|Image via Above the Law.|
As the screws tighten with the ongoing arrestation of Paul Manafort, the noise machine is starting to thrash, and the attempt to discredit the Steele dossier gets ever crazier, as exemplified by that Fox News thing we were looking at yesterday, or this remarkable report from The Federalist, transmitted or not exactly transmitted through the Trumpian Twitter:
Report out that Obama Campaign paid $972,000 to Fusion GPS. The firm also got $12,400,000 (really?) from DNC. Nobody knows who OK'd!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017
Actually the report is that Organizing For America said to have paid that to their law firm, Perkins Coie https://t.co/gljgaOIGkb— TalesFromTheCryptic (@Yastreblyansky) October 30, 2017
Rightwing noise machine has been trying to make a scandal out of fact that OFA has a law firm since this 2009 case! https://t.co/pBupWwc53z pic.twitter.com/HE498L8x2P— TalesFromTheCryptic (@Yastreblyansky) October 30, 2017
But they can never say what they think is wrong with it. Like "These insidious scoundrels paid their lawyers lots of money!"— TalesFromTheCryptic (@Yastreblyansky) October 30, 2017
Per GuideStar, Organizing for Action (Organizing For America is its old name, my bad)) spent $527,551 on legal expenses in 2013 (following the 2012 election), $339,778 in 2014, and $323,461 in 2015 (2016 numbers not yet available). There's considerable loose correlation between that proportion and the amounts they've taken in in donations and spent on programs in those years:
Looks like they're spending a lot more on the lawyers this year than they did in 2015. It's likely that they're getting and spending a lot more money overall, too; donors are as freaked out as anybody over the horror of the Trump election and OFA is doing a lot more stuff for the same reason, with the big campaign on redistricting and the cooperation with Indivisible in pushing progressive candidates for the 2018 House election. Excitement among liberals in this crisis moment is higher than it's been any time since 2009, when they were paying the lawyers almost twice what they're alleged to be paying now. There is nothing to be surprised about.
Trump's Twitter feed is little more than another organ in the machine—you'd think an ineffective one, since it isn't networking, he doesn't connect you to his sources, but that's part of the point, or maybe the whole point. If you go to the Federalist report and read it, you realize that they have no idea what this money is paying for; if you read the Trump tweet or the Breitbart or Daily Wire or Blaze reports, you just get the scary-sounding, but ultimately meaningless, headline. That's how information laundering works.