The wealthy family led by Tory mega-donators Robert and Rebekah Mercer, whose money helped propel Donald Trump to victory in 2016, invested nearly $ 20 million last year in a pro-government black money fund. GOP which allows donors to keep secret the ultimate destination of their contributions.
The Mercers’ donation, given through their family foundation, went to the Donors Trust, according to a new disclosure form 990. The large contribution reveals that the Mercers played a much larger role in funding the groups during the 2020 elections than previously thought.
The Donors Trust takes the money it receives and gives it to groups chosen by its donors. He is not legally required to publicly disclose who is donating to his group or where the financiers have targeted their donations.
It is not clear where the Mercers asked the Donors Trust to send their money. The Mercer Family Foundation ended the year with just over $ 45 million in assets, according to Form 990.
Some recent contributions to the Donors Trust have gone to groups that have pushed allegations of voter fraud before and after President Joe Biden defeated Trump in last year’s election. In 2019, the Donors Trust sent donations to groups such as Turning Point USA, led by Charlie Kirk, vocal supporter of Trump; and the VDARE Foundation, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has called a hate group.
Ahead of the 2020 election, Trump warned without evidence that the election risked massive voter fraud. Since his loss to Biden, Trump has continued to falsely claim that the election was stolen from him. Officials on both sides of the political spectrum, including former Trump attorney general William Barr, have said there was no widespread electoral fraud and that Biden won the fair and square election.
Robert Mercer and his three daughters, Rebekah, Jennifer and Heather, are all directors of their family foundation. In preparation for the election, CNBC reported that the Mercers chose to distance themselves from Trump and Republican leaders after being scrutinized for helping fund the successful run of the New York real estate mogul and star. reality show to the presidency in 2016.
The Mercers gave very little directly to the campaigns of the last election cycle. Data from the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics shows that neither Rebekah nor Robert Mercer, two of the family’s biggest GOP donors, were among the top 100 political donors during the 2019-2020 period.
The Mercers’ large contribution in 2020 to the Donors Trust, a 501 (c) (3), allows them to make such a donation without having to publicly disclose exactly which outside groups they funded that year.
Rebekah Mercer is a key financier for Parler, a social media company that has been a vehicle for Trump allies to pitch false allegations that the election was rigged against the former president.
Representatives for Rebekah and Robert Mercer did not return requests for comment.
In 2019, the Donors Trust raised over $ 300 million and distributed just over $ 160 million in grants. A spokesperson for the group said their 2020 forms will not be available to the public until later this year.
Records show that the Mercer Foundation’s 2020 contribution to Donors Trust is their biggest donation through their nonprofit since at least 2016, when they donate a similar amount to various conservative external groups.
Last year, aside from the donation to Donors Trust, the new Form 990 shows the foundation’s only other contribution was $ 9,000 to the American Association for Aerosol Research, a nonprofit that claims sponsors such as NASA and 3M.
The new 990 also gives an overview of the Mercer’s personal finances.
According to the disclosure, the foundation claims to have completed at least $ 30 million in asset transactions through an entity identified on the form as the Medallion fund. Robert Mercer stepped down in 2017 as co-CEO of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, which owns a fund with the same name.
Institutional Investor reported earlier this year that Renaissance Technologies Medallion fund had one of its best years of 2020, rising 76%. The outlet reported that the Medallion Fund is only available to current and former employees of Renaissance Technologies.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that current and former Renaissance Technologies executives, including Robert Mercer, will pay up to $ 7 billion in back taxes, penalties and interest to settle a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service.