You Know About George Soros, but This Foreign Megadonor May Be Even More Dangerous

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By Oceana - The Wyss Foundation and Oceana, CC BY 3.0

If you’ve paid even the most fleeting of attention to American politics in the last two decades, the name “George Soros” is all but certain to be a familiar one to you. Soros has given billions of dollars to fund the most radical left-wing groups in America, and much of the crime wave that has swept this country in recent years is attributable to big-city prosecutors whose campaigns he helped fund. 

But there is another foreign billionaire who has done at least as much as Soros and quite possibly more to advance the radical Left in recent years, including illegal campaign donations to major Democrats in Congress, hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to left-wing groups that then helped fund dozens of other influential Democrats, and more hundreds of millions to lefty enviro, social and economic policy, and voter registration groups. It’s likely not an exaggeration to say, for example, that the Center for American Progress would have nowhere near its existing influence without him.

Let me tell you about Wyss… No, actually, I’m going to let Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center (CRC), do that with his recent testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee. If you aren’t familiar with CRC, check it out because this bunch does superb investigative research that regularly exposes who is behind virtually every left-wing group in politics (footnotes at the link above): 

Chairmen [Jason] Smith [R-Mo.] and [David] Schweikert [R-Az], Ranking Member [William] Pascrell [D-N.J.], distinguished members of the [Oversight] Subcommittee, thank you for the honor of testifying. I’m president of the Capital Research Center, where we study how special interests engage in politics, especially through nonprofits. His name is Hansjorg Wyss. 

I’m excited to be asked to discuss foreign money in American nonprofits, because in our deeply polarized world, foreign money in our politics is opposed by nearly everyone—left, right, and center. Last year when I testified alongside today’s Democratic witness, he raised the spectre of illegal foreign contributions to 501(c)(4) nonprofits and cited a journal article whose author insisted foreign donations pose “different and greater” dangers than legal, domestic donations to (c)(4)s—donations often criticized as “dark money.” 

Our happy task of bringing Left and Right together on this threat should be even easier, because by far the largest case I know of where foreign money flows to American (c)(4)s and (c)(3)s involves a billionaire. While conservatives don’t insist billionaires shouldn’t even exist, as one Democratic Member of this House has said, we do criticize billionaire donors when they improperly interfere with American politics, as when the Zuckerbergs gave a half-billion dollars to manipulate the 2020 elections.

Today we can focus on the Swiss billionaire and foreign national Hansjörg Wyss, who in the last two decades gave roughly a half-billion dollars to America’s largest “dark money” network, the sprawling empire run by Arabella Advisors. Don’t think I’m pushing a conspiracy theory. My written testimony carefully documents this foreign billionaire’s meddling in America citing only mainstream media sources—the New York Times, Politico, and the Associated Press—plus the Federal Election Commission’s general counsel.

The FEC’s general counsel notes Wyss illegally made direct political contributions, though the statute of limitations has expired, giving to Sen. Dick Durbin and Reps. Jay Inslee and Mark Udall, among others.

The Associated Press calls Wyss a “Democratic-aligned megadonor” and reports his nonprofits helped “bankroll efforts to lift President Joe Biden’s agenda and paid for TV ads promoting Democratic congressional candidates” in the midterms.

The New York Times reports, “tax filings show [the Wyss Foundation and (c)(4) Berger Action Fund] donated $208 million from 2016 through [2020] to three other nonprofit funds that doled out money to a wide array of groups that backed progressive causes and helped Democrats in their efforts to win the White House and control of Congress.” “Beneficiaries” of Wyss’s “direct giving included … organizations that ran voter registration and mobilization campaigns to increase Democratic turnout, [and] built media outlets accused of slanting the news to favor Democrats.”

Politico reports Wyss gave $1 million to the “National Redistricting Action Fund, a sister group of Democrats’ national redistricting hub.”

This is truly shocking:  A foreign national billionaire appears to have affected the very membership of this House and this Committee. The lines governing the districts you represent may have been carved in part by foreign money. The same foreign cash may have funded the turnout efforts in your last elections.

Surely we can all agree this is not the role of foreign billionaires.

Note that this foreign billionaire wasn’t operating alone. For two decades he’s been joined at the hip with the undisputed heavyweight of Democratic “dark money,” the Arabella Advisors empire. The nonprofits run by Arabella include (c)(3)s and (c)(4)s. They are gargantuan. In the 2018 election cycle, these nonprofits raised $1.2 billion; in 2020, $2.6 billion; in 2022, $3 billion.

Several remedies have been suggested to deal with this problem. Some are reasonable. For instance, legislation introduced into the House that would prohibit (c)(4)s that receive foreign cash from donating to Super PACS for several years. Other responses include Prof. Hackney’s suggestion that private foundations be eliminated from the tax code, and my own think tank’s suggestion that (c)(3) foundations and charities not be allowed to fund or execute voter registration and turnout. The president of Wyss’s Foundation and (c)(4), Molly McUsic, was involved in a massive (c)(3) voter registration scheme that’s still active and deserves its own hearing.

Some people call for greater enforcement by the IRS, but we all know the IRS has been badly abused by both parties in the past and is always likely to have partisans like Lois Lerner overseeing enforcement.

Lastly, there’s the supposedly all-purpose cure for everything nonprofit; namely, government-coerced donor disclosure. I’m proud to stand with the NAACP of Bull Connor’s 1950s Alabama and the NAACP of this afternoon, who oppose that ugly intrusion on the privacy of American citizens.

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