Person

Amy Kurtz

Nationality:

American

Position:

President, Sixteen Thirty Fund (since June 2020)

Amy Kurtz is the president of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a “dark money” fund responsible for funneling over $400 million to Democratic and left-of-center causes in 2020. [1]

Kurtz has worked on independent political expenditures for Democratic-aligned nonprofits since 2001. She spent ten years running the political operations of the National Education Association, the largest labor union in the United States. Though Kurtz’s Sixteen Thirty Fund employs anonymized so-called “dark money” campaign finance which conceals donors, Kurtz has spoken in support of laws to limit or prohibit anonymous campaign-related speech.

Career

In 1991, Amy Kurtz graduated from George Washington University with a BA in political communication. There is no information on Kurtz’s LinkedIn or her bio page on the Sixteen Thirty Fund’s website about her activities from 1991-2000. [2] [3]

In 2001, Kurtz became the first full-time campaign director at the League of Conservation Voters. Kurtz ran the organization’s independent expenditures on political campaigns for two election cycles, including the 2004 presidential campaign. [4] Her efforts secured more than $300 million for environmentalist causes over four years. [5]

In 2005, Kurtz became a project manager at Defenders of Wildlife. Kurtz ran the organization’s independent expenditures on Congressional campaigns for one cycle. [6]

In 2007, Kurtz became an associate director at the National Education Association (NEA), America’s largest labor union. Kurtz ran the National Education Association Advocacy Fund, the union’s PAC at which she oversaw independent expenditures on federal and Congressional campaigns for five election cycles. Kurtz increased the union’s activism despite declining membership. [7]

In 2017, Kurtz became a senior advisor for America Votes, a left-of-center lobbying and advocacy group which supports expanded voter access, for which she worked on advocacy campaigns in 20 states throughout the 2018 election cycle. [8]

In 2019, Kurtz became the executive director of the Sixteen Thirty Fund. [9]

Sixteen Thirty Fund

The Sixteen Thirty Fund is a left-of-center lobbying and advocacy organization founded in 2008 which operates alongside its charitable sister-group, the New Venture Fund. Both groups are administered by Arabella Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropy consulting firm that caters to left-leaning clients. [10]

The Sixteen Thirty Fund is known as one of the largest “dark money” groups in the United States. The fund funnels money from anonymous big donors to candidates, PACs, and advocacy groups at the federal and state level. In 2020, Kurtz led the Fund to channel $410 million to Democrats for the election, a 175% increase over 2019. $128 million was directed to America Votes, at which Kurtz used to work, to expand voter access. Forward Future USA Action, Priorities USA Action, and League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, at which Kurtz also used to work, all received significant funds from the Sixteen Thirty Fund. [11]

Campaign Finance

In April 2021, Amy Kutz wrote an article on medium about the state of voting rights in the United States. Kutz condemned the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision which permitted unlimited political spending by nonprofit and for-profit corporations through independent expenditures. She argued that the decision created an arms race between Republicans and Democrats where both sides needed to spend heavily to gain influence over the government, including the Sixteen Thirty Fund. Kurtz endorsed the “For the People Act,” a Democratic-backed bill that proposed a federal takeover of the American voting system, including automatic voter registration, online voter registration, a program to match small donations with government donations, and the establishment of an independent redistricting committee to combat gerrymandering. The Act passed the House but has not passed the U.S. Senate as of late 2021. [12]

Also in 2021, Kurtz said that she and the Sixteen Thirty Fund would prefer that campaign finance laws would introduce requirements for transparency which would reveal dark money sources. [13]

In September 2020, NBC News published an article entitled, “Democrats used to rail against ‘dark money.’ Now they’re better at it than the GOP.” In the article Amy Kurtz and the Sixteen Thirty Fund were held as examples of the proficiency of Democratic dark money. Kurtz is quoted: [14]

We support and have lobbied in favor of reform to the current campaign finance system (through H.R. 1), but we are equally committed to following the current laws to level the playing field for progressives in this election. [15]

Personal Political Donations

Amy Kurtz has made small donations to exclusively Democratic political candidates and PACs since at least 2002, including America Coming Together, former U.S. Sen. Hilary Clinton (D-NY), and former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). [16]

References

  1. Kurtz, Amy. “Progressive philanthropy answered the call in 2020.” Medium. November 17, 2021. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://amy-kurtz.medium.com/progressive-philanthropy-answered-the-call-in-2020-57f038a6a5d2. ^
  2. “Amy Kurtz.” LinkedIn. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-kurtz-a56a294/. ^
  3. “Amy Kurtz.” Sixteen Thirty Fund. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.sixteenthirtyfund.org/team-members/amy-kurtz/. ^
  4. “Amy Kurtz.” LinkedIn. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-kurtz-a56a294/. ^
  5. “Amy Kurtz.” Sixteen Thirty Fund. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.sixteenthirtyfund.org/team-members/amy-kurtz/. ^
  6. “Amy Kurtz.” LinkedIn. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-kurtz-a56a294/. ^
  7. “Amy Kurtz.” LinkedIn. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-kurtz-a56a294/ ^
  8. “Amy Kurtz.” LinkedIn. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-kurtz-a56a294/. ^
  9. “Amy Kurtz.” LinkedIn. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-kurtz-a56a294/. ^
  10. “Freeing You to Focus on the Mission.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/expertise/fiscal-sponsorship/. ^
  11. [1] Kurtz, Amy. “Progressive philanthropy answered the call in 2020.” Medium. November 17, 2021. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://amy-kurtz.medium.com/progressive-philanthropy-answered-the-call-in-2020-57f038a6a5d2. ^
  12. Kurtz, Amy. “Our democracy needs a reboot.” Medium. April 8, 2021. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://amy-kurtz.medium.com/our-democracy-needs-a-reboot-92278c17647c. ^
  13. Allison, Bill. “’Dark Money’ Helped Pave Joe Biden’s Path to the White House.” Bloomberg. January 23, 2021. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-23/-dark-money-helped-pave-joe-biden-s-path-to-the-white-house. ^
  14. Seitz-Wald, Alex. “Democrats used to rail against ‘dark money.’ Now they’re better at it than the GOP.” NBC News. September 13, 2020. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/democrats-used-rail-against-dark-money-now-they-re-better-n1239830. ^
  15. Seitz-Wald, Alex. “Democrats used to rail against ‘dark money.’ Now they’re better at it than the GOP.” NBC News. September 13, 2020. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/democrats-used-rail-against-dark-money-now-they-re-better-n1239830. ^
  16. “Donors: Amy Kurtz.” Open Secrets. Accessed November 18, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/search?q=amy+kurtz&type=donors. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Sixteen Thirty Fund (1630 Fund) (Non-profit)
    President
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