A "dark money" group that was established to push back against the judicial nominations of President Donald Trump, and which was at the forefront of the battle against Justice Brett Kavanaugh and continues to go after him to this day, was heavily financed by liberal billionaire George Soros around the time of its inception, grants show.
Demand Justice, a left-wing advocacy group, was established in 2018 and is led by Brian Fallon, the former press secretary for Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 campaign. The group does not disclose its donors and is a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which falls under the umbrella of Arabella Advisors—an intricate dark money network containing dozens of liberal groups and projects. The network is used as a "pass through" entity for Democratic donors and has facilitated $1.6 billion in funds to liberal entities in recent years.
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Due to Demand Justice's arrangement with the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which acts as its fiscal sponsor, it does not have to file annual tax forms to the Internal Revenue Service. Those who contribute to groups housed at the Sixteen Thirty Fund can also mark the money to the fund's name, where it is passed to the intended groups while ultimately masking the destination.
However, the Open Society Policy Center, Soros's 501(c)(4) D.C.-based advocacy group, outright marked that it had sent $2.5 million to Demand Justice for general support between April 1 and June 30, 2018, according to a review of its grants. Soros's group sent $87,000 more to Fallon's group between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 to "support advocacy on judicial nominations."
The initial grant from Soros's policy center, which is an affiliated entity to the Open Society Foundations, was given to Fallon's group around the time that the former Clinton henchman appeared at a secretive gathering of the Democracy Alliance, the left's largest donor club that was co-founded by Soros, in Atlanta. The Washington Free Beacon was present at the gathering and spotted Fallon at the bar. The Free Beacon also obtained documents showing that Fallon was there on behalf of Demand Justice, which was not publicly launched at the time.
Soros's policy center sent $1.3 million more to the Sixteen Thirty Fund during the second quarter of 2017. Those funds are not marked toward any particular group, but instead are reported as supporting advocacy on executive nominations, policy advocacy on social safety net programs, and cross-sector policy advocacy and planning.
Soros's Open Society Policy Center also made numerous grants for nearly $2 million to other left-wing groups for advocacy on judicial nominations last year. Those included two grants for $1,000,000 total to Planned Parenthood Action Fund, $350,000 to Color of Change (which also went toward voting rights), $150,000 to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and $150,000 to the Committee for a Fair Judiciary, among others.
"We are proud to support Demand Justice, which is doing critical work to ensure the integrity of our courts, and which we disclose at the OSPC website," said Jonathan Kaplan, spokesperson for the Open Society Policy Center.
In May 2018, shortly after Demand Justice's public launch, it undertook a campaign against federal district nominee Thomas Farr. On July 9, 2018, Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Demand Justice vowed to spend millions fighting Kavanaugh's nomination and dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars into advertisements on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony in Washington, D.C., and other cable and broadcast networks in Alaska and Maine.
In April, Demand Justice and a coalition of more than two dozen liberal groups petitioned Democrats in the House of Representatives to request Kavanaugh records that were held during the confirmation process. House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler (N.Y.) responded by requesting Kavanaugh's records from his time in the White House from 2001 to 2006.
"These documents could prove that Kavanaugh lied under oath to the Senate," Fallon said in early August. "They may also shed light on his true views on issues like Roe v. Wade, and reveal biases that should disqualify him from hearing abortion-related cases in the future."
Like Fallon, Nadler has links to the Democracy Alliance. Earlier this year, Nadler gave a private briefing to the deep-pocketed liberal donors at their spring gathering in Austin, the Free Beacon discovered at the meeting.
Senate Democrats also rely on groups like Demand Justice for judicial nomination fights.
In early July, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and a number of Democratic senators released a letter demanding that the conservative Judicial Crisis Network make public the names of donors who have given the group more than $10,000 since 2017, despite relying on such groups themselves. The letter was sent after the Judicial Crisis Network launched a $1.1 million campaign calling on 2020 Democratic presidential contenders to release their supposed "secret list" of judges.
The Alliance for Justice, a liberal judicial activist group that also does not disclose its donors, said in June that it was launching the "building the bench" initiative that would create a list of judges that the next Democratic president could use to nominate individuals to federal courts.
Demand Justice did not respond to a request for comment.