Anne Bartley is a left-of-center activist and funder who was involved in the creation and leadership of numerous liberal advocacy organizations including America Votes, the Threshold Foundation, Democracy Alliance, and Committee on States. She is associated with the Rockefeller family; her mother, Jeannette Edris, was married to Winthrop Rockefeller, who served as Governor of Arkansas at the end of the 1960s, from 1956 until 1971.
Bartley’s political career began in the early 1970s: Gov. David Pryor (D-AR) appointed her the first director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage in 1975, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the National Neighborhood Commission, and then-Governor Bill Clinton appointed her director of the Arkansas Washington office in 1979. She later worked as a staffer for Hillary Clinton in the First Lady’s Office from 1993 to 1995.
She has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to left-of-center groups and affiliates of the Democratic Party including $124,700 to the Democratic National Committee and $47,250 to EMILY’s List.
Anne Bartley, also known as Anne Bartley McNeil, is the daughter of Jeanette Edris Bartley McDonnell, who was the spouse of Rockefeller heir and former Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller (R) from 1956 through 1971.
Anne Bartley attended Sarah Lawrence College and Finch College and graduated from the Teachers College of Columbia University where she attained a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. She is married to a former director of the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Institute for Change, Larry McNeil.
When her then-stepfather Winthrop Rockefeller became Governor of Arkansas, Anne Bartley and her mother Jeanette became responsible for renovating the governor’s mansion. The two women’s job was to make the public rooms of the mansion “comfortable and useable.”
Bartley became the first director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH) after the department’s inception in 1975. President Jimmy Carter appointed Bartley to the National Neighborhood Commission. She was also appointed director of the Arkansas Washington office in 1979 by then-Governor Bill Clinton.
Bartley also worked as a staffer for Hillary Clinton in the First Lady’s Office from 1993 to 1995. During this time, Bartley’s job consisted of writing memos and taking notes on topics such as gender equality, healthcare, non-profit agencies, presidential boards and commissions, White House personnel matters, the arts and humanities, and Romania.
Anne Bartley is a co-founder of the Democracy Alliance, a collective of left-of-center donors that has been active in orchestrating “the activities of a permanent ‘left infrastructure’” since 2004. Since the group’s formation in 2005, the Democracy Alliance has “steer[ed] more than $600 million. to a portfolio of carefully selected groups, including pillars of the Clinton family-aligned Democratic establishment like the think tank Center for American Progress and the media watchdog Media Matters.”
The group has been labeled a “vast liberal conspiracy” with a “DA-funded extra-party political machine,” and has often been for its hypocrisy related to so-called “dark money,” a liberal term for lack of transparency and anonymous spending on politics and policy. In an article published in 2014, Politico wrote, “while many of the donors and operatives gathered [at a Democracy Alliance meeting] decry the new [post-Citizens United] system — and support measures to reduce the role of money in politics and increase transparency — they are nonetheless active participants.”
She is also the co-founder of Committee on States, a state-level counterpart organization of Democracy Alliance. The organization is reportedly similar to Democracy Alliance by being a collection of political operatives, wealthy donors, labor unions, environmental groups, and other liberal organizations. Committee on States maintains close ties to Democracy Alliance and Democracy Alliance’s State Engagement Initiative. Critics have described both of these organizations as “dark money”; Committee on States reportedly handles non-tax-deductible contributions for State Engagement Initiative.
America Coming Together
Bartley co-founded the liberal political action committee America Coming Together (ACT) in 2003. The PAC was created to prevent President George W. Bush from being re-elected in 2004. Although ACT ceased operations in 2005, it was fined $775,000 by the FEC in 2007 for spending outside of federal restrictions during the 2004 election cycle.
“For most of the 2004 election cycle, ACT used an allocation ratio of 2 percent federal funds and 98 percent non-federal funds for its administrative expenses and generic voter drives,” the FEC stated in a public release. “ACT was required to use a substantially higher proportion of federal funds than that reflected in either the estimated or adjusted funds expended allocation ratio for administrative expenses used by ACT in 2003-2004.” The Hill quoted former FEC Chairman Michael Toner: “All told, the agency has imposed more than a million dollars in fines against 527 groups based on their activities in the 2004 election.”
Funders Committee for Civic Participation
Bartley co-founded the Funders Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP), a network of more than 90 left-of-center institutional grantmakers and political funders that support left-leaning economic, social, and race-based policy advocacy. Organizations that are members of the FCCP include the AFL-CIO, the National Education Association, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Democracy Alliance, the Tides Foundation, Ford Foundation, Joyce Foundation, and the Rockefeller Family Fund.
Bartley is on the board of directors of the Bauman Foundation, a foundation which has donated millions of dollars to left-of-center causes over the past decade. It has an endowment of $83 million as of 2015, and has given grants to organizations such as the Brennan Center for Justice which received $250,000, the Center for American Progress which received $25,000, the ColorofChange.org Education Fund which received $75,000, Media Matters which received $125,000, and the Tides Foundation which received $500,000.
Bartley also sits on the board of directors for the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The president of the Bauman Foundation, Patricia Bauman, also sits on the board of directors of the NDRC Action Fund, as did former Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta between 2008 and 2014.
Bartley has previously been a board member of foundations such as the Threshold Foundation, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, New World Foundations, and the Rockefeller Family Fund. She is a trustee of the Jennifer Altman Foundation, and former Vice Chair of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Personal Political Contributions
Anne Bartley donated thousands of dollars to EMILY’s List, a federal PAC that bundles and gives contributions to pro-abortion, female Democratic candidates for office. Bartley, whose occupation is typically listed as “investor” on EMILY’s List’s FEC filings, has contributed a total of $47,250 to the group between 1989 and 2010.
Bartley has donated a total of $124,700 to the Democratic National Committee, $115,750 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and $34,550 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. She also contributed $64,400 to President Barack Obama between 2008 and 2012, $29,550 to Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) between 2002 and 2011, and $18,675 to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton between 1999 and 2008.