The right-wing dark web

In this installment of The Scheme (below) Sheldon Whitehouse compares the operation of the right-wing front groups and fake trade associations that promote climate change denial and shows that these are the same groups, funded by the same donors, involved in court capture and other right-wing projects. The larger aim of this network is to end the administrative state by destroying government agencies’ power to regulate business.

Whitehouse continues to lay out the orchestrated cascade of dark money that funds an energetic, litigious web of right-wing activists; groups like the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Foundation, Donors’ Capital and Donors’ Trust, the Charles Koch Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, the US Chamber of Commerce. He runs through a few of their wish list items, like the lawsuit, brought on behalf of a paid plaintiff, to attack the constitutionality of Elizabeth Warren’s Federal Consumer Protection Agency.

It is not only a flotilla of coordinated amicus briefs Federalist Society lawyers are submitting to the Federalist Society 6-3 majority on Trump’s Supreme Court, on behalf of various united front groups, it is the lawsuits themselves, selected, as Shelby County v. Holder was, to achieve specific long sought reactionary goals.

To give bolster the illusion that their cases speak for all Americans, there is a women’s front group, the Independent Women’s Forum, funded by dark money, that pops up to present a right-wing free market woman’s point of view in various cases, a recent Second Amendment case, a contraceptive case, a case to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, in the Americans for Prosperity Foundation case that granted a constitutional right to unlimited dark money (signed off on, as Whitehouse says, by the dark-money justices).

Whitehouse ties together cases originating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (sudden champion of Climate Science denial) which was, grotesquely enough, the same conservative political outfit that paid for the fucking Powell memorandum, the blueprint for a corporate takeover of the nation, written decades ago. In that memo Powell identified an activist federal judiciary as the key instrument for social, economic and political change, indispensable for kneecapping agency power across the board. Louis Powell, the tobacco lobbying lawyer, became Justice Powell shortly after writing his influential memo for the US Chamber of Congress. Justice Powell, appointed by Nixon, a pox on both of their houses.

This series should be required viewing for every high school and college course in civics and American government.

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