At least seven of Progressive Slate groups that received Pepsi Refresh grants are also benefactors of George Soros’ Open Society Institute. These groups include:
- The Advancement Project, a self-described “action tank” that is dedicated to building a national movement for social justice, has received nearly $3 million from Soros since 2003. The group has also engaged in lobbying activities and lists the very “nonpartisan” Harry Belafonte as a member of their board.
- The American Constitution Society has received over $2 million in grant money since 2008. The group was founded in response to an “activist conservative movement” that, in its view, is “eroding” the enduring values of the Constitution.
- The League of Young Voters Education Fund has received $600,000 since 2008. Their mission is to train young civic leaders and to mobilize voters from core constituencies in low-income areas.
- The Midwest Academy, which also does training for activists to promote social change, received $39,000 in 2009.
- The Rockwood Leadership Institute received $109,000 in 2008. Located in Berkeley, California, the group also engages in grassroots and leadership training.
- State Voices received $100,000 in 2008. The group is dedicated to helping grassroots organizations win “civic engagement victories for change.”
- The Wellstone Action Fund, which provides training and development for those in the progressive movement, received $100,000 in 2008.
- The Center for Progressive Leadership, the organization that manages the Progressive Slate, has also benefited from Soros’ generosity. The nonprofit got $300,000 in funds from the Open Society Institute in 2008.
And the political connections don’t end there.
This month, the Slate is putting forth two of their own employees, Beth Meyer and Maricela Donahue, as contenders for Pepsi grants (though they don’t disclose the relationship in their email appeals). According to her online bio, Meyer is a long-time pro-choice advocate, serving as the vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona and as a board member of the Arizona Advocacy Foundation NARAL-Pro Choice. She has also served on the board of the Arizona chapter of the ACLU.
Donahue has a background as an immigration rights activist who helped organize national protests during her tenure at Center for Community Change which — surprise — is another Soros backed group.
Both have submitted grant proposals for programs to train civic youth leaders. While they do not elaborate on which groups will receive the training, a look at their estimated budgets reveals a large portion of their expenses go back toward salary costs. Grassroots indeed.
This isn’t the first time the Progressive Slate has received scrutiny for violating the rules of the Pepsi Refresh Project because of their political affiliations. Last year, the New York Times questioned the organization’s partisan connections after the Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation complained that the group was tied to the Democratic Party.
For their part, Pepsi maintains its commitment to ensuring the integrity of the Pepsi Refresh Project. In an official statement, the company stated, “We take any allegations of fraudulent voting very seriously. … Pepsi diligently monitors Refresh Project voting and uses the latest technology and security measures to ensure the process is fair and transparent for all participants.”
It is unconfirmed whether or not Pepsi will continue the Refresh Project in 2012.
And while the Left once again shows their adeptness for political organization, Gail Pubols and Crys Worley continue to fight the good fight.
“We have been working on this day and night and have spent all of our Christmas money on this, but to know that we could help a parent hear their child speak for the first time is worth more to us than any Christmas present ever could be, and we hope that the value of giving to others is one we can instill in our children by living it every day,” said Pubols.
And while they may not be NFL quarterbacks, one thing Pubols and Worley do have is a devoted Army of Davids. If you would like to help the true grassroots, visit Gage Rufus Foundation or A.Skate for details on how to vote.