May 2007 – It may sound like merely one more conspiracy theory about the proverbial “Pink (Gay) Mafia,” but this conspiracy is actually true. According to articles in The Atlantic Monthly and on Salon.com, there is a powerful subgroup within the gay community that is flexing its political muscles.
In his article titled “They Won’t Know What Hit Them,” Atlantic Monthly writer Josh Green described a growing coalition of extremely wealthy gay businessmen who have secretly agreed to target for election defeat politicians who dare resist the gay agenda. And these gay ‘gazillionaires’ are willing to use their formidable assets to
accomplish that goal.
The article focused on Tim Gill, who made a fortune creating software giant Quark and then selling it for a cool half-billion dollars. Green calls Gill “the country’s biggest gay donor … and the nexus of an aggressive new force in national politics.”
Gill is certainly willing to put his money where his agenda is – he gave $15 million in 2006. For the most part, Gill tries to influence state politics.
More than the amount of money, however, is Gill’s attitude toward his political opponents. Calling his “anti-gay” opponents “the forces of darkness,” Gill told The Atlantic Monthly he’s determined to use his money to “punish the wicked.”
As Green described it, Gill is determined “to snuff out rising politicians who were building their careers on anti-gay politics, before they could achieve national influence.”
Does the strategy work? Apparently it does. In 2004 in Colorado, Gill and his political team targeted for defeat three incumbents whom he considered to be “anti-gay.” Two were defeated.
Meanwhile Gill and his cohorts also supported other, friendlier candidates for office. In a state in which Republicans outnumber Democrats, Republicans lost both chambers of the legislature for the first time in 40 years.
“There’s no doubt that Tim Gill and some of the other wealthy funders contributed mightily to the takeover,” Andrew Romanoff, Democratic speaker of the House, told Green.
For the 2006 midterm elections, Green says Gill, who had gotten other wealthy gay donors onboard, targeted millions of dollars at 70 key state races on various levels – gubernatorial, judicial, legislative. Of those, 50 targeted “anti-gay” candidates lost.
“[A]nd out of the 13 states where Gill and his allies invested, four – Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington – saw control of at least one legislative chamber switch to the Democratic Party,” Green said.
One such legislator who was successfully targeted in 2006 by this network of gay donors was Iowa conservative Danny Carroll, the Republican speaker pro tempore of that state’s House of Representatives.
Carroll was targeted because he had sponsored and helped pass a House bill that placed an initiative banning same-sex marriage on the ballot.
After his defeat in the mid-term elections, Green called Carroll and despite the former legislator’s skepticism, proved to him that gay money had been instrumental in his election loss. While both were still on the phone, Green took Carroll to an Internet listing of campaign contributions made on behalf of his political opponent. Carroll was startled to see numerous $1,000 donations coming not only from outside his legislative district, but outside the state.
Green recounted: “As we kept scrolling [down the Web site], Carroll began reading aloud with mounting disbelief as the evidence passed before his eyes. ‘Denver … Dallas … Los Angeles … Malibu … there’s New York again … San Francisco! I can’t – I just cannot believe this,’ he said, finally.”
Carroll’s confusion and disbelief is exactly what Gill is hoping for, since Green says Gill uses “stealth” as a key component of his strategy. “Revealing targets only after an election makes it impossible for them to fight back and sends a message to other politicians that attacking gays could put them in the crosshairs,” Green says.
While Gill prefers to focus on state politics, some wealthy homosexuals seek to influence the national political scene. For example, in her article on Salon.com, Kerry Eleveld said that, prior to the 2006 elections, openly-gay businessman Adam Rose donated $500,000 to a political advocacy group called Majority Action. The donation was for one reason and one reason only: to unseat Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY). Why? Because Kelly voted in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have amended the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.
Rose’s money was probably well-spent, according to Jeff Cook, a homosexual Republican in Kelly’s district who considered running against her in the Republican primary. “I don’t think you can say [Rose’s] $500,000 was why she lost, but I think it was a critical component,” he said.
According to Salon.com, of the top 20 donors to so-called federal 527s – political advocacy groups that are generally not regulated by the Federal Election Commission – five were either partially or entirely motivated by a desire to defeat “anti-gay” legislation or legislators, Eleveld said.
“They turned the 2006 election into an object lesson in targeted giving that could fundamentally change the way politicians think about the consequences of taking anti-gay stances,” she said.
Eleveld said wealthy homosexuals like Gill, Jon Stryker, a medical supplies heir worth an estimated $1.7 billion, and Jared Polis, cofounder of Blue Mountain.com, a greeting card Web site, are changing the face of politics – on both state and federal levels – when it comes to gay rights issues.
Citing Stryker’s national political advisor Lisa Turner, Eleveld said: “Stryker’s 2006 efforts to extend Democratic majorities in state legislatures and /or flip control of state legislative chambers to the Democrats were successful. In all, Democrats took control of 10 state legislative chambers … without losing one. Turner would not name all the states where Stryker was active, nor give the total amount Stryker spent. ‘All the chambers we focused on,’ she claimed, ‘we won.’”
The success of these wealthy, politically-active homosexuals will surely influence wary politicians – especially those who are on the fence when it comes to gay rights issues.
Cook told Eleveld, “Those folks who have previously been in the middle of the House [of Representatives] are now going to have to make a decision. It’s not only what they believe is the right move, but also which constituency they are more afraid of.”
If the existence of a wealthy cabal of gay activists is startling for many conservatives, they should buckle their seat belts and prepare for a bumpy ride. As both Green and Eleveld noted, Tim Gill held a conference of some 300 donors to pass along what he’s learned about targeting “anti-gay” legislators and legislation.
As for Stryker, Turner said he won’t quit his wealth-driven activism any time soon. “This is just the beginning,” she said.
For unwary pro-family groups, Green might be exactly right: They won’t know what hit them.