A political action committee that is part of a network launched by failed Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams pushed $1.2 million over to a separate but affiliated dark money entity that plans to ramp up 2020 voter efforts in swing states, Federal Election Commission filings show.
The Fair Fight PAC, a state PAC in Georgia that was established on the federal level in January by Camille Johnson, a longtime friend of Abrams's, reported $4 million in receipts in its first filings to the FEC. A large portion of the PAC's receipts came from Karla Jurvetson, a California-based physician, political organizer, and progressive mega-donor, who on Jan. 18 sent $1,028,160 to its non-contribution account.
Abrams established the Voter Access Initiative, a 501(c)(4) "dark money" advocacy nonprofit, in 2014 to focus on voting rights in Georgia. The Daily Beast reported in January that last year the Voter Access Initiative changed its name to Fair Fight Action while altering its bylaws in a manner that could allow it to step up its political activities. A source with knowledge of the group's operations told the publication at the time that the nonprofit had no plans to subsidize its political arm despite the change in its bylaws. Abrams ran the group until December.
While the nonprofit is not subsidizing the PAC, it appears the PAC is subsidizing Abrams's dark money group.
The Fair Fight PAC's largest disbursements throughout the first half of the year went to Fair Fight Action, its filings show. Between Feb. 1 and June 4, the PAC made six contributions to the dark money group totaling $1,263,860. The amount sent from the PAC to the nonprofit accounts for more than 40 percent of its $2.9 million in total disbursements throughout the first half of the year.
Abrams pulled in a combined $12.5 million between 2013 and 2016 for both the Voter Access Initiative (now Fair Fight Action) and Third Sector Development, which participated in voter registration drives geared toward registering voters of color.
As Abrams was running for governor in the state, she would not say who gave money to her foundations.
"The foundations' work underwhelmed many of Abrams' fellow Democrats," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last year. "Their party got just 3 percent more votes for governor in 2014 than in 2010, and turnout among African-American voters declined by more than 2 percentage points."
"But for Abrams, the registration drive was a success. It introduced her to wealthy progressive activists across the country, some of whom are now spending millions of dollars supporting her gubernatorial campaign. It also led to a fraud investigation by the state Board of Elections, the source of lingering animosity between Abrams and her Republican opponent for governor, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp."
One group of progressive activists Abrams gained access to in recent years is the influential Democracy Alliance, the left's biggest dark money donor network that counts the likes of liberal billionaire George Soros and Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer amongst its members. The group has injected $1.83 billion into progressive infrastructure since its founding in 2005.
Last year, Abrams appeared at the donor club's spring gathering in Atlanta and spoke on a panel that touched on the dream Democratic agenda that would include reparations, universal health care, and free college for all, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Abrams, who is still proclaiming that her failed gubernatorial election was stolen from her, is now ramping up efforts to help Democrats in key swing states. The new campaign, called Fair Fight 2020, will focus on 20 states primarily in the Midwest and Southeast. The effort is expected to carry a price tag of between $4 and $5 million, the Washington Post reports.
"Stacey Abrams and Fair Fight are uniquely situated to bring together the disparate parts of the Democratic Party around ensuring that we have the most robust, thoughtful voter protection operation in battleground states for 2020—and that work has to start this year," Lauren Groh-Wargo, the chief executive of Fair Fight and former campaign manager for Abrams, told the publication.
Fair Fight did not respond to an inquiry on the money sent from the PAC to the dark money group by press time.