by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A trove of dark money is behind a liberal campaign to push President Joe Biden to abandon negotiations with Republicans and pass a sweeping infrastructure package filled with partisan priorities.
Two liberal advocacy groups that spearheaded a June letter calling on Biden to sidestep Republicans and secure a “big, bold infrastructure bill” are backed heavily by dark money. One of the letter’s organizers, Invest in America Action, is part of an umbrella organization sponsored by the Hopewell Fund, a dark money behemoth that raked in $84.2 million in anonymous contributions for left-wing causes in 2019.
Real Recovery Now!—a coalition of progressive organizations designed to urge Biden to invest big in alternative energy—also organized the letter and has ties to dark money. Five of the campaign’s members have combined to receive $8.7 million from funds managed by Arabella Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm at the center of a massive dark money network.
The de facto lobbying effort shows how groups that spent millions of dollars to oust former president Donald Trump are now pivoting to sway Biden’s agenda. Real Recovery Now! launched in March with a $10 million ad campaign praising the president for his coronavirus spending bill. But as the administration moved forward with bipartisan infrastructure talks, the liberal coalition shifted to twist Biden’s arm to assure “investments in clean energy jobs.”
“A big, bold infrastructure bill that will create jobs and deliver for working families can’t wait any longer—and congressional Democrats must use the reconciliation process to pass it,” the letter states.
The political advising firm tasked with leading Real Recovery Now!’s ad campaigns, Precision Strategies, has also done lucrative work for dark money groups. The firm—which Biden’s campaign manager and deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon founded in 2013—took more than $1.2 million from the Sixteen Thirty Fund in 2019.