Special Report

CRC Looks Back at 2018

Happy New Year from the Capital Research Center!

2019 promises to be full of more research-oriented reporting and investigations of those trying to influence policy debates. Before CRC digs into the biggest influencers, newest activist organizations, and best-funded movements shaping the new year’s stories, we’re taking a moment to reflect on all of 2018’s successes. We’ve listed just a few of CRC’s victories from last year, and, to keep up-to-date on our ongoing investigations, be sure to subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube updates.


CRC’s short animated video, “Communism will ALWAYS be violent” went viral in spectacular fashion. In less than a week, it garnered over 1.4 million views and 25,000 shares on social media. Today it has over 3.15 million views. This indictment of communism and its inherent violence amassed swift criticism from leftists online and from all corners. This video has now been translated into Bulgarian, Polish, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Vietnamese, Lithuanian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Spanish. By reaching an international audience, CRC is helping to tell the truth about communism and those who support it.


CRC’s Michael Hartmann and Michael Watson wrote a report analyzing the way money flowed to political organizations and nonprofit entities before and after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizens United v. FEC. Hartmann and Watson determined that overall, giving of all kinds increased across the political spectrum to organizations of all kinds. CRC hosted an event at the National Press Club featuring William Schambra of the Hudson Institute, David Keating of the Institute for Free Speech, Abby Levine of Alliance for Justice, and Gara LaMarche of the Democracy Alliance for a cross-ideological discussion of the findings and their implications for advocacy philanthropy.


In March, America learned that the data firm Cambridge Analytica, which provided digital consulting services to the Trump campaign, obtained thousands of individuals’ Facebook profiles, violating Facebook’s user agreements. However, CRC President Scott Walter pointed out in a Daily Caller op-ed that Facebook allowed the Obama campaign to do something similar and that the Democrats have their own data analytics firm, called Catalist.


The disruptive, disorganized, and anonymous group of anarchists, leftists, and malcontents known as Antifa (a truncation of “anti-fascist”) inspire fear and threaten political discourse. Many Americans are familiar with the group’s handiwork, but the movement’s origins aren’t as well understood. In an in-depth investigation, CRC traced Antifa to protests in Nazi Germany and exposed the group’s distinctly fascistic tactics.


The Southern Poverty Law Center earned its reputation by suing members of the Ku Klux Klan and promoting civil liberties. But today, the SPLC is more interested in demonizing those who fail to adhere to its left-wing talking points—namely conservatives. The SPLC’s past reputation was enough to infiltrate Guidestar, the Department of Defense, Facebook, and Google, allowing it to chill speech and punish heterodox thinking. However, the Capital Research Center revealed that the “P” in SPLC should stand for “prosperity,” not “poverty.” In its most recent tax return, the SPLC reported its assets had grown to nearly half a billion dollars.


As rumors and skepticism swirled around the Mueller Investigation, CRC’s Dr. Steven J. Allen researched Russia’s 70-year effort to influence American elections. Far from being a new phenomenon, Dr. Allen’s carefully detailed history shows that Russia has always made attempts to undermine America. It was only opposition to President Trump that had mainstream media outlets breathlessly reporting about Russia’s operations. Later in the year, Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) read Dr. Allen’s piece on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and had it entered into the Congressional Record.


The Anthem Film Festival hosted a special screening of an in-progress cut of No Safe Spaces, a film produced by CRC’s Dangerous Documentaries, at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas, Nevada. Another Dangerous Documentaries film, America Under Siege: Antifa, was nominated for best documentary. After the screening, Producer Joseph (Jake) Klein, along with film’s writer and host, Trevor Loudon, participated in a panel discussion about increasing violence against protected speech.


Following the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in late July, President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Almost immediately left-wing activists and politicians planned to protest Kavanaugh, including the brand-new activist organization, Demand Justice. CRC President Scott Walter wrote an op-ed in RealClearPolitics reminding readers that confirming a conservative Supreme Court Justice was a major factor in the 2016 election—something acknowledged by even the most biased media outlet. CRC’s research on the Left’s new judicial activists was so authoritative that a Google search for the organization’s name brought up CRC’s InfluenceWatch profile before the group’s official page!


Left-wing ideologues searching for a way to obstruct Brett Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court rallied and protested. CRC was there to record the demonstrations which included plans to pack the Supreme Court.

The political rhetoric in September descended to a new level of divisiveness, including the publication of an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, which professed to be written by a top-level official within the Trump administration criticizing the president. While the identity of the op-ed’s author remains unknown, CRC found the piece alarming for a different reason: it is evidence that the regulatory state and the executive branch officials are willing and able to subvert an elected president in order to pursue a separate agenda. The Daily Signal published Scott Walter’s op-ed on the relationship between the so-called “Deep State” and the executive branch agencies.


PBS aired a trendy documentary called “Dark Money,” which had liberal media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times writing rave reviews. What most of the film’s critics overlooked, however, was the amount of left-leaning “dark money” that helped sponsor the film. CRC President Scott Walter highlighted this glaring double-standard in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.


A caravan of Central American migrants trekking from Honduras to the United States’ border with Mexico, drew attention from immigration activists calling for open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens. CRC’s Hayden Ludwig investigated a small organization called Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a group with whom several caravan leaders appeared to be affiliated. His research unearthed an interconnected network of radical activists dedicated to compromising U.S. border security and harboring undocumented immigrants.

The Drudge Report and the Daily Caller cited Ludwig’s research. Laura Ingraham and Bill O’Reilly invited Ludwig to discuss his research on their shows.


Reports of a flurry of Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) inundating several agencies and federal regulators spurred CRC to investigate some of the groups aping Judicial Watch—the right-of-center organization famous for sending FOIA requests to the government to increase transparency and accountability. It turns out this army of nonprofit organizations employ former members of the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign. The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel wrote about our findings in her column, which also pointed out that these newly formed groups benefit from financial practices that obscure the identity of their funders and financial statements. These same practices, when employed by right-of-center groups are usually slandered as “dark money.”


Be sure to check back with CRC regularly as we proceed to track and expose the influencers and movements shaping politics and the news cycles in 2019.

Christine Ravold

Christine is the Capital Research Center’s Communications Officer. She writes, edits, and serves as a press contact. She is a graduate of Rosemont College in Pennsylvania.
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