|This will soon be removed from Wikipedia. This is truly big. This org. is poison and no one has heard of it. On a panel it was mentioned as existing by Gen. Flynn|
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Arabella Advisors is a Washington, D.C.-based for-profit company that advises left-leaning donors and nonprofits about where to give money and serves as the hub of a politically liberal "dark money" network. It was founded by former Clinton administrationappointee Eric Kessler.
Organizations incubated by and affiliated with Arabella Advisors include the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the New Venture Fund, the Hopewell Fund, and the Windward Fund. These groups have been active in various efforts to oppose the Trump administrationand to organize opposition to numerous Republican politicians and policies.
According to The Atlantic, Arabella Advisors has "undeniably benefited from the rush of panicked political giving on the left during the Trump years." In 2020, the Sixteen Thirty Fund donated $410 million toward defeating Trump and winning Democratic control of the U.S. Senate. Because of the way they are legally structured, Arabella Advisors and its affiliated groups are not required to disclose their donors, and they have not opted to do so. Politico has described the Sixteen Thirty Fund as a "left-leaning, secret-money group," writing that the group "illustrates the extent to which the left embraced the use of 'dark money' to fight for its causes in recent years. After decrying big-money Republican donors over the last decade, as well as the Supreme Court rulings that flooded politics with more cash, Democrats now benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars of undisclosed donations as well."
Structure and funding
Arabella Advisors and its affiliated entities utilize tax regulations in which groups who use a fiscal sponsorship arrangement do not have to file a Form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service. Using "pass-through" arrangements, funding is passed from one organization to another, making it difficult to trace where a donor's money ends up.
In 2018, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the New Venture Fund, the Hopewell Fund, and the Windward Fund had combined revenue of $635 million. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2018 the Sixteen Thirty Fund had "thirteen multi-million dollar secret donors." One donor gave $51.7 million to the group in 2018, while another donor gave $26.7 million and a third gave $10 million. The group is not required by law to reveal its donors and it has not disclosed who its funders are. Known donors to the group include Nick Hanauer, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Wyss Foundation. Michael Bloomberg gave $250,000 to a super PAC linked to the Sixteen Thirty Fund, and Democratic donor group Democracy Alliance, whose members include billionaire George Soros, has recommended that donors give generously to the Sixteen Thirty Fund.
According to Politico, the Sixteen Thirty Fund's activities are "a sign that Democrats and allies have embraced the methods of groups they decried as 'dark money' earlier this decade, when they were under attack from the money machines built by conservatives including the Kochs".
The Sixteen Thirty Fund
The Sixteen Thirty Fund is a liberal "dark money" nonprofit headquartered in Washington D.C. Because it is a nonprofit, the Sixteen Thirty Fund is not required to disclose its donors, even though it spends significant amounts on politics. As of 2019, it had spent $141 million on more than 100 left-leaning and Democraticcauses, making it a large source of money for nonprofits pushing a variety of changes to state and federal law. The Atlantic called the Sixteen Thirty Fund "the indisputable heavyweight of Democratic dark money," noting that it was the second-largest super-PAC donor in 2020, donating $61 million of "effectively untraceable money to progressive causes."
The Sixteen Thirty Fund supports Democratic lawmakers and candidates and criticizes Republicans. The group spent money opposing the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and other Trump judicial nominees and supporting various ballot measures.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund was behind several groups that ran issue advocacy ads to benefit Democrats during the 2018 midterms. The group also funded Demand Justice, which spent millions of dollars on ads attacking Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Sixteen Thirty Fund and New Venture Fund "have fiscally sponsored at least 80 of their own groups, bankrolling those entities in a way that leaves almost no paper trail."
The Sixteen Thirty Fund was active in the battle for the House of Representatives in 2018, assisting "Democrats trying to seize back power after Trump's rise." According to Politico, "The election featured dozens of Democratic candidates who decried the influence of money in politics on the campaign trail."
The Sixteen Thirty Fund operates under dozens of different trade names with titles like Arizonans United for Health Care, Floridians for a Fair Shake, Michigan Families for Economic Prosperity, North Carolinians for a Fair Economy. These groups have collectively spent millions of dollars to pressure Republican members of Congress on their stances on health care and economic issues through advertising and activism.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund spent almost $11 million in the 2018 Colorado elections on ballot measures, lobbying, and Democratic super PACs.
In 2019, the fund raised $137 million. In 2020, it gave $0.5 million to the group Colorado Families First to support a proposed ballot initiative requiring paid family leave in the state.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund spent $410 million in 2020, largely focused on helping Democrats defeat President Donald Trump and winning back control of the United States Senate. The group financed attack ads against Trump and vulnerable Republican senators and funded various issue advocacy campaigns. Funding went to groups opposing Trump's Supreme Court nominees, supporting liberal ballot measures and policy proposals at the state level, and opposing Republican tax and health care policies. The Sixteen Thirty Fund raised $390 million in 2020, with half of that amount coming from just four donors. Billionaire Pierre Omidyar disclosed that he gave the group $45 million in 2020.
New Venture Fund
The New Venture Fund had revenue of $405 million in 2018, up from $350 million annually in the three preceding years. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the New Venture Fund "has fiscally sponsored at least 80 groups and acted as a pass-through agency funneling millions of dollars in grants for wealthy donors to opaque groups with minimal disclosure."
Projects and funding recipients
Demand Justice is a courts-focused group headed by former Hillary Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon. The group spent millions of dollars opposing Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. The group "projected a video of Christine Blasey Ford accusing Kavanaugh of assault on the side of a truck outside a Washington gala where Kavanaugh was speaking."
Fix the Court
The New Venture Fund provides all of the funding for Fix the Court, a judicial advocacy group that seeks reform of the U.S. federal court system. When Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, Fix the Court bought several Internet domain names related to Kavanaugh and redirected them to websites including End Rape On Campus, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Fix the Court's executive director, Gabe Roth, said he purchased and redirected the websites because he believed the sexual assault allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh and by Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas.
Defend American Democracy
Defend American Democracy spent six figures on television advertisements pressuring Republican members of Congress to vote to impeach President Donald Trump for what they called "abusing his office and risking national security for his own gain." This group "primarily targets swing-district Republicans, prominently features military veterans in its ads and presents itself as a veterans group to local media outlets." The Center for Responsive Politics reported that "A veterans group urging Republican lawmakers to 'put country over politics' amid the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is the project of a well-funded liberal 'dark money' network." Defend American Democracy's advertisements contained disclaimers that they were "paid for by a group called Protect the Investigation. But Protect the Investigation doesn't legally exist — it's one of dozens of fictitious names registered by the Sixteen Thirty Fund."
The Hub Project
The Hub Project was started in 2015 with funding from the Wyss Foundation, operated by Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss. The Hub Project seeks "to shape media coverage to help Democratic causes." The goal of The Hub Project is to help Democrats be more effective at conveying their arguments through the news media and directly to voters. It seeks to "dramatically shift the public debate and policy positions of core decision makers." The Hub Project engaged in paid advertising campaigns that criticized Republican congressional candidates in 2018. The Hub Project is housed within the Arabella-sponsored groups the New Venture Fund and the Sixteen Thirty Fund. Between 2007 and 2020, the Wyss Foundation donated approximately $56.5 million to these groups. The New Venture Fund underwrites Acronym, which owns the Courier Newsroom, a group seeking to boost Democratic candidates through local news stories and advertising.
The Hub Project is an initiative that passes on funding to and coordinates 14 groups out of a single office in Washington D.C., "with the goal of battering Republicans for their health care and economic policies during the midterm elections." The Hub Project is run by Obama administration official and public relations specialist Leslie Dach and former Center for American Progress political strategist Arkadi Gerney. The Hub Project "set up an array of affiliate groups around the country, many with vaguely sympathetic names like Keep Iowa Healthy, New Jersey for a Better Future and North Carolinians for a Fair Economy. The Hub Project then used them to mobilize volunteers and run advertising on policy issues against Republican members of Congress many months before the election."
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