Foundation Watch

Omidyar’s Political Machine: Funding the Left

Pierre Omidyar’s Political Machine Exposed (full series)
From Tech Billionaire to Mega-Donor | Omidyar Nexus
Funders Committee | Democracy Alliance | Funding the Left


Funding the Left

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve traced millions of dollars in grants flowing to other pass-through funders, including NEO Philanthropy, the Proteus Fund, and the Tides Foundation (including their (c)(4) arms). As with Arabella, these grants are effectively “laundered” through a pass-through and onto the final recipient—washing away the connection between the Omidyar group and the activists that ultimately receive the cash.

Since its inception, the Omidyar Nexus has funneled over $4 million to Bill Kristol’s increasingly liberal Defending Democracy Together, which runs the anti-Trump outlet The Bulwark, and $850,000 to the Niskanen Center, a top libertarian-turned-leftist environmental advocacy group.

Other notable grantees are:

  • Common Cause, which litigates for Democratic-friendly congressional maps and anti-free speech campaign finance restrictions;
  • Millennial Action Project, an ostensibly bipartisan group funded by the Left to sway young conservatives into backing liberal policies on the environment, immigration, and other topics;
  • Issue One, one of the top groups researching the threat of (largely conservative) “dark money” with the backing of the Democracy Alliance;
  • Faith in Public Life, incubated by the Center for American Progress to fool Evangelical and Catholic voters into supporting a “social justice” agenda;
  • Demos, the advocacy group of the far Left currently engaged in lobbying President Biden to allocate billions of dollars to turn the U.S. Postal Service into the Democratic Party’s biggest vote-by-mail machine;
  • Color of Change, Van Jones’s extremist advocacy group for promoting socialized health care, gun control, and environmentalism;
  • Sojourners, a leftist wolf in Christian clothing infamous for promoting Soros-funded “rented” Evangelical pastors to spread the false gospel of “social justice” and global warming; and
  • National Vote at Home Coalition, the Left’s premier group for all-mail elections nationwide in the troubled image of the 2020 election

Vote by Mail

Today, Omidyar’s nonprofits bankroll numerous groups promoting permanent vote-by-mail schemes in all future elections after the Left adopted the measure whole hog in 2020. I’ve documented multiple coalitions trying to “reform” America’s elections by cementing vote by mail, enacting automatic voter registration, and rolling back state control of elections with funding from Omidyar and others. CTCL, the group responsible for doling out $350 million in “Zuck bucks” to county election offices in 2020, now leads that project, titled the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, an $80 million campaign to centralize control over elections.

That alliance includes the Election Validation Project, a front for Omidyar’s Democracy Fund created to advise public officials on conducting election audits. The project is headed by Jennifer Morrell, an ex-Colorado elections official who now runs the Elections Group, a consultancy and CTCL ally that provides “guidance” to officials on implementing mail-in ballots. It also counts among its advisors Amber McReynolds, the former head of National Vote at Home Coalition who was appointed by President Biden to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors early last year. On the Postal Service Board, she aims to transform the country’s mail-delivery service into a massive get-out-the-vote operation for the Left.

Omidyar himself sits on the board of Nonprofit VOTE, which registers voters to advance “racial equity.” Speaking of Hawaii specifically, Omidyar and others tellingly argued, “If we want to get out the vote, we’ve got to mail it in.”

How things change. Not long ago, the Omidyar Network Fund supported research that became the famous Baker-Carter Commission report, a 2005 document authored by former President Jimmy Carter and James Baker III, former treasury secretary in the George H.W. Bush administration that still stands as a monument for how to run free, fair, transparent elections.

The Baker-Carter report warned about mail-in ballots, flatly contradicting the views held by today’s leftists that vote by mail is key to increasing voter participation. Baker-Carter said otherwise: “While vote-by-mail appears to increase turnout for local elections, there is no evidence that it significantly expands participation in federal elections.” (Recent studies concur.)

Those activists also claim that vote by mail and private collection bins helped make 2020 the “most secure election in U.S. history.” Baker-Carter: “Vote-by-mail is . . . likely to increase the risks of fraud and of contested elections” in the states, especially where the “safeguards for ballot integrity are weaker.”

In short, mail-in ballots can work in some spots, but not everywhere—particularly areas with a high risk of ballot trafficking.

Instead, Baker-Carter proposed five pillars as the foundation of a “modern electoral system”:

  1. “A universal and up-to-date [voter] registration list”;
  2. “A uniform voter identification system that . . . increases, not impedes, participation”;
  3. “Measures to enhance ballot integrity and voter access”;
  4. “A voter-verifiable paper trail and improved security of voting systems”; and
  5. “Electoral institutions that are impartial, professional, and independent.”

Yet the “pro-democracy” groups now funded by the Omidyar Nexus bitterly oppose everything on this list, labeling them tools of “voter suppression” and “white supremacy.” Bizarrely, the Omidyar Network has even claimed that “runoff elections are a relic of Jim Crow in which the additional hurdle was instituted with the express intent of suppressing Black voters.”

All the Money in the World

Yet for all this lucre, it’s hard to say how much policy change or electoral success the Omidyar Nexus has achieved. The various schemes Omidyar’s bankrolled to transform America’s elections, warp redistricting, and flip Congress to the Democrats have been multi-million-dollar failures by their own standards. Is Progressivism closer to the total victory it craves in 2022 than it was in 2002? I doubt even the most hardened leftists would claim such.

But all this cash has drawn unprecedented scrutiny of the foundations abusing America’s generous charitable sector for political gain. If the nation cracked down on them and restore philanthropy to its original purpose—loving our neighbors—the philanthropoid Left would be utterly doomed.

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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