Dem Operative Bankrolled By Soros, Planned Parenthood Runs Web Of Local ‘News’ Sites Across US Misleading Voters

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Courier Newsroom, a George Soros-backed news initiative, has established multiple local news outlets across key swing states while failing to disclose major leftist donors or the fact that their parent company is run by a Democratic operative, according to a bombshell Monday morning report from NOTUS.

The network, which now operates 10 newsrooms in political battleground states, was originally the brain child of Tara McGowan, a democratic operative who previously worked at Obama for America and served as press secretary to Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, according to her LinkedIn page.

The Dogwood, a Virginia based online local that’s now part of Courier’s slate of newsrooms, was incubated in 2019 in McGowan’s nonprofit, ACRONYM, with the goal of “flipping of both State House and State Senate chambers,” according to a 2019 McGowan memo

ACRONYM spent over $100 million to help defeat former President Trump in 2020, according to Fast Company. (RELATED: Mega Anti-Trump GOP Donor Gave PACRONYM More Than $1 Million Because ‘Democracy Is At Stake’)

Courier split from ACRONYM in 2021 when McGowan created a new public benefit corporation, Good Information Inc., and raised a round of seed funding from Soros and other Dem-donating billionaires like Reid Hoffman, according to Axios.

At the time, McGowan reportedly claimed “We are disclosing our investors, because we believe — especially right now in this environment of mistrust — that transparency is really important.”

But watchdogs have questioned the organization’s transparency.

“Courier Newsroom sites do not disclose ownership and financing, they do not disclose possible conflicts of interest, nor do they gather and present information responsibility,” NewsGuard editor McKenzie Sadeghi told NOTUS. 

Courier currently lists four funders on its website: Vero Media Investments, Incite Labs Inc., Technology for Democracy and the Kenneth & Jennifer Duda Living Trust. The website does not mention any investment from Soros, whose nonprofit Fund for Policy Reform Inc. donated $2.5 million in 2022, according to NOTUS.

It also fails to mention the $250,000 Planned Parenthood donated between June 2021 and June 2022, a year in which the organization produced a heavy flow of content highlighting abortion access as a key issue in state races, the outlet reported.

Their slate of websites reportedly appear to draw users in with content like Friday’s “23 of the best Michigan Bloody Marys to pack a brunch,” which was published in their Michigan local “The Gander.”

The same day, The Gander also published a story titled “80% of House Republicans support plan to cut Social Security, ban abortion, and restrict IVF.”

“The goal was to get persuadable voters engaged with unassuming content, then feed them political persuasion content, using underwriters who would pay Courier to come up with the content,” a previous employee of Courier told NOTUS.

Courier was reportedly the subject of a 2020 FEC complaint alleging the newsroom should be treated as a political action committee and therefore subject to FEC rules requiring them to disclose their donors to the public.

The complaint, which was filed by Americans for Public Trust, cites McGowan’s 2019 memo which claimed Courier adopted a revenue model “to serve both Democratic organizations and progressive advocacy organizations to advance their strategic objectives.”

The memo also claimed that Courier would “Enable Democrats to compete with Republican echo chambers online; Build nimble communications infrastructure for Dems in critical states; Reach voters with strategic narratives + information year-round; Make cyclical investments in paid advertising more cost-efficient + effective over time.”

The FEC dismissed the case in 2022, claiming “there is no basis to conclude that any funds were given to Courier for the purpose of influencing a federal election (as opposed to funding the operations of a press entity covering and commenting on a variety of issues, including elections). Accordingly, the record indicates that Courier did not satisfy the statutory threshold for political committee status.”

The CEO of Americans for Public Trust castigated Courier Newsrooms and McGowan in a Monday tweet, saying they’re “running a progressive propaganda ‘newsroom,’ bankrolled by liberal dark money, with the goal of targeting and misleading voters.”

McGowan, who appeared on a popular Freakonomics podcast episode titled “Why the Left Had to Steal the Right’s Dark-Money Playbook” in 2020, has been embroiled in dark money controversies in the past, perhaps most notably ACRONYM’s commissioning of Shadow, a company which created a vote-counting app which the Democrats used in the 2020 Iowa caucuses. (RELATED: Clinton Campaign Veterans Run Firm That Built The Disastrous Iowa Caucus Phone App)

The app failed to accurately count the votes leading to delays in reporting. “While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system,” Iowa Democrats said in a February 2020 statement.

When the votes were eventually tallied, the Iowa Democratic Party awarded then-former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg with the win and the most delegates. Democratic Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had initially declared victory after winning the most raw votes, but the party only awarded him with 12 delegates.

Buttigieg’s campaign donated $42,250 to Shadow in 2019, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation.