by KRISTINE CHRISTLIEB, MFE writer and publisher of Substack Trust but Verify
A team of veteran Democrat strategists out of Washington, D.C. is launching a voter registration surge behind the banner of a non-profit organization. From a post office box at the Charles E. Chamberlain Federal Building in Lansing, Michigan, the non-profit Voter Participation Center (VPC) is sending out thousands of direct mail, voter registration applications to the city of Detroit.
According to VPC’s website, its mission is to forge a “new American majority” made up of “people of color,” “unmarried women” and “young people.” Given that mission, it makes sense for the group to target minority-majority Detroit.
These are demographic groups that traditionally vote for Democrats, so VPC’s campaign in Detroit is not a universal, broad-based voter registration drive; it is a carefully coordinated, strategic and expensive campaign for more Democrat voters.
VPC is a 501(c)3 organization. By federal law, this type of charity is not allowed to engage in any kind of partisan election activity.
There is very little pretense that VPC ‘s activities are “non-partisan.” The word “non-partisan” never appears on its website or its most recent (2021) IRS 990 tax filing where organizations are required to describe their missions.
VPC’s ties to big-name, Democrat players is buried in Part VII, Section B of the 990. That’s where VPC is required to list its independent contractors.
While the contractors behind the most recent flood of voter registration applications are not known, the 2020 and 2021 990s reveals with whom VPC typically partners.
Business 2020 2021 The Pivot Group $25M $1.8M Mission Control Inc. $9.2M $1.8M Google $5.9M Chong Koster $3.3M $440K The Bonner Group $780K
The dollars show VPC has spared no expense in retaining some of the top Democrat firms in Washington, D.C.
The Pivot Group, for example, describes itself as “a woman-majority owned mail firm. Pivot is committed to electing Democrats up and down the ballot. We are an energetic democratic mail firm team.”
The company’s founding partner, Trish Hoppey, “is recognized as one of the top direct mail consultants in the country.”
Mission Control Inc is even more closely connected to Democrat elites. Founded by Beltway insider Ed Peavy in 2001, Mission Control was the firm Hillary Clinton hired to run the direct mail program of her 2016 campaign. Ballotpedia says Peavy “started Mission Control [as] a Democratic targeted direct mail firm.”
On the company’s website landing page is the headline: “Flipping States Blue.” It goes on to give more detail, “In 2018 we flipped 19 of 40 Congressional seats that went from red to blue.” It is an impressive record.
In 2021, Mary Pat Bonner, a Democrat “donor adviser,” raised approximately $6.5M for PVC and pocketed $781,250 for her effort.
Chong Koster is an enfant terrible advertising/PR firm with expertise in online ads and a reputation for working with “progressive” campaigns. Check out the company’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy.
VPC’s Left of Center Roots
Originally incorporated as a non-profit organization called Women’s Voices Women Vote in 2003, PVC changed its name to the Voter Participation Center in 2011. John Podesta, former President Bill Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff and Hillary Clinton are said to have been midwives at the organization’s founding. Podesta was a board member until 2013.
InfluenceWatch’s profile of the group also reveals its close collaboration with the left-wing operation MoveOn.org. InfluenceWatch claims they trade mailing lists and volunteers.
Harmonic Convergence of Voter Registration Activities Being Scrutinized
In mid-August, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman David Schweikert (R-AZ) launched an examination into whether certain tax-exempt organizations, like the Voter Participation Center, are using their funding to influence America’s elections.
Also in August, The Gateway Pundit ran a series of stories about fraudulent voter registration applications in 2020. The FBI recently denied a FOIA request for information related to the incident.
And in an August Trifecta, Capitol Research Center released the findings of a two-year investigation in a report titled, How Charities Secretly Help Win Elections.
See Trust But Verify’s reporting on the confluence of these nonprofit concerns Trust But Verify is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. See also: Evidence Converging ... Nonprofits Interfering in Elections
Writer Kristine Christlieb volunteers for Michigan Fair Elections and serves on MFE's communications team. She publishes Trust but Verify on Substack.
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