The Lincoln Project, or the Trojan horse of Soros and the liberals on the American right?

A political action committee – which can raise funds from any legal source – cannot be accepted as having republican values if, immediately after its establishment, it turns against its own, in this case Donald Trump, and thus the veil has been lifted off its real aims. In addition to the fact that the infighting within Republican circles has eventually turned into a public political attack by this organization, the situation is further nuanced by the millions of dollars in support immediately coming from the left-liberal empire. The question arises as to who is the real Republican then, but in the end the political intent is clearly visible if the organization’s criticism has also reached Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

2022. November 16.

In Dallas, at the annual summer conference (CPAC) of the American Conservative Union, a prestigious political organization in the United States, on 4 August 2022 Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivered a speech with guiding intentions and impact at the opening of the internationally closely followed event. However, in connection with the hihgly successful speech among overseas conservatives, there were some voices that began to attack the Prime Minister vehemently. For example, the American organization, the Lincoln Project, disliked Orbán’s presence and speech at CPAC so much that they posted a video on social media in which a quote from a speech by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was linked to the Hungarian statesman’s social ideal and thoughts he had previously expressed on 23 July in Tusnádfürdő in Szeklerland, rejecting the pro-immigration progressive agenda with a strong argument. In the post, they commented on a quote from Orbán’s speech in Tusványos as follows: “Nazi ideas emerged again in America under the guise of the Republican Party. Now it’s our turn to fight them, as our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents once did.” Of course, this is basically a deliberate misinterpretation of Orbán’s statements, placing it in a false historical context on their part. At the same time, it is not a new practice that the Hungarian government is portrayed as Nazi or populist from time to time in the overseas liberal public.

It is also no coincidence that the same organization recently attacked former US President Donald Trump in advertisements, for example, falsely claiming that in the year of the 2020 election, Trump “put every dollar in his pocket” that he “had taken”, and that the American politician, who is also opposed to migration, does not actually want to “regain” power in the next election, but – with the intention of leading on his own supporters – wants to maintain his “obscure business empire and lavish lifestyle” through the support received. In his article, the fact-checking journalist of the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, describes at length how they investigated the Lincoln Project’s claim.

When they asked the leaders and representatives of the political action committee to somehow substantiate what they had said, they avoided that request or ignored it altogether. Based on this, the journalist learned the lesson: false, strong claims had been made without evidence.

It should be known that the so-called Lincoln Project PAC was launched at the end of 2019 with the participation of former and active Republicans. In U.S. campaign regulation, PAC is an organization, a legal entity that aims to collect and jointly manage campaign contributions from members and donors. PAC is a tax-exempt organization that can be established under Section 527 of the United States Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Unlike canvassers or political parties, groups under Section 527 can receive donations from any legal source without restriction. (Their aim is always to influence the process of the primary, i.e., the candidacy process, the subsequent selection of candidate by the parties or the popular election itself to be held in the autumn.)

In general, campaign financing in the United States works quite differently than in our country. There have been many cases of strong external financial involvement in the election race for distric prosecutors, but even businessman George Soros interfered in the gubernatorial elections in order to put the people who best fit him in position. This meant millions of dollars in political investment. Another aspect of campaign finance is that, of course, it is possible to campaign not only for the candidates but also against them from the funds collected from donations. It is also no coincidence that in the summer of 2020, staunch supporters of the Democratic Party and big donors to liberal political action committees began funding the Lincoln Project when the „Republican”-led group attacked Trump. In light of this, the truly conservative stance of PAC is also questionable.

In the wake of the last presidential campaign, it is pretty clear that supporters of the Lincoln Project, which is conservative in name only, were interested in the success of Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s campaign. PAC raised USD 16.8 million from April to June 2020 alone, and about forty-five percent of those donations came from small donors, according to Federal Election Commission data.

It is not unusual overseas for left-wing PACs to portray themselves as right-wing or conservative. However, in light of its activity so far, it is doubtful that the above mentioned Lincoln Project is really a conservative-leaning political action committee. If it was, it would not have been (and would not be) highly active in order for the Republican Party to „drop” former President Donald Trump once and for all.

So it is not for nothing that the organization already took a stand in the 2020 presidential election against Trump and his strong political agenda, against the re-election of the then president.

Democratic Party supporters and several prominent financiers and political donors behind liberal super-PACs began funding the increasingly anti-Trump Lincoln Project one after another. For example, billionaire investor Stephen Mandel – a longtime liberal supporter – gave the Lincoln Project one million dollars in June, while Bain Capital’s managing director Joshua Bekenstein paid the organization one hundred thousand dollars. Benkenstein also gave a lot of money to two other super-PACs that supported Joe Biden, who had long been expected to become the official Democratic candidate.

But, for example, DreamWorks founder David Geffen – who donated millions of dollars to a Democratic super-PAC in 2018 – also gave USD 100,000 to the group which appears to have pro-Republican values. (DreamWorks is also interesting because a decade and a half earlier, George Soros, together with a film company, had purchased DreamWorks’ film archive, which at that time allowed the Hungarian-born speculator investor to acquire exclusive rights to 59 films for five years.) Like Geffen, one of the billionaire pioneers of cable television, the major Democratic donor Amos Hostetter, did the same, but some older and more recent Republican donors also “bankrolled” the Lincoln Project in the second quarter, so, for example, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s former supporter David Seldin gave a grant of USD 75,000.

The Senate Majority PAC is a super-PAC that, in principle, considers the support of Democratic and liberal Senate candidates to be its task, and already in the first three months of 2020, George Soros gave the organization USD 7 million. (It was part of the sum of USD 28 million Soros donated at the time to several left-wing super-PACs and racial justice NGOs, including Win Justice.) The Senate Majority PAC, which is also funded by Soros, listed the Lincoln Project as the recipient of the donations as an organization created under the aforementioned Section 527 of the Federal Tax Code. During 2019-2020, the Senate Majority PAC, which, as mentioned above, can also be considered a Soros-backed organization, donated USD 550,000 (roughly HUF 170 million at the exchange rate at the time) to the organization named after the highly influential Civil War president who lived in the 19th century.

In early 2022, news broke in the overseas press that the Lincoln Project’s national press secretary, RC Di Mezzo, was leaving the organization to take up a new position as communications director for Good Information Inc., a for-profit investment company that aims to combat “disinformation” in the media. The title of one of the articles reporting the news is also eloquent: “He is a staff member of the Republican Lincoln Project, who is currently working for George Soros.” The company, which started in the autumn of 2021, is supported by George Soros and other left-wing billionaires, including the founder of the business social network LinkedIn, online entrepreneur and venture capital investor Reid Hoffman.

The continuing similar political-ideological commitment of the Lincoln Project and George Soros is also demonstrated by the fact that in recent months they have both stood up for the State Attorney General Andrew Warren, who was fired by Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, expressing their unequivocal support for him. The reason for the suspension decision issued by the Governor was that, according to him, the State Attorney General did not keep his oath and did not do his job. DeSantis said he acted because of the statements signed by Warren and promised not to prosecute prosecutorial violations of abortion restrictions or laws prohibiting “gender-affirming care of minors”. (The Florida Health Administration passed a rule in August that prohibited gender-affirming treatments such as hormone therapy and surgery.) Warren, however, expressed strong political opinions about his dismissal and talked about how the new Florida legislation targets the LGBTQ (sexual minority) community, preventing them, for example, from the opportunity of talking to students about sexual orientation and gender identity. Warren also made a promise that as State Attorney General, he would never enforce Florida’s 15-week abortion ban and that he personally supports gender-affirming care of minors.

The organization is not without scandals either. In January 2021, co-founder John Weaver admitted in response to a magazine article – in which he was accused of years of sexual abuse – that he had sent “inappropriate” sexual messages to several men, for which he apologised. According to the New York Times, what happened was that Weaver offered young men professional support in exchange for sex. In the article, he was also accused of having a “non-sexual” online relationship with a fourteen-year-old boy and then engaged in “sexual teasing” with him after his eighteenth birthday. Following the revelations, the Lincoln Project said that “John’s statement speaks for itself”. Later, they also issued a follow-up statement, calling him a “predator, liar and abuser” and condemning his “deplorable and predatory behaviour”.

The Lincoln Project is treated by many as an organization that is rather liberal in character, embodying a kind of moral universalism. For example, Chris Vance, former chairman of the Washington State Republican Party and former representative of the State, wrote an article about it and similar initiatives titled “A new movement to restore or replace the Republican Party”. In his writing, Vance declares as an important characteristic of such desirable movements that “He supports a free, open society… welcomes America’s growing diversity and stands for the protection of the rights of all Americans to live their lives as they choose, free from racism, sexism, homophobia, and all forms of hate and intolerance”.

In light of the above, the intent behind the Lincoln Project is pretty clear: what is really at issue here is not a return to the “roots” of the Republican Party and America’s national, Republican values, but a vision of a new country that is universally open and seeks to be created while eliminating traditional social foundations.

Where the new social “order” no longer integrates groups of different nationalities – that are less and less Christian in the values represented – as national unity, but they are mixed with each other as a kind of homogenous substance, increasingly shaping the rules of common existence to the liking of immigrants and minorities.

The Lincoln Project PAC (major donors)

These are individual donors who have mostly made financial contributions of at least $100K or $50K to the Lincoln Project PAC in the form of lump sum grants during the 2019-2020 election cycle.

Major donors to the PAC:

  • Gordon Getty – businessman, philanthropist and composer with a net worth of about $ 7.4 billion
  • Stephen Frank Mandel – hedge fund manager, investor and philanthropist with a fortune of $3.6 billion (Lone Pine Capital)
  • Louise Gund – philanthropist, Broadway producer, environmental activist, photographer; the Gund family was the 80th richest family in America in 2015
  • William H. Harris (Anburst)
  • Sixteen Thirty Fund – known as one of the centres of the American left’s secret political spending (“dirty money”)
  • Paul Sullivan – Senior Vice President, American Red Cross
  • Jonathan Nelson (Providence Equity Partners L.L.C.) – head of a private equity company focusing on media, communications, education, etc.
  • Allen Thorpe (Hellman & Friedman L.L.C.) – private equity company engaged in media, financial, and information services
  • Graham Grund (Gund Partnership)
  • David Geffen (David Geffen Company) – business tycoon, producer and film studio manager
  • Liz Lefkofsky (Lefkofsky Family Foundation) – Eric and Liz Lefkofsky are art collectors and philanthropists near Chicago
  • Alfred Clark (Aberdeen Inc) – member and international counselor of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  • Megan Chernin (LA Promise Fund) – Founder and former CEO of the Los Angeles Public Education Fund
  • Jonathan Lavine (Bain Capital) – businessman, philanthropist, co-chair of the Board of Trustees of Columbia University
  • John A. Pritzker (Apeture Group L.L.C.) – billionaire investor, member of the Board of Directors of the Bernard Osher Foundation, among other things
  • Andrew D. Klingenstein (Esther A And Joseph Klingenstein Fund) – president and CEO of Klingenstein Philanthropies, formerly head and co-founder of a Virginia-based venture capital company
  • Sidney J. Jansma, Jr. (Wolverine Gas and Oil Corporation) – energy industry
  • Amos Hostetter (Pilot House Associates) – American businessman, he was the founder, president and CEO of Continental Cablevision (has a net worth of around $ 3,5 billion)
  • Joshua Bekenstein – Co-Chair of Bain Capital
  • Eileen Stauss – attorney and fire protection counsel
  • Richard Gallun (Bsavvy Ventures, L.L.C.) – provides products and services in the fields of welfare, education, and in social fields
  • John Connaughton (Bain Capital) – best known for his investments in the healthcare sector
  • Mark D. Ein – an investor, philanthropist, who was involved in the founding or early stages of six companies worth more than one billion dollars and led more than $1.5 billion in private and venture capital and public corporate investments
  • Joseph Kaempfer, Jr. (McArthurGlen Group) – McArthurGlen Group is a company that develops and manages designer shopping malls
  • Peter Muller (PDT Partners) – founder of a quantitative strategy hedge fund company that manages about $5 billion
  • Sameer Gandhi (Accel) – partner in the venture capital investment group
  • Ron Conway (SV Angel) –  co-founder of the San Francisco-based venture fund
  • Anthony Davis (MAI Capital Management, L.L.C) – head of a financial advisory company

Source: Open Secrets (non-profit lead research group), www.opensecrets.org

Data validation: Federal Election Commission, www.fec.gov

+ search monitor to find the main biographical data and interests of individual donors

The Lincoln Project’s statement of expenditure[1]

Period: 2019–2020
Category Sum ($) Percentage (%)
Media 58.887.932 72.03
Campaign expenses 5.771.308 7.05
Strategy and research 5.633.176 6.89
Fundraising 5.515.035 6.74
Unclassifiable costs 3.883.537 4.75
Administrative costs 1.658.623 2.02
Contributions 350.000 0.42
Payments 55.446 0.06
 

Detailed statement

 

Sector Designation Sum ($)
 

 

 

Administrative costs

Accounting, compliance, legal services 997.375
Travel, accommodation 248.955
Data, technology 215.660
Counsel 184.300
Rental properties, utility, office 10.276
Events, food 1.277
Miscellaneous 780
Campaign expenses Correspondence, campaign materials 4.035.206
Events, activities 1.736.102
Contributions To committees 350.000
 

Fundraising

Fees 4.528.449
Counsel 447.828
Miscellaneous 285.229
Events 253.529
 

 

 

Media

General purchases 33.343.916
Internet advertisements 21.032.433
Production 2.484.848
Counsel 1.687.253
Miscellaneous 326.910
Printed advertisement 11.567
Broadcast advertisement 10.005
Payments 55.446
Strategy and research Campaign and counsel 4.444.555
Data and technology 1.169.921
Surveys 18.700
 

 

Unclassifiable

2.453.240
462.500
423.380
380.100
160.851
3.466
The Lincoln Project’s major policy spending[2]

 

Pro/Contra Candidate Date Sum ($)
Contra Cory Gardner (R) 2020 5.000
7.525
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump J

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May-October 2020

48.888.89
61.180.00
233.450.00
138.000.00
103.500.00
473.081.25
295.000.00
306.762.00
162.236.00
265.075.00
151.225.00
103.500.00
125.000.00
200.000.00
150.000.00
100.000.00
75.000.00
200.000.00
120.000.00
316.250.00
283.137.50
325.375.00
300.000.00
445.050.00
2915.000.00
1.500.000.00
994.750.00
272.618.00
255.000.00
159.828.00
2.887.501.00
123.439.00
300.000.00
277.000.00
320.584.00
1.150.000.00
3.210.119.00
553.472.00
600.000.00
880.000.00
300.000.00
443.074.00
150.000.00
1.000.000.00
419.530.00
394.528.00
1.239.890.00
1.300.000.00
Contra Mitch McConnell (R) May 2020 269.100.00

75.000.00

 

 

 

Pro

 

 

 

Joseph Biden JR (D)

 

 

 

May-October 2020

319.412.50
102.088.00
203.000.00
241.000.00
86.667.00
220.000.00
919.540.00
Pro Gross Al (D) 27.07.2020

 

23.09.2020

 

16.10.2020

 

1.235.274.00

 

500.000.00

 

400.000.00

520.000.00

Pro Steve Bullock (D) 27.07.2020

 

23.09.2020

 

30.10.2020

1.200.460.00

 

500.000.00

 

550.000.00

Contra Susan Collins (R) 27.07.2020

20.10.2020

1.203.623.00

250.000.00

Contra Lindsay Graham (R) 09.08.2020

22.09.2020

21.10.2020

22.10.2020

28.10.2020

818.800.00

550.000.00

187.500.00

173.908.00

235.000.00

Contra Dan Sullivan (R) 05.10.2020

06.10.2020

16.10.2020

550.000.00

700.000.00

130.000.00

Contra David Perdue (R) 22.12.2020 75.000.00
Contra Theodore Budd (R) 08.10.2022 100.000.00

 

• NGO-radar

Recently, evidence has been mounting that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) covering a significant part of their activities from foreign sources intend to gain an ever-increasing influence in the domestic political arena, overshadowing their former, purely human rights function. Similar entities in the United States are treated as foreign agent organizations, and their activity is closely monitored and subject to registration. Századvég Foundation is committed to national sovereignty, legal certainty, and transparency. Therefore, in a monitoring system called NGO-radar, it continuously analyses the operation of the relevant organizations in Hungary.

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