Democrats Commit Vastly More Dark Money Than Republicans for 2024
Democrats Commit Vastly More Dark Money Than Republicans for 2024

By Austin Alonzo

Democratic dark money groups, megadonors, and unions are funding a massive spending effort aimed at reelecting President Joe Biden and advancing the Democratic Party’s power in Washington.

So far, nine major outside spending groups say they will together spend nearly $800 million to support the reelection of President Biden. This is in addition to the massive financial resources the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) will likely pour into the rematch of the 2020 election.

The progressive organizations—American Bridge 21st Century, Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, Climate Power, League of Conservation Voters, MoveOn, Republican Voters Against Trump, Service Employees International Union, Unite the Country, and VoteVets— have pledged to spend a total of $792 million on the 2024 election to boost President Biden and the Democratic Party.

Former President Donald Trump, who is supported by the Republican National Committee (RNC) and its affiliates, is not seeing nearly as many commitments.

Groups pledging to back President Trump’s campaign or to hinder President Biden add up to less than a quarter of the amount pledged by the Democrat money powerhouse.

All told, about $160 million has been formally pledged to explicitly help President Trump’s campaign, and Republicans in general. One major group has said it will spend “eight figures” to go against President Biden.

An Epoch Times analysis of the financial records of the various groups shows many are a combination of federally regulated political action committees (PACs) and 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

Under federal law, PACs must report regularly to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), disclose their donors, and declare their overall finances.

The nonprofits, which are classified as charitable organizations and social welfare organizations by the IRS, report much less often and aren’t required to name their donors. For this reason, 501s are frequently called dark money groups.

PACs that do share donor information are getting money from some of the most prolific donors and organizations in the United States.

American Bridge

American Bridge 21st Century, a group specializing in researching and publicizing negative information about opponents of the Democratic Party candidates, said it will spend $200 million on the 2024 election.

When American Bridge made its announcement in January, it said $85 million was already raised and committed.

(L–R) Former President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden, and former President Bill Clinton attend a campaign fundraising event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on March 28, 2024. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

American Bridge’s release said $140 million of its 2024 expenditure will go toward television, digital and streaming ads, radio, and direct mail placements in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. It could extend its effort to North Carolina.

“These ads will feature the true stories of women voters and their families living in these key swing states and will use their voices to expose the truth about Trump’s agenda,” the release said.

American Bridge is registered with the FEC as AB PAC, a hybrid PAC. According to its latest financial statement filed with the FEC, it had about $5.9 million in cash on hand at the end of February.

Between January 2023 and the end of February 2024, AB PAC received numerous donations of more than $1 million.

The most prominent supporter was the super PAC, Democracy PAC, an entity largely financed by George Soros. Between January 2023 and February 2024, Democracy PAC gave about $4 million to AB PAC.

According to data collected by the watchdog organization OpenSecrets, Mr. Soros was the biggest spender in the 2021 to 2022 election cycle, spending about $178.8 million. Mr. Soros, the founder of the Open Society Foundations, is a prolific donor to Democratic and progressive causes.

In 2023, according to FEC records, Democracy PAC had only one donor: George Soros. In 2021 and 2022, according to FEC records, DemocracyPAC had two donors: Mr. Soros and the Fund For Policy Reform.

Fund For Policy Reform sent DemocracyPAC $25 million. Alexander Soros, George Soros’s son and the chair of Open Society Foundations, is a director of the Fund, according to its tax documents.

Additionally, Michael Moritz, a longtime partner at venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and now a senior advisor at Sequoia Heritage, gave AB PAC $2 million in June 2023, according to FEC records.

(Left) Billionaire George Soros attends a discussion with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and a group of American business leaders at the Blair House in Washington on May 20, 2015. (Right) Alexander Soros, founder of the Alexander Soros Foundation, speaks onstage during a climate event at the Ford Foundation in New York City on April 21, 2016. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Ford Foundation)

According to donor records maintained by OpenSecrets, Mr. Mortiz has sent $8 million to AB PAC between 2019 and 2023.

Two other Democratic Party megadonors are bankrolling American Bridge. FEC records indicate Reid Hoffman and Deborah Simon both sent $1 million or more to the hybrid PAC.

Ms. Simon, an heir to the Simon family real estate fortune, sent $2.5 million in 2023. Mr. Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn Corp., sent AB PAC $1 million in 2023.

OpenSecrets ranked Mr. Hoffman and Ms. Simon among the top 25 largest spenders on the 2021–2022 election cycle. Together, they sent $35.7 million to liberal causes in that period.

American Bridge is also tied to the 501(c)(4) nonprofit American Bridge 21st Century Foundation. According to its most recently filed tax returns, the Foundation had about $1.3 million in net assets at the end of 2022.

Representatives of American Bridge didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

Service Employees International Union

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represents 2 million workers in the United States and Canada, according to the union. Its membership is primarily employed in health care, public services, and property services.

In a March 13 announcement, the union said it will spend $200 million—its most extensive campaign ever—to reach as many as 6 million voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

“The union will engage multiracial working-class voters who are less likely to vote or have never voted at all through field programs, relational organizing, earned media, and paid media, partnering with community groups who are trusted messengers in their communities,” an SEIU release said.

A woman casts her ballot in the state’s primary election in Green Bay, Wis., on April 2, 2024. (Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The Democratic National Committee, Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The SEIU operates a labor organization political action committee—Service Employees International Union Committee on Political Education (SEIU COPE)—and is linked to the super PAC United We Can.

According to Federal Election Commission records, both of the groups are financed by SEIU members and the SEIU’s local unions.

The two funds, led by SEIU COPE, collectively retained about $35.3 million in cash on hand at the end of February, according to their latest FEC disclosures.

In the 2020 election cycle, covering 2019 and 2020, together, the funds raised about $78.5 million. Those funds, according to the FEC, spent about $7.7 million to support President Biden.

Representatives of the SEIU didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

League of Conservation Voters

On March 19, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), an environmental group that typically promotes liberal candidates for federal office, announced its plans to spend $120 million on reelecting President Biden.

LCV is a complex organization composed of nonprofits and FEC-registered PACs. Its two federal PACs—LCV Victory Fund and LCV Voters Action Fund—had about $14.7 million on hand at the end of February, according to the groups’ FEC filings.

LCV also includes the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and the League of Conservation Voters Inc., a 501(c)(4) nonprofit.

According to the FEC, most of the money raised by the PACs between January 2023 and February 2024 came from the League of Conservation Voters Inc. It sent LCV Victory Fund about $12.7 million during that period.

LCV has received funding from multiple organizations tied to Arabella Advisors. In 2020, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, one of the most politically active accounts, sent LCV about $3.5 million, according to its IRS records.

Representatives of LCV didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

The Biden-Harris 2024 Campaign and Democratic National Committee launches billboards, a plane banner, and a mobile billboard truck highlighting positions of Republicans and President Biden’s accomplishments in Milwaukee, Wis., on Aug. 23, 2023. (Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for DNC)

Climate Power

In October 2023, Climate Power, an environmental group, said it plans to spend $80 million to “educate Americans about President Biden’s historic climate progress and the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act.”

A release from the group said it will focus on purchasing digital and television ads, targeting Hispanic voters and holding in-person events in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan.

On its website, the group describes itself as “a strategic communications organization focused on winning the politics of climate.” Practically, it is composed of two organizations: a super PAC, Climate Power Action, and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Climate Power Education Fund.

When it last reported to the FEC in January, Climate Power Action said it had less than $40,000 in cash on hand at the end of 2023.

In 2022, Climate Power Action’s largest donor was the 501(c)(4) nonprofit Fund for a Better Future Inc. That year, according to the FEC, the fund sent about $5.9 million to the super PAC.

According to its most recently filed tax returns, the fund had about $19.4 million in net assets at the end of 2022. The return said. Fund for a Better Future also sent $5 million to American Bridge 21st Century in 2022.

According to FEC records, Climate Power Action also received about $3 million from the LCV Victory Fund in 2022.

Representatives of Climate Power didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

Republican Voters Against Trump

On March 12, Republican Voters Against Trump announced the launching of a $50 million ad campaign in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

The Republican Accountability PAC finances the group. The super PAC, according to FEC records, is bankrolled almost entirely by Democratic Party donors.

A digital billboard critical of the Republican presidential candidates stands in blizzard conditions in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Jan. 13, 2024. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

When the PAC last reported with the FEC at the end of January, the PAC said it retained about $6.3 million on hand at the end of that year.

The group’s largest donor in 2023 was Reid Hoffman. Mr. Hoffman, who founded social media company LinkedIn Corp., gave $4 million to the group.

Defending Democracy Together, a group led by commentator Bill Kristol, gave $2 million to the Republican Accountability PAC in December 2023.

Mr. Kristol is a cofounder of the news organization Bulwark Media and a longtime critic of President Trump. Republican Accountability PAC President Sarah Longwell is also a cofounder of Bulwark Media.

Representatives of the Republican Accountability PAC didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

VoteVets

In February, the progressive veterans group VoteVets announced it will spend $45 million on the 2024 election promoting President Biden and Democratic Party candidates.

VoteVets is composed of two organizations: a hybrid PAC, VoteVets, and a 501(c)(4) VoteVets Action Fund Inc.

According to FEC records, the hybrid PAC held $11.6 million in cash on hand at the end of February.

Between January 2023 and February 2024, the largest individual contribution to the group came from a PAC representing The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada. It sent $250,000.

In the 2021–2022 cycle, however, the hybrid PAC received significant transfers from both the Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC. Those contributions came to about $13.6 million.

Both the House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC support Democratic congressional candidates but are not officially associated with the party. Both groups receive millions in support from 501(c)(4) organizations Majority Forward and House Majority Forward, according to FEC records.

VoteVets Action Fund Inc., according to its most recently filed tax return, had about $3.6 million in net assets at the end of June 2022.

Representatives of VoteVets didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

A staff member walks through the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on March 22, 2024. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy

In February, the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy (CFFE) PAC said it will spend $40 million on the 2024 cycle. A release from the campaign said it is focusing on Georgia, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“We are running one of the largest field campaigns in the nation, and our state teams are already hitting the ground running by knocking on doors, listening to people’s stories, and showing voters that Democrats, led by President Biden, are the ones who actually have their backs,” Sondra Goldschein, executive director of the CFFE PAC, said in a release.

CFFE is a joint venture of the 501(c)(4) organization Family Friendly Action Fund and the hybrid PAC CFFE PAC.

According to FEC records, CFFE PAC had about $1.3 million in cash on hand at the end of February. Between January 2023 and February 2024, its biggest single donor was Pivotal Ventures.

Pivotal Ventures, according to its website, is a group founded by Melinda French Gates to “advance social progress” in the United States.

Ms. Gates is the ex-wife of Microsoft Corp cofounder Bill Gates. The firm gave CFFE $1 million in September 2023.

CFFE also received a gift of $75,000 from Sixteen Thirty Fund in August 2023.

In 2022, CFFE received about $6 million from the 501(c)(4) nonprofit America Votes and its affiliated super PAC America Votes Action Fund. The Epoch Times previously reported that America Votes, a progressive organization, is a top recipient of money from the Arabella Advisors network.

Family Friendly Action Fund, when it last filed a tax return, said it had about $2.9 million in net assets at the end of 2022.

Representatives of CFFE didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

President Joe Biden speaks to supporters during a campaign event at a restaurant in Phoenix, Ariz., on March 19, 2024. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

MoveOn

In January, MoveOn, a progressive organization, said it will be spending more than $32 million on the election in support of Democrats. A memo released by the group said it focuses on get-out-the-vote efforts and prioritizes reaching “young surge voters in battleground states.”

MoveOn is a joint venture of a 501(c)(4) non-profit MoveOn.org Civic Action and the hybrid PAC MoveOn.org Political Action.

The hybrid PAC, according to its latest FEC filings, had about $9.2 million in cash on hand on March 4.

Between January 2023 and March 2024, MoveOn’s PAC’s largest single supporter was Propel Capital Network LLC. It gave $375,000 in that period.

On its website, Propel says its focus is “direct investment in early-stage impact-driven companies, building progressive power in the U.S. and improving economic outcomes and access to capital.”

Donor records maintained by OpenSecrets indicate Propel consistently donates to progressive PACs and organizations.

In 2022, MoveOn’s PAC received $500,000 from FF PAC. FF PAC, also known as Future Forward, is a hybrid PAC that cumulatively spent about $128.4 million on backing President Biden in the 2020 election.

According to its most recently filed tax return, MoveOn’s nonprofit had about $3.5 million in cash on hand at the end of 2022.

Representatives of MoveOn didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

Unite the Country

In January, Unite The Country, a group dedicated to electing Joe Biden, said it will spend $25 million on the 2024 election.

Unite The Country is composed of two groups: a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Unite The Country Now, and the super PAC Unite The Country.

Biden supporters talk to supporters of independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The Democratic National Committee)

The super PAC, according to FEC records, had about $1.1 million on hand at the end of February.

According to FEC records, the biggest backer of the super PAC between January 2023 and February 2024 is a group associated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’s (IBEW) PAC: IBEW PAC Educational Fund. The IBEW account gave $750,000.

In 2020, Unite The Country attracted donations from some of the most prominent Democratic megadonors.

In 2020, a 501(c)(4) group, Future Majority Inc., led the way with a $5 million contribution.

Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloomberg followed up with nearly $4.2 million in total contributions. Sixteen Thirty Fund made the third largest contribution with a $3.5 million gift.

Unite The Country Now, according to its most recently filed tax return, had less than $60,000 in net assets at the end of 2022.

Efforts From Conservative Groups

So far, the largest outside spending effort helping conservative candidates in the 2024 election is coming from Turning Point.

The Epoch Times previously reported that Turning Point—which comprises two nonprofits the 501(c)(3) Turning Point USA Inc. and the 501(c)(4) Turning Point Action Inc.—is planning a $100 million effort to get out the vote for President Trump and Republican Party candidates.

Andrew Kolvet, a spokesman for Turning Point, told The Epoch Times in February that it wants to field as many as 300 paid election operatives in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin.

More resources could be invested in other battleground states if enough money is raised. Those Turning Point employees will be focused on getting voters who lean conservative but may not be motivated to participate to turn out and vote.

“The left has already got fulltime field activists ingrained in their communities,” Mr. Kolvet said at the time. “People have no idea how much money the left has spent on this type of effort. We are way behind.”

The most recent tax returns filed by Turning Point USA Action Inc. and Turning Point Action indicate the groups collectively had about $24.1 million in net assets at the end of June 2022.

Former President Donald Trump applauds after speaking at the Turning Point Action USA conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., on July 15, 2023. (Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images)

Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a key conservative group tied to megadonor Charles Koch and the family business, Koch Industries Inc., will also be campaigning against President Biden. On March 4, the 501(c)(4) nonprofit announced “a sustained new eight-figure campaign focused on Bidenomics.”

“The major campaign will begin with a Beltway ad blitz that includes physical ads at metro stops around the Capitol, mobile billboards, and digital targeting,” a release said. “The campaign will run through the fall and also include grassroots events across the country, digital and mail outreach, and door knocking and phone calls to hold key lawmakers accountable and provide Americans with the truth.”

AFP didn’t specify exactly how much it will be spending on its campaign. The group, to date, has not formally endorsed President Trump, either. It previously backed candidate Nikki Haley.

According to its 2022 tax return, AFP ended 2022 in debt about $3.7 million. When it issued its most recent disclosure with the FEC, the affiliated PAC, Americans For Prosperity Action Inc., said it had about $38.1 million in cash on hand at the end of February.

AFP didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

A smaller group, the 501(c)(4) nonprofit Faith & Freedom Coalition, announced a $62 million plan to “boost evangelical voter participation” on March 12. In a video published on the group’s website, chairman Ralph Reed said the drive is designed to increase the Republican vote who will back President Trump.

In the video, Mr. Reed said the goal is to reach more than 18 million evangelical and Catholic voters and register as many as 9 million new voters in the “key states.” However, he said the group has yet to raise all the money it plans to spend.

“That’s the largest such effort outside the RNC on the center-right in [my lifetime],” Mr. Reed said.

According to its 2022 tax return, the coalition had about $4 million in net assets at the end of 2022.

Another key conservative spending group, the 501(c)(4) nonprofit Club For Growth, hasn’t endorsed President Trump nor announced a national campaign focused on the presidential race.

In an email, Joe Kildea, Club For Growth’s vice president for communications, said the organization has “a great relationship with President Trump and nothing new to announce at this time.”

“We are focused on primaries,” Mr. Kildea told The Epoch Times.

The Club For Growth’s super PAC, Club For Growth Action, has received substantial gifts from GOP megadonors Jeff Yass and Richard Uihlein. Between January 2023 and the end of February 2024, the pair gave the PAC more than $25 million, according to FEC filings.

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