Organization Trends

How the Arabella Network Meddled in the Redistricting Process

The period following the census each decade is critical for political parties. The census determines how many congressional seats—as well as Electoral College votes—each state receives based on population changes over the past 10 years. It’s up to states, however, to draw new legislative and congressional maps based on that data. That redistricting process is inherently political, shaping the battlefield for the next decade’s elections. Naturally, the two parties aim to control as many of the redistricting fights as they can to give their candidates a leg up in coming elections.

This is yet another secretive political process where the Left’s vast array of wealthy, powerful nonprofits shines—and none more than Arabella Advisors and its $1.6 billion “dark money” network, which specializes in advancing Democratic Party causes.

Supercharging the Democratic Vote

Enter Fair Representation in Redistricting (FRR), a front for the New Venture Fund, Arabella’s flagship nonprofit. The New Venture Fund specializes in “popping up” websites designed to look like independent activist campaigns, but which are really run from Arabella’s DC office. FRR was spawned to influence the states’ map-drawing process to favor “communities of color and other historically underrepresented communities”—in other words, to ensure Democratic victories.

“Underrepresented communities” is well-known code for the Left’s preferred voters and a common euphemism among “progressive” mega-donors. The turnout group Mind the Gap—created by the mother of the notorious fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried—observes in a secret memo that “the most effective tactic in a Presidential [election] year by a wide margin is nonpartisan voter registration focused on underrepresented groups in our electoral process.” With the right amount of funding from wealthy donors, “they are 2 to 5 times more cost-effective at netting additional Democratic votes than the tactics that campaigns will invest in.”

In the 2021 California governor’s recall, the California Donor Table advised left-wing foundations on how they “can engage their grantees and the communities they support around the recalls” by funding “communities of color” and “those that are typically underrepresented in off-cycle elections” because “California’s democracy is under threat.”

Ending the “systemic disenfranchisement of underrepresented communities” is a top priority of the Funders Committee for Civic Participation, whose powerful members work to distort the census and redistricting process in Democrats’ favor. Arabella Advisors happens to be a Funders Committee member, alongside virtually every left-wing foundation in America.

The Left-Wing Funders

In fact, so are 17 of the 19 members of New Venture Fund’s Fair Representation in Redistricting advisory board—including George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, and the Ford Foundation.

These funders represent a nearly limitless ocean of money for bankrolling professional activists, which FRR terms “state anchor groups.” Flush with cash, these anchor groups launched lobbying campaigns to block Republican lawmakers from basing district maps on the number of eligible voters, rather than the total population, which includes non-citizens and illegal aliens.

“They’re putting political advantage ahead of fundamental democratic principles and fairness,” Heritage Foundation senior fellow Hans von Spakovsky explained over email. “When total population, which includes both legal and illegal aliens, is used for both redistricting and apportionment, it dilutes the votes of citizens, no matter their race, ethnicity, or political preferences. Liberals are constantly harping on vote dilution due to race in the redistricting context or when contesting common sense election reforms like voter ID but have no interest in correcting the vote dilution from aliens being included in redistricting.”

He pointed to a 2015 analysis by RealClearPolitics analyst Sean Trende demonstrating that larger numbers of non-citizens increase the probability that a district will elect a Democrat. “Changing the redistricting population used for congressional seats to citizen population would probably shift as many as a dozen seats from Democrats to Republicans,” von Spakovsky added, “especially given some districts in places like Los Angeles where more than half of the population are aliens.”

Nearly every one of the 14 states FRR targeted in the 2021 redistricting process is a battleground or longtime Democratic target: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, and Florida.

Other states were targeted due to their large non-white population, which Democrats hope to spin into legislative majorities over the coming decade—think Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. None of FRR’s targets were blue states in the Northeast or on the West Coast.

Source: Fair Representation in Redistricting PowerPoint Presentation.


Source: Fair Representation in Redistricting PowerPoint Presentation.

Redistricting Battles

In North Carolina, FRR worked with Blueprint NC, a coalition of some 50 leftist groups notorious for accidentally leaking a 2013 strategy memo detailing its efforts to “cripple” local Republican leaders using pressure tactics. Blueprint NC is part of State Voices, a national get-out-the-vote operation for Democrats.

The Tarheel State gained a congressional seat after the 2020 Census, raising the stakes on its redistricting process even higher. Republican lawmakers battled the state’s Democratic courts throughout 2021 over accusations that the proposed maps were too biased. Democrats gained two congressional seats in 2022 under the resulting court-drawn maps, producing a 7-7 tie with the Republicans.

Voters responded by booting the state Supreme Court’s Democratic majority in the midterms—whose last acts in office included rejecting Republican-drawn congressional maps in January 2023, setting up yet another battle ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

In Georgia, another historically red state that Democrats desperately want to paint blue, FRR backed ProGeorgia, another State Voices affiliate and get-out-the-vote group. ProGeorgia is led by a Stacey Abrams ally, Tamieka Atkins, and is credited with flipping the state for Joe Biden in 2020. Ultimately ProGeorgia succeeded in boosting Democratic turnout but failed to capture the redistricting process, with Republicans gaining one congressional seat for a 9-5 majority.

It’s a similar story in Arizona, where FRR worked with the voter registration group One Arizona to target African American, Latino, Native American, low-income, and other likely left-leaning constituencies for mobilization. In 2020, One Arizona partnered with the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona to push for mail-in voting on Indian reservations—thanks in part to funding from Arabella’s New Venture Fund.

The scheme failed, with Republicans gaining a single seat and a 6-3 congressional majority in the Grand Canyon State, something Democrats complained could happen under the new maps.

In Michigan, FRR backed Count MI Vote’s ballot proposal to enact an “independent commission” to draw new congressional maps in 2018, which passed 61-39 percent. Arabella’s Sixteen Thirty Fund pumped at least $6 million into the campaign, and Count MI Vote later received at least $250,000 from billionaire John Arnold (via Arnold Ventures) in 2021 to “protect Michigan’s 2018 redistricting reform amendment.”

The commission’s final map cut down two safe Republican seats, boosting Democratic advantage statewide by 3.6 points in large part because the state lost a congressional district after the 2020 Census. That loss went to the Republicans under the new maps, with Democrats winning a majority of seven Democratic seats to six Republican seats in 2022.

Vivek Malhotra, an ACLU strategist, ran FRR’s redistricting work in Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. Karen Narasaki, a self-described “independent” appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 2014, led efforts in North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. Narasaki is also the former president of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a get-out-the-vote special interest group.

Cathy Duvall, a consultant to “philanthropic institutions” building “long-term community power” in “our democracy,” headed FRR’s campaign in Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, and Michigan. Duvall is a former national field director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, former campaign director for the get-out-the-vote hub America Votes, ex-Sierra Club political director, and a board member of the State Innovation Exchange, which coordinates “progressive” policy campaigns in the states.

FRR’s top adviser was Amy Dominguez-Arms, a former James Irvine Foundation vice president turned nonprofit consultant who boasts about her work on multiple Arabella fronts, including FRR’s predecessor, the Census Equity Initiative. The Irvine Foundation funneled huge grants to groups responsible for establishing California’s “independent” redistricting commission a  decade ago. It meddled again in California’s redistricting business, granting $500,000 to the Advancement Project in 2018 “to ensure a fair and accurate census and a fair and representative redistricting process in California.”

See a pattern? This partisan project was overseen, funded, and carried out exclusively by tax-exempt nonprofits supposedly engaged in “charity.”

Political “Philanthropy

Not long ago, Americans would’ve scoffed at anyone who called electing politicians “philanthropy,” the love of one’s fellow man. Past generations understood why America grants generous tax benefits to nonprofits—a tradition rooted in our country’s history and steeped in Christian teaching. That’s a lesson modern Americans must relearn, starting with the Bible. Until then, the weaponization of charities for partisan ends will continue with a vengeance.

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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