New group opposing Iran nuke deal has ties to pro-Israel lobby


A recently formed dark money group that’s airing ads across the country on the proposed nuclear deal with Iran has ties to the pro-Israel lobby.

Yesterday, Sunlight reported that the group, “Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran,” had begun airing ads in dozens of markets; ad filings currently show that advertisements will run in at least 20 states.

Yesterday’s story noted that the only name attached to the group, Patrick Dorton, appeared to be a partner at a communications firm who’s previously consulted with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The group is going all out to oppose the deal, even canceling staffers’ vacations in its push to kill the agreement.

But the number on the group’s disclosure form is for a lawyer named Philip Friedman. According to Friedman’s online resume, he’s been general counsel to AIPAC for more than 20 years. Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran also uses Friedman’s mailing address. The building it’s located in is occupied by another law firm, Chadbourne, although they confirmed that Friedman receives mail at that address.

Friedman, AIPAC and Dorton have not yet responded to calls or emails for comment.

Update, 11:52 a.m.: Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran now has a website. The domain was first registered June 12, the day after the group was incorporated in Washington, D.C., though it appears the site has been made public in the last few hours. The site lists a five-person board of directors that includes four former Democratic senators — Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, Mark Begich and Mary Landrieu — and a former Democratic House member, Shelley Berkley, as well as quotes from all. Lieberman is quoted as saying: “We need to reject this deal and demand a better one — an agreement that dismantles Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.”

The site does not disclose any ties to AIPAC.