Trump-hating megadonors funding scheme to keep him from ballot

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President Donald J. Trump walks from the Oval Office to the South Lawn of White House to board Marine One for Joint Base Andrews Maryland Friday, June 5, 2020, to begin his trip to Bangor, Maine. (Official White House photo by Tia Dufour)
President Donald J. Trump walks from the Oval Office to the South Lawn of White House to board Marine One for Joint Base Andrews Maryland Friday, June 5, 2020, to begin his trip to Bangor, Maine. (Official White House photo by Tia Dufour)

By Katelynn Richardson
Daily Caller News Foundation

Several organizations fueled by Democrat-aligned and left-wing funds have launched efforts in recent weeks to remove former President Donald Trump from the 2024 election ballot.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), funded by left-wing donors like George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society, filed a lawsuit Sept. 6 to remove Trump from the ballot in Colorado, citing the 14th Amendment’s language disqualifying anyone who took an oath to the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” from holding office. Free Speech for People and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, also backed by left-wing donors, launched a campaign urging top state election officials and Secretaries of State to remove Trump from the ballot based on the same 14th amendment claims.

Free Speech for People’s legal director Ron Fein has also promised on multiple occasions to file legal challenges against Trump before 2024 primaries in multiple states. The organization filed a lawsuit against Trump in Minnesota on Tuesday.

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Mi Familia Vota receives funds from multiple non-profits in Democrat-linked consultant firm Arabella Advisors’ network, including the New Venture Fund, the Sixteen Thirty Fund and the Hopewell Fund. The New Venture Fund granted the organization $290,000 in 2021 and $275,000 in 2020, while the Sixteen Thirty Fund provided $130,000 in 2021, according to tax documents.

The Hopewell Fund awarded Mi Familia Vota $150,000 in 2021 and $40,000 in 2020, per tax records. The funds from Arabella Advisors non-profit were provided either for “civil rights, social action, advocacy” or “environmental programs.”

Like other dark money groups, each of the non-profits are set up as 501(c)(3) public charities or 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, whose donors are not publicly disclosed. As a result, the identities of the wealthy donors whose money they funnel into a variety of left-wing causes are masked.

Arabella Advisors’ founder and managing director, Eric Kessler, was a former official in the Clinton administration. The firm provides a variety of management services to a network of nonprofits that fund left-wing causes and Democratic candidates.

The Tides Foundation, a left-leaning 501(c)(3) that supports progressive nonprofits, has also awarded grants to both Mi Familia Vota and Free Speech for People.

Mi Familia Vota received $66,652 from the Tides Foundation in 2020 and $117,000 in 2021 for the purposes of “equality, human rights, and economic empowerment” and “healthy individuals and communities,” according to tax documents. Free Speech for People received $93,687 from the organization in 2019, $250,000 in 2020 and $7,129 in 2021, for project support and “healthy individuals and communities,” according to tax documents.

“The myth that that moneyed interest of America support only the Right can only survive so long as Arabella and Tides remain unknown, and so these groups are never discussed by the mainstream media, even while their armies of pop-up activist groups are quoted regularly in friendly puff-pieces espousing the ‘grassroots’ activism being carried out by a billion-dollar D.C. based operation,” Capital Research Center investigative researcher Parker Thayer told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Mi Familia Vota also received over $7 million between 2016 and 2021 from the Voter Registration Project, a 501(c)(3) which presents itself as a “nonpartisan” organization despite hiring left-wing consultants and targeting demographics that vote Democrat, according to an analysis by Capital Research Center.

Meanwhile, CREW has received $2.5 million from the George Soros-backed Foundation to Promote Open Society, since 2011, according to tax documents. CREW has also received funds from the Democracy Alliance, a collective of left-wing donors, according to a 2014 funding snapshot obtained by The Washington Free Beacon.

CREW’s lawsuit features six Republican or unaffiliated plaintiffs, including former Rhode Island Rep. Claudine (Cmarada) Schneider. The lawsuit alleges Trump’s involvement in Jan. 6 and efforts to overturn the 2020 election “were part of an insurrection against the Constitution of the United States.”

“By instigating this unprecedented assault on the American constitutional order, Trump violated his oath and disqualified himself under the Fourteenth Amendment from holding public office, including the Office of the President,” the lawsuit alleges.

Mi Familia Vota and Free Speech for People, which similarly argue Trump is disqualified from holding office under the 14th Amendment because he engaged in insurrection through his involvement in Jan. 6, have sent letters to election officials in at least nine states.

“Free Speech For People is a nonpartisan organization and launched this campaign to enforce the U.S. Constitution and protect the republic against the very danger which Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted to prevent,” Fein told the DCNF. “We do not coordinate with any political parties or candidates, and our supporters for this effort include Republicans, Democrats, and none of the above.”

Trump supporters, however, see these groups’ efforts as little more than a ploy to illegitimately derail the former president’s re-election prospects.

“Left-wing billionaires who contribute to donor-advised funds such as the Tides Foundation are terrified of Donald Trump being on the ballot,” Mike Davis, founder of the Article III Project, a conservative legal organization, told the DCNF. “They know that the American people want a president who prioritizes them, not the political causes of San Francisco liberal billionaires. The only way they can drag Joe Biden across the finish line against Trump in 2024 is to ensure the two never get to race.”

All three groups looking to keep Trump off the ballot also have long records of left-wing activism and campaigning against the former president.

In 2017, CREW filed a lawsuit alleging Donald Trump violated the U.S. Constitution when foreign governments paid his hotels to stay as guests or host events. It threatened to take legal action on the basis of the 14th amendment if Trump launched a presidential campaign back in November 2022, which it finally did last week.

The organization, which describes itself as a watchdog group, has backed a number of other liberal causes, recently calling on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign over alleged ethics violations.

Similarly, Mi Familia Vota CEO Hector Sanchez Barba, who is also the chair of Planned Parenthood Global, said in 2020 that Trump “is the greatest threat to our community and democracy.” The organization focuses on increasing engagement among largely Democratic Latino voters.

Free Speech for People co-launched the website the same day Trump was sworn into office in 2017. The group said in its 2019 end-of-year update that the movement it built “led to the US House of Representatives formally launching an impeachment investigation of the president.”

Free Speech For People’s leadership has ties to other left-wing and Democratic groups. Its former senior political advisor, Steve Cobble, co-founded the Progressive Democrats of America.

Mi Familia Vota and CREW did not respond to requests for comment.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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