Left-wing Arabella Advisors at bottom of Supreme Court’s dark money trail, judicial watchdog says

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Left-wing Arabella Advisors at bottom of Supreme Court’s dark money trail, judicial watchdog says

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! FIRST ON FOX: Conservative watchdog group Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) launched a campaign Wednesday

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FIRST ON FOX: Conservative watchdog group Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) launched a campaign Wednesday outlining the financial structure of political consulting firm Arabella Advisors and its ties to left-wing activist groups through “dark money” networks.

The campaign is the latest in a series of investigations into the source of left-wing judicial activists’ financial support, broke down the distribution of funds by group and campaign. The flow of money almost always runs through the Arabella Advisors accounts on its way to activist organizations, JCN says.

As part of the campaign, the group is putting $2.5 million behind an ad, called the “Huge Payback,” which will air nationally and in Washington, D.C., digitally and on cable TV.

“The president, and the Senate – were bankrolled by Arabella Advisors,” the ad states. “A record amount of dark money, over a billion, put them in office. So they’ll put up an Arabella Judge, a liberal activist, a Biden rubber stamp. A huge sum. A huge payback. 

JCN says that Arabella Advisors spent nearly $1.2 billion in 2020 across its network of dark money groups, including the Sixteen Thirty Fund, Hopewell Fund, New Venture Fund, North Fund and Windward Fund.

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The Sixteen Thirty Fund has ties to left-wing organizations nationwide, serving as both a consultant service and a financial assistant. Money accumulated in the Sixteen Thirty Fund is virtually untraceable due to the structure of the firm. Each of the funds acts as a fiscal sponsor to other liberal nonprofits, meaning they provide their tax and legal status to the nonprofits housed beneath the funds. This arrangement allows the fiscally sponsored groups to avoid filing tax forms to the IRS, which would shed light on their financials.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund provided $325 million in 2020 to liberal endeavors, according to tax forms. Its lucrative grants went to groups such as America Votes ($128 million), Defending Democracy Together ($10 million), a Bill Krystol-directed group, and American Bridge 21st Century Foundation ($2.1 million), led by liberal operative David Brock. 

JCN claims that the dark money influence can be observed in the recent retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The group points to Arabella-founded group Demand Justice, which led a dark money campaign to attempt to push Justice Breyer into retiring. Demand Justice recently hired a mobile billboard and put money behind ads urging the justice to retire.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said Monday that White House chief of staff Ron Klain told a “limited number of people” Justice Stephen Breyer was retiring from the Supreme Court last week, shortly before the news broke publicly. 

Associate Justice Stephen Breyer on April 23, 2021. (Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo)

Associate Justice Stephen Breyer on April 23, 2021. (Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo)

Breyer announced his retirement in an event at the White House with President Biden the next day. He said in a letter to the president that he plans to stay on to the end of the current Supreme Court term, which will end in late June or early July, before stepping down – assuming his replacement has been confirmed by the Senate. 

“Left-wing dark money groups in the Arabella Advisors network spent a jaw-dropping amount of money in 2020 to help elect Joe Biden and Senate Democrats.  These groups have done everything in their power to corrupt the judiciary and the judicial nominations process, from running smear campaigns against Justices Kavanaugh and Barrett to pushing radical court packing reforms to even intimidating Justice Breyer into retirement,” JCN president Carrie Severino told Fox News Digital.

“Now that they have a vacancy, they want payback for their dark money spending in the form of a Supreme Court justice who will be a rubber stamp for their unpopular and far-left political agendas,” Severino continued.

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Tax forms show the New Venture Fund paid nearly $27 million to Arabella, while the Sixteen Thirty Fund disbursed $9 million to the firm. The Windward Fund doled out almost $3 million for its services, while the Hopewell Fund added $6.6 million to Arabella. The group was paid $45 million between the funds for their management services.

Eric Kessler, a former Bill Clinton appointee and member of the Clinton Global Initiative, is the founder and head of Arabella Advisors. 

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Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., are leading congressional efforts to expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 seats. The Democratic lawmakers were joined by members from activist groups Demand Justice, Take Back the Court and Indivisible as they announced legislation on the matter in mid-April.

Prior to the announcement, those left-wing groups formed a coalition to undo former President Trump’s judicial legacy, which included plans of adding justices to the nation’s top court.

Fox News’s Joe Schoffstall , Cameron Cawthorne, Tyler Olson and Kelly Phares contributed to this report.

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