The real Jim

Jim Messina, the former Deputy Chief of Staff and campaign manager for President Obama, would like you to know that he thinks Elizabeth Warren is a hypocrite. In a Monday appearance on MSNBC, Messina blasted Warren for calling for the breakup of Facebook and other large tech companies but still buying campaign ads on the Facebook platform.

"She's out there spending millions of dollars on Facebook, which she wants to break up," Messina said, "that logic doesn't make sense to me… stop playing games."

Messina also criticized Warren and Kamala Harris for refusing to participate in a Fox News townhall. Watch:

Messina's criticism of Warren was enthusiastically amplified by right-wing media outlets.

What Messina did not talk about is his day job as a "strategic consultant" for corporations. Among Messina's clients is Google, a company that Warren has advocated splitting up. He serves on the board of PillPack, a company owned by Amazon, which also has been targeted by Warren. According to Messina's website, he also represents "Uber, Airbnb, and Delta Air Lines."

But most of Messina's corporate clients -- he says he has more than 70 -- are undisclosed. Messina says the mission of his consulting work is to be an "ally" to these corporations and give "businesses an edge."

In his pitch to potential corporate clients, Messina touts himself as the "mastermind behind President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign."

According to one client, Messina has a knack for stimulating public support for corporate agendas. "We have hired Messina to work on grassroots initiatives. Online gaming is one of those. Jim is as politically astute as they come and he will be a great resource for us," Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, said.

Messina never disclosed his corporate work on the MSNBC segment and was introduced only as Obama's former campaign manager.

Messina's work across the pond

It's unclear why people should value Messina's views on the 2020 Democratic primary field. Messina's recent political work has been in support of right-wing candidates. In 2017, Messina worked for Conservative British Prime Minister Theresa May.

During the campaign, May whipped up anti-immigrant sentiment and vowed to slash immigration, sounding very much like Donald Trump. “When immigration is too high, when the pace of change is too fast, it’s impossible to build a cohesive society,” May said. May claimed that immigration drove down wages, strained public services, and created “close to zero” economic benefit.

May promoted withdrawal from the EU, known as "Brexit," as a way to limit legal immigration from unskilled Europeans. This vision for the UK's immigration system matches a new immigration plan unveiled by Trump last week.

During her tenure as home secretary, the UK government detained and deported "longstanding Caribbean immigrants who had every right to live in the UK."

Messina played a similar role for May's Conservative predecessor, David Cameron, in 2015. In that election, Messina was "credited with playing a critical role for the Conservatives by targeting messages at specific voters who could be persuaded to switch from the Liberal Democrats." Cameron campaigned on a platform that would have virtually eliminated the ability of unions to strike.

Messina's work for Cameron put him at odds with another former Obama advisor, David Axelrod, who worked for the liberal candidate, the Labour Party's Ed Miliband.

The most homophobic ad of modern political history

Messina's willingness to leverage bigotry for political gain did not start in the UK. As the campaign manager for former Senator Max Baucus in 2002, Messina released "one of the more homophobic ads of modern political times." The ad, set to a soundtrack from a pornographic movie, "featured footage from a 20-year-old TV ad for a hair salon run by Baucus’s opponent, Mike Taylor...who was seen massaging a man’s face while wearing an open-front shirt, and hence was obviously supposed to be gay."

"Mike Taylor: Not the way we do business in Montana," the narrator says ominously.

In 2010, President Obama reportedly wanted to announce his support for same-sex marriage. But Messina allegedly warned him that speaking publicly could "cost you a couple of battleground states; North Carolina, for one."

But Messina continues to hold sway over powerful people in the Democratic party. According to the Washington Post, Messina appeared at a gathering of "107 of the Democratic Party's biggest bundlers" in March.

Messina plays favorites

The media regularly asks Messina for his views on the 2020 Democratic primary field. And Messina, under the banner of "Obama's former campaign manager," consistently trashes candidates seeking to reduce corporate power.

"He's an old, angry guy running against Donald Trump, who's an old, angry guy. That's not a contrast," Messina said of Senator Bernie Sanders in the Washington Post.

Messina told ABC News that Sanders, who is calling for single-payer health care and increased corporate taxes, couldn't beat Trump because he couldn't compete with Trump's economic message. "I think if you look at swing voters in this country they are incredibly focused on the economy. ... I think today you look at it and say that Bernie Sanders is unlikely going to be able to stand up to the constant barrage that is Donald Trump on economic issues," Messina said. Those comments were highlighted by Fox News.

Messina also criticized Warren's decision not to hold high-dollar fundraisers where wealthy people get access to her in exchange for large donations. "Here's the problem: The new map of having California and Texas so early means money is going to be even more important in the Democratic primary, unfortunately...And Senator Warren just decided to get rid of half of her fund-raising ability," Messina told the Washington Post.

After Warren and other candidates advocated for the elimination of the electoral college, which enabled Trump to win despite losing the popular vote, Messina spoke out against the idea, saying it would mean presidential candidates wouldn't visit small states.

Messina has had kinder words for Beto O'Rourke, who doesn't emphasize critiques of corporate America and is popular with the large tech companies that Messina represents. Messina said O'Rourke had a rare combination of "inspiration, aspiration, and authenticity" and praised him for playing the air drums. "He is authentic, and luckily, authentically cool. For him to play air drums to the Who or skateboard is both authentic and cool. People want to hang out with him."


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These six corporations are financing the war on women in six states

In 2019, state legislatures across the country are enacting radical new restrictions on abortion. Alabama banned virtually all abortions. Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio banned all abortions after six weeks, which is before many women even know they are pregnant. Missouri banned abortion after nine weeks.

While these policies are extreme, the politicians responsible have the financial backing of some of America's largest companies. In their corporate literature, these companies present themselves as champions of women and gender equality. But they have collectively donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians seeking to roll back reproductive rights.

Popular Information reviewed campaign finance reports in the six states that passed significant abortion restrictions this year --  Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri. We looked at corporate contributions to the political leaders most responsible for the abortion legislation in each state, including the Governor and the leadership of the legislature.

This report details the contributions from six corporations that showed up frequently in the recent campaign finance reports of the politicians in these six states leading the charge to ban abortion.

AT&T: $196,600 across six states

According to AT&T's corporate website, the company makes "sure women at AT&T feel supported in everything they do."

"We have many incredibly talented female leaders at all levels and in all businesses across our company… Equality at AT&T will remain my top priority," Corey Anthony, the company's Chief Diversity Officer said.

AT&T has donated nearly $200,000 to politicians that advocated for and enacted abortion bans in six states.

$2,600 to Missouri Governor Mike Parson

$2,300 to Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr

$3,000 to Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden

$113,000 to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

$10,000 to Alabama Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth

$2,250 to Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter

$2,000 to Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon

$2,500 to Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed

$6,600 to Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan

$2,600 to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston

$1,000 to Georgia Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan

$500 to Kentucky Speaker David Osborne

$2,000 to Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer

$15,000 to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

$2,000 to Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn

$10,000 to Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves

$1,000 to Mississippi Senate President Pro Tempore Terry Burton

$5,000 to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

$5,500 to Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith

$7,750 to Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof

Walmart: $57,700 across six states

Walmart says it's committed "to celebrating, developing and lifting up women around the world – both within the company and in the communities we serve."

The company donated at least $57,700 to politicians that advocated for and enacted abortion bans in six states.

$500 to Missouri Governor Mike Parson

$2,000 to Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter

$3,000 to Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon

$2,000 to Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed

$6,600 to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

$5,000 to Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan

$5,100 to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston

$2,000 to Kentucky Speaker David Osborne

$1,000 to Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers

$1,500 to Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer

$7,500 to Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn

$2,500 to Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves

$1,000 to Mississippi Senate President Pro Tempore Terry Burton

$7,000 to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

$1,000 to Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith

$10,000 to Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof


Pfizer: $53,650 across six states

Pfizer touts its commitment to gender equality, including access to health care.

Investments in women’s health and gender equality must be prioritized to help create healthier communities worldwide, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day. By harnessing our collective efforts to press forward for gender equality, we can make a difference in the lives of women who need it most.

The company donated at least $53,650 to politicians that advocated for and enacted abortion bans in six states.

$2,600 to Missouri Governor Mike Parson

$1,500 to Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr

$1,250 to Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden

$5,000 to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey


$500 to Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed

$6,600 to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

$5,000 to Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan

$3,000 to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston

$2,000 to Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin

$1,000 to Kentucky Speaker David Osborne

$1,000 to Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers

$1,500 to Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer

$1,000 to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

$5,000 to Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn

$1,000 to Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves

$500 to Mississippi Senate President Pro Tempore Terry Burton

$12,700 to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

$1,750 to Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith

$750 to Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof


Eli Lilly: $66,250 across five states

Eli Lilly says it is working to remove "any hidden barriers for women and minorities – to pave the way for a more open, engaging and inclusive culture for everyone."

The company donated at least $66,250 to politicians that advocated for and enacted abortion bans in five states.

$3,000 to Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr

$1,000 to Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden

$30,000 to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

$3,000 to Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon

$2,000 to Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed

$4,000 to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

$2,500 to Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan

$1,000 to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

$7,000 to Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn

$1,000 to Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves

$1,000 to Mississippi Senate President Pro Tempore Terry Burton

$5,000 to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

$5,750 to Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof


Coca-Cola: $40,800 across five states

Coca-Cola says there "is overwhelming evidence that achieving equality and empowerment for women has both immediate impacts that benefit them directly and broader ripple effects that are good for society."

The company donated at least $40,800 to politicians that advocated for and enacted abortion bans in five states.

$10,000 to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

$2,500 to Alabama Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth

$2,500 to Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed

$6,600 to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

$2,600 to Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan

$2,600 to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston

$500 to Georgia Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan

$500 to Kentucky Speaker David Osborne

$500 to Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers


$2,500 to Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer

$6,500 to Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn

$2,500 to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine

$1,000 to Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof


Aetna: $26,600 across four states

Aetna touts its commitment to women and its reliance on women as customers. "Women influence 80% of purchasing decisions today. They are the largest consumer and workforce group. Women’s views on health care and health care services are critical to our success," the company says.

The company donated at least $26,600 to politicians that advocated for and enacted abortion bans in four states.

$1,000 to Missouri Governor Mike Parson

$1,000 to Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr

$6,600 to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

$2,500 to Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan

$4,500 to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston

$2,000 to Kentucky Speaker David Osborne

$750 to Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer

$3,000 to Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith

$5,250 to Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof

How states conceal corporate contributions

The information in this newsletter should be easy for anyone to obtain. But it's not.

States make it difficult to uncover corporate contributions to politicians. Each state has its own system and few of them are user-friendly.

Let's look, for example, at a search for contributions to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. A basic search brings up results for "Bryant Clark," who is the wrong person.

In order to get Phil Bryant's reports, it turns out, you need to search for "Candidate Committee," instead of "Candidate."

But when you "View Details" it only shows two reports and the most recent one is nearly two years old.

What's happening? Bryant closed his campaign committee and is routing all political donations through his Political Action Committee, Imagine Mississippi.

But that still doesn't explain why there are no reports before 2017. It turns out Bryant's earlier reports are available under a separate tab with an entirely different search function.

A search under that tab brings up a list of Bryant's earlier reports, posted as PDFs.

The PDFs are oriented the wrong way and cannot be searched.

But, if you flip the report around and carefully scroll through it, it reveals that Bryant received $15,000 from AT&T.

The information compiled in this newsletter involved repeating this process for each report for each legislative leader that helped enact an abortion ban.


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Trump campaign accepts cash from notorious white supremacist

The Trump campaign has accepted three contributions in 2019 from Morris Gulett, a neo-Nazi.

The Southern Poverty Law Center summarizes Gulett's activities:

Emerging from prison in August 2010, Gulett wasted no time in setting up shop as the real Aryan Nations in Converse, La., and using the Internet for weekly “Sword of the Truth” sermons.

“I am the senior pastor at the Church of Jesus Christ Christian,” Gulett says on his website, using the longstanding alternate name for Aryan Nations, adding that his group is the “most-feared and revered white supremacist organization the world has ever known.”

...Gulett’s racial hatred is visceral. In one podcast sermon — he practices Christian Identity, a pervasively racist and anti-Semitic theology — he said he would celebrate Black History Month “when every Negro becomes just that – history.” And just as Butler did for three decades, Gulett closes all his sermons with a Nazi salute. “Heil victory,” he shouts. “Brethren, you know what to do. Let’s be out there and be busy about our Father’s work.”

In 2016, Gulett started a new racist church and singled out Trump for praise.

“The ideas that Donald Trump articulates about America now and where America is going as opposed to where it should be going in my opinion is admirable from a Patriotic Nationalists point of view,” Gulett said.

He said Trump “sounds committed and sincere and at this point in our political quagmire we can only hope that he is serious about freeing our nation from the parasites of the Republican and Democratic parties. We can only hope that he is a man sent by God to lead us out of the wilderness. But do not expect perfection.”

The Trump campaign cannot credibly claim they are not aware of Gulett's background. The campaign was put on notice when The Forward reported contributions from Gulett and two other white nationalists to Trump last year.

Gulett donated several hundred dollars to Trump and the Republican National Committee and 2017 and 2018.

None of the money has been returned and the RNC and the Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment from The Forward.


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The corporations backing Alabama's war on women

On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a draconian bill that would effectively ban all abortions in the state. The radical legislation would be a dramatic step backward for women's rights and gender equality -- banning abortion even in cases of rape or incest. Doctors who perform abortions in Alabama could face up to 99 years in jail.

The effort was spearheaded by Alabama's Republican leadership: Speaker Mac McCutcheon, Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, Senate President (and Lt. Governor) Will Ainsworth, and Majority Leader Greg Reed. The bill was sponsored by a Republican Senator, Clyde Chambliss.

Ainsworth, for example, posted a video on Twitter about his effort to have women carry their rapists baby to term.

McCutcheon stressed that the purpose of the bill was to prompt the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade. "Alabama, as a whole in the state, is a pro-life state. What we as a state are doing, is trying to address the national problem," he said.

There are just four women in the Alabama state Senate.

Meanwhile, some of America's most prominent corporations are backing these politicians -- and their war on women's rights -- with campaign cash. These are the same companies that publicly claim to support gender equality and women's rights.

Coca-Cola supports the Republicans behind Alabama's abortion ban

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent promotes himself as a feminist and gave an impassioned presentation on the topic at the Women’s Global Forum Meeting.

Empowering women and supporting gender equality is crucial on both moral and practical grounds, the chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company said this week during a keynote interview and panel at the Women’s Global Forum Meeting.

In a session titled “Why I am a Feminist,” Muhtar Kent said advocating for women is not only the right thing to do but can also help companies, communities and nations grow and succeed. The 21st Century, he said, will be “the century of women” as more women have greater opportunities to succeed professionally and as entrepreneurs.

...On the subject of enhancing and protecting Coca-Cola’s reputation as a business, he said it was essential to “do the right thing first” and later decide how best to tout those achievements.

Coca-Cola donated $2,500 to Ainsworth on September 4, 2018, and $2,000 to Reed on November 5, 2018.

AT&T supports the Republicans behind Alabama's abortion ban

AT&T's corporate website stresses the importance of women to the company, promising to "make sure women at AT&T feel supported in everything they do."


Women play a big role at AT&T. With a workforce of 31% and a management team that's 35% female, women make a big impact in technology here....We're also fortunate to work with a lot of "Women Who Inspire" who are making a difference in their communities and the world at large. This is why we make sure women at AT&T feel supported in everything they do.

The company's chief diversity officer, Corey Anthony, said, "We have many incredibly talented female leaders at all levels and in all businesses across our company who are doing bold things for the industry, for customers and for each other. Equality at AT&T will remain my top priority, and I’m looking forward to see where we go together."

Over the last six years, AT&T has donated $10,000 to Ainsworth, $5,000 to Chambliss, $2,250 to Ledbetter, $2,000 to McCutcheon, and $2,500 to Reed.

Exxon supports the Republicans behind Alabama's abortion ban

Exxon stresses the importance of trusting women and giving them agency over their own lives.

Research shows that when women have control over their incomes, they invest in the health, education and well-being of their families. They also tend to reach out to propel other women forward, creating a powerful multiplier effect that benefits all of society. At ExxonMobil, we know that when women move forward, the world moves with them. That’s why in 2005, we launched our Women’s Economic Opportunity Initiative — a global effort that helps women fulfill their economic potential and drive economic and social change in their communities.

Over the last six years, the company has donated $1,000 to Ainsworth, $1,000 to McCutcheon, $2,000 to Reed, and $500 to Ledbetter.

Pfizer supports the Republicans behind Alabama's abortion ban

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer touts its commitment to equitable healthcare for women.

Health impacts multiple aspects of women’s daily lives, yet many lack access to quality care. In support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we at Pfizer are committed to advancing Global Goal 5, gender equality, by improving access to equitable healthcare for women in underserved communities.

Investments in women’s health and gender equality must be prioritized to help create healthier communities worldwide, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day. By harnessing our collective efforts to press forward for gender equality, we can make a difference in the lives of women who need it most.

Pfizer donated $1,000 to Chambliss in December 2017, and $500 to Reed in January 2018.

Walmart supports the Republicans behind Alabama's abortion ban

Walmart's corporate materials stress the company's commitment "to celebrating, developing and lifting up women around the world – both within the company and in the communities we serve."

Since 2017, Walmart has donated $2,000 to Ledbetter, $3,000 to McCutcheon, and $2,000 to Reed.

Boeing supports the Republicans behind Alabama's abortion ban

Boeing insists its committed to "empowering women." In 2017, the company donated $2,000 to McCutcheon and $1,000 to Reed.

State Farm supports the Republicans behind Alabama's abortion ban

State Farm says it is "consistently recognized as an employer committed to diversity and inclusion."

Diversity and inclusion is central to everything we do. It’s evident in every relationship we have – within the workplace where all associates are treated with respect and dignity, across the marketplace by how we interact with our customers and suppliers, and in the community through charitable giving and community service.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is reflected in how we value relationships, how we conduct business, and how we lead our organization.

State Farm donated $5,000 to McCutcheon in 2018, and $1,000 to Chambliss in 2017.

Eli Lilly supports the Republicans behind Alabama's abortion ban

Eli Lilly says it understands the unique challenges facing women and is committed to "removing barriers."

At Lilly, we care about our people. All of them. In 2015, we began an initiative to understand the experience of women and minorities in our workforce.

We listened, and we learned. And then we took action to assess and address any hidden barriers for women and minorities – to pave the way for a more open, engaging and inclusive culture for everyone.

Eli Lilly donated $3,000 to McCutcheon in 2018 and $1,000 to Reed in 2017.

Caterpillar supports the Republicans behind Alabama's abortion ban

Equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has a webpage devoted to gender equality, featuring testimonials from employees on the importance of supporting women. An excerpt:

I am proud to see the direction that Caterpillar is moving in relation to gender equality, diversity and inclusion. I had my own beliefs and motivation to join the Women’s Initiatives Network (WIN) Hamburg chapter a few months ago, but after the Breakthrough Leadership Men as Allies workshop, “He Said. She Said.” sessions and other WIN events, it was clear to me the importance of being a “well-intentioned man” on this journey.

Men often don’t recognize our “privileged” position and have a difficult time foreseeing the challenges female colleagues may face daily. I’ve learned that being empathic as much as possible is useful to minimize any gender or diversity issue. I also find it helpful to avoid focusing on differences (e.g. gender), but focus on the individual and his/her skills to accomplish a determined goal. If we start by ourselves to avoid putting gender in the discussion, I believe that little by little a more equal environment will arise.

Caterpillar donated $2,500 to Ainsworth in 2014.

Other companies supporting the Republicans behind Alabama's abortion ban

Koch Industries, run by the supposedly libertarian Koch brothers, donated $2,500 to Ainsworth, $1,500 to Chambliss, $1,500 to Ledbetter, and $2,000 to Reed.

The fantasy sports site Draft Kings donated $5,000 to McCutcheon, and $500 to Ainsworth.

Tobacco-maker Altria donated $1,000 to Chambliss, and $500 to Reed.

Cable provider Comcast donated $2,500 to McCutcheon.

Health insurance giant Caremark donated $1,500 to McCutcheon.

Anheuser-Busch donated $1,000 to McCutcheon, and $1,500 to Reed.

UPDATE (5/16): The corporate contributors to Governor Ivey:


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