A shadowy political operative with ties to organized crime is behind the now-infamous TV ad in which ex-steelworker Joe Soptic falsely blamed his wife’s tragic cancer death on Mitt Romney’s venture capital firm shuttering his place of employment.
Behind-the-scenes power broker Harold Ickes is a major player in today’s Democratic Party. A registered lobbyist and shill for leftist causes, Ickes is a longtime Clinton loyalist, who previously served as deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and in senior posts in the presidential campaigns of both Bill and Hillary Clinton. During the 2004 election cycle, Democratic strategist Howard Wolfson said that – outside of the John Kerry campaign— Ickes was “the most important person in the Democratic Party today.”
When he did damage control for President Clinton Ickes called himself the administration’s “Director of Sanitation.”
“Whenever there was something that [Bill Clinton] thought required ruthlessness or vengeance or sharp elbows and sharp knees or, frankly, skullduggery, he would give it to Harold,” former Clinton advisor Dick Morris told Vanity Fair in 1997.
Ickes ran the Clintons’ fundraising operation, collecting mountains of money illegally through labor unions and from Communist Chinese intelligence agents, as Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II reported in Year of the Rat: How Bill Clinton and Al Gore Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash.
As a lawyer Ickes represented Local 100 of HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union) which DiscoverTheNetworks reports “was jointly controlled by the Colombo and Gambino crime families.” He acted for the Gambino-controlled New York City District Council of Carpenters, and for Teamsters Local 851, “which ran the air freight rackets at JFK airport for the Lucchese crime family.”
Ickes is “widely recognized as the chief organizer of the so-called Shadow Party, a nationwide network of more than five-dozen unions, non-profit activist groups, and think tanks whose agendas are ideologically to the left, and which are engaged in campaigning for the Democrats,” according to DiscoverTheNetworks.
Ickes also founded a powerful political consultancy called Catalist that has close ties to George Soros and his billionaire leftists’ club, the Democracy Alliance. Catalist aggregates voter information for left-wing get-out-the-vote organizations such as ACORN, MoveOn, Sierra Club, EMILY’s List, Center for Community Change, Service Employees International Union, USAction, the League of Conservation Voters, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the AFL-CIO.
Catalist specializes in “microtargeting,” a data-intensive system that political candidates use to track individual voters and identify potential supporters. Some say Catalist was instrumental in helping Democrats win back control of Congress six years ago.
Of course Ickes is also president of the Priorities USA Action super PAC that unleashed the Joe Soptic ad, probably the most dishonest –and certainly the most vicious – presidential campaign ad since Lyndon Johnson’s apocalyptic “Daisy” ad in 1964 painted Barry Goldwater as a budding Dr. Strangelove.
Perhaps Ickes’s super PAC assumed that the mainstream media wouldn’t fact-check the ad because liberal journalists have already let President Obama get away with so much.
If so, they guessed wrong.
So far this calculated risk has failed to pay off, even backfired, as Americans bristle at the sheer audacity of the false claims in the commercial.
Even though super PACs and the candidates they back are forbidden from coordinating their respective campaigns, The Hill newspaper suggests that the ad is so far beyond the pale that Obama will be forced to answer questions about it.
The ad features Joe Soptic explaining directly to the camera how his wife died after Bain Capital, the firm Romney once ran, bought the steel company he worked for and dissolved it. Soptic blames Romney for the loss of his health insurance and subsequent death of his wife.
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