FDD as Republican Front

While the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) has been coping with the abrupt exodus in February of most of the Democratic members of its Board of Advisers (leaving only Sen. Joseph Lieberman, James Woolsey and Zell Miller as its only “Democratic” fig leaves), its Republican loyalties have become ever clearer. Virtually unnoticed in that regard, however, was a remarkable quote by FDD’s president, Clifford May, that appeared in a Washington Post article April 21, about how far behind the GOP is behind in raising money for the presidential campaign. “‘The folks on the right may have a rude awakening when they see how sophisticated the infrastructure is that’s been built up on the left,’ said Clifford May, who heads the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which could figure into the Republican effort [to catch up to the Democrats]. “May, who said he has discussed the imbalance with Rove, added: ‘We’re the little leagues compared to them.'”

The story goes on to recount the management problems recently endured by the Sheldon Adelson-fueled Freedom’s Watch, which many had assumed would be the McCain campaign’s principal 527 backer and its apparent decision,at least for now, to focus on Congressional seats instead. But May’s language, particularly his use of “we” in reference to Republicans should draw renewed scrutiny to FDD’s frantic legal maneuvers to retain its tax-exempt status. May, who used to be the Republican National Committee’s communications director and is vice chair of the decidedly Likudist Republican Jewish Coalition, also seemed to be inviting Republican donors to fund his new Defense of Democracies Action Fund, the FDD lobbying spin-off created after its Democratic advisers jumped ship. The Post’s suggestion that FDD “could figure into the Republican effort” to close the funding gap with Democratic groups presumably came from May himself.

Jim Lobe

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement.