That kind of spending – which is usually done through nonprofit groups that don’t need to disclose a lot of information about their finances, including their donors – was hugged by conservatives After regulatory changes and court rulings eased campaign spending constraints, notably the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United.
While progressives and election guards denounced the developments as too much power for wealthy interests, democratic donors and activists increasingly used dark money. During the 2020 election cycle, Democratic-affiliated groups spent more than $ 514 million on such funds, compared to approximately $ 200 million spent by Republican-affiliated groups an analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Some of the groups funded by the Mr. Wyss Foundations played a key role in this shift, although the relatively limited disclosure requirements for these types of groups make it impossible to definitively conclude how they spent funds from the Wyss Foundations.
Mr. Wyss and his advisors have developed a “strategic, evidence-based, metric-driven and results-oriented approach to building a political infrastructure,” said Rob Stein, a democratic strategist.
Mr. Stein, who founded the influential Democracy Alliance Club of Big Liberal Donors in 2005 and recruited Mr. Wyss to join, added that “unlike most affluent political donors right and left,” Mr. Wyss and his team “know how it is is going to achieve measurable, sustainable effects. “
The 85-year-old Wyss was born in Bern, visited the USA for the first time as an exchange student in 1958 and was enthusiastic about the American national parks and public areas. After getting rich and running the Swiss-based medical device manufacturer Synthes, he began donating his fortune through a network of foundations to promote nature conservation, environmental protection and other issues.
The foundations gradually increased their donations for other Democrat-backed causes, including abortion rights and minimum wage increases, and eventually for groups more directly involved in partisan debates, especially after the election of Mr Trump.