Media Hits

Best of CRC Media Hits for October 2020

This month’s cache of media hits is peppered with news articles using our research on dark money and leftist funding, but it really shines in the number of original op-eds written by CRC staff and featured in some of the most respectable news outlets in the nation.

Notably, the Wall Street Journal commissioned an op-ed on Arabella Advisors and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s disingenuousness on the subject of “dark money.” CRC president Scott Walter contributed that opinion piece, and it’s an important piece of the left’s dark money puzzle. Additionally, National Review ran a monograph penned by CRC research director Michael Watson on the strange embrace of unions by some conservatives and how that’s only likely to harm American workers. Our CRC investigative researcher Hayden Ludwig contributed two op-eds this month, one on the opposition to Justice Amy Coney Barrett and one on the “greening” of Pennsylvania, which ran in Legal Insurrection and RealClearEnergy, respectively.

Finally, CRC intern John Byrne had his first op-ed published at Inside Sources in which he details his views of the chaotic election season and how third-party options may help us avoid the madness.

Inside the Left’s Web of Dark Money
Wall Street Journal, Scott Walter (Op-Ed), October 22, 2020

The fight over Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court is only the beginning of judicial battles to come. If President Trump is re-elected, he will nominate more judges, and Democrats will attack them. If Joe Biden wins, his allies will keep demanding he pack the Supreme Court by adding seats to fill with liberal activists.

Glance at the Twitter feed of Brian Fallon, leader of Demand Justice, the left’s top judicial pressure group. Mr. Fallon was the spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign; Demand Justice is less well known. Its origin story cuts against the left-wing trope that conservative “dark money” has “captured the courts.”

Mr. Fallon sowed the seed of Demand Justice by speaking at a 2018 meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a secretive donor group co-founded by George Soros, who pledged millions in support. But the money didn’t go to a new nonprofit. It went to an empire managed by Arabella Advisors, a for-profit consulting firm founded by a Clinton administration alumnus who previously worked at the League of Conservation Voters—a “dark money heavyweight,” as the Center for Public Integrity puts it.

The Redistributionist Right Would Strengthen Unions to Workers’ Detriment
National Review, Michael Watson, October 19, 2020

If making American workplace relations more like those in the social-democratic countries of continental Europe sounds like something out of the political program of Senators Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), that’s because it is. But a faction on the American right, typified by Oren Cass of American Compass, also wants to increase the power of Big Labor to “represent” more unwilling workers by importing European models of workplace relations. While conservatives should ensure that Americans have a voice in their workplaces, the plan of the redistributionist Right to give more power to Richard Trumka, Mary Kay Henry, and other national union bosses will hurt, not help, workers who are more open than ever to supporting conservatism.

Leftist Dark Money Opposing Barrett Nomination”
Legal Insurrection, Hayden Ludwig (Op-Ed), October 14, 2020

Obamacare, the most sweeping transformation to the nation’s healthcare system and economy in generations, is set to go before the Supreme Court one week after the November 3rd election. At stake is not just President Obama’s signature legislation, but as much as 18 percent of the country’s GDP—the future of which depends upon the makeup of the nation’s highest court.

That’s not lost on the professional Left and its legion of paid-for activists, who are desperately trying to halt Senate Republicans from confirming President Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to fill the seat occupied by the late Justice Ginsburg.

Demand Justice
the same ideologues who led the Left’s hideous campaign to smear Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a gang-rapist during his Supreme Court confirmation in 2018 — is at the center of the disinformation machine aimed at stopping Barrett and packing the Supreme Court with far-left justices. In late September, the attack group announced a “seven-figure” ad buy to bludgeon Republican Senators into withholding a confirmation vote until after the presidential election.

Exposing the EcoActivists Greening Pennsylvania in 2020
RealClearEnergy, Hayden Ludwig and Kevin Mooney (Op-Ed), October 14, 2020

Pennsylvania’s great success has made it a target of professional left-wing activists who subscribe to a rigid ideology that demonizes carbon dioxide—a naturally occurring gas vital to life on earth. These environmentalists are waging a nationwide war on cheap, abundant energy from coal, oil, and natural gas, forcing the country to arbitrarily shift to unreliable and expensive sources such as wind turbines and solar plants.

With backing from ultraliberal foundations and mega-donors, they’ve made huge gains in the Northeast, instituting a cap-and-trade system (the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) designed to snuff out traditional energy sources in favor of those of the activists’ choosing. Many are lobbying for a statewide ban on fracking, which would cost Pennsylvania hundreds of thousands of jobs and spike household electricity prices. It’s a war that the Keystone State can’t afford to lose.

Will the Left’s Astroturf Activism Corrupt the Supreme Court?
American Thinker, Hayden Ludwig (Op-Ed), October 9, 2020

Almost immediately after President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Republican senators announced they had the votes to confirm her.  With issues as critical as Obamacare set for hearings as early as November 10, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

But “dark money” activists are already scrambling to ensure that only hardened leftists — not constitutional originalists — make the bench.

They’ve tried this strategy before.  In May, Chief Justice John Roberts was forced to put to bed a shameful and unfounded conspiracy theory advanced by left-wing activists that federal judge Tom Griffiths was bribed into retiring from his seat.  Activists demanded that a left-leaning judge, Sri Srinivasan, investigate Griffiths as part of a Republican plot to fill the courts with more Trump appointees before the 2020 election.

The 2020 Election: Predictable Chaos
Inside Sources, John Byrne (Op-Ed), October 8, 2020

The age of misinformation and the division of Americans along party lines is headed down a slippery slope as partisan politics has led to the inclusion of more polarizing far-left and far-right ideas, and the exclusion of any alternatives.

If current events are proving anything, it’s that blind allegiance to parties in a two-party system can be dangerous.

Roughly 200 years ago, George Washington warned about the potential abuse of power that political parties grant. He warned they could become corrupted by immoral individuals and lead to the destruction of a once-representative institution. The infiltration of immoral individuals who control our political parties has become the norm.

The division among party lines has become increasingly polarizing as misinformation and propaganda spread faster and become more popular. False information is empowering radical ideas and causing people to strongly oppose other political parties.

Corporate America Gives Millions to Groups Registering New Voters in Democratic Areas
Epoch Times, Mark Tapscott, October 21, 2020

Donors representing Fortune 500 giants such as Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments joined with liberal dark money donors to swell the coffers of voter registration groups that focus on heavily Democratic neighborhoods.

Between them, Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund and Charles Schwab Charitable Fund gave nearly $3.9 million in 2018 to the Voter Participation Center (VPC), a nominally nonpartisan outfit that’s part of a group of Washington-based voter registration entities.

Along with its sister entities the Center for Voter Information (CVI) and Women’s Voices/Women Vote Action Fund (WVWVAF), VPC claims to “have generated 1,404,724 registration applications” and “over 4,800,450 Vote by Mail applications” for the 2020 elections.

Tide Center Funnels $170 Million in Taxpayer Money to Left-Wing Groups
Washington Free Beacon, Joe Schoffstall, September 18, 2020

“The Tides Center is as liberal and politically active as they come; its entire purpose is to create new activist groups,” said Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center. “For example, we recently revealed that the Tides Center sponsors the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, one of the top groups in the Marxist-led BLM movement. It’s fair to question whether tax dollars sourced from all Americans should flow to nonprofits that have such an open ideological axe to grind.”

Walter noted that the Tides Center’s recipient profile on, which posts government grants, shows $34 million in federal funding since 2008. The grants were primarily from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of Health and Human Services. While USASpending is meant to inform the public of where government grants are coming from and where they are going, it contains incomplete data. During the period of time in which the website says the Tides Center received $34 million in federal funding, the group’s own tax forms show that it had received $139 million in government grants.

Front for Bermuda-Based Dark Money Group Spent $50 Million on Voter Drives in Heavily Democratic Areas
Epoch Times, Mark Tapscott, October 23, 2020

When Hayden Ludwig and a colleague showed up at the Civic Participation Action Fund’s (CPAF) Washington, D.C., office in 2019 seeking copies of the group’s most recent tax returns, they were greeted by an angry Stephen McConnell.

McConnell, then-CPAF’s president, demanded to know who paid his inquisitors’ salaries. Ludwig identified himself as an investigative researcher for the Capital Research Center (CRC), and his colleague as an intern there.

Ludwig also reminded McConnell that federal regulations require groups like CPAF and CRC to provide the documents on request. At that point, Ludwig said McConnell cooled down and produced the documents.

“They’re not used to being in the limelight,” Ludwig laconically told The Epoch Times on Oct. 22.

Mark Zuckerberg Beneficiaries Promoting Fair Elections Not Exactly Non-Partisan as Advertised
Legal Newsline, WJ Kennedy, September 30, 2020

The Capital Research Center’s InfluenceWatch describes PFAW as “a left-of-center advocacy group formed in 1981 by liberal Hollywood television producer Norman Lear, ostensibly to oppose the conservative principles espoused by Christian conservative televangelists.”

“People For the American Way monitors what it characterizes as ‘right-wing’ activities, advocates for a left-of-center policy agenda, and helps to elect liberal political candidates,” Influence Watch went on. “PFAW’s policy includes left-of-center positions on a wide-range of issues including public funding of abortion providers, a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, tax and spend big government budgeting, and a general opposition to President Donald Trump’s policies and appointments.”

Becker’s involvement with PFAW is not listed on his LinkedIn profile, where there is a three-year gap in work activity between 2005 and 2008.

Sarah Lee

Sarah Lee was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga., but found herself drawn to Washington, DC, the birthplace of her mother, after completing a master’s degree in public administration from…
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