A company run by a liberal billionaire dubbed by some as the “next George Soros” employs former senior Republican staffers on Capitol Hill in what a watchdog group warns is an effort to sway GOP lawmakers to move to the left.
Arnold Ventures LLC is a private company founded by left-leaning philanthropists John Arnold and his wife Laura, who have a net worth of $3.3 billion, according to Forbes.
Arnold Ventures says it focuses on issues such as criminal justice reform, prescription drug prices, contraception, and tax policy geared at “minimizing injustice.”
Most prominently, Arnold Ventures employs three well-connected Republicans:
—George Callas, who was a senior staffer for former House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who was the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee.
—Kevin Ring, a former staffer for the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of House conservatives, who authored books on the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon, and was convicted in a corruption scandal.
—Andrew Moylan, who formerly worked for two conservative-leaning organizations, the National Taxpayers Union and R Street.
These individuals are “rent-a-Repub” for Arnold Ventures, said Thomas Jones, president of the American Accountability Foundation, a conservative watchdog group.
“This is a new level of sophistication of lobbying by mega-liberal billionaires,” Jones told The Daily Signal.
“John Arnold has enlisted Republicans with a dump truck full of cash,” he said. “I don’t think the institutional Left has tried this before.”
Jones said his American Accountability Foundation contacted the legislative director of every Republican member of Congress. One of his emails about the Republican lobbyists said John Arnold is “angling to be the next George Soros and conservatives need to be on guard.”
George Soros, the billionaire financier and philanthropist who recently passed his empire to son Alexander Soros, is known for funding left-wing causes in the United States and globally. Notably, Soros has most fervently bankrolled nonprofits aimed at electing liberal prosecutors who seek lighter sentencing for criminal convictions.
The Daily Signal previously reported that the Laura and John Arnold Foundation backs the left-leaning U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence.
In a written statement to The Daily Signal, Arnold Ventures responded to the criticism.
“Because we have no profit motive or political bias, our leaders come from diverse backgrounds, similar only in that they are top, well-respected experts in their fields,” an Arnold Ventures spokesperson told The Daily Signal in a statement.
“While we are often confronted with baseless claims from special interest groups who profit from the status quo, we will continue to work with Republicans and Democrats— including with organizations like The Heritage Foundation —who share in a mission to improve the well-being and financial security of all Americans.”
The Heritage Foundation is the parent organization of The Daily Signal, which is its news outlet.
Arnold Ventures, as a private limited liability company, doesn’t have the same transparency requirements as a tax-exempt nonprofit, Jones said.
In his Feb. 7 email message to GOP legislative directors on Capitol Hill, Jones wrote:
BEGIN BLOCK QUOTE
You need to have George Callas on your radar screen. George Callas is another left-wing advocate who is trying to peddle his previous Republican employment as a cover for Arnold’s left wing advocacy. If BLM [Black Lives Matter], RCV [ranked choice voting], etc. wasn’t enough, Callas piles on with more radical policy and extreme NeverTrump-ism.
John Arnold thinks you’re either dumb enough or ignorant enough to believe someone is a true conservative if they’ve got a Republican job squirreled away in their past no matter how lefty the policy is that they’re peddling.
Callas is listed as executive vice president for public finance with Arnold Ventures. His 15-year career on Capitol Hill included being a senior tax counsel for Ryan in the House speaker’s office and for the House Ways and Means Committee, where Ryan was the top Republican member before becoming speaker.
Callas’ recent posts on X, formerly Twitter, have been critical of both Democrats and Trump’s influence on the Republican Party.
Another Jan. 31 email message from Jones to GOP legislative directors on Capitol Hill says: “Does your boss support soft-on-crime policies? How about Black Lives Matter? Maybe defunding the police? What about canceling student debt? Mass aerial surveillance of major cities? Is ranked choice voting more your speed?”
“I suspect your answer to all these questions was no, and that’s unsurprising because they’re the top priorities for liberal billionaire John Arnold—policies he is funding through his shady LLC, Arnold Ventures,” the message from Jones and the American Accountability Foundation continues, adding:
Unfortunately, John Arnold understands access and money are the lifeblood of the swamp and has hired faux conservative Andrew Moylan to shill for him in Washington. …
Moylan is a former National Taxpayers Union staffer who is using his history working with conservatives to give credibility to Arnold’s leftist policies. … At some point Moylan is going to come knocking on your door – I would hope your answer to Andrew is the same as your answer to the questions above—No.
Moylan, vice president of public finance at Arnold Ventures, is a former executive director of R Street, a center-right think tank. Before that, he was executive vice president for the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, a fiscally conservative organization.
The same message from Jones also references Ring, the former Republican Study Committee staffer on the Hill, in what Jones writes is a “hiring you’d swear was parody.” Ring now is vice president of criminal justice advocacy for Arnold Ventures.
What is mentioned on Arnold Ventures’ bio page is that Ring was formerly executive director of the Republican Study Committee and the Republican counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, federalism, and property rights when it was led by then-Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo.
The bio page also identifies Ring as author of the 2004 book “Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court’s Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice” and the 2016 update “Scalia’s Court: A Legacy of Landmark Opinions and Dissents.”
He is also the former president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which backs reforms to sentencing.
Arnold Ventures has spent almost $14 million in grants to oppose what it calls “disinformation” and “misinformation,” the Washington Examiner reported. The company also gave $500,000 to the British-based environmental group Global Witness.
From 2016 through 2020, Arnold Ventures contributed $13.5 million to the New Venture Fund, a nonprofit financed by the liberal “dark money” group Arabella Advisors, according to the Washington-based Capital Research Center, which tracks nonprofits.
John Arnold is a former trader at Enron, the energy company that collapsed in the early 2000s amid a corruption scandal. Arnold wasn’t implicated in wrongdoing.
He spent $40 million over a decade to help elect liberal prosecutors, reported the Washington Free Beacon, which said Arnold is “on track to replace George Soros as the largest donor in the fight to remake America’s criminal justice system.”
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Author: Fred Lucas
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