Deception & Misdirection

Tammany Hall 2.0: Priorities USA

Tammany Hall 2.0: The Left’s New Political Machine (full series)
Demos | Priorities USA
Stacey Abrams | Arabella Advisors

Priorities USA: ‘We’ve Got the Answers’

Priorities USA has tried to help provide ammunition for the Left’s fake narratives.  Whether organizations are formally partnering with the Biden administration to implement the order is less important than whether a group is aiding the effort by providing the rhetoric and money to stop clean election reforms.

Former Obama White House staffers Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney launched Priorities USA, a Democrat PAC, after the 2010 midterm elections. The group spent $66 million in the 2012 election cycle and $117 million in 2016 with backing from big donors on the left such as Soros, Fred Eychaner, Donald Sussman, and James Simons, who contributed millions.

During the 2022 election cycle, AFT Solidarity, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, contributed more than $400,000 to Priorities USA, according to Jay Robert Pritzker of the Pritzker Group gave $200,000. The NARAL Freedom Fund, an abortion advocacy group, gave $100,000.

In the lead up to the 2022 election, Priorities USA launched a campaign claiming voter suppression–spending $10 million on litigation and $5 million on digital ads. The campaign used a somewhat condescending jingle in the ads, “It’s almost time to vote, but if you don’t know what to do, we’ve got the answers for you.”

The group intervened in existing election litigation in Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania last year. It also initiated lawsuits in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Nevada that challenged rules on ballot drop boxes, ballot harvesting, voter ID and signature-match requirements, and the maintenance of accurate voter registration lists.

Priorities USA thought it found a bona fide sob story in 2021. The party of the downtrodden choice for a victim was a Yale graduate student. The litigation was against limits on ballot harvesting in the 2021 Florida voting law, claiming the student couldn’t just mail a ballot himself instead of handing it off to a ballot harvester.

Asked in a deposition why returning a ballot to Florida was an undue burden, he explained the nearest post office was 30 minutes from his home. When asked if he ever Googled a post office closer to his home, he answered in the negative. It turned out the Yale student wasn’t aware he could use the mailbox at his apartment and that there were also public mailboxes six blocks away from his apartment. Shortly after the debacle of a deposition, Priorities USA dropped the case.

Brennan Center: Propagandists for Voter Fraud Deniers

The Brennan Center for Justice is part of the New York University School of Law and has been a reliable propagandist for claiming voter suppression is rampant.

Named for liberal Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, the center was established in 1995 after Brennan’s former clerks raised $5 million to establish what now functions as a mix between an activist organization and a think tank.

Voter fraud deniers often cite a 2007 analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice that claims voter fraud incident rates were between 0.0003 and 0.025 percent between 2000 and 2004. Such an estimate is unrealistically low but largely misses the point either way.

As the 2005 Carter-Baker Commission correctly says, the threat “is not the magnitude of voter fraud.” Rather, “in close or disputed elections, and there are many, a small amount of fraud could make the margin of difference.” The bipartisan commission, named for co-chairman former Democrat President Jimmy Carter and former Republican Secretary of State James Baker, also called for voter ID across the nation.

That’s a policy that the Brennan Center staunchly opposes, even though about 80 percent of Americans across all demographics support ID measures. The affiliation with NYU law school lends credibility to its often outrageous conclusions.

The Brennan Center has its share of major corporate donors. The George Soros–backed Open Societies Foundation gave $7.4 million to the Brennan Center between 2000 and 2010.

From 2002 to 2011, the Tides Foundation gave at least $2.7 million to the Brennan Center.

The San Francisco–based Tides Foundation was founded in 1976 by political activist Drummond Pike and financed by Jane Lehman, heiress to the fortune generated by the Reynolds tobacco conglomerate. Tides has spent its fortune on Black Lives Matter, Media Matters, Planned Parenthood, Democracy Now, the ACLU, and others.

The Joyce Foundation of Chicago gave more than $1 million to Brennan. The Joyce Foundation, established in 1948, has been a significant donor to the special interest groups that undermine election integrity. Barack Obama is a former board member. The group also regularly finances advocacy for gun control, leftwing education policy, and backs left-of-center nonprofit media outlets.

Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund has given more than $2 million to the Brennan Center. The Boston-based nonprofit arm of the financial firm Fidelity Investments is the largest public charity in the United States with $30 billion in assets.

The Melaleuca Foundation, the charitable arm of the Melaleuca wellness company, gave more than $900,000, while the Capital One Foundation gave more than $10,000 to the Brennan Center.

The largest funder to Brennan has been the Kohlberg Foundation, which has given a dozen grants of more than $15 million. The Kohlberg Foundation was established by private equity billionaire Jerome Kohlberg in 1989 and gives grants to left-leaning legal advocacy and environmental organizations.

Higher profile donors gave less, but still significant amounts of money to the organization. The Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros Foundation gave grants that totaled about $250,000 to the Brennan Center. The Ford Foundation—a typical donor to the leftwing causes and reoccurring funder to the suppression hysteria complex—gave about $160,000 to the Brennan Center.

In the next installment, Stacey Abrams becomes the evangelist of voter suppression after her 2018 defeat.

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the author of Abuse of Power: Inside the Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump (Bombardier Books, 2020). He is a journalist who reports for the Daily Signal,…
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