Moskowitz generates his millions from a bingo enterprise in California. The catch is that the gambling license requires that Moskowitz only hand over 1 percent of gross receipts to the city so long as the rest of the profits go to the tax-exempt Irving I. Moskowitz Foundation (net holdings: $52 million). Through this foundation, Moskowitz gives to a bevy of less-than-savory causes — American Crossroads and its dishonest attacks are just the latest. Blumenthal notes that donations involving electoral politics are a relatively new thing for Moskowitz, but he’s got a long history of backing far-right-wing causes. Here are some of his greatest hits:
Islamophobia – Since 2002, the foundation has given $485,000 to the Center for Security Policy, a hawkish Washington think tank run by former Reagan administration official and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney. As reported in CAP’s “Fear, Inc.,” Gaffney’s group pushes Islamophobia in the U.S., and Gaffney has proclaimed that practicing the Islamic faith is tantamount to “sedition.” Gaffney, who thinks President Obama is Muslim, also leads the advisory group of the Islamophobic group Clarion Fund, which produces documentaries that have been denounced as “inflammatory” and once published approving comments about Norwegian anti-Muslim mass-murderer Anders Breiviks views.
“Birthers” – Since 2006, Moskowitz’s foundation gave $200,000 to the Western Center for Journalism (WCJ), a non-profit founded by Joseph Farah. WCJ describes Farah as “the brains behind WND.com news website.” Formerly known as World Net Daily, WND is a hub for “birtherism,” the conspiracy theory that President Obama’s publicly released birth certificate is a fake, and that Obama therefore is not a U.S. citizen nor eligible to be president. WND even hosts conferences on the issue and WND Books published Jerome Corsi’s “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” tome just after Obama’s long-form certificate was publicly released — though that hasn’t stopped WND’s conspiracy theories. WCJ’s blog, naturally, pushes the same, lame discredited theories.
Israeli settlements – By far, Moskowitz’s most generous philanthropic work — and other non-philanthropic funding — goes toward projects linked to Israel’s settlement enterprise in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, considered “illegitimate” by the U.S. government and international bodies. In addition to gifts of at least $1.985 million to projects in West Bank settlements like Kiryat Arba and Kedumim, Moskowitz’s and his wife’s foundations have donated more than $300,000 to the Hebron Fund, which supports some 800 ideological settlers living in the Palestinian West Bank city. Moskowitz also focuses on East Jerusalem, giving huge sums to developments there, including one million dollars in the late 1980s to purchase a defunct hotel and, as of the late 1990s, more than $2 million to support a religious pro-settlement group in East Jerusalem called Ateret Cohanim.
So far, the millionaire-backed American Crossroads took cash from an oil speculator to run an ad campaign absurdly accusing Obama of driving up gas prices. If the ad campaigns are, as with this case, linked to the donor’s pet causes, American Crossroads could be on its way to putting out some of the most vicious attack ads of the election season.