Often viewed, accurately, as an extension of the Democratic party, the Human Rights Campaign has gone back and forth with how much criticism it’s willing to levy on the White House and members of Congress. But now that members of the indie (read: non-Gay Inc.) activist scene are boycotting the Democratic National Committee, where will HRC’s chips fall?
HRC’s Joe Solmonese, who claims to represent the entire LGBT community but completely bails out on certain gay issues, claims to enjoy special power brokering relationships in Washington. Supporters might see lots of handshakes between Solmonese and lawmakers; actual action and influence, however, is harder to spot.
It’s eerily difficult to tell just how hard HRC is pressuring Democrats on its own. Some might say HRC merely “advises” them.
But now that somebody else (initially, it’s Americablog‘s John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay) is actually calling for the closing of LGBT coffers — the “gayTM,” if you will — will HRC get on board?
Hard to tell. Here’s what HRC told Firedoglake‘s David Dayen when asked:
Individual donors should always make their own careful assessments of how to spend limited political contributions. We all need to focus on the legislative priorities identified by AmericaBlog and with whatever tactic individuals decide to employ, the ultimate objective needs to be securing the votes we need to move our legislative agenda forward.
Dayen calls the response “a tacit endorsement, or at least not a public disavowal, of the strategy,” and notes “HRC hasn’t given to the DNC this year, as per the policy put in by Obama after his election that the Party cannot accept contributions from organizations structured as a C(4).”
Well, it’s a more immediate response than HRC had when asked whether it supported the National Equality March (sixty days before the march, HRC got on board). But by no means is it a ringing endorsement of the boycott.
So, why would HRC hold back? Besides the whole “don’t want to piss off the Dems” angle? Perhaps because it has some blood on its hands. HRC raises vasts sums from supporters to fund efforts to lobby legislators to act on gay rights — and this boycott was started precisely because those legislators are not acting on gay rights.
Us? We think HRC should back the boycott, not because of any ethical responsibility it feels, but because less cash going directly to Democrats means more cash that could possibly wind up in its pockets.