Democrats Let The Dark Money Flow And Like Its Power

Democrats Built A Dark Money Empire In 2020 That The New York Times Estimates Spent Significantly More Than Republican Groups And Are Entwined With Dark Money Organizations Like Demand Justice, Which Pressured Senate Democrats To Change Their Leadership On The Judiciary Committee And Is Aggressively Backing Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson


The Most Politically Active Dark Money Groups Aligned With Democrats Spent $1.5 Billion On The 2020 Election—Significantly More Than The Most Active Groups Aligned With Republicans

“[To Democrats,] ‘Dark money’ became a dirty word, as the left warned of the threat of corruption posed by corporations and billionaires that were spending unlimited sums through loosely regulated nonprofits, which did not disclose their donors’ identities. Then came the 2020 election. Spurred by opposition to then-President Trump, donors and operatives allied with the Democratic Party embraced dark money with fresh zeal, pulling even with and, by some measures, surpassing Republicans in 2020 spending, according to a New York Times analysis of tax filings and other data. The analysis shows that 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with the Democratic Party spent more than $1.5 billion in 2020 — compared to roughly $900 million spent by a comparable sample of 15 of the most politically active groups aligned with the G.O.P.” (“Democrats Decried Dark Money. Then They Won With It in 2020.,” The New York Times, 1/29/2022)

  • “In 2020, the two main super PACs devoted to helping Mr. Biden’s campaign received $37.5 million in dark money…. A Biden-backing nonprofit, Future Forward USA Action, with ties to Silicon Valley billionaires, raised $150 million in 2020 and transferred more than $60 million to an affiliated super PAC, while directly spending nearly $25 million on TV ads, almost $2.6 million on polling and analytics and $639,000 on focus groups, federal records show.” (“Democrats Decried Dark Money. Then They Won With It in 2020.,” The New York Times, 1/29/2022)

Democrats Expanded Their Dark Money Empire Even Further After The 2020 Election As Biden ‘Allies Created Their Own Dark-Money Nonprofit To Rally Support For’ His Agenda And Explicitly Decided They Wouldn’t Disclose Their Donors

“Mr. Biden’s allies created their own dark-money nonprofit to rally support for [Biden’s domestic spending bill].” (“Democrats Decried Dark Money. Then They Won With It in 2020.,” The New York Times, 1/29/2022)

  • “President Biden’s allies are preparing to create a new nonprofit advocacy organization, with the White House’s approval, that will be funded by donors and seek to build support for his policy agenda, senior administration officials said. The nonprofit, whose working name is ‘Building Back Together,’ is expected to run advertisements promoting the president’s policies and coordinate with existing nonprofit advocacy organizations on issues such as Covid-19, climate change and the economy. White House officials won’t directly oversee the nonprofit, but senior Biden officials have been involved in discussions about its structure and have chosen a group of Biden campaign veterans and allies to establish it. The officials said Mr. Biden and senior White House advisers have been briefed on the planning…. The new group will be a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which would allow it to operate without disclosing its donors.” (“Biden Allies to Launch Advocacy Group to Promote Covid-19 Relief Plan, Other Policies,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/17/2021)

“A Pro-Biden group, operating with the White House's blessing, plans to raise unlimited funds — and grant donors anonymity — as it prepares to promote and protect the president's agenda from the outside…. By not capping anonymous contributions, the group, called Building Back Together, will have an easier time raising money … The outside group is, in part, a facsimile of an earlier Democratic organization, The Common Purpose Project, that was created by allies of President Obama to coordinate the progressive movement early in Obama's term. However, Building Back Together differs from the Obama model in one crucial aspect: That group capped contributions at $50,000 and disclosed their names.” (“Exclusive: Pro-Biden Group Won’t Disclose Donors,” Axios, 3/19/2021)

Democrats ‘Built An Elaborate, Multibillion-Dollar Dark-Money Network, While Simultaneously Railing Against The Scourge Of Dark Money’

“Democrats publicly assailed the Koch operation as epitomizing a corrupting dark-money takeover of American politics. Privately, they plotted ways to compete.” (“Democrats Decried Dark Money. Then They Won With It in 2020.,” The New York Times, 1/29/2022)


The Sixteen Thirty Fund Is ‘A Single, Cryptically Named Entity That Has Served As A Clearinghouse Of Undisclosed Cash For The Left’

“A single, cryptically named entity that has served as a clearinghouse of undisclosed cash for the left, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, received mystery donations as large as $50 million and disseminated grants to more than 200 groups, while spending a total of $410 million in 2020 — more than the Democratic National Committee itself. But nonprofits do not abide by the same transparency rules or donation limits as parties or campaigns — though they can underwrite many similar activities: advertising, polling, research, voter registration and mobilization and legal fights over voting rules.” (“Democrats Decried Dark Money. Then They Won With It in 2020.,” The New York Times, 1/29/2022)

“While the Kochs pioneered the use of centralized hubs to disseminate dark money to a broader network, the left has in some ways improved on the tactic — reducing redundancy, increasing synergy, and making it even harder to trace spending back to donors. One of the leading purveyors of this technique now is the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which serves as a fiscal sponsor, incubating and supporting an array of progressive projects. Amy Kurtz, the fund’s president, said those projects solicit donations to the fund and direct how the money is spent. All told, Sixteen Thirty provided grants to more than 200 groups — many operating in battleground states…. Sixteen Thirty is part of a broader network of progressive nonprofits that donors used to fill specific spaces on the political chessboard. The groups in the network, which also included Hopewell Fund, New Venture Fund, North Fund and Windward Fund, were administered by a for-profit consulting firm called Arabella Advisors. Taken together, the Arabella network spent a total of nearly $1.2 billion in 2020, including paying Arabella a combined $46.6 million in 2020 in management fees, according to the funds’ tax filings.” (“Democrats Decried Dark Money. Then They Won With It in 2020.,” The New York Times, 1/29/2022)

  • “The analysis includes three of the five Arabella-administered nonprofits, among them one charity, the Hopewell Fund. It donated to groups that work to reduce the role of big money in politics, but it also gave $8.1 million to a dark-money group called Acronym, which spent millions of dollars on Facebook advertising and backed a company called Courier Newsroom that published articles favoring Democrats and received millions of dollars from dark money groups. It was paid $2.6 million by a nonprofit linked to House Democratic leadership to promote articles.” (“Democrats Decried Dark Money. Then They Won With It in 2020.,” The New York Times, 1/29/2022)

The Sixteen Thirty Fund ‘Boosted Democrats And Liberal Causes’ With ‘An Unprecedented Gusher Of Secret Money,’ ‘A Sign That Democrats And Allies Have Embraced The Methods Of Groups They Decried As “Dark Money” Earlier’

“The ‘green wave’ of campaign cash that boosted Democrats and liberal causes in 2018 included an unprecedented gusher of secret money, new documents obtained by POLITICO show. The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a little-known nonprofit headquartered in Washington, spent $141 million on more than 100 left-leaning causes during the midterm election year, according to a new tax filing from the group. The money contributed to efforts ranging from fighting Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and other Trump judicial nominees …” (“Documents Reveal Massive ‘Dark-Money’ Group Boosted Democrats In 2018,” Politico, 11/19/2020)

THE WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL BOARD: “The Sixteen Thirty Fund is a social welfare group under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code and, as such, does not have to reveal its donors to the public, in contrast to political action committees that report to the Federal Election Commission, including the super PACs that are independent of candidates…. According to the Politico report, a single donor to the Sixteen Thirty Fund gave $51.7 million, a second donor gave $26.7 million, and a third donated $10 million. Who are these donors? The public will not find out.” (Editorial, The Washington Post, 11/21/2019)

  • “The fund distributed cash to causes such as television ads opposing the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, as well as ads that focused on issues such as health care and the economy. At least indirectly, the fund’s spending helped Democrats take back the House. The fund also poured money into other nonprofit groups active in state politics.” (Editorial, The Washington Post, 11/21/2019)


The Sixteen Thirty Fund Created Far-Left Dark Money Special Interest Group Demand Justice

Demand Justice began as a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a fiscal sponsor managed by consulting group Arabella Advisors that oversees one of the left’s largest dark money networks containing dozens of left-wing groups and initiatives. However, the group recently spun into its own legal entity. The initial setup allowed Demand Justice to operate mainly in secrecy. Because the Sixteen Thirty Fund acted as its fiscal sponsor by providing its tax and legal status to the group, Demand Justice was not required to file public documents such as tax forms to the IRS. The judicial group’s complete list of donors is unknown due to its relationship with the Sixteen Thirty Fund, and its recent break-off into its own nonprofit.” (“Biden Judicial Pick Pushed By Dark Money Group With Ties To Top White House Aide,” Fox News, 10/04/2021)

“Demand Justice, the courts-focused group helmed by former Hillary Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon, also ran out of Sixteen Thirty Fund. Demand Justice spent millions of dollars on TV ads as Democrats tried to prevent Brett Kavanaugh from being confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2018.” (“Documents Reveal Massive ‘Dark-Money’ Group Boosted Democrats In 2018,” Politico, 11/19/2020)

Demand Justice Also Got Millions From A ‘Nonprofit In Liberal Billionaire George Soros’s Network’

“[A] nonprofit in liberal billionaire George Soros’s network, the Open Society Policy Center, provided $2.6 million to Demand Justice around the time of its inception, its grants showed. Fallon also pitched the group behind closed doors to a secretive club of Democratic donors co-created by Soros, the Democracy Alliance, before its launch.” (“Biden Judicial Pick Pushed By Dark Money Group With Ties To Top White House Aide,” Fox News, 10/04/2021)


Demand Justice ‘Is Slated To Lead The Fight On The Left’ For Judge Jackson’s Confirmation, Even Creating Ads For Her Before Her Nomination Was Announced

“Demand Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy outfit, is slated to lead the fight on the left. Demand Justice has already announced a $1 million ad campaign in support of Jackson and said it's prepared to spend much more.” (“Scoop: Progressives Prep Big Spending For SCOTUS Confirmation,” Axios, 3/06/2022)

Demand Justice Was So Eager To Promote Judge Jackson’s Nomination That They Had ‘Already Produced Ads To Support’ Her BEFORE She Was Announced As President Biden’s Nominee

“Demand Justice has already produced ads to support Jackson in case she’s chosen, a source familiar with the matter said.” (“Liberals Gather In Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Corner As Biden’s Supreme Court Decision Nears,” NBC News, 2/23/2022)


Demand Justice Even Pressured Senate Democrats Over Who Should Lead Them On The Judiciary Committee

“Under President Trump, Republicans have been confirming federal judges at a relentless pace. Now, progressives want Democrats to replace California Sen. Dianne Feinstein atop a key committee to keep up …” (“Progressives Target Dianne Feinstein As Head Of Senate Judiciary Committee,” San Francisco Chronicle, 7/06/2020)

“A Democratic senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a group of Feinstein’s colleagues want Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) or Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to serve as the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel for the upcoming nomination hearings, which are expected to be extraordinarily contentious.” (“Democrats Worry Feinstein Can’t Handle Supreme Court Battle,” Politico, 9/23/2020)

‘Progressive Groups Including Demand Justice’ Pressured Democrats For The Leadership Change, With Demand Justice’s Executive Director Deeming It ‘A Necessary Step’

“Sen. Dianne Feinstein said [November 23, 2020] she will step down as top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee in the new session of Congress beginning early 2021, marking a victory for progressives who pressured her to step aside…. Progressive groups including Demand Justice, NARAL and MoveOn.org called on Feinstein to step aside, accusing her of undercutting the party’s message …” (“Feinstein Says She's Stepping Down As Top Democrat On Senate Judiciary Committee,” NBC News, 11/23/2020)

  • “Feinstein came under fierce criticism from progressives after she lavished praise on Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for his handling of the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court hearing, and gave him a hug after the proceedings concluded on Oct. 15. ‘I just want to thank you. This has been one of the best set of hearings that I've participated in,’ Feinstein told Graham in the committee room. ‘Thank you so much for your leadership.’” (“Feinstein Says She's Stepping Down As Top Democrat On Senate Judiciary Committee,” NBC News, 11/23/2020)

“Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the No. 2 Democrat in the chamber, said after Feinstein's announcement that he intends to seek the party's top position on the Judiciary Committee.” (“Feinstein Says She's Stepping Down As Top Democrat On Senate Judiciary Committee,” NBC News, 11/23/2020)

FALLON: “This was a necessary step …” (“Feinstein Says She's Stepping Down As Top Democrat On Senate Judiciary Committee,” NBC News, 11/23/2020)


FLASHBACK: Democrat Senators Also Worked With Demand Justice To Attack The Nominations Of Justices Brett Kavanaugh And Amy Coney Barrett

“Multiple left-leaning dark money groups are spending millions in the final month before the election attacking Barrett…. Fix Our Senate, which OpenSecrets revealed is a project of dark money giant Sixteen Thirty Fund, published a new ad that incorporates 2015 statements from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)…. The night of Barrett’s nomination, Demand Justice, another group launched by Sixteen Thirty Fund, projected the word ‘SAVE HEALTH CARE’ on the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The group pledged to spend twice as much this year — $10 million — as they did in 2018 when Kavanaugh was nominated. Demand Justice was the left’s top spender in that confirmation fight.” (“Political Ads Bombard Airwaves In Battle Over Supreme Court,” OpenSecrets, 10/02/2020)

“Join us on October 12th at 8pm ET for a virtual tribute and celebration … As the Senate begins confirmation hearings to fill RBG’s seat, we must channel her unstoppable determination as we call on our senators to honor her dying wish that there be no confirmation until inauguration. Appearances by: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Stacey Abrams, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Ayanna Pressley … Demand Justice © 2020” (Actionnetwork.org, Accessed 10/11/2020)

Senate Democrats Plotted ‘Behind Closed Doors’ And Rallied With Demand Justice To Attack Justice Kavanaugh

“[Sen. Chuck] Schumer [D-NY], [Sen. Bernie] Sanders [I-VT], and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, gathered behind closed doors inside the Capitol Tuesday afternoon with leaders of a vast constellation of liberal activist groups to strategize over the court battle. Among the attendees were Fallon, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron, a veteran of confirmation battles since the 1980s.” (“Republicans Express Confidence About Trump’s Supreme Court Pick; Democrats Plot Plan To Sink Him,” The Washington Post, 7/10/2018)

DEMAND JUSTICE: “We’re LIVE on the steps of the Supreme Court with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Edward J. Markey and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris demanding Democrats in the Senate #DitchtheList of Trump’s SCOTUS nominees.” (Demand Justice, Facebook, 6/28/2018)



Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Senate Democrats, Campaigns & Elections