Organization Trends

InfluenceWatch Friday

October 6, 2023

InfluenceWatch, a project of Capital Research Center, is a comprehensive and ever-evolving compilation of our research into the numerous advocacy groups, foundations, and donors working to influence the public policy process. The website offers transparency into these influencers’ funding, motives, and connections while providing insight often neglected by other watchdog groups.

The information compiled in InfluenceWatch gives news outlets and other interested parties research to use in reporting on significant topics that are often overlooked by the American public.

CRC is pleased to present some of the most significant additions to InfluenceWatch in the past week:

  • Laphonza Butler is the former president of the pro-abortion Democratic donor collaborative EMILY’s List. On October 1, 2023, Butler was selected by California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) to fill the Senate seat of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who had passed away in September. The selection was controversial due to reports claiming that Butler was, at the time, living outside California and registered to vote in Maryland. Gov. Newsom’s office claimed that Butler had, “already re-registered [to vote] in California” at the time of the appointment.
  • Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is an activist project focused on supporting anti-Israeli causes. In September 2023, the Washington Examiner released a story claiming that Democratic Party and left-of-center fundraising platform ActBlue had processed donations for PACBI since 2021. The story included a statement from an ActBlue spokesperson claiming that it had suspended PACBI’s account, which had remained active due to a “clerical error.”
  • Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is a public interest law firm that focuses on cases involving environmental policies or energy companies. In 2022 the CLF endorsed the Black Lives Matter Movement while claiming “Black and brown communities are the most likely to be living on the frontlines of climate impacts.” It also encourages donations to BLM-aligned organizations including the ACLU, Color for Change, and Movement for Black Lives.
  • Media and Democracy Project is a media advocacy group that pushes for news outlets to support left-of-center positions on issues such as abortion, climate change, and election integrity. In July 2023 it filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing the renewal of Fox 29 Philadelphia’s broadcasting license. It claimed that, “senior management of Fox Corporation (FOX) manipulated its audience by knowingly broadcasting false news about the 2020 election.”
  • Press Forward is a media initiative launched in September 2023 seeking to grant $500 million to local news outlets over the next five years to “close longstanding inequalities in journalism.” The group is a fiscally sponsored project of the Miami Foundation, a grantmaking organization that has previously supported left-of-center groups. Some of the 22 donors to Press Forward include left-of-center grant makers such as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Democracy Fund.

Jonathan Harsh

Jonathan Harsh holds a master’s degree in political science from James Madison University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from  Beloit College. He is a content editor at the…
+ More by Jonathan Harsh