Non-profit

Stand Up Republic (SUR)

Website:

standuprepublic.com

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax ID:

81-5016758

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Type:

NeverTrump Advocacy Group

Founders:

Evan McMullin

Mindy Finn

Stand Up Republic (SUR) is a nominally right-leaning advocacy organization founded by failed 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin and former 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign staffer Mindy Finn. [1]

Stand Up Republic Foundation (formerly Stand Up Ideas) is the 501(c)(3) fundraising and education arm of Stand Up Republic.

Political Activities

Ties to the Left

Despite its claims to be a center-right organization, Stand Up Republic is closely connected to a number of left-wing groups. In June 2019, it was announced that co-founder Evan McMullin would join the board of directors of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a far-left agitation group created by Democratic strategist David Brock, a former Republican operative. [2] McMullin said:

Our democracy is facing unprecedented threats from foreign adversaries and our own unscrupulous leaders, especially including our president. Preserving our ethical standards and demanding accountability for political corruption are essential to liberty and justice in America. I’m proud to join CREW’s board to further this bipartisan cause.

SUR co-signed a May 2019 open letter to senior leadership in the U.S. Senate “calling on Congress to enact fundamental reforms to the National Emergency Act of 1976.” In the letter, the signatories claim that “President Trump’s issuance of Proclamation 9844, in which he declared a national emergency to build a wall along the southern border after Congress had refused to appropriate the funds he requested for that purpose, has demonstrated that we need additional guardrails.” Other signatories included the Brennan Center for Justice, Indivisible, CREDO Action, Niskanen Center, Republicans for the Rule of Law (a project of Defending Democracy Together), Protect Democracy Project, Public Citizen, and Win Without War (a project of the Center for International Policy). [3]

In May 2019, SUR held a “community picnic” in South Jordan, Utah, to promote ranked-choice voting policies. The picnic was held in partnership with the left-wing groups Represent.Us, Mormon Women for Ethical Government, the United Utah Party, and the Salt Lake arm of the anti-Trump agitation group Indivisible. [4]

National Summit for Democracy

Stand Up Republic co-sponsored a February 2018 event in Washington, D.C. called the National Summit for Democracy. According to the Washington Post, representatives from Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, MoveOn.org, and the far-left group Indivisible, were present, as was Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and then-Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (AZ). [5]

Anti-Trump Activism

SUR is virulently critical of President Donald Trump and the Trump administration. In a 2017 interview with the liberal magazine Washingtonian, McMullin and Finn went so far as to attack the supposed “evil that Donald Trump is ushering in” as President of the United States. [6]

SUR has accused Trump of promoting a “culture of lies,” citing the Washington Post’s partisan and controversial claim that the President has told over 10,000 days in his first two years in office. [7] [8] The group regularly makes wild claims and accusations concerning the President, casting itself as a defender of democratic virtues, writing: “We can’t stand by and watch as the presidency sinks lower and lower into the depths of depraved, self-absorbed dishonesty. We have to hold this administration to the highest standards, not allow them to drag our government down to their level.” [9]

H.R. 1 “For the People Act” (2019)

SUR supported the “For the People Act” (H.R. 1) passed by the House of Representatives in March 2019 by the Democratic majority, entirely along partisan lines. [10] [11] The 571-page bill (which failed to pass the U.S. Senate) has been criticized by conservatives as “a progressive wish list of new rules and regulations that would undermine the legitimacy and functionality of our entire electoral system.” [12]

SUR noted its involvement in aiding the passage of H.R.1 “since the beginning,” writing: “While H.R. 1 isn’t perfect, it is a momentous effort to strengthen the foundations of our democracy, and one worth celebrating.” The group further urged readers to call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring the bill to a vote in the Senate. [13]

Security from Political Interference in Justice Action of 2019

On June 21, 2019, the anti-Trump agitation group United to Protect Democracy sponsored a letter urging the U.S. Congress to pass the Security from Political Interference in Justice Act, legislation introduced by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (CA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), and Richard Blumenthal (CT). [14] The bill targeted the Trump administration and among other things would have required the White House to create detailed logs of communications between it and the Department of Justice and disclose them to the Congress. [15]

Co-signatories to the letter included Stand Up Republic, the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Niskanen Center, Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Republicans for the Rule of Law (a project of Defending Democracy Together), and Tech Freedom. [16]

“Electoral Reform Agenda”

Stand Up Republic favors changes to the U.S. electoral system that include a number of policies favored by left-wing groups, including FairVote, which supports overturning the Constitutionally mandated “winner-take-all” electoral system in favor of proportional representation in Congress. [17]

In 2019, SUR introduced its “electoral reform agenda,” policy proposals it claims will “enhance the voice of all Americans, while inspiring more unifying, accountable and effective leadership.” These proposals include mandating: [18]

  • Ranked-choice voting systems at the local, state, and national levels;
  • “independent commissions” to draw congressional maps during redistricting periods;
  • automatic voter registration when citizens obtain driver’s licenses or pay taxes;
  • mandatory paper records of all votes (instead of voting machines);
  • a national holiday for Election Day;
  • and expanded “ballot access” for third-party candidates.

Ranked-Choice Voting

In 2019, SUR championed a New York City ballot measure which would adopt a ranked-choice voting system if passed. [19] In a ranked-choice voting system, voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots; the candidate who eventually wins an outright majority is declared the winner. The New York City ballot measure is supported by the left-wing group Common Cause. [20]

On June 18, 2019, SUR and FairVote co-hosted a breakfast panel in Washington, D.C. featuring Larry Diamond, a Stanford University professor who has claimed the election of President Trump is the product of “rising authoritarianism” in the United States. The panel was led by SUR founder Evan McMullin and FairVote president Rob Richie. [21] [22]

Campaign Spending

In December 2017, the Washington Post reported that Stand Up Republic spent $500,000 in digital and television advertisements opposing Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama’s special election for the U.S. Senate. According to one advertisement, “what he [Moore] has done and what he stands for makes us Republicans and us Christians look bad.” [23]

Funding

Stand Up Republic received an estimated $800,000 in two grants in 2017 from Democracy Fund Voice, a left-wing 501(c)(4) group primarily funded by mega-donor Pierre Omidyar. [24]

Democracy Fund Voice has also funded the Niskanen Center, a nominally libertarian think tank whose president, Jerry Taylor, is a member of SUR’s board of directors. [25]

SUR fundraises in part using the Action Network, a liberal fundraising platform that caters to left-wing nonprofits. [26]

Leadership

Co-Founders

Stand Up Republic was founded by failed 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin and his running mate, Mindy Finn. Both are former Republican strategists: McMullin, a former clandestine operations officer for the CIA, worked as a senior adviser to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and as chief policy director to the House Republican Conference; Finn led the digital program for the Republican National Committee and the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and George W. Bush. [27]

Board of Directors

Besides McMullin and Finn, Stand Up Republic’s board of directors consisted of the following members in June 2019: [28]

David Jolly is a former Republican member of Congress representing Florida’s 13th Congressional District from 2014 to 2017.

Bryan Jones is a digital advertising entrepreneur.

Tara Setmayer is a CNN political commentator, contributor to ABC News, and a former Republican congressional staffer. Setmayer is a frequent Trump critic, accusing the President’s supporters of being a “mob” responsible for “blurr[ing] the lines of logic and lunacy.” [29]

Charles “Charlie” Sykes is editor of the Bulwark, a right-leaning NeverTrump publication hosted by the Defending Democracy Together Institute (DDTI). DDTI has received funding the left-wing Hewlett Foundation. [30] Sykes is also a national advisory board member of the left-wing Democracy Fund, funded by Pierre Omidyar. [31]

Jerry Taylor is the president of the Niskanen Center, a nominally libertarian think tank that advocates for left-wing policies, particularly concerning environmentalism. Mindy Finn and Evan McMullin are members of the Niskanen Center’s advisory board. [32]

References

  1. “About Us.” Stand Up Republic. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://standuprepublic.com/about-us/ ^
  2. Press Release. “McCaskill, McMullin and Nolan Join CREW Board.” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. June 11, 2019. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://www.citizensforethics.org/press-release/mccaskill-mcmullin-nolan-crew-board/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/McCaskill-McMullin-Nolan-Join-CREW-Board.-CREW.-06.11.2019.pdf ^
  3. “Brennan Center Calls for Fundamental Reform of the National Emergencies Act of 1976.” Brennan Center for Justice. May 10, 2019. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/brennan-center-calls-fundamental-reform-national-emergencies-act-1976. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Brennan-Center-Calls-for-Fundamental-Reform-of-the-National-Emergencies-Act-of-1976.-05.2019.pdf ^
  4. “Community picnic to demonstrate ranked choice voting.” Utah Policy. May 19, 2019. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://www.utahpolicy.com/index.php/features/featured-articles/20466-community-picnic-to-demonstrate-ranked-choice-voting ^
  5. David Weigel. “Trump skeptics gather to ask whether democracy can survive him.” February 28, 2018. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2018/02/28/trump-skeptics-gather-to-ask-if-democracy-can-survive-him/?utm_term=.111920229c27 ^
  6. Noah Lanard. “Five Questions for a Former Republican Who Thinks Donald Trump Is Ushering in ‘Evil.'” Washingtonian. February 8, 2017. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://www.washingtonian.com/2017/02/08/five-questions-for-a-former-republican-who-thinks-donald-trump-is-ushering-in-evil/ ^
  7. “President Trump has made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims.” Washington Post. April 29, 2019. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/04/29/president-trump-has-made-more-than-false-or-misleading-claims/ ^
  8. “Trump’s Culture of Lies.” Stand Up Republic. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://standuprepublic.com/trumps-culture-of-lies/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Trumps-Culture-of-Lies.-Stand-Up-Republic.-06.2019.pdf ^
  9. “Trump’s Culture of Lies.” Stand Up Republic. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://standuprepublic.com/trumps-culture-of-lies/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Trumps-Culture-of-Lies.-Stand-Up-Republic.-06.2019.pdf ^
  10. “FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 118.” U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 1. March 8, 2019. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2019/roll118.xml ^
  11. “A big win today for election integrity.” Stand Up Republic. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://standuprepublic.com/a-big-win-today-for-election-integrity/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/HR-1-Stand-Up-Republic.-06.2019.pdf ^
  12. Ilya Shapiro and Nathan Harvey. “What Left-Wing Populism Looks Like.” National Review. https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/03/democrats-for-the-people-act-unconstitutional-left-wing-populism/ ^
  13. “A big win today for election integrity.” Stand Up Republic. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://standuprepublic.com/a-big-win-today-for-election-integrity/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/HR-1-Stand-Up-Republic.-06.2019.pdf ^
  14. Press Release. “Bipartisan coalition letter in support of Security from Political Interference in Justice Act of 2019.” United to Protect Democracy. June 21, 2019. Accessed June 24, 2019. Original URL: https://protectdemocracy.org/update/political-interference-bipartisan-coalition/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Press-Release-Security-from-Political-Interference.-06.21.2019.pdf ^
  15. Press Release. “Harris, Whitehouse, Blumenthal Introduce Bill to Protect Independence of Justice Department.” Office of Sen. Kamala Harris. June 21, 2019. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.harris.senate.gov/news/press-releases/harris-whitehouse-blumenthal-introduce-bill-to-protect-independence-of-justice-department ^
  16. Press Release. “Bipartisan coalition letter in support of Security from Political Interference in Justice Act of 2019.” United to Protect Democracy. June 21, 2019. Accessed June 24, 2019. Original URL: https://protectdemocracy.org/update/political-interference-bipartisan-coalition/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Press-Release-Security-from-Political-Interference.-06.21.2019.pdf ^
  17. “Fair Representation Voting.” FairVote. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://www.fairvote.org/fair_representation#what_is_fair_voting ^
  18. “Announcing SUR’s Electoral Reform Agenda.” Stand Up Republic. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://standuprepublic.com/announcing-surs-electoral-reform-agenda/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Electoral-Reform-Agenda.-Stand-Up-Republic.-06.2019.pdf ^
  19. “Another Win for Electoral Reform.” Stand Up Republic. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://standuprepublic.com/another-win-for-electoral-reform/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Another-Win-for-Electoral-Reform.-Stand-Up-Republic.-06.2019.pdf ^
  20. “Ranked Choice Voting: Bring NYC Together.” Common Cause. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://www.commoncause.org/new-york/our-work/voting-elections/let-nyc-vote-help-bring-ranked-choice-voting-to-the-city/ ^
  21. “Good Morning Democracy Breakfast.” FairVote. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://www.fairvote.org/breakfast_interviews. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Good-Morning-Democracy.-Stand-Up-Republic.-06.18.2019.pdf ^
  22. Gary J. Bass. “Democracy in Crisis.” New York Times. June 15, 2019. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/books/review/larry-diamond-ill-winds.html ^
  23. David Weigel. “Anti-Trump conservatives place $500,000 ad buy against Roy Moore.” The Washington Post. December 8, 2017. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/12/08/anti-trump-conservatives-place-500000-ad-buy-against-roy-moore/?utm_term=.5f70e4060425 ^
  24. “Stand Up Republic.” Democracy Fund Voice. Accessed March 8, 2019. Original URL: https://democracyfundvoice.org/stand-up-republic/; Available here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/03/democracy-fund-voice-2017-grant-stand-up-republic.pdf ^
  25. Joe Goldman. “A $100 Million Commitment to Healthy Democracy​.” June 26, 2018. Accessed March 6, 2019. https://www.democracyfund.org/blog/entry/a-100-million-commitment-to-healthy-democracy ^
  26. “Stand Up Republic.” The Action Network. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://actionnetwork.org/groups/stand-up-republic ^
  27. “Board of Directors.” Stand Up Republic. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://standuprepublic.com/board/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Stand-Up-Republic-Board.-06.2019.pdf ^
  28. “Board of Directors.” Stand Up Republic. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://standuprepublic.com/board/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Stand-Up-Republic-Board.-06.2019.pdf ^
  29. Tara Setmayer. “Donald Trump and the Tyranny of the Minority.” Daily Beast. April 13, 2017. Accessed June 18, 2019. https://www.thedailybeast.com/donald-trump-and-the-tyranny-of-the-minority ^
  30. “Grant: Donors Trust Inc. – For support of the Defending Democracy Together Institute.” Hewlett Foundation. September 19, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2018. https://hewlett.org/grants/donors-trust-inc-for-support-of-the-defending-democracy-together-institute/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/hewlett-foundation-2018-grant-defending-democracy-together-institute/ ^
  31. “About Us (National Advisory Board).” Democracy Fund. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://www.democracyfund.org/about-us. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Democracy-Fund-Board.-06.2019.pdf ^
  32. “Board of Directors/Advisory Board.” Niskanen Center. Accessed June 18, 2019. Original URL: https://niskanencenter.org/about/. Archived here: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/06/Niskanen-Center-Board-Advisor-Board.-06.2019.pdf ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Charlie Sykes
    Board Member
  2. Evan McMullin
    Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
  3. Mindy Finn
    Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Coalition Memberships

  1. March for Truth
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Stand Up Republic (SUR)

1140 3rd St. NE
Washington, DC 20003