The left's largest network of wealthy donors tapped an individual for a discussion on "expanding the electorate" at its fall investment conference from a group that was caught submitting fraudulent voter registration forms—including registering dead people to vote—and saw one of its employees go to prison for the crime.
The Democracy Alliance, a dark money donor club that consists of more than 100 millionaires and billionaires who each vow to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the coffers of progressive groups every year, held its fall investment conference last Thursday and Friday at the Capital Hilton hotel in Washington, D.C., where donors and progressive activists huddled to begin plotting their upcoming strategy for the 2020 elections.
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Among the events was a strategy briefing on "expanding the electorate," according to documents obtained on site by the Washington Free Beacon.
"The 2018 elections presented organizations and communities with an opportunity to truly transform and expand the electorate and elect the next generation of our country's progressive leadership," the agenda says of the discussion. "The state of American politics provided an environment conducive to mobilizing a new coalition of voters, inspiring them to vote, and persuading them that by investing their energy and resources into civic participation they can create positive change."
"We will share direct experiences and learnings from our programs, including Win Justice and others led by local organizations around the country," it continues. "Hear how they delivered new, infrequent and drop-of voters to the polls, while building an organization and creating a lasting culture of activism among voters of color, union households, and other base voters."
DaMareo Cooper, director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a progressive nonprofit that works on direct advocacy and engaging voters throughout the state of Ohio, sat on the panel alongside representatives from the New Florida Majority, Center for Community Change Action, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative raised red flags in 2015 after the vice-chairman of a local board of elections in Ohio began noticing frequent problems with registrations submitted by the group, the Washington Free Beacon previously reported.
"They have turned in roughly 530 voter registrations, of which five of them were dead people," the vice-chairman said at the time. "They actually had the dead people's drivers license numbers and Social Security numbers, and of course they forged the signatures of these dead people."
"The forms were riddled with errors and all tied to this group," an election chairman told a local publication. "You can tell the same person filled out some of the same forms and forged signatures. There are wrong dates of births and wrong addresses on others. It became a pattern."
The group told the Free Beacon at the time that they had terminated the worker who submitted the registrations.
"Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that a number of voter registration cards filed in Columbiana County appear to have been fabricated. The canvasser suspected of fabricating these cards is no longer employed [by the group] and her supervisor has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation," the group said.
That individual ultimately pled guilty to numerous felony counts of making a false registration and election falsification and was sentenced to six months in prison.
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative did not respond to inquiries by press time. The Democracy Alliance could not be reached for comment.
Prior to the fraud investigation, they were listed on a lawsuit that was submitted by a top Democratic lawyer who was working with Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Marc Elias, a partner at the D.C. office of the Perkins Coie law firm, submitted challenges in a number of states in an effort to go after voter identification laws. Elias was working on the challenges in his personal capacity as an attorney at Perkins Coie and not directly on behalf of the Clinton campaign, although Clinton publicly backed the effort.
Elias originally had the Ohio Organizing Collaborative as a plaintiff on his lawsuit in Ohio. The group was later replaced by the Ohio Democratic Party and a source close to Elias at the time said he had not been involved with the group since it was swapped out.
The New York Times reported that the voter ID challenges from Elias were quietly bankrolled by millions of dollars from liberal billionaire George Soros, who has a personal goal of expanding the electorate by 10 million voters, according to internal documents from his Open Society Foundations.
Soros is a partner in the Democracy Alliance and has fueled campaigns in both the 2016 and 2018 election cycles that sought to expand the electorate and push voters to the polls.
One such effort—called "Win Justice"—was referenced in the description of the talk at the group's fall investment conference. That campaign took place this past election cycle and was financed on the federal level almost primarily by Soros. It featured a coalition of groups including Planned Parenthood Votes, the Center for Community Change Action, Color of Change, and the SEIU.
Representatives from the Center for Community Change Action and SEIU were also on the panel on "expanding the electorate" at the alliance's conference.
The Democracy Alliance has facilitated more than $600 million in funds being pushed to approved groups of the network since its founding in 2005.
UPDATED 6:57 P.M.: This post was updated to correct the year of the Democracy Alliance's founding.