By Amy Cooke
Raleigh, NC – There is big money in the dark shadows of the left’s activist networks, and its most well-kept secret is infiltrating North Carolina.
Meet Arabella Advisors, a consulting company that controls a $731 million nonprofit nexus from its plush headquarters in Washington, D.C. Through its four in-house nonprofits—the vaguely named New Venture Fund, Sixteen Thirty Fund, Hopewell Fund, and Windward Fund—Arabella has quietly funneled nearly $2.5 billion since its creation in 2005 from major foundations and mega-donors to left-wing activists, voter registration groups, litigation nonprofits, and think tanks.
These groups push an extreme agenda that includes no parental choice in education, divisive identity politics issues, gun control, government-controlled health care, climate alarmism, higher taxes, energy poverty, and more. They try to discredit Republican candidates and popular causes like school choice, affordable health care, and energy independence. They do it for one singular purpose – to get Democrats elected and secure key states for the professional left.
For nearly 15 years, Arabella’s network operated in secret with almost no scrutiny from the press, until it was exposed by the Capital Research Center, a right-leaning watchdog group.
Last year that network expanded into the Tar Heel state when it opened its fifth office in Durham. Other locations include Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and the D.C. mothership. The Durham office is set to grow into “one of the company’s largest.” Make no mistake, this is an activist invasion from Washington D.C. to fundamentally change the politics of North Carolina from a battleground state to a Democratic stronghold like California or New York, and force progressive policies on North Carolinians.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund, Arabella’s in-house lobbying shop, has been active in North Carolina for years. In the 2018 midterms it ran a “pop-up”—a website front designed to look like a standalone activist group—called North Carolinians for a Fair Economy which savaged Republican Rep. George Holding (NC-02) as weak on healthcare, even flying a plane trailing a banner that read, “Congressman Holding: Hands Off Our Health Care.”
As a pass-through, the Sixteen Thirty Fund moves money from Big Labor, left-wing foundations, and mega-donors such as George Soros and California billionaire Tom Steyer to fund its “pop-ups” and other activist groups.
It’s already channeled millions of dollars to far-left activists waging war on common sense in North Carolina. In 2019, Sixteen Thirty gave $1.75 million to Piedmont Rising, a Philadelphia-based group that launched a faux TV news site complete with “breaking news” designed to mislead North Carolina voters into believing the group’s reports attacking Republican Sen. Thom Tillis were actual journalists.
The campaign was so deceptive and misleading that Piedmont Rising advisory board member Chuck Tryon, a professor of media studies at Fayetteville State University, resigned according to a WRAL report.
Other Sixteen Thirty Fund grant recipients include Advance North Carolina, a voter registration group that targets Democratic-leaning constituencies; Make N.C. First, which spent roughly $1 million successfully disrupting the reelection of state Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds in 2016; North Carolina Citizens for Protecting Our Schools, which lobbies for tax hikes; and Progress North Carolina Action, part of the advocacy coalition run by Blueprint NC, which coordinated efforts in 2020 to paint the state permanently blue.
This is just the start of a top-down campaign to flip North Carolina to the Democrats. To the professional left—which sees its long and inevitable march to victory in terms of generations, not elections—Republican success in 2020 was a fluke. They won’t make the same mistake again, if conservatives give them the chance.
Coming from Colorado, I’ve seen first-hand how the left and its funders will invest tens of millions of dollars on take-no-prisoners messaging, misleading campaigns, and multi-year strategies with a singular goal of winning and flipping a state blue. Their consultants admit it. Take them at their word—Arabella Advisors and its donors thrive in the shadows as they funnel massive amounts of money to flip North Carolina blue.
Don’t be fooled by “pop-ups” with slick websites and local-sounding names. Since right-leaning groups are unlikely to out-raise the left in terms of dollars, our best chance is to expose this well-funded, well-coordinated leftist empire and call them what they are: A network of activists paid for by wealthy elites from outside the state and controlled by powerful Washington consultants.
Hayden Ludwig of the Capital Research Center contributed to this column.