Big Left-Wing ‘Dark Money’ Groups Fund Schumer’s Secretive Anti-Filibuster Ally

By Mark Tapscott
Mark Tapscott
Mark Tapscott
Congressional Correspondent
Congressional Correspondent for The Epoch Times.
January 4, 2022 Updated: January 4, 2022

Fix Our Senate, the obscure outfit leading a coalition of 70 liberal advocacy groups backing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) anti-filibuster drive, is a left-wing “dark-money pop-up,” according to a political nonprofit finance expert.

“Fix Our Senate may present itself as a standalone, grassroots activist group, but it’s actually a front for the Sixteen Thirty Fund, itself part of a $1.7 billion left-wing ‘dark- money pop-up’ empire run by the shadowy consulting firm Arabella Advisors,” said Capital Research Center (CRC) senior investigative researcher Hayden Ludwig.

“We call these fronts ‘pop-ups’ because they’re websites which pop into existence, run attack campaigns, and disappear in an instant and almost never reveal their connection to Arabella or its nonprofits,” Ludwig told The Epoch Times on Jan. 4.

The CRC is a conservative nonpartisan foundation that specializes in tracking trends among the most influential charities, nonprofits, and special-interest groups affecting the public policy process in the nation’s capital.

“We study unions, environmentalist groups, and a wide variety of nonprofit and activist organizations. We also keep an eye on crony capitalists who seek to profit by taking advantage of government regulations and by getting their hands on taxpayers’ money,” CRC says of its purpose on its website.

Schumer promised earlier this week to seek a vote by Jan. 17 on abolishing or reforming the filibuster—the Senate’s “cloture” rule that requires 60 votes to end debate and vote on a proposal—if Senate Republicans block consideration of two election reform packages that are top priorities of the Democrats’ progressive, or far-left, faction.

Republicans argue the reforms—the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act—severely limit or eliminate entirely the use of photo IDs and related ballot security measures, and require that all proposed changes to state election laws have prior Department of Justice (DOJ) approval.

Measures such as strengthening voter identification requirements are highly popular with the public, with recent surveys by RasmussenMonmouthPew, and AP-NORC finding 72 to 80 percent support for requiring photo IDs to vote.

Fix Our Senate describes itself as a “coalition of more than 70 organizations (and counting) representing millions of Americans fighting to eliminate the filibuster and fix the Senate so our elected officials can finally start delivering on their promises.”

While no individuals are identified as officials on Fix Our Senate’s website, Eli Zupnick is identified by The Hill as a “spokesman.” He’s cited as praising Schumer for making “the choice clear: Senate Democrats must now choose between protecting our democracy or stubbornly preserving an outdated and abused Senate rule.”

The Epoch Times received no response to its questions submitted through the “Press Inquiries” contact form on the Fix Our Senate website by press time. Zupnick, who identifies himself with Fix Our Senate on his Twitter profile page, didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

He’s the former longtime communications director for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), working for her in various positions from 2009 until 2019. He also was briefly in 2019 the managing principal for Precision Strategies, a Washington and New York City political consulting and marketing firm co-founded by Stephanie Cutter, who identifies herself as the former deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.

Among the 70 organizations participating in the Fix Our Senate coalition are the American Muslim Civil Rights Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Equal Justice Society, Faith in Public Life, Friends of the Earth, League of Conservation Voters, Peoples’ Action, Right to Health Action, and United We Dream. Many of the participating groups are locally focused activists groups such as the Long Beach Alliance for Clean Energy and Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action.

Many of the coalition members, whether nationally or locally focused, share one thing in common—significant funding from the Sixteen Thirty/Arabella Fund dark money network, according to Ludwig.

“Because Fix Our Senate and other ‘pop-ups’ aren’t real nonprofits, they don’t file IRS Form 990 disclosures or publicly report their budgets, boards, or lobbying–making it impossible to trace their donors,” Ludwig explained. “Instead, all that money moves through the Sixteen Thirty Fund, itself created and managed by the for-profit company Arabella Advisors as a way for liberal mega-donors to quietly fund many of the Left’s most extreme causes.”

Ludwig said CRC has “traced about $10 million flowing from Arabella’s network funded by anonymous liberal donors to signatories on Fix Our Senate’s anti-filibuster coalition.”

Prospects for the success of the Schumer/Fix Our Senate campaign to abolish or reform the Senate filibuster suffered a major blow on Jan. 4, when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters that he worries that “being open to a rules change that would create a nuclear option, it’s very, very difficult. It’s a heavy lift.”

With the Senate split 50-50, the loss of even one Democratic vote on a filibuster reform proposal would be fatal unless 11 Republicans would then be willing to join the effort, which is highly unlikely.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) also has spoken publicly against revising the filibuster process, and a senior congressional GOP source who asked not to be named told The Epoch Times on Jan. 3 that “at least a couple of other Democrat senators will oppose it if Schumer forces a vote.”

Mark Tapscott
Congressional Correspondent
Congressional Correspondent for The Epoch Times.