While most Americans were hooked on the 2020 electoral battle between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, Washington’s biggest “dark money” network was quietly funneling tens of millions of dollars into races meant to flip the Republican-held Senate and advance the left’s permanent transformation of America.
Meet Arabella Advisors, the Beltway’s best-kept secret.
Arabella Advisors is a for-profit consulting firm founded by former Clinton administration staffer Eric Kessler, who started his career as an environmental activist for the League of Conservation Voters. The firm controls four nonprofits (the “sisters”) with vague names and a common address: the 501©(3) New Venture Fund, Hopewell Fund, and Windward Fund, and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, Arabella’s 501©(4) lobbying shop. Each of these nonprofits pays the company for the privilege of being staffed and led by Arabella folks ($137 million since 2008), and all four are behemoths—bringing in $731 million from difficult-to-trace donors in 2019 alone.
My colleagues and I at the Capital Research Center have studied the Arabella network for over two years. Here’s how it works.
Arabella’s nonprofits act as the left’s premier pass-through funders for professional activists. Big foundations—including the Gates, Buffett, and Ford Foundations—have laundered billions of dollars through this network, washing their identities from the dollars that go to push radical policies on America.
But the real juice from these nonprofits comes from the vast array of “pop-up groups” they run—called so because they consist almost solely of slick websites that may pop into existence one day and pop out the next, usually once the campaign is through. We’ve counted over 350 such front groups pushing everything from federal funding of abortion to overhauling Obamacare to packing the Supreme Court.
Arabella is as dark as “dark money” gets. It’s also the prime example of liberal hypocrisy over anonymous political spending, operating in nearly total obscurity from the mainstream media, liberal dark money hawks like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), or even the conservative movement, from 2005 until 2019, when the Capital Research Center yanked it into the spotlight.
As more of this massive web of groups—responsible for churning out nearly $2.5billion since its creation—has come into focus, one thing’s become clear: When a special interest donor goes to Arabella, they’re expecting a political payoff.
Nothing better illustrates this than the network’s spending spree in 2020, when it channeled an unprecedented sum into critical races that handed key Senate seats to the Democrats, passed liberal ballot initiatives in states, and even set up the campaign to make the District of Columbia the 51st state. And all of this was run from Arabella’s plush offices in downtown Washington, D.C.