Non-profit

Alliance for a Better Utah

Website:

betterutah.org/

Location:

SALT LAKE CTY, UT

Tax ID:

45-2463539

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $261,410
Expenses: $250,216
Assets: $192,821

Founded:

2011

Founder:

Joshua Kanter

The Alliance for a Better Utah (ABU) is an activist organization promoting a wide range of left-progressive causes in the state of Utah. The alliance advocates for eliminating restrictions on abortion, expanding taxpayer-funded healthcare and education programs, adopting environmentalist policies, and implementing other left-of-center policies. The ABU claims that it does not engage in lobbying, instead using activist pressure to achieve its goals. [1]

The alliance is an affiliate of ProgressNow, a nationwide advocacy organization which partners with state and local groups to promote left-of-center causes through targeted email, social media, and other channels. In turn, ProgressNow receives funding through the Democracy Alliance, a leading collective of wealthy left-progressive donors. [2]

Background

Alliance for a Better Utah is based out of Salt Lake City and was launched in September 2010. Since then, the alliance has claimed to have played a key role in exposing corruption among mainly right-of-center politicians and promoting left-of-center policies. In particular, the ABU touts its role in exposing alleged campaign finance law violations by former Utah Attorney General John Swallow (R). The alliance claims that its pressure campaign led to the lieutenant governor’s office launching an investigation. [3] Swallow maintained his innocence throughout multiple investigations, but stepped down in 2013, claiming that there was “no way to convince people” that he was innocent. [4] Swallow was acquitted of all charges in 2017, and in 2019, the Utah state legislature voted nearly unanimously to award him approximately $1.5 million in compensation for the attorney fees he incurred throughout the investigation. [5] However, the ABU maintains its claim that “Swallow broke the law.” [6]

Activism

In January 2011, the ABU partnered with Cuentame, a Hispanic illegal immigrant advocacy group, to put up billboards and stage a protest opposing a proposed Utah immigration enforcement measure that would have allowed police officers to verify immigration status when arresting someone. The measure passed in May of that year, but a federal judge blocked its implementation less than a day after it took effect. Utah Assistant Attorney General Jerrold Jensen announced that the state would appeal the decision and said it was “not a surprise” that the federal government had blocked the law, which he called “fully constitutional.” [7][8]

From January to March 2013, the ABU repeatedly targeted then-Utah Attorney General John Swallow (R) for his alleged campaign finance law violations, filing complaints with the Utah Bar Association and the state lieutenant governor’s office. In May of that year, the lieutenant governor called for a special investigation. [9] Swallow resigned later that year, but was cleared of all charges in 2017. [10]

Following the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January 2017, the ABU co-sponsored the Utah Women’s March event. The Women’s March was a series of protests across the United States which was organized by Linda Sarsour, a far-left Islamist activist, and Tamika Mallory, an associate of the black nationalist Nation of Islam and its anti-white and antisemitic leader Louis Farrakhan. [11]

The ABU maintains a website attacking U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT). The organization is calling for Utah voters to remove him from office in the 2022 midterm elections. [12]

Leadership

Alliance for a Better Utah was founded in 2011 by Democratic activist and donor, Josh Kanter. [13] Kanter is a prolific donor to the Democratic party and Democratic candidates, and has twice been a featured speaker at Democracy Alliance Conferences, the yearly convenings of the Democracy Alliance, a secretive coordination network established by left-leaning donors and Democratic party leaders. [14] [15] [16] Kanter is the chairman of ABU’s board.

Chase Thomas is the executive director of the ABU. He previously interned at the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. He attended the Brigham Young University law school, and first worked with the ABU while on a fellowship sponsored by the university. Thomas is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and cites his time as a missionary in Texas as the inspiration for his illegal immigrant advocacy. [17]

Katie Matheson is the communications director of the ABU. She is also the co-founder of the CD4 Coalition, a left-of-center activist organization which claims to pursue accountability in politics. Matheson attended Westminster College in Princeton, New Jersey. [18]

Financials

In 2015, the ABU received just over $200,000 in contributions and grants. In 2016, the organization’s revenue dropped to less than $85,000, then grew steadily over the next few years, exceeding $260,000 in 2019. [19]

ProgressNow gave the ABU a $20,000 grant in 2012 and a $15,000 grant in 2013. [20][21]

References

  1.         About Us. Alliance for a Better Utah. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://betterutah.org/about-us/ ^
  2.   About Us. Alliance for a Better Utah. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://betterutah.org/about-us/ ^
  3.        Our History. Alliance for a Better Utah. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://betterutah.org/about-us/our-history/ ^
  4.       Dennis Romboy. “Utah A.G. John Swallow: ‘No way to convince people I’m innocent.’” Deseret News. December 2, 2013. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://www.deseret.com/2013/12/2/20530775/utah-a-g-john-swallow-no-way-to-convince-people-i-m-innocent#utah-attorney-general-john-swallow-announces-his-resignation-during-a-press-conference-at-the-capitol-in-salt-lake-city-on-thursday-nov-21-2013 ^
  5.         Benjamin Wood. “Utah lawmakers will pay ex-A.G. John Swallow a $1.5M settlement.” The Salt Lake Tribune. September 16, 2019. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2019/09/17/utah-lawmakers-vote-cut/ ^
  6.              Our History. Alliance for a Better Utah. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://betterutah.org/about-us/our-history/ ^
  7. Axel Caballero. “Billboard: ‘God Doesn’t Discriminate, Why Should Utah?’” HuffPost. January 24, 2011. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/billboard-god-doesnt-disc_b_812965 ^
  8.         “Utah Immigration Law Blocked; Similarities to Arizona’s SB 1070 Cited.” Fox News. May 11, 2011. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/utah-immigration-law-blocked-similarities-to-arizonas-sb-1070-cited ^
  9.             Our History. Alliance for a Better Utah. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://betterutah.org/about-us/our-history/ ^
  10.         Benjamin Wood. “Utah lawmakers will pay ex-A.G. John Swallow a $1.5M settlement.” The Salt Lake Tribune. September 16, 2019. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2019/09/17/utah-lawmakers-vote-cut/ ^
  11.            Our History. Alliance for a Better Utah. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://betterutah.org/about-us/our-history/ ^
  12.           Humans Against Mike Lee. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://humansagainstmikelee.com/ ^
  13. “Our History.” Alliance for a Better Utah. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://betterutah.org/about-us/our-history/. ^
  14. “Browse Individual Contributions.” FEC.gov. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=Josh%2BKanter. ^
  15. Democracy Alliance. “Democracy Alliance Spring 2016 Conference.” Posted by Politico. April 2016. Accessed May 27, 2020. Available at: http://static.politico.com/64/47/b971249843558514c9c6aff87765/democracy-alliance-spring-meeting-agenda.pdf ^
  16. “Soros Democracy Alliance Leak Pdf.” Scribd. Scribd. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.scribd.com/document/364798053/Soros-Democracy-Alliance-Leak-pdf. ^
  17.          Staff. Alliance for a Better Utah. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://betterutah.org/about-us/staff/ ^
  18.        Staff. Alliance for a Better Utah. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://betterutah.org/about-us/staff/ ^
  19.   Alliance For A Better Utah Inc. ProPublica. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/452463539 ^
  20.    Grants: ProgressNow. OpenSecrets. 2013. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/outside-spending/political-nonprofits/grants?cycle=2013&id=208720230 ^
  21.         Grants: ProgressNow. OpenSecrets. 2012. Accessed August 8, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/outside-spending/political-nonprofits/grants?cycle=2012&id=208720230 ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 2012

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $261,410 $250,216 $192,821 $0 N $261,183 $0 $227 $0
    2018 Dec Form 990 $182,810 $118,811 $181,627 $0 N $182,810 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $146,438 $137,210 $97,628 $0 N $146,438 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $84,615 $106,009 $88,400 $0 N $84,615 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $202,036 $102,739 $109,794 $0 N $202,036 $0 $0 $26,538 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $106,946 $106,689 $10,497 $0 N $106,946 $0 $0 $60,000 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $43,781 $45,580 $10,240 $0 N $43,781 $0 $0 $45,000 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $64,688 $82,522 $12,039 $0 N $64,688 $0 $0 $8,654 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $58,932 $29,059 $30,486 $613 N $58,932 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Alliance for a Better Utah

    150 S STATE ST STE 100 OFC
    SALT LAKE CTY, UT 84111-1749