by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden’s super PAC quietly altered its tax filings just three days after the Washington Free Beacon reported the group appeared to engage in an illegal scheme to hide its donors from the public.
Future Forward originally disclosed that it used its affiliated dark money nonprofit in 2021 to conceal some of the donors behind its $400 million windfall, a process that has resulted in convictions for other political activists, the Free Beacon reported on Aug. 14. The group’s financial disclosures were also rife with other glaring discrepancies, the Free Beacon reported, such as a $12 million gap in its reports to the IRS and Federal Election Commission.
Though Future Forward, which is run by former Obama campaign officials, refused to comment publicly about the discrepancies, it moved swiftly behind the scenes to clean up its act. On Aug. 17, its dark money affiliate, Future Forward USA Action, filed an amended 2021 tax return reversing its claims that it served as a pass-through to conceal the super PAC’s donors and accounting for the $12 million discrepancy.
Future Forward largely relies on its dark money affiliate to keep the lights on. The group claimed in July it had raised $50 million in the first half of 2023, but subsequent FEC filings showed that nearly all those funds were routed through Future Forward USA Action. And while Biden recently condemned dark money as a “serious problem facing our democracy,” his top aides have endorsed Future Forward as the “pre-eminent super PAC” supporting his reelection bid.
Most recently, in September, Future Forward tapped former Biden administration officials Cristóbal Alex and Pili Tobar to lead a seven-figure ad campaign targeting Latino voters in swing states, which ran concurrently with a $25 million ad buy from the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee.