A Democratic super PAC founded by Clinton operative David Brock that has received $17 million in dark money called on Congress Thursday to “get dark money out of our elections.”
“Billions of dollars have flowed into federal, state, and local races from billionaires and special interests who are spending unlimited and untraceable money in our elections,” American Bridge 21st Century (AB PAC) wrote in an email to its supporters Thursday. “We must put an end to Citizens United and end the corrupting influence of dark money in our elections.”
But AB PAC relies heavily on dark money.
The super PAC’s largest single donor since its inception has been American Bridge 21st Century Foundation (AB Foundation), its sister 501(c)(4) nonprofit group that, unlike a super PAC, is not required to publicly disclose the identities of its contributors.
The dark money group has pumped $17 million into AB PAC since 2010, according to Federal Election Commission records. AB Foundation does not disclose the identities of its contributors due to its 501(c)(4) status.
Financier George Soros is the second-largest contributor to AB PAC with $4.4 million in recorded donations since 2010.
AB Foundation says the millions it gives to Brock’s super PAC is meant to cover its portion of resources the two organizations share, such as employees and office space, but the American Bridge entities have had no formal cost-sharing agreement in place since at least 2015.
The foundation started in its 2013 application to the IRS to obtain nonprofit status that it had “entered into a cost-sharing agreement” with AB PAC “to allocate shared overhead costs so that neither entity is financially supporting the activities of the other.”
AB PAC and AB Foundation did not return requests for comment.
Brock, a conservative journalist-turned liberal hatchet man known for launching the left-wing watchdog group Media Matters, founded AB PAC in 2010 to serve as the “opposition research engine of the Democratic Party.”
Media Matters, an IRS-designated charity, shares a close relationship with the openly political American Bridge entities. The three companies all reside on the same floor of a Washington, D.C., office building.
Also in 2016, Media Matters had a close relationship with Brock’s other political action committee, Correct the Record, which shared office space with Media Matters while it openly coordinated with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Money has also flown from AB Foundation to other entities Brock owns.
Most notably, in 2017, AB Foundation donated $1.65 million to the parent company of Brock’s online for-profit media company, Shareblue, Mediaite reported.
Shareblue changed its name to The American Independent in November 2019.
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