Non-profit

North Fund

Website:

www.northfund.org

Tax ID:

83-4011547

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Formation:

2018

Type:

Lobbying and Political Funding Nonprofit

Latest Filing:

2020 Form 990

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

The North Fund is a left-of-center nonprofit based in Washington, D.CThe Fund is closely tied to, and largely funded by, the multi-billion-dollar nonprofit network created and administered by Arabella Advisors, particularly the Arabella-run Sixteen Thirty Fund. Like Arabella’s nonprofits, North Fund operates as an umbrella group for various left-of-center advocacy organizations and has spent millions to promote causes including expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court (known as “packing the court”), abolishing the Electoral College, legalizing recreational marijuana, opposing a 22-week abortion ban, expanding Medicaid, and making Washington, D.C. a state. [1]

The North Fund has been characterized as a leading “dark money” nonprofit for its significant ballot-measure funding, which totaled $34 million in the 2020 election. [2] [3]

The North Fund is registered as a lobbyist principal in Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. After a complaint in 2020, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices’ Office (COPP) determined the North Fund’s primary purpose as an organization is to support or oppose election related issues.

Background

The North Fund was incorporated as a nonprofit on December 28, 2018. [4] As of late 2020, it had no website and listed a physical address in Washington, D.C. that is managed by Carr Workplaces, a co-working space. A receptionist with Carr told a Montana newspaper that the North Fund is not on the company’s registry, though Carr allows customers to use the location as a street address to conduct virtual office business. [5]

North Fund leadership includes a number of former Democratic officials, including Melanie Beller, a former aide to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV); Jim Gerstein, a former Democratic pollster; and Cristina Uribe, a Democratic Party organizer and labor union organizer with the National Education Association.[6] [7]

Funding & Ties to Arabella Advisors

Also see Arabella Advisors (For-Profit)

The North Fund is closely tied to Arabella Advisors, a for-profit consulting firm in Washington, D.C., that controls a network of nonprofit organizations that almost exclusively fund left-leaning political activism. The Arabella Advisors network has been called a “‘dark money’ behemoth” and raised over $1.7 billion in revenue during the 2020 elections. [8]

In 2019, the Sixteen Thirty Fund provided 100 percent of the North Fund’s $9.3 million revenues. [9]

In 2020, the Sixteen Thirty Fund granted the North Fund roughly $30 million and the Arabella-run New Venture Fund granted it another $11 million, providing more than half of the North Fund’s $66 million revenues that year. [10] [11] That year, the North Fund, in-turn, granted $800,000 to the Sixteen Thirty Fund and $500,000 to the New Venture Fund. [12]

In 2020, the North Fund paid Arabella Advisors $941,615 in consulting fees and received over half of its $66 million in revenue from the Arabella controlled nonprofits. The North Fund also reports that its books and records are kept by Arabella Advisors. [13]

2020 Spending

Below is a table listing the North Fund’s reported grants during 2020.

RecipientAmount ($)
A Philip Randolph Educational Fund65,000
Abortion Access for All1,350,000
Alliance for A Better Minnesota220,000
Alliance of Families for Justice Inc10,000
Arizona Advocacy Network Inc1,072,614
Black Women for Wellness Action Project10,000
Care in Action700,000
Casa in Action Inc50,000
Ceasefire Pennsylvania 75,000
Citizen Action of Wiscoinsin Inc50,000
Clean Missouri1,000,000
Colorado Families First4,400,000
Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania75,000
Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence Inc30,000
Emerging American Majorities375,000
For Our Future Action Fund75,000
Forward Together Action150,000
Fsic American Innovatio0n And Opportunity Fund10,000
Future Forward USA Action6,736,650
Georgia Investor Action Fund250,000
Groundswell Action Fund400,000
Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee50,000
Human Rights Campaign Inc20,000
League of Conservation Voters Inc350,000
Living United for Change in Arizona100,000
Make NC First350,000
Michigan League of Conservation Voters75,000
Missourians for Healthcare1,913,370
Mothering Justice Action Fund75,000
Naral Pro-choice America400,000
National Black Justice Coalition10,000
National Womens Law Center Action400,000
New Approach Montana4,727,500
New Venture Fund500,000
North Carolina Black Alliance10,000
North Carolinians Against Gun Violence Action Fund62,500
Ohioans for Raising The Wage1,657,277
Opportunity Arizona250,000
Organizers in the Land of Engagement90,000
Overall220,000
PA Alliance Action280,000
Peoples Action150,000
Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc1,000,000
Planned Parenthood Advocates of MI225,000
Planned Parenthood ND/SD/MS75,000
Planned Parenthood PA Advocates100,000
Planned Parenthood Votes50,000
PPRM Action Fund280,000
Prosperity Michigan 200,000
Protect Colorado's Recovery750,000
Secure Democracy 1,000,000
Sixteen Thirty Fund800,000
South Carolina Progressive Network Education Fund10,000
Spark Repreductive Justice Now Inc10,000
State Policy Institute200,000
States Newsroom85,000
Takeaction Minnestoa50,000
The Fairness Project10,000
Voters Not Politicians130,000
Working America75,000
Working Families Party 15,000
Yes on National Popular Vote250,000
Total$34,109,911

Ballot Measure Spending

In 2020, the North Fund spent $25.1 million in expenditures and $17.3 million of which went towards organizations that supported or opposed ballot measures.[14]

In 2020, the North Fund gave $4.7 million in direct contributions and spent an additional $339,520 in support of New Approach Montana regarding ballot measures I-190 and C-118.[15]

The North Fund also made significant expenditures on several ballot measures in Colorado and Missouri. The North Fund contributed $2.1 million in favor of a ballot initiative to expand family and medical leave benefits in Colorado and spent an additional $1.1 million to defeat a ballot initiative to ban abortions after 22 weeks. [16] [17]

Previously, the North Fund spent $500,000 to advocate for a 2019 Colorado ballot initiative to withhold state tax refunds from taxpayers in order spend any surplus funding on public schools, higher education, roads, and public transit. [18]

The North Fund gave $1 million to oppose a 2020 ballot initiative that would undo the current Missouri legislative districting system and replace it with an independent redistricting commission. [19] The North Fund further gave $1.5 million to Missourians for Health, a political action committee that advocates in favor of a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid in Missouri.[20]

Other contributions to organizations in support or opposition of ballot measures in 2020 include:

  • $750,000 to Protect Colorado’s Recovery
  • $4,400,000 to Colorado Families First
  • $1,350,000 to Abortion Access for All
  • $250,000 to Yes on National Popular Vote
  • $1,162,500 to Clean Missouri
  • $2,162,000 to Missourians for Healthcare
  • $37,800 to Vote 2020
  • $2,000,000 to Ohioans for Raising the Wage

According to the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the North Fund operates several different entities. [21] These include Just Democracy, an organization that promotes left-of-center policy on racial issues. Just Democracy also endorses giving D.C. statehood, abolishing the Electoral College, “packing” the Supreme Court with “progressive” justices, and ending the Senate’s filibuster. [22]

The North Fund also sponsors 51 for 51, a group that advocates solely for D.C. statehood. [23] Launched in 2019, the 51 for 51 campaign announced a seven-figure ad buy in the 2020 presidential primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. [24]

The North Fund also sponsors Voting Rights Lab Action, which advocates for changes to voting laws across the country and has opposed anti-election fraud measures. [25]

The North Fund’s other projects include Opportunity Wisconsin, Accountable Tech, Civic (Re)Solve Action Fund, Free and Fair Elections USA, and the Count Every Vote Project. [26] [27]

Controversies and Lawsuits

Zabawa v. North Fund

In October 2020, Steve Zabawa, Treasurer of the anti-marijuana legalization group Wrong for Montana, filed a complaint with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices’ Office alleging that the North Fund was incorrectly registered in Montana as an incidental political committee but qualifies as an independent committee. Zabawa argues that for this reason, it should have to reveal its donors.[28]

COPP Commissioner Jeff Mangan reached out to the North Fund for additional information in response to the complaint. The request was to help the COPP to determine if the North Fund’s main purpose is to support or oppose ballot issues, which would make it an independent committee and have to disclose its donors.[29]

In response to the Commissioner’s request for additional information, the North Fund provided a letter including financial disclosures, and claimed, in 2020, 10 percent of its expenditures went to ballot committees in Montana, 30 percent went towards ballot measures in total, and that the remaining amount of its expenditures were unrelated to elections. The letter also stated the North Fund’s purpose, to include, “promoting social welfare, including, but not limited to, providing public education on and conducting advocacy regarding progressive policies.”[30]

Commissioner Mangan ultimately concluded that there is “sufficient evidence” for a Finding and Decision to institute a civil fine or prosecution of the North Fund and referred the case to the County Attorney of Lewis and Clark County to consider prosecution. In making his decision, Mangan cited the North Funds provided financial disclosures that stated in 2020 over $17 million of its $25 million in expenditures went to organizations supporting or opposing ballot measures. Mangan stated that his investigation found that the North Fund’s primary purpose is to support or oppose ballot issues.[31]

Not Located at Listed Address

In May 2022, a reporter from the Washington Free Beacon visited the office of North Fund in Washington, D.C., located in a co-working rental space but was told by the front desk manager that “the North Fund uses the address but doesn’t maintain a presence there. ‘I’m not sure where they’re actually located,’ he said.” Similarly, she reported that “at Arabella’s office building in D.C., the lobby receptionists told the Free Beacon they were under strict orders from the firm to turn away all outside visitors.” [32]

When the Free Beacon stopped by the listed D.C. address for the Sixteen Thirty Fund and the New Venture Fund—the North Fund’s primary donors—their cavernous, full-floor office suite was deserted.

The groups had recently moved out, leaving just a couple of office chairs, the logo for Arabella Advisors emblazoned on the floors, and a piece of paper taped to a radiator that read, “Loose Lips Sink Ships.”

Credit: Alana Goodman, Washington Free Beacon. May 2022.

References

  1. Parker Thayer, Hayden Ludwig. “Breaking: Arabella’s Left-wing Activist Network Raked in $1.7 Billion in 2020—a ‘Dark Money’ Blowout.” Capital Research Center. Nov. 22, 2021. Accessed Jan. 7, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/breaking-arabellas-left-wing-activist-network-raked-in-1-7-billion-in-2020-a-dark-money-blowout/ ^
  2. Kelly, Matthew. “Dark Money Accounts for Roughly a Quarter of pro-Medicaid Expansion Committee’s Funds,” July 13, 2020. https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article244192572.html. ^
  3. Hayden Ludwig. “What’s the North Fund and How Did It Muck Up the 2020 Election?” Capital Research Center. Dec. 17, 2021. Accessed Jan. 7, 2022. https://capitalresearch.org/article/whats-the-north-fund-and-how-did-it-muck-up-the-2020-election/ ^
  4. North Fund. Open Corporates. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_dc/EXTUID_4231080 ^
  5. Slanger, Addi. “Progressive Leaning D.C.-Nonprofit Spends Nearly $5 Million for Marijuana Legalization.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. October 26, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/politics/progressive-leaning-d-c-nonprofit-spends-nearly-5-million-for-marijuana-legalization/article_90fded5b-1e86-5ea8-a98e-3e6949430993.html ^
  6. North Fund. Open Corporates. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_dc/EXTUID_4231080 ^
  7. Slanger, Addi. “Progressive Leaning D.C.-Nonprofit Spends Nearly $5 Million for Marijuana Legalization.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. October 26, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/politics/progressive-leaning-d-c-nonprofit-spends-nearly-5-million-for-marijuana-legalization/article_90fded5b-1e86-5ea8-a98e-3e6949430993.html ^
  8. Thayer, Parker, and Hayden Ludwig. “Breaking: Arabella’s Left-Wing Activist Network Raked in $1.7 Billion in 2020 – a ‘Dark Money’ Blowout.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, November 22, 2021. https://capitalresearch.org/article/breaking-arabellas-left-wing-activist-network-raked-in-1-7-billion-in-2020-a-dark-money-blowout/. ^
  9. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Sixteen Thirty Fund. 2019. Schedule I (list of grants). ^
  10. Return of Tax-Exempt Organization. Form 990. Sixteen Thirty Fund. 2020. Schedule I. https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2021/11/Sixteen-Thirty-Fund-2020-990.pdf. ^
  11. Return of Tax-Exempt Organization. Form 990. New Venture Fund. 2020. Schedule I. ^
  12. Return of Tax-Exempt Organization. Form 990. North Fund. 2020. https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2021/11/North_Fund_2020_Public_Disclosure_Copy-002.pdf. ^
  13. Return of Tax-Exempt Organization. Form 990. North Fund. 2020. Page 9. Section B. https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2021/11/North_Fund_2020_Public_Disclosure_Copy-002.pdf. ^
  14. Mangan, Jeff. “PDF.” Helena: Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, December 28, 2020. Document can be accessed at http://prod.politicalpractices.mt.gov/Portals/144/2020%20Decisions/Zabawa%20v%20North%20Fund_SD.pdf?ver=2020-12-28-113408-787. ^
  15. Mangan, Jeff. “PDF.” Helena: Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, December 28, 2020. Document can be accessed at http://prod.politicalpractices.mt.gov/Portals/144/2020%20Decisions/Zabawa%20v%20North%20Fund_SD.pdf?ver=2020-12-28-113408-787. ^
  16. Wyloge, Evan. “High Profile Ballot Measures Flooded With Out-of-State Campaign Cash.” Colorado Politics. October 26, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.coloradopolitics.com/2020-election/high-profile-ballot-measures-flooded-with-out-of-state-campaign-cash/article_d3ea8c50-0e55-11eb-bd6d-cbd2ace018a3.html ^
  17. Wyloge, Evan. “High Profile Ballot Measures Flooded With Out-of-State Campaign Cash.” Colorado Politics. October 26, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.coloradopolitics.com/2020-election/high-profile-ballot-measures-flooded-with-out-of-state-campaign-cash/article_d3ea8c50-0e55-11eb-bd6d-cbd2ace018a3.html ^
  18. Fish, Sandra. “Dark Money and Big Donors Fuel the Ballot Battle Over Proposition CC in Colorado.” Colorado Sun. October 17, 2019. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://coloradosun.com/2019/10/17/dark-money-donors-proposition-cc-colorado/ ^
  19. Rosenbaum, Jason. “In Explosive and Partisan Missouri Redistricting Fight, Voters Get the Final Say.” NPR. October 18, 2020. https://www.npr.org/2020/10/18/923304112/in-an-expensive-and-partisan-missouri-redistricting-fight-voters-get-the-final-s ^
  20. Kelly, Matthew. “Dark Money Accounts for Roughly a Quarter of Pro-Medicaid Expansion Committee’s Funds.” Kansas City Star. July 13, 2020. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article244192572.html ^
  21. Slanger, Addi. “Progressive Leaning D.C.-Nonprofit Spends Nearly $5 Million for Marijuana Legalization.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. October 26, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/politics/progressive-leaning-d-c-nonprofit-spends-nearly-5-million-for-marijuana-legalization/article_90fded5b-1e86-5ea8-a98e-3e6949430993.html ^
  22. Kerma, Roge. “To Achieve Racial Justice America’s Broken Democracy Must be Fixed.” Vox. September 21, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://www.vox.com/21446880/just-democracy-reform-gun-violence-police-brutality-climate-change ^
  23. Slanger, Addi. “Progressive Leaning D.C.-Nonprofit Spends Nearly $5 Million for Marijuana Legalization.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. October 26, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/politics/progressive-leaning-d-c-nonprofit-spends-nearly-5-million-for-marijuana-legalization/article_90fded5b-1e86-5ea8-a98e-3e6949430993.html ^
  24. Kirzius, Rachel. “This New Campaign Plans To Spend ‘Seven Figures’ Pushing For D.C. Statehood. But It Won’t Disclose Its Funders.” DCist. May 23, 2019. Accessed https://dcist.com/story/19/05/23/this-new-campaign-plans-to-spend-seven-figures-pushing-for-d-c-statehood-but-it-wont-disclose-its-funders/ ^
  25. Slanger, Addi. “Progressive Leaning D.C.-Nonprofit Spends Nearly $5 Million for Marijuana Legalization.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. October 26, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/politics/progressive-leaning-d-c-nonprofit-spends-nearly-5-million-for-marijuana-legalization/article_90fded5b-1e86-5ea8-a98e-3e6949430993.html ^
  26. Slanger, Addi. “Progressive Leaning D.C.-Nonprofit Spends Nearly $5 Million for Marijuana Legalization.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle. October 26, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/politics/progressive-leaning-d-c-nonprofit-spends-nearly-5-million-for-marijuana-legalization/article_90fded5b-1e86-5ea8-a98e-3e6949430993.html ^
  27. Screenshot Archived Here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2022/05/North-Fund-Trade-Names.pdf. Accessed May 23, 2022. ^
  28. Ambarian, Jonathon. “Montana Marijuana Legalization Opponents Want pro-Legalization Group to Reveal Donors.” KTVH. KTVH, October 12, 2020. https://www.ktvh.com/news/election-2020/montana-marijuana-legalization-opponents-want-pro-legalization-group-to-reveal-donors. ^
  29. Mangan, Jeff. “PDF.” Helena: Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, December 28, 2020. Document can be accessed at http://prod.politicalpractices.mt.gov/Portals/144/2020%20Decisions/Zabawa%20v%20North%20Fund_SD.pdf?ver=2020-12-28-113408-787.   ^
  30. Maltbie, Amber, and James Molloy. Letter to Jeffrey A. Mangan, Commissioner. “Re: North Fund Incidental Committee Classification – Response to Request for Additional Information,” October 23, 2020. ^
  31. Mangan, Jeff. “PDF.” Helena: Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, December 28, 2020. Document can be accessed at http://prod.politicalpractices.mt.gov/Portals/144/2020%20Decisions/Zabawa%20v%20North%20Fund_SD.pdf?ver=2020-12-28-113408-787. ^
  32. Alana Goodman. “The Shape-Shifting DC Dark Money Group Disguising Liberal Campaigns Across the Country.” Washington Free Beacon. May 16, 2022. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://freebeacon.com/latest-news/the-shape-shifting-dc-dark-money-group-disguising-liberal-campaigns-across-country/ ^
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