Political Party/527

Mind the Gap

Type:

Democratic Super PAC

Mind the Gap (MTG) is a left-wing super PAC dedicated to helping Democratic political candidates win elections. The PAC earns millions of dollars in donations primarily from Silicon Valley executives “who are keen on quietly funneling massive political donations into the Democratic Party”[1][2]. The mission of MTG is to “empower private political donors to strengthen our democracy by providing them with evidence-based guidance on the electoral strategies, tactics, and programs that are likely to achieve the greatest impact in a given election”. [3]

Activities

In 2018, the PAC created a statistical model which attempted to score the impact each dollar donated would have on Democrats winning back control of the House of Representatives. The group ultimately raised more than 20 million dollars in its successful attempt to win back control of the House for Democrats.

MTG is known for its secretive operations where it attempts to quickly gather and coordinate donations over a short time to prevent Republicans from mobilizing donors in response. The PAC is managed by Stanford Law professors Barbara Fried, Paul Brest, and researcher Graham Gottlieb. Of the three, only Gottlieb has political experience, having served former President Barack Obama as a staffer during his 2012 re-election campaign and in the White House. [4]

Leaked Memo

In a leaked 2019 memo, Mind the Gap refers to themselves as a collection of “pro bono donor advisors” but the group and their donors are much more powerful and influential than they let on. [5] according to the memo MTG won 10 of the 20 of races that they picked in 2018, despite most races initially being predicted as “lean” or “likely R”.

Brest, Fried, and Gottlieb established their donor network and started receiving donations leading up to the midterm elections in 2018. The PAC created a statistical model which attempted to score the marginal impact each dollar donated would have on Democrats winning back control of the House of Representatives. According to the memo, MTG was able to construct a “donor network of over 800 individuals…, [raising] a total of $20 million… [for] 20 undervalued and underfunded House races… and… [for] get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts in the 100 most competitive House races”. Their attempt to win back control of the House for Democrats was successful, they argue, due to their fundraising efforts.

The memo states that the main goal of MTG is to allocate donor money where it will increase the likelihood that the House seat will be flipped. MTG’s primary focus is funding races that are underfunded as money from donors will have the “greatest return.” Therefore, they do not judge “candidates based on geography, demographics, likeability, or policy positions” but choose who to donate money to based on their political position and their presence in an “orphan” or underfunded race.

In the memo, MTG also instructed donors to donate to 501(c)(3) voter registration nonprofits dedicated to registering new voters in swing states. The voter registration groups, which are required by IRS rules to be nonpartisan, were recommended to donors because such organizations are “three to four times more effective than the next best available tactic for increasing net Democratic votes in November 2020.” The organizations recommended for funding were the Voter Participation Center, the Center for Voter Information, a 501(c)(4), and Everybody Votes, which is the secret name of a network of organizations surrounding the secretive Voter Registration Project. [6] Voter registration drives funded by MTG primarily target counties and zip codes in battleground states as they are more likely to turn blue. The memo also specifically instructed donors to keep their donations and the names of the organizations secret to avoid detection by Republicans. [7]

Funding

Major donors to MTG includes Google executive Shona Brown and venture capitalist Russell Siegalman. [8]

Leadership

Barbara Fried

Barbara Fried is the founder and president of MTG. Before creating the organization, Fried was a professor at Stanford Law School[9]. Barbara is also the mother of crypto-billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried.

Paul Brest

Paul Brest is the Chair of the Board of Directors for Mind the Gap. Before joining the organization, Brest was most notably a professor at Stanford Law School and the president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation[10].

Graham Gottlieb

Graham Gottlieb is the Executive Director and Treasurer for MTG. Before being a part of MTG, he worked for former President Barack Obama during his reelection campaign and later worked for his administration at the White House[11].

Other Employees

  • Beth Benjamin (Chief Operating Officer)
  • Marissa McBride (CEO)[12]

Significant Donors

  • James Rubin (Former diplomat and U.S Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs) [13][14]
  • George Hume (President and CEO of Basic American Foods)
  • Nancy Serrurier (Board of Trustees for Whitman College)
  • Simone Coxe (Co-Founder of CalMatters)
  • Victoria Elenowitz (Chairman of the Board at Bespoke Global)
  • Greg Serrurier (Co-managing partner of Redwood Grove Capital)
  • Paul Brest (MTG Board of Directors)
  • Fran Codispoti (Fundraiser)
  • Gino DiGregorio (Managing Director of Accenture)
  • Lionel Spiro (Charrette Corporation)
  • Amy Lorowitz (International Preschools)
  • Allen Blue (Co-Founder of LinkedIn and DigiDems)
  • Chris Vargas (Founder of Emerging Cities)
  • Gypsy Achong (Director of 2050 Partners Consulting Firm)
  • David Hitz (Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of NetApp
  • Russell Siegelman (Venture Capitalist)
  • Dustin Moskovitz (Co-Founder of Facebook)
  • Jill Parker (Planned Parenthood)
  • Samuel Dyer (Employee of MTG)
  • Shona Brown (Business Executive and Consultant for Non-profits)
  • Sue Mandel (Director of the ZOOM Foundation)
  • Ben Appen (CO-Chair and CEO of Magnitude Capital)
  • Diana Walsh (Writer and Professor at University of North Carolina)
  • Ronald Conway (Venture Capitalist and Philanthropist)
  • Roger McNamee (Co-Founder of the venture capital firm, Elevation Partners)
  • Jeff Horing (Co-Founder of Insight Venture Partners)
  • Kevin Ryan (Investor and Entrepreneur)
  • Eric Schmidt (former CEO of Google)
  • MTG Research (501(c)(4) nonprofit and sister organization to MTG)
  • Gina Maya (City Director of Human Rights Watch in Silicon Valley)
  • Anne Devereux-Mills (Businesswoman and Advocate)
  • Barbara Fried (Founder and President of MTG)
  • Iris Brest (Wife of Paul Brest)
  • Judith Estrin (Entrepreneur, Business Executive, and Philanthropist)
  • Graham Gottlieb (Executive Director and Treasurer of MTG)

References

  1. Kain, David. “Unelected Infections: Paul Brest and Mind the Gap.” Medium. Newsdive, May 6, 2021. https://medium.com/newsdive/unelected-infections-paul-brest-and-mind-the-gap-81a6d0dd51ee. ^
  2. “PAC Profile: Mind the Gap.” OpenSecrets. Accessed June 7, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/political-action-committees-pacs/mind-the-gap/C00683649/summary/2022. ^
  3. “Mind the Gap, Inc.” Idealist, July 2021. https://www.idealist.org/en/nonprofit/de3c883a913d4b979f868a8a907bce68-mind-the-gap-inc-stanford. ^
  4. Schleifer, Theodore. “Inside the Secretive Silicon Valley Group That Has Funneled over $20 Million to Democrats.” Vox. Vox, January 6, 2020. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/6/21046631/mind-the-gap-silicon-valley-democratic-donors-stanford. ^
  5. Schleifer, Theodore. “How Silicon Valley’s Secretive Donor Group Plans to Beat Trump.” Vox. Vox, January 7, 2020. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/7/21055340/mind-the-gap-silicon-valley-donors-democrats-2020-plan-140-millio. ^
  6. See: https://capitalresearch.org/app/uploads/Capital-Research-2021-7.pdf Pg. 13

    ^

  7. Schleifer, Theodore. “How Silicon Valley’s Secretive Donor Group Plans to Beat Trump.” Vox. Vox, January 7, 2020. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/7/21055340/mind-the-gap-silicon-valley-donors-democrats-2020-plan-140-millio. ^
  8. Gonzalez, Jonathan. “Stealthy PAC Aims to Close the Gaps in Democratic Influence.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, February 26, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/stealthy-pac-aims-to-close-the-gaps-in-democratic-influence/. ^
  9. Gonzalez, Jonathan. “Stealthy PAC Aims to Close the Gaps in Democratic Influence.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, February 26, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/stealthy-pac-aims-to-close-the-gaps-in-democratic-influence/   ^
  10. Gonzalez, Jonathan. “Stealthy PAC Aims to Close the Gaps in Democratic Influence.” Capital Research Center. Capital Research Center, February 26, 2020. https://capitalresearch.org/article/stealthy-pac-aims-to-close-the-gaps-in-democratic-influence/   ^
  11. Selig, Kate. “Stanford-Connected Fundraising Group Wants to Raise $140 Million for Democrats in 2020.” The Stanford Daily. The Stanford Daily Publishing Corporation, February 11, 2021. https://stanforddaily.com/2020/01/16/stanford-connected-fundraising-group-wants-to-raise-140-million-for-democrats-in-2020/ ^
  12. “Reports Image Index for Committee ID: C00683649 Mind the Gap.” COMMITTEE DETAILS FOR COMMITTEE ID C00683649 Mind the Gap. Accessed June 7, 2022. https://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?C00683649. ^
  13. “Mind the Gap PAC Donors.” OpenSecrets. Accessed June 7, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/political-action-committees-pacs/mind-the-gap/C00683649/donors/2022. ^
  14. “Reports Image Index for Committee ID: C00683649 Mind the Gap.” COMMITTEE DETAILS FOR COMMITTEE ID C00683649 Mind the Gap. Accessed June 7, 2022. https://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?C00683649. ^
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