Sean Zanni | Patrick Mcmullan | Getty Pictures
Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, haven’t but made a remaining choice on whether or not they’ll publicly again Trump, these folks mentioned. However the Mercers stay pleasant with key gamers in Trump’s orbit, together with former senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, in line with a few of the folks, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to share particulars of the considering of the notoriously non-public Mercer household.
The Mercers gave hundreds of thousands to an excellent PAC and different efforts to spice up Trump in 2016, earlier than very noticeably stepping again round 2018.
A consultant for the Mercer household didn’t return a request for remark.
As they weigh their choices on whether or not to get entangled with serving to Trump once more, the Mercer household has a virtually unparalleled non-public warfare chest able to be deployed.
The Mercers got here into the pivotal 2024 presidential election cycle with simply greater than $88 million stashed away of their non-public nonprofit, the Mercer Household Basis.
In the event that they determine to fund efforts to help Trump, like they did in the course of the 2016 election, this cash might present crucial assets for influential conservative political causes, in line with specialists who reviewed the paperwork.
“The Mercer Household Basis is sitting on an enormous endowment that may—and certain will—be directed in the direction of pushing politics and coverage to the intense proper,” Brendan Fischer, a deputy government director at particular pursuits watchdog Documented, advised CNBC after he reviewed the group’s 990 tax return.
The $88.4 million that the inspiration amassed on the finish of 2022 was partially as a result of a sale final 12 months of greater than $20 million in publicly traded securities and different holdings, in line with the 990 tax varieties reviewed by CNBC. The money it had coming into 2023 was barely down from a 12 months earlier, as the inspiration began final 12 months with simply over $96 million.
Robert Mercer, who was the co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Applied sciences, donated simply over $6 million to the inspiration in 2021, in line with the group’s tax data from that 12 months. Although the inspiration is solely funded by the Mercers, there have been no donations made by the household to the group final 12 months, in line with the brand new paperwork.
Whereas the Mercers have largely disappeared from public view since serving to Trump win in 2016, they’ve continued to attempt to wield affect in Republican political circles with their cash, together with via the household basis.
Final 12 months they gave $31 million to the DonorsTrust, a 501(c)(3) donor advisory fund that funnels cash to usually right-leaning causes on behalf of its purchasers. This was essentially the most the Mercer Household Basis has ever recorded giving to any group via its charity group, in line with knowledge from ProPublica’s database.
Rebekah Mercer was an investor within the now shuttered Parler that was alleged to be a social media area for conservative voices.
She can also be a reported co-founder and investor of 1789 Capital, a monetary agency run by Wall Road veteran Omeed Malik that led a $15 million seed spherical into a brand new media firm owned by former Fox Information host Tucker Carlson and his longtime enterprise associate Neil Patel, in line with the New York Submit and The Wall Road Journal.
Rebekah Mercer can also be a part of a coalition of Republican donors referred to as the Rockbridge Community, which incorporates fellow GOP financier Peter Thiel, in line with The New York Occasions.
Oliver Contreras | The Washington Submit | Getty Pictures
Specialists who reviewed the tax paperwork say that the household might donate as a lot as they need from their basis’s belongings to politically targeted organizations that would impression the upcoming election.
Shanna Ports, senior authorized counsel for the watchdog Marketing campaign Authorized Heart, advised CNBC in an announcement after reviewing the 990 that, despite the fact that 501(c)(3) charities are barred from “immediately intervening in elections or supporting candidates,” such organizations “can nonetheless undertake a variety of actions that impression elections.”
That features funding voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, financing litigation efforts, taking positions on public coverage points, making contributions to fund down-ballot measure committees or aiding with packages run via extra politically engaged nonprofit teams that shouldn’t have to publicly listing the names of their donors, in line with Ports.
“A charity just like the Mercer Household Basis, with over $88 million at its disposal, might have an outsized impression on the 2024 election by taking part in these kinds of actions,” Ports advised CNBC.
Contributors to the DonorsTrust, as an illustration, have their cash funneled to desired causes, with out the general public ever realizing the unique supply of the funds because it doesn’t publicly disclose the names of its donors. The conservative-leaning FreedomWorks, the State Coverage Community, the Constitutional Protection Fund and Venture Veritas all acquired funds final 12 months via DonorsTrust, in line with the Heart for Media and Democracy.
In 2021, the Mercer household donated slightly below $6 million to DonorsTrust, in accordance their tax data from that 12 months. In 2020, the 12 months of the pivotal election that noticed Joe Biden defeat Trump, the Mercer basis gave round $20 million to DonorsTrust.
The DonorsTrust raised greater than $300 million final 12 months and lists an nameless $31 million contribution on its 2022 990 varieties, which may very well be from the Mercer household. It is the third-highest donation listed on DonorsTrust’s most up-to-date tax data.
A few of the high recipients from DonorsTrust in 2022 have been the identical conservative teams that the Mercer basis has beforehand funded. DonorsTrust doled out greater than $240 million in grants final 12 months alone, in line with its tax data.
These teams that acquired hundreds of thousands from DonorsTrust final 12 months embrace $7.9 million to the Oregon Institute of Science and Drugs, a nonprofit that rebukes the thought there may be man-made local weather change. DonorsTrust final 12 months additionally gave $1.5 million to the Authorities Accountability Institute, a company co-founded by longtime Mercer ally Steve Bannon and chaired by Rebekah Mercer herself.
The Authorities Accountability Institute is accountable for a litany of politically pushed investigations. It was concerned with probes of Hillary and Invoice Clinton that led to the e book by the group’s president, Peter Schweizer, referred to as “Clinton Money: The Untold Story of How and Why Overseas Governments and Companies Helped Make Invoice and Hillary Wealthy.”
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