Stacey Abrams’ dark money group raked in $62million from relatively few donors after bitter election loss

After her bitter 2018 gubernatorial loss, a dark money group founded and led by controversial Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams went on to rake in nearly $62 million in two years.

According to 2019 and 2020 federal form 990 tax returns, obtained by the Washington Examiner, Fair Fight Action, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group founded in 2014, just 252 unidentified donors gifted the group 96% of the combined $61.9 million raised over the two years.

“That’s an average donation of about $235,000,” the Examiner reports.

Originally founded as the “Voter Access Institute,” the nonprofit was originally billed as a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting voter engagement. But in the weeks following Abram’s loss in 2018, the group reimagined itself, taking on a new name and taking out language from its bylaws that would prohibit it from having anything to do with “any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.”

From there, the newly-named Fair Act went on a spending spree, buying a pro-Stacey Abrams ad during the outrageously expensive Super Bowl broadcast and hosting watch parties to publicize Abrams’ speaking engagements. The organization also reportedly took donations from a “Stacey Abrams Fundraiser” and took the state of Georgia to court in a case that claimed the voting machines used in the 2018 race “switched” votes to favor Abrams’ opponent, Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a watchdog group based in Washington D.C., found the alleged violation of Fair Fight Action’s nonprofit status “alarming” and called on the IRS to investigate the organization.

“Fair Fight’s activities in 2019 were alarming, and FACT filed a complaint with the IRS that identified evidence the organization was not functioning as a social welfare organization to benefit the public as a whole but rather was being used for a political purpose and for the benefit of a single candidate,” said FACT Director Kendra Arnold.

Fair Fight responded to the allegations, filed in March 2019, by calling them “baseless” and denying the claim that it promotes Stacey Abrams.

According to Arnolds, the IRS has yet to provide an update on FACT’s complaint.

In 2018, Abrams famously refused to concede her election loss to Kemp, claiming in 2019 to CBS News that doing so “means to say the process was fair.”

By her announcement in December of a second run at the governor’s mansion, Abrams had memory-holed her prior claims, telling MSNBC that she “did not challenge the outcome” of the 2018 election.

On its 2020 form 990, a contribution of $60,000 from Fair Fight Action is listed as going to the Coalition for Good Governance, another charity organization that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger claimed in Feb. 2021 was spreading conspiracy theories that Abrams was robbed of her victory.

“Many people think that President Trump’s onslaught on Georgia’s election integrity was new, but outside groups, apparently heavily supported by Stacey Abrams, have been pushing these conspiracy theories for years,” Raffensperger said. “In light of the devastation election disinformation caused on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., Abrams needs to finally accept her 2018 election loss and stop funding attacks on Georgia’s election integrity.”

In addition to the Fair Fight Action’s $61.9 million purse, the political action committee to which it is tied, Fair Fight PAC, took in a whopping $95 million over 2019 and 2020 and contributed $12 million each to the 2020 senatorial races of Democratic lawmakers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

Abrams led Fair Fight Action from 2018 through December of 2021, when she resigned to run again for governor. Three months later, Fair Fact Action announced its intention to focus its efforts on Georgia in the all-important 2022 elections.

Abrams maintains close ties with Fair Fight. Her campaign manager in both 2019 and 2022 is Lauren Groh-Wargo, who stepped in as CEO of Fair Fight during the time between Abrams’ two gubernatorial races.

Groh-Wargo’s consulting firm, Swing State Consulting, received $180,000 and $225,000 in 2019 and 2020, respectively, from Fair Fight Action for management services. In addition, Swing State Consulting received $20,000 in late December from Abrams’ campaign.

While Fair Fight Action is not required to reveal its donors — hence the term “dark money” — it did receive $3.6 million from Fair Fight PAC in 2019 and another $13.8 million from the PAC in 2020.

And from the liberal and extremely controversial Sixteen Thirty Fund, Fair Fight Action received $2,229,000 in 2020.


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