Book Profile

The Kingmaker of the Left: Arabella Advisors

In trying to describe what my boss Scott Walter’s new book, Arabella: The Dark Money Network of Leftist Billionaires Secretly Transforming America is actually about, I mentioned to a friend that it’s, at least in part, an examination of what left-leaning philanthropists have been funding for the last 15 years.

“Philanthropists,” my friend snorted. “That word doesn’t mean what it used to.”

And that observation may be at the heart of what this new volume exposes, using painstaking research by Capital Research Center staff and compiled into a jam-packed book naming a host of players and organizations. In a sentence: how philanthropy on the left has turned away from the good work of charity toward the support of overtly political policy initiatives with the goal, as the title explicitly states, of transforming America into a nation led by leftists, perhaps in perpetuity.

At the center of that shift is the massive funding machine Arabella Advisors, the for-profit consulting firm based in Washington, DC, that has a workhorse nonprofit side that in 2021 “pulled in $1.6 billion in funding across all five nonprofits [under its umbrella]—most of which could be considered ‘marketing’ dollars to change the way people think about public policy issues.”

This used to be called “shifting the Overton Window” (and if you’re curious where that idea came from, here’s a useful explainer from The New York Times). Arabella—with its ties to billionaires like George Soros, Bill Gates, and Hansjörg Wyss among many other deep-pocketed leftists—had the connections, understanding of the nonprofit universe, and funding to master it. And they’ve done it largely in secret.

Until now.

For instance, did you know that the successful effort to oust President Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke was managed via a UPS mailbox in Montana? Or that the seeds of modern left-wing power really began to grow following a 2005 meeting of the Democracy Alliance, in which well-connected political players conceived of a way to battle back to prominence as a way to counter their devastating loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 election?

This book reveals that both of those efforts were connected to Arabella Advisors and the “sister” nonprofits under its umbrella—and of course, to the wealthy funders who kept the money flowing.

These are just two of the case studies included in the reveal. Organization names that may sound familiar—Demand Justice, known for spearheading protests against Supreme Court Justice Bret Kavanaugh, and Governing for Impact, which exists almost solely to “research, write, promote, and defend new federal regulations for the Biden administration to issue”—are both examined. Also examined are well-positioned, leftist political operatives like Democratic Party lawfare guru Marc Elias and former Clinton administration appointee Eric Kessler.

That level of comprehensiveness is intentional. As Walter writes:

If you’re trying to understand American politics and the Left, it is much more important to look at who heads Arabella Advisors, or the Ford Foundation, than it is to see who happens to be chairing the Democratic National Committee this afternoon. While the Left is always hungry for power and money, the party of big government it supports is the last stage in a campaign effort that begins with megadonors and their tools for distributing cash, especially Arabella and its pet nonprofits.

Perhaps the most important thing Walter’s book reveals is that Arabella Advisors is the kingmaker of leftist policy. Far from grassroots, these groups are managed by some of the most powerful and connected operatives on the left, moving billions of dollars around to help support their activism. And it’s all pushed through an interconnected network of nonprofits that exist to shift public perception, which then either disappear completely or are birthed into the world as standalone organizations, but almost always retaining help and oversight from Arabella.

Environmental activism, elections, abortions, and almost every other leftist policy that pops up in the news and shakes the world seems to have, on some level, ties to Arabella. And while leftist operatives publicly moan about the influence of money in politics, Walter’s book shows just how much they privately use it to manipulate the charitable sector—and their fellow well-meaning Americans—to meet their political goals.

Fortunately, as Walter writes, education is the key to understanding the cultural and political subtext funded by this elite cabal of partisans, and watchdog organizations like Capital Research Center and others make it their mission to help in that endeavor. Walter closes by offering the reader ways to track what looks like grassroots organizing madness but is actually well-managed and planned chaos.

“The choice America faces is between these two visions: Arabella’s style of Big Philanthropy ganging up with Big Government to force the rest of us to live as our betters think we should,” Walter writes, “or the original American vision, where government is decentralized and limited so that citizens can govern themselves and help each other through their families, neighborhoods, and local groups.”

Sarah Lee

Sarah Lee was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga., but found herself drawn to Washington, DC, the birthplace of her mother, after completing a master’s degree in public administration from…
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