Democrats' HR1 election bill boosted by liberal dark money group financed by foreign national

Sixteen Thirty Fund has spent nearly $2M to lobby on issues, from HR1 to DC statehood

A liberal dark money group bankrolled by a Swiss foreign national is spending big on lobbying in favor of Democratselection overhauls, including H.R. 1, filings show.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a fiscal sponsor and clearinghouse for dozens of left-wing groups and projects, has poured nearly $2 million into the efforts to sway senators on issues ranging from H.R.1 to D.C. statehood to the Voting Rights Act Amendment.

INSIDE BIDEN WHITE HOUSE'S TIES TO DARK MONEY GROUP SEEKING TO PACK SUPREME COURT

H.R. 1 is the largest overhaul of the U.S. election law in at least a generation and covers many aspects of the voting process, including requiring states to automatically register eligible voters and offer same-day voter registration. The bill also requires states to offer 15 days of early voting and allows no-excuse absentee balloting, which 14 states would have to implement and the states that already allow it would have to conform to H.R. 1’s standards. 

As part of the efforts, the Sixteen Thirty Fund has spent $1.3 million on internal lobbyists to push the reforms while dishing out $480,000 to outside firm Keefe Singiser Partners between 2019 and 2020, according to disclosures. Maura Keefe, the former chief of staff for Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, heads up the shop. Over the past year, the Sixteen Thirty Fund also paid $100,000 to Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid to advocate on democracy reform and election integrity, including H.R.1.

One of the lobbyists listed on the disclosure forms for Kountoupes Denham Carr & Reid is MJ Kenny, who worked for Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., between 2010 and 2019 in multiple roles, including legislative correspondent and deputy floor director, according to his LinkedIn profile

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (L) and philanthropist Hansjorg Wyss on April 1, 2015 in New York City. 

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (L) and philanthropist Hansjorg Wyss on April 1, 2015 in New York City.  (Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Oceana)

The New York Times revealed that Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, who in 2014 said he is not a U.S. citizen, is a significant financial backer of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which does not identify its donors. From 2016 to 2020, the foreign national directed $135 million into the fund, but it is unclear how his money was spent.

While the Sixteen Thirty Fund is primarily used to house nonprofits that are backed by secretive donors, the incubator was also used as an avenue to steer $55 million in anonymous cash into super PACs that backed President Biden's 2020 campaign.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund is part of a massive dark money network managed by D.C.-based consulting firm Arabella Advisors, which was founded by Eric Kesser, a former Bill Clinton appointee and member of the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2019, Arabella was paid nearly $34 million for administrative, operations and management services to manage the four funds in Arabella’s vast dark money network. In addition to Sixteen Thirty, Arabella manages the New Venture Fund, Hopewell Fund and Windward Fund.

The four Arabella-managed funds raked in $715 million in 2019. The funds house projects beneath them that include Demand Justice, Fix Our Senate, Demand Progress, and dozens of other groups. It also passed large sums to outside organizations such as the Center for American Progress, America Votes, Center for Popular Democracy, and Color of Change. 

The network is used by some of the wealthiest progressive financiers in the country, including those in the Democracy Alliance, a group of deep-pocketed donors co-founded by liberal billionaire George Soros. Wyss was recruited to be a part of the secretive network, according to the New York Times. 

Hungarian-born US investor and philanthropist George Soros looks on after having delivered a speech on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, on Jan. 23, 2020 in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Hungarian-born US investor and philanthropist George Soros looks on after having delivered a speech on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, on Jan. 23, 2020 in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

In a confidential memo, the alliance had directed its members to pass cash to initiatives housed at Arabella as part of a $275 million spending plan to prop up progressive efforts and to defeat President Trump in 2020. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

During the 2018 midterms, the Hub Project, one of the Wyss groups under the umbrella of Sixteen Thirty and the New Venture, created "more than a dozen groups with anodyne-sounding names that planned to spend $30 million attacking Republican congressional candidates." The New York Times reported that the Hub Project has 60 employees, including organizers and researchers, who are paid by the two Arabella-managed nonprofits.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund did not respond to a request for comment. 

Fox News' Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.