As Democrats demonize the Koch brothers for donating money to conservatives, their own billionaires are getting organized to make the most of their political donations.
A group of wealthy liberal donors who helped bankroll the Center for American Progress and other major advocacy groups on the left is developing a new big-money strategy that could boost state-level Democratic candidates and mobilize core party voters.
The plan, being crafted in private by a group of about 100 donors that includes billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros and San Francisco venture capitalist Rob McKay, seeks to give Democrats a stronger hand in the redrawing of district lines for state legislatures and the U.S. House.
The effort reflects a sense among many top donors on the left that Democrats missed opportunities in 2010 to shape the redistricting process and contain the tea party wave that helped propel Republican victories around the country.
Discussions about the new plan began last week in Chicago at a four-day conference of the Democracy Alliance, the invitation-only donor group founded in 2005 to build the kind of network of think tanks and activist groups that has long flourished on the right.
The focus on ground-level politics would mark a new emphasis for the Democracy Alliance, whose members have helped finance influential national liberal groups such as Media Matters for America, the media watchdog group; America Votes, which coordinates the efforts of allied interest groups; and Catalist, which provides voter data. The Center for American Progress, created during the George W. Bush years, has emerged as one of Washington’s powerhouse think tanks, serving as an intellectual engine for the liberal movement and the Obama White House. . . .
The Democracy Alliance does not make contributions itself. Instead, donors who join the alliance, known as “partners,” are required to contribute at least $200,000 a year to groups it recommends. Among the partners are some of the country’s largest labor unions.