The left’s dark money network boosted abortion into Ohio’s Constitution. Now it’s taking a big hit.

(The Daily Signal) – Last year, a radical abortion ballot initiative passed in the solid red state of Ohio, shocking pro-lifers across the country. The results weren’t even close: 56.78% of…

(The Daily Signal) – Last year, a radical abortion ballot initiative passed in the solid red state of Ohio, shocking pro-lifers across the country. The results weren’t even close: 56.78% of Ohio voters backed a ballot initiative to write “reproductive rights” into the state constitution, while only 43.22% opposed it.

How did it happen? The Left’s dark money network provides a key part of the explanation, and the Buckeye State just approved a law to prevent the kind of foreign funding that helped boost abortion across the finish line last year.

While the Left has long demonized “dark money,” the term merely refers to funds that influence American politics and policy without disclosing donors. Most nonprofits are forms of dark money influence, but a network of pass-through nonprofits on the Left further cloaks dark money, and the Left’s dark money network spent more than comparable groups on the Right in 2020.

According to the Ohio Secretary of State’s records, pro-abortion forces spent $53.8 million to back the initiative, while pro-life advocates spent $36.1 million to oppose it. A large chunk of the pro-abortion funding ($8.2 million) came from one left-wing dark money group, the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund represents one arm of a left-wing funding network envisioned by radical green activist Eric Kessler. Kessler founded a for-profit company called Arabella Advisors, which set up nonprofit organizations, such as the Sixteen Thirty Fund. Arabella advises left-wing donors to funnel money through nonprofits like that fund to boost specific projects. Sometimes, those projects split off from the nonprofits, but most of the time, the nonprofits cloak where the donors’ money actually goes. A donor writes a check to the Sixteen Thirty Fund, and that money might go to any of the fund’s projects.

Arabella’s network reported total revenues of $4.7 billion between 2006 and 2020, and it spent $3.3 billion during that same time period.

Since 2018, Sixteen Thirty Fund has funneled millions into state-level ballot initiatives such as the abortion campaign in Ohio. In 2022, it spent $2 million to block a constitutional convention in Alaska, and the convention failed. It spent $1.6 million opposing a constitutional amendment to explicitly state that there is no right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution. (That amendment failed.) It spent $11.3 million supporting a ballot initiative in Michigan that would explicitly make it legal for election offices to receive outside funding (such as “Zuckbucks” from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Center for Tech and Civic Life in the 2020 election). The initiative passed.

According to Americans for Public Trust, the Sixteen Thirty Fund spent $33.5 million in Michigan, $14.6 million in Ohio, $10.9 million in Colorado, and more than $5 million in Nebraska, Missouri, and Nevada since 2014. In total, it has spent $97.6 million on state ballot initiatives.

None of this is illegal, but Ohio just passed a new law that will throw a wrench into this influence campaign.

Much of the Sixteen Thirty Fund’s cash comes from Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, who lives in Wyoming but has yet to seek U.S. citizenship. According to Americans for Public Trust, Wyss has directed $243 million from his nonprofit Berger Action Fund to the Sixteen Thirty Fund. A large chunk of the money to influence state ballot initiatives comes from foreign sources.

According to a biography of Wyss written by his sister, the donor aims to “(re)interpret the American Constitution in the light of progressive politics.”

Last week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, signed House Bill 1 in a special session of the Ohio Legislature. House Bill 1 prevents foreign nationals from contributing to ballot initiatives and other electoral campaigns in the state.

DeWine called the special session because the date of the Democratic National Convention—Aug. 19-24—comes two weeks after the deadline for presidential campaigns to notify Ohio officials of their nominees (Aug. 7). The Legislature passed a bill extending the deadline, and thereby allowing Biden to qualify for the Buckeye State’s ballot, and another bill banning foreign funding in ballot initiatives.

It remains unclear how much of the Sixteen Thirty Fund’s contributions come from Wyss and other foreign nationals, but this new law will hamper the Arabella group’s ability to bankroll ballot initiatives in Ohio.

Such changes cannot reverse the ballot initiatives that Sixteen Thirty Fund has already swayed, but it can prevent more foreign meddling in such elections in the future.

Wyss and the Sixteen Thirty Fund represent facets of a larger left-wing funding network including Hungarian-American hedge fund billionaire George Soros and the Rockefeller family. As Politico reported last month, these donors funded groups that supported the anti-Israel riots on college campuses.

Two groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow, receive funding from the Tides Foundation. That organization gets hefty funding from Soros’ charitable groups the Foundation to Promote Open Society (which gave more than $10 million to Tides from 1998 to 2018) and Open Society Foundations (which gave more than $12 million to Tides during that same period).

This network also bankrolls green activist groups that pull strings at the Department of the Interior, along with other leftist pressure groups.

Perhaps for that reason, Democrats in Ohio loudly condemned House Bill 1. State Sen. Bill DeMora, a Democrat from Columbus, condemned the bill as “a textbook undemocratic Republican power grab.”

“This bill will stifle the voices of all Ohioans, bar lawful permanent residents from donating to candidates and campaigns, and give the hack attorney general broad powers to investigate his enemies and protect his friends,” DeMora said.

It remains unclear how the bill would “stifle the voices of all Ohioans,” but DeMora is correct about it barring lawful permanent residents—like Wyss—from funding political campaigns. Advocates say that’s the entire point.