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Better Idaho, fueled by left-wing cash, leads the progressive assault on the Gem State

Better Idaho, fueled by left-wing cash, leads the progressive assault on the Gem State

Dustin Hurst
June 18, 2015
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June 18, 2015

better_idaho_graphic_website_2It's the chief strategy in the progressive playbook: Start class warfare by vilifying the successful Americans, including David and Charles Koch.

Well-trained operatives recognize that as a tried-and-true method to increase political donations and manipulate the unassuming American media.

Yet, even as these class warriors wage war on political foes, they're quietly setting up their own political operations fueled by the wealthy elites these left-leaning groups claim to despise.

Lest anyone think progressives want this war solely in swing states, leftists have their eyes on Idaho.

For evidence, look no further than Better Idaho, a nonprofit dedicated to smearing conservatives, advancing a radical environmental agenda and forwarding big-government policies.

A quick glance at Better Idaho's website or Facebook page reveals little about the group or its intentions. Managing editor Derek Farr and research association Jordan Brady offer little more than cute graphics and memes, media products carefully crafted to smear those who believe in limited government principles.

Just this week, Better Idaho attacked a U.S. Army veteran and constitutional teacher, calling her "crazy" and suggesting she believes "right-wing fantasies."

A little digging into Better Idaho's background offers a clear picture of Farr and Brady's purposes, plus how they aim to push the progressive agenda.

Better Idaho is part of a quiet network of left-wing propaganda mills under the direction of ProgressNow. Based in Minnesota, ProgressNow coordinates left-wing media efforts to prop up leftist ideas.

"Day in and day out, we're working in our states to counter the right wing and create a perpetual issue advocacy culture," the group's website reads. "Whether we're fighting against conservative policies or promoting progressive ones, we can be effective."

While ProgressNow claims itself a nonpartisan operation, its staff roster and board of directors reveal a team dedicated to Democrats. Ted Trimpa, a member of the oversight board, helped lead a Democrat takeover of Colorado.

Trimpa is a power player in Colorado who earned some of his cash lobbying for oil companies, telecommunications firms and cigarette manufacturers.

Arshad Hasan, ProgressNow's director, worked closely with Democrat Howard Dean in 2003 and ran California Democrat Jerry McNerney's re-election campaign in 2006.

The closeness to Democrats continues at Better Idaho. Brady, Better Idaho's research director, interned for Idaho Democratic Party. Farr, too, has actively participated with the Idaho County Democratic Party.

Looking even deeper might expose Better Idaho's agenda.

While the left continually bashes conservatives for using dark money to buy elections and favorable policies, Better Idaho and ProgressNow use big cash from some high-profile names in progressive politics to fuel the mission.

Through a dark web, Better Idaho operates using money from George Soros and his Tides Foundation, the Foundation for an Open Society, United Auto Workers, Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, to name a few.

According to Discover the Networks, ProgressNow took more than $7 million in Tides Foundation cash between 2006 and 2011. Labor unions pitched in more than $1.3 million in 2011 alone.

Interestingly enough, an Idaho secretary of state document lists AFL-CIO Idaho's Jason Hudson as Better Idaho's registered agent. Hudson claimed he registered Better Idaho at his home address, but the address on file leads to a downtown Boise law office of J. Will Varin.

Besides the cash flowing from big labor and wealthy liberals, Better Idaho and ProgressNow play into a larger strategy for American progressives. As part of the Democracy Alliance network, ProgressNow and Better Idaho serve to push a big-government agenda between now and 2020.

Democracy Alliance, which helps facilitate the flow of cash from liberal donors to anointed groups like ProgressNow and Better Idaho, laid out its vision in a closed-door conference in April. At that conference, operatives laid out the 2020 Vision, a plan stacked with rhetoric of minimum wage hikes, more government health care and global warming -- cleverly dubbed "climate disruption."

The group's documents, obtained and distributed by the Washington Free Beacon, offer a look at the Democracy Alliance-approved groups progressives will use to foist their agenda on America. Groups include Media Matters, the National Employment Law Project, Organizing for Action and the State Innovation Exchange, among several others.

At the meetings, operatives asked donors to invest at least $20 million more per year on top of existing efforts.

Talk about money in politics.

ProgressNow and Better Idaho's tactics aren't without controversy.

Conservative figure Michelle Malkin exposed ProgressNow's involvement in a 2009 scheme to smear conservatives attending a tea party event.

It doesn't stop there. The Daily Caller caught ProgressNow's Michigan offshoot plagiarizing material in one of its attacks.

A little closer to home, ProgressNow New Mexico, a firm ally of the Occupy movement, misled voters on several issues last year and backtracked after a local paper investigated.

This week, Better Idaho intimated Idaho Republicans are sexist because only men are in the running to fill an open seat in the Idaho Senate.

Farr and Brady fail to mention only men have applied for the spot, which is still open. Nathan Brown, the Twin Falls Times-News reporter who covered the vacancy and fight to fill it, confirmed local Republicans will consider all applicants -- male and female.

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