Unmasked: Secretive Arabella Advisors Really Behind ‘Grassroots’ Protest Movement Opposing Trump’s Judicial Nominees

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The following article is sponsored by Capital Research Center.

An organization that leads the protest movement against President Trump’s judicial nominees and presents itself as grassroots is really the project of Arabella Advisors, a largely unknown, massively funded strategy company pushing the interests of wealthy leftist donors.

These and other revelations were documented in an extensive exposé by conservative watchdog Capital Research Center, which traced Arabella’s vast network and unmasked a shadowy system of pop-up groups designed to look like grassroots activist organizations developed by, housed in, and staffed by the for-profit, privately held Arabella Advisors.

As previously reported here, the Arabella firm manages four nonprofits: the New Venture Fund, Sixteen Thirty Fund, Windward Fund, and Hopewell Fund. These nonprofit entities play host to hundreds of groups and projects that promote interests and political movements strategically deployed in a long-term campaign to nudge the country to the left.

A central component of Arabella’s activism is opposition to Trump’s conservative judicial nominees. One Arabella-tied organization calling itself Demand Justice quickly thrust itself into the center of opposition to Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh. The Capital Research Center has explained that Demand Justice is actually a project of Arabella’s Sixteen Thirty Fund.

Even before Trump announced Kavanaugh as his nominee, Demand Justice, founded by former members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, committed to spending about $5 million to oppose the eventual pick.

After the June 2018 announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, Demand Justice immediately organized protests with a slew of left-wing activist groups, including the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Alliance for Justice, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in a bid to show supposed popular “resistance” to anyone that Trump nominated to Kennedy’s seat.

Protesters at Demand Justice events brandished signs reading “Stop Kavanaugh,” “Stop Barrett,” “Stop Kethledge,” and “Stop Hardiman”— placards exposed by the Center’s report as “pre-printed propaganda created in the event that President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Raymond Kethledge, or Thomas Hardiman from his shortlist of Supreme Court nominees.”

As soon as Kavanaugh’s name was selected, the organization immediately deployed an anti-Kavanaugh website and helped lead news making national activism during the confirmation hearings.

Capital Research’s report further documents Arabella using Demand Justice in a bid to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation:

As expected, Arabella Advisors said nothing after President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It remained quiet throughout Kavanaugh’s confirmation process and in the run up to 2018 midterm elections. The Sixteen Thirty Fund (under the guise of Demand Justice) was anything but mum, though, railing against Kavanaugh and spending nearly $317,000 in electioneering communications to support vulnerable Democratic Senators and attack vulnerable Republican Senate candidates.

Demand Justice also organized protests with the goal of appearing grassroots outside the Supreme Court on March 12, 2019, during the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee to replace Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Arabella’s nonprofits, meanwhile, raised a combined $1.6 billion from 2013-2017 with the aim of advancing “the political policies desired by wealthy left-wing interests through hundreds of ‘front’ groups,” according to the report. “And those interests pay well: the network’s revenues grew by an incredible 392 percent over that same period.”

These front groups push everything from opposition to President Trump’s proposed border wall to support for Obamacare to gun control to government control of the Internet to pro-abortion activism and other left-wing causes.

“Together, these groups form an interlocking network of ‘dark money’ pop-up groups and other fiscally sponsored projects, all afloat in a half-billion-dollar ocean of cash,” states the report. “The real puppeteer, though, is Arabella Advisors, which has managed to largely conceal its role in coordinating so much of the professional Left’s infrastructure under a mask of ‘philanthropy.’”

Read the full Arabella report here.

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