Daniel Greenfield, From Harvey Milk to Andrew Cuomo.
Alphonso David, the head of the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s top gay rights lobby, is in trouble for helping former Governor Cuomo smear one of his accusers. After Cuomo’s resignation, the HRC has launched an internal investigation into Alphonso’s actions.
And with Cuomo gone and his presidential ambitions gone with him, the HRC has little reason to keep one of the former cronies of New York’s political boss at the head of the gay rights lobby.
The involvement of an HRC leader with a top Democrat accused of sexual misbehavior isn’t news. HRC bosses are usually Democrat operatives selected for their close connections to the party’s elite. Alphonso’s predecessor, Chad Griffin, did work for Obama and the Clintons. His predecessor, Joe Solmonese, was an Obama campaign co-chair and a DNC CEO.
The ideal HRC boss is a consultant and fundraiser with the ear of a future president.
Picking Alphonso was a bad bet on Cuomo. The future HRC boss had been Cuomo’s consigliere after working his way through various ‘deputy-ships’ in New York State’s civil rights industrial complex from the Special Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights to the Deputy Secretary and Counsel for Civil Rights. That won Alphonso a seat at the right hand of the state’s vicious crime boss, dictating threatening letters to fellow Democrats on Cuomo’s behalf.
HRC got a leader who had the ear of the most powerful man in New York and was being touted as a future president. And Cuomo got a crony tapped into HRC’s powerful fundraising network. If everything had worked out, the Cuomo-HRC alliance would have gone to the White House.
Instead, Cuomo is looking for a new job and the HRC’s first black boss is stuck answering some awkward questions about his role in enabling the predatory sexual habits of his disgraced white heterosexual boss.
When HRC picked Alphonso, it wanted to move on from Chad Griffin, whom Harvey Weinstein had called “my friend”. The monstrous movie studio boss had been a major HRC donor who had used the gay rights group to promote his movie projects. In one of the more shameless HRC-Weinstein co-productions ever, the gay rights lobby had joined the sexual predator’s Oscar campaign for The Imitation Game by placing full-page ads in the New York Times.
During his reelection campaign, Cuomo spoke at HRC’s gala and the gay rights group backed his campaign. Next year, Alphonso, Cuomo’s counsel, took over HRC. And HRC went on to repeatedly promote Cuomo.
But the entanglements didn’t end there.
At the end of last December, a top Cuomo aide contacted Alphonso, who was heading HRC, to show him a tweet calling Cuomo “one of the biggest abusers of all time” and requested the “full file” of the woman who had tweeted it. Even though Alphonso was no longer working for Cuomo, he still had a copy of the accuser’s file. Cuomo aides then sent the file on to reporters even though it was labeled “privileged” and “confidential” in order to take them down.
A Cuomo aide showed Alphonso a draft of a letter attacking the accuser and the HRC boss agreed to help find signatories for a pro-Cuomo letter. The head of a civil rights group was participating in a secret plot to defend his old boss at the expense of his accuser.
The Alphonso pick was supposed to help the HRC move on from the Weinstein mess, but Governor Cuomo’s counsel had already been involved in it when he wrote a letter to the Manhattan DA on behalf of Cuomo blasting him over his handling of the Harvey Weinstein case.
Then Cuomo suspended the investigation after a $25,000 check from Weinstein’s old lawyer.
The HRC whored itself out to Cuomo, the way it had to Weinstein, to the Obamas and the Clintons. Like the rest of the elite coalition, its primary cause was party politics. And as the HRC head was helping Cuomo fight allegations of sexual harassment, it was no longer all that clear who had co-opted whom. Had HRC co-opted top Democrats or had they co-opted HRC?
“The Human Rights Campaign markets itself as champions for LGBT Americans. In reality, it champions left-wing Democrats – apparently even those guilty of sexual harassment – and bullies anyone who gets in their way,” Charles Moran, the head of Log Cabin Republicans, wrote. “Next time corporations donate money to the Human Rights Campaign, they can stop deceiving their customers that they’re supporting LGBT Americans. They’re supporting radical and corrupt left-wing politicians.”
But the HRC was tainted from birth.
HRC was co-founded by Terry Bean who had donated $1 million to the group and whose name decorated its headquarters. The Oregon gay rights activist from a powerful political family didn’t just build up the organization, but invented its signature template of combining massive fundraising for Democrats with political influence that had made HRC such a powerhouse.
Bean raised $500,000 for Obama alone who named him a “great friend and supporter” and gave him a ride on Air Force One. The HRC co-founder remained on its board until he was arrested in 2014 on charges of sodomy and sexual abuse committed against a 15-year-old boy.
The HRC co-founder’s former lover claimed to have discovered a hidden camera in a smoke detector which had shown half a dozen men “in a state of nudity engaged in intimate acts with [Bean].” This was the same man whom Bean had taken on a private tour of the White House and to an Obama fundraiser. Not to mention the birthday party of Portland’s former Mayor Sam Adams who had been accused of grooming a 17-year-old intern and exposing himself to an assistant. (Adams now works as the director of strategic innovations for Mayor Ted Wheeler.)
The teenage boy briefly disappeared after allegedly being paid off by Bean. He reemerged in 2019 alleging that his progressive lawyer had made a secret deal with Bean, forged his signature on the agreement, and gave him only $5,000 of the $220,000 settlement. This wasn’t too implausible because his lawyer was later accused of embezzling millions from her clients.
Bean was arrested and his former lover was convicted on sex abuse charges.
HRC has written Bean out of its history, but the past isn’t as easy to revise as that. The group recently moved out of Harvey Milk’s old digs. The Human Rights Campaign has long made use of Milk’s iconic image for its brand. The accusations against Bean easily pale in comparison to the truths about Milk who lured underage runaway teens and was a key Jim Jones supporter.
Before too long, the Human Rights Campaign will probably replace Alphonso David.
The presidential aspirations that Cuomo had dedicated his career to are now in ashes. HRC will need a political operative closer to someone more useful than a disgraced ex-governor.
And with Biden pushing 80 years and Kamala Harris pushing 40 in the polls, that’s up in the air.
But it’s a good bet that HRC’s next leader will be a career operative with a track record of doing the dirty work of the powerful men and women who are at the top of the Democrat food chain. And the Human Rights Campaign will eagerly help whichever future president it has settled on violate anyone’s civil rights as long as it gets its donors one step closer to the center of power.
The HRC is as much about gay rights as about the power and profit of its donors. Gay rights is a great brand for wealthy people looking to influence politicians under the umbrella of civil rights. And so the corporate money will continue rolling in and the big donors will fund major galas as long as the future presidents, the speakers and majority leaders keep coming to rub elbows.
As feminists have argued, rape is really about power. So is the Human Rights Campaign.