This is part II.
In part I, the hypocrisy of the Human Rights Campaign’s lack of transparency was the focus. Today, we’ll look at two of the more major figures associated with the organization. Both of these figures have strong connections to the Clinton and to the Obama administrations.
HRC was started in 1980 by Steve Endean.
HRC has three branches: HRC Foundation, HRC lobbying, and HRC Political Action Committee. HRC has possibly the largest lobbying force in Washington, D.C. according to BallotPedia and OpenSecrets.org.
According to OpenSecrets.org, HRC gives money almost exclusively to Democrat campaigns. There have been some exceptions to that spending and a few Republican endorsements by HRC.
One such exception is the recent endorsement of Illinois Senator Mark Kirk. Not coincidentally, Kirk made statements pushing the NBA to pull out of North Carolina over HB 2. One might recall Kirk’s open mic debacle regarding Lindsey Graham known as the ‘bro with no ho‘ moment.
More details of HRC’s spending will be the subject of a separate installment in this series.
Major Projects of note include Project One America. The goal is described below.
“The goal of this HRC endeavor is to spread LGBT equality and acceptance in the South through permanent campaigns in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama” – Source: BallotPedia
We can now add North Carolina to that list.
Two HRC Figures With Political Pasts
The current president of HRC is Chad Griffin.
He has an interesting past and it is now clear why Rob Reiner said he would boycott NC over HB 2. Reiner and Griffin have a long history together.
Below are some of the highlights:
- Hails from Arkansas
- Dropped out of Ouachita Baptist (1995)
- Graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (1997)
- Clinton White House Press Staff (Age 19; youngest ever apparently)
- “Dee Dee Myers invited Griffin to work in the West Wing press office in 1993 when Griffin was 19. The only paying job Griffin had held previously was working at the Wal-Mart in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.” Source: BallotPedia
- Griffin Schein Consulting (Co-founder with Michelle Obama’s former Comms Director, Kristina Schake)
- “The consulting firm Griffin|Schake has a client list that includes the Live Earth global concert series, the U.S. Green Building Council and the Make it Sustainable housing development in New Orleans, which is supported by Brad Pitt” Source: BallotPedia
- White House liaison to the 1995 film The American President, where he met producer Rob Reiner
- Lead Rob Reiner’s charity foundation
- Founded American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) in 2008 with Rob Reiner (This foundation was specific to overturning CA Prop 8)
According to Griffin’s WikiPedia page, it looks like the only job he held prior to his political position at the White House and subsequent position at HRC, was at Wal-Mart.
This move drew ire from the Sanders campaign, whose supporters launched a Change.Org petition calling for the immediate resignation of Chad Griffin.
The petition cites Griffin’s close ties to the Clintons as well as calling out Griffin for supporting a candidate who opposed gay marriage up until 3 years ago. The petition has not gained much steam and currently only has 85 signatures on it.
Another major figure at HRC is Terry Bean.
This name may sound familiar to you, as he is a major democratic fundraising figure and was a notable Obama bundler — to the tune of half a million dollars in 2012.
Bean has been a fixture on the Board for HRC’s foundation and has apparently been the driving force behind HRC’s fundraising.
The name may also sound familiar to you due to Bean being charged in a sex abuse case involving a 15-year old boy. Bean claimed at the time he was the victim of an extortion scenario. When it came time for trial, however, the boy refused to testify and the judge dropped the case.
CNN reported on just how connected to Democrats, including the President, Bean was:
Bean, a real-estate developer and co-founder of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign, is a powerful figure in Democratic politics.
The Oregonian reported that he helped raise more than half a million dollars for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, and Federal Election Commission records show he’s contributed thousands to Democrats, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others.
Photos posted online show him with the Obamas, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and aboard Air Force One with the President.
In remarks at a 2009 Human Rights Campaign dinner, President Obama thanked Bean, calling him a “great friend and supporter.”
“A great friend and supporter”, indeed. View the timeline of Terry Bean’s life and political activism.
In Part III, the money that flows in and out of HRC will be examined.