A non-profit group that spent seven figures on ads calling on members of Congress to “hold the president accountable” over his dealings with Ukraine, the subject of the House impeachment inquiry, has ties to a left-leaning “dark money” network, funded by billionaire George Soros.
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The ad campaign: The group behind the ads is the Defend American Democracy, which describes itself as a veteran group. The ads were slated to air on Washington, D.C. media market, including on “Fox and Friends,” and in 13 GOP-held House seats, prior to the public impeachment hearings. It features veterans highlighting their oath and saying President Trump needs to face consequences for “abusing his office and risking national security for his own gain.”
In detail: A spokesperson for the group told The Philadelphia Inquirer that it’s “a project/campaign of a broad coalition of organizations focused on national security and veterans issues, including Common Defense, the Truman National Security Project, Protect the Investigation, Protect Democracy, Law Works, Stand Up Republic, and National Security Action.”
“In terms of the size of dark money networks, there are only a few that have gone into the $100 million-plus range,” said Robert Maguire, the research director for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and an expert in political nonprofits. “These kinds of totals aren’t unheard of. I do think they’re unheard of on the liberal side. I think that’s what’s so striking about this.”
But, being a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization means the Defend American Democracy isn’t required to disclose its donors.
Soros connections: The Open Society Policy Center, a lobbying group associated with the Open Society Foundations founded by Soros, contributed$4.5 million to the fund between 2012 and 2017.
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