Astroturf All the Way Down: The Dark Money Edition


Well, this little nugget got “buried on my desktop” for a couple of weeks but, since it still supports my not-at-all-hidden agenda here at the Lower Member Feed and should help some of my neighbors here see the world around them with a little more clarity, I think it is still worth documenting in a post. It was this quote on Instapundit that caught my eye:

“In May, a group called Accountable Tech, which calls itself a ‘small nonprofit taking on Big Tech companies,’ organized a corporate boycott to protest Elon Musk’s bid to buy Twitter. In the midwest, a group called Opportunity Wisconsin, which bills itself as a ‘coalition of Wisconsin residents,’ ran a deluge of TV ads slamming Republican senator Ron Johnson for his tax policies. And in Arizona, an organization of ‘grassroots racial justice’ activists called Just Democracy released a video blasting Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema for failing to support the Biden administration’s legislative agenda.

None of these groups actually exist. They are all registered trade names for the North Fund, a shape-shifting nonprofit group that uses aliases to push an array of left-wing causes from a shell office in Washington, D.C., according to corporate records.”

[Emphasis added]

It turns out that is the opening passage from this article:

The Shape-Shifting DC Dark Money Group Disguising Liberal Campaigns Across the Country

Worth reading in full but here are some teasers:

…the fund, which isn’t required to disclose the donors behind its $66 million budget, is gearing up to be one of the most consequential dark-money players of the midterm elections. …

…”If untraceable money is flooding the latest policy or legislative fight under the guise of grassroots activism, chances are, North Fund is behind it.” …

“[Organizations like the North Fund] disguise themselves in idealistic sounding group names while structuring their organizations in such a way that hides the true motivations and identity of their large donors.” …

… Despite its large budget and impact, the North Fund has almost no physical footprint. When the Free Beacon visited its office in downtown D.C.—a co-working rental space managed by the company Carr Workplaces—the front desk manager said the North Fund uses the address but doesn’t maintain a presence there. “I’m not sure where they’re actually located,” he said. …

Imagine for a moment if that shadow address just happened to be in a Trump property and supporting “Right-wing” causes. Would all of this “shape-shifting” and the connections of these Potemkin organizations be spelled out clearly in breathless reportage from sea to shining sea? Instead, silence. Really, think about it. But I digress.

As we sit here today in the middle of another major propaganda cycle it is important to see the game and how the masses are being manipulated. The groundwork was expertly laid in the last cycle with weeks of non-specific “We must help Ukraine” emotionalism. Once that foundation began to solidify that help came in the form of a $40 billion properly mixed slurry of aid and DC kickbacks…and to even question that grotesquely insulting amount was easily demagogued as Putin stoogery.  (Note that, just five years ago, our extremely frugal House refused to provide a president actually chosen by We the People funding in the form of single-digit billions to protect our southern border. If you don’t see the difference in kickback potential as the critical difference here then you just are not paying attention.)

Today, the gun control groundwork is being prepared with more non-specific “we must do something” emotionalism. Don’t think for a moment that the shape-shifting network of dark money shell organizations (with their on-call rent-a-mob crews) isn’t already shifting into high gear. The Progressive propaganda machine is getting better at this and the masses are getting more conditioned to respond quicker and stronger to the call.

History tells us there is always at least one moron like Bob Corker in the crowd. I’m keeping my eye on a true Texas moron: John Cornyn.

Into the abyss…

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Don’t miss yesterday’s outrage du jour: The Silence of the Intellectually Dishonest: The Logan Act Edition

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  1. genferei Member

    Astroturf only works when people – or politicians – take the media seriously. Stop doing it! No one in the past did. Almost no one in the rest of the world does. Just. Say. Nonsense. 

    • #1
  2. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield

    Remember when, 20 years ago, the Pew Charitable Trusts and other liberal organizations astroturfed a fake groundswell of popular support for the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill?

    Astroturf Politics
    How liberal foundations fooled Congress into passing McCain-Feingold.
    by John Fund

    Monday, March 21, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST
    The Wall Street Journal

    If a political gaffe consists of inadvertently revealing the truth, then Sean Treglia, a former program officer for the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, has just ripped the curtain off of the “good government” groups that foisted the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill on the country in 2002…

    …What Mr. [Sean] Treglia revealed in a talk last year at the University of Southern California is that far from representing the efforts of genuine grass-roots activists, the campaign finance reform lobby was controlled and funded by liberal foundations like Pew.

    “The target audience for all this [foundation] activity was 535 people in [Congress],” Mr. Treglia says in his talk. “The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot. That everywhere [Congress] looked, in academic institutions, in the business community, in religious groups, in ethnic groups, everywhere, people were talking about reform.”

    The truth was far different. Mr. Treglia admits that campaign-finance supporters had to try to hoodwink Congress because “they had lost legitimacy inside Washington because they didn’t have a constituency that would punish Congress if they didn’t vote for reform.”

    So instead, according to Mr. Treglia, liberal reform groups created a Potemkin movement. A study last month by the Political Money Line, a nonpartisan Web site dealing with campaign funding issues, found that of the $140 million spent to directly promote liberal campaign reform in the last decade, a full $123 million came from just eight liberal foundations. Many are the same foundations that provide much of the money for such left-wing groups as People for the American Way and the Earth Action Network


    • #2
  3. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield

    …Sounds like the kind of “faux news” that liberals are complaining the Bush administration was guilty of engineering when it put out video press releases or provided conservative commentator Armstrong Williams with a grant.

    The media simply didn’t think the involvement of liberal foundations in bankrolling campaign finance reform was a story. Mr. Treglia admits that “we had a scare” after George Will “stumbled across a report that we had done and attacked it in his column.” But he said nothing came of it. “Journalists didn’t care. . . . There was a panic there for a couple weeks, because we thought the story was going to begin to gather steam, and no one picked it up.” And they easily could have. Mr. Treglia admitted that despite all the efforts to hide the attempt to deceive Congress about the true origins of the campaign finance reform lobby, “if any reporter wanted to know, they could have sat down and connected the dots. But they didn’t.”

    • #3
  4. Ekosj Member

    The North Fund is managed by a Democratic consulting firm called Arabella Advisors

    And in NYC, Arabella Advisors Shares an address (1441 Broadway Suite 2002) with Fidelity Charitable.

    Fidelity Charitable asserts it provides “philanthropic guidance” and lists the following relationships across the country:



    Arabella AdvisorsExcellence In GivingPacific Foundation ServicesRockefeller Philanthropy Advisors




    Excellence In Giving


    District of Columbia


    Arabella Advisors




    Arabella AdvisorsRockefeller Philanthropy AdvisorsStrategic Philanthropy, Ltd.




    Dietel & Partners




    Excellence in Giving




    Excellence in GivingGMA FoundationsThe Philanthropic Initiative






    New York


    Arabella AdvisorsPhilanthropy AdvisorsRockefeller Philanthropy Advisors




    Mindful Philanthropy




    Excellence In Giving




    Dietel & Partners




    Dietel & Partners 

    • #4
  5. philo Member

    NOTICE: This Member post has been promoted to the Main Feed. Content may have been edited / corrected from the original without attribution by Ricochet.

    (Somewhere along the line it seems we – or I – stopped getting notifications about promotions. For what it’s worth, that is/was an important feature to at least one of us.)

    • #5
  6. philo Member

    We all know what lies at the end of the emotionally driven “something must be done” narrative. The most obvious example is the Patriot Act. We are reminded every time we are forced to take off our shoes, undergo a pat-down and complete the required full body scan to board an airplane. The lesser obvious data collection and electronic surveillance methods not withstanding…

    By the way, so much wrongness spews out almost every time this “interviewer” opens her mouth in this segment. A true narrative enabler:


    • #6
  7. philo Member

    philo: History tells us there is always at least one moron like Bob Corker in the crowd. I’m keeping my eye on a true Texas moron: John Cornyn.

    “At least” one moron, but likely more:

    Republicans Line up to Violate Your Rights in Order to Please Democrats

    Lastly, it appears “red flag” laws will be the major concession by Republicans going forward. …

    Here’s the thing, though. When whatever red flag laws that get passed fail to stop the next mass shooter, the call to “do something” will only grow louder. And the next “something” will be an even further encroachment. I understand the desire to act in good faith and attempt to take some of the heat off, but Republicans have to understand that the Democrat push for gun confiscation and an “assault weapons” ban will not stop with whatever compromise legislation arises here.

    That leaves the obvious question for Republicans: Is it smart to give ground when the end goal of the Democrats is being telegraphed to you? I know my answer.


    • #7
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