Sixteen Thirty Fund is the dark money scaring Alaskans into voting against their constitutional convention

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Dark-money political group Sixteen Thirty Fund, an arm of Arabella Advisors, are active in Alaska elections again. This year, it will be Ballot Measure 1 they will try to defeat.

Ballot Measure 1 on the November general election ballot asks voters if they are ready for a constitutional convention to make adjustments to Alaska’s Constitution that the people feel are appropriate. Constitutional convention ballot questions come up every 10 years, and Alaskans have always voted them down.

But after former Gov. Bill Walker destroyed the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend calculation, which was in statute, lawmakers in Juneau have fought over the dividend for months on end every year.

Some would like the calculation of the PFD to be set into the Alaska Constitution and out of the hands of legislators. That could be done through a constitutional convention. Alaskans could also reform how judges are appointed; right now, the Alaska Bar Association has near total control of that process, which has led to an activist judiciary branch.

The leftists and their lawyers of Alaska, after working for over a year to fight a constitutional convention, created “Defend Our Constitution” to scare Alaskans. The top three funders of Defend Our Constitution are the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the National Education Association, and IBEW-Alaska’s political action committee.

“A single, cryptically named entity that has served as a clearinghouse of undisclosed cash for the left, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, received mystery donations as large as $50 million and disseminated grants to more than 200 groups, while spending a total of $410 million in 2020 — more than the Democratic National Committee itself,” The New York Times reported in January.

Last year, the Sixteen Thirty Fund funned money to support Forrest Dunbar for mayor of Anchorage. It was one of many Democrats the group funded with contributions from a Swiss billionaire trying to sway American Elections.

A complaint filed by the Americans for Public Trust said that a $35,000 contribution to a Dunbar-boosting group called “Building a Stronger Anchorage,” was financed with foreign money.

According to Defend Our Constitution, “We don’t want special interests to remake Alaska’s constitution for their own gain. Alaskans across the spectrum are committed to defending our document and keeping it in the best interests of Alaskans. In 1955, dedicated public servants came together to draft Alaska’s state constitution. The document they produced is renown for its thoroughness, protection of individual liberties, and functionality. It’s worked for the last 50 years and been held up as a model to other states, so let’s not let politicians scapegoat our constitution for their dysfunction.”

In reality, the group is made up of special interests instructing Alaskans to vote against the convention, and thus in favor of groups such as the NEA, which stand to gain every dollar taken from Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividends.

Calling a constitutional convention would open a Pandora’s box,” the group writes on its website. “Calling a constitutional convention would create political chaos, cost millions of dollars, and create negative consequences for Alaskans. If dark money special interest from the Lower 48 were allowed to re-write our founding document, they’d change it to benefit themselves. Our founding document has served us well for over 50 years. If it needs to be amended, there’s a way to do that – and we’ve done it before. Calling a constitutional convention is unnecessary and will create a host of problems for Alaskans for years to come.”

Part of the Sixteen Thirty Fund web of influence

Even Alaska’s biggest political news organization, the Alaska Beacon, is part of an organization founded and originally funded through the same umbrella Arabella Group.

“The nonprofit watchdog OpenSecrets (published by the Center for Responsive Politics) reported in May 2020 on Arabella’s involvement in numerous “fake news sites,” pouring millions of untraceable dollars into advertisements and other digital content “masquerading as news coverage to influence the 2020 election,” wrote InfluenceWatch.

“OpenSecrets identified five Facebook pages (Colorado Chronicle, Daily CO, Nevada News Now, Silver State Sentinel, Verified Virginia) that “gave the impression of multiple free-standing local news outlets,” but are in fact “merely fictitious names used by the Sixteen Thirty Fund,” Arabella’s 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit. These pages published Facebook political advertisements that favored Democrats and left-wing causes during the 2020 election. After the report was published a number of these pages were deleted,” InfluenceWatch reported.

States Newsroom, which runs another network of left-wing “fake news” websites, was originally created as “Newsroom Network,” a project of the Arabella-run 501(c)(3) Hopewell Fund,” InfluenceWatch wrote.

“In June 2019, States Newsroom was spun off as an independent nonprofit with its own 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, but a number of its local affiliates are used by the Hopewell Fund as its own legal aliases,” InfluenceWatch wrote.

According to the New York Times in January, the largest left-leaning non-profits funneling money to Democrats are:

ORGANIZATIONSPENDING IN 2020
Total$1,725,759,799
Adjusted total*$1,513,291,420
Sixteen Thirty Fund$410,038,247
America Votes$250,000,000
Majority Forward$185,000,000
Future Forward USA Action$149,377,966
Hopewell Fund$127,636,237
The Voter Participation Center$100,315,874
Voter Registration Project$74,922,371
League of Conservation Voters Inc.$71,608,762
Priorities USA$70,959,898
Duty and Honor$58,617,637
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund Inc.$52,280,883
North Fund$48,780,510
Center for Voter Information$47,188,981
Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc.$40,914,740
Defending Democracy Together$38,117,693

Alaskans don’t yet know how much the Sixteen Thirty Fund is willing to spend to make sure Alaskans don’t approve a constitutional convention, but it will likely be in the millions.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund recently awarded Alaskans for Better Government, a group pushing a tribal sovereignty initiative onto the ballot, seed money of $250,000. But a law signed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy has removed that ballot initiative from consideration, since the state has now formally recognized tribes through statute. It was because of the funding from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, funneled through the liberal Anchorage-based campaign entity Ship Creek Group, that lawmakers took action and ensured the passage of the look-alike legislation in the Senate and House, thus avoiding a ballot measure that would drive liberals to the polls in November.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Once again low information Voters who do not conduct their research will fall for this Dark Money push to send Alaska out of business and in to a National Park status. This thing happened on the grossly inept Rank Choice debacle. I’m sure that Mike Picaro will be all in for this as he was with RC voting. The reason why I stopped listening to him in the afternoon.

  2. The Convention should happen, but probably won’t.

    It’s clear most Alaskans are either happy with the status quo or are too scared to attempt to take control of their lives.

    Nothing great ever happened without risk. Based on what I’m seeing and hearing, nothing great will happen now.

    I’d love to be proven wrong, but won’t lose sleep waiting for it.

  3. While ideally in normal times most patriotic Americans would like to see changes in our state constitution that would better protect our rights and freedoms, in this day and age and, in the muddled state of politics in the state of Alaska and in most of the country, especially with the current voting options available, it might be well to look at other states past performances with constitutional conventions.

    In the 1960’s I lived in New York State where one was actually held. This Constitution had been in existence since 1894 and contained a very large number of detailed amendments approved by voters during subsequent years that should have been handled through statutes and had become very cumbersome, and in some cases, outdated and not appropriate for current reality. Sound familiar?

    The New York legislature is required by law at least every 20 years to put the question before the voters of whether or not to hold a convention to review, rewrite and otherwise update it. As a result in 1965 the voters approved a convention, to be held in 1967. This meant that during the November 1966 elections, 186 delegates were also to be elected, three from each legislative district of New York and a slate of delegates at large.

    When originally discussed and planned, the announced “noble” intent was to have a “non-political people’s convention” with delegates elected from all walks of life. I and several others from our upstate district actually ran for these delegate positions as more or less independent “citizens”.

    This quickly degenerated into candidates put forth by the Democratic and Republican parties consisting of current legislators, influential lawyers, government lobbyists, foundation executives, power brokers and even mayors in each party that ended up being elected due to name recognition, each with their own axe to grind or career to preserve!

    The actual convention was a “mish-mash” of many crazy and destructive changes. The final version of changes was put to the voters in the fall of that year and was roundly defeated, having spent millions of 1960’s dollars of the state’s money to conduct the whole pointless exercise. A lesson for Alaska today!

    The good news for New York was it was voted down. With all the outside money we see currently in politics in Alaska, unfortunately this might not be the case here if that outside money also produced proposed changes that did the opposite of what most readers of Must Read Alaska would like to see made.

    Might not a first priority be to first get more true honorable Americans in state government positions first? Just asking!

  4. Yet, you accept advertising $$ from the dark money fund highlighted in this article. I know you have bills to pay, but this seems a tad hypocritical. We absolutely need a constitutional convention, and people will be duped because this ad appears on the home page.

      • I definitely prefer you write about it. But I also question why you’d run the ad knowing what you know about the forces behind that campaign..

        • Lee, Lenin once said that the Capitalist will sell me the rope that I will use to hang him with. What Suzanne is doing here is much the Same. Let the lefties and Commie’s buy ad time on her page. So what! Suzanne has reported the facts in question, accordingly they have also been hung out to dry. Critical thinking goes a long way sometimes.
          Go Suzanne!

    • OTOH, it also indicates that SD is willing to criticize those who also do business with her. That is something we don’t often see in media or elsewhere.

      Kudos Suzanne !

  5. Why was this group, funded by a Swiss billionaire interested in Dunbar being Anchorage mayor instead of Bronson?

    “Last year, the Sixteen Thirty Fund funned money to support Forrest Dunbar for mayor of Anchorage. It was one of many Democrats the group funded with contributions from a Swiss billionaire trying to sway American Elections.”

  6. Regardless of affiliations of inhabitants of America the US Republic and its guaranteed Constitution still stands.

  7. Suzanne, I love your site and read it daily. I must say, though, that I find it a tad disingenuous that you write an article (rightfully) attacking an outside group seeking to influence Alaska’s elections while at the same time placing ads for that very group on your site (indeed, on this very page), presumably in exchange for some financial consideration. I’m no expert in how online ads work, and I am aware that with some services (like Google Ads) you don’t get to pick which individual ads appear on your pages, but I do think you owe your loyal readers an explanation for this apparent case of hypocrisy.

    • Get a better ad-blocker for your web browser. I use uBlock Origin on Firefox and only see local ads, not stuff from “outside”, like Google ads.
      Also, if these groups want to fund their opposition with ads, more power to them. The ads would not influence anyone with a working intellect and curiosity to find the truth anyway. 😉

  8. Great article, Suzanne! An old politician friend of mine (long dead, now) said if you couldn’t take their money (referring to lobbyists) and still vote against them, you didn’t deserve your position. He was right. MRAK needs the money, but is still speaking out against the big money boys. Money is still the mother’s milk of politics and also of blog survival. It’s not about hypocrisy. It is about survival and the continued need to use whatever you get and speak out. Politics has seldom been about black and white. It is about necessity. As to the State Constitutional Convention, it is sorely needed to take the power of blocking initiatives out of the hands of legislators who look to their own needs before their fellow Alaskans. Mike Shower made a great case for this and should be listened to. Leave what works and correct what doesn’t.

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