Leftists have been accused of hypocrisy for decrying a significant donation to a conservative cause, ignoring that Democrats have dominated elections using “dark money.”
The New York Times reported on Monday that Barre Seid, an electronics manufacturing mogul, donated $1.6 billion to a new political group controlled by Leonard Leo, a longtime conservative activist affiliated with the Federalist Society and CRC Advisors.
The group, otherwise known as the Marble Freedom Trust, could help the right compete, or even surpass the left, in political spending.
Leo said in a statement that the conservative movement needs to have similar funding levels compared to high-dollar leftist donors.
“It’s high time for the conservative movement to be among the ranks of George Soros, Hansjörg Wyss, Arabella Advisors and other left-wing philanthropists, going toe-to-toe in the fight to defend our constitution and its ideals,” Leo explained.
Leftists turned apoplectic at the news that the conservative movement may receive funding nearing the level that Democrats and leftist organizations receive.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a longtime foe of “dark money,” said in reaction to the Times report, “The dark money machine heats up, and of course around the guy who used dark money to capture the Supreme Court for big special interests. All the more need for DISCLOSE vote.”
He added, “When this money lands in races, you can bet it will be well hidden behind phony front groups.”
When this money lands in races, you can bet it will be well hidden behind phony front groups.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) August 22, 2022
Breitbart News reported in 2021 how many leftist dark money groups have remained silent on calls to disclose their donors even though they have publicly backed legislation, such as the For the People Act, that would disclose dark money groups’ donors.
“This is nuts,” Chris Hayes, an MSNBC host said. “Neat how Leo helped engineer a SCOTUS that guts campaign finance restrictions and opens the floodgates to unprecedented dark money and then raises hundreds of millions in said dark money.”
Neat how Leo helped engineer a SCOTUS that guts campaign finance restrictions and opens the floodgates to unprecedented dark money and then raises hundreds of millions in said dark money.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 22, 2022
“Dark money” refers to donations to political organizations in which the source of the money is typically not disclosed. Nonprofits, activist organizations such as 501(c)(4)s, and super PACs are not required to disclose their donors.
While leftists and establishment outlets often focus their sights on donations to conservative causes, Democrats and leftist organizations often eclipse Republican and conservative causes.
For instance, 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that align with the Democrat party spent more than $1.5 billion during the 2020 elections, while 15 of the most politically active groups aligned with the Republican Party spent roughly $900 million.
Republicans have often pointed out the Democrats and leftists’ hypocrisy on dark money, as the Arabella Advisors operates as a sophisticated network to disseminate dark money.
Breitbart News’s Ashley Oliver explained:
The key with Arabella is that it is actually set up as an LLC (a limited liability company), which is one of the standard corporate forms that a for-profit business can take. And it is privately owned. As a private LLC, it is entirely outside the disclosure laws that govern nonprofits and political advocacy groups. Billionaires can flood unlimited money into Arabella as one would with investment dollars, and Arabella can then pour vast sums into various funds that in turn pass that money out to a host of left-wing groups. Yet the public would never be able to find out who was actually funding Arabella’s gigantic war chest.
Arabella Advisors administers the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which received “mystery donations” as large as $50 million, and then disseminated grants to more than 200 groups, and spent more than $410 million in 2020, which is more than what the Democratic National Committee (DNC) spent during the cycle.
Conservatives fought back against the leftist narrative about the large donation to Leonard Leo’s organization.
Erick Erickson, a conservative radio host, said, “The left is freaking out about Leonard Leo and a billion-dollar donation. Do they not know they’re spending more than that *annually* through dark money groups? The right isn’t at that level, and they are either clueless or willfully lying about leftwing money.”
He then shared a picture of the Arabella Advisors operates:
The left is freaking out about Leonard Leo and a billion-dollar donation. Do they not know they’re spending more than that *annually* through dark money groups? The right isn’t at that level, and they are either clueless or willfully lying about leftwing money. pic.twitter.com/T1v2snXDQw
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) August 22, 2022
The Capital Research Center (CRC), which is self-described as America’s investigative think tank, explained how the donation to Leo is likely more of an endowment than a single donation, “Nonetheless, expect the usual suspects to fuss over this gift b/c it went to conservatives, despite the fact the $1.65 B donation is likely a permanent endowment & less than a single year’s nonprofit *fundraising* in Arabella’s lefty empire (which totaled $1.68 B in 2020).”
“In fact, the Arabella empire’s nonprofit spending in 2020 was $1.27 B. That’s 15 times Marble’s $83 M annual. That means in 3.5 weeks, Arabella spent more than Marble’s likely annual spending,” the group explained.
The group added, “Should the histrionic cries denouncing big, conservative “dark money” begin anew, remember: it’s only “dark” to the left when conservatives make use of it. The left, where the numbers are far larger, doesn’t call their money “dark”. Instead, they just don’t talk about it at all.”
Should the histrionic cries denouncing big, conservative “dark money” begin anew, remember: it’s only “dark” to the left when conservatives make use of it. The left, where the numbers are far larger, doesn’t call their money “dark”. Instead, they just don’t talk about it at all.
— Capital Research (@capitalresearch) August 22, 2022
Comfortably Smug, an anonymous conservative personality, wrote that Whitehouse is the “biggest hypocrite” for never bringing up how a foreign billionaire, Hansjörg Wyss, a Swiss citizen, bankrolls many Democrat dark money projects.
Biggest hypocrite in the senate @SenWhitehouse never brings up a foreign billionaire bankrolling left wing dark money groups
I wonder whyhttps://t.co/CFTKQVaiyt https://t.co/nHZyxlUQEo pic.twitter.com/46U6hhTQCY
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) August 22, 2022
Matt Whitlock, a former senior staffer for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the late Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), said, “Have to wonder if liberals who are shocked at this are genuinely unaware that their own side has been at this scale for years now and the right is just starting to catch up. Or if they are fully aware and this is all Sheldon Whitehouse style performance art.”
Have to wonder if liberals who are shocked at this are genuinely unaware that their own side has been at this scale for years now and the right is just starting to catch up.
Or if they are fully aware and this is all Sheldon Whitehouse style performance art. https://t.co/imNJXSqbeC
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) August 22, 2022
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.