by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Democratic donors have built a formidable dark money network to obscure the source of more than $600 million funneled to liberal groups and initiatives last year, tax forms show.
The massive cash flow came from Arabella Advisors, a D.C.-based organization that says it provides “strategic guidance for effective philanthropy.” In reality, the group does far more, funneling hundreds of millions of dollars in anonymous donations to some of the most influential advocacy groups on the left.
Entities traced back to Arabella have invested more than $1 billion powering liberal activist and interest groups since President Donald Trump took office. The establishment of the complex network of nonprofits marks the Democrats’ adoption of a once-derided Republican strategy: building a massive funding network that provides donors anonymity.
The practice came under heavy criticism from President Barack Obama and other top Democrats, who lambasted the use of dark money from right-leaning financiers such as the Koch brothers. Yet liberal groups have fully embraced its usage and are now doing so at a much higher level than Republicans: More than $150 million in dark money was spent throughout the 2018 election cycle, 54 percent of which came from liberal groups and only 31 percent from conservative groups.