Dark Money Juggernaut Boosting Dems Got Massive Chunk Of Funding From Foreign Billionaire’s Nonprofit, Report Finds

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A single foreign billionaire’s nonprofit was responsible for roughly one-sixth of a massive left-wing dark money group’s revenue over the past few years, according to a new report.

The Berger Action Fund, a nonprofit founded by Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, gave $143 million to the Sixteen Thirty Fund between 2019 and 2022, a new report from the Capital Research Center found, constituting roughly 16% of the group’s revenue. The Sixteen Thirty Fund involves itself heavily in electoral politics by boosting Democrats, funding left-of-center ballot initiatives and bankrolling get-out-the-vote operations aimed at mobilizing liberal demographics.

Using nonprofit disclosure reports, the Capital Research Center found that 31.5% of the Sixteen Thirty Fund’s publicly disclosed donations came from the Berger Action Fund between 2019 and 2022. Sixteen Thirty Fund engages in political activity but as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit does not have to disclose the sources of its funding. Nonprofits that donate to the group, however, are required to publicly disclose their contributions.

“It’s deeply concerning that a man like Hansjorg Wyss accounts for such a large portion of the Sixteen Thirty Fund’s revenues,” Parker Thayer, an analyst at the Capital Research Center and one of the report’s authors, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Liberal Dark Money Juggernaut Funneled Over $60 Million To Groups Mobilizing Voters In 2022)

“Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from contributing to PACs in the United States, and the Sixteen Thirty Fund contributes millions every year to Democrats-aligned PACs,” he continued.

“The Berger Action Fund does not support or oppose political candidates or engage in electoral activities, and any allegations to the contrary are patently false,” Wyss’ nonprofit told the DCNF in a statement.

Wyss, a Swiss billionaire, has not disclosed publicly whether he is a United States citizen, The New York Times reported in 2021. A book written by his sister and published in 2014 claims that he “never applied for citizenship,” according to RealClearPolitics.

“Federal law prohibits contributions, donations, expenditures (including independent expenditures) and disbursements solicited, directed, received or made directly or indirectly by or from foreign nationals in connection with any federal, state or local election,” according to the Federal Election Commission.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 01: Former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg (L) and philanthropist Hansjorg Wyss attend Oceana's 2015 New York City benefit at Four Seasons Restaurant on April 1, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Oceana)

Former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg (L) and philanthropist Hansjorg Wyss (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Oceana)

The Sixteen Thirty Fund gave roughly $164 million to super PACs and other explicitly political organizations in 2020, with many of the outfits funded working to unseat then-President Donald Trump and to expand the Democratic presence in Congress, Politico reported. The nonprofit made large donations to super PACs supporting President Joe Biden.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund also spent millions in 2022 backing a successful pair of ballot measures in Michigan that legalized abortion up to birth and allowed people to vote without presenting valid ID. Additionally, the fund spent millions mobilizing minority voters ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

“Nearly all of the donations we receive are intended for specific projects or purposes and may be restricted by donors from being used for certain activities” a Sixteen Thirty Fund spokesperson told the DCNF. “Many grants, like those from Berger Action Fund, cannot be used for electoral activities, and every contribution is used in strict compliance with all guidelines, regulations and laws,” they continued.

Robert Stilson, the report’s other author, argues that the problem of opaque funding for liberal nonprofits extends beyond the Berger Action Fund.

“It’s no surprise that many of the Arabella network’s top funders—Ford, Hewlett, Rockefeller, JPB, and more—all end with the word ‘Foundation,'” he said. “These are the institutional standard-bearers of Big Philanthropy, and Big Philanthropy is the institutional underwriter of left-of-center activism.”

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