Arabella Adviser: The Democrats’ Darkest Dark Money
While most Americans were excited about the 2020 election between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, Washington’s largest dark money network tacitly poured tens of millions of dollars into races to overturn the Republican-held Senate and drive the permanent transformation of America by the left.
Meet Arabella Advisors, the Beltway’s best kept secret.
Arabella Advisors is a for-profit advisory firm founded by former Clinton Administration employee Eric Kessler who began his career as an environmental activist for the League of Conservation Voters. The Company controls four non-profit organizations (the “Sisters”) with vague names and a common address: the 501 (c) (3) New Venture Fund, the Hopewell Fund and Windward Fund, and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, Arabellas 501 (c) (4) lobbying shop. Each of these nonprofits pays the company the privilege of being staffed and run by Arabella employees ($ 137 million as of 2008), and all four are giants – bringing in $ 731 million from hard-to-find donors in 2019 alone.
My colleagues and I from the Capital Research Center studied the Arabella network for over two years. This is how it works.
Arabella’s not-for-profit organizations act as the left’s main through-funding for professional activists. Large foundations – including the Gates, Buffett, and Ford foundations – have laundered billions of dollars through this network, washing their identities from the dollars used for radical politics in America.
But the real juice of these nonprofits comes from the multitude of “pop-up groups” they run – so-called because they consist almost entirely of nifty websites that can spring up one day and pop out the next, usually after they run out of the campaign. We’ve counted over 350 such front groups pushing everything from federal funding for abortion to Obamacare overhaul to packing the Supreme Court.
Arabella is as dark as “dark money”. It is also the prime example of liberal hypocrisy over anonymous political spending carried out in near-total obscurity from the mainstream media from 2005 to 2019, liberal counterfeit money like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) or even the conservative movement The Capital Research Center put it in the spotlight.
As more of this massive network of groups – responsible for almost producing $ 2.5billion Since its inception, one thing has become clear: when a donor of special interest goes to Arabella, he is expecting a political payout.
Nothing illustrates this better than the network’s spending spree in 2020, when an unprecedented sum was poured into critical races that handed Democrats key Senate seats, passed state liberal election initiatives, and even launched the campaign to make the District of Columbia 51st . Country. And all of this was done from Arabella’s posh offices in downtown Washington, DC.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund, Arabellas 501 (c) (4) Advocacy Arm, poured over $ 57 million into left-wing PACs that devastated President Trump and helped Joe Biden between 2019 and 2020. This includes $ 7 million transferred to two Pro-Biden Super PACs: Unite the Country and Victory 2020. Victory 2020 was carried out and funded by the American Bridge 21st Century anti-republican attack group.
Sixteen Thirty spent $ 15 million on four Senate races in 2020, helping defeat two Republican incumbents: Cory Gardner in Colorado and Martha McSally in Arizona. Iowas Joni Ernst and Maine’s Susan Collins both survived the attack. But the Sixteen Thirty Fund funded its attack reports through local groups with sentimental names designed to trick voters into believing they were grassroots interests, not the DC swamp.
Take Colorado, where the Sixteen Thirty Fund paid $ 4 million in 2019 to the 501 (c) (4) Rocky Mountain Values, which describe themselves as “an organization made up of real Coloradans – no special interests.” Rocky Mountain Values spent $ 1.3 million – more than double the amount the right-wing Chamber of Commerce spent – on attack reports accusing Gardner of taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from DC lobbyists then to vote “against the reasonable limits” of prescription drug prices.
Almost nothing concrete can be found about this group of “real Coloradans”. The Grand Junction address is a two bedroom home and is not listed on the IRS nonprofit database. The director, Alvina Vasquez, is the communications director of Strategies 360, a leading public relations firm whose senior vice president led the 2020 Senate campaign of John Hickenlooper, the Democrat who ousted Republican Cory Gardner.
Here’s the kicker: Rocky Mountain Values was backed by additional anti-Gardner ads worth $ 425,000 paid by two other Popups from 16 funds: Demand Justice and Protect Our Care that support Obamacare. For Arabella, this was an inside job.
History repeats itself in Arizona, where Sixteen Thirty transferred $ 4 million to Advancing AZ (also known as Honest Arizona). A (c) (4) formed a close relationship just six months before the November election, chairman Steve Gomez of which has close ties with Majority Forward, the independent spending arm of the PAC’s Senate Democratic majority.
That money went into ads (some in Spanish) attacking Republican Senator Martha McSally for voting to overthrow Obamacare. She claimed she would raise drug prices for seniors and remove health insurance for nearly 3 million Arizonans with pre-existing conditions. Advancing AZ even hosted a fake town hall called “Missing Martha McSally” (she was absent), co-hosted by the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, and others. Democratic Arizona representative Ruben Gallego stood up for McSally to answer voters’ questions. McSally lost re-election with 79,000 votes.
In Maine, Sixteen Thirty spent $ 3.9 million to help Maine Momentum, created by a former aide to local Democratic MP Chellie Pingree to defeat Senator Susan Collins. In contrast to its cohorts in Colorado and Arizona, Maine Momentum came under fire for reports of attacks Washington Post called “mostly wrong.” The group’s leadership even lied about its ties to Arabella, claiming it did not work with democratic organizations and was “wholly Maine based” – before tax records showed it was funded by the Sixteen Thirty Fund.
In Iowa, Sixteen Thirty gave the self-described “grassroots” group Iowa Forward $ 2.9 million to kill Senator Joni Ernst. Within six months of its inception, the group has spent $ 600,000 on attack reports criticizing Ernst for voting to lift Obamacare. Ernst defeated her opponent with more than 110,000 votes.
The common thread between these races is health care, and it’s not difficult to see why; The Democrats arguably won their majority in the House of Representatives in 2018 by beating the Republicans on the matter. But far from leaving these critical races in the Senate to chance, Sixteen Thirty Fund poured tens of millions of dollars into election results in favor of the Democrats – with no accountability to local voters whom it betrayed.
The North Fund: From dark to darker
Closely linked to Sixteen Thirty is the North Fund, a mysterious 501 (c) (4) group with no online presence and a shared workspace address in Washington. The DC North Fund is a front for the Sixteen Thirty Fund sole Donors in 2019 transferred $ 9.3 million to the North Fund, a huge increase considering its 2018 earnings were less than $ 50,000. as well as Arabellas other non-profit organizations.
The group is led by a handful of democratic activists, including a former adjutant to the former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Jim Gerstein. Gerstein was an advisor to leftist groups and political candidates, and previously ran the Democracy Corps, the boutique strategy firm founded by Democratic strategists James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, the authors of Bill Clinton’s successful presidential campaign strategy.
North Fund is the puppet master behind 51 for 51, the top campaign to bring statehood to the District of Columbia with a seven-digit ad blitz. Granting DC statehood would almost guarantee the Democrats a Senate majority by creating two additional Senate seats representing the 700,000 residents of Washington. House Democrats narrowly voted April 22 to propose a party-line statehood bill (216-208), but it will almost certainly die in the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans between 50 and 50 are bound (the bill calls for $ 60 Votes to be adopted).
The North Fund has also spent at least $ 200,000 lobbying Congressional bills, including the For the People Act (HR 1), the Democrats’ leading efforts to reduce voter ID requirements, federalize, and federal elections Ending the Congressional redistribution process and, ironically, ending “dark money” in politics by forcing groups to disclose their donors – a grave violation of the First Amendment. It is likely part of Sixteen Thirty’s own lobbying for H.R. 1, which the group’s director recently stated was part of their efforts to “reduce the influence of special funds on politics and rebuild the confidence of all Americans”.
However, don’t expect Sixteen Thirty Fund or its allies to disclose you Donors anytime soon. Urged by the state of Montana to reveal its donors after pouring $ 4.8 million into the state’s largest pro-marijuana legalization group last year, the North Fund declined. The initiative was passed.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. North Fund invested millions of dollars in fighting Colorado’s proposed 22-week abortion ban (defeated), supported Missouri’s Medicaid expansion (passed), and passed the Ohio minimum wage hike (not elected), among other things. It even supported an unsuccessful constitutional amendment to radically change the way Arkansas draws its congressional and legislative maps to align with California and other states with supposedly “independent” redistribution commissions.
But good luck tracing these dark dollars back to their original donors. This is Arabella’s specialty – reshaping America according to the left’s own image, without leaving a trace of money.
Hayden Ludwig is a lead investigative researcher for the Capital Research Center.
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