Washington Times Opinion: Laxalt: Biden a dark money puppet

Washington Times Opinion: Nominations of Xavier Becerra and Vanita Gupta show how dark money has infiltrated Biden administration

Liberal dark money groups spent a record-breaking $145 million to get Joe Biden elected, and now they are cashing in. These groups are pushing President Biden to nominate dark money appointees and pass their extreme left-wing policies.

From top to bottom, Mr. Biden’s staff is filled with people affiliated with dark money. His chief of staff, Ron Klain, was a board member of the dark money group CAP Action Fund before joining the Biden administration.

Similarly, Gina McCarthy, the White House National Climate Adviser, led the Natural Resources Defense Council, a climate action dark money group that has received millions from the Sixteen Thirty Fund and the New Venture Fund.

Those two funds come underneath the massive dark money umbrella of little-known Arabella Advisors, which moves half-a-billion dollars per year to left-wing organizations involved in policy and political campaigns.

Another example is Jennifer Granholm, President Biden’s nominee for secretary of Energy. Ms. Granholm chaired a dark money think tank whose sister organization spent $60 million to help elect Mr. Biden.

Mr. Biden is already delivering for his dark money donors on a policy level. He canceled the permit for the Keystone pipeline, eliminating thousands of good-paying union jobs, and he is breaking all the promises of moderation he made in 2020.

Democrats love to chide Republicans about their dark money ties, but Mr. Biden is truly the first dark money president. Two other Biden appointees imminently up for confirmation illustrate how deeply embedded the Biden administration is in the dark money arena: Xavier Becerra, Mr. Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Vanita Gupta, Mr. Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general.

If confirmed, Mr. Becerra will be beholden — not to struggling students and their taxpaying parents — but to the teachers’ unions that have helped him climb the political ladder.

Teachers’ unions have had no qualms pulling out their checkbooks to support the political aspirations of Mr. Becerra, Mr. Biden and other Democrats, as 98% of their contributions in 2020 went to Democrats. Mr. Becerra has received more than $50,000 from teachers’ unions in the past four years.


These same teachers’ unions have been the main political barrier to reopening schools. Despite the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that schools can be safely reopened, the unions have been resisting. That is why Vice President Kamala Harris dodged questions about what the Biden administration was doing to open schools; she didn’t want to anger her influential donors.

In the words of Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican. “As HHS Secretary, Mr. Becerra would weaponize the CDC to keep our schools closed and our children falling further behind. He must be stopped.” Mr. Cotton’s informed prediction would undoubtedly ring true.

This shouldn’t be surprising since Mr. Becerra isn’t a doctor or a scientist but is a seasoned partisan fighter. While he was in Congress, he lobbied President Clinton to give a pardon to a convicted drug dealer (whose sentence was subsequently commuted by Mr. Clinton), coincidentally or not, the dealer’s father was a donor to Mr. Becerra’s campaigns.

In the middle of this pandemic, we need someone with real experience, not the support of left-wing money. Mr. Becerra is the wrong nominee and should be rejected.

n much the same boat, Vanita Gupta will leverage her position to push a liberal, dark money-fueled agenda.

Before her nomination, Ms. Gupta was CEO and president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Leadership Conference Education Fund, which received more than $1 million from groups affiliated with the shadowy leftist group Arabella Advisors.

It’s not a stretch to assume this group thinks she will be a powerful left-wing activist.

Ms. Gupta has implicitly endorsed the main tenets of the defund-the-police movement. In 2020, she told a group of left-wing dark money donors, “[L]ocalities have been overspending on criminal justice system infrastructure and policing and divesting in housing, education, jobs, and healthc are. Some people call it ‘defunding’ the police, other people call it ‘divest/invest’.”

Instead of adequately funding local police forces, Ms. Gupta wants a massive expansion of federal government powers at the expense of state and local police forces. As former attorney general of Nevada, I can confidently say that federalizing law enforcement is exactly the opposite of what is needed right now.

The ACLU, where she worked, has called for Mr. Biden to end the death penalty and commute sentences for dangerous criminals.

Last summer, when our cities were under attack, Ms. Gupta could have called for law and order but she demanded that dangerous convicts be released from jail, all under the guise of COVID-19.

At the Department of Justice, Ms. Gupta is supposed to rigorously uphold existing law. Her record of liberal activism suggests she will do otherwise.

The nominations of both Mr. Becerra and Ms. Gupta demonstrate how dark money groups have infiltrated the Biden administration. Promises of transparency and honesty have been cast aside for the whims of unaccountable special-interest groups who want to push extreme policies. Mr. Biden is truly a dark money puppet.

• Adam Laxalt is outside counsel for Americans for Public Trust and former attorney general of Nevada.