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GOP House Candidate Once Lobbied For Leftist Dark Money Group

Posted on 11 May 2020

Amanda Makki

Florida congressional candidate Amanda Makki is saying and doing all the right things in her race to unseat republican-turned-leftist Charlie Crist. Makki has raised more money than anyone else in the primary, gone on all the right shows, says the right things on her Facebook page, and has plenty of photos of her hamming it up with big wigs and constituents. The Trump 2020 team held a fundrasier for her and other candidates, and she even wrote an op-ed on Iran for us here at The Gateway Pundit.

But there are some dubious question marks in her recent past, particularly as they pertain to her time working for powerful lobbying firm K&L Gates.

K&L gates has hundreds of lobbyists that work on a variety of issues for a large range of clients across the world. A brief search shows them working for such clients as Boeing Employees’ Credit Union, PPG Industries, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, JPMorgan Chase, Port of Portland, and it goes on and on. Clients whom Amanda Makki lobbied for included biotech company Omeros, Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, sports and media company Liberty Media, and something called the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

What is the Sixteen Thirty Fund? It is a shadow dark money propaganda organization, funded by far left billionaires, and their goal is taking down all things Trump and conservative. wrote:

A network of secret-money nonprofit groups has spent millions of dollars attacking swing-seat House Republicans on health care and taxes, quietly becoming one of the biggest players in the 2018 political landscape.

The groups have local members and names like Floridians for a Fair Shake, Michigan Families for Economic Prosperity and North Carolinians for a Fair Economy. But they are all linked to one obscure nonprofit in downtown Washington, D.C.: the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which has funneled millions of dollars to progressive causes in recent years and set up each of the new groups, according to D.C. corporation records.

Added together, the Sixteen Thirty Fund groups have been among the most prolific political advertisers of 2018. They have aired 6,885 broadcast TV ads since Jan. 1, according to Advertising Analytics, a TV tracking firm — more than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and almost as many as Americans for Prosperity, two of the five biggest nonprofit political advertisers focused on the House and Senate in the first half of this year.

The network, which has spent over $4.6 million on TV alone, has also been one of the top political advertisers in the country on Facebook, according to a POLITICO analysis of data from the social media company’s new political ad archive.

And because the groups are organized under the umbrella of the Sixteen Thirty Fund and not as standalone nonprofits, their fundraising and spending are even more opaque than those of a typical secret-money group. The “fiscally sponsored” groups, instead of filing individual tax returns that detail their finances, will have all of their activity aggregated in the Sixteen Thirty Fund’s tax filings, which will make it difficult to discern exactly how much money was raised for and spent by the different projects.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund has been an active, if behind-the-scenes, player in the early political battles of the Trump administration.

It has raised significant sums from unions, according to Department of Labor records, and it has distributed millions of dollars to the League of Conservation Voters and other progressive groups in recent years, according to its tax filings. But it has also helped launch dozens of offshoots in the past two years alone.

Those offshoots include Demand Justice, the prominent nonprofit fighting to block Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which is a Sixteen Thirty Fund project, according to D.C. business records. So too are Save My Care, Not One Penny and Tax March, which have conducted nationwide advocacy campaigns against Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and change the tax code.

In addition to doing big-budget TV advertising, the groups have mobilized activists and demonstrators against Republican incumbents — and sometimes members of the Trump administration — in their districts.

“We’ve seen Ivanka Trump and Vice President Mike Pence make visits to the district,” said Tom Drumm, a Democratic county legislator in Rep. John Katko’s (R-N.Y.) 24th District. “And each time Speak Out CNY was able to mobilize hundreds of protesters to push back against their visit and bring the tax scam fight to their doorstep.”

Amanda Makki with Marco Rubio

Open Secrets, as you could imagine, dug a little deeper, and described them as a “Liberal ‘dark money’ operation behind ads urging Republicans to support impeachment”:

A veterans group urging Republican lawmakers to “put country over politics” amid the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is the project of a well-funded liberal “dark money” network.

Defend American Democracy has spent six figures on television advertisements pressuring Republican members of Congress to “hold the president accountable for abusing his office and risking national security for his own gain.” The group, which primarily targets swing-district Republicans, prominently features military veterans in its ads and presents itself as a veterans group to local media outlets.

Incorporation records on file with the District of Columbia reviewed by OpenSecrets reveal that the group is a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a liberal dark money nonprofit that saw its revenue swell to a record $143.8 million last year.

The 501(c)(4) group is managed by Eric Kessler, a former Clinton administration official who runs the philanthropic firm Arabella Advisors. The anonymously funded nonprofit was behind several groups that ran “issue ads” to benefit Democrats during the 2018 midterms, as well as Demand Justice, a group that spent millions of dollars on ads attacking Brett Kavanaugh during his nomination to the Supreme Court. The Sixteen Thirty Fund and its sister 501(c)(3) nonprofit, New Venture Fund, have fiscally sponsored at least 80 of their own groups, bankrolling those entities in a way that leaves almost no paper trail.

Each of Defend American Democracy’s ads includes a disclaimer that it is paid for by a group called Protect the Investigation. But Protect the Investigation doesn’t legally exist — it’s one of dozens of fictitious names registered by the Sixteen Thirty Fund. Protect the Investigation conducted a six-figure digital ad campaign on Facebook over special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation before beginning to rebrand the page with Defend American Democracy’s logo as impeachment hearings kicked off in November 2019.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund spent more than $141 million last year and raked in even more, continuing the organization’s exponential growth each year since Trump’s election. Thirteen multi-million dollar secret donors fueled the operations fundraising in 2018, with one anonymous donor accounting for more than $51.7 million — topping the group’s entire spending in 2017.

The group gave several multi-million dollar grants to liberal groups last year, including $8 million to the League of Conservation Voters and more than $27 million to America Votes. It also reported paying $5.4 million to ad buying firm Targeted Platform Media for consulting services — the same firm that purchases ads for Democratic dark money groups in Arizona, Iowa and Colorado.

Defend American Democracy lists several anti-Trump groups as its partners. Among them is Republicans for the Rule of Law, another dark money entity that has spent at least six figures pressuring Republican lawmakers to support impeachment. The group launched an ad campaign in mid-November showing Republicans’ support for impeachment of then-President Richard Nixon, a Republican, in 1974.

A document on Influence Watch shows that Amanda Makki was one of 9 lobbyists from K&L hired by Sixteen Thirty Fund in 2018 to lobby for national public lands and monuments bills. Though the page is a little jumbled, it looks like one such bill, H.R.4532, would have returned federal land to the Shash Jaa tribe in Utah, and another, H.R. 3990, would have given Presidents the unilateral power to declare any land as a “national monument” if object or objects of antiquity (currently, historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest) that are situated on lands owned or controlled by the federal government… “Objects of antiquity” means relics, artifacts, human or animal skeletal remains, fossils, and certain buildings constructed before enactment of this bill.

Could you imagine the Pandoras box of land grabs that could be opened with such a bill?

In all, according to that Influence Watch document, The Sixteen Thirty Fund has spent $2,425,000 on lobbying since 2014. And that’s just for federal bills, no telling how much they’ve spent on state levels.

And Amanda Makki worked for them to promote their interests.

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