Trump-Backed Right-Wing Group Received Over $45 Million in Donations in 2021

A distinguished right-wing group led by former Trump administration officers that’s coordinating assaults on election integrity noticed its income skyrocket final 12 months, in keeping with newly-obtained tax filings.

The Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) acquired greater than $45 million in contributions and grants in 2021 — a greater than sixfold improve over the earlier 12 months’s contributions of $7.1 million. The group and a constellation of accomplice organizations it launched final 12 months have been influential in spreading conspiracies about stolen elections, in addition to in shaping conservative messaging round Massive Tech and demanding race principle. One CPI offshoot introduced final 12 months says it really works to “establish, educate, and credential” the subsequent era of conservative leaders.

Along with its assume tank-style public training and authorized work, CPI operates a media manufacturing studio that has filmed clips for organizations like Newsmax and PragerU. It additionally hosts podcasts for the Federalist Society and Republican members of Congress Matt Gaetz and Andy Biggs, and in 2021 it was the house to TV reveals from Epoch Instances and Blaze Media.

The group’s paid officers embrace former White Home Chief of Employees Mark Meadows, who acquired compensation of $559,000 final 12 months as senior accomplice, and former Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell as senior authorized fellow and secretary, who was paid $231,000.

The brand new highs raised by the CPI went to additional Donald Trump’s contentions that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and to advertise disinformation concerning the integrity of elections forward of the midterms. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit’s Kind 990 for 2021, which isn’t accessible on CPI’s web site and has not but been launched by the Inside Income Service, was obtained by the nonpartisan watchdog Accountable.US and shared with Sludge.

Mitchell, who in 2020 labored with Trump to attempt to strain Georgia officers to overturn election outcomes, helms CPI’s Election Integrity Community, a challenge whose mission Mitchell described as recruiting “a volunteer military of residents” to watch election workplaces primarily based on baseless theories of widespread voter fraud. In states akin to Arizona this 12 months, armed militia tried to intimidate voters at polling websites in step with the “Cease the Steal” motion’s calls.

Whereas CPI doesn’t publicly disclose its funding sources, one massive donation final 12 months was reported in Federal Election Fee filings: Trump’s Save America PAC gave $1 million to CPI on July 26, 2021, weeks after the U.S. Home voted to determine a choose committee to research Jan. 6’s riot on the Capitol Constructing. The million-dollar donation to Meadows’ nonprofit made up the overwhelming majority of giving by Trump’s PAC to political allies final 12 months. Meadows’ function in becoming a member of CPI, based by early Tea Social gathering supporter former Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, was reported to be building networks of conservative leaders and elected officers within the mould of Jim Jordan and Ted Cruz.

Donors Belief, the “darkish cash” funding hub, donated a complete of $1.3 million to CPI, in keeping with its latest tax filings obtained by Accountable.US. Nearly all of the grants had been for common help, with $200,000 earmarked for the youth-focused American Second and $10,000 in help of the Election Integrity Challenge, amongst different makes use of.

“It ought to concern all People {that a} small group of ultra-wealthy donors have elevated their funding in an anti-voting rights fringe group by such a large scale,” mentioned Kayla Hancock, Director of Energy & Affect at Accountable.US.

Greater than $25 million of CPI’s income got here from a single nameless particular person, and at the very least six different nameless people donated $1 million or extra. CPI’s whole income for 2021 was reported to be greater than $45.7 million, in contrast with $6.2 million the earlier 12 months, after accounting for destructive income.

Mitchell, who participated within the Jan. 2 calls with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger throughout which Trump pressured him to “discover” 1000’s of ballots marked for him, was tapped final 12 months by CPI to head a campaign in opposition to the For the Individuals Act’s voting reform laws, launched by congressional Democrats however blocked final summer season by Senate Republicans. Along with coordinating conservatives’ authorized push at CPI, Mitchell final 12 months additionally helped lead a $10 million initiative by the right-wing advocacy group FreedomWorks coaching conservative activists on native elections. As she labored with state lawmakers on creating higher voting restrictions, Mitchell mentioned she stayed in contact with Trump.

From its hovering financial institution accounts, CPI compensated its high officers handsomely. Chairman DeMint acquired greater than $545,000 final 12 months from the group, whereas President and CEO Ed Corrigan was paid $382,000. Mitchell’s expanded function is a change in contrast with the group’s IRS filings for 2019 and 2020, when she was listed as a board secretary working a median of two hours per week with out compensation. CPI’s income for 2020 totaled $6.2 million, in keeping with IRS figures.

Different former Trump administration officers employed by CPI embrace Dan Scavino, who’s main efforts associated to tech firm censorship, and Wesley Denton, the group’s chief working officer.

The tax submitting additionally reveals that CPI has been build up its community, giving greater than $3.9 million final 12 months to its accomplice organizations, lots of which it launched in 2021 and are additionally managed by people within the Trump administration orbit.

On the forefront of CPI’s giving is its accomplice the America First Authorized Basis, based by former Trump senior advisor Stephen Miller, which was issued a donation of $1,334,105 for “mission and program help.” From his place within the White Home, Miller labored to “purge” authorities companies of these he perceived to be lower than loyal and cited the white nationalist web site VDARE in advancing anti-immigration insurance policies. Miller describes his authorized group as the proper’s reply to the ACLU.

CPI granted greater than $1 million to the American Voting Rights Basis, primarily based in Hudson, Wisconsin, an entity recognized in IRS information because the Middle for American Restoration and awarded tax-exempt standing in August 2021. Introduced in January 2021 by Trump’s former OMB Director Russ Vought, the brand new nonprofits will focus on claims of voter fraud and champion conservative cultural points like Massive Tech regulation and demanding race principle. One other group of which Vought is the president, the Middle for Renewing America, is a CPI accomplice and acquired $583,701 from CPI.

The American Accountability Basis, an opposition research group that could be a CPI accomplice and whose founder Tom Jones beforehand labored for Republican senators together with Ron Johnson and Ted Cruz, was awarded over $335,000 from CPI. One other accomplice, the nonprofit American Second, based by Saurabh Sharma and Nick Solheim, acquired $336,000 for work it promotes as creating conservative youth leaders and operating fellowship packages. The American Cornerstone Institute, a nonprofit based by Dr. Ben Carson, the previous Secretary of the Division of Housing and City Improvement, acquired almost $161,000 from CPI. The group highlights religion in public life.

The Virginia-based Institute for Citizen Centered Service acquired $100,000 and the Public Curiosity Authorized Basis, chaired by Mitchell, acquired $50,000 from Meadows’ group. The Indiana-based authorized group is understood for bringing lawsuits against states and localities to eradicate voters from their rolls. One other director of the Public Curiosity Authorized Basis Hans Von Spakovsky, is a distinguished Republican lawyer who promoted voter restrictions akin to strict voter I.D. necessities adopted by many states.

Because the 2020 presidential election, almost two-thirds of Republicans have believed that Biden gained resulting from voter fraud, in keeping with nine polls carried out by Monmouth College.

In accordance with a tally cited by USA Today, out of 62 instances in federal and state courts that challenged the 2020 presidential election, 61 have failed resulting from lack of standing or proof — together with a number of dismissed by Trump-appointed federal judges, akin to U.S. District Court docket Decide Jeremy Kernodle.