Nina Jankowicz's Ironically Named 'American Sunlight Project' Is a Dark Money Outfit

Townhall Media

Recall Nina Jankowicz, the rather flighty figure heading the Department of Homeland Security's thought police division? Her Disinformation Governance Board was tasked with battling the described scourge of misinformation in what became a laughably inept effort. It was disbanded inside of a month – roughly mirroring the failed rollout of CNN+. The best is that the DGB folded because it was allegedly victimized by …disinformation. 

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To underscore how poorly this had gone there is this response she gave when asked why the division failed in its mission: “Basically, everything you may have heard about the Disinformation Governance Board is wrong or is just a flat-out lie.” Okay, and your board was tasked with addressing that very issue. If you cannot correct details regarding your own department — when that department is set up to correct details and information — then yes, it needs to be disbanded. 

Making this better (or worse) is that what derailed this DHS attempt was not, in fact, disinformation; it was Nina’s own words and messaging. Her past tweets, interviews, and articles published were being shown, and those displayed her partisan stances and desire for censorship. So, it was not misinformation but accurate and sourced information that led to her downfall.

That is the kind of ineptitude that should see someone banished into another line of work, except now, two years later, she is back, heading a new outfit tasked with a very similar mission. It is a paradox in the alternative media environment: There is a proliferation of misinformation despite a growing number of groups and outfits battling against misinformation. Some could look at this and state these groups are failing in their stated mission based on their claims of this being a growing problem. 

What has become obvious is that these outfits are rather targeted in their goals, given most of those appear to only focus on the right. This is certainly the case with the American Sunlight Project, as evidenced in the subheader of her introduction for the group in the New York Times in April: The group intends to fight what its leader, Nina Jankowicz, and others have described as a coordinated campaign by conservatives and their allies to undermine researchers who study disinformation.

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When it begins with the premise that only the right requires correcting, you already see the problems with the intent. But it goes further than that, as one of the stated missions of the ASP is to not only address the misinformation and ostensibly correct it, but to explore and expose the entities behind these alleged crimes against the truth.

Ms. Jankowicz said her group would run advertisements about the broad threats and effects of disinformation and produce investigative reports on the backgrounds and financing of groups conducting disinformation campaigns — including those targeting the researchers.

On the ASP website one of the initial reports looks into the funding of the pro-Palestine protests on college campuses. Well…sort of. The topic is looked into, but in the same fashion seen from the media fact-checkers; they seek to debunk the messaging from the right. The report spends time refuting the claims that the funding is coming from George Soros, but this outfit that declares it explores the sourcing and funding of messaging only lightly explores which entities are backing these uprisings, beyond mention of the Tides Foundation donating to other groups. Soros is, in truth, one of the largest backers of the left-leaning Tides Foundation.


So it is not troublesome enough that Jankowicz is once again spearheading an effort to threaten First Amendment freedoms; the group also seeks to expose those behind what they deem language that is disapproved. In a three-part mission statement, the group lists its #1 priority: “Expose deceptive information practices and the networks and money that drive them."

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From this comes the true hypocrisy. 

In that New York Times profile, while Nina’s cohorts are mentioned and a list of some advisors was included as well, we do not learn about who is backing the ASP. This is because, although the ASP operates as a nonprofit organization, it exists in a section of the IRS tax code permitting it to be a lobbying outfit, unlike most other tax-exempt organizations. And, as reported in The Times, “It also does not have to disclose its donors, which Ms. Jankowicz declined to do.

So it is perfectly acceptable for the ASP to expose and reveal sources it disagrees with, but at the same time they can shield who is funding their attack methods. Jankowicz acknowledged they have been seeded with $1 million in donations at this stage, but she will not say from whom it comes. It is fair to say then the American Sunshine Project is ironically named, given it is operating with Dark Money.

When challenged on this very detail, the ASP displayed undiluted delusion. Jeryl Bier, who edits Pluribus on Substack, brought up this very blatant discrepancy with the “Sunlight” Project, and he received a response from the group’s social media account.

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This means the ASP feels they are free to expose others, subjecting them to harassment and turning on the First Amendment freedoms of others – but don’t you dare for a minute operate as if the American Sunlight Project should have the light shined on them!

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