Talk:Republican Jewish Coalition
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) is the Republican Party's "leading outreach group for Jewish voters," according to the New York Times. It is backed in part by is billionaire Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands casino corporation.
In addition to advocating for a strong military, small government, and low taxes, the RJC includes in its "basic principles" a "pro-Israel foreign policy." Its website states, "The RJC is a Jewish organization; we recognize and support the importance of Israel as a Jewish state to Jews and non-Jews worldwide."
In 2012, ProPublica wrote that the RJC "in many ways epitomizes the new breed of political-minded social welfare nonprofits. The group's initial IRS application said it would not engage in politics, yet its 2010 tax return says it gave almost $3.8 million to other groups for political activities."
The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.
- 1 Ties to the Koch Brothers
- 2 Background
- 3 Election Activities
- 4 Other Activities
- 5 Bush White House Connections
- 6 Funding
- 7 Personnel
- 8 Affiliated Organizations
- 9 Contact information
- 10 Resources
Ties to the Koch Brothers
The RJC appears to have received funding from organizations with links to the Koch brothers. The Center to Protect Patient Rights gave the RJC $20,484 in 2012, and Freedom Partners made a $700,000 donation in 2012.
The Republican Jewish Coalition founded in 1985 as the National Jewish Coalition "to be a permanent Jewish presence in the Republican community and a credible Republican presence in the Jewish community," its website states. The RJC is "the sole voice of Jewish Republicans to Republican decision makers and the Jewish community ... committed to building a strong, effective and respected Jewish Republican voice in Washington and across the country."
The RJC includes in its "basic principles" a "pro-Israel foreign policy." Its website states, "The RJC is a Jewish organization; we recognize and support the importance of Israel as a Jewish state to Jews and non-Jews worldwide." The group has been critical of those who criticize Israel, particularly with respect to the Israel-Palestine issue.
When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie mentioned taking "a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across" Israel during a March 2014 speech to the RJC, "his use of the term “occupied territories” set off murmurs in the crowd," according to Politico. Christie apologized to Sheldon Adelson, who Politico described as "a "conservative Zionist" opposed to the term.
As reported by The Guardian, Ron Paul was barred from participation in a 2011 forum for Republican presidential candidates due to his views on Israel, which include eliminating US aid to the country. Paul has also criticized Israel's blockade of Gaza.
The New York Times has reported that the RJC has been part of Republican efforts to attract Jewish voters. In 2012, the Times reported that while Democrats saw the RJC's efforts to encourage Jewish voters to support Mitt Romey as "wishful thinking," then-executive director of RJC Matthew Brooks "said the coalition was not interested in winning over liberal voters, only a more conservative slice of the community. “We’re not trying to appeal to the hard-core Democratic voters,” he said."
2014 election cycle
As of March 31, 2014, the RJC PAC had reported $105,285 in funds raised and $72,009 in spending for the 2014 election cycle to the FEC. This spending included $62,000 in donations given to Republican candidates.
Las Vegas Retreat
Sheldon Adelson hosted a four-day retreat in Las Vegas in late March, 2014, referred to by some as the "Sheldon Primary." Attendees included Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all Republicans. According to Politico, "GOP stalwarts hoped it might mean the megadonor was committing to get behind one of the establishment favorites for 2016," but RJC board member Ari Fleischerclaimed that "If anybody tells you what Sheldon is going to do, or how or why he is going to do it, they don’t know Sheldon."
2012 election cycle
In its FEC filings, RJC PAC reported $161,497 in spending for the 2012 election cycle. This included $125,500 in donations to Republican candidates, a $25,000 contribution to the National Security Victory Committee, and no donations to Democrats.
The New York Times reported that the RJC's total spending on the presidential race was $4.6 million.
Adelson Willing to Spend $100 million Against Obama
In June 2012, RJC backer Sheldon Adelson "told Forbes in a recent rare interview about his political giving that he had been willing to donate as much as $100 million to his initial presidential preference, Newt Gingrich." An investigation by ProPublica in December 2012 found that Adelson had spent "at least $98 million" by the end of the election cycle, including $30 million to Restore Our Future, $20 million to Winning Our Future, and $23 million to American Crossroads. According to fundraisers who spoke to Huffington Post, RJC received "the bulk of its $6.5 million budget" from Adelson in that year.
Ad: My Buyer's Remorse
Starting in late July 2012, the RJC ran a "multimillion-dollar advertising campaign" in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, with "the largest share" being spent in Florida, according to the New York Times.Cite error: Closing
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The ad campaign also included a direct-mail brochure which made the claim that President Barack Obama "refuses to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." PolitiFact rated "mostly true," but noted that this is "a continuation of the position that previous presidents, both Democrat and Republican, have taken. Formally, the United States does not recognize any state as having sovereignty over Jerusalem."
Barred Ron Paul for "Misguided" Israel Views
In 2011, the RJC barred candidate for the Republican presidential nomination Ron Paul from a candidate forum for his "his "misguided and extreme views" on Israel," as reported by The Guardian. Paul reportedly "has rankled Israel's supporters by advocating an end to US aid to the Jewish state" and has "fallen afoul of the RJC for being strongly critical of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington and for comments likening conditions in Gaza to a concentration camp in saying that the US should not support the blockade of the territory."
Took George W. Bush to Israel
The Republican Jewish Coalition took George W. Bush on his first trip to Israel in 1998.
Smeared Howard Dean
In February 2005, the RJC "began running full-page ads in major Jewish newspapers across the country featuring a large photo of militants strapped with explosives coddling a young Palestinian boy. Above that arresting image is a quote by Dean: 'It's not our place to take sides.' Below the photo are quotes by Democrats critical of Dean. The ad effectively equates Dean's election with the appeasement of suicide bombers."
Slandered Jewish Democrats
During the month of September 2006, the Republican Jewish Coalition "deliberately distort[ed] the facts" and "placed ads in Jewish newspapers across the country making the outrageous and ridiculous assertion that Democrats are 'turning their backs on Israel.' At the same time, the accusation [was] made by individuals who ... sent out thousands of e-mails to all those in their inboxes."
Questioned Loyalty of Jewish Democrats
In October 2006, on the eve of the 2006 Congressional elections, the RJC "call[ed] into question the loyalty of Jewish Democrats, and their party's attitude toward Israel" by running ads which "focused on supposedly 'anti-Israel comments' made by prominent Democrats, and the declining support for Israel amongst grassroots Democrats ... in nearly 30 Jewish weekly newspapers nationwide", with plans to expand into "additional publications."
"RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, 'The party of Harry Truman and Scoop Jackson has become the party of Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, and Cindy Sheehan. Jewish Democrats should take a fresh look and see if they are still comfortable with the growing influence of the anti-Israel radical Left within the Democratic Party.' The Republican party has been winning over more Jewish votes with every election - going from 11 percent in 1992, to 25 percent in 2004."
Bush White House Connections
- Wayne L. Berman, Bush Ranger 2000 and Bush Pioneer 2004, member of the Libby Defense Trust Advisory Committee, and husband of Bush White House social secretary Lea Berman.
- Matt Brooks, executive director of both the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Jewish Policy Center think tank, "served as the national field director for Victory '88 Jewish Campaign Committee, designing and implementing campaign strategy on behalf of the Bush-Quayle '88 campaign."
- Lewis M. Eisenberg, finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, member of the Libby Defense Trust Advisory Committee, former chairman (1995-2001) of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, owner of the World Trade Center.
- David M. Flaum, RJC National Chairman, member of the Libby Defense Trust Advisory Committee, and Bush Pioneer 2004.
- Richard J. Fox, Freedom's Watch funder, long-term Republican activist, and chairman of the Jewish Policy Center, who served as Pennsylvania state chairman for the Reagan/Bush campaign in 1980 and finance chairman in 1988 of Jack Kemp's presidential campaign.
- David Frum, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush for economic speechwriting and credited with helping coin the phrase "Axis of Evil", who is now with the American Enterprise Institute.
- Sheldon Kamins, former executive committee member of Finance Committee of George W. Bush for president and Libby Defense Trust Advisory Committee.
- Ken Mehlman, former chair of the Republican National Committee.
- Mel Sembler, Freedom's Watch funder, appointed Ambassador to Italy (2001-2005) by President George W. Bush and Ambassador to Australia and Nauru by President George H.W. Bush.
- Ned L. Siegel, who was involved in the 2000 Florida recount and a Bush Pioneer 2000 and Bush Ranger 2004.
- Walter P. Stern, board chairman of the Hudson Institute.
- Ronald Weiser, Bush Pioneer 2000 and Ambassador to Slovakia (2001-2004).
- Fred Zeidman, a "longtime friend" of President George W. Bush and convicted felon Jack Abramoff's "immediate successor at the lobbying firm of Greenberg Traurig.
- No longer listed as directors are:
- Sam Fox, the Republican fundraiser from Missouri who was named in an April 2007 recess appointment as Ambassador to Belgium by President George W. Bush. Fox's 2004 funding of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth prevented his Senate confirmation earlier. Fox is also a member of the Libby Defense Trust Advisory Committee.
- Howard Leach, Freedom's Watch funder, served as Ambassador to France until 2005, Bush Pioneer, funder to Bush 2000 Florida recount, major donor to Republican candidates, and member of the Libby Defense Trust Advisory Committee.
- Kevin Moley, Freedom's Watch funder, served as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2001-2006), as well as a Senior Advisor to Cheney for Bush-Cheney 2000.
While the RJC does not disclose its donors, some information about funding can be found through donors' tax filings. According to data collected by Meida Matters, the following groups have contributed to the RJC:
- Center to Protect Patient Rights: $20,484 in 2012
- Freedom Partners: $700,000 in 2012
- American Action Network: $200,000 in 2011
- Crossroads GPS: $250,000 in 2010
- Freedom's Watch: $1,500,000 in 2008
- Total Revenue: $10,067,507
- Total Expenses: $10,037,372
- Net Assets: $2,522,019
- Total Revenue: $3,489,524
- Total Expenses: $3,143,053
- Net Assets: $2,491,884
- Total Revenue: $13,433,742
- Total Expenses: $12,409, 886
- Net Assets: $2,145,413
- AO 2006-08 LLC: $10,000 (for "assist in payment of administrative and legal fees")
No grants issued in 2011.
Board of Directors
As of June 2014:
- Sheldon G. Adelson, CEO, Sands Corporation
- Jeffrey Altman, General Counsel
- Yitz Applbaum, Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Jerusalem for Public Private Partnerships.
- Wayne L. Berman,
- Ken Bialkin,
- Ronald Bloom,
- Joshua Bolten, Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush.
- Elliott Broidy,
- Matthew Brooks, Executive Director. Executive director of Jewish Policy Center
- Victor Chaltiel,
- Norm Colemna, US Senator (R-MN) 2003-2009.
- Edward Czuker,
- Lewis M. Eisenberg, Former partner, Goldman Sachs.
- Michael David Epstein
- Jeffrey Feingold. Florida Chair, Republican Jewish Coalition.
- David M. Flaum, National Chairman/Director
- Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary to President George W. Bush.
- Richard J. Fox, Former Chairman, Board of Directors
- Sam Fox, Former Chairman, Board of Directors
- Steven L. Friedman.
- David Frum, writer.
- Joel Geiderman
- Marc Goldman
- Jeffrey Gunter
- Cheryl Halpern, Former Chairman, Board of Directors
- Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, co-chair, Israel Foreve Foundation
- Joel Hoppenstein
- Mark Isakowitz
- Sheldon Kamins (Shelly Kamins)
- Fred E. Karlinsky
- David Kaplan, Co-CEO of Shepherd Kaplan LLC
- George Klein, Former Chairman, Board of Directors
- Eliot Lauer
- Mark Lezell
- Linda Lingle, governor of Hawaii, 2002-2010; chair of Hawaii Republican Party 1999-2002.
- Marc Lipschultz, board member, American Enterprise Institute
- Earle I. Mack, US ambassador to Finland under President George W. Bush
- Bernard Marcus, founder, The Home Depot
- Ken Mehlman, White House Director of Political Affairs, President George W. Bush
- Alan Miller, founder Universal Health Services
- Larry A. Mizel
- Ronald Plotkin
- J. Philip Rosen
- Adam Ross
- Alan Sager
- Richard Sambol
- Leonard Sands
- Robert I. Schostak, Michigan Republican Party chairman
- Martin Selig
- Mel Sembler, US Ambassador to Australia, Italy
- Diane Sembler-Kamins, National Women's Committee Chair
- Florence Shapiro, Texas State Senator
- Richard Sherman
- Paul Singer, CEO Elliot Management Corporation
- Walter P. Stern, Board member, Hudson Institute;
- Allen Tessler
- Ronald Weiser, past chairman, Michigan Republican Party
- Bradley Wine
- Fred Zeidman, Director
Republican Jewish Coalition
50 F Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202 638-6688
Fax: 202 638-6694
Email: rjc @ rjchq.org
Related SourceWatch articles
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- Howard Leach
- Jewish political organizations
- Norman Coleman
- Sam Fox
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