Dark money critic Mark Kelly receives huge boost from dark money-fueled group in AZ Senate race

  • by:
  • Source: FoxNews
  • 09/23/2022
A dark money-fueled voter mobilization group is parachuting into Arizona to aid Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who has criticized dark money's influence in politics and his state.

Somos PAC, a left-wing committee that works to get Latino voters to the polls, dropped $100,000 into canvassing for Kelly on Sept. 19, Federal Election Commission records show. Since late August, the group has pushed $337,144 into Arizona to boost the retired astronaut.

Somos PAC is primarily bankrolled by anonymous donations passed through nonprofits. Kelly has said that undisclosed contributions are "poisoning" the American political system and "drowning out the voices of everyday Arizonans."

According to Somos PAC's filings, the group has received $4.1 million from the North Fund, a nonprofit that hides its donors and boasts connections to a billion-dollar dark money network managed by the Washington, D.C.-based Arabella Advisors consulting firm.

The North Fund reported $9.3 million in undisclosed donations in its 2019 tax forms. The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a nonprofit incubator overseen by Arabella Advisors, was the North Fund's sole funder that year, according to their tax forms. In 2020, the North Fund raised $66 million, $19.3 million of which came from the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

At least one individual also works on behalf of the North Fund and Arabella Advisors. Saurabh Gupta, who is listed in North Fund's tax forms as general counsel, is also general counsel for Arabella Advisors, according to the firm's website.

The North Fund's millions account for more than half of Somos PAC's contributions this cycle, but it's not the only dark money it hauled in.

The New Hampshire-based Family Friendly Action Fund has provided $447,150 to Somos PAC. State records show the Family Friendly Action Fund registered the trade name Somos Votantes, an advocacy group aiming to "increase voter participation and provide Latinos with tactical ways they can participate in shaping the future of American politics." Somos Votantes is the sister organization of Somos PAC.

Somos PAC also received a $175,000 donation from the Change Now PAC. The money went to the committee just days after the Sixteen Thirty Fund had transferred $200,000 into its coffers. Change Now is entirely bankrolled by the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

Change Now also appears to be linked to a covert political operation tied to Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, who has quietly emerged as a significant funder of Democratic causes.

In 2015, the Wyss Foundation, one of two nonprofits established by the Swiss financier, created an operation at the Sixteen Thirty Fund and New Venture Fund, another Arabella-managed nonprofit, called The Hub Project, according to a New York Times report. Years before Wyss had been linked to the operation, the Times reported that the Hub Project controlled the Change Now PAC.
Marneé Banks, a consultant for Wyss' groups, previously told Fox News Digital that they "expressly prohibit their grantees from using grant funds for electoral activities, including to support or oppose political candidates or parties."

"The Wyss Foundation and Berger Action Fund follow all laws, regulations and disclosure requirements," Banks said.
Despite Kelly receiving help from a group bankrolled by dark money, he has repeatedly fundraised off its dangers this year. As recently as Sept. 13, Kelly on Twitter asked his followers to chip in money to push back against secretive cash flooding the airwaves in his race.

The Arizona Senate race could help determine which party controls Congress' upper chamber following the November elections. Recent polls have shown Kelly with an eight-point lead over Blake Masters.

Kelly's campaign did not respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.
Source: FoxNews
Mark Kelly Mask by is licensed under Getty Images

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