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No Word From Senator Whitehouse as Massive Democratic Dark Money Groups Are Exposed

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Just another topic that gets completely demonized on one side of the political spectrum.

Recall briefly, if you can, the years we spent absorbing the wailing about how venal and nefarious the Koch Brothers were in this country, and how they were secretly pulling every Republican string through the use of their stealth funding. Any power move seen on the GOP side was described as being the result of a secret blueprint drawn up by The Kochs, and instantly this was explained as evil when it was claimed they backed this through the use of Dark Money.

Hold on to the echoes of those shrill cries of doom as we learn about a new organization that has swelled in size, rather quietly the past few years. This one is massive in size, with a capital base that rivals any seen during the era of the Kochs. Dubbed The Sixteen Thirty Fund, Politico reports this outfit spent over $400 million in 2020. I will wager just about any sum of money that we will not be hearing any Democrats screeching about the dangers and evil plots devised by this PAC.  

In 2020, the Fund took in an astounding $390 million, and half of that income came from just four donors. One of the donors who has come forward publicly was tech titan and former backer of The Bulwark, Pierre Omidyar. He gave $45 million, as did a second donor, and others ponied up $86 million, $52 million, four others gave between $10-15 million, and another 27 donated anywhere from $1 million, to $5 million. 

Graphic shows flow of funds to Clinton-allied super PAC; 2c x 3 inches; 96.3 mm x 76 mm;

When Joe Biden was hesitantly getting into the Democrat Party 2020 campaign cycle, he joined the rest of the field in giving lip service to saying he would reject help from any so-called Super-PACs. This was a theme of his for a while, as he had written similar things in his book, “Promise Me, Dad” — “I knew there was big money out there for me,” Biden writes. “But I also knew people were sick of it all. ‘We The People’ didn’t ring so true anymore. It was more like ‘We The Donors.’” 

But that’s the funny thing about Super-PACs. Joe can look noble on the subject because they are, by design, prevented from working directly with candidates, so they are free to work on behalf of them, and there are no conflicts in promises. And as it turns out, in a surprise to absolutely no one who has paid attention during his first 10 months in office, Joe’s words and Joe’s actions do not exactly link up like his beloved train cars.

As his campaign was gearing up, two prominent Super PACs reared up. The first was called Future Majority, a Democrat-centered outfit that worked on outreach and focused on the 2020 elections. Wait — Democrat-centered?! How could that be, when Democrats, such as Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, are frequently heard demonizing the presence of these groups, and the ever-nefarious-sounding Dark Money that is always attached? Whitehouse even injected his doomsday prophecy of dark money PAC operations during the Amy Comey-Barrett confirmation hearing.

Yea, as it turns out, that is all a load that would fill a fertilizer trailer. Dems have always loved nothing better than Hoovering up cash while condemning Republicans for being craven for doing the exact same thing. They even developed a defense mechanism, for whenever George Soros — the undisputed Kaiser of dark money donations — has his name invoked, Democrats whip around and accuse people of being anti-Semitic for pointing this out.

Well, when it comes to Future Majority, there were a number of former Obama figures and donors attached. One name from the group, Matthew Tompkins, started an all-new fundraiser outfit, For The People PAC, specifically designed to aid the campaign of the allegedly PAC-averse Joe Biden. And now we learn with all the focus on the hive of villainy known as The Lincoln Project, there has been a massively larger political money group all the while.

AP/Reuters Feed Library

The Sixteen Thirty Fund has been involved with numerous projects, from fighting conservative policies in numerous states, backing liberal proposals and candidates, helping launch small PACs, and even opposing Trump’s Supreme Court nominees. How ironic, as Whitehouse was decrying dark money behind the nominees, he was quietly backed by his liberal shadow funding all the while.

“Altogether this is absolutely one of the largest fundraising machines I have ever come across,” said Robert Maguire, the research director for the open-government group CREW and an expert in political nonprofits. “I am really struggling to think of any other group, especially recently, that could rival it,” he added.

This particular PAC has grown in immense size, if not in influence. Note that beyond the fact Trump did not get reelected, most all other attempts they backed have not exactly delivered. All of Trump’s nominees were approved for the Court, the GOP saw gains last election in the House, and on a state legislature level, there were significant advances made.

Another major left-of-center PAC has been noted, as today, the New York Times reported on Future Forward USA Action PAC, which has also been very active on the political front, yet also relatively quiet. 

Two things of note about this outfit. A good chunk of its seed money came from — The Sixteen Thirty Fund. The other detail is that while FaceBook co-founder David Moskowitz is shown to have given tens of millions, almost all of the other donors to this group are unknown. This is significant due to one of the stated charters of the donor group, which is adept at filtering cash through groups to shield donors.

Sixteen Thirty Fund’s fiscal sponsorship model — in which it serves as an incubator and administrator to help get new progressive advocacy organizations off the ground — is a point of emphasis for the group, as is its backing of campaign finance reforms that would require it and other nonprofit groups to disclose donors and potentially reduce their influence on politics.

So let us analyze this. These massive PACs are operating on the quiet, infused with massive cash amounts from a variety of unknown donors, and they then claim the desired goal is to work on shedding light on the donation racket? This strikes as being the very type of thing that would inspire you to lead by example. Instead, there is a layered process of taking in cash, giving amounts to related PACs to wash and hide donors, and then going about spreading it around to more PACs and causes. As Goldmacher explained about one money stream: “Besides the $60+ million put into the super PAC — the donors would have had to be disclosed if not coming first through this nonprofit.”

So here we watch as a number of massive Democratic PACs rise up in value — as the Dems decry the use of PACs — and target various political opponents and declare that they want to demand more exposure in political funding…all while working to completely shield their own funding.

Nothing at all shady taking place here. One thing we can be assured in with all of this: The Democratic practice of complaining loudest about the actions of their opponents remains the best indicator of what it is they are currently guilty of doing.