Search This Blog

Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Conservative Dark Money Redux

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses campaign finance.

The iron law of emulation is at work. Conservative groups have made extensive use of dark moneyLiberal groups copied their example, and conservatives are copying them back.

Kenneth P. Vogel, Shane Goldmacher and Ryan Mac at NYT:
A new coalition of wealthy conservative benefactors that says it aims to “disrupt but advance the Republican agenda” gathered this week for a private summit in South Florida that included closed-door addresses from former President Donald J. Trump and an allied Senate candidate at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, according to documents and interviews.

The coalition, called the Rockbridge Network, includes some of Mr. Trump’s biggest donors, such as Peter Thiel and Rebekah Mercer, and has laid out an ambitious goal — to reshape the American right by spending more than $30 million on conservative media, legal, policy and voter registration projects, among other initiatives.

The emergence of Rockbridge, the existence of which has not previously been reported, comes amid escalating jockeying among conservative megadonors to shape the 2022 midterms and the future of the Republican Party from outside the formal party machinery, and often with little disclosure.

In February, another previously unreported coalition of donors, the Chestnut Street Council, organized by the Trump-allied lobbyist Matt Schlapp, held a meeting to hear a pitch for new models for funding the conservative movement.

The iron law of emulation:

An analysis by The New York Times found that 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with the Democratic Party spent more than $1.5 billion in 2020 in funds for which the donors’ identities are not disclosed. That compared to roughly $900 million in so-called dark money spent by a comparable sample of 15 groups aligned with Republicans.

The effort to close that gap — and to make gains in political consulting and technology that undergirds the right’s political infrastructure — has been a major subject of discussion among these coalitions.


Rockbridge was founded by Christopher Buskirk, who is the editor and publisher of the pro-Trump journal American Greatness and has advised a super PAC supporting Mr. Masters.