A network of Democratic non-profits and super PACs are funneling millions of dollars toward advertisements in key swing states, with the intent of politicizing the Wuhan coronavirus crisis and blaming the pandemic on President Donald Trump.
The Washington Post reported the group Pacronym is planning to spend $5 million on ads attacking Trump’s response to the pandemic. Pacronym, whose board of directors includes former Barack Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, said its ads will target key 2020 swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona.
Pacronym is the political action committee affiliated with Acronym, the non-profit who also funded Shadow, Inc., the company responsible for the failed Iowa caucuses reporting app. Acronym is financed by a larger democratic dark money group, New Venture Fund.
In 2018, the New Venture Fund gave at least $250,000 to Acronym, Acronym’s 2018 990 IRS forms show. New Venture Fund is just one of the dark money nonprofit funds under the umbrella of the for-profit, privately held consultancy called Arabella Advisors, LLC.
Another Democratic PAC called American Bridge said they will also be running similar ads politicizing the pandemic in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. American Bridge told the Washington Post it would be placing an additional ad on “Trump’s incompetence,” including “clips of Trump himself downplaying the crisis.”
American Bridge also receives funding from the New Venture Fund, as well as another one of Arabella’s non-profit groups, Sixteen Thirty Fund. Both non-profits share an address and interlocking officers with the for-profit Arabella. In 2018, Politico reported that the Sixteen Thirty Fund “funneled millions of dollars to progressive causes” by setting up a secret-money network of other groups, which were the “most prolific political advertisers of 2018” when combined.
Now, Arabella is sending funds down through its spider web of nonprofits to politicize a time of fear and instability before the 2020 election.
“Crises like this one should be a time for national unity, and instead, this large left-wing dark money group is taking advantage of the coronavirus to score cheap political points against the president,” Adam Laxalt, outside counsel of Americans For Public Trust, told The Federalist.
Laxalt said that while the White House is busy trying to secure financial support for Americans and small businesses, these Democrat groups are secretly spending millions of dollars in political campaigns.
“It’s beyond the pale,” he said. “There is plenty of time for politics down the road, but now is the time to focus on coming together.”
Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, told The Washington Post her group’s PAC plans to spend $2.5 million through the end of April in the first wave of coronavirus-related advertising, and ultimately expects to total $5 million through July.
The group has already cut ads attacking Trump for cutting funding to the Centers for Disease control and disbanding the White House’s pandemic response team, a Democratic talking point that has been repeatedly debunked by the Associated Press and the former director for counterproliferation and biodefense. They have also run a handful of ads critiquing Trump for the slow pace of testing for the novel virus.
"When you say me, I didn't do it."
— PACRONYM (@PACRONYM) March 18, 2020
Protect Our Care is another PAC funded by the New Venture Fund, thus in Arabella’s web. Protect Our Care’s president, Brad Woodhouse, is also president of American Bridge. Protect Our Care was using the national crisis in an attack ad against Republican Sen. Steve Daines as early as March 11, in attempt connect the Wuhan virus that is less than three months old to the Affordable Care Act.
The Capital Research Center reports that between 2013 and 2017, the Arabella network received a whopping $1.6 billion in contributions. While the source of their funding remains unknown, it’s clear they are willing to stop at nothing to attack Trump, even if it means politicizing the growing fears, illnesses, and deaths of American citizens.