Color of Change, a radical leftist group campaigning to censor conservatives and right-leaning groups, exploited the 2015 Charleston church shooting to go after the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The Freedom Center’s investigations had exposed Color of Change, but the leftist group’s campaign to silence the Center briefly succeeded last month.
“Bloodmoney,” Color of Change’s smear campaign, seeks to shut down the fundraising abilities of conservative organizations by pressuring credit card companies and payment processors to deny access to conservative groups blacklisted by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Color of Change falsely accuses all of these groups of promoting violence and white supremacy.
Two weeks ago, the group’s pressure campaign successfully misled Mastercard into refusing to process donations for the Freedom Center, until an outcry forced the company to change course. Though the battle may have been won, Color of Change’s censorship campaign continues.
Color of Change’s “Bloodmoney” campaign is a blood libel. The effort falsely links conservative organizations targeted by the SPLC—including some run by African-Americans and Jews—to the Charleston church shooting and the violence in Charlottesville. The leftist group founded by CNN’s Van Jones and funded by George Soros is out to censor conservative organizations by choking off their fundraising.
Color of Change’s blood libel accuses credit card companies and payment processors of taking “blood money” and financing “violence” and of complicity in “white supremacist murders” if they process donations for conservative organizations, including the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
“Financial service companies doing business with white supremacists are profiting from hate,” the campaign alleges.
The truth behind the blood libel is that Color of Change is a racialist partisan group trying to cut off financial services to mainstream conservative groups using shameless lies.
The Freedom Center previously had exposed Color of Change’s malicious dishonesty. Its list of “white nationalist groups” appears to be based on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s thoroughly discredited list of hate groups, while excluding black racist groups, such as Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, from the list. Even so, the list of “white supremacists” that Color of Change had tried to force credit card companies to stop doing business with included a black church, organizations run by Jews, Arabs, and former Muslims, not to mention the American College of Pediatricians.
James Rucker, the executive director and co-founder of Color of Change, is a board member of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Color of Change’s list is just the SPLC wearing political blackface.
Some companies were smart enough not to fall for Color of Change’s censorship scam.
Bloodmoney lists Amazon, Stripe and Discover as not “engaged,” which means those companies aren’t taking orders from an organization founded by Van Jones, who called the 2016 election a “whitelash,” and tarred 62 million Trump voters as racists.
But American Express and Visa are “engaged.” That means Color of Change has an open door to them. And Mastercard, PayPal, Apple Pay are listed as “proactive.” And that proactive censorship is why MasterCard made the mistake of blocking payments to the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Fueled by Shoddy, Antisemitic Research
Yet the only research that Color of Change presents in its attack on the Freedom Center is one quote that the SPLC, in its haste to score points against political foes, even fails to attribute. And the source of the SPLC’s smear appears to be a recycled Center for American Progress attack on the Center.
That attack, which claimed that a Jewish conspiracy was spreading Islamophobia, was put together by a team that included Matt Duss and Eli Clifton, whose Center for American Progress work was described as “infected with Jew-hatred” by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and led to a rebuke from the Obama White House. CAP also includes Faiz Shakir, who had co-chaired Harvard events that included a Hamas charity front fundraiser, and Wajahat Ali, whose blog had included a defense of Sami Al-Arian, a senior member of Islamic Jihad.
This is the rotten foundation of bigots, extremists, and antisemites upon which Color of Change’s blood libel against the Freedom Center rests. This was why Mastercard cut off the Freedom Center.
Mastercard has since reversed its decision, but the damage has already been done.
The message has been sent that a recycled seven-year-old smear put together by bigots and terrorist sympathizers on behalf of a partisan organization is enough to incite immediate action by a major corporation. Mastercard used “Bloodmoney’s” list to put the Freedom Center on a list of organizations “advocating for violence”.
The partnership of corporations and lefty groups trying to force conservatives off the internet claim that their work is based on research. The only research here consisted of an unsourced claim (because it’s derived from discredited sources) treated as fact with no further diligence.
That’s not only a profound failure. It’s a profound threat.
The Danger at Hand
Conservatives are being censored, deplatformed, banned, demonetized and kicked off services based on the mere word of a leftist group. No actual evidence necessary. The SPLC in June paid $3.375 million in a settlement after falsely accusing a Muslim of being an anti-Muslim activist. It inspired an actual domestic terrorist attack. Yet companies keep taking its word.
Color of Change didn’t even pretend to provide evidence. Mastercard took its word anyway.
Why are Mastercard, PayPal, Apple Pay, Visa and American Express “engaging” with a group whose sole purpose is to censor its political opposition without even providing evidence for its easily disproved lies?
Color of Change also fields Color of Change PAC, which endorses candidates for public office. They share office space and staff. Color of Change PAC-endorsed candidates include Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a former member of the Nation of Islam racist hate group, whose bigotry has been criticized by the Freedom Center.
Money has poured into the Color of Change PAC from George Soros, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz’s dark money machine, the Accountable Justice Action Fund, MoveOn, Hillary Clinton’s Onward Together, and Color of Change itself.
Many of these were exposed and criticized by the Freedom Center. Silencing the Freedom Center and organizations like it would help Color of Change elect its own slate of candidates. And those of its wealthy partisan backers. That’s why Color of Change wants to take down the Freedom Center.
“White Supremacy” as All-Purpose Cudgel
When Mastercard did the bidding of Color of Change, it provided a partisan advantage to the far Left.
James Rucker, the executive director of Color of Change, started out as the director of grassroots mobilization for MoveOn. He’s also a co-founder of Soros’s Secretary of State Project.
David Horowitz and the Freedom Center long have been critics of Soros and his organizations. Last year, MasterCard announced that it was teaming up with Soros on a “philanthropic” project.
Did this influence Mastercard’s willingness to collaborate with Color of Change, also funded by Soros?
Color of Change is just another one of many interchangeable and intertwined front groups. James Rucker, its executive director, is married to Heidi Hess, a white co-director at CREDO Action. Hess helped found COC and served as its board secretary. Rucker also sits on the board of MoveOn. The organizational structure and finances of Color of Change look strange, but the tiny group wields outsized influence.
Hess led one of the infamous harassment protests outside Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s home. The white and uncivil leftist insisted, “the civility and respectability politics are also just maintaining the institutionalized white supremacy that it is at the core of Trump’s agenda.”
To Hess, civility is white supremacy. To her husband, the Freedom Center, a black church and counterterrorist groups run by Middle Eastern immigrants are also examples of “white supremacy.”
Rucker, Hess, and the rest of the Left recklessly use “white supremacy” as a smear directed at their political opponents and at anything that gets in their way. It’s the responsibility of companies like Mastercard to look beyond the smears of partisan leftists and radical scam artists to get the facts.
Blood libels succeed because companies allow leftist politics to overcome their standards. The Freedom Center won the freedom to fundraise again because it fought for the facts. And when it did, Color of Change’s blood libel quickly fell apart. But the real fight is just beginning. As long as the Southern Poverty Law Center, Color of Change and other partisan groups continue to have an open door into major corporations, the censorship, and the blood libels will go on.
And the Freedom Center will go on fighting them.
“What those of us who care about free speech must do now is form a coalition across party lines and ideologies in defense of free speech. Freedom of speech is the most basic freedom we have because all our other freedoms are dependent on it,” the Freedom Center’s David Horowitz said. “If we cannot preserve freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, we cannot defend any of our freedoms, and we will have lost everything.”