Organization Trends

How Much Damage Did Arabella’s Trusted Elections Fund Cause in 2020?

One of the professional Left’s top vote-by-mail groups created to warp the 2020 election seems to have popped out of existence as quickly as it appeared, sparking questions about how much damage it caused on the way out.

CRC was among the first to report on the mysterious Trusted Elections Fund in the months leading up to the 2020 election, part of a $731 million “dark money” activist network run by the consulting firm Arabella Advisors in Washington, DC.

A confidential donors’ memo obtained by CRC described the network’s then-newest activist front as a way for mega-donors to combat “political fearmongering,” “attacks on voter registration,” “viral misinformation,” “disputes regarding election results,” and “post-Election Day violence,” presumably by Trump-supporting disputants.

In other words, the fund was set up to help Democrats oust President Donald Trump, silence accusations of election fraud and mischief, and cover for leftist groups’ get-out-the-vote antics. All of it was paid for by tax-exempt foundations and proudly labeled “charity.”

Although its radio silence suggests the Trusted Elections Fund quietly folded earlier this year, no one outside of Arabella’s elite inner circle can be certain given that the fund never had a public-facing presence or website—to this writer’s knowledge. Jennifer Flanagan, the fund’s director and an ex-Colorado deputy secretary of state, appears to have left the gig.

Big Philanthropy Steps In

The Trusted Elections Fund was run by Arabella’s flagship New Venture Fund in close coordination with the Democracy Fund, the foundation of eBay founder and liberal billionaire Pierre Omidyar. It received substantial funding from the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, one of the Left’s most secretive funders, and the family foundation of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D). But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In September 2020, Flanagan and representatives from the left-wing groups New Florida Majority and Leadership Conference hosted a panel entitled “Responsive Planning and Innovative State Mobilization Strategies,” coordinated by the Funders Committee for Civic Participation, a donors’ collective representing well over $6 billion in combined left-wing foundations.

The IRS “absolutely prohibit[s]” 501(c)(3) nonprofits and foundations from “directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

Yet panelists were shockingly blunt in how they advised participating foundations on funding “sustained engagement and targeted messaging” of voters and address “rising of vote-by-mail misinformation.”

Lest anyone think that the Trusted Elections Fund received its funding from individuals (who are allowed to fund election activities), we’ve traced millions of dollars in grants from the:

  • Joyce Foundation ($150,000) “to support a safe, smooth, and trusted post-election period”;
  • Jonathan Logan Family Foundation “to prepare for and respond to threats to the integrity of our elections”;
  • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ($1 million); and
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund ($1.75 million).

Does anyone on the left or right really believe that bankrolling partisan get-out-the-vote measures constitutes philanthropy? Even Arabella chief Sampriti Ganguli couldn’t bring herself to call her company’s “dark money” activism an act of charity in a chummy interview with The Atlantic.

Building the U.S. Plutocracy

Americans will probably never know exactly how this exclusive liberal funders’ club spent its money helping Democrats in 2020. Arabella Advisors isn’t likely to tell them, either. But it’s just one more step toward making America the plutocracy the modern Left dreams of: where billionaires privatize elections and their activist armies call it “democracy.”

Hayden Ludwig

Hayden Ludwig is the Director of Policy Research at Restoration of America. He was formerly Senior Investigative Researcher at Capital Research Center. Ludwig is a native of Orange County, California,…
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