By Corinne Murdock |
The Republican Accountability Project (RAP) is using $2 million from Democrat billionaires to take down Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.
RAP is relying on funds raised through their new political action committee (PAC), the Republican Accountability PAC, established in February. According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) campaign finance reports, the PAC has well over $5.1 million in funding from just 21 donors. Only 8 gave donations of $1,000 or less.
The majority of the PAC’s funds came from the following billionaires bankrolling the Democratic Party, none of which are from Arizona:
- $1 million, Kathryn Murdoch: daughter-in-law of News Corporation co-founder and Fox Corporation owner Rupert Murdoch. Co-founder and president of Quadrivium Foundation, which endorsed and heavily funded the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and recently committed $250 million to BlackRock for “green energy infrastructure.” Former strategy and communications director for the Clinton Foundation (2007-2011). Member of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) board of trustees.
- $1 million, Sue Mandel: wife to hedge fund billionaire Stephen Mandel. Director of the ZOOM Foundation, a social justice activism organization. Co-founder of Moms Clean Air Force, which fights climate change and air pollution. Member of Harvard Business School’s Board of Dean’s Advisors. Member of EDF board of trustees.
- $1 million, John Pritzker: member of Pritzker dynasty, son of Jay Pritzker and related to Democratic Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Finances left-leaning causes through his foundation. Issued a $25 million grant to an environmental justice project. His relative, Rachel Pritzker Duarte, also gave $100,000.
- $500,000, Seth Klarman: founder and chief executive of the Baupost Group, a private investment partnership. Donates heavily through his Klarman Family Foundation, which has backed George Soros’ organizations, the NAACP, the Brennan Center for Justice, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the ADL.
- $500,000, Sam Rawlings Walton: grandson of Walmart founder Sam Walton. Former EDF board of trustees member.
- $500,000, Gordon Gund: heir to Ohio’s Gund dynasty. Affiliated with the George Gund Foundation, which funds social justice initiatives across the board, including climate justice, abortion, transgenderism, and racial equity.
- $200,000, Jeff and Erica Lawson: co-founder and CEO of Twilio, a cloud communications services firm. Major financier of a dark money favorite for Silicon Valley liberals, Future Forward (FF) PAC, initially funded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.
RAP is an initiative of the Democratic, “Never Trump” dark money group, Defending Democracy Together (DDT). DDT was one of the top-spending dark money groups in the 2020 election, spending over $15 million to either oppose former President Donald Trump or support President Joe Biden.
One of the RAP promotional videos announcing their PAC campaign features a “Republican voter” and “Arizona conservative” named Tom, who AZ Free News discovered is actually registered Democrat Tom Rawles. The timing of Rawles’ feature is noteworthy, considering that his wife, Linda Rawles, penned an Arizona Republic opinion piece shared far and wide by Democrats and self-described Republicans like Bill Kristol earlier this week.
Rawles served on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (BOS) from 1993 to 1996, then on the Mesa City Council from 2004 to 2008. As a councilman in early 2007, he gained notoriety nationwide for remaining seated and silent during the Pledge of Allegiance at a council meeting, in protest of the Iraq War. In 2012, Rawles failed in a run for District 1 of the Arizona State Senate.
Rawles’ wife, Linda, also has a political history. Linda launched multiple, unsuccessful campaigns in the 1980s in Indiana before coming to Arizona. Then she ran and lost as a Republican for an Arizona congressional seat in 1994.
The Republican Accountability PAC treasurer Sarah Longwell is an avowed “Never Trumper” who claims to be a Republican. Longwell was the first female national board chair for the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), an organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ acceptance within the GOP and criticized for promulgating a “big tent” GOP and being “Republicans In Name Only,” or “RINOs.”
Longwell resigned from LCR’s board after the organization endorsed Trump’s re-election. She became the publisher of a neoconservative news and commentary site, The Bulwark, with the support of Bill Kristol and Charlie Sykes.
RAP received the endorsement of Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and Supervisor Bill Gates. The pair appeared in a RAP promotional video last September. At the time, Richer told AZ Free News that he appeared in the RAP video because January 6 reminded him of the French Revolution, and he felt it was important to support DDT.
Richer added that his support would make great minds like Edmund Burke, a predecessor to modern conservatism, as well as law and order supporters, proud.
Neither Richer or Gates received compensation for their video appearance.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.