Arabella Advisors: the Dark Money Incubator for Leftist Billionaires - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics (2024)

Arabella: The Dark Money Network of Leftist Billionaires
By Scott Walter
(Encounter Books, 248 pages, $29.00)

At first blush, Arabella Advisors LLC appears to be a garden-variety D.C. consulting firm. Their website exudes typical K-Street verbiage: “We help changemakers create a better world. Arabella Advisors enables clients across the philanthropic sector to tackle society’s biggest challenges more efficiently, effectively, and equitably.”

Scott Walter is to be commended for writing such an important exposé, which everyone should read.

However, Arabella’s sunny cliché profile masks a more sinister raison d’être as watchdog Capital Research Center President Scott Walter illustrates in his new book Arabella: The Dark Money Network of Leftist Billionaires Secretly Transforming America.

Founded in 2005 by Eric Kessler, a scion of a wealthy Chicago family and a former Clinton administration Department of Interior appointee, Arabella’s donors include high-profile left-leaning foundations such as George Soros’ Open Society, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Warren Buffett’s Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Ford Foundation and others. These ardent left-wing institutions donate to Arabella via its network of funds, which include its flagship the New Venture Fund ( 2006), the Sixteen Thirty Fund ( 2009) the Hopewell Fund (2015), the Windward Fund (2015), and the North Fund (2018).

The money channeled through Arabella’s funds and its over 500 grantees is mind-blowing. During the 2020 election cycle, Arabella’s non-profits took in $2.4 billion exceeding the combined revenue for the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee for the same period. During the 2022 election, Arabella’s revenue hit the $3 billion mark.

Arabella strategically uses its portfolio of 501 (c ) (3) charity funds and (501) (c ) (4) advocacy funds by creating funding pairs that work in concert to achieve philanthropic and advocacy objectives. For instance, Allied Progress Action (a Sixteen Thirty Fund project) is the advocacy arm of the charity Allied Progress (a New Venture Fund project). Arabella’s organizational structure enables it to influence policy and collect substantial lobbying revenue while also cultivating donors who enjoy tax-write-offs and the inherent privacy of donating to a charitable fund.

While many legitimate organizations have a charitable/advocacy pairing infrastructure, they are usually separated by a Chinese wall. Arabella has routinely moved funding between its various entities to avoid full disclosure. For example, in 2018, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501 (c ) (4 ) paid $4 million in employee and salary benefits but used funds from the New Venture Fund, a 501 (C ) (3) to cover the payroll and consequently avoided the 501 (c ) (4) requirement of disclosing the salaries of its highest compensated employees.(READ MORE from Leonora Cravotta: ‘Who You Gonna Call?’:Ghostbusters Reboot Reaffirms Traditional Values)

While Arabella has since corrected this specific reporting anomaly, similar efforts at obfuscation persist. Arabella has also enabled its mega-donors to funnel enormous sums of money for leftist agenda efforts via pop-up groups designed to look like grassroots organizations. Like a merchant at a weekend market, these organizations can be easily set up and even more easily taken down. Arabella’s ability to creatively move funds back and forth within its network makes it the perfect pop-up parent. For instance, Arabella funneled money to the left-leaning States Newsroom by creating a project within its Hopewell Fund with funding from its North Fund.

Walter’s book, which builds upon the research that Capital Research Center published in 2019, delivers a very detailed portrait of Arabella’s vast tentacles. Walter provides a comprehensive backstory along with detailed financial information about the organization’s cozy relationship with leftist billionaires. It also delineates Arabella’s enormous influence on political races and the burning public policy issues of our day including abortion, healthcare, and environmentalism.

The book provides extensive coverage of election corruption with case studies including a chapter dedicated to Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s funneling of $350 million into the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life organization to stimulate turnout for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

The case study on George Soros’s Governing for Impact organization reveals that this entity provided the Biden Administration with 60 policy memos to shape the direction of federal departments including Education, Interior, HHS, Labor, Environmental Protection Agency, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Energy, Treasury. And of course, there is no shortage of coverage of the dark money efforts to undermine former President Donald J. Trump, with groups — including Democracy Forward (2017), American Oversight (2017), and Restore Public Trust (2018) — which were created to overwhelm his administration with Freedom of Information Acts, lawsuits, and media firestorms to push his presidency towards impeachment.

As a result of Walter’s tireless efforts at promoting his organization’s findings, even the left has noticed, evidenced by reporting by Politico, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. A November 2021 interview between then Arabella CEO Sampriti Ganguli and Emma Greene for The Atlantic was particularly illuminating.

Greene: You say you think donors should have the right to choose. Just to zoom out, what we are talking about is people with a lot of money, who want to channel that money into changing the way our society is structured. Why should people with a lot of money be able to do this anonymously?

Ganguli: There are a lot of actors involved in changing American civic life. I just have to be honest with you: You are zoning in on such a small part of what Arabella Advisors does. I’m struggling with your question.

Greene: “Yeah, but 530 grants. That’s not nothing.”

The Atlantic interview is important because it demonstrates the extent to which Arabella’s senior leadership was publicly denying the organization’s outsized impact on the political process and underplaying its financial and reporting irregularities. However, reporting which focus on the leftist billionaires’ influence pale in comparison to those about political powerhouses on the right such as the Koch Brothers, which is perhaps the closest analogy to Arabella.

According to research published by Capital Research Center in July 2023, there were only 47 articles published about Arabella in the previous twelve month period versus 189 about the Koch Brothers. These statistics show that the mainstream media is continuing to downplay the gigantic influence of leftist billionaires while drumbeating a narrative that the mega dollars from the right are trying to hijack policy and steal the 2024 election.

Furthermore, on April 9, the day Walter’s book was released for publication, the Washington Examiner published an article announcing that the Democrat D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb was shutting down his office’s investigation into Arabella that was initiated in response to allegations that the organization was violating federal laws to benefit Democrats. The D.C. office of the Attorney General claims that that the investigation was terminated because there was “no evidence of a violation of law.”

This development comes in the wake of a March ruling from a D.C. judge that authorized discovery in the lawsuit of a former Arabella employee Sarah Walker who accused the organization of racial and gender bias in hiring and salary decisions and of retaliatory behavior towards her for raising concerns that the firm’s New Venture Fund was allegedly involved in tax fraud. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Both the terminated investigation and Ms. Walker’s lawsuit are emblematic of the left’s rabid determination to protect their kingmakers from scrutiny.(READ MORE: Let’s Make the Oscars Great Again: Trump Invades the Academy Awards)

Arabella: The Dark Money Network of Leftist Billionaires Secretly Transforming America is a copiously researched book about an organization that has repeatedly pushed the envelope in its quest to propagate the progressive ideology of its cabal of billionaire donors. Scott Walter is to be commended for writing such an important exposé, which everyone should read as the November 5 election approaches and the possibilities for election corruption and public policy poisoning abound.

Arabella Advisors: the Dark Money Incubator for Leftist Billionaires - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics (2024)


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