March 2020 marks a doubling of media hits for Capital Research Center from January 2020 as we continue our work of investigating influencers deeply and exposing their special interests widely. This past month has plenty of radio appearances and organic news reports using our research at InfluenceWatch and citing our website, but March was also characterized by a large increase in op-ed placements from our president, Scott Walter, and our researchers Hayden Ludwig and Robert Stilson—as well as our research director, Mike Watson.
While the most popular pieces dealt with what the world is dealing with—the coronavirus and the Democrat attempt to politicize it through political ad buys—there’s also a great deal in our coverage this past month of the Census, redistricting, and why seemingly unconnected left-leaning groups would write amicus briefs in an abortion case before the U.S. Supreme Court. You’ll find just a smattering of our work below.
Townhall, Scott Walter, op-ed, March 5, 2020
As Feingold assumes leadership of the American Constitution Society, he steps into a firestorm that’s brewing over the Federalist Society, the leading lawyers’ group for conservatives, which faces growing assaults. Why attack the Federalist Society? Because one of its leaders has played a significant role in weakening the power of liberal judges to impose their will on the rest of us.
“Eco-Right Infiltrates CPAC and the Conservative Movement“
Heartland Institute, Hayden Ludwig, op-ed, March 10, 2020
Dear CPAC-goers, if you thought the biggest threat to conservatism was in Washington, guess again—they rented prime real estate at the biggest gathering of conservatives in America. You may have noticed 2 out-of-place groups: Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends and RepublicEn, the latter run by climate hawk and former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC). Both want conservatives to adopt an onerous and frankly un-conservative carbon tax, promising to pay it back to you in the form of “carbon dividends.” That’s wealth redistribution by any other name.
“Why Are ADL, the NEA, and the Hispanic Federation Pressuring the Supreme Court to Strike Down Abortion Safety Regulations?“
Washington Examiner, Robert Stilson, op-ed, March 12, 2020
Recent news reports indicate some Democrats have begun to realize they may need to expand their thinking on the abortion question and adopt a more welcoming approach to pro-life Democrats. But based on the disparate groups filing amicus briefs in the Louisiana abortion case that recently went before the Supreme Court in March, that’s going to be much easier said than done. Many of those groups are bafflingly disconnected from the abortion issue in general. Others would likely be assumed (incorrectly) to take a neutral position on the issue. Which raises the question: Do pro-life people, whether Democrat or Republican, who might support these groups realize they are using their considerable resources to help sway a Supreme Court decision on an abortion case that has the potential to change the debate entirely?
“Adult Entertainers of the World, Unite!”
Daily Caller, Mike Watson, op-ed, March 10, 2020
But what if there were another way to injure the porn industry, one that had progressives’ support and forced the left to choose between admitting that its economic policies hurt employment and the economy or watching Big Smut get taken down a peg? Well, there is one worthwhile Californian initiative backed by a labor union and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), best known as the lead legislator on the union-backed “AB 5” bill that virtually banned freelancing and independent contracting in the state.
“Democrats Began Politicizing Trump’s Coronavirus Response Well Before Senate Gridlock”
American Spectator, Scott Walter, op-ed, February 25, 2020
The bill, negotiated in bipartisan fashion over the weekend, allotted $500 billion in loans to distressed companies and $75 billion for hospitals. But it did not — according to Democratic Party leaders — have enough in it about environmental regulations or other items on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “wish list.” At the 11th hour, Pelosi and her counterpart in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, squashed the bill their own caucus had negotiated in good faith in hopes of forcing passage of something that better fit their “vision.” But the squashing isn’t the worst part. The cynical politicization of the coronavirus crisis is. And it began a week or so before, with the purchase of a huge ad campaign funded by left-leaning activist groups and aimed at convincing Americans that President Donald Trump had botched the national coronavirus response.
“Democrats Must Stop Pretending GOTV Is Charity“
American Thinker, Hayden Ludwig, op-ed, March 13, 2020
But here’s a secret not everyone knows: Trump’s biggest opponent in the census fight wasn’t partisan Democrats or the Supreme Court’s ambiguous ruling—but rather the well heeled, well coordinated, wealthy leftists pushing Democratic voter strategies in battleground states under the guise of “philanthropy.” These are the shadowy foundations bankrolling the left’s efforts to increase Democratic voter turnout and gerrymander congressional districts in 2020.
“Dark Money Groups Spend Millions Politicizing Wuhan Flu“
The Federalist, March 19, 2020
The Capital Research Center reports that between 2013 and 2017, the Arabella network received a whopping $1.6 billion in contributions. While the source of their funding remains unknown, it’s clear they are willing to stop at nothing to attack Trump, even if it means politicizing the growing fears, illnesses, and deaths of American citizens.
“Group Says It Will Spend $750,000 in Montana to Rally Democrats“
Great Falls Tribune, March 13, 2020
Progressive Turnout Project says it is a grassroots-funded political action committee focused on getting Democrats to vote. The website Influence Watch says it is Chicago-based, founded in 2015, and focuses on ”key Democratic constituencies: young people, minorities and low-income people.”
“Dark Money Progressive Groups Spending Millions to Politicize Coronavirus, Spread Fear“
Breitbart, March 25, 2020
Acronym owns the technology firm Shadow, Inc., which was responsible for developing the infamous app used in the chaotic Iowa caucuses. Notably, the firm’s founder and CEO, Tara McGowan, “worked for Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and previously served as the digital director for NextGen America, a progressive organization founded by presidential candidate Tom Steyer,” as RealClearPolitics noted. Acronym is funded by the “liberal dark money group” New Venture Fund, which is “part of a larger group called Arabella Advisors, which provides philanthropic guidance and manages four nonprofits,” according to the nonpartisan ethics watchdog group Americans for Public Trust. Those also include the Sixteen Thirty Fund, Windward Fund, and Hopewell Fund.
“Leftist Groups Plan Ad Blitz Politicizing Coronavirus Even as Democrats Praise Trump’s Leadership“
PJ Media, March 20, 2020
A dark-money network of liberal groups will spend millions tarring the president’s response to the virus, RealClearPolitics’ Susan Crabtree reported. Pacronym, a liberal PAC, announced it would spend $5 million through July slamming Trump’s handling of the crisis through ads in Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. “From initially downplaying the seriousness of the crisis to protect his own image, to stating last week that he bears no responsibility for the lack of testing and rise in cases across the country, President Trump’s failure to lead has worsened the crisis that will result in the loss of American lives,” Tara McGowan, the founder of Pacronym, said in a statement. “This will be a defining issue of this presidency and this campaign, and it is imperative that Americans be reached with the facts before the most consequential election of our lives.”
“Former Warren, Clinton Aides Leading ‘Coronavirus War Room’ Targeting Trump’s Response to Pandemic“
Fox News, March 19, 2020
Former aides to high-ranking Democratic politicians are joining a so-called “coronavirus war room” in order to attack President Trump’s response to the pandemic. Protect Our Care — a nonprofit tied to liberal dark money groups—announced the war room on Thursday, with the group’s leader accusing Trump of exacerbating the pandemic. Heading the war room is Zac Petkanas, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Sarah Chase, a former research associate for the presidential campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is joining the team as well.
“Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Gave $11,381,171 to ‘Overpopulation’-Focused Population Council“
NewsBusters, March 20, 2020
Liberal outlet The Verge gave a glowing report on how liberal billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently stepped down from the board of his company in a landmark shift to focus “more on philanthropy.” But the outlet did not list any of the philanthropic pursuits the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation has already undertaken. Perhaps that’s because some of those pursuits are potentially controversial. Gates’s foundation gave at least $11,381,171 to the leftist “overpopulation”-focused Population Council between 2018 and 2020 alone, according to awarded grant records listed on the foundation‘s website. Influence Watch noted that the Population Council was “founded in 1952 by John D. Rockefeller III to address supposed world overpopulation” [emphasis added].