Liberal 'dark money' groups gave millions to SCOTUS watchdogs targeting Alito, Thomas, docs show

Arabella Advisors, which spent more than $1 billion last year on liberal causes, is currently being investigated by the D.C., attorney general.

Published: November 21, 2023 10:56am

Updated: November 21, 2023 12:17pm

Nonprofit organizations managed by the liberal "dark money" consulting firm Arabella Advisors gave millions of dollars to "nonpartisan" Supreme Court watchdogs, new documents show, after a campaign was launched earlier this year targeting conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito for not fully disclosing their finances.

Former Clinton appointee Eric Kessler founded Arabella Advisors in 2005, and its subsidiaries include the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the Hopewell Fund, the New Venture Fund, the Windward Fund and the North Fund. 

Common Cause, which has heavily criticized Alito and Thomas and is pushing the Supreme Court to pass a code of conduct, received nearly half a million dollars in 2022 from three of the Arabella Advisors subsidiaries, according to tax forms, The Washington Examiner reported Monday. 

In addition to the $490,250 given to Common Cause by the three subsidiaries last year, the group's charity arm, Common Cause Education Fund, received $780,500 from Arabella affiliates last year. 

"We do not comment on specific donations, but we make our donor list available online in accordance with our donor transparency policy," Common Cause spokesman David Vance told the Examiner. "We leave it up to donors whether or not to announce which of our programs their funds support."

Accountable.US, which describes itself as "producing hard-hitting research to hold special interests accountable and drive progressive change" and has harshly criticized conservative Supreme Court justices and the court's ethics, received more than $2 million last year from New Venture Fund, according to financial disclosures. From 2019 to 2021, Accountable.US received $8 million from the Arabella subsidiary. 

Arabella Advisors, which spent more than $1 billion last year on liberal causes, is currently being investigated alongside its offshoots by Washington, D.C., Attorney General Brian Schwalb.

The Arabella Advisors network has been accused for years of distributing "dark money," or donations from an untraceable source meant to influence political outcomes.

ProPublica, which wrote the original exposé on Thomas' financial disclosures, receives significant support from the Sandler Foundation, which has given millions to support Democratic campaigns.

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