Group That Sabotaged Iowa Caucus Begun by Billionaire Backer of Alabama ‘False Flag’ Campaign

Silicon Valley billionaire Reid Hoffman not only funded the group that sabotaged the Iowa caucus, he bankrolled the notorious online “false flag operation” in Alabama’s 2017 senate campaign, reports Max Blumenthal.

By Max Blumenthal
The Grayzone

At the time of publication, the winner of the state’s Democratic Party caucuses is still unknown. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the clear winner in virtually every exit poll, is currently ahead in votes. Yet somehow Pete Buttigieg, a favorite of the party establishment who was unknown to most voters until last year, has claimed victory.

The force accused of sowing the confusion and disarray surrounding the first Democrat Party contest of the 2020 election season is a dark money Democratic nonprofit called Acronym. It was Acronym that launched Shadow Inc, the mysterious company behind the now-infamous, unsecured, completely unworkable voter app which prevented precinct chairs from reporting vote totals on caucus night.

The exceptionally opaque Acronym was itself created with seed money from a Silicon Valley billionaire named Reid Hoffman who has financed a series of highly manipulative social media campaigns.

The billionaire founder of LinkedIn, Hoffman is a top funder of novel Democratic Party social media campaigns accused of manipulating voters through social media. He is assisted by Dmitri Mehlhorn, a corporate consultant who pushed school privatization before joining Hoffman’s political empire.

One of the most consequential beneficiaries of Hoffman’s wealth is Acronym CEO Tara McGowan, a 33-year-old former journalist and Obama for America veteran.

Once touted as “a weapon of a woman whose innovative tactics make her critically important to the Democratic Party,” McGowan’s name is now synonymous with the fiasco in Iowa. She happens to be married to a senior advisor to Buttieg’s presidential campaign.

                                                                              Tara McGowan with her former boss.

Back in December 2018, McGowan personally credited Hoffman and Mehlhorn’s Investing in US initiative with the birth of her dark money pressure group, Acronym.

“I’m personally grateful and proud to be included in this group of incredible political founders + startups @reidhoffman and his team, led by Dmitri [Mehlhorn], have supported and helped to fund over the past two years,” she declared on Twitter in December 2018.


At the time, Hoffman had just been exposed for funding Project Birmingham, a covert disinformation campaign consisting of false flag tactics that aimed to depress voter turnout and create the perception of Russian interference in the 2017 Alabama senate election.

Hoffman and Mehlhorn have also faced scrutiny for their alleged operation of a series of deceptive pages which attempted to manipulate center-right users into voting for Democrats. Today, Acronym’s McGowan oversees a massive Facebook media operation that employs similarly deceptive techniques to sway voters.

Through youthful, tech-centric operatives like McGowan, Hoffman and Mehlhorn are building up a massive new infrastructure that could supplant the party’s apparatus.

As Vanity Fair reported, “Hoffman and Mehlhorn, after all, are not just building a power base that could supplement traditional Democratic organizations, they are, potentially, laying the groundwork to usurp the D.N.C. entirely.”

Having fostered friendships with nationally known Silicon Valley oligarchs like right-wing libertarian Trump supporter Peter Thiel and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, is now making his name as a top sugar-daddy of the Democratic anti-Trump resistance.

Following Trump’s election in 2016, Hoffman plowed his money into an array of new Democrat-aligned social media groups through a funding hub he founded called Investing in US.

To run Investing in US on a day-to-day basis, Hoffman tapped Mehlhorn, a venture capitalist and political strategist used to walking the line between the corporate world and Democratic Party.

“There was no risk-capital or growth-capital arm of the resistance, and so that is what we’ve tried to build,” Mehlhorn told Vanity Fair. “Now, in terms of what that implies, that implies that we are backing founders, so people who we think have big, potentially game-changing ideas.”

Mehlhorn’s career path tracked closely with neoliberal party favorites like Buttigieg and Cory Booker. He studied at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, launched his career at McKinsey Associates, and became a leading advocate for school privatization as the chief operating officer of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst.

Dmitri Mehlhorn

According to Mehlhorn’s bio, he sits on the board of American Prison Data Systems, a company that claims to reduce recidivism by giving prisoners tablets to study coding for five hours a day.

Mehlhorn is also an advisor to the Democratic group DigiDems, which Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign paid $1540 for technology services.

In a 2018 Medium post, announcing the “founders” that Investing in US planned to back, Mehlhorn resorted to distinctly neoconservative talking points to emphasize the mission of his organization.

After quoting Ronald Reagan, he declared, “Trump and his movement, borrowing heavily from other authoritarian criminals such as Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin, promised to hollow out America’s principles in favor of his own personal enrichment.”

Pledging to “inoculate our politics and our economy against corruption, white nationalism, and mass deceit,” Mehlhorn announced major donations to “diverse groups” with names like Woke Vote, PushBlack, and an “anti-Nazi” organization known as Integrity for America.

Among the top recipients of support from Investing in US was McGowan’s Acronym, which Mehlhorn described merely as a “media group.”

As The Grayzone reported, Acronym has ballooned since its founding into a massive dark money operation, even launching a Super PAC dubbed Pacronym that has raked in money from hedge fund billionaires like Seth Klarman and Donald Sussman.

What Mehlhorn and Hoffman never disclosed to the public, however, was their support for a Democrat-aligned group that waged a covert online disinformation campaign which aimed to influence the outcome of the 2017 special senate election in Alabama.

Project Birmingham: From New
Knowledge to No Knowledge

The 2017 senate election in Alabama was one of the most dramatic races of President Donald Trump’s first term in office. Treated by national media as a referendum on Trump in a red state, it pitted a far-right Republican, Roy Moore, against Doug Jones, a moderate Republican who ran as a Democrat. In the end, Jones won an upset victory in a deep red state, thrilling Democrats across the country.

As Dan Cohen wrote in a series of reports for The Grayzone, the outcome of the 2017 Alabama race was heavily influenced by an online disinformation operation. The campaign, which was unknown to voters at the time, was called Project Birmingham.

Reid Hoffman

Silicon Valley billionaire Hoffman provided $100,000 to the architects of this black ops campaign. His money was pipelined through American Engagement Technologies (AET), a company run by Obama administration veteran and Democrat tech operative Mikey Dickerson. Through AET, a firm comprised of Obama campaign veterans and national security state operatives called New Knowledge was contracted to carry out the secretive voter manipulation project.

In internal documents first covered by The New York Times, Project Birmingham’s architects described the scheme as an “elaborate false flag operation” which aimed to convince voters that the Kremlin was supporting Moore through thousands of fake Russian bots.

Project Birmingham went to absurd lengths to drive voters away from Moore. Its architects deployed a phony Facebook page encouraging Alabamians to vote for an obscure write-in Republican candidate, arranged interviews for the candidate in major newspapers, and even sought to arrange SuperPAC funding for his dark horse campaign.

The deeply un-democratic campaign was overseen by a cast of characters remarkably similar to those who bungled the 2020 Iowa caucus count. Like the staff of Acronym and Shadow Inc., the New Knowledge operatives who carried out Project Birmingham were 30 and 40-something techies who had worked in the Obama administration and on various Democratic campaigns. (New Knowledge was rebranded as Yonder after the scandal was exposed in national media).

The devious tactics they waged in Alabama likely influenced the outcome of the election. A leaked “Project Birmingham Debrief” claimed that New Knowledge’s black operations “moved enough votes to ensure a Doug Jones victory.”

After the scheme was exposed, Hoffman issued a public apology and claimed he had no knowledge of the New Knowledge disinformation project. He said nothing about the Investing in US employee who worked directly on Project Birmingham, however.

This was hardly the first time Hoffman and Mehlhorn’s finger prints were discovered on a deceptive voter manipulation campaign.

Aiming to ‘Mirror’ the Tactics of
Russia’s Internet Research Agency

Following the 2018 midterm congressional election, Hoffman and his henchman Mehlhorn faced further scrutiny in national media, this time for operating a fake news-style organization called News for Democracy. The shady outfit managed an array of community Facebook pages initially focusing on sports, Christianity, patriotism and other topics that were likely to generate interest from center-right voters in swing states.

Yet the seemingly locally-branded cultural pages took a decisively political turn as Election Night approached. After racking up millions of likes, News for Democracy slipped in ads for Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke on a Facebook page targeting evangelical Christians, and attacked a Republican candidate, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, on a page focused on local Tennessee sports.

While Hoffman’s right-hand man Mehlhorn claimed to reject the spread of misinformation, he told The Washington Post that through projects like News for Democracy, he aimed to “mirror” the tactics of the notorious Russian Internet Research Agency troll farm.


Facebook eventually launched an investigation into the insidious manipulation ploys of Hoffman and Mehlhorn’s News for Democracy.

The very tactics that landed the two in hot water are remarkably similar to those that McGowan, the Acronym founder who disrupted the Iowa caucuses, has put on display.

McGowan recently founded Courier Newsroom, a seemingly journalistic initiative that appeared to take on a more overtly partisan role with time. Like News for Democracy, Courier Newsroom has opened local news pages on Facebook with unassuming names like “The Virginia Dogwood” or “Arizona’s Copper Courier.” After seeding the pages with folksy local stories, Courier Newsroom bombards users with pro-Democrat political messaging.

As Bloomberg reported, McGowan used “her sizable war chest and digital advertising savvy to pay to have her articles placed into the Facebook feeds of swing-state users.” McGowan then used “that feedback to find more people like them.”

One of McGowan’s dubious news pages, the Virginia Dogwood, spent a whopping $275,000 on Facebook ads during the 2018 midterm elections.

“We’ll try it, see if we can make it work, and hopefully become a permanent piece of the new infrastructure,” McGowan told Bloomberg.

McGowan’s shenanigans in Iowa could be seen in the light of a wider string of manipulations by the Silicon Valley-backed, neoliberal network behind her. While Democratic Party elites blame incompetence for the fiasco in Iowa, the history of Acronym and its billionaire backers casts a disturbing shadow over the whole episode.

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah,” Goliath,” The Fifty One Day Warand The Management of Savagery.” He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Killing Gaza and Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie.” Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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38 comments for “Group That Sabotaged Iowa Caucus Begun by Billionaire Backer of Alabama ‘False Flag’ Campaign

  1. Bif Crowley
    February 9, 2020 at 14:50

    A Case For A Bernie/Tulsi Ticket

    It’s really simple.

    After the shenanigans both the DNC and Pete Buttigeig’s campaign pulled, it now seems not only reasonable but strategically savvy for Tulsi Gabbard to have stayed out of Iowa.

    Tulsi wasn’t going to poll anyway, as she didn’t at 0%. But she knew that already. Or, she would get 2%, maybe, if she canvassed. Which isn’t worth doing, really. Unless you’re desperate, like some of those who are hanging on by a thread.

    So Tulsi decided to focus all of her efforts into the New Hampshire primary. Which works on two levels. The first level, Tulsi will receive more votes. Second to that is Bernie will also get a bump just by her presence, as both voting blocs are close to one another. Consolidation. Shoring up future votes.

    And as we travel beyond New Hampshire and into the Land of Lost Wages (Nevada) that will give Bernie the momentum he will need to get into the mire of South Carolina. Which shows Joe Biden winning that state. But at this point, that is not even safe. Nina Turner has been laying waste to Joe’s actual record for a state he relies on for African American votes.

    Bernie does well in that department too. That’s why Tom Perez stopped counting in Iowa. Because the satellite votes showed us the majority of minorities voted that way, and most of them, if not all of them, are Bernie supporters. They stopped counting, the DNC that is, and their hatchet man, Tom Perez, ceased count before counting all of the Bernie Strongholds.

    In our corporate media, they would always “update” the count when Buttigeig was in the lead. Anytime Bernie would take the lead, they ignored it until Buttigeig surpassed Bernie. This process was repeated at least three times during the airing of the so-called “results.” Which is odd because the word “results” means the thing is over. It wasn’t.


    So yeah, I can envision Tulsi jumping aboard Bernie’s ticket. That would help some of Bernie’s weaknesses. Like his foreign policy. Bernie could also bring aboard Tulsi’s partner in that area with a guy like Dennis Kucinich. And, to get the Libertarian support, Tulsi could bring over Rand Paul for the non-interventionist foreign policy decisions.

    Bernie and Tulsi could bring into the fray Andrew Yang, too. Cenk Uygur, too. And a bevy of other Progressives who have decided to run since last primary’s fuckery. There’s Independents who would vote for them.

    They could bring over moderate Republicans.

    When Bernie did his Town Hall on FOX, he got more than his fair share of folks who liked him; liked his message; a few liked some of his policies. That’s why Tulsi went on FOX. But they got hammered for that by the DNC establishment? Why? How many times have we heard those very same people say, “We need to get conservative votes”? So why pan someone when they’re only reaching out to folks you say need attention?

    The largest voter-bloc out there remains the one-hundred-million voters who stayed home last election. And I believe both Bernie and Tulsi could bring at least a third of those folks along. Maybe more. But then again, we have a system that rewards “delegates” over the popular vote. Even something “Mayor” Pete said should be the gold standard, even though he took a victory lap with 64% of the vote in… as he was losing the popular vote?

    So yeah… relax, folks. I get that Iowa was Fuckery beyond what we could have imagined so early in this race. But that same vehicle won’t function again. It’s on the side of the road, on cinder blocks, everything stripped. And the folks who stripped it are going to find a different vehicle to drive themselves to the next crime. So we have to stay vigilant.

    Lastly, the next time the corporate media tries to shame any of us about asking both tough and salient questions about the rigging of elections, when those ties are many and obvious, I want you to flood their comment section with words of scorn, but do it classy, and, drop the song, “Corporate” from PIL (Public Image Ltd.), from their semi-new album (<— that word dates me), “What The World Needs Now.”

    Bernie/Tulsi: 2020.

  2. Dawn
    February 8, 2020 at 10:00

    When I read “…making his name as a top sugar-daddy of the Democratic anti-Trump resistance.”, my brain saw: anti-Democratic Trump resistance.

  3. Tin
    February 7, 2020 at 22:51

    If I was the author, I would be writing to the AG of Iowa and the Feds as there is likely illegality.

  4. February 7, 2020 at 09:08

    Let’s bury these these technocrasses and the likes of their greedy, corrupt supporters by DEMANDING paper ballots for the 2020 election!

  5. colodactylon
    February 7, 2020 at 08:34

    Reid is a Bilderberger. And not just a one-time invitee at that..
    We are witnessing the next attempt of this international circle of cyclopses for full spectrum takeover.
    This is not a “conspiracy theory”, and we need to go full on Odysseus on (all of) them, meaning poke their OneEye with sharpened burning stakes!
    As Max did in this and many other of his articles.

    For us regular non-journalist folk, the sharpest, most painful – and most peaceful! – method is to BDS their asses, their companies, services and products and to otherwise completely ignore everything they say and envision. Badmouth them at every corner, on every wall! Total societal exclusion! Because, despite all their billions and trillions, they do not own the country, they do not own the world.

  6. Seamus Padraig
    February 7, 2020 at 02:45

    After quoting Ronald Reagan, he declared, “Trump and his movement, borrowing heavily from other authoritarian criminals such as Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin, promised to hollow out America’s principles in favor of his own personal enrichment.”

    I’m very used to the Putin smears by now, but Chavez? He died several years before Trump even ran for president! Did he somehow help Trump from beyond the grave? ;-)

    • michael
      February 9, 2020 at 07:34

      Hugo Chavez almost destroyed Venezuela-Israel relations.

  7. M. Allen
    February 7, 2020 at 01:41

    Is Doug Jones really a “moderate Republican”? His own materials — and everything available on him in the public record — says that he was a member of the Young Democrats during the 60s, a staff member for Sen. Howell Heflin (D-AL) during the 70s, and was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama by Bill Clinton during the late 1990s. All of that sounds more like a “conservative Southern Democrat” than a “moderate Republican who ran as a Democrat” (especially given that the idea of a “moderate Republican” anywhere in the Deep South is laughable, at best). Please fact check Jones’s party affiliation or post any proof you have of Jones being a registered Republican.

    • February 7, 2020 at 11:53

      M Allen. As a Southerner by birth, I have observed no discernible political difference between a “Southern” Democrat and a Republican. I am a Progressive, which translates, in my mind, to a JFKennedy Democrat, although the appellation of “Democrat” in current usage — as in DNC, DCCC, Pelosi & Clinton and Minions — is highly offensive to my intelligence and moral character.

    • Vote4Yang
      February 8, 2020 at 06:28

      Are any of the modern day (post-Reagan era) Democrats really Democrats? As far as I can tell, they are practically ALL moderate republicans. Obama even admitted it. FDR would be rolling in his grave!

  8. robert e williamson jr
    February 6, 2020 at 22:03

    Great stuff Max. Give these @%^&$*#’s hell!

    I notice a theme runs through more and more reports on the current condition of the politics of the so called leader of the free world. free world.

    This billionaire did “this, this other billionaire did that, that billionaire over there did this also and all these people did what they did because a billionaire told them to.

    Pretty clear to me that billionaires simply cannot stay out of trouble.

    Maybe if it isn’t already too late we need to elect a president who is willing to put unruly billionaires on notice, “You do the right thing with your money and stop illegally interfering in American politics or the government will freeze your assets.

    This would be justice seeing as how foreign countries who cross US presidents often suffer the same fate. It isn’t like it can’t be done..

    We recently had one of those billionaire outlaw fanatical radical right-wing fascists elected governor here in Illinois, he got beat by a democrat after costing the state government of Illinois tremendously. A great new worthless computer system was at the center of the turmoil.

    I’d say after seeing billionaire Mike Bloomberg spending money like the military does that billionaires are the scourge of American politics because they cannot behave themselves. Seems billions of dollars worth of free speech does something to pervert them. See the Jeff Epstein story.

    Oh well the SCOTUS gave us the shaft and got what they wanted with the Citizens United ruling and besides the markets are doing great , right.

    If the current dictator gets re-elected we all are toast because this guy shows no quarter and gives none. He is a lying bullying egomaniac who has the mental function of a 12 year old and by the way Billions of dollars at his disposal.

  9. DH Fabian
    February 6, 2020 at 19:41

    I read that some other states had contracted with the same vendor (Shadow, Inc.). I guess (hope) we can assume that they’ve reconsidered.

    • Steve
      February 7, 2020 at 07:12

      Nevada was one of them, and they have announced they are no longer going to use it.

  10. February 6, 2020 at 19:05

    A dirty new twist on an old political trick:

    Last week I received one of many emails from the PCCC (Bold Progressives) promoting Warren’s candidacy. This one was sent as a first-person narrative over the signature of a local Oregon public official named “Jayapal” — but not Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), co-author of HR 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019, Sanders’ signature campaign issue.

    At first glance — the way most people glance at emails, if at all — the name “Jayapal” leaps out. To an audience of progressives who care about single-payer universal healthcare, “Jayapal” is synonymous with M4A. That is all they may notice — that “Jayapal” now favors Warren over Sanders.

    I am disappointed that Warren waffled on Medicare for All, bowing to rightwing pressure. She abandoned straightforward single-payer universal healthcare as represented by Jayapal’s HR 1384 and Sanders’ flawed S. 1129.

    Insead, Warren now offers a two-step kludge of a plan. It starts with an unsustainable “public option,” giving industry opponents a whole new way to kill an ultimate move toward true single-payer universal healthcare — years from now, after many more people have died from lack of care and more families gone bankrupt from medical bills.

    This harsh reality makes PCCC’s sleazy campaign trick on Warren’s behalf far more egregious: hijacking Jayapal’s good name to attack Sanders — the one candidate still standing for Jayapal’s landmark single-payer legislation.

    Though from PCCC, this campaign trick smears Warren’s reputation. After her unfortunate waffling on Medicare for All, it gives voters another reason to question her judgment and integrity when the chips are down — even assuming she herself was not directly involved.

  11. Marko
    February 6, 2020 at 18:10

    The California primary rigging is a done deal :

    “They’re Going to Try to Steal California From Sanders (Again)” – Lee Camp


  12. Antiwar7
    February 6, 2020 at 17:28

    I can’t believe what a dingbat Buttigieg was for declaring victory before the results were out, when his fingerprints were all over that weird app! Some technocrat.

  13. February 6, 2020 at 13:34

    Very screwed-up duo with too much money. If they want Buttigieg winning Iowa, what delusion nationally! Since one has a Russian first name they support the Russia hoax? Another bizarre plan for the bazaar called US politics. Please stop referring to “Democratic” Party–it’s “Democrat” Party just like Republican, nothing “democratic” about them!

  14. jimmy
    February 6, 2020 at 13:05

    This group may well have the ability to hack the 2020 election for Mayor Pete. Installing the worst possible, the technocratic fascist government. The vote blue no matter who crowd will applaud wildly, and democracy will be beyond any chance of recovery (since it’s been on life support since 1945).

  15. Hide Behind
    February 6, 2020 at 13:02

    There should be no real surprise that such a group exist, it both mirrors and is but a modernized version of the tactics used to turn old Republican Party Political Organization into what on the surface poses as a Conservative movementnt, one whose major deception is that it hides behind the Republican Party name.
    Politics has changed from having a very small cadre of cronies helping run your campaign and having to personally meet and gfeet those who will financialy finance and aid vote getting, into either buying or being bought by full time 24/7 professional businesses modeled for profit enterprizes.
    Think along lines of a Lobbyist meeting your elected official, those the lobbyist represent will hardly ever personally meet the official, and as for the lobby it is not connected to a Political party but a Financial entity, the middleman.
    When the term we have the best government money can buy the immediate images is of huge corporates directly handing out gifts and cash to government personalities, there is truth within, buut what is left out is the not just hundreds but thousands of smaller but Integrated under one banner groups that raise funds so as to control publics perceptions, all of which need hi ancial support to exist.
    The group formal leaders may understand the means to sway public but to do so they have to hire, with money they skim from donations of which very little reaches the Formal Party chest, to handle technical aspects of their outreach.
    As an example a group was formed, Young Republiccans on College Campus, funded through efforts of the like of Jack Abrsamoff who convince grass root donors to finance, that he personaly went from meager to suddenly wealthy by keeping most of donations did not matter to donors who saw crew cut males and women waving flags and Bibles in the proper attire, railing against those in Government and leaders of College as being why US was going to hell.
    The student leaders adopted much the same visible aspects of campus liberals during Viet era but whereas the liberal groups volunteered time., energy and own money, all aspects of Young Republicans was financed from outside donations.
    Trips to party meetings, even trips to South Africa, and publishing houses and media all made bank from groups efforts.
    In those days raising cash was by slow mail, and then are mass mail from list supplied by organizers, direct mailing list complete with low cost non profit stamps.
    Today we have instant cash donations by list and unknowns, all by stroke of PC key boards.
    Today politics cash movements are everywhere, local printers of news, sign boards, t- shirts, local Newspapers, of visual, audio, celebrities and political save the whale and tree groups, with both polktical finance and buisness managers skimming from the top of
    Causes become cash cows, and there are always those who seek and find the means to profit from those cow.
    This nation is overrun with cash cows to be milked, and the beauty is the milk is tax free if drank by non profits.
    As the old country bumpkin used to say, why buy the cow if you get the milk for free, just milk it for all its worth, and when it runs dry, there are lots of cows that need milking.
    This hi techie group found its cash cow.

  16. Jim Inkenbrandt
    February 6, 2020 at 12:27

    With a National Ranked Choice Voting system there would be no need for these corrupt primaries, all participating candidates could be listed on the general ballot.

  17. Tonymike
    February 6, 2020 at 12:08

    Never in the annals of history, has so many, been fvcked over by the few (the few being anglo zionist).

  18. Richard A Kean
    February 6, 2020 at 12:00

    Facebook and Google are selling you out. They’re both platforms for Group A funded Digital Dirty Tricks ‘Founders.’
    Are you addicted to being diddled?
    Cut the Cord.

  19. Jeff Harrison
    February 6, 2020 at 11:47

    “casts a disturbing shadow”? I’d say that was the understatement of the year. I’ve often been caught saying that when you hear the US complaining about something that someone else is doing, it’s because the US is actually doing it and wants to deflect attention to some other fall guy (like Russia). What Max doesn’t point out in this piece (and should have) is that the Internet Research Agency’s output for the $100 grand or so they spent was amateurish, mostly after the election, and what was before the election didn’t really focus on the election. This is in stark contrast to the professional job done by these bozos. I personally think they should all be in jail for election fraud.

    Buuut…your average American is convinced that, collectively, we are the greatest thing since pizza and canned beer. So we’ll go along and blame somebody, anybody else (the Russians are a great target) for the problems that we have rather than blaming themselves.

    • Seamus Padraig
      February 7, 2020 at 02:42

      Yeah, I know. That little blurb about the “notorious” Internet Research Agency was the only disappointing element of this otherwise excellent piece by Blumenthal.

  20. Ma Laoshi
    February 6, 2020 at 11:11

    These smiling, well-funded sleazebags is who the Democratic Party is. If you continue to waste your time on them, the joke is on you.

  21. February 6, 2020 at 11:06

    FOR SALE: U.S. Government – the best government you can buy.

  22. February 6, 2020 at 10:41

    Great post. One can no longer evade the stench now endlessly emanating from both the Democratic and Republican political parties. One can only hope the Sander’s campaign can clearly see the writing on the wall, which is that the DNC and party hierarchy will NEVER run a fair primary process. Perhaps the time has finally come for Bernie, Tulsi and Yang to join forces and leave the Democratic Party to the dustbin of history by forming a much needed third party. An actual progressive party. Given the complete amoral corruption of the Democratic Party one can be forgiven for asking what there would be to lose in doing so at this point?

    • Skip Scott
      February 6, 2020 at 13:35

      I agree Gary. The time has come for these folks to realize that the Democratic party is not reformable. They need to start afresh. Those of us who are anti-war, be they Independents, Greens, Libertarians, or disgruntled Progressives would flock en mass to such an arrangement. I think they could harness the power of those who won’t cast a ballot for warmonger from column A or B, and the many who held their nose and voted “the lesser evil”.

    • Chris Kruger
      February 7, 2020 at 01:10


    • Steve
      February 7, 2020 at 07:10

      For starters, they would almost certainly clear a path for Donald Trump’s re-election in 2020. A Bernie/Tulsi/Yang third party run would do to Democrats what Ross Perot’s third party run did to GHW Bush and the Republicans in 1992, clearing the path for Bill Clinton’s victory.

    • Skip Scott
      February 7, 2020 at 09:20


      That is the kind of thinking that keeps the oligarchs in power. You are defeated before you even begin.

    • Rob Roy
      February 7, 2020 at 21:03

      I agree, Gary. Those are the three honest candidates.

  23. dfnslblty
    February 6, 2020 at 10:22

    Excellent reportage of UnderTheWire manipulation of social media.
    Prosecution – not by congress which pays these marauders – rather by state AGs.
    Keep investigating and writing.

  24. Jon Dhoe
    February 6, 2020 at 10:17

    Seth Klarman also funds illegal settlements and various Israeli lobby groups.

  25. TomG
    February 6, 2020 at 10:02

    “McGowan…spent a whopping $275,000 on Facebook ads during the 2018 midterm elections.”

    In the first six months of 2018, the campaigns spent 1.1 billion! This $275k sounds about like the infamous click bait ad spending of 2016 that Grayzone colleague, Aaron Mate, rightly laughed at as a serious manipulation of the election. At some point progressives need to decide if they make common cause with the libertarian who refuses to surrender personal liberty or allow the social media hysteria to open up the deep state control of any form of free speech.

    Personally, I’m content to let these billionaires play their games and trust that our best hope is a more informed citizenry. I don’t see a single person in my circle of family and friends that are swayed by social media ads. They are, for wiser or dumber, quite willing to discern or buy at face value the lies of the politicians themselves no social media shenanigans required.

    • Dwight
      February 6, 2020 at 13:22

      Tom, you raise a fair point, but these guys with their false flag op were contributing to the social media hysteria, which is being used to censor dissenting views and inculcate anti-Russian views which are dangerous in this nuclear age with US and Russian soldiers facing off in Syria. That is worth reporting on.

      We’re already seeing critics of the Iowa debacle smeared as Russian bots fomenting disunity and loss of faith. False attribution in defense of the riggers is to be expected, based on this history.

  26. Eugenie Basile
    February 6, 2020 at 08:18

    With 97% of votes in, something is still wrong with the app as Sanders leads in the popular vote….
    Not much time left to correct that !

    • Eugenie Basile
      February 10, 2020 at 02:35

      I guess there was not enough time left to correct the app. Sanders still has the lead in the popular vote. But the party line now is Sanders cannot ever beat Trump…. while everybody knows he could have 4 years ago.

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