Special Report

Plans to Flip North Carolina: Democracy Alliance and Arabella Advisors

The Left’s Plans to Flip North Carolina in 2020 (full series)

Why North Carolina Matters | Census Counts | The Redistricting Process
Holder’s War | A “Redistricting Coup” | Democracy Alliance and Arabella Advisors

Summary: Of all the states up for grabs in the coming presidential election, perhaps none is the center of more bare-knuckle brawling between Republicans and Democrats than North Carolina. At stake is more than the Tar Heel State’s 15 electoral votes, but the integrity of the country’s elections. If the Left gets its way, North Carolina could be transformed into a “Progressive” stronghold for years to come.


The Democracy Alliance and Arabella Advisors

The Democracy Alliance has its own big plans for North Carolina. A recently unearthed 2016 internal report by the secretive group details 15 funding streams moving money to battleground states ahead of the 2016, 2018, and 2020 elections to avoid attention. With names such as the Climate Action Fund and Latino Engagement Fund, these streams run through a pair of nonprofits managed by Arabella Advisors, a for-profit consultancy in Washington, DC, which runs a $600 million “dark money” funding network in America, as detailed in the 2019 CRC report “Big Money In Dark Shadows.”

Democracy Alliance doesn’t make grants itself. It’s an invite-only strategy HQ for leftist luminaries to coordinate how environmentalists, foundations, labor unions, and allied organizations will spend resources to reshape American elections.

According to the report, Democracy Alliance’s 113 partners invested $146 million in 2016 alone in “Progressive infrastructure map organizations” and promised another $71 million to 2020 efforts. Yet those figures were promised before the 2016 election and Trump’s election; we expect the actual 2020 sums to be even higher in the wake of the Left’s anti-Trump “Resistance.”

The report also reveals that much of this spending was channeled through the New Venture Fund and Sixteen Thirty Fund—two nonprofits created and run by Arabella Advisors—and paid out by them as grants to allied state-level groups. Donors are instructed to make their checks out to the Arabella-run nonprofits, thus hiding their involvement in the final grants paid out by Arabella’s nonprofits. Thanks to this document, we know which states the Democracy Alliance has targeted and who benefited.

The New American Majority Fund and its 501(c)(4) “sister,” the New American Majority Action Fund, raised over $1 million in 2016 to target left-wing outreach to likely Democratic-leaning constituencies in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and Arizona. The funds especially targeted “Asian and Pacific Islanders Americans, women, the LGBTQ community, and white working class”—the so-called New American Majority. The pair’s spending is overseen by Democracy Alliance staffers, the National Education Association (NEA) operative Daaiyah Bilal-Threats, and an SEIU representative.

Similarly, the Black Civic Engagement Fund and Action Fund—with oversight from the Ford Foundation, AFSCME, NEA, and SEIU—directs spending toward Blueprint NC and groups in other key states “to build political power and activism within the Black community.” In 2016, the pair raised close to $5 million. They’re joined by the Latino Engagement Fund and Action Fund, which also directed money to Blueprint NC. That pair raised over $2 million in 2016.

The State Engagement Initiative, another fund, raised $6.7 million in 2016 to create “donor tables” in battleground states, aiming to increase left-wing spending on elections and the activist nonprofits supporting the Left. In North Carolina, it directed funds to a group mysteriously called Put NC First, possibly a front for the liberal news aggregate Real Facts NC. (Hilariously, the report mistook South Carolina for its northern sibling—that’s cynical outside spending for you.)

A Giant Money Funnel

America Votes is also a donor to aligned state-level groups. In 2017, it gave $25,000 to NC Citizens for Protecting Our Schools, an education lobbying group that gave $1.1 million in 2017 to NC Families First—a group that spent millions of dollars attacking Republicans in the state legislature.

In 2016, America Votes gifted $175,000 to Make North Carolina First, a mysterious advocacy nonprofit with no website, yet raked in $4.1 million in 2016 and another $2.7 million in 2017. It’s a good example of how the Left weaponizes nonprofits to achieve political aims—entirely in secret.

Among the activities listed in Make NC First’s 2017 IRS Form 990 are “voter registration and voter representation.” Its three-person board is headed by Adam Abram, owner of an insurance group and a board member for the left-wing groups Human Rights First and the Urban Institute. In November 2019, Abram was appointed to the state Housing Finance Agency by the governor. Also on the board are Dean Debnam, who runs the highly successful polling firm Public Policy Polling, and Michael L. Weisel, a legal expert in independent expenditure activities—the domain of partisan super PACs.

In 2017 alone, Make NC First made eight (mostly six-figure) grants to groups such as North Carolina Latino Power, Progress North Carolina Action, Advance Carolina, and NC Citizens for Protecting Our Schools. In 2018, it granted $1.3 million to NC Citizens for Progress, a PAC which spent some $1.6 million in attack ads during the midterm elections.

The media reporting about Make NC First has been nonexistent—and with a name that vague, it will almost certainly stay that way.

“Dark Money” Looming in 2020

Of all the states up for grabs in the coming presidential election, perhaps none is the center of more bare-knuckle brawling between the Left and Right than North Carolina. Republicans and Democrats aren’t just fighting for the state’s 15 electoral votes—they’re fighting for the sanctity of the republic’s elections.

Progressives aren’t interested in fairness and the forum of ideas. They fight dirty and play for keeps. If the Left bludgeons its way into power in the Tar Heel state, we can expect it to do everything possible to twist and mangle the law to cement a permanent Progressive majority through gerrymandering lawsuits, vote-by-mail schemes, ballot fraud, “independent” redistricting commissions, and a steady stream of cash to activist groups.

Worse, it will have proven that any state—no matter how conservative—is vulnerable.

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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