Political Party/527

Future Forward PAC (FF PAC)

Type:

Democratic-Aligned Super PAC

Formation:

2018

President:

Chauncey McLean

Future Forward USA PAC (also known as “FF PAC”) is a Democratic Party-aligned super PAC based in Palo Alto, California. FF PAC reportedly spent $108 million in a “blitz” of spending during the last five weeks of the 2020 election to support President Joe Biden’s campaign by attacking then-President Donald Trump on his COVID-19 policies. [1] FF PAC has been criticized by the left-leaning Center for Responsive Politics for being funded by “dark money.” [2]

History

FF PAC was created in 2018 by Future Forward USA Action, a left-of-center advocacy group. [3] Chauncey McLean is the president of  FF PAC. McLean was previously the director of media tracking for the Democratic Party in 2012. [4]

Donors

Individual Donors

In 2020, FF PAC received several contributions from high-profile Democratic donors include Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz ($91,780,000), former Google CEO Eric Schmidt ($775,000), liberal mega-donor Kathryn Murdoch ($540,000), cryptocurrency exchange founder Samuel Bankman-Fried ($10,000,000), Jeffrey Lawson of Twilio ($5,500,000) and his wife Erica Lawson ($5,500,000), and Netflix founder Reed Hastings’ wife Patty Quillin ($2,000,000). [5]  By October 23, 2020 Future Forward USA Action, the parent organization of the FF PAC, had reportedly contributed $29 million to the PAC. [6]

In 2020, FF PAC received a large portion of its contributions from the CEOs and presidents of California- and New York-based technology companies, venture capital firms, and wealth management companies. These include Judith Estren of JLABS ($15,000), David Elenowitz of Zero Carbon Partners ($15,000), Amy Rao of HillSpire ($25,000), Andrew McCollum of Philo ($50,000), George Hume of Basic American Foods ($50,000), Ronald Conway of SV Angel LLC ($100,000), Joshua Bekenstein of Bain Capital ($500,000), Vincent Ryan of Schooner Capital ($250,000), Even Williams of Medium ($250,000), Molly Gochman of Stardust ($500,000), Nishad Singh of Almeda Foundation ($1,000,000), and Gregory Johnson of Bridgewater Associates ($2,000,000). [7]

Institutional Donors

In 2020, FF PAC also received funding from left-of-center grant making organizations and labor unions. The organizations that contributed to FF PAC have supported increased government spending on entitlement programs and increased taxpayer-subsidized intervention in energy markets. [8] [9] Several organizations that contributed to FF PAC also contributed to the Trusted Elections Fund, a project of the New Venture Fund to prepare for and respond to alleged “crises” that the Fund claimed would take place during the 2020 presidential election. [10]

Organizations that have supported FF PAC include CalMatters ($100,000), Good Nation Philanthropy Advisors ($500,000), the Bohemian Foundation ($1,000,000), the Schmidt Family Foundation ($1,000,000), the Zoom Foundation ($2,000,000), the Sixteen Thirty Fund ($2,900,000),[11] and the Communications Workers of America ($100,000). [12]

Spending

For most of the 2020 presidential election, FF PAC was a little-known super PAC. The organization made national news when it went on a “blitz” of spending on television advertisements in support of President Biden during the last five weeks of the election. [13]

The Super PAC received further attention after making more political expenditures in support of President Biden than any other independent organization, behind only the Democratic Party-aligned Senate Majority PAC and the Biden campaign committee. [14] [15] FF PAC was reported to be on pace to have spent $108 million dollars on television advertisements in support of President Biden by the end of October 2020. [16] Other outlets have reported that the FF PAC spent closer to $141.6 million over the course of the 2020 election cycle, after accounting for non-presidential races. [17]

Leadership

Chauncey McLean is the president of FF PAC. Prior to joining FF PAC, he was the director of media tracking for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2011 to 2012. McLean worked on the 2012 Obama presidential campaign and was instrumental in developing data-mining and analytics as common practices in political campaigns. [18]

As of June 2021, McLean is also the founder and head of development for Berkeley Yeast,[19] a corporation that develops unique strains of yeast for beer and wine production. [20]

References

  1. Kim, Soo Rin. “’Dark money,’ used by both parties, featured in $100 million pro-Biden ad blitz” October 28, 2020. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/dark-money-parties-featured-100-million-pro-biden/story?id=73863672 ^
  2. Massoglia, Anna and Evers-Hillstrom, Karl. “ ‘Dark money’ topped $1 billion in 2020, largely boosting Democrats” OpenSecrets. March 17, 2021. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/03/one-billion-dark-money-2020-electioncycle/ ^
  3. Nick Corasaniti. “A Democratic Super PAC Surge Helps Biden Expand His Map.” New York Times. October 22, 2020. Accessed June 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/20/us/politics/future-forward-super-pac.html ^
  4. Nick Corasaniti. “A Democratic Super PAC Surge Helps Biden Expand His Map.” New York Times. October 22, 2020. Accessed June 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/20/us/politics/future-forward-super-pac.html ^
  5. Nick Corasaniti. “A Democratic Super PAC Surge Helps Biden Expand His Map.” New York Times. October 22, 2020. Accessed June 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/20/us/politics/future-forward-super-pac.html ^
  6. Karl Evers-Hillstrom. “Pro-Biden super PAC funds $100 million ad campaign with ‘dark money.’” Center for Responsive Politics. October 23, 2020. Accessed June 5, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2020/10/pro-biden-super-pac-darkmon/ ^
  7. “Future Forward USA PAC Donors” OpenSecrets. https://www.opensecrets.org/political-action-committees-pacs/future-forward-usa/C00669259/donors/2020?start=76&page_length=25 ^
  8. Duara, Nigel. “Newsom wants extra $600 stimulus for low-wage Californians” CalMatters. January 6, 2021. Accessed June 5, 2021.  https://calmatters.org/california-divide/2021/01/newsom-wants-extra-600-stimulus-for-low-wage-californians/ ^
  9. Becker, Rachel. “California re-evaluating its landmark climate strategy” CalMatters. June 24, 2002. Accessed June 5, 2021. https://calmatters.org/environment/2020/06/california-climate-strategy-cap-trade/ ^
  10. Rojc, Philip. 2020. “Virus-Proofing The Vote: Democracy Funders Respond To COVID-19”. Inside Philanthropy. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2020/4/1/virus-proofing-the-vote-democracy-funders-respond-to-covid-19. ^
  11. FF PAC: Contributions. FEC. Accessed June 5, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/committee/C00669259/?tab=raising ^
  12. “Future Forward USA PAC Donors” OpenSecrets. https://www.opensecrets.org/political-action-committees-pacs/future-forward-usa/C00669259/donors/2020?start=76&page_length=25 ^
  13. Kim, Soo Rin. “’Dark money,’ used by both parties, featured in $100 million pro-Biden ad blitz” October 28, 2020. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/dark-money-parties-featured-100-million-pro-biden/story?id=73863672 ^
  14. Greenberg, Will. “A Closer Look at the Top Democratic Super PAC Future Forward” BlueTent. March 9, 2021. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://bluetent.us/arenas/campaigns-elections/how-future-forward-became-a-leading-liberal-super-pac/ ^
  15. Schleifer, Theodore.  “Silicon Valley megadonors unleash a last-minute, $100 million barrage of ads against Trump” Vox. October 20, 2020. Accessed June 6, 2021.  https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/10/20/21523492/future-forward-super-pac-dustin-moskovitz-silicon-valley ^
  16. Sinclair, Sebastian “Cryptocurrency CEO Donated Second-Largest Amount to Joe Biden’s Campaign” Coin Desk. November 5, 2020. June 5, 2021. https://money.yahoo.com/cryptocurrency-ceo-donated-second-largest-090845495.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAADIvu5cFvZeSEDAxNjj6884zuY4L0NMc5w-8hW-_MX-fW1xJt2Z3MWbxXGtcsuzQKb2NAf5wd80Z1XeBubK-VExTo_MAlphf7J-3GJGc0dXs_i5t0ZAWXyBVMtj6XVNkb-eHxdaLn-BeI-u0cMuLlMGdYRFfvddcqaeymJXztp7A ^
  17. Greenberg, Will. “A Closer Look at the Top Democratic Super PAC Future Forward” BlueTent. March 9, 2021. Accessed June 6, 2021. https://bluetent.us/arenas/campaigns-elections/how-future-forward-became-a-leading-liberal-super-pac/ ^
  18. Rutenberg, Jim. “Data You Can Believe In” New York Times. June 20, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2021. ^
  19. “Chauncey McLean” LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/in/chauncey-mclean-753a8b74/ ^
  20. “About Us” Berkeley Yeast. https://berkeleyyeast.com/about ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Kathryn Murdoch
    Major Donor
  2. Eric Schmidt
    Major Donor
  3. Dustin Moskovitz
    Major Donor
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