The Soros of Silicon Valley: Reid Hoffman’s Millions for Democrat Activism (Pt. 1)

by | Dec 4, 2023 | Dark Money

There’s no shortage of leftist mega-donors for funding America’s “progressive” revolution. Meet the newest billionaire backing it: Reid Hoffman, whose campaign to destroy Donald Trump is matched only by the scale of his #MeToo hypocrisy.

His is hardly a household name. Yet Reid Hoffman, best known for co-founding the professional networking site LinkedIn, has rapidly become one of the Left’s top patrons of political activism to rival George Soros, Bill Gates, and eBay’s Pierre Omidyar. Since 2016, this mega-donor has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Democratic campaigns, leftist advocacy groups, and efforts to indict President Trump, with much more to come in 2024.

And that’s to say nothing of his ties to notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Hoffman is no “moderate” content with defeating the former president. His primary funding vehicle, Investing in US, exists to spur “massive voter turnout” for Democrats to defeat the Republican Party’s—not Donald Trump’s—“white nationalist fascism,” likening all conservatives to “authoritarian criminals such as Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin . . . [for] actively undermining the legitimacy of our free press, our courts, our elections, and our scientific institutions.”

All Republicans, Hoffman’s group alleges, “have systematically and asymmetrically engaged in dirty tricks and brutal hardball to seize and hold power”—so he’s committed a fortune to wiping them out at the polls, meddling in the 2024 Republican primary, and playing dirty himself.

Dot Com Fortune

Like so many in Silicon Valley, Reid Hoffman’s career started in 1994 with Apple Computer, working on the company’s then-cutting edge online subscription service, eWorld, which offered users email, news, and internet chat rooms (later purchased by America Online). Three years later, Hoffman launched an online dating site—SocialNet.com—which, though it flopped, got him a director position with a new start-up: PayPal, which launched in 1999 under the leadership of Elon Musk, Peter Thiel as CEO, and Hoffman as executive vice president responsible for external relationships and business development. (Notably, Thiel and Hoffman’s friendship broke down years later over their differing views of Donald Trump.)

Around the same time PayPal was acquired in 2002 by Pierre Omidyar’s rising online giant, eBay, Hoffman launched his own e-company (with capital from Thiel and venture capital firm Greylock Partners): San Francisco-based LinkedIn, today the top social networking site for professionals with some 774 million members across 200 countries. But it was LinkedIn’s 2011 IPO that made Hoffman a billionaire (net worth: $2.2 billion as of writing); five years later, Microsoft purchased the company for $26.2 billion and added Hoffman to its board of directors.

Since 2009, Hoffman’s been an active partner at Greylock, one of the oldest venture capital firms in America with a reported $3.5 billion under management focused on tech (Dropbox), crypto software (Coinbase), and consumer services (AirBnB).

LinkedIn building in San Francisco

One of Hoffman’s most famous investments was Facebook (now Meta), which he helped launch in 2004 after arranging a meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel, who also contributed $500,000 to the fledgling social media company. Hoffman reportedly mentored the younger Zuckerberg; today he sits on the board of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, which funnels money from its $600 million endowment to California university medical research centers.

Across this entire period, Hoffman wasn’t known as a prolific donor in political circles, gifting just $288,000 from 2002 to 2015 to then-President Barack Obama, Sen. Cory Booker (NJ), and multiple state Democratic parties.

Yet from 2012 to 2014 he dumped $2 million into two committees: Priorities USA Action, a top Democratic PAC that spent $28 million in the 2022 midterms, and Mayday PAC, founded by leftist campaign finance “reformer” Lawrence Lessig to elect Democrats who promised to be “tough” on money-in-politics. Lessig, who briefly ran for the Democratic nomination in 2015, also sits on the advisory board of the Sunlight Foundation, which coined the term “dark money” in 2010 to bash conservative political spending.

Compared with mega-donors like Tom Steyer, that’s a pittance. Then Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election—and everything changed.

Trump Derangement Syndrome

In September 2016, Hoffman was having a laugh at Trump’s prospects against Clinton. “Donald Trump [has] turned the Republican primary debates into an endless Friars Club Roast,” Hoffman wrote in his personal blog on the website Medium, which to that point had been confined to pontificating about business strategy. That post launched “Trumped Up Cards: The World’s Biggest Deck,” a multiplayer card game “where players need really big hands to win”—sold for $20.16. Hoffman was cheerful that Clinton would trounce the political upstart, writing:

Trumped Up Cards are for free speech advocates, fans of due process and equal protection, immigrants yearning to breathe free, and native-born patriots who believe our diversity and inclusiveness make us stronger (but who draw the line at Russian hackers).

At the same time, Hoffman pledged to donate $5 million to veterans groups if Trump released his tax returns before the first October presidential debate. “Because of how often Donald Trump’s decisions as president could potentially impact his business interests,” Hoffman wrote, “it has in fact never been more necessary for a candidate to release tax returns than it is for him.”

Less than one month later, Hoffman was worried about Trump’s prospects in the coming election. “This Election Day: What’s the worst that could happen?” he posted, with a political cartoon warning of the fallout from a Trump victory: A reporter silenced, protesters quashed, a loaded gun, drowning polar bears, Mexico sealed off by a massive wall, Wall Street in freefall, and women’s “glass ceiling” turned into an impenetrable roof. 

By Halloween, Hoffman was imagining Trump dressed up as a witch (“because he conjures conspiracy theories to undermine society”), a werewolf (“because of his late-night howling on Twitter”), and other monsters.

Cartoons posted on Hoffman’s blog page

Then the unthinkable sent Hoffman—and the rest of Silicon Valley—reeling. In December, Hoffman pledged to “defend” the Constitution by contributing $10 from every sale of Trumped Up Cards—now the symbol of the Left’s “resistance”—to the ACLU to stop Republicans from “marginaliz[ing] religious freedom, ethnic minorities, and women.”

It only escalated from there, with Hoffman declaring ahead of the 2020 election that “I’ve been a Never Trumper” since 2015, labeling Trump “the disease president” for “choking like a dog in the face of a pandemic he still has no idea how to fight,” warning his reelection would only bring “more death,” and boasting after Election Day that “Trump is never going to get tired of losing this election.”

In late 2017, the New York Times identified Hoffman as a key donor to Indivisible, the radical activist group that led the far Left’s takeover of the Democratic Party in order to battle Trump and move towards single-payer healthcare and “free” college tuition. Indivisible is one of the “resistance groups” mentioned in Time’s infamous 2021 article, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.”

That proved only the beginning. From 2017 to 2023, Hoffman funneled close to $43 million into Democratic political campaigns and super PACs, aiming to flip the House and Senate in the 2018, 2020, and 2022 elections.

That includes regular checks to the Democratic National Committee and its Senate and House arms. Hoffman is also one of just 13 donors behind the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund, a committee formed in October 2017 to boost “progressive” fundraising using a loophole that allows the PAC to “eviscerate campaign contribution limits,” in the opinion of the left-leaning group Issue One. He’s also a significant donor to the Mainstream Democrats PAC, which opposes “far-left organizations” attempting a “’hostile takeover’ of the Democratic Party.”

At $7.4 million, Hoffman is a top donor to the Republican Accountability PAC, a committee run by rabid NeverTrumper (and darling of the D.C. Left) Sarah Longwell, who doubles as publisher of the bitter neocon-liberal website the Bulwark. In the 2022 midterms, the Republican Accountability PAC spent $13 million attempting to elect Democrats—including Sen. Raphael Warnock (GA) and former Rep. Tim Ryan (OH)—and defeat Republicans in key Senate races: Sen. J.D. Vance in Ohio, Herschel Walker in Georgia, Adam Laxalt in Nevada, and Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. Now the PAC is gearing up to attack conservatives in 2024 by “elevat[ing] the voices of Trump voters who agree that it is time for the party to move on.”

Hoffman also contributes regularly to DigiDems, which “supports the most competitive House, Senate, and coordinated campaigns” in 34 states. The Virginia Democratic Party, which in 2019 seized control of the state legislature and governor’s mansion for the first time in decades, credits DigiDems for electing 40 Democrats there.

The Rise of “Investing in US”

But Hoffman’s most influential contribution to the Left’s war machine was birthed shortly after the 2016 election: A new funding vehicle for directing tens of millions of dollars into leftist groups battling the Republican Party. He called it “Investing in US.”

“The idea behind Investing in US was to bring entrepreneurs and investors to join the resistance in fighting for the American dream” against “corruption, white nationalism, and mass deceit,” wrote Dmitri Mehlhorn, Hoffman’s top lieutenant and political advisor responsible for the project.

Mehlhorn, who graduated Yale Law School alongside such luminaries as future New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D) and Stacey Abrams, is on the (entirely non-black) board of All Americans Vote, a get-out-the-vote group targeting black voters.

Mehlhorn is also a board member for the Hoffman-funded group Integrity First for America, which litigates against “the growing threat of white nationalism.” In 2020, the Daily Caller revealed that Integrity First for America paid the legal bills of Fusion GPS (through its holding company, Bean LLC), the firm behind the fake Russian dossier, thanks to a $1 million pledge from Hoffman.

In early 2017, Mehlhorn drafted a 10-page prospectus for Silicon Valley donors on how to defeat the Trump agenda and its “existential threat” to America—featuring flow charts on the “fascist playbook,” suppressing the “Neo-Nazi” vote, and Democrat get-out-the-vote and messaging strategies. The group planned to fund voter engagement, Democrat recruitment groups, campaign data platforms, and lawsuits against the Trump administration.

But instead of using a nonprofit or committee—which must file federal disclosure forms—Investing in US would be structured as “a Silicon Valley seed fund,” exchanging tax exemption for total donor anonymity. All that’s known of the group’s structure is its address: A residence (presumably Mehlhorn’s) in Vienna, Virginia. Many wealthy donors, from Mark Zuckerberg to John Arnold, use a similar “dark money” model to avoid public scrutiny.

Key groups funded by Investing in US

Investing In US tagged a dozen more key “resistance” grantees, all of which reveal the vast scale of the modern Left’s political machine:

  • Run for Something: Identifies and trains new Democrats running for political office—so long as they pledge to support single-payer healthcare, open borders, the Green New Deal, abortion-up-to-birth, and strict gun control laws.
Eric Holder
  • ACRONYM: Develops voter registration platforms and targeted ads to turn out tens of thousands of Democrats in 15 key states, electing dozens of Democrats since 2018. One of its clients is Eric Holder’s gerrymandering group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. In 2019, ACRONYM launched Shadow, Inc., whose app catastrophically malfunctioned during the 2020 Iowa Democratic Party caucus to the Left’s embarrassment.
  • Forward Majority: An arm of the Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC, redirecting some $60 million to other left-wing committees in the 2020 cycle to defeat Republicans in key Senate races.
  • WokeVote: Coordinates college voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives among “historically disengaged voters of color.”
  • CrowdPAC: A campaign fundraising platform boasting 4 million users and 360,000 donors—and explicitly off-limits to Republican candidates.
  • New Politics: Trains Democrats with a military background to seek public office, many of them in marginal districts such as Rep. Abigail Spanberger in Virginia’s most hotly contested congressional district (VA–07).
  • Hispanic Federation: Runs leftist political outreach to Latinos targeting public education, immigration, and voter mobilization.
  • Vote.org: Targets minority groups for mass voter registration drive. In 2020, Vote.org claims it made 650 million voter contacts, particularly in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and other swing states; in 2021, it demanded companies condemn or boycott Georgia if state Republicans passed their election integrity bill adding voter ID requirements to mail-in ballots.
  • PushBlack: “Black liberation” and voter registration group formerly known as Million Hoodies Movement for Justice.
  • The Arena: Recruits campaign staff (2,400 to date) for Democrats running for state legislative offices.
  • Higher Ground Labs: “Venture fund and ecosystem builder” for seeding new leftist groups (60 to date). One such organization is Mobilize, a volunteer recruitment group that serviced 1,000 Democratic campaigns in 2022; it brags that campaigns which used Mobilize earned 3.6 percent more vote share than those that didn’t.
  • New Media Ventures: Provides seed funding for new activist groups as a front for the Tides Foundation’s 501(c)(4) arm. New Media Ventures is one of the Democracy Alliance’s recommended “investments,” so it receives regular funding from the Left’s biggest bankrollers.

Paint the South Blue

Hoffman’s first big target was Virginia’s November 2017 election, when the governor’s mansion and all 100 House of Delegates seats were on the ballot. Hoffman, focusing on the latter, contributed $300,000 to Win Virginia in September—nearly a quarter of its $1.3 million budget—which bundled funds to dozens of Democrats running for House seats.

Politico identified Win Virginia as “one of the largest spenders on the House of Delegates races” and Hoffman as “by far its largest donor.” Dmitri Mehlhorn reportedly “took a hands-on role” in shaping the group’s strategy by focusing on the districts that voted for Hillary Clinton a year prior.

Come November, Democrats picked up 15 House seats, reducing the Republican majority from a solid 66–34 to a tiny 51–49 and setting up a Democrat takeover in 2019. Win Virginia funded the Democrat in 14 of these races—all 15, if you count the $123,000 it gave to another group, the Run Everywhere Virginia PAC, the former’s top recipient in 2017.

Al Dwoskin

It’s also worth sketching out Win Virginia’s most powerful board member: Real estate mogul Albert Dwoskin. Dwoskin is a Clinton Foundation donor and “resistance” bankroller who chaired the board of the Democratic data firm Catalist and helped found the Democracy Alliance, which convenes the Left’s biggest mega-donors to coordinate their political spending. He’s also on the board of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), one of the groups suing to keep Trump off the 2024 ballot in 9 states.

At the same time, Investing in US saw an opportunity to flip Alabama’s Senate seat—vacated in January by Jeff Sessions’ appointment as President Trump’s attorney general—in an off-year special election, and took it.

They called it “Project Birmingham,” a scheme by American Emergent Technologies (AET)—which received $750,000 from Investing in US—to run a social media disinformation campaign against Republican nominee Roy Moore using “secret” methods, the New York Times later argued, pioneered by Russia to tip the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. AET itself is run by a former Obama administration official and Google engineer; at least one Investing in US employee also worked on the project.

AET fabricated at least 5 “conservative” Facebook pages to depress Republican turnout and encourage write-in candidates. As the scheme developed, it linked the Moore campaign to thousands of Russian bot accounts which suddenly began following his Twitter account with tens of thousands of tweets, bait meant to fuel guilt-by-association attacks from the Left.

In one instance, AET’s bots smeared the reputation of a woman who accused Moore of groping her as a teenager, a story broke by the Washington Post one month before the December 2017 election. “Pro-Russia propagandists are pushing for Roy Moore to win,” cried Mother Jones, which savaged the Moore campaign for its support from “pro-Russia sites and trolls . . . battle[ing] vigorously on behalf of Roy Moore.”

Roy Moore (L) and Doug Jones (R)

Left-wing papers gleefully echoed the stern warnings of countless “experts,” including ex-CIA officials, that this was yet more evidence of the Kremlin’s ruthless war on American democracy meant to boost Trump’s “far-right” allies. Only much later and deep into the article did Mother Jones admit that the whole story was a lie.

It was too late. Democratic nominee Doug Jones narrowly defeated Moore by less than 21,000 votes—with 23,000 write-ins for someone else—in a state that voted for Trump over Clinton by 589,000 votes the year before. In 2020, Tommy Tuberville flipped Jones’ Senate seat red again by 472,000 votes.

Hoffman later apologized for and claimed ignorance of AET’s “highly disturbing” campaign, which ran on a $100,000 budget in a race that cost $51 million. What’s almost certain is that Project Birmingham would’ve been impossible without Hoffman’s money. Nor was it the last time Hoffman funded a campaign to suppress Republican voters.

In Part Two, we dive into “fake news” groups funded by Hoffman to fool conservatives into voting for Democrats—and uncover the Big Tech billionaire’s shady ties to notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Read it here.

PDF version available here

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