A nonprofit founded by left-wing smear-job artist David Brock invested nearly three million dollars in a for-profit company founded by… David Brock, according to a complaint just filed by the right-leaning Patriots Foundation.
Brock’s American Bridge 21st Century Foundation PAC nonprofit arm directed $2.6 million of donors’ money into Brock’s media firm, True Blue Media LLC. Patriots Foundation co-founder Craig Robinson told The Daily Beast in a story filed early this morning, “These complaints we filed provide damning indictment of serious allegations about how his organizations have circumvented rules and exploited the tax-exempt status of the organizations for personal benefit and partisan political purposes, and potentially siphoning millions for improper purposes.”
Brock’s setup is as complicated as it seems shady:
Brock’s network also includes a for-profit news venture called the American Independent. That outlet is owned by a company he formed in late 2015 called True Blue Media LLC. When Brock convened donors at a retreat in early 2017 to brief them on his anti-Trump efforts going forward, he billed True Blue Media’s news operation explicitly as a revenue-generating enterprise that would sell advertising and subscriptions.
Over the next two years, American Bridge’s nonprofit arm invested more than $2.6 million in True Blue Media, according to tax filings. Those filings list Brock’s ownership stake in the LLC as greater than 35 percent. The structure appears to have resembled a convertible note; in exchange for that cash infusion, American Bridge was promised future equity in the media company. It’s not clear if that equity was ever provided.
If the equity end of the deal didn’t go through, then it looks like a straight transfer payment where Brock personally profited on both sides.
From there things get really murky:
Lol so American Bridge’s top defense for David Brock funneling $2.6 million to his own for-profit company is… that he resigned in 2016 right before the scheme began?
Did they forget they listed him as chairman on their own website in 2018??
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) April 24, 2020
That’s right: Brock supposedly had resigned before any of this went through, but that might not have been the case.
This isn’t the first time Brock and his smear machine have raised suspicions just this year. Less than two weeks ago, Joe Schoffstall reported for the Washington Free Beacon that American Bridge accepted a six-figure “gift” from a Chinese tech firm:
A prominent Democratic group poised to spend millions backing former vice president Joe Biden received $100,000 in the form of stock shares in the Chinese technology giant Baidu from an anonymous donor. Baidu, like many Chinese technology companies, is closely affiliated with China’s ruling Communist Party.
American Bridge, an opposition research group founded by liberal operative David Brock, reported the receipt of the 450 shares in late 2018, a gift that was disclosed in its latest tax filings. The multinational internet services company acts as China’s Google and operates under a degree of state party control.
In recent weeks, American Bridge has been running dark money ads in swing states against President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, essentially parroting Beijing’s propaganda. Daily Caller’s Andrew Kerr reported in January, “Financier George Soros is the second-largest contributor to AB PAC with $4.4 million in recorded donations since 2010.”
Brock has been described as an “assassin” by both sides.
A 2008 New York Times article quoted James Carville saying that Media Matters was “more effective than any single entity” in pushing leftist causes. This isn’t at all surprising, considering Brock’s total lack of ethics and easy access to oodles of questionable financing.
Did Brock break any laws by “investing” his non-profit donor dollars into one of his for-profit businesses? That remains to be seen. But as has often been noted about American law about these matters, it isn’t outrageous what isn’t permitted — it’s outrageous what is permitted.