Economic Security Project Action



New York City, NY





Executive Director:

Adam Ruben

Project of:

Sixteen Thirty Fund

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Economic Security Project Action is a center-left advocacy group that seeks to to dramatically expand the size and scope of federal programs that provide cash payments to low-income Americans, with the ultimate goal of massively expanding the federal welfare state by implementing a form of Universal Basic Income or “unconditional cash” welfare program in the United States. 1

It’s a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, and is the advocacy arm of the Economic Security Project, run by the 501(c)(3) Hopewell Fund. Both Funds are managed by Arabella Advisors, a Washington, DC-based consultancy.

Leadership and Structure

ESP Action’s director is Adam Ruben, a long-time left-wing activist who was formerly political director for 2 Ruben has also worked with the Service Employees International Union’s “Fight for $15” minimum wage initiative, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the pro-union Working Families Party, Democratic voter registration group Voter Participation Center, the left-wing Democratic Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and nuclear disarmament group Global Zero. 3 Ruben was a consultant to the “Run Warren Run” effort to promote a potential 2016 presidential campaign for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) funded by MoveOn and Howard Dean’s Democracy for America PAC.4

Ruben is also listed as the Campaigns Director at the affiliated Economic Security Project, which was launched by Facebook co-founder and former The New Republic owner and publisher Chris Hughes, along with other left-of-center activists and Democratic Party operatives. 5 ESP Action’s website refers to the Economic Security Project as “our 501(c)3 affiliate.”6

State filings show that ESP Action was incorporated as a nonprofit in Delaware in September 2018. 7 Its filings with the New York State Department of Corporations list a third-party compliance company as its registered address, but a Congressional lobbying disclosure form filed by Economic Security Project Action’s federal campaign director and the registration for the group’s domain name provide an address of 51 E. 12th Street, 2nd Floor in New York City. 8 9

Relationship to Arabella Advisors and the Sixteen Thirty Fund

For more information, see Arabella Advisors (For-profit), Sixteen Thirty Fund (Nonprofit)

ESP Action is a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)(4) lobbying group that forms the advocacy wing of the “dark money” network managed by Arabella Advisors, a philanthropic consulting company that has been criticized for channeling millions of dollars of so-called “dark money” to left-wing organizations with minimal transparency. 10

The Economic Security Project, ESP Action’s “501(c)(3) affiliate,” is a project of the Hopewell Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit also managed by Arabella Advisors,

ESP Action’s director Adam Ruben has criticized organizations that do not publish their donor lists, telling CNN in 2012 that, “A group that exists for ultra-rich people to essentially buy elections is counter to the American democratic tradition.” 11


Earned Income Tax Credit

ESP Action works to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is a tax credit designed to subsidize low-income working families. 12 It proposes to dramatically increase the number of Americans receiving state and federal versions of the EITC, weakening work requirements and eliminating the program’s focus on families with children and turning it into an “unconditional cash” program. 13 At the federal level, this could make almost half of American taxpayers eligible for the EITC, up from 25 million in 2017. 14 The cost of this program would be at least $2.5 trillion, which ESP Action proposes to fund by hiking a broad range of taxes. 15


Left-progressive lobbyist Anna Aurilio is ESP Action’s federal campaign director. In official filings, she reported receiving $16,400 in 2018 and $20,000 each quarter in 2019 from ESP Action to lobby Congress. 16 Aurilio also filed notices with Congressional regulators that she had stopped representing the Economic Security Project’s parent Hopewell Fund on January 1, 2019. 17 As of August 2019, her only reported lobbying client is ESP Action. 18

ESP Action has also engaged in lobbying in California, spending $97,890.47 to support the expansion of the state’s earned income tax credit in 2019. 19 It spent an additional $17,694 in targeted Facebook advertising on the campaign. 20

Support for Kamala Harris Proposal

ESP Action supports federal legislation advanced by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) to increase federal cash handouts to low-income families. According to economics reporter Annie Lowrey in The Atlantic, “If it looks like class warfare, that is because, in some sense, it is—making the government more redistributive than it is now, and more redistributive than it was during the Barack Obama years.” 21

ESP Action distributed suggested social media posts to its supporters asking them to share the article in which Lowrey made this statement, suggesting they praise “@KamalaHarris’s new bill and @EconomicSecProj’s #CostofLivingRefund.” 22


  1. “What We Think.” Economic Security Project, n.d.
  2. NewsHour, PBS. “First Virtual Town Hall Engages Voters Through Internet.” PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, April 11, 2007.
  3. “Who We Are.” Economic Security Project Action, n.d.
  4. “Run Warren Run Effort Announces New Iowa Field Team, Opening of Des Moines Campaign Office: MoveOn.Org: Democracy In Action.” MoveOn.Org, January 15, 2015.
  5. Lohr, Steve. 2019. “Chris Hughes Worked to Create Facebook. Now, He Is Working to Break It Up.” The New York Times. July 25, 2019.
  6. “Results for Tax Exempt Organization Search.” Internal Revenue Service, n.d.
  7. Data viewable at the State of Delaware Department of State Division of Corporations, File Number 7076371.
  8. “Entity Information: ECONOMIC SECURITY PROJECT ACTION, INC.” Division of Corporations. New York State Department of State, n.d. security project&p_name_type=A&p_search_type=CONTAINS&p_srch_results_page=0.
  9. Aurilio, Anna. “Lobbying Registration.” LD-1 Disclosure Form. United States Senate, November 1, 2018.
  10. Hayden Ludwig. “Big Money in Dark Shadows: Arabella Advisors’ Half-billion-dollar ‘Dark Money’ Network.” Capital Research Center. Published April 2019. Accessed August 28, 2019.
  11. Yellin, Jessica. “Super PAC Says It’s Leveling Playing Field; Unions Disagree.” CNN. Cable News Network, January 25, 2012.
  12. “What Is the Earned Income Tax Credit?” Tax Policy Center. Urban Institute & Brookings Institution, n.d.
  13. Capps, Kriston. “The Poverty-Fighting Power of Expanding Tax Credits.” CityLab. The Atlantic Monthly Group, April 15, 2019.
  14. “EITC & Other Refundable Credits.” Overview of EITC. Internal Revenue Service, n.d.
  15. “Cost-Of-Living Refund Federal Proposal Overview.” Economic Security Project Action. Economic Security Project Action, n.d.
  16. “Lobbying Spending Database-Economic Security Project, 2019.” Center for Responsive Politics. &year=2019
  17. Aurilio, Anna. “Lobbying Report.” LD-2 Disclosure Form. United States Congress, n.d.
  18. “Lobbying Disclosure.” Search Registrant Information. United States House of Representatives, n.d.
  19. “Lobbying Activity: Economic Security Project Action.” CalAccess. California Secretary of State, n.d.
  20. “Ad Library: Economic Security Project Action.” Ad Library. Facebook, n.d. Security Project Action&view_all_page_id=2313275472070573.
  21. Lowrey, Annie. “Kamala Harris’s Trump-Size Tax Plan.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, October 18, 2018.
  22. McConville, Saadia. “CLR Toolkit Launch.” Cost-Of-Living Refund. Economic Security Project Action, n.d.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Adam Ruben
    Executive Director
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Economic Security Project Action

51 East 12th Street, 2nd Floor
New York City, NY