Non-profit

Defend American Democracy

Website:

www.defendamericandemocracy.org

Type:

Advocacy Group

Defend American Democracy (DAD) is a left-of-center advocacy group focused on supporting efforts to impeach President Donald Trump and remove him from office. DAD spends large sums on television advertisements which target individual members of Congress. [1]

The organization is a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund,[2] a left-of-center lobbying and advocacy group administered by Arabella Advisors, which funnels “dark money” into a network of non-profits and projects. Defend American Democracy lists itself as a project of Protect the Investigation, another Sixteen Thirty Fund project which supported Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. [3]

Methods

Defending American Democracy presents itself as a veterans’ group concerned with executive overreach and corruption. In mid-November 2019, the organization spent up to six-figures on television ads primarily in competitive Congressional districts to put pressure on fourteen Republican Representatives to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump. [4]

The Representatives targeted were:[5]

While the ads ran, DAD toured veterans around the country to conduct local press events. [6]

One of DAD’s largest ad buys targeted Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), a moderate Republican who voted against the impeachment inquiry. DAD spent a total of $107,820 on ads targeting Fitzpatrick. [7]

DAD issues regular press releases condemning Republican leadership for supporting President Trump, and reporting on organized veteran protests. [8] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke at a DAD event in Washington DC in November. [9]

Op-eds supporting DAD have appeared in the New York Times,[10] USA Today,[11] and the Washington Post. [12]

“Dark Money”

DAD operates as a conduit for the Sixteen Thirty Fund to funnel political advocacy funds with minimal transparency. However, DAD does not disclose its affiliation with the Sixteen Thirty Fund on its webpage. [13] Since DAD is not an independent organization registered as a non-profit, it does not report any financial data.

DAD lists no leadership, staff, or founding date on its webpage. [14] It’s only known staff member is spokesman Zack DiGregorio,[15] a communications associate for the Hub Project, a left-leaning for-profit coalition organizing firm and a former press secretary in the House of Representatives. [16]

Partner Organizations

DAD lists eight partner organizations, which are a mixture of left-of-center advocacy groups and right-of-center organizations supported by liberal mega-donors opposed to President Trump. [17]

The Truman National Security Project is a left-of-center Washington DC-based think tank which promotes liberal foreign policies. [18] National Security Action is a left-of-center advocacy group run by former Obama administration staffers and leadership which focuses on opposing President Trump’s foreign policies. [19]

Project Protect Democracy is a left-of-center litigation organization which opposes the policies of President Trump. [20]

Republicans for the Rule of Law is an advocacy group that supports the impeachment of Donald Trump. [21] It is a project of Bill Kristol’s Defending Democracy Together, a right-of-center advocacy and incubation group opposed to President Trump that has received funding from nonprofit networks associated with Pierre Omidyar, the liberal founder of eBay. [22]

Law Works is a non-partisan advocacy group consisting of former federal prosecutors who support the impeachment of President Trump. [23]

Common Defense is a left-of-center veterans group opposed to President Trump, and a member of the Green New Deal Coalition. [24]

Stand Up Republic is a right-of-center advocacy group founded by Evan McMullin and Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign staffer, Mindy Finn. [25] Like Defending Democracy Together, Stand Up Republic has received funding from Omidyar’s liberal funding network. [26]

Protect the Investigation is also listed as a partner organization. [27]

References

  1. “It’s Time to Put Country Over Politics.” Defend American Democracy. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.defendamericandemocracy.org/. ^
  2. “Sixteen Thirty Fund – Initial File Number: 290501.” Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6555491-Sixteen-Thirty-Fund-Incorporation-Records.html. ^
  3. “It’s Time to Put Country Over Politics.” Defend American Democracy. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.defendamericandemocracy.org/. ^
  4. “Liberal ‘dark money’ operation behind ads urging Republicans to support impeachment.” Open Secrets. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2019/11/liberal-dark-money-op-impeachment/. ^
  5. “It’s Time to Put Country Over Politics.” Defend American Democracy. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.defendamericandemocracy.org/. ^
  6. “Liberal ‘dark money’ operation behind ads urging Republicans to support impeachment.” Open Secrets. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2019/11/liberal-dark-money-op-impeachment/. ^
  7. “Liberal ‘dark money’ operation behind ads urging Republicans to support impeachment.” Open Secrets. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2019/11/liberal-dark-money-op-impeachment/. ^
  8. “News and Updates. Defend American Democracy. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.defendamericandemocracy.org/news-and-updates. ^
  9. “Pelosi Remarks at Defend American Democracy Press Event.” Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/112119. ^
  10. David Leonhardt. “’We Kept Our Oath.” The New York Times. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/12/opinion/veterans-trump-military.html. ^
  11. Alan Pitts. “Iraq veteran: We defended American democracy. Now we’re asking Congress to do the same.” USA Today. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/11/07/veterans-defended-american-democracy-now-congress-must-step-up-column/4169710002/. ^
  12. Colby Itkowitz. “GOP moderates refuse to defend Trump on Ukraine but won’t back impeachment.” Washington Post. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gop-moderate-refuses-to-defend-trump-on-ukraine-but-wont-back-impeachment/2019/12/17/49b95c86-210d-11ea-86f3-3b5019d451db_story.html. ^
  13. “It’s Time to Put Country Over Politics.” Defend American Democracy. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.defendamericandemocracy.org/. ^
  14. “It’s Time to Put Country Over Politics.” Defend American Democracy. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.defendamericandemocracy.org/. ^
  15. “Veterans urge Fitzpatrick to support Trump impeachment.” The Times. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.timesonline.com/news/20191119/veterans-urge-fitzpatrick-to-support-trump-impeachment. ^
  16. “Zack DiGregorio.” Linkedin. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/zack-digregorio-3aab54113/. ^
  17. “It’s Time to Put Country Over Politics.” Defend American Democracy. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.defendamericandemocracy.org/. ^
  18. “Ideas.” Truman Center. Accessed February 13, 2020. http://trumancenter.org/ideas/. ^
  19. “Who We Are.” National Security Action. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://nationalsecurityaction.org/who-we-are. ^
  20. “Our Democracy is in Danger.” Protect Democracy. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://protectdemocracy.org/. ^
  21. “The Senate has Failed.” Republicans for the Rule of Law. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.ruleoflawrepublicans.com/. ^
  22. Ludwig, Hayden. “Based On Tax Filings, Bill Kristol’s Been A Democrat For Years.” The Federalist, February 19, 2020. https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/19/based-on-tax-filings-bill-kristols-been-a-democrat-for-years/. ^
  23. “About Us.” Law Works. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://lawworksaction.org/about-us/. ^
  24. “About Us.” Common Defense. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://commondefense.us/about/. ^
  25. “Stand Up Republic.” Stand Up Republic. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://standuprepublic.com/. ^
  26. “Stand Up Republic.” Democracy Fund Voice. Accessed March 8, 2019. Original URL: https://democracyfundvoice.org/stand-up-republic/  ^
  27. “It’s Time to Put Country Over Politics.” Defend American Democracy. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.defendamericandemocracy.org/. ^

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