If there's anything the Left hates more than Donald Trump, it's "dark money. They coined the term -- which stands for political contributions from undisclosed sources -- to create fear and resentment. But ironically, Democrats profit from dark money a whole lot more than Republicans. A new analysis of politically active nonprofits by the New York Times reveals over $1.5 billion was spent for Democratic candidates, compared to $900 million for Republicans -- more funds than the Joe Biden and Donald Trump campaigns raised combined. That's a lot of dough.
"Most people think of the two parties when they think of politics, said Capital Research Center senior investigative researcher Hayden Ludwig. But "the multibillion-dollar-strong nonprofit world that operates just outside on the perimeter of the two political parties... is actually much more powerful than either. Not only do they have more money -- the Left in particular -- but they also have a legion of professional activists available around the clock."
Democrats' hatred for dark money dates back to the Citizens United case in 2011, when the Supreme Court ruled that citizens don't forfeit their free speech rights by uniting as a corporation (Democrats argue that corporations are impersonal and therefore not entitled to influence the political process).
But the Left's dark money empire goes back even further. Ludwig's research reaches back two decades to a consulting firm called Arabella Advisors founded by a former Clinton aide. "Arabella is... a for-profit company," he said, with "swanky" offices "run by professional consultants and activists." They manage a "fleet of four non-profits" who share Arabella's address and whose "boards of directors are all run by Arabella staff." Now that's a business model raising more red flags than Communist China.
Arabella's nonprofit henchmen can legally accept huge donations from undisclosed sources. Organizations like these fund what's called "pop-up campaigns that can't be traced to the original donors," explained Ludwig, which is "basically a website that can appear one moment, attack Republicans and conservative policies, and then pop out a minute later." Its slick branding is attached to no financial records or named backers, eliminating any possibility of accountability. "It's the opposite of grassroots activism," said Ludwig; "it's what we call classic astroturf activism." It allows foundations who want to be seen as "highbrow and philanthropic" to wipe their fingerprints off money they funnel into Leftist political causes like advancing abortion rights.
The pop-up websites generated by Arabella's nonprofits are designed to deceive casual observers about their legitimacy. They "don't disclose the relationship to Arabella or its nonprofit network," warned Ludwig. "They don't mention that if you donate to them, you're not actually donating to this particular group; you're donating to the master mothership that runs it." So if you see a campaign by "Demand Justice" or "Fix Our Senate" or some other group you've never heard of before, it's probably a phony.
Phony, too, are Democratic tirades against dark money. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and other powerful Democrats are tied to millions in undisclosed donations -- so much so that dark money groups seem able to handpick at least some of Biden's judicial appointments. Meanwhile, the president's party condemns the practice, projecting their own guilty consciences on Republicans. While both sides play the game, only Democrats have rigged a mass-deception machine.
But democracy might be safe, for now. "For all the money that these organizations spend, how few victories they have to show for it," said Ludwig. "They rely on all of these underhanded tactics," but sweeping election and policy wins elude them. For all of their scheming, the one thing Democrats can't buy is voters' support. Americans don't seem to like the Left's vision for America -- and no amount of money or undercover networks will change that.