gay inc.

If Joe Solmonese Pays $30k to Mingle With Democratic Senators + Nobody Hears About It, Does It Make a Sound?


In November, after it was clear Obama and the Democrats would not be our fierce advocates, a smattering of gay bloggers and activists launched a boycott of the Democratic National Committee and their various affiliates. And when the Human Rights Campaign opted not to support the boycott outright (and instead issued statement avoiding an official position), we wondered aloud, Why the hell not? As if we didn’t know the answer then, we know it now: Because Joe Solmonese & Co. remain best buds with Democratic political leaders. So much so that they went on their “winter retreat” last month.

Somonese and HRC’s and Allison Herwitt were among the guests (list here, PDF) for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s January event, where well-connected civilians (read: moneybags from McDonald’s, Altria, Home Depot, and Merck) got to hob nob with senators including Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, Robert Menendez (DSCC’s chairman), and Claire McCaskill (who we identified as the star of today’s hearings).

If you query HRC, they’ll tell you that HRC’s involvement in DSCC invents, and the Democrat party in general, is crucial to their efforts in lobbying lawmakers to pass gay rights legislation. That is partly true. To us, however, it sounds like more of the Gay Inc. organization’s business-as-usual M.O., where the group’s annual budget is devoted to Solmonese making nice with lawmakers in exchange for inaction, platitudes, and delays.

Notes Michael Petrelis, a fellow stick up HRC’s ass and the vocal blogger calling for more transparency from HRC: “What did Solmonese and Herwitt do at the Democratic Party retreat? How did they advance the national gay agenda? Did HRC spend $30,000 to be there? What was the cost to HRC? Answers are not posted at the HRC site.”

Indeed, the top legal contribution Solmonese and the 100+ other lobbyists could make to the DSCC is $30,000, and that grants them the chance to drink and sip at the Ritz Carlton South Beach Resort. It’s also, notes Politico, “a marked contrast to Menendez’s recent rhetoric, which has echoed the White House denunciation of ‘special interests’ and ‘fat cats.’”

That gay rights activists — people who are “lobbying” for equality … EQUALITY! — are being lumped in there with “special interests” is both disheartening and saddening evidence that despite all the money HRC throws their way, Democrats have been so far able to resist these inroads while still racketing up gay dollars.

It might smell like ineffective strategy, but it reeks of self-aggrandizement.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #activists #carllevin #clairemccaskill stories and more


  • alan brickman

    He’s so token…and pathetic….

  • Gridlock

    Step’n Fetchit, Uncle Tom, bought and paid for HOUSE FAGGOT!

  • Rev. Steve

    The folks from Gay, Inc.remind me of a term once used on southern plantations to describe servants who worked inside the house and thought they were better than the field hands. I think the gay equivalent would be “palace eunuch”. They may be surrounded by power, glitz and glamor, but it’s not theirs. Their presence is tolerated by the grace of the sultan and they can be barred from the palace with a snap of the fingers if he is displeased.

  • Brian NJ

    There is a serious question of corruption. The HRC has become so intertwined with the Democratic Party they have been unable to even say one word critical of the Administration who sets the government’s agenda. They are clearly the gay public relations firm for the DNC, and have lost any shred of independence.

    Far from a help, they are now damaging the cause, recently stating the Obama had competed his work, and now it was Congress’s problem. Joe said it too. Every time we make a little progress, they urge us to stop being critical of the Administration.

    If Joe and company take Administration jobs, the HRC should be dismantled.

  • Pete

    After the incredible display of support from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Gates, and today from Colin Powell, and a few days ago from General John Shalikashvili, former Chief of NATO Command, concerning their support for the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”, I think that people ought to give both HRC (Solmonese) and Obama a bit of credit for bringing out the issue after they had done all of the necessary homework. Their efforts certainly were on display yesterday. Can’t you guys connect the dots and see that all this support did not arise out of thin air?

  • libhomo

    The Champagne Fund never cared about lgbt activism. There are plenty of other queer organizations who are far more worthy of our financial support.

Comments are closed.