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Pressure Mounts on Left’s Most Notorious Dark Money Network

Posted on Thursday, September 7, 2023
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by Andrew Abbott
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AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

lady justice statue in front of the supreme court building to the left
In recent months, a number of notorious liberal “ethics watchdog” groups – most of which are part of an intricate web of entities backed by the far-left for-profit Arabella Advisors – have faced mounting scrutiny over potential serious (and illegal) ethics violations. In the most recent example, Supreme Court “transparency” watchdog Fix the Court was forced to admit late last month that it had failed to disclose its own lobbying for liberal causes. On its website, Fix The Court states that it is a “nonpartisan” group which “advocates for non-ideological fixes that would make the federal courts, and primarily the U.S. Supreme Court, more open and more accountable to the American people.” But a Washington Examiner expose in July revealed that the group had likely skirted campaign finance laws by not reporting activities that constitute grassroots lobbying, including urging the public to demand that lawmakers adopt specific pieces of legislation. Although the group initially tried to deny and ignore the allegations, Fix the Court Executive Director Gabe Roth admitted, “I have been corrected” about the political nature of Fix the Court’s lobbying activities. The revelations are particularly ironic given that Fix the Court has been one of the lead leftist attack dogs going after conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito over alleged ethics violations. As the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board put it, Fix the Court “is working with Democrats to pass ethics and disclosure rules for Justices while ignoring a requirement to disclose its own lobbying.” In other words, “the outfit denounces Justices for disclosure mistakes, but when it gets called out for the same thing it claims to be acting ‘in good faith.’” But the left-wing network of shady activist groups masquerading as grassroots nonprofits is far bigger than just Fix the Court. Fix The Court is itself a creation of the New Venture Fund, a nonprofit managed by the massive and secretive dark money group Arabella Advisors. Founded by Eric Kessler, a former Bill Clinton appointee, in 2005, Arabella oversees several major nonprofit groups which themselves control dozens of other nonprofits. An analysis of one of these nonprofits, the Student Experience Research Network (SERN), from The Washington Free Beacon in July reveals how Arabella’s political influence scheme works. Although SERN purports to “advance the research, relationships, and capacity necessary to build an education system in which every student experiences respect as a valued person and thinker,” the group has repeatedly promoted “DEI practices in education and partners with other left-wing organizations to promote ‘inclusive mathematics environments’ and push universities to abandon standardized tests.” SERN presents itself as a grassroots organization funded by ordinary people concerned about student experiences. But in reality it receives its funding from the New Venture Fund, which in turn is funded by the same network of mega-rich donors that funds Arabella, including names like George Soros, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Warren Buffet. The Arabella network has also given more than $25 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), a nonprofit that endured heavy criticism for its actions during the 2020 election, according to a report from the Longview News-Journal. Almost all the money CTCL collected went toward increasing turnout in traditionally blue areas in swing states. Since Arabella was established nearly two decades ago, four firms under its umbrella, the New Venture Fund, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the Windward Fund, and the Hopewell Fund have paid Arabella a whopping $228 million in “consulting fees” – a rate seemingly far above market value. This has led to allegations that Kessler has used the tax-exempt status of Arabella’s umbrella of nonprofits to personally enrich himself. In August, the conservative watchdog Americans for Public trust launched a complaint with the IRS demanding an investigation into the matter. “Eric Kessler created one of the most complex and sophisticated dark money networks influencing U.S. politics and policy today,” Caitlin Sutherland, the executive director of the watchdog group, said in a statement. “Now, it appears as though he misled the IRS and may have illegally personally benefited by rerouting nonprofit cash back into his own pocket through Arabella Advisors.” Conservatives in Congress have also begun to ramp up the pressure on Arabella and its highly suspect practices. GOP members have called out Arabella by name during hearings, while others have exposed how top Democrat critics of “dark money” – like Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – have themselves accepted money from Arabella-linked groups. With a Democrat in the White House and a Democrat-controlled Senate, it seems likely that Arabella will continue to escape accountability – for now. But with the public growing increasingly aware about the left’s “dark money” hypocrisy and more scrutiny on Kessler and his network of donors, Arabella’s days of covertly influencing American elections and public policy may be numbered. Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with more than a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.

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Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
8 months ago

Land of the Free? It’s like living under Mafia control.

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
8 months ago

the funniest party is a leftist group calling itself ethics watchdog.

LauraC
LauraC
8 months ago

Sounds like money laundering to me. Where’s the RICO prosecution?

anna hubert
anna hubert
8 months ago

Are there no laws in place to deal with the dark money? If an ordinary citizen were to deposit 10000 dol all kinds of questions would be asked making him feel like a criminal Yet true criminal is left to operate unmolested and untouchable by law

Melinda
Melinda
8 months ago

Watchdogs watching the Watchdogs? Sounds like spy/countersuit. This stuff gets complicated. No wonder people tune out of politics. It’s mean and dirty!

JamesP.
JamesP.
8 months ago

I’ll never trust an election again, until the dark money is settle. I don’t like it be it Democrat or Republican. I live in Michigan…those running for election should except money from Michigan residents, what do California..New York.. or other out of state doners know about Michigan Issure (Out-of-Staters need to BUTT OUT!!)

Garyk
Garyk
8 months ago

The marxist democrat party and socialist sorts are TRAITORS, and seek America’s destruction.
Plain and simple. They MUST be neutered and rendered insignificant NOW

Robert Chase
Robert Chase
8 months ago

We need fundamental change on this non-profit influence pedaling scheme. Why do we need such organizations? Poll voters and then represent their interests. We ought to be able to figure that out without this dark money racket giving the global elite undue influence.

Jimmy P
Jimmy P
8 months ago

It’s like putting the Iranian mullahs in charge of UN human rights commission.

John
John
8 months ago

This is how the Left operates – through subterfuge and deception. When a group has no morals they have no boundaries. The Left believes their ends are so correct that ANY means are justified. They are corrupt to their core. Their war on the Family is never ending. Marriage has been violated, morality ended, belief in God mocked. I used to believe we were seeing mass psychosis, but now I fear we have actual mass demonic influence and possession ocuring. The good play by rules and the bad have no rules. Only God Almighty can save us.

PapaYEC
PapaYEC
8 months ago

The Marxist Rat Party already believes it has the 2024 “elections” in bag. The fix is definitely in.

invictus
invictus
8 months ago

Yet another heads up is for those who are still using the (laughable) dinosaur ‘AOL’ email provider. They’ve been interfering in users’ email accounts, including the free types, and pilfering, stealing, and invading users’ personal information and financial data. US federal oversight agencies have been notified of the suspected thefts by AOL handlers. A vpn email service such as protonmail is better for privacy and end-to-end encryption. PROTONMAIL dotcom also has a free email service including low-cost paid types.

invictus
invictus
8 months ago

There is no such animal as “liberal ethics watchdogs” groups, entities, or individuals. They’re actually gaggles of societal low-lifes, failures, ponzi schemers, fraudersters, thieves, druggies, child abusers, elder abusers, murderers, racists, unaccomplished, sluggards, chronically unemployed, diseased, mentally twisted, evil doers, domestic terrorists, unbathed, friendless and the lot.

Garyk
Garyk
8 months ago

This Shawn fain uaw loudmouth is out of control.
He thinks because the union is tight with the marxist democrat party that he can demand anything.
Typical unrealistic, ignorant of how businesses operate and totally UNCARING that the ones who end up paying are regular auto purchasers!
So tired of greedy,self serving me,me,me people.

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