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September 03, 2015

Media Misses Iran Deal Proponents Influence

Ploughshares Fund is a grantmaking organization that bills itself as supporting “experts and advocates who implement smart strategies to secure a more peaceful world… free of nuclear weapons.” The organization’s president, Joe Cirincione, and other staff members are frequently quoted as experts by news outlets reporting on the deal between the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Islamic Republic of Iran over the latter’s purported nuclear program. However, many media have not highlighted the group’s considerable role in funding advocates of the agreement.

Describing lobbying efforts, The New York Times (“Fierce Lobbying, Even on Vacation, for Iran Accord,” Aug. 18, 2015) briefly mentions that Ploughshares “also finances many of the participants” in the pro-Iran deal effort, but fails to provide further details. Similarly, The Washington Post, while noting that those supporting the Iran deal have “received significant contributions from” Ploughshares, fails to identify the groups pocketing those funds. It does detail major Ploughshare donors (“Mega-donors opposing Iran deal have upper hand in fierce lobbying battle,” August 13).

Writing in Commentary magazine, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar Michael Rubin provides a more detailed look at the vast Ploughshares extensive role in doling out money to pro-deal elements. The number of organizations listed by Rubin as receiving Ploughshare funds is extensive.

The Arms Control Association—which Rubin notes “attested to the thoroughness of the agreement before its details were even negotiated”—receives Ploughshare Fund dollars. Donations were also made to the Center for New American Security to—in Rubin’s words—“lobby” congressional staffers. He also says funds were dispersed to self-described “pro-Israel” group J Street, the anti-sanctions and pro-Iranian regime National Iranian American Council, the National Security Network and the anti-Israel Friends Committee on National Legislation, among others.

Rubin writes that “in addition, the Fund gave $75,000 to Gulf-2000” a group he says feeds “pro-Iran talking points to journalists.” Gulf-2000 is run by Gary Sick, a former U.S. National Security Council staffer whose anti-Israel animus and proclivity for conspiracy theories CAMERA has documented (“New York Times Indicts Israeli Leader For Speech Exposing Iran,” Oct. 4, 2013).

The AEI scholar says that Ploughshare’s lobbying for policies favorable to the Iranian mullahs is nothing new and previously involved other organizations that receive special tax considerations and public funds:

“In 2010, Ploughshares gave National Public Radio [NPR] $150,000 in what appeared to be a pay-to-play scheme to get Cirincione and his grantees on air.”

Rubin states that the grantmaking group—classified as a non-profit, tax deductible 501(c)(3) organization—gave an additional $100,000 to taxpayer-funded NPR in 2015.

Rubin’s Commentary article examining the role of the Ploughshares Fund, can be found here.—Sean Durns

Posted by ER at September 3, 2015 11:28 AM

Comments

Based on the contents of the post, I think your headline meant to say that the media "missed Iran Deal SUPPORTERS' influence" rather than opponents' influence ... [Sorry, I have editor-at-large impulses, but I try to use them for good.]

Posted by: Selina at September 3, 2015 01:16 PM

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