Deception & Misdirection

New Ethics Complaint:
Soros-Funded Arabella Front Helped Democrats Break Congressional Ethics Rules

Big news is developing on the Arabella front.

Last week, the watchdog group Government Accountability & Oversight filed ethics complaints alleging that House Democrats broke a prohibition on private financing of official congressional business, and an Arabella-run “pop-up” group is at the heart of the still-unfolding story.

House Rule 24 prohibits “outside private donations, funds, or in-kind goods or services” to cover the expenses of a congressional office in order to prevent private interests from gaining untoward influence over public affairs.

According to the complaints, however, the Arabella-run group Co-Equal provided in-kind donations to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in the form of donor-provided “consultants” and “progressive” litigators to help House Democrats with a year-long investigation into private parties whose political speech has “frustrated” the Left’s climate action agenda.

In other words, if the complaints are true, a nonprofit helped House Democrats break ethics rules to go after so-called climate deniers standing in the way of a Green New Deal revolution. Not good optics for the supposedly politically neutral Arabella Advisors.

Scheming in the Dark

Arabella Advisors is a for-profit consultancy based in Washington, DC. The company commands a set of four in-house nonprofits that collectively brought in $1.7 billion in 2020 alone—and $4.7 billion since 2006—from left-leaning foundations and donors.

Arabella’s nonprofits run hundreds of “pop-up” groups that are little more than websites masquerading as standalone, grassroots nonprofits. Sometimes they operate in twos: Co-Equal is fiscally sponsored by the 501(c)(3) Hopewell Fund, while its lobbying arm, Co-Equal Action, is run by Arabella’s 501(c)(4) Sixteen Thirty Fund.

Enter George Soros. A 2018 document reveals the leftist billionaire granted $300,000 to Co-Equal Action via Sixteen Thirty Fund to “support work to enhance congressional effectiveness and oversight” from his 501(c)(4) Open Society Policy Center—almost certainly referring to Co-Equal’s campaign to illegally fund House Democrats’ climate witch hunt.

Add another $282,000 from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund Voice in 2019 to “provide information and advice that helps members of Congress advance policies and conduct effective oversight.”

Tried and True?

This isn’t the first time liberal donors have tried to “help” Congress pursue their climate opponents. In 2019, Michael Bloomberg funded an effort to embed privately funded lawyers into the offices of state attorneys general (AGs) in nine states and the District of Columbia via the Bloomberg-funded State Energy Environmental Impact Center.

Bloomberg’s campaign effectively bypassing legislative budgets with “private mercenaries” engaged in “law enforcement for rent,” according to Chris Horner, a Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow. In Virginia, Republican lawmakers blocked the effort from reaching the Democratic AG in 2019.

Prosecuting Wrongthink

This time around Arabella’s goal appears to be to help the U.S. Justice Department prosecute climate “crimes,” according to the complaints.

As part of his “clean energy revolution,” Joe Biden promised on the campaign trail to “pursue [polluters] to the fullest extent permitted by law and . . . seek additional legislation to hold corporate executives personally responsible—including jail time when merited.”

Jailing dissenters is now “environmental justice,” to use lefty lingo.

Perhaps its Arabella’s liberal donors who should be most wary—the company isn’t so transparent nor trustworthy as it claims. Far from the boutique philanthropy advisors that doesn’t “engage in any kind of legislative activity,” the Arabella network is DC politics incarnate, according to outgoing CEO Sampriti Ganguli.

This is a developing story with more to follow.

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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