Dark Money Progressive Groups Spending Millions to Politicize Coronavirus, Spread Fear

Dark Money Spent Against Trump
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Millions of Americans across the country are, day by day, adjusting their lives to better cope with the economic, social, and political impacts caused by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, as a dark money network simultaneously works overtime to further politicize the festering crisis.

A Democrat-aligned Super PAC announced on Tuesday that it will spend $5 million on negative ads targeting President Trump’s response to the coronavirus.

“The campaign from Pacronym — a political action committee affiliated with the nonprofit group Acronym — represents the first major pivot to coronavirus-related advertising fewer than 250 days from the election,” the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Acronym owns the technology firm Shadow, Inc., which was responsible for developing the infamous app used in the chaotic Iowa caucuses. Notably, the firm’s founder and CEO, Tara McGowan, “worked for Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and previously served as the digital director for NextGen America, a progressive organization founded by presidential candidate Tom Steyer,” as RealClearPolitics noted.

Acronym is funded by the “liberal dark money group” New Venture Fund, which is “part of a larger group called Arabella Advisors, which provides philanthropic guidance and manages four nonprofits,” according to the nonpartisan ethics watchdog group Americans for Public Trust. Those also include the Sixteen Thirty Fund, Windward Fund, and Hopewell Fund.

The financial web, however, goes far beyond those connections. The political group American Bridge, which was founded by David Brock — a close ally of the Clintons and founder of Media Matters for America — is also involved in the overarching efforts to spread misinformation on President Trump’s response to the coronavirus and further politicize the crisis.

“American Bridge’s network of nonprofits received funding in 2018 from New Venture Fund, as well as another Arabella group called Sixteen Thirty Fund,” Americans for Public Trust reports.

The Post notes that American Bridge has been running political advertisements on Trump’s response to the crisis in key swing states — Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. According to the Post, the group signaled that more was coming, including an ad focusing on “‘Trump’s incompetence,’ including ‘clips of Trump himself downplaying the crisis.'”

“Our job is to hold Donald Trump accountable, and we have no plans to let up, particularly with a focus on economic issues as we’ve done to date,” American Bridge President Bradley Beychok said, according to the outlet.

He added that the group is “not going to give him [Trump] a pass for bungling the government’s response to this pandemic.”

Adam Laxalt, former Attorney General of Nevada and Outside Counsel to Americans for Public Trust, blasted the progressive groups’ dark money efforts to instill fear in the midst of the pandemic to score “cheap political points.” He said:

Nobody should be using people’s fear of Coronavirus to score cheap political points. But while most Americans are rallying together as one to get through this crisis, left-wing dark money groups led by Arabella Advisors and David Brock are playing out of Rahm Emanuel’s old playbook: ’never letting a crisis go to waste.’

These dark money groups have launched millions of dollars in attack ads against President Trump and Republicans, echoing the Chinese Communist government’s efforts to spread dissension and turmoil.

Arabella and Brock should be ashamed of themselves,” he added. “American lives are more important than scoring cheap political hits.

Notably, the nonprofit Sixteen Thirty Fund reportedly spent “$141 million on more than 100 left-leaning causes during the midterm election year,” according to tax filings, as originally reported Politico.

Americans for Public Trust adds:

Sixteen Thirty Fund has been tied to additional spending on coronavirus-related advertising, from the group Protect Our Care. Protect Our Care is a trade name of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, structured as a branch of the larger nonprofit.

Establishment media outlets have also been at play in promoting false narratives regarding the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. Perhaps one of the most prominent narratives, promoted by countless celebrity figures, is the fake news that President Trump dismissed the virus as a “hoax.”

The narrative came to life following Trump’s MAGA rally in Charleston, South Carolina, where he told the crowd of enthusiastic supporters that Democrats were “politicizing the coronavirus.” He suggested that their desire to blame him –not  the virus itself — was the “new hoax.”

Trump said:

One of my people came up to me and said, “Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia. That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax that was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried it over and over. They’ve been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning. They lost, it’s all turning. Think of it, and this is their new hoax.”

“No, hoax referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody,” Trump said after the false narrative took off. “That’s just a continuation of the hoax, whether its the impeachment hoax or the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax. This is what I’m talking about.”

Trump’s critics are also attempting to peddle the narrative that Trump’s decision to refer to the virus as the “Chinese virus,” is, in and of itself, racist. Reporters asked Trump about his use of the term during Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s coronavirus press briefings. Trump defended his use of the phrase each time.

“Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus?”ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega asked on Wednesday. “Why do you keep using this?”

“A lot of people say it’s racist,” she contended.

“It’s not racist at all. No, it comes from China that’s why I want to be accurate,” Trump said.

Trump’s failed political challenger Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have attempted to brand the description as racist and bigoted, furthering the political divide in the midst of the pandemic. That narrative is relatively recent, as several establishment outlets used the very terminology progressives now find problematic — “Chinese virus,” “Chinese coronavirus,” and “Wuhan virus” — on multiple occasions just weeks ago.

Trump has since declared a national emergency and has continually provided the American people with updates, alongside his coronavirus task force, on the administration’s continuing response to the virus.

The White House introduced “stage 3” of its economic proposal, which includes payments issued directly to the American people.

As Breitbart News detailed:

The plan calls for payments to be distributed to individuals on April 6 and May 18, according to a Treasury Department memo obtained by the Washington Post‘s Heather Long.
Payment amounts would be tiered according to income, presumably falling for individuals with higher incomes. The plan calls for payments to go to “individual taxpayers,” likely an indication that the government would use tax rolls and the Internal Revenue Service to distribute money and determine which Americans are eligible for which amounts.

The memo also says the payments would be linked to family size, addressing concerns of some pro-family advocates who pointed out a program that paid a flat fee to households or taxpayers would penalize those with large families. The U.S. tax code generally allows taxpayers to set aside more of their income for household support for each dependent family member.

The memo also outlines a $300 billion plan to aid small businesses and their employees through a business interruption loan program. These loans would be made by financial institutions and backed by the federal government for amounts up to 100 percent of 6 weeks payroll, capped at $80,000 annual salary per employee.

Trump on Wednesday said he would invoke the Defense Production Act, which “allows the president to expand the supply of resources from American industry to support the fight against the Chinese coronavirus.”

He also urged young people to heed the warnings of public health officials and maintain the practice of social distancing as an effort to curb the impact of the virus in their local communities.

Regardless of his administration’s aggressive proposals, actions, and continual updates, the progressive dark money web appears to be working to undermine his administration’s efforts and, as a consequence, the confidence of the American people.

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