Former Attorney General Eric Holder's effort to redraw electoral maps in favor of Democrats reportedly is being financed by a liberal Swiss billionaire known for inserting himself in U.S. political battles.
The Berger Action Fund, part of Hansjörg Wyss's Wyss Foundation, sent $3 million to the National Redistricting Action Fund between 2018 and 2020, The Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday.
The NRAF is the 501(c)(4) lobbying arm of Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a self-described "centralized hub for executing a comprehensive redistricting strategy" to give Democrats an edge in congressional elections.
Holder launched the NRAF in 2017 with the goal of electing Democrat majorities in state legislatures in order to control the 2021-2022 redistricting process.
As NDRC chairman, Holder has said the group wants to create "fair maps." However, in its IRS forms, the committee's stated goal is "to build a comprehensive plan to favorably position Democrats for the redistricting process through 2022."
Before heading up the NDRC, Holder loudly criticized the influence of foreign money in U.S. politics, comparing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election to the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 attacks, according to the Free Beacon.
"There is nothing more fundamental to the well-being of our nation than the right to cast a ballot in fair elections, free from foreign interference," Holder said in a 2017 Washington Post op-ed when he started the NDRC.
In October 2020, Holder told Bloomberg "we need to be prepared" for foreign "attempts to interfere with our electoral system."
Wyss, a Swiss citizen who, in 2014, stated he does not hold permanent U.S. residency, recently declined to tell the New York Times if he’s an American citizen.
Wyss’ contributions showed he supplied as much as 40% of the NRAF's total funding in 2017-2018, and 24% in 2018-2019. Those totals made him one of the organization’s largest donors during those years.
In 2016, Wyss contributed $41,000 to Democrat political action committees in violation of the federal government's strict ban on foreign support for U.S. political campaigns, the Daily Caller reported.
The billionaire’s sizable spending through his nonprofits, while legal, raises serious ethical concerns about the impact of foreign "dark money" in U.S. elections and redistricting processes.
Since 2002, Wyss has donated more than $650 million to left-wing and environmentalist groups through the Wyss Foundation.
The New Venture Fund, a dark money nonprofit managed by consulting firm Arabella Advisors, has received nearly $56.5 million from the Wyss Foundation since 2007.
The Berger Action Fund has given at least $12.4 million to Arabella’s Sixteen Thirty Fund since 2010. That group's Hub Project helps liberal groups with messaging strategies.
Last year, the Hub Project was credited with doing "remarkable damage" to former President Donald Trump's reputation among Wisconsin voters. It also helped that Democrats defeated Republicans on "health care, taxes and the economy" in the 2018 midterms.
Democrat-aligned nonprofits such as Priorities USA, the League of Conservation Voters, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund also have been helped financially by Wyss's groups.
In 2016, the Wyss Foundation boasted it gave $1 million to leftist groups for "civic participation.”
Wyss and the Wyss Foundation declined comment to the Free Beacon about his alleged funding of partisan groups involved in U.S. elections. The Berger Action Fund, which does not have a website, could not be reached for comment.
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