Deception & Misdirection
Corrupt Voter Registration Scheme Persists: VRP’s Activity in 2022 and Beyond
This year, the Capital Research Center published How Charities Secretly Help Win Elections, a groundbreaking report revealing the secret partisan origins, goals, and funders of the Everybody Votes Campaign, the largest and most corrupt “charitable” voter registration drive in American history. Our widely circulated report exposed how in 2015 allies of the Clinton Campaign concocted a plan with partisan consultants to use over $100 million in charitable funds to fund voter registration targeting “African Americans, Latinos, unmarried women, and young people” in eight key swing states.
Our research tracked how the campaign developed into a reality over time under the fig leaf of nonpartisanship and how it was eventually adopted by a political action committee (PAC) tied to convicted fraudster and Democratic mega-donor Sam-Bankman-Fried. The PAC advertised the “nonpartisan” voter registration initiative as “the most effective tactic in a presidential year by a wide margin” for winning Democratic votes.
Our research also revealed that the campaign was so successful that it was cleared for another go-around after 2020 in preparation for the 2024 election, targeting a similar list of swing states with a greatly expanded scope of operations.
Capital Research Center can now reveal new tax filings from the Everybody Votes Campaign—legally known as the Voter Registration Project (VRP)—and its affiliated network showing that the group raked in nearly $52 million during the 2022 election and spent roughly $56 million on the continuing operations of its targeted voter registration drives. The forms also show new additions to the board of directors that confirm important elements of our reporting, such as the involvement of a foreign billionaire and partisan consultants in the creation and continued VRP operations.
During the 2022 cycle, the VRP network distributed over $33 million in grants to left-leaning get-out-the-vote groups and paid over $2.5 million in consulting for strategic consulting and voter registration work. Many of the groups receiving VRP funds stayed the same. The League of Conservation Voters Education Fund received the largest grant at $3.6 million, the Voter Participation Center received $2.4 million in consulting fees for “voter registration mail program,” and State Voices (a national left-wing organizing hub of immense size) received $1.8 million. Each of these groups was featured prominently in CRC’s report, which explained their respective ties to the VRP. Several other groups received seven-figure grants including: UnidosUS, the Arizona Center for Empowerment, the North Caroline A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Tides Foundation, the Climate Reality Project, New Florida Majority, Action for the Climate Emergency, and the scandal-plagued New Georgia Project.
During 2022, the New Georgia Project, created by Stacey Abrams, dealt with allegations of financial mismanagement and partisanship resulting in legal proceedings and the ouster of its president. The VRP network has now given over $3.3 million to the New Georgia Project since 2016, despite a long and very public series of scandals.
Other notable organizations receiving smaller six-figure grants from the VRP network in 2022 included the Voter Formation Project, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, the Tides Center, ProGeorgia, Faith Organizing Alliance, Alliance for Youth Organizing, and many others—each intent on using targeted voter registration to accomplish thinly veiled partisan results.
Ties to the Wyss Foundation Confirmed
A key element of CRC’s reporting in How Charities Secretly Help Win Elections was an email sent by Molly McUsic, president of the Wyss Foundation, to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in early 2015. The email featured a deceptive plan developed by powerful political consultants to use “nonpartisan” voter registration to accomplish thinly veiled partisan goals in swing states during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. The email indicated that Hansjorg Wyss, the Swiss billionaire patron of the Wyss Foundation and friend of the Clinton family, was using his private foundation to illicitly interfere in U.S. elections, but at the time no direct evidence tied Wyss or the Wyss Foundation to the project-made-reality in the VRP network.
Now, the VRP’s 2022 tax forms confirm the ties between Wyss and the VRP postulated in CRC’s reporting. Sometime during 2022, most of the VRP’s board was replaced, and former Wyss Foundation program director Matt Hollamby was named as treasurer on the group’s list of important employees and board members.
Although it was not discussed at length in CRC’s initial report, our research uncovered another email sent by Hollamby to Podesta in March 2015 in which Hollamby outlined the “Wyss Foundation Democracy Strategy.” The email discussed the funding of a “registration surge” and the attached memo recommended the Wyss Foundation allocate anywhere from $10 to $50 million for a coordinated multi-year voter registration campaign.
Lies and VRP Ties
The same month that CRC’s report was published (but before CRC obtained the VRP’s 2022 tax forms), the Wyss Foundation and its associated “dark money” Berger Action Fund went on the defensive. They denied any involvement in voter registration work and told Mark Hemmingway that “the Wyss Foundation and Berger Action Fund prohibit their grants from being used to support or oppose political candidates or parties or to fund get-out-the-vote or voter registration activities.”
If that were true, it would be interesting to hear the Wyss Foundation explain why its president was requesting plans for the largest voter registration drive in American history from partisan political consultants and emailing those plans to the chairman of a Democratic presidential campaign. It would also be interesting to hear the Wyss Foundation explain why Matt Hollamby landed a spot on VRP’s board shortly after leaving the Wyss Foundation and why Hollamby once created a budget (see Figure 1) for the Wyss Foundation Democracy Strategy that was loaded with funding for get-out-the-vote and voter registration work ($50 million over five years as half of an estimated $10 million over 10 years).
Minding the Gap in 2024
In CRC’s report on the VRP network, our research noted that the VRP, calling itself the Everybody Votes Campaign, was making plans to continue operations into the 2024 election. New job listings had been posted revealing the target states chosen for the next presidential election and the next $100+ million voter registration drive. Our research also used the reporting of Teddy Schleifer at Puck News, whose discovery of leaked memo from Mind the Gap, a Democratic super PAC, was featured heavily in our report. The memo showed that Mind the Gap, a super PAC created in part by the mother of convicted fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried, was calling the “nonpartisan” work of the VRP Network/Everybody Votes Campaign one of the most cost-effective ways to help Democrats win.
Schleifer has since published an account of a second leaked memo confirming that Mind the Gap has maintained its ties to the Everybody Votes Campaign (also known at the VRP) and that Mind the Gap’s donors plan to keep the campaign running at an equal or larger scale in 2024. Mind the Gap also carefully instructed its donors not to tell anyone what was going on. Hilariously, as this memo was presumably being leaked, the Everybody Votes Campaign was actively searching for a Senior Director of Protective Strategies for over $150,000 to manage crisis communications and deal with possible litigation.
Before CRC’s reporting, the Everybody Votes Campaign was barely known to exist. Now the group is hiring a very expensive full-time public relations director. They’re treading so carefully one might even say they’re “minding the gap.”