Fund Led by Steyer and Soros Rolling Out State-Focused Donations, Strategy

State Victory Action working in 5 states, has millions more to spend

George Soros / Getty Images

BY:

A 527 political organization funded primarily by a trio of liberal mega-donors—Tom Steyer, George Soros, and S. Donald Sussman—is attempting to impact local and state-level political campaigns by donating to committees funded primarily by leftwing pressure groups.

The Washington Free Beacon previously reported that the group, State Victory Action, donated $500,000 to an independent expenditure committee in Colorado in support of the Democratic gubernatorial nominee. However, a state-by-state review of other records shows SVA is also active in Minnesota, Maine, New Mexico, and Nevada, totaling about $1.7 million in disclosed funding thus far in state campaign finance reports.

Furthermore, records filed with the IRS show SVA had raised about $11.5 million by the end of June, suggesting most of the money is yet to be spent with just five weeks remaining until the election. Steyer, Sussman, and Soros represent more than 95 percent of those funds raised.

MINNESOTA

In Minnesota, SVA first gave $372,000 to a Minnesota group called 2018 Fund. Other donors to 2018 Fund included the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, ($600,000), the Minnesota AFL-CIO ($50,000), and the Democratic Governors Association ($50,000).

The 2018 Fund, meanwhile, made five donations to Alliance for a Better Minnesota, totaling just over $1.5 million.

According to an NBC report on Aug. 14 just days before the Minnesota primary, Alliance for a Better Minnesota was one of the top ad buyers in the governor's race, spending $1.4 million in a campaign against former Republican governor Tim Pawlenty, who would go on to lose the primary to Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner.

NEW MEXICO

Campaign finance records show SVA has contributed $190,000 to an independent expenditure committee, Better Future New Mexico, which has yet to dive in to any major ad buys or messaging campaigns, but thus far has focused on canvassing and research.

The committee has also paid $20,000 to America Votes for voter file information and data. America Votes is a D.C.-based organization which describes itself as "the coordination hub of the progressive community," saying it has "mobilized millions of voters to turn out on Election Day."

Better Future New Mexico has also received six-figure donations from the International Association of Fire Fighters, and the Environmental Defense Action Fund, and the Civic Participation Action Fund, a group which describes itself as "committed to creating a policy environment at the state level that is more responsive to voters of color."

The last report filed by Better Future New Mexico in early September showed the group had about $523,000 cash on hand.

NEVADA

SVA teamed up with Priorities USA Action, a Super PAC that previously backed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in their presidential runs.

SVA gave $180,000 to a state-based arm of the PAC called Priorities Nevada, and in the late spring ran a digital campaign targeting Republican Brian Laxalt. Laxalt is now the Republican nominee in the governor's race, and is serving out the remainder of his term as attorney general.

Nevada's current governor, Brian Sandoval (R.), is leaving office due to term limits.

Laxalt faces Democrat Steve Sisolak, a Clark County commissioner, in the general election.

MAINE

While Soros and Steyer may be the best-known contributors to SVA, the third contributor, Donald Sussman, has a long history of political activity in Maine.

SVA has contributed $500,000 to Rebuild Maine, which is also strongly supported by the Maine Education Association.

An official with Rebuild Maine told the Bangor Daily News that the group was focused on strengthening Democratic representation in the state legislature with an eye looking forward to congressional redistricting after the 2020 census.

None of the committees named in this report that received donations from State Victory Action responded to a request for comment from the Washington Free Beacon, and a request for comment from Steyer's PAC, NextGen America, was also not returned.

Correction: This piece originally stated SVA had raised over $14 million by the end of June.

Todd Shepherd

Todd Shepherd   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Todd Shepherd is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He began his reporting career in radio, working as an anchor and reporter for KOMA in Oklahoma City and KOA in Denver. He spent eight years as the investigative reporter for the Independence Institute in Colorado, a free-market-based think tank. Campaigns and Elections magazine named him a "Top Colorado Influencer" for his reporting and news blog. He’s a graduate of the media studies program from Oklahoma Baptist University. His Twitter handle is @shepherdreports.

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