Political Party/527

Arena PAC

Website:

thearena.run

Location:

Washington, DC

Type:

527 Political Action Committee

Formation:

2017

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $2,553,438

Expenses: $727,762

Assets: $1,825,676 [23]

Arena.run (the Arena 527 and the Arena Political Action Committee (PAC)) was founded in 2017 to provide training and support to Democratic Party campaign staff. Arena 527 raises funding, and Arena PAC provides a set of pre-planned campaign tutorials and templates to help Democratic campaigns with left-of-center messaging, voter targeting, staff hiring, and plans for Get out the Vote (GOTV) efforts. [1] The Area PAC trains candidates and their campaign staff for the Democratic Party through conferences, prepacked campaign materials, and access to digital resources. [2]

Many former campaign members of Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaigns work at Arena with other staff and board members coming from the left-of-center political consultant firm 270 Strategies. [3]

FEC filings from November 2017 to 2018 display that Arena reported 96 contributors. [4] Arena’s ten largest donors consisted of 95.06% of all contributions, with Arena staff members, venture capitalists, and Silicon Valley technology employees making up the major donors. [5] One of Arena PAC’s largest contributors is controversial liberal activist and founder of social networking website LinkedIn Reid Hoffman, who provided the group $625,000 between January 2016 and August 2019. [6]

Background

The Arena.run groups were founded in 2017 by former employees of 270 Strategies, five alumni of Barack Obama’s Presidential campaigns, two former Obama administration officials, and four aides to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign. [7]

The Area PAC’s mission is to train candidates and their campaign staff for the Democratic Party through training conferences, pre-packed campaign materials, and access to digital resources. [8] Arena’s “Summit” training conferences are the main avenues of vetting and training campaign staffers, with the group claiming more than 2,500 campaign staff members trained in a short two-year period from late 2017 to 2019. The “Arena Academy” is the name of the group’s pre-made training program for “political professionals” that takes place during the 3-5 day “Summit” training events. [9]

Arena PAC provides a set of pre-planned campaign tutorials and templates to help Democratic campaigns with left-of-center messaging, voter targeting, staff hiring, and plan for Get out the Vote (GOTV) efforts. [10] Arena candidate coaches help liberal politicians develop a message more in tune with the organization’s political views, teach campaign fundamentals, essential organization, fundraising, and leadership from campaign launch to election day. [11]

2018 Midterm Elections

Arena PAC operated in Arizona, New York, and North Carolina during the 2018 mid-term elections. Arena’s New York branch supported seven winning left-wing candidates for U.S. Congress, state legislature, and one for New York State Democratic Committee against mainly moderate Democrats. The group also supported the Working Families Party, a labor union-funded political party out of Brooklyn, New York against opponents from the dissident Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). [12]

Arena partnered with the Future Now Fund, the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (ADLCC), and the Arizona Democratic Party in support of 18 campaigns for the State Senate and State House, and three directly funded leftwing Arena candidates by providing  $238,000 in the 2018 election cycle. Arena’s North Carolina strategy was “to chip away at the dominance of the state’s dark web of right-wing political groups who’ve hijacked the state’s democracy” with two leftist candidates for state offices. [13]

2020 Election Plans

Arena’s website says that the group plans to operate in swing states in 2019 and 2020 for the upcoming presidential, federal, and state elections. [14]

Funders

Arena PAC is not a “grassroots” organization as FEC filing from November 2017 to 2018 show, with Arena only having 96 contributors. [15] Ten of the PAC’s most significant donors consisted of 95.06% of all contributions from Arena staff members, venture capitalist, and technology workers out of Silicon Valley. [16]

Arena PAC’s 10 largest contributors in 2018 gave $2,447,501. [17] Notable contributors included:

  • Wicklow Capital president Daniel V. Tierney contributed $640,333
  • LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman gave $625,000
  • Stephen G Schuler, a Wicklow director, gave $309,668
  • Arena’s Swati Mylavarapu gave $295,000
  • Former Google engineer Matt Rogers gave $295,000

People

Ravi Gupta is the co-Founder and managing partner of Arena PAC. He controls the full-time staff, manages the organization’s resources, and runs the Arena Summit training and Arena community projects. Ravi was a speechwriter to Obama administration U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, and helped with fundraising and voter turnout operations for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. [18]

Swati Mylavarapu is a co-founder and board chair of Arena PAC. She works in the group’s support, strategy, and fundraising departments and is also the main point of contact for the organization’s funding arm, Arena 527. She is a former employee of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and digital payments firm Square. [19]

Kate Catherall is another co-founder & senior partner in Arena’s training department. She is also a former employee of 270 Strategies and Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. [20]

Digital director Jennifer Friedmann is a former national level staff member of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and co-founder of Rapid Resist. Rapid resist advocates for various left-of-center causes. She has worked to develop digital strategies for other Democratic politicians, including U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D). [21]

Arena’s board has five former Barack Obama, three former Hillary Clinton, and one former Bernie Sanders campaign staff members. The PAC’s candidate advisory board includes seven members of the Democratic political consultancy 270 Strategies, including its CEO, Meg Ansara. [22]

References

  1. “Toolbox.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/toolbox. ^
  2. “Academy.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/academy. ^
  3. “Team.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/team. ^
  4. “Browse Individual Contributions, The Arena PAC” FEC.gov, n.d. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?committee_id=C00634584&min_date=01/01/2016&max_date=12/31/2020. ^
  5. Form 8872 The Arena 527, Political Organization Notice of Section 527 Status, 2018, Schedule A, https://forms.irs.gov/app/pod/basicSearch/search?execution=e1s3&pacid=60461&format=. ^
  6. “Browse Individual Contributions, The Arena PAC” FEC.gov, n.d. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?committee_id=C00634584&min_date=01/01/2016&max_date=12/31/2020. ^
  7. “Team.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/team. ^
  8. “About.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/about. ^
  9. “Academy.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/academy. ^
  10. “Toolbox.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/toolbox. ^
  11. “Toolbox.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/toolbox. ^
  12. “Arena New York — Arena,” n.d. https://arena.run/new-york. ^
  13. “Candidates.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/candidates ^
  14. “Summit.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/summit. ^
  15. “Browse Individual Contributions, The Arena PAC” FEC.gov, n.d. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?committee_id=C00634584&min_date=01/01/2016&max_date=12/31/2020. ^
  16. Form 8872 The Arena 527, Political Organization Notice of Section 527 Status, 2018, Schedule A, https://forms.irs.gov/app/pod/basicSearch/search?execution=e1s3&pacid=60461&format=. ^
  17. Arena PAC, Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures (IRS Form 8872), June 2018, Schedule A ^
  18. “Ravi Gupta.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/team/ravi-gupta. ^
  19. “Swati Mylavarapu.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/team/swati-mylavarapu. ^
  20. “Kate Catherall — Arena,” n.d. https://arena.run/team/kate-catherall. ^
  21. “Jennifer Friedmann.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/team/jennifer-friedmann. ^
  22. “Advisors.” Arena, n.d. https://arena.run/advisors. ^
  23. Form 8872, The Arena 527, Political Organization Notice of Section 527 Status, 2018, Schedule A and Schedule B. https://forms.irs.gov/app/pod/basicSearch/search?execution=e1s3&pacid=60461&format=. ^

Coalition Memberships

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Arena PAC

MBA Consulting Group 611 Pennsylvania Ave SE Num 143
Washington, DC