Patriot Majority USA


Patriot Majority USA is one of the top 15 dark money groups examined by Issue One’s new “Dark Money Illuminated” report that has been spending millions of dollars in our elections since Citizens United without publicly disclosing their donors. Dark money groups frequently operate as attack dogs during campaigns, criticizing candidates from the shadows. Dark money groups also often push the envelope in terms of how much political spending they can engage in without running afoul of rules that prohibit them from existing primarily to influence elections. By masquerading as a trade association or “social welfare” nonprofit, dark money groups avoid the mandatory donor disclosure rules that would come with registering as a political committee whose primary purpose is to influence elections.

Here’s what Issue One’s year-long “Dark Money Illuminated” investigation revealed:


Patriot Majority USA raised

$66 million

between March 2011 and December 2016.


Issue One identified

20

donors to this dark money group.


These donors collectively accounted for

14%

of its funding.


Issue One found 12 donors that gave at least $100,000 since March 2011:

National Education Association (NEA): $1.8 million

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME): $1.7 million

Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care: $1.3 million

Service Employees International Union (SEIU): $860,000

Fair Share: $850,000

Sixteen Thirty Fund: $660,000

Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare: $500,000

American Health Care Association: $480,000

America Votes: $410,000

NEO Philanthropy Action Fund (formerly Public Interest Projects Action Fund): $300,000

SEIU Pennsylvania State Council: $280,000

International Association of Firefighters: $100,000

Note: These numbers have been rounded to two significant figures. Click here to see more details about these contributions — and all identified donors to this group — in Issue One’s exclusive database of dark money donors, and click here to learn more about how these contributors were identified. 


Source: Issue One analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics and Federal Election Commission.



Patriot Majority USA self-reported to the IRS that

of its total spending was related to political campaign activities


It also told the FEC that

91%

of its political spending was negative

About Patriot Majority USA

Patriot Majority USA, a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organization that often spends money in elections to aid Democratic candidates, was founded in March 2011 by political consultant Craig Varoga, a Democrat with strong ties to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). To wit: Varoga led an independent group that helped Reid win his contentious re-election race in 2010. Varoga has long been adamant that Democrats should not “unilaterally disarm” when it comes to campaigning in the post-Citizens United era. “It does not matter whether any of us agree or disagree with current campaign finance laws, or court interpretations and FEC rulings on these laws,” Varoga wrote in Campaigns & Elections magazine in 2012. “This brave new world is here.”

When Patriot Majority USA applied for tax-exempt status in 2011, it told the Internal Revenue Service that it planned to raise money from “individuals, corporations, partnerships, unions and other organizations.” Patriot Majority USA acknowledged to the IRS that it planned to spend money influencing elections — but stressed that it would not spend more than 40 percent of its money on such overt, electoral activities. According to its own tax filings, Patriot Majority USA has typically spent between 30 percent and 40 percent of its funds each year on “direct or indirect political campaign activities.”