A network of liberal groups affiliated with the shadowy Democracy Alliance recently unveiled a plan to use millions in dark money to combat the rise of dark money.
Mother Jones reports that “110 donors, fundraisers, activists, and political operatives” recently met in Washington D.C. to plan the effort and court potential donors.
The event had a single goal: convincing well-heeled donors to invest in a $40 million “surge” to combat the flood of big money into American politics. That money, to be raised over five years, according to internal planning documents obtained by Mother Jones, will be funneled through the Fund for the Republic, a 501(c)(3) charity founded in September 2012. Nick Penniman, a progressive fundraiser who runs the Fund and helped organize the “Crony Democracy” event, says his group will dole out those funds to groups involved in lobbying, grassroots advocacy, litigation, and electoral work aimed at strengthening ethics and campaign finance reform laws.
Penniman says he envisions FFR and its sister group, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit called Action for the Republic—neither of which have to disclose their donors—as an “American Cancer Society for American democracy.” By that he means an ATM of sorts for the government reform movement, a central hub to which reform-seeking donors can give $50 or $5 million and know their money will underwrite the most effective efforts. “Our long-term goal is to try to take the pain and confusion out of the giving to the cause of democracy,” he says.
Among the D.C. event’s attendees, according to Mother Jones, were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), Jonathan Soros, the son of left-wing billionaire George Soros, and Ben Cohen, cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s.