brown. It’s a front group."

ProgressMass focuses its attacks exclusively on Brown, creating anti-Brown videos that frequently appear on the homepage of the liberal Massachusetts blog Blue Mass Group, which feeds news items to the mainstream media in Massachusetts.

"If they attacked 1 or 2 other Republicans then I’d respect them more, but they only focus on Brown," Eno said. "They’re the attack dogs of the Warren campaign."

ProgressMass is not a registered Massachusetts corporation, according to a spokesman for Secretary of Commonwealth of Massachusetts William Galvin, who was cited in a Red Mass Group article in June.

The group had previously claimed on its website to be a Massachusetts 501c(4) corporation; it changed this listing after the Red Mass Group story.

Insiders say that ProgressMass does not have any kind of daily office presence at 30 Winter Street in Boston, MA, which is the address listed on its website.

A Republican operative legally entered the office building at that address and filmed front-desk workers, who had never heard of ProgressMass:

ProgressMass then admitted to being a state affiliate of the national liberal organizing group ProgressNow, and that ProgressNow acts as their fiscal agent.

ProgressNow’s leadership is a who’s who of national Democratic power brokers and Democracy Alliance stalwarts, several of whom were instrumental in convincing Harvard professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren to run for Senate.

"They’re in business to attack conservatives, and they get a lot of money to do it from George Soros’ Democracy Alliance," said Matthew Vadum, senior editor at Capital Research Center.

"They’ll do everything they can to help Democrats keep control of the U.S. Senate this year," Vadum said.

ProgressNow advisers include Media Matters founder David Brock, board president Eli Pariser, former Sierra Club chairman Carl Pope, and Center for American Progress chairman, former Bill Clinton chief of staff, and Democracy Alliance member John Podesta.

Democracy Alliance chairman Robert McKay and Democracy Alliance member Ted Trimpa both sit on the board. Democracy Alliance members Drummond Pike, Rob Stein, and Michael Vachon also advise ProgressNow.

Former Harry Reid chief of staff Susan McCue, a former board member of the ProgressNow Education Fund, met with Warren in the spring of 2011 to urge her to run against Scott Brown.

Democracy Alliance heavyweight George Soros held a New York City fundraiser for Warren on October 19, 2011.

The alliance and ProgressNow not only share personnel. ProgressNow has received millions of dollars in grant money from liberal foundations linked to Democracy Alliance. 

The Bohemian Foundation, which is funded by Democracy Alliance member Pat Stryker, has given at least $730,000 worth of grants to ProgressNow and its state affiliates.

The Gill Foundation, founded by software billionaire Tim Gill, has also given at least $441,125 worth of grants to ProgressNow and its state affiliates. Gill and George Soros founded the Democracy Alliance in 2005 and are two of the three largest contributors to Democracy Alliance.

The Tides Foundation, founded by Democracy Alliance board member and ProgressNow adviser Drummond Pike, has given at least $410,000 worth of grants to ProgressNow and its state affiliates.

ProgressMass is not the only nationally powered and funded organization setting up shell groups to attack Brown: The Demos Foundation, chaired by Warren’s daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, is funding a group led by former ACORN employees to send out voter registration letters to nearly 500,000 welfare recipients in the state. Demos, like ProgressMass, is backed by the Democracy Alliance-linked Tides Foundation.

ProgressMass did not return a request for comment.