Liberal Dark Money Group Bankrolled by Foreign Billionaire Gave Millions to Stacey Abrams's Voting Nonprofit

Hansjörg Wyss / Getty Images
May 20, 2022

A liberal dark money group bankrolled by a foreign billionaire gave millions of dollars to failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams's effort to overhaul America's voting laws.

Sacramento-based dark money group Fund for a Better Future in 2020 gave more than $3 million to Abrams's Fair Fight Action, its tax forms show. Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss is by far Fund for a Better Future's top donor—his advocacy group, Berger Action Fund, gave the dark money group more than $45 million from 2016 to 2020.

The sizable contribution marks yet another attempt from Wyss to meddle in America's elections. Abrams's Fair Fight has spent big on ads urging Congress to pass the For the People Act, Democrats' massive election overhaul bill that would give the federal government unprecedented power to control American voting. Wyss has also contributed millions of dollars to redraw electoral maps in Democrats' favor and lobby for the Biden administration's alternative energy initiatives.

Fund for a Better Future's generous support of Fair Fight also gives Wyss a back-door way to earn favor and influence with Abrams, who is running for governor of Georgia against Republican incumbent Brian Kemp. Foreign nationals cannot contribute to U.S. political candidates but can fund nonprofit organizations. Wyss in 2014 revealed he only carries a Swiss passport and does not have a U.S. green card. In a 2021 SEC filing, Wyss called himself a "citizen of Switzerland."

At least one watchdog group believes Wyss's liberal philanthropy violates U.S. law. In May 2021, Americans for Public Trust filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Wyss "indirectly funded federal electoral advocacy through his nonprofit organizations." Wyss has contributed tens of millions of dollars to liberal dark money groups that help elect Democrats—U.S. law, the complaint notes, "prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions to political committees whether directly or indirectly."

"The intended recipient of these funds was ultimately a variety of organizations whose primary purpose is to engage in electoral advocacy," the complaint states. The FEC has failed to act on that complaint over the last year, prompting Americans for Public Trust in April to sue the federal agency in search of a decision.

"Until the FEC takes action, we won't know the full extent of [Wyss's] foreign interference in our electoral process," Americans for Public Trust executive director Caitlin Sutherland said in a statement.

In addition to his lavish liberal advocacy spending, Wyss sits on the board of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. He has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to left-wing groups over the last two decades.

Fair Fight Action did not return a request for comment. Fund for a Better Future could not be reached for comment.