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Dark Money Groups Behind Voter Suppression Campaign in the US

August 11th, 2021 15:42

US media is report­ing on what is described as a net­work of “dark-mon­ey orga­ni­za­tions” attempt­ing to fos­ter vot­er sup­pres­sion in the US. Accord­ing to the New York­er report:

Although the Ari­zona audit may appear to be the prod­uct of local extrem­ists, it has been fed by sophis­ti­cat­ed, well-fund­ed nation­al orga­ni­za­tions whose boards of direc­tors include some of the country’s wealth­i­est and high­est-pro­file con­ser­v­a­tives. Dark-mon­ey orga­ni­za­tions, sus­tained by undis­closed donors, have relent­less­ly pro­mot­ed the myth that Amer­i­can elec­tions are rife with fraud, and, accord­ing to leaked records of their inter­nal delib­er­a­tions, they have draft­ed, sup­port­ed, and in some cas­es tak­en cred­it for state laws that make it hard­er to vote. Sen­a­tor Shel­don White­house, a Demo­c­rat from Rhode Island who has tracked the flow of dark mon­ey in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, told me that a “flotil­la of front groups” once focussed on advanc­ing such con­ser­v­a­tive caus­es as cap­tur­ing the courts and oppos­ing abor­tion have now “more or less shift­ed to work on the vot­er-sup­pres­sion thing.” These groups have cast their cam­paigns as high-mind­ed attempts to main­tain “elec­tion integri­ty,” but White­house believes that they are in fact tam­per­ing with the guardrails of democ­ra­cy. One of the movement’s lead­ers is the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, the promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tive think tank in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. It has been work­ing with the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil (alec)—a cor­po­rate-fund­ed non­prof­it that gen­er­ates mod­el laws for state legislators—on ways to impose new vot­ing restric­tions. Among those deep in the fight is Leonard Leo, a chair­man of the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety, the legal orga­ni­za­tion known for its decades-long cam­paign to fill the courts with con­ser­v­a­tive judges. In Feb­ru­ary, 2020, the Judi­cial Edu­ca­tion Project, a group tied to Leo, qui­et­ly rebrand­ed itself as the Hon­est Elec­tions Project, which sub­se­quent­ly filed briefs at the Supreme Court, and in numer­ous states, oppos­ing mail-in bal­lots and oth­er reforms that have made it eas­i­er for peo­ple to vote.

Read the entire report here.

Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ing on sim­i­lar top­ics has included:

  • In May 2021, we report­ed how US Repub­li­can false claims about a stolen elec­tion orig­i­nat­ed with a Texas busi­ness­man and his associates.
  • In March 2021, we report­ed how what were described as pro-Trump forces worked to spread the dis­in­for­ma­tion that the so-called Antifa (anti-fas­cist) move­ment was to blame for the vio­lence at the US Capitol.
  • In Novem­ber 2020, we report­ed that Face­book had banned an Ari­zona mar­ket­ing said to have been work­ing on behalf of a promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tive youth orga­ni­za­tion sup­port­ing US Pres­i­dent Trump.