A Swiss billionaire is evading bans on foreign donations to political candidates and committees by giving tens of millions of dollars to a web of nonprofits to bankroll President Joe Biden’s agenda.
Hansjörg Wyss, who made billions in the medical device industry, is positioning himself as a megadonor to Democrat-aligned groups despite being forbidden from making political donations as a foreign national. Wyss gave $72 million in 2021 to the Berger Action Fund, which directs money to nonprofits that don’t have to disclose their donors or expenditures. By donating to the fund, Wyss can bypass bans on foreign political financial involvement.
Wyss created the fund in 2007, and it has donated $339 million to left-leaning groups since 2016, according to the Associated Press. Wyss’s representatives claim the tens of millions go to "issue advocacy," addressing the environment, for example, and not partisan interests.
Yet groups that received Wyss's money have spent heavily backing Biden and Democrats, the AP reported:
Of the $72.7 million donated in 2021 by Wyss’ Berger Action Fund, $62.7 million went to two groups that were focused on building public support for Biden’s agenda, according to tax documents and a statement from the group.
Since switching his focus to nonprofits, two closely related organizations that play a role in Democratic politics have been among the biggest recipients of Wyss’ money.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund and the New Venture Fund — two organizations that share the same founder, address and management firm — collectively received $245 million donated by Wyss’ groups since 2016, tax records show...
Sixteen Thirty Fund gives directly to political committees, but it also donates to other nonprofit groups that give mcaioney to political committees or pay for TV ads that back specific candidates or causes, tax filings and campaign finance disclosures show.
Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust, said Wyss’s giving must come under "immediate scrutiny."
"Tens of millions have been spent promoting President Biden’s radical agenda and propping up liberal candidates," Sutherland said. "And now we know who financed the bulk of it: foreign national Hansjörg Wyss. Year after year, Mr. Wyss, who is prohibited from giving to candidates directly, routes his money through the Arabella Advisors network to influence American politics and policy."
Published under: Dark Money