by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The behind-the-scenes organizers of an exclusive Democratic donor confab over the weekend were a fundraising consultant who has made a windfall from big-money political fundraising and a public affairs firm that works to get money out of politics, documents show.
David Brock was the public face of the event, held over the weekend at the ritzy Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura, Fla. However, documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show that nearly all logistics were handled by two Democratic consultancies: the Bonner Group, a fundraising firm, and Civitas Public Affairs, a left-wing strategy and public relations shop.
Mary Pat Bonner, president of the Bonner Group, is a longtime fundraiser for Brock and his network of political groups, which donors gathered in Florida to finance. Her work for the groups in Brock’s network has allowed her to take large fees off the top as money is passed between groups.
Civitas Public Affairs, meanwhile, has been deeply involved in an effort by liberal billionaire George Soros’ political network to diminish the influence of big-money donors.
The contrast between the two groups, and their collaboration in the weekend’s conference, illustrate a central disconnect of the event: Ultra-wealthy donors had gathered to figure out what went wrong in a presidential election that was, in part, a rejection of the political elite.
If Civitas and the Bonner Group differ in ideology, there was no sign of it at the weekend conference. Documents on file with the Turnberry Isle resort show that staffers from the two groups, including Mary Pat Bonner and Civitas founding partner Bill Smith, were the point people for nearly all logistical matters.