Americans for Job Security

Americans for Job Security 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:

Americans for Job Security

$68 million

between November 2009 and October 2014.

Issue One identified


donors to this dark money group.

These donors collectively accounted for


of its funding.

Issue One found 10 donors that gave at least $1 million since November 2009:

Charles Schwab: $6.7 million

John Fisher: $5 million

American Encore (formerly Center to Protect Patient Rights): $4.9 million

Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS): $2 million

Doris Fisher: $2 million

William Fisher: $2 million

Retail Industry Leaders Association: $1.5 million

Involve America: $1.4 million

Eli Broad: $1 million

Robert Fisher: $1 million

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.

Americans for Job Security self-reported to the IRS that

31 percentof its total spending was related to political campaign activities

It also told the FEC that


of its political spending was negative

About Americans for Job Security

Formed in November 1997 as a 501(c)(6) trade association, Americans for Job Security ranks among the earliest political dark money groups. In recent years, however, the group has all but vanished. Stephen DeMaura, a former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party, served as Americans for Job Security’s president for nearly a decade, beginning in 2008. The group was founded by political operatives David Carney and Michael Dubke, who briefly served as communications director for President Donald Trump in the White House last year.

In addition to its own political spending, which has typically aided Republican candidates, Americans for Job Security also played a prominent role in funneling tens of millions of dollars to two ballot measure fights in California during the 2012 election. The California Fair Political Practices Commission later concluded this effort was designed to hide the identities of the actual donors supporting the ballot measures. As part of its investigation, the commission released a poorly redacted list of Americans for Job Security’s donors in 2012, which led media organizations and others to identify many of the group’s donors that year.

In June 2014, the Federal Election Commission deadlocked 3-3 in response to a complaint about whether Americans for Job Security should have registered as a political committee, which would have required the group to disclose its donors.

In July 2016, the FEC fined Americans for Job Security $43,000 after the agency concluded that the group should have disclosed a nonprofit known as the Center to Protect Patient Rights — a group associated with the political network of billionaires Charles and David Koch — as a donor behind some of its political expenditures in 2010.

In March 2018, the Internal Revenue Service revoked the tax-exempt status of Americans for Job Security after the group failed to file mandatory tax returns for three consecutive years. According to its most recent tax return, Americans for Job Security had about $620,000 in the bank as of October 2014. Beyond paying the FEC fine in 2016, it’s unclear how that money has been spent.