Mobile phone cash

Perhaps he’s sick of being labeled. Bill Clinton backs the non-partisan “citizens’ movement” No Labels.
  • Perhaps he’s sick of being labeled. Bill Clinton backs the non-partisan “citizens’ movement” No Labels.

A bit more light has been shed on funding for that dark money group calling itself “No Labels,” and backed by Democratic ex-president Bill Clinton. Despite Clinton’s endorsement, the non-profit says it is “a growing citizens’ movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to promoting a new politics of problem solving. We are unlike any organization in America. We welcome people left, right and everything in between as long as they are willing to collaborate with one another to seek a shared success for America. This new attitude is what No Labels is all about.” But the group is firm about not revealing who its financiers are, saying only it is “funded by a fast-growing base of 7,000 donors — some big, most small, but all with the same voice,” and adding, “We do not publicly identify the names of our donors because it is not legally required and because it doesn’t advance our core mission.”

Now one major donor has fessed up. San Diego’s Qualcomm, the giant cell-phone-chip maker, was forced by a lawsuit settlement with New York’s state controller earlier this year to divulge a list of its dark money donations. Included is $25,000 it gave to No Labels. The single local politico who belongs to the Washington, D.C., group is La Jolla freshman Democratic congressman Scott Peters, who is already facing a tough re-election battle with GOP ex–city councilman Carl DeMaio. Peters has enjoyed the financial support of Qualcomm and its founder, San Diego billionaire Irwin Jacobs.

On the other side of the aisle, another recently revealed Qualcomm donation was $15,000 to the Ripon Society, whose goals, according to its website, include promoting “the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success.” Conservative Kansas Republican senator Pat Roberts is the senate chairman and fellow GOP-er Thomas Petri of Ohio is the group’s House chairman.

Then there is Immigration Voice, which says on its website that it is dedicated to getting more U.S. entry visas for foreign workers to do what employees here already are reluctant to undertake. “The Employment-based green card system is completely broken due to excessive delays and backlogs in petitions of nearly half a million highly skilled workers who are certified by US Government to be doing a job that no US citizen is willing, qualified, or able to do.” Immigration Voice got $25,000 from Qualcomm. Another self-styled immigration reform advocacy group, Business Forward, picked up $50,000.

The biggest Qualcomm money derby winner of all was the non-profit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which bagged a cool $1 million for its work on behalf of the ever-elusive goal of balancing the federal budget. “America’s growing federal debt threatens our future and that we must address it. The Campaign will mobilize key communities — including leaders from business, government, and policy — and people all across America who want to see elected officials step up to solve our nation’s fiscal challenges.” Qualcomm’s biggest corporate cause of late is said to be the mayoral candidacy of its executive Nathan Fletcher, the former Republican assemblyman turned Democrat.

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