Biden Foundation Coffers Filled by Democracy Alliance Members

Partners of secretive liberal donor club who help set liberal agenda provided more than half of Biden's funds

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May 6, 2019

Members of a secretive left-wing donor network that helps set the liberal agenda propped up Joe Biden's foundation prior to his presidential run by providing the charity with more than half of its cash, according to donor lists and tax forms.

The former vice president launched the Biden Foundation, his personal nonprofit, in 2016 to "protect and advance the rights and opportunities of all people through educational programming and public policy analysis," focusing on advancing community colleges, violence against women, LGBTQ equality, and shaping foreign policy, among other areas.

The foundation raised a total of $6,623,173 in 2016 and 2017, according to tax forms from that year. A majority of this money came from deep-pocketed donors in the Democracy Alliance, a secretive group that actively works to keeps its membership hidden and together pushed $1.83 billion into liberal infrastructure over the past 15 years, according to its internal documents.

The Biden Foundation's website, which publicly discloses its donors but lists the contributions in wide ranges, shows that the nonprofit was given over $1 million from two foundations and a pair of individuals: the Bohemian Foundation, the Masimo Foundation, and Tim Gill and Scott Miller.

Pat Stryker, a Democratic philanthropist and megadonor who partially owns the Stryker corporation, a Fortune 500 medical device company started by her grandfather, founded the Bohemian Foundation in 2001.

In 2004, Stryker helped form the Colorado Democracy Alliance, a strategy group created to assist the Colorado Democratic Party in pushing the state's political landscape further to the left by working around the state's strict campaign finance laws. Shortly later, the national Democracy Alliance was established, in which Stryker is also a member.

Stryker tapped Joe Zimlich and Cheryl Zimlich, both of whom also live in Colorado, to help with the Bohemian Foundation's operations.

Zimlich, who serves as the chief executive officer at the Bohemian Foundation, sits on the board of the Colorado Democracy Alliance and is a founding member of the national Democracy Alliance. Zimlich personally gave between $1,000 and $99,999 to the Biden Foundation, according to its disclosures.

While Biden's website shows that the Bohemian Foundation gave more than $1 million in total contributions, the group's own tax forms from 2016 and 2017 show that Bohemian provided the Biden Foundation with $1 million in each of those years, or $2 million total. The Bohemian Foundation's 2018 tax forms are not yet available.

Tim Gill, a software entrepreneur who has been called the "megadonor behind the LGBTQ rights movement," and his husband Scott Miller are credited with a $1 million donation to the Biden Foundation.

While still serving as vice president in 2016, Biden spoke to 30 high-profile LGBTQ donors at a Park Avenue penthouse apartment in Manhattan, in which Gill was in attendance. Biden singled out Gill, calling him "incredible" and crediting him for pushing the LGBTQ movement forwards.

Gill co-founded the Colorado Democracy Alliance alongside Stryker. Gill has also been identified as a member of the national Democracy Alliance.

Bernard Schwartz, a private investor and member of the club, gave between $500,000 and $999,0000 to Biden's nonprofit. Weston Milliken, a secretary at the alliance who sits on its board with Zimlich, gave the foundation between $1,000 and $99,000.

Of the 57 foundations and individuals who gave to Biden's charity in 2016 and 2017, the five Democracy Alliance-linked members provided $3.5 million to the foundation, more than half of the $6.6 million it collected during that time period.

Biden addressed donors in the alliance at one of its secretive conferences in 2011. Other prominent politicians—such as House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Ben Ray Luján, Rep. Maxine Waters, and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who is leading the House's investigations into Trump and recently briefed the group—have appeared at the club's gatherings.

The Democracy Alliance is said to currently include more than 110 millionaire and billionaire donors. Each year, its members are required to push at least $200,000 in funding to an approved list of liberal organizations, resistance groups, and state-based political initiatives.

The alliance has set budgets of $275 million for efforts to stop President Donald Trump and Republicans during the 2020 election cycle, according to confidential documents obtained by the Free Beacon at its 2019 spring investment conference in Austin, Texas last month.

Biden announced he would shutter his foundation now that he is running for president.

The Bohemian Foundation did not respond to requests for comment on Stryker and Zimlich and their contributions to the Biden Foundation along with their relationship with the former vice president. The Gill Foundation, a charity run by Tim Gill, and Bernard Schwartz did not respond to inquiries by press time. Weston Milliken could not be reached for comment.