Americans for the Arts: “The Washington Times deliberately omits the fact that the PAC of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund … also gave donations to 26 Republicans running for Congress. … (and) by implying that the arts and the needs of artists are somehow a Democrat issue dishonors the hundreds of thousands of Republican elected officials, arts patrons, board members and arts leaders across America who should be recognized for their ongoing strong arts support.”
The Washington Times: The Times did not omit anything. When The Water Cooler blog first reported the donations, we linked to OpenSecrets.org’s database of 2008 donations by Americans for the Arts Action Fund PAC – including the Republican ones. According to OpenSecrets.org, 82% of Americans for the Arts donations went to Democrats in the 2008 election cycle. Readers could judge for themselves whether our emphasis on the Democratic donations was fair.
Americans for the Arts says there are problems with that database. According to numbers provided by the arts group, $4000 in donations to Republicans were missing from the database. The Democratic side of the ledger was missing $12,500. By Americans for the Arts count, 78% of donations went to Democrats.
In the 2008 cycle, Americans for the Arts Fund PAC gave almost the same percentage of its pack contributions to Democrats running for Congress as the National Rifle Association gave to Republicans. Every single donation to a Republican was $500 while there were 13 donations to Democrats of $1,000 or more. Americans for the Arts donated 18 times to Democratic challengers and Democrats running for open seats. Republican challengers and Republicans running in open seats received zero donations.
Americans for the Arts’ party preference is obvious. The organization is part of the Democratic coalition just as the NRA is an integral part of the Republican’s.