By: C.D. Kirven, Contributing Writer & LGBT Activist; 09-08-10
The battle for control of the House and Senate will be decided in 56 days. A common conversation among activists’ circles is that LGBT rights groups have two months to make something happen. A huge development on the GOP front is the perceived hijacking of the gay civil rights mantra and Tony Podesta throwing his political weight behind Senator John Cornyn. Mr. Podesta is one of the most connected political players in Washington. His brother, John, became President Bill Clinton‘s Chief of Staff in 1998 until 2001. But, an unholy alliance has been form between Tony Podesta’s powerful lobbying firm and Texas Senator John Cornyn. The goal to use Podesta’s political muscle and big business connections to ensure Senator Cornyn becomes the senate majority leader.
I know you’ve heard about Ken Melhman’s announcement that he is gay. The new surge of Gay Republicans is no accident and Senator Cornyn’s attendance at the Log Cabin Republican’s 2010 National Dinner and Liberty Education Forum Symposium is proof the Republicans will do anything reclaim control. Joe Solomose, president of the Human Rights Campaign, recently went on record to defend Melhman; “The past is the past. We certainly don’t have the luxury at this point in our movement to turn away any offer of help.” But, Mr. Solomense was reluctant to confront Target’s $150,000 donation to a group supporting an antigay political candidate. But, after anger directed at his organization from the LGBT blogosphere, he changed his tone by stating: “If their initial contribution was a slap in the face, their refusal to make it right is a punch in the gut, and that’s not something that we will soon forget.”
The HRC hasn’t historically been known for making tremendous progress on LGBT legislation and is why I was suspicious about the HRC’s support of Target, Hyatt & Bestbuy boycotts. I hoped if they were talking the talk then surely they were they walking the walk. I began to wonder about the identities of the candidates who benefit from Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) PAC contributions. What about PAC donations by companies rated 100% by the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI)? I decided to investigate and was very surprised by my findings.
HRC’s PAC has donated thousands to House Republicans over the years. They’ve given political contributions to Mark Kirk, Deborah Pryce & Mark Foley’s campaigns.
Recipients Year HRC Rating Donation Amount
Rep. Mark Kirk 2006 76% $6000
Rep. Mark Foley 2006 75% $2,000
Rep. Deborah Pryce 2006 38% $2,525
Link to check out HRC PAC donations:
HRC has sworn to support candidate’s who support full equality for LGBT citizens and have gone on record with various media outlets to discontinue financially supporting Rep. Mark Kirk but the LGBT non-profit continued to contribute to his campaign. (Below shows a $2,000 contribution in 2010)
Who is watching the watchdog? Rep. Mark Kirk’s opponent Alexi Giannoulias supports full marriage equality. So, why is the HRC financially supporting Rep. Kirk who only supports civil unions when Mr. Giannoulias supports gay marriage?
Is it fair for the LGBT community to boycott Target, BestBuy or Hyatt because of political affiliations when LGBT organizations donate to anti-gay marriage candidates? Why does the HRC continue to finically support a candidate who continues to vote against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?
Rep. Kirk voted against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal amendment. My question to the LGBT community….will the HRC make it right?
I have an even more disturbing question, has the HRC avoided incorporating company PAC contributions as a part of their corporate index because of their own anti-gay marriage contributions?
I began to question the purpose of the HRC’s CEI. I decided to do a little more investigating by researching the companies with 100% CEI score. Below are the results of my investigation:
Dell’s PAC – Political Donations:
Rep. Virginia Foxx – $2500 contribution (She believes Matthew Sheppard’s murder was a hoax and not a hate crime)
Rep. Lamar Smith – $19,746 contribution (He recently drafted amendment to condemn reversal of Prop 8 and plans to introduce legislation in Texas to define marriage as between a man and a woman)
Viacom Inc. PAC (Parent Company of LOGO Television) – Political Donations:
Rep. Lamar Smith – $6,000 contribution
Rep. Chuck Grassley – $4,500 contribution (A member of Family D.C. – a group that supported Uganda anti-gay bill)
Rep. Joe Barton – $3,000 contribution (Opposes gay marriage a DADT repeal)
The above contributions are not one-time incidents but are business as usual most LGBT ally corporations. Google, American Airlines, Bank of America and others are also giving PAC contributions to anti-gay marriage candidates. Why are we boycotting Target & BestBuy?
Mr. Solomonese made the above statement in an article by the Advocate.com titled “HRC: Target Talks Break Down,” on August 16, 2010 regarding HRC’s efforts to convince Target to remedy its donation to MN Forward. Solomense also stated:
“Two of our most trusted brands have contributed shareholder money that could help elect a candidate that wants nothing but the worst for us. Both companies talk about this contribution as a business decision. I would offer that it’s a really bad business decision. Both companies have now earned the bad will of LGBT people and fair-minded Americans. They need to make it right.”
I guess HRC’s anti-gay marriage contributions are simply a bad business decision but as a representative of the LGBT community the organization should commit to upholding the standards they ask others to uphold. I believe the LGBT community needs an independent oversight board monitoring PAC contributions similar to Tea Party’s PAC monitoring groups.
I also believe the HRC needs to update their index to include political giving by companies considering free enterprise’s new political voice and its resulting impacts on LGBT citizens.
In no big surprise, Senator Cornyn’s committee has raised $4.4 million from individuals and political action committees. The Podesta Group’s donation hopes to assist the Senator Cornyn in his aspirations of expanding his role as a leader of the GOP. When explaining the Podesta Group’s interest in Senator Cornyn’s campaign, CEO Kimberley Fritts, the former southern political director for the Republican National Committee, she explained the company wants to; “Expand our Republican reach.”
Senator Cornyn has his eyes on the prize which is replacing the current Republican National Chairman Michael Steele in hopes of securing big business interests in congress and with the help of Gay Republicans hopes to secure a Republican president in 2012. I don’t know about you but they have to think I’m extremely naive to believe that any Texas Republican cares about any issues impacting LGBT middle class citizens. For over 8 years, we were ignored by Republicans and trashed by Mr. Melhman. If the HRC or the Republican Party think for one minute we will be pushed back in the closet so they can win a class war then they are the naive ones. I’m going to fight to be free to love, defend my country and support my family as an open lesbian American. So, go ahead and celebrate at your HRC or Log Cabin Republican parties with tables filled with caviar plates and $200 dollar champagne bottles. Pop one open for freedom!
Join me in demanding the HRC makes this right! Sign the petition below urging the HRC to add company PAC contributions to its equality index and to stop giving anti-gay marriage candidates LGBT money.
Link to petition:
Activist – C.D. Kirven is a Lambda Literary nominated Author of the book – “What Goes Around Comes Back Around”, Board member of DFW Pride Movement, Artist – Her artwork was shown at Butch Voices Conference in Oakland, CA, Art will be in November issue of Curve magazine & C. D. Kirven created the first GLBT cell phone documentary about same sex intimate partner abuse. She has an online clothing line at www.zazzle.com/cdkirven & is editing her online reality show about her life called: “SOULPRINT”. Ms. Kirven is currently working on a play, her second book “The Glass Closet” & a documentary.
Contact @ firstname.lastname@example.org, http://cdkirven.blogspot.com or www.myspace.com/cdkirven