Earlier this year, the mysterious “movement” website entitled Unity08 popped up out of nowhere and literally overnight was featured in news stories nationwide. It turns out that was due not to its purported “grassroots” character, but rather to its origins in a public relations outfit with a history of political shenanigans.
The purported cause of Unity08 is the decline of standards in American politics: “the wheels have come off our political system, that the American Dream is slipping away, and that time is short to get things back on track.” But skepticism grew over the months about the actual nature and possible hidden purpose of Unity08 — as a highly public response to which Unity08 pledged this summer to provide a list of donors giving more than $200. Unity08 pledged: “This list will be updated twice a month in the spirit of greater financial transparency, which is sorely lacking in politics today.”
Analysis of donations after the first report dated July 15, 2006 showed that 2/3 of those donating $2,000 or more to Unity08 lived in DC or the DC beltway area, that those same big money donors had given on average $83,067 in traceable campaign contributions of $200 or more during the past decade, and that every one of the big money donors who gave to a 2008 presidential exploratory campaign gave money to Virginia politician Mark Warner.
Since Unity08’s initial report of July 15, the organization’s reporting commitment has been missed again. And again. And again. And again. And again. There has not been a single one of the promised additional disclosures.
In the meantime, a member of the “founders council” has admitted that of the well-heeled and well-connected “founders council,” “a few will be providing their business services at standard rates.” “Standard rates” indeed.
And yet, Unity08 does have a brand new videoclip of another high-profile interview on TV. I guess that makes it all OK.