by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A liberal Swiss billionaire known for meddling in U.S. elections has funneled millions of dollars to former attorney general Eric Holder’s effort to redraw electoral maps in favor of Democrats, newly obtained documents reveal.
The Berger Action Fund, the advocacy arm of Swiss megadonor Hansjörg Wyss’s Wyss Foundation, passed $3 million to the National Redistricting Action Fund (NRAF) between 2018 and 2020. The NRAF is the 501(c)(4) lobbying arm of Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a self-described “centralized hub for executing a comprehensive redistricting strategy” to give Democrats an edge in congressional races.
Holder, who chairs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, launched the group in 2017 with the goal of electing Democratic majorities in state legislatures in order to control the 2021-2022 redistricting process. While Holder has claimed his group wants to create “fair maps,” the committee’s stated goal in its IRS forms is “to build a comprehensive plan to favorably position Democrats for the redistricting process through 2022.”
Holder has repeatedly decried the influence of foreign money in U.S. politics, even comparing Russian interference in the 2016 election to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. In a 2017 Washington Post op-ed about starting the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, Holder wrote, “There is nothing more fundamental to the well-being of our nation than the right to cast a ballot in fair elections, free from foreign interference.” And in October 2020 he told Bloomberg that “we need to be prepared” for foreign “attempts to interfere with our electoral system.”
Wyss’s contributions reveal that the foreign billionaire supplied as much as 40 percent of the NRAF’s total funding in 2017-2018 and 24 percent in 2018-2019, making him one of the largest donors to the organization in those years. Wyss is a Swiss citizen who stated that he does not hold permanent U.S. residency in 2014 and recently declined to tell the New York Times if he is an American citizen.