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Michigan in the Aftermath: Goliath Funders Coming for Your State (Part 2)



Reprinted with permission from: Trust but Verify

JUL 13, 2023


In their 2010 book The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado, Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer document how plenty of cash and a business mindset transformed bright red Colorado into a blue state in one election cycle.

In case, you don’t closely follow Colorado politics, the authors summarize what happened. “In October 2004, the GOP dominated politics at every level in Colorado, Republicans held both U.S. Senate seats, five of seven U.S. Congressional seats, the governor’s mansion, the secretary of state’s and treasurer’s offices and both houses of the state legislature. On election day in 2008, the opposite would be true.”

It was called “the Colorado Miracle.”

Schrager and Witwer also showed Colorado wasn’t a one-off miracle but was “a model of how nonprofit entities could influence the political dynamics of a state.”

Rob Stein, a former Clinton staffer and founder of Democracy Alliance, told a Democrat audience in 2008, “There are a bunch of states where over the next couple of years a lot of development is going to happen.”

And Michigan was one of the states discussed.

 

Join us at 12 o'clock for MFE's weekly Zoom at Noon. Learn lessons from field with Rene Saars. Update on notion from Stand Up Michigan Pres. Ron Armstrong. Rosemary Tanner has the law on her side helping senior citizens.


See how you can take action. Make a difference.


 

Michigan … in the aftermath

On Saturday, in Clare, Michigan, a fight broke out at a closed-door meeting of Michigan Republican Party Committee members. It was a huge embarrassment to the Party and made headlines nationally.

Reporting on the incident, Rolling Stone reminded readers, “Michigan Republicans have been struggling to find a path forward after losing control of the state’s legislature for the first time in nearly 40 years.”

Actually, the state of the Michigan Republican party was worse than Rolling Stone reported. Not only had Republicans lost control of the legislature, but they also lost the governorship and the offices of Secretary of State and Attorney General.

It may not be exactly what happened in Colorado, but it’s darn close.

Stein went on to outline how Democrat activists brought about the Colorado miracle.

1. They bypassed their own party and formed a “robust network of nonprofits.” 2. They raised historic amounts of money and distributed the funds across that network. 3. Their candidates were people with longstanding ties to the community. 4. Messages were focused on candidates’ strengths and hammered opponent’s weaknesses. 5. Policy differences were set aside in order to take the state for Democrats.

The Blueprint Implemented in Michigan

As reported last week in Goliath Funders Coming for Your State Part 1, an alliance of Democrat-leaning, Michigan groups came together under a nonprofit called Promote the Vote. Under that umbrella, five unions and 23 organizations banded together to promote election reform in Michigan via Proposition 2.

While the nonprofits that gathered the signatures and knocked on doors were Michigan-based, the lion’s share of the $24 million donated to underwrite these activities came from nonprofit organizations and individuals outside Michigan.

The most prominent was the 1630 Fund which gave $11 million nearly 50% of the total amount collected in support of Proposition 2.

The 1630 Fund provided the “historic amounts of money” Stein was essential for victory.

The Darkest of Dark Money

The 1630 Fund is probably the wealthiest nonprofit you’ve never heard of. Politico called it a “liberal ‘dark-money’ behemoth.” The money donated to the elite Washington nonprofit is “dark” because donors are not disclosed.

So when the 1630 Fund gave $11 million to Michigan nonprofits to reform the state’s election laws, no one knew exactly from where the money came.

Sometimes 1630 Fund donations come from sources outside the United States. A 2021 Fox News headline claims “Liberal dark money group 1630 Fund’s election wishlist boosted by Swiss billionaire.”

The report names medical device manufacturer Hansjorg Wyss as the Swiss donor funding the election wishlist.

Even before Michigan’s Proposition 2 was on the ballot, the 1630 Fund was involved in Michigan politics. Fox’s reporting in 2021 says it was the 1630 Fund that supported Voters Not Politicians, a nonprofit group pushing “for the creation of an independent redistricting commission to redraw Michigan’s congressional and legislative districts.”

But the Detroit News found members of the group were anything but independent. Seven of its ten board members had supported Democrat candidates in the past. None had supported Republican candidates.

To further darken an already troubling history, the 1630 Fund is managed by Arabella Advisors, considered America’s dark money hub. Founded by former Clinton administration appointee Eric Kessler, the for-profit business advises five nonprofits: the New Venture Fund, the 1630 Fund, the Hopewell Fund, the Windward Fund and the North Fund.

According to InfluenceWatch, these nonprofits have hosted a number of “pop-up” organizations with multiple names that are little more than websites. Tracing donations and/or donors to these organizations is nearly impossible.

The best method of battling these giant power structures remains elusive, but it’s certain they have weak points. Republicans just have to find them.

Disclosure: Kristine Christlieb is a Michigan Republican Precinct Delegate and a member of the Wayne County Republican Committee as well as the Michigan 13th Congressional District Committee.





Agenda

MFE Coalition Task Force Meeting

Michigan Fair Elections

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM, July 27, 2023, via Zoom. Link:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Patrice Johnson, Chair, Mich. Fair Elections and Pure Integrity Michigan Elections:


Rosemary Tanner

--Senior citizens. Protecting vulnerable voters


Elizabeth Nielsen

--Litigation Update


Rene Saar

--Soles to the Rolls insights into field investigations


Elizabeth Ayoub

--Communications team spreads the word


Ron Armstrong 12:30

--Gotion says NO


Anne Hill

--National Working Group report.


Margie

--Recruitment rocks


New business


Next Task Force Coalition Meeting: Thurs., Aug. 3, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM meeting. Recurring weekly link. Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system: Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system. Weekly: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZEucOqopz8sGdNYKcvyh8hDELFWbG9eNdwz/ics?icsToken=98tyKuGtrTwpGt2RthqARpwMA4_Cb_TxmCldjadzpTTmFTlbOgvSE85kBbBYSd3-



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