Liberal "dark-money" behemoth funneled more than $400M in 2020

The sixteen Thirty fund sent the cash to groups that aided Democrats" initiatives to unseat then-President Donald Trump and also Republicans" Senate majority.

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After decrying big-money Republican donors over the critical decade, and also the can be fried Court rulings that flooded politics with more cash, democrats now benefit from numerous millions that dollars that undisclosed donations as well. | J. Scott Applewhite, File/AP Photo

A left-leaning, secret-money team doled the end a lining $410 million in 2020, aiding autonomous efforts come unseat then-President Donald Trump and also win back control that the Senate.

The group, the 16 Thirty Fund, financed strike ads against Trump and vulnerable Republican senators and also funded huge get-out-the-vote and also issue advocacy campaigns amid the coronavirus pandemic, as detailed in a new tax filing derived by It explosive in size during the trump administration, going native a few tens of millions of dollars every year to raising and spending hundreds of millions.

The 16 Thirty Fund’s multi-million dollar grants singlehandedly powered part other establishments on the left, and it also incubated various other groups, together a “fiscal sponsor,” the fought against Trump’s supreme Court nominees, backed liberal ballot measures and policy propose in different states and organized opposition come Republican tax and health treatment policies.

Its substantial 2020 fundraising and also spending illustrates the extent to i m sorry the left embraced the use of “dark money” come fight because that its causes in current years. After decrying big-money Republican donors end the last decade, and the supreme Court rulings that flooded politics with an ext cash, Democrats now benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars the undisclosed donations together well.

“Altogether this is absolutely one of the biggest fundraising makers I have ever before come across,” said Robert Maguire, the study director because that the open-government team CREW and also an expert in political nonprofits. “I am yes, really struggling to think of any kind of other group, especially recently, that could rival it,” he added, to compare the quantity of money flowing through Sixteen Thirty money to the Koch brothers’ network in ~ the elevation of that influence previously this decade.

While sixteen Thirty money has grown come a similar scope in disagreement terms, the company rejects comparisons come the Koch network, casting both its mission and also its design as different than the longtime liberal bogeymen. 16 Thirty Fund’s fiscal sponsorship version — in which that serves as an incubator and also administrator to aid get new progressive advocacy institutions off the soil — is a suggest of focus for the group, as is that backing of project finance reforms the would require it and also other nonprofit groups to disclose donors and potentially alleviate their affect on politics.

The group’s stamin in 2020 to be its capability to “quickly and efficiently launch new initiatives through our fiscal sponsorship model,” sixteen Thirty fund President Amy Kurtz composed in a Medium short article on Wednesday. “Alongside our partners and projects, we scaled up conveniently (growing 175 percent native 2019), allowing progressive donors to step up favor never prior to to help in the challenge of intersecting crises and also imminent threats.”

Sixteen Thirty Fund’s total 2020 fundraising came to almost $390 million — a brand-new record for the group, and virtually three times more than the approximately $140 million it raised in 2018 and 2019.

Half of the haul come from just four donors, who provided contributions that $86.2 million, $52.7 million (in the form of stock), $45.7 million and $45 million to sixteen Thirty Fund.

“I’m struggling come think of any group I’ve ever come across that has actually a single contribution the large,” said Maguire, who provided that it might be indigenous an individual or from an additional nonprofit or various other group.

Tech billionaire Pierre Omidyar and also his wife, Pam, disclosed earlier this year the they were responsible for the $45 million gift, which visited Civic activity Fund, a fiscally sponsored job of the 16 Thirty Fund.

Another 4 donors gave between $10 million and also $20 million, and 27 an ext gave between $1 million and also $5.3 million.

As a nonprofit, 16 Thirty fund is not compelled to disclose that donors, also though it spends significant sums top top politics. However in enhancement to Omidyar’s self-disclosure, the new York time revealed earlier this year the Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss’ nonprofits gave more than $135 million to the 16 Thirty money in recent years, which was earmarked for non-electoral purposes. A human being with sixteen Thirty Fund, speak on problem of anonymity, stated that contributions from establishments funded by Wyss did not rise in 2020.

The Open society Foundations, started by liberal mega-donor George Soros, likewise lists almost $17 million in 2020 grants to the 16 Thirty fund on that website.

Sixteen Thirty Fund’s single biggest outlay in 2020 — $129 million — saw America Votes, the free umbrella group that works on voter registration and also turnout and also collaborates with other political groups throughout the left.

The enormous windfall from sixteen Thirty money in 2020 was, through itself, much more than double as much as America Votes elevated the previous year. Like Sixteen Thirty Fund, and also with that is help, America Votes expanded significantly in the last couple of years, raising approximately $13 million in its budget years ending in June 2017 and also 2018 before bringing in $64 million the next year, according to its most recent taxes documents.

Kurtz composed in she Medium short article that the sponsor to America Votes “helped progressives across the country pivot to provide brand-new and safe methods for voting throughout a deadly pandemic” by supporting the group’s “national efforts to expand access to vote by mail and also increase voter turnout in communities of shade and among traditionally disenfranchised people.”

Sixteen Thirty fund reported giving almost $164 million come super PACs and other groups expressly for politics purposes, and also spending much more than $3 million itself straight on political task — totaling 41 percent of its spending, under the 49 percent cap on political spending by nonprofits. Lot of the money that went to America Votes is had in 16 Thirty Fund"s complete political spending, but the nonprofit likewise made large contributions come super PACs supporting now-President Joe Biden and Senate democracy in 2020, including $5.9 million to adjust Now, $15.2 million to Future forward USA PAC, $4.5 million to top priorities USA action and $7.7 million to victory 2020.

The group directed $10 million to an anti-Trump group, Defending Democracy Together, run by Republican and also former Republican operatives and also commentators.

It additionally supported a network of other nonprofits the aired problem ads bashing vulnerable Senate Republicans throughout 2019 and also 2020. The donations consisted of $7 million to Piedmont Rising, which activate in north Carolina, $2.5 million to progressing AZ in Arizona, $1.9 million come Maine Momentum, $1.6 million to Rocky mountain Values in Colorado and $1.2 million to Iowa Forward.

And sixteen Thirty fund poured 10s of numerous dollars into teams backing gradual ballot procedures in numerous states. The funds contained $19.4 million in contribute to the phibìc Fund, i m sorry in enhancement to directing money to various other liberal establishments backed ballot measures on issues like paid leave in Colorado and marijuana legalization in Montana. 16 Thirty Fund additionally directed another $2.6 million to Colorado families First, the campaign for the paid leaving ballot measure up in the state.

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Yet an ext money flowed straight through the fiscally sponsored programs housed within sixteen Thirty Fund. Demand Justice, one of the most high-profile, has spun off into its own distinctive organization, Kurtz created in her medium post. Yet others, prefer Paid leaving for every Action, have actually been actively campaigning for plan changes and conducting concern advocacy. Sixteen Thirty Fund’s tax filing walk not break out how much each fiscally sponsored group spent.