Organization Trends

Conservatives, Meet Pierre Omidyar


Most conservatives have heard of George Soros, the aging billionaire whose foundations have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into transforming America. They should add another mega-donor to their radar: Pierre Omidyar.

Even if you haven’t heard of Omidyar, you’ve heard of eBay, the massive e-commerce company he founded in 1995 as “Auction Web.” Since then, his net worth has skyrocketed to an estimated $6.6 billion alongside his support for political groups.

The Omidyar Nexus

As InfluenceWatch explains, the Omidyar Nexus is our name for the roughly half-dozen groups Omidyar funds and leads in the San Francisco Bay Area. These groups include nonprofits that poured out over $1.1 billion between 2004 and 2020, most of it over the past few election cycles.

Much of Omidyar’s funding has gone to “reimagining capitalism,” a venture that cynically aims to “rebalanc[e] structural power” between workers and the owners of capital using money generated by the capitalist system it denigrates. Mike Kubazansky—who leads Omidyar Network, one of the LLC affiliates and a self-described “philanthropic investment firm”—explained to one Silicon Valley outlet:

We would argue that neoliberalism is a version of capitalism, it is not capitalism itself, and that we can get to a better version of capitalism if we change some of these underlying beliefs and mindsets about the economy.

Funding Politics as “Philanthropy”

Omidyar Network LLC operates alongside Omidyar Network Fund, a private foundation that has paid out roughly three-quarters ($843 million) of the nexus’s grants since 2004.

The foundation bankrolls many apolitical organizations focused on public health and tech. But it has also funneled close to $7 million to New Venture Fund, the flagship of Arabella Advisors’ infamous $1.7 billion “dark money” activist network. Donors choose the Arabella network for one reason: to quietly fund politics.

Add to that $8 million from Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, a separate foundation with a lobbying arm—Democracy Fund Voice—formed in 2014 with a vastly more political group of grantees.

Grant tags indicate that Democracy Fund gave six- and seven-figure grants to:

  • Arabella’s Media Democracy Fund, which aims to restrict campaign finance and free speech rights;
  • The Center for Secure and Modern Elections, a “pop-up” that helped Mark Zuckerberg funnel $350 million into local election offices, effectively privatizing the 2020 election;
  • The 2020 Census Project, likely part of the Left’s strategy to boost 2020 Census data for blue states; and
  • The Trusted Elections Project, spawned to counter supposed Republican “post–Election Day violence” and silence “disputes regarding election results” after a Biden victory.

Democracy Fund has also funded:

It’s a similar story with the 501(c)(4) Democracy Fund Voice, whose largest grant ever—nearly $6.5 million—went to Sixteen Thirty Fund, Arabella’s in-house (c)(4), to fund pop-up campaigns focused on lobbying and election “reform.”

The group’s also funded:

The Ailing Charitable Sector

What ought to be clear to conservatives is just how sick the country’s charitable sector has become. Tax exemption—something very few countries offer their nonprofits—was never meant to help fund politics, but to strengthen and protect private charitable causes.

But the Left has discovered how to funnel billions of tax-exempt dollars into political causes, electing Democrats, and making policy while reaping the financial rewards meant for genuine philanthropy.

Hayden Ludwig

Hayden Ludwig is a Senior Investigative Researcher at Capital Research Center. He is also a columnist at the Washington Free Beacon and writes regularly for the American Conservative. Ludwig is…
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