Frank Smith

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Frank Smith is a left-of-center political activist who currently works as senior political advisor to the Democracy Alliance, a liberal donors’ convening that calls itself “the largest network of donors dedicated to building the progressive movement in the United States.” 1

Smith previously served as an Assistant District Attorney in Boston, Massachusetts. He also worked on several political campaigns, including two presidential elections, and has been involved with a variety of left-of-center groups. 2 He spoke on a panel at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. 3

Early Career

In July 2002, Smith released Making a Killing: HMOs and the Threat to Your Health together with left-wing activist Jamie Court. The book criticizes health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and claimed that HMO policies of the 1990s were resulting in the unnecessary deaths of ill people. 4

Smith then joined the Civil Society Institute, a research organization publishing studies on alternative energy, stem cell research, and other progressive scientific interests as a senior fellow. 5

In January 2003, Smith and Court co-authored an article for the left-wing organization Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) in which they attacked then-incoming Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) for his ties to corporate health care. PNHP supported a government-controlled single-payer health care system. 6

Political Work

Democracy Alliance

Smith was aligned with of Democracy Alliance as early as 2008, when he said he was working to export the organization’s secretive fundraising methods to more states. 7

The Alliance is not a tax-exempt nonprofit group, so it does not have to release its tax returns, and it does not disclose its donors or members. A memo from the group says that “many of our donors choose not to participate publicly,” and that “the DA exists to provide a comfortable environment” for its donors. 8

Smith is on the Board of Directors for the State Engagement Fund, a Democratic-leaning dark-money group closely affiliated with Democracy Alliance. 9

Smith was one of three people who issued a state-level elections report from the Democracy Alliance State Engagement Initiatives in 2016. 10 He was head of the group’s efforts in 2015. 11

2008 Democratic Convention

In 2008, Smith spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. He was part of a panel about state-level coordination and infrastructure by big-donor liberals, especially those coordinated by Democracy Alliance. 12


  1. “About the DA,” Democracy Alliance. Accessed September 17, 2020.
  2. “Frank Smith,” Democracy Alliance. Accessed September 17, 2020.
  3. Influence Watch, “Transcript of “Democracy Alliance: Colorado as a Model– Donor Cooperation for Social Change” panel discussion,” August 27, 2008. Uploaded October 2018. Accessed September 29, 2020.
  4. Making a Killing. Accessed September 17, 2020.
  5. Civil Society Institute. Accessed September 17, 2020.
  6. Jamie Court and Frank Smith, “Frist’s loyalty is to health care industry, not patients,” PNHP, January 4, 2003. Accessed September 17, 2020.
  7. Jessica Fender, “Colorado Democratic scheme called ingenious,” The Denver Post, October 2, 2008. Accessed September 17, 2020.
  8. Kenneth P. Vogel, “Inside the vast liberal conspiracy,” Politico, June 23, 2014. Accessed September 17, 2020.
  9. Mike Antonucci, “The 74 Million, “Analysis: Tracking the NEA’s and AFT’s $43 Million in Donations to PACs, Advocacy Organizations, Nonprofits – and the State Engagement Fund?” The 74 Million. January 22, 2020. Accessed September 29, 2020.
  10. Julie Kohler, Frank Smith, Scott Anderson, “2020 funds update: the State Engagement Initiative,” April 22, 2016. Democracy Alliance. Accessed September 29, 2020.
  11. Lachlan Markay, “Top donors help steer Democracy Alliance’s 2016 strategy,” April 21, 2015. Washington Free Beacon. Accessed September 29, 2020.
  12. Influence Watch, “Transcript of “Democracy Alliance: Colorado as a Model– Donor Cooperation for Social Change” panel discussion,” August 27, 2008. Uploaded October 2018. Accessed September 29, 2020.
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