Non-profit

Defending Democracy Together (DDT)

Website:

www.defendingdemocracytogether.org

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax ID:

82-3877328

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Formation:

January 3, 2018

Board Chair:

William “Bill” Kristol

Defending Democracy Together is a right-leaning 501(c)(4) advocacy and incubation group founded in Washington, D.C. in January 2018. Its leadership consists of former Weekly Standard editor-at-large William “Bill” Kristol, Ethics and Public Policy Center senior fellow Mona Charen, and other conservatives.[1] The group has taken positions in opposition to a number of initiatives by President Donald Trump, often through its project, Republicans for the Rule of Law; most prominently, it has supported continuing birthright citizenship and strongly supported the Justice Department investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.[2][3][4] The group hosts a number of fiscal projects on issues such as immigration, trade, and U.S. foreign policy.

The Defending Democracy Together Institute is the 501(c)(3) counterpart of Defending Democracy Together. It also has a 527 super PAC, Defending Democracy Together Action Fund.

In October 2018, DDT co-signed comments submitted to the National Parks Service concerning a proposed rule change which would eliminate demonstrations on the White House’s southern sidewalk, require permits for demonstrations, and charge fees for “costs associated with permitted demonstrations.” The comments were also co-signed by left-of-center organizations, including the Arkay Foundation, Democracy Fund, Pritzker Innovation Fund, and Third Way. Ostensibly right-leaning co-signers included former Rep. Bob Inglis, the advocacy group Stand Up Republic, Hoover Institution senior fellow Larry Diamond, and the environmentalist Niskanen Center.[5]

Background

Formation

Defending Democracy Together was officially formed on January 3, 2018, according to filings with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. DDT lists its address as 1090 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 800, in Washington, D.C.; the address is shared by Berman and Company, a political consulting firm catering to center-right clients. [6] According to the left-leaning Center for Responsive Politics, Berman and Company was connected with the Enterprise Freedom Action Committee, a PAC that spent $750,636 in advertisements against 2016 presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. [7] [8] According to filings with the FEC, the Enterprise Freedom Action Committee also shared office space with Berman and Company. [9]

Projects

Defending Democracy Together manages the Becoming American Initiative, a fiscal project of the group created to “provide the conservative case for immigration and DACA reform.” The Initiative is headed by Linda Chavez, a DDT board member and former Reagan administration official.[10]

The Russia Tweets and Republicans Against Putin are also projects of DDT. The latter has accused President Trump of not “stand[ing] up to [Vladimir] Putin.” [11] [12]

Republicans for the Rule of Law

In February 2019, DDT launched a television advertisement in the Washington, D.C. area urging viewers to ask their congressional representatives to “terminate President Trump’s emergency declaration” at the U.S.-Mexico border. [13]

Funding

Defending Democracy Together has been criticized for taking at least $600,000 in two grants from Democracy Fund Voice, a 501(c)(4) group created and funded by left-wing mega-donor Pierre Omidyar.[14] According to Democracy Fund Voice’s website, in May 2018 it “approved two grants to Defending Democracy Together: first in the amount of up to $100,000 over one year and then in the amount of up to $500,000 over one year” (image available here). [15]

Leadership

Sarah Longwell is executive director of Defending Democracy Together. Longwell is a senior vice president for Berman and Company, the right-leaning political consultancy that shares office space with DDT. [16] In February 2019, Longwell wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post in her capacity as DDT executive director in which she wrote: “It was a failure of political imagination that helped put Trump in the Oval Office. A primary challenger may need only a little political imagination to begin the process of evicting him.” [17]

Charles “Charlie” Sykes is president of DDT and a senior fellow at the right-leaning Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. Sykes, a self-described “prominent and outspoken critic of Donald Trump,” is also a national advisory board member for the left-wing funding group Democracy Fund; Democracy Fund Voice, a “sister” nonprofit to Democracy Fund, has  donated at least $600,000 to DDT. Sykes is also a board member for Stand Up Republic, a left-leaning organization funded by Democracy Fund Voice. [18] [19] [20]

Board of Directors

While public filings have not been released detailing DDT’s board of directors as of early 2019, the Defending Democracy Together Institute’s board of directors consists of Bill Kristol, Charlie Sykes, and executive director Sarah Longwell. [21]

Sarah Longwell is DDT’s executive director and a senior vice president for Berman and Company, the right-leaning political consultancy that shares office space with DDT.  Another DDT director, Jordan Bruneau, is a former staffer for Berman and Company. [22]

DDT’s website also lists former U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis as a director. Inglis also serves as executive director of RepublicEn, a global warming advocacy and research group funded by left-wing environmentalist groups. [23]

 

References

  1. “About Us.” Republicans for the Rule of Law. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://www.ruleoflawrepublicans.com/about-us/
  2. “Republican Immigration Group Defends Birthright Citizenship.” Press Release, Defending Democracy Together. October 30, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://www.defendingdemocracytogether.org/press-release/republican-immigration-group-defends-birthright-citizenship/
  3. “Manafort Conviction Proves Mueller Investigation is not a Witch Hunt.” Press Release, Defending Democracy Together. August 21, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://www.defendingdemocracytogether.org/press-release/manafort-conviction-proves-mueller-investigation-is-not-a-witch-hunt/
  4. “New Republican Group Launches Pro-Mueller Campaign.” Press Release, Defending Democracy Together. April 11, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://www.defendingdemocracytogether.org/press-release/new-republican-group-launches-pro-mueller-campaign/
  5. “Re: Proposed rule regarding demonstrations and special events in the National Capital Region, 83 Fed. Reg. 40460: Regulation Identifier No. 1024-AE45.” Niskanen Center. October 15, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://niskanencenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/NPS-proposed-regs-comment-letter.pdf
  6. “Defending Democracy Together.” Commonwealth of Virginia, State Corporation Commission. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://sccefile.scc.virginia.gov/Business/0826432
  7. “Enterprise Freedom Action Committee: Independent Expenditures, etc.” Center for Responsive Politics. Period ending December 7, 2017. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/indexpend.php?cmte=C90012162&cycle=2016&txt=&utm_content=bufferdcd84&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
  8. Will Tucker. “Notorious Washington consultant behind anti-Trump campaign.” Center for Responsive Politics. March 18, 2016. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2016/03/notorious-washington-consultant-behind-anti-trump-campaign/
  9. “Enterprise Freedom Action Committee.” Federal Elections Commission. Accessed March 6, 2019. http://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?C90012162
  10. “About Us.” Becoming American Initiative. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://www.becomingamericaninitiative.org/about-us/
  11. “Home.” The Russia Tweets. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://russiatweets.com/
  12. “Home.” Republicans Against Putin. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://www.republicansagainstputin.com/
  13. Tweet (Bill Kristol). February 24, 2019. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://twitter.com/BillKristol/status/1099846332490174465
  14. Julie Kelly. “NeverTrump’s Billionaire Leftist Benefactors.” November 14, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://amgreatness.com/2018/11/14/nevertrumps-billionaire-leftist-benefactors/
  15. “Grants: Defending Democracy Together.” Democracy Fund Voice. May 3, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://democracyfundvoice.org/defending-democracy-together/; Screenshot: https://www.influencewatch.org/democracy-fund-2018-grant-defending-democracy-together/
  16. “Leadership and Staff.” Defending Democracy Together. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.defendingdemocracytogether.org/about-us/
  17. Sarah Longwell. “The right strategy to primary Trump.” The Washington Post. February 1, 2019. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-right-strategy-to-primary-trump/2019/02/01/06c565ea-25a1-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html?utm_term=.fcfc31c052c1
  18. “About Us: National Advisory Board.” Democracy Fund. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.democracyfund.org/about-us
  19. “About Us.” The Bulwark. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://thebulwark.com/about-us/
  20. “Our Board.” Stand Up Republic. March 6, 2019. https://standuprepublic.com/board/
  21. “Defending Democracy Together Institute – Initial File Number: N00006054804.” Washington, D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://corponline.dcra.dc.gov/BizEntity.aspx/ViewContact?bizEntityContactId=733663&currentTabConfigurationId=576
  22. “Leadership and Staff.” Defending Democracy Together. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.defendingdemocracytogether.org/about-us/
  23. “Leadership and Staff.” Defending Democracy Together. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.defendingdemocracytogether.org/about-us/

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. William Kristol
    Board Member
  2. Mona Charen
    Director
  3. Bob Inglis
    Board Member
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Defending Democracy Together (DDT)

1090 Vermont Ave NW
Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005