One of the top donors to a pro-Biden dark money group is a nonprofit run by a little-known AI investor.

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A husband-and-wife duo whose fortunes are tied to AI investing and cryptocurrency trading are quietly emerging as the biggest backers of the main dark money group promoting President Joe Biden.

The second-largest donation in 2022 to the nonprofit arm of Future Forward, the primary super PAC backing Biden, came from a group run by James McClew and Emily Berger. The pair work at Jane Street, a Manhattan trading firm, and McClew was an early investor in the AI ​​company Anthropic.

Tax records reviewed by CNN, which have not been previously reported, show that BEMC 4 Association — a nonprofit whose only two executives are McClave and Berger — filed a Future Forward USA action in 2022. gave $7.2 million, the most recent year for which data is available. That’s more than any group except the George Soros-affiliated Open Society Policy Center, which gave $15.2 million this year.

Although Future Forward USA Action doesn’t disclose its donors, other nonprofits that give to it do report those contributions — and CNN used IRS-issued documents to expose some of them. Analyzed tax filing data. In addition to Soros Group and BEMC, the group’s top contributors in 2022 included other left-leaning nonprofits such as the League of Conservation Voters and the Fund for a Better Future, which each gave $2.50. million, and the Hopewell Fund, which gave about $1.55 million.

The millions flowing through FutureForward are an example of how wealthy donors on both sides of the aisle are using dark money groups to shape American politics while staying under the radar. And even as Democrats like Biden have criticized the effects of dark money and pushed for reforms, they are also big beneficiaries of the system. The trend will continue this year: Future Forward has announced plans to run the largest political ad campaign ever by a super PAC in 2024.

Spending by groups that don’t disclose their donors “leaves voters in the dark when they go to the polls,” said Anna Missoglia, research manager at campaign finance watchdog group OpenSecrets. “They don’t have any information about who’s giving until after the election, if at all… It’s very important for them to know who’s fueling the candidates they’re voting for. is, and what special interests are playing a role in it.”

Tax records do not confirm whether the $7.2 million is from McClave and Berger personally, or other donors to groups they control. But the only donations BEMC reported receiving were in the form of interests in a financial holding company or partnership. It’s not uncommon for major donors to create new nonprofits to distribute their money, Missoglia said.

Although McClave and Berger don’t have much of a public profile, they have been quietly increasing their political spending. The couple has given a combined more than $1 million to other Democratic Party groups and candidates in federal and state elections in recent years, records show, to progressives such as Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz and Manhattan D. A has become a top donor to Elon. Brag

McClave was an early investor in Anthropic, which runs the AI ​​chatbot Claude, which took part in the company’s Series A and Series B rounds in 2021 and 2022. Jean was in the street and also a major campaign donor – before Bankmann Freud’s financial collapse and conviction for fraud and conspiracy.

Jane Street has been a major player in cryptocurrency trading, and McClew has expressed interest in the federal government’s crypto policies. In 2022, he wrote a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission urging the regulator to allow the bitcoin fund to list on a subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange. Berger joined Jane Street after earning a PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.

The couple declined to comment through a spokesman. A spokesperson for Future Forward did not respond to a request for comment.

Julia Nickson/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Joe Biden arrives at a campaign rally in Manassas, Virginia in January. The pro-Biden group Future Forward has said it plans to launch the largest political ad campaign by a super PAC this year.

Like some other prominent political organizations on both sides of the aisle, Future Forward operates as two affiliated groups: a super PAC, FFPAC, which is required to publicly disclose its donors; and a nonprofit, Future Forward USA Action, which neither group is allowed to run ads supporting or opposing candidates, although IRS rules allow the nonprofit to make it its “principal activity.” do not have.

After FutureForward ran ads endorsing Biden and Democrats during the 2020 and 2022 campaigns, the Biden campaign publicly indicated it had become their preferred super PAC. Anita Dunn, a senior White House adviser, told The New York Times last year that the group has “really earned its place as the pre-eminent super PAC supporting the Biden-Harris agenda and the 2024 effort.” What is it.”

Future Forward has said it raised a combined $208 million in 2023 between its super PAC and nonprofit. Much of that appears to have been raised by dark money nonprofits, as the PAC reported raising about $25 million over the year alone, and $8 million of that, according to Federal Elections. More than were transferred from non-profits. Commission Record.

It’s unclear whether McClave and Berger or their nonprofit made additional donations to Future Forward last year — their group won’t be required to report grants in 2023 until after this November’s election. And he doesn’t have to report it. 2024 expenditure till November 2025.

Biden himself has been critical of the influence of dark money, and has supported legislation that would require organizations that spend money on elections to immediately disclose major donors.

“There’s a lot — a lot of money that goes into the shadows to influence our elections,” Biden declared in a 2022 White House speech, adding that “dark money erodes public trust.” ”

“Right now, advocacy groups can run ads on issues attacking or supporting a candidate right up until Election Day, without disclosing who is paying for the ad,” Biden said — sort of. Explaining the ads that Future Forward USA action could back later this year.

Biden’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to supporting Future Forward, McClave and Berger’s nonprofit also gave another $7 million in 2022 to the Center for Voter Information, a group that works to encourage youth, women and minorities to vote and It is run by a former Democratic political operative. . He also made small donations to two other left-leaning groups.

McClave and Berger are also officers of the similarly named BEMC Foundation, a private foundation that has given a total of about $2.5 million in recent years to Vox Media’s Future Perfect Project, which produces news on global issues.

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