Confidential Memo: Secretive Liberal Donor Club Plots $275 Million Spending Plan for 2020
Gara LaMarche, who was previously the vice president and director of U.S. Programs at George Soros's Open Society Foundations, leads the Alliance, which counts Soros as a member and consists of more than 100 millionaire and billionaire donors who each pledge at least $200,000 annually to organizations that are recommended by the club. Its full list of members is unknown due to the group's secrecy.
According to confidential documents distributed to its members in Austin, the Democracy Alliance’s partners have infused $1.83 billion into the left since its inception.
The donor club has backed more than 150 liberal organizations, including the Center for American Progress, Media Matters for America, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). In recent years, the group took in smaller and lesser-known anti-Trump "resistance" groups such as the Center for Popular Democracy, Center for Community Change, and Swing Left.
While the alliance has heavily focused on funding liberal organizations for much of its existence—and still continues to do so—the group will now "redouble" its focus on state-based actions to expand progressive power for 2020.
The Democracy Alliance has set their total budget at $275 million and is planning to marshal at least $135 million from its partners to be used in a number of areas for the 2020 elections, with an overwhelming majority of this aimed at defeating Donald Trump’s reelection.
"The stakes are clear and have never been higher," they write on their investment strategy. "In the short term, progressives must win in 2020, and over the long term, we must combat the root of our current political crisis." (Emphasis in original.)
"Over the course of our year-long consultation process with Partners and movement leaders, there was a clear consensus that the DA's ‘sweet spot'—where we have historically enjoyed success—is in raising catalytic funding to fill the gaps in the progressive infrastructure. It is in that focus on gaps that guided the Board and Investment Committee's work, helping us identify three goals and five funding priorities that Partners and movement leaders believe are most critical and achievable with the collective resources that the DA could collectively invest."
The Democracy Alliance will immediately get to work on its objectives using its State POWER Funds, a group of collaborative funds that make lucrative investments in state endeavors.
"Changing the laws and policies that maintain and perpetuate this concentration of power is the only way that the DA's vision for an inclusive economy, fair democracy, safe and sustainable planet, and equitable and just nation will ever be realized," they write.
The alliance has set a budget of $18 million and recommends $12 million to be invested in the New American Majority Fund and its related Action Fund, which addresses the "chronic underinvestment in state-based organizations" by disbursing resources to build power that is used to "advocate for progressive policy change, mobilize underrepresented voters, and elect progressive champions."
The New American Majority's 2019 and 2020 benchmarks calls for $10 million to be used for year-round organizing in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, and Virginia.
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