Deception & Misdirection

Arabella’s $1.6 Billion “Dark Money” Haul in 2021


Part of our developing series on Arabella Advisors

 

The country’s largest and perhaps most influential “dark money” network pulled in nearly $1.6 billion in 2021, according to new IRS filings, a mere $148 million drop from the record $1.7 billion in revenues it posted in 2020.

At the top of this nonprofit network is, Arabella Advisors, a for-profit consultancy that advises foundations and donors on grantmaking to left-of-center political causes. The Capital Research Center was the first to expose Arabella’s massive nonprofit apparatus in early 2019, which has since become the poster child for anonymous spending in America’s top political fights. Since then we’ve identified hundreds of Arabella-run “pop-up” groups, as well as attack campaigns launched from the company’s offices under the aegis of its various nonprofits.

Possibly the network’s financial decline from 2020 may suggest that the Arabella network has peaked, considering its steady growth year-after-year starting in 2006. On the other hand, the small decline in revenues may just reflect left-wing donors’ slightly diminished political enthusiasm in an off-year, versus a presidential year, especially after the network’s 2020 revenues grew by 136 percent—over $1 billion—over the previous year. We won’t know until the network releases its 2022 disclosures next year, which will shed some light on its political activities during the recent midterm elections.

New Venture Fund

The largest 501(c)(3) in the Arabella network is also its oldest: New Venture Fund (formerly the Arabella Legacy Fund), is responsible for 60 percent ($964 million) of the network’s total revenues in 2021 alone.

Notably, New Venture paid Arabella Advisors nearly $30 million for management services in 2021; it paid another $2 million to BerlinRosen, a public relations firm servicing Democratic campaigns and leftist groups such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

While (c)(3) groups aren’t required to disclose their donors’ names, they must report the donation sums. New Venture’s top donor gave it an impressive $120 million. The next-highest gave it $103 million, followed by seven(!) donations of $10,000,000 or more. The smallest posted anonymous contribution was $20 million.

New Venture funneled grants to hundreds of left-wing groups in 2021, including:

New Venture also shuffled money to a handful of its “sister” nonprofits managed by Arabella, including $390,000 to Hopewell Fund, $12.8 million to the 501(c)(4) North Fund, and $27.3 million to the (c)(4) Sixteen Thirty Fund.

These contributions made New Venture the largest contributor to North Fund and the second-largest contributor to Sixteen Thirty Fund in 2021.

Sixteen Thirty Fund

Arabella’s Sixteen Thirty Fund is the largest and oldest 501(c)(4) in the network. In 2021, it reported $191 million in revenues and paid the company $5.2 million in consulting fees.

Notably, Arabella founder Eric Kessler—who at one point served on the boards of four of the network’s five nonprofits—resigned from the Sixteen Thirty board in June 2021. Kessler is a veteran of the Clinton Administration and the League of Conservation Voters, which received $19 million from Sixteen Thirty Fund in 2021—making it the latter’s top grant recipient that year.

Major grants from Sixteen Thirty Fund include:

The grants from the Sixteen Thirty and New Venture Funds to Demand Justice and its various arms also call into question Arabella Advisors’ claim earlier this year that it “does not work for Demand Justice in any capacity,” calling it a “completely independent nonprofit organization.” What American believes that, when Group A receives millions of dollars from Group B, the two groups are perfectly independent?

Sixteen Thirty Fund also shuffled $470,000 to New Venture Fund and $1.1 million to North Fund, its sibling groups in the Arabella empire of anonymous cash.

North Fund

The North Fund, Arabella’s second (c)(4) group, was formed in 2019 with seed capital from Sixteen Thirty Fund. In 2021, its revenues were nearly $43 million and it paid $552,000 to Arabella Advisors for consulting services.

Notably, North Fund contracted with two of the Democratic Party’s top law firms for legal services last year: Perkins Coie ($1.9 million) and its spin-off, Elias Law Group, run by the Democratic superlawyer Marc Elias.

The Elias Law Group is also counsel to Arabella Advisors, which is another reason to doubt Arabella’s protests that it is nonpartisan. Their lawyer Mr. Elias has publicly declared, if you don’t help Democrats win, “we are not the law firm for you.”

North Fund’s top grants in 2021 included:

North Fund also passed $1.9 million to Sixteen Thirty Fund.

Hopewell Fund

The 501(c)(3) Hopewell Fund reported 2021 revenue of $123 million and paid $7.1 million to Arabella Advisors for management services. Amazingly, Hopewell also paid Perkins Coie $8.3 million and the Elias Law Group another $2.4 million for legal services last year.

Hopewell Fund granted $3 million to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) in 2021, a left-wing election “reform” group infamous for funneling $350 million from Mark Zuckerberg to thousands of government election offices in 2020 in an effort to privatize the 2020 election in many places. CTCL has since shifted to training elections administrators with aid from other left-wing election groups.

Other Hopewell Fund grants included:

Bizarrely, Hopewell reports it donated $105,989 to Perkins Coie, a for-profit law firm. Perkins Coie is best known as the premier law firm for Democratic Party candidates such as Hillary Clinton, and in this capacity it secretly hired Fusion GPS—the firm at the center of the Russiagate scam—for the Clinton campaign.

Hopewell also gave $3.5 million to New Venture Fund and $3.1 million to Sixteen Thirty Fund in 2021.

Windward Fund

Arabella’s final 501(c)(3), Windward Fund, pulled in $274 million in 2021 and paid $4.2 million to Arabella Advisors in consulting fees. Windward Fund’s top anonymous donor contributed $59 million to the environmental group.

Major grants from Windward last year included:

In addition, Windward paid $225,000 to New Venture Fund, $150,000 to North Fund, $500,000 to Sixteen Thirty Fund, and $25,000 to Hopewell Fund.

All told, the five nonprofit sisters paid roughly $42 million in consulting fees to the for-profit Arabella Advisors in 2021. The nonprofits and Arabella shuffled an amazing $51 million among themselves the same year.

More to Come

This is a developing story. For more information on the Arabella network, see the entry on Arabella Advisors on InfluenceWatch.org.

Hayden Ludwig, Parker Thayer

See their individual bios at Hayden Ludwig and Parker Thayer.
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