Document Reveals Donors Who Secretly Funded Nikki Haley’s Political Nonprofit

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The list of donors also includes dozens of people who gave anonymously to Haley’s nonprofit but did not make disclosed contributions to her PAC, which was formed two years later and is required to disclose. regularly the names of donors who donate at least $200. These contributors include megadonor Garipallis and GOP Joe Ricketts.

(See the full list of donors here.)

Like other nonprofit organizations, Stand For America files an annual tax return with the IRS. While the agency and nonprofit must make these records publicly available, including the amounts of contributions to the group, these nonprofits are not required to disclose the identity of their donors. .

However, the organization Documented, which describes itself as a nonpartisan government watchdog that investigates money in politics, obtained an unredacted copy of documents filed by Stand For America in 2019, which it later shared with POLITICO. The group did not share the original source of the file, but it bears a stamp from the New York State Attorney General’s Charitable Office.

The revelations provide the clearest picture yet of how a potential 2024 presidential candidate is cultivating a secret network of high-value contributors as she builds a political apparatus. And the names of his donors demonstrate the deep bonds Haley formed at the highest levels of the Republican Party, with some of the GOP’s biggest super PAC donors among those who donated money to fund his organization’s launch after he left the Trump administration.

Haley is among at least a dozen other potential White House candidates — including former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence — who have also allied with donor-funded nonprofits whose identity has remained secret.

“It is very rare that the public has the opportunity to see the identity of donors who make five or even six figure contributions to a black money group. It’s called black money for a reason. Generally, the public doesn’t know who funds these groups, and this is a rare exception,” said Brendan Fischer, Deputy Executive Director of Documented.

“This previously unpublished donor list provides a valuable clue to the network of wealthy donors that Haley could rely on if she does eventually run for office,” Fischer said.

These tax returns are usually closely kept, as donors contribute to nonprofit groups, with the understanding that their names will be kept secret. Team Haley decided to stop publishing this story, with attorney Michael Adams writing in a cease and desist letter that POLITICO “was not authorized to receive the confidential tax return information, and Politico also has no right to print, publish or even retain this.”

Lynn Oberlander, Ballard Spahr’s attorney representing POLITICO, responded in a letter that US political finance reports “are in the public interest and fully protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

POLITICO contacted every donor named in this article prior to publication. They either did not respond or declined to comment.

“This disclosure of a confidential tax return was clearly a corrupt violation of state and federal laws in an attempt to intimidate conservative donors,” Haley said in a statement. “Liberals have always weaponized government against conservatives, and Republicans have been too nice for too long. We’ll make sure the buck stops here.

The nonprofit is a political asset for Haley, 50, a former South Carolina governor long known as a favorite of the GOP donor world. When she launched the group in 2019, it had been five years since she last ran for office, and she could use the group to create a new email list of supporters, pay staff, and fund travel, polls, and policy research.

Just because a donor gives to their nonprofit does not necessarily mean they will support a future presidential candidacy. Many contributors are also known to support other potential candidates, including Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The 2019 contributions also represent a snapshot in time: Donors gave before Trump lost his 2020 re-election race and immediately pivoted to make him a frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Documented says it did not obtain the unredacted version of Stand For America’s latest IRS filings, which cover the 2020 calendar year. Redacted documents from 2020 show the organization collected $9.3 million. dollars that year, with the largest single contribution totaling $750,000.

Haley resigned from her post in the Trump administration at the end of 2018 and launched Stand For America soon after. The mission of the 501(c)(4) “welfare” organization, according to its website, is to support “a policy that will secure a stronger, safer, and more prosperous country for all Americans.”

During 2019, the record shows Haley received support from 71 donors who gave at least $5,000, for a total fundraising of $7 million.

The biggest donors were New Jersey health director Vivek Garipalli and his mother, Lakshmi Garipalli, who contributed $500,000 each. Vivek Garipalli has been a regular Democratic donor, giving to President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats – but he has a “long-standing personal friendship” with Haley and her husband, according to a federal financial disclosure document Haley filed in 2018 , when she was ambassador to the UN.

Garipalli donated Haley New York Knicks tickets worth nearly $20,000 that year, and he donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a pair of pro-Haley political action committees when she was governor of South Carolina, according to campaign finance documents.

Haley’s next biggest nonprofit donors of 2019 were the Adelsons, who each gave $250,000. (Sheldon Adelson died in early 2021.) Miriam Adelson — who has since become the GOP’s most wanted megadonor — also donated the maximum allowable $5,000 to Haley’s PAC in 2021, her first federal donation since the death of her husband. Haley was among a handful of potential candidates who landed a private meeting with Miriam Adelson while attending a Republican Jewish Coalition conference in the fall of 2021.

The third largest donors were Stanley Druckenmiller and his wife, Fiona, who gave a total of $350,000. Next is Scott Bessent, an investor with a long history of donating to Republicans, who contributed $325,000. Singer, another prominent GOP megadonor, gave $270,000.

Haley’s donors span the party’s ideological spectrum, from those who support Trump to those who don’t. She drew six-figure nonprofit donations from Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, who largely funded Trump’s 2020 re-election effort, but also from Druckenmiller, who backed the former US governor. Ohio, John Kasich, a moderate Republican, against Trump in the 2016 primary.

Haley separately launched Stand For America PAC, which, unlike the nonprofit vehicle, must disclose its contributors and has a $5,000 donation limit. The PAC can spend unlimited amounts on politics, although the size of donations is capped. And while the nonprofit can raise and spend unlimited amounts, it has restrictions on how much it can spend on expressly political activities.

Some of Haley’s donors gave only through the black money vehicle. While the Garipallis and Bessent are among Stand For America’s biggest donors, they have yet to donate to Stand For America PAC, according to the latest federal filings. The same goes for Republican megadonor Ricketts, who gave $50,000 to the nonprofit Stand For America but nothing to the PAC, which was registered in 2021.

Haley’s nonprofit vehicle — like those lined up with other potential 2024 candidates — uses its funding to pay political consultancies working for the group. According to the filing, Stand For America’s highest-paid vendors include prominent Republican consulting firms: direct mail company Image Direct and a pair of digital companies, Coldspark and Fifth Influence.

The nonprofit organization also promoted Haley’s political platform and developed an extensive mailing list of potential supporters. Stand For America sends a political newsletter five days a week to more than 200,000 subscribers, ran advocacy ads in states like Georgia and Virginia, and held virtual town halls for supporters.

Additionally, the organization conducted congressional outreach on select issues, published a 160-page political book, and produced a series of political videos in which Haley participated.

All of the activity helps promote Haley as she gears up for 2024. A future Haley campaign could rent or buy the mailing list to grow her fundraising apparatus, for example.

“The reality is that some potential candidates rely on a small handful of very wealthy donors to chart their political future,” Fischer said. “And if these candidates are elected, they will owe an immense debt of gratitude to these secret donors.”

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