Billionaire donor busted: Swiss tycoon secretly funds Democrat candidates and committees

It has been revealed that Hansjorg Wyss, a billionaire born in Switzerland, has given over $330 million in donations to liberal interest groups that have backed Democratic politicians since 2016. Although it is illegal for foreign nationals to donate to political committees or candidates, Wyss has funded groups that have provided direct support to such committees. Eric Kessler, a former Clinton White House appointee, established two of these organizations, namely the Sixteen Thirty Fund managed by Arabella Advisors and the New Venture Fund. In the summer of 2022, lawyers from the Federal Election Commission called for penalties to be imposed on the registered political committee for their actions. The Sixteen Thirty Fund is a regular donor to political committees and nonprofit organizations that finance TV advertisements in support of political candidates and causes.

According to Saurav Ghosh, the Director of Campaign Legal Center, the current system relies on trusting nonprofit organizations, and there is insufficient monitoring to ensure that foreign individuals are not involved in electoral activities. Despite the denial of the Sixteen Thirty Fund that Hansjorg Wyss' groups utilized funds for explicit political purposes, they did not provide any information regarding their measures to prevent such actions.

Wyss established the Wyss Foundation to support environmental activists, but he also made direct contributions to candidates and political committees totaling $119,000 from 1990 to 2006. This action went unpunished despite the prohibition on foreign nationals from engaging in such activities. In addition, the nonprofit organization Fund For A Better Future provided financial support for a pro-Biden advertising campaign in 2021, and it spent more than $5 million on advertising to promote thirty House Democratic candidates for the 2022 election.

According to the Berger Action Fund and the Wyss Foundation, they abide by legal regulations that limit donations made by foreign nationals to issue advocacy. Niki Woodard, a spokesperson for the Fund for a Better Future, stated that the organization monitors and manages its finances meticulously to ensure compliance with legal restrictions and limitations imposed on donor funds. The Berger Action Fund and the Wyss Foundation have declared their commitment to adhering to all rules governing their operations and implementing stringent policies that forbid their funds from being utilized for activities such as get-out-the-vote campaigns, voter registration drives, or endorsing or opposing political candidates or parties.

Written by Staff Reports

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