Unelected Infections: Reid Hoffman
The LinkedIn co-founder flooded sketchy pro-Democrat organizations with cash and meddled with a US Senate election.
Out of all political spenders during the Donald Trump era, no one produced eyebrow raises and double-takes quite like Reid Hoffman. Over the course of one administration, the billionaire has funded a sleazy disinformation campaign, collaborated with the legal team for Fusion GPS (the investigative agency that backed the Steele dossier), strong-armed fellow tech oligarchs into matching his politically motivated financial contributions, and left a paper trail connecting him to the infamous Iowa Caucus Shadow app.
Hoffman’s overindulgent pro-Democrat footprint is ambitious enough to warrant a mini-series itself. He has become an upper-echelon gangster of the corporate-controlled Democratic Party, and his agendas are becoming the United States political arena’s reality.
Co-founder of LinkedIn and a frequent associate of figures like Eric Schmidt (Google) and Laurene Powell Jobs (Apple), the tech mogul seldom tossed around his fortune in political ventures before 2017. Hoffman had merely donated $2 million to political causes before his mass funding of the anti-Trump movement. Ironically, Hoffman gave $1 million of the $2 million to MayDay PAC — a PAC that supports candidates campaigning on legislations that limit campaign spending.
His political coyness changed seemingly overnight.
Referred to as “a top sugardaddy of the Democratic anti-Trump resistance” by journalist Max Blumenthal, Hoffman’s gold-lined pockets have been a mega-boost to the Democratic Party in key races around the country.
Arguably his most scandalous political endeavor involved a disinformation campaign centered on the 2017 Alabama Senate race titled Project Birmingham. The secret 5-month plan strived to ensure the defeat of Republican Roy Moore and boost Democrat Doug Jones.
Cosplaying as a liberal candidate, Jones opposed tax increases for the middle class, yet somehow proudly supported corporate tax cuts. Jones explained in 2019 that the US-Israel relationship should not be a political weapon (following Israel’s travel ban of Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar). However, Jones maintained that the US-Israel relationship is bi-partisan and steadfast. He stressed that skepticism of the Israeli government and supporting Palestine are both anti-Semitic acts.
Project Birmingham was a campaign implemented by an information integrity company called New Knowledge (now called Yonder and incorporated under Popily Inc.). New Knowledge received funding from a Hoffman-backed company — American Engagement Technologies (AET). Hoffman invested $750k into AET, with $100,000 funneled into New Knowledge and the Project Birmingham scheme.
AET is, coincidentally, headed by a former Google and Obama staffer, Mikey Dickerson. Dickerson was appointed by Obama in 2014 to the positions of Administrator of the U.S. Digital Service and Deputy Federal Chief Information Officer. Dickerson also serves as the head of the anti-Republican tech company Alloy. Alloy’s initial fundraising garnered a whopping $35 million — half of which was provided by Hoffman.
Project Birmingham incorporated a mass political migration of seemingly foreign social media profiles, sought to radicalize one half of the American voter base, attempted to dissuade and depress turnout of the other half, and gave the impression that the Kremlin was meddling and covertly backing a GOP candidate. To put it simply, Project Birmingham was everything Democrats have been falsely claiming Russiagate was for the past four-plus years.
During its 5-month implementation period, Project Birmingham produced exceptional results. The program propped up write-in Republican candidate Mac Watson and set up interviews for Watson with The Washington Post and Montgomery Advertiser. Project Birmingham reported a 3,000% boost to organic anti-Roy Moore memes and manufactured “approximately 45k Twitter followers, 250k Retweets, 370k Tweet Favorites, 6k Facebook Comments, 10k Facebook Reactions,”
Our campaign was cheap and anonymous. We spent $100k and experimented with many of the tactics now understood to have influenced the 2016 elections. However, in spite of our impact in the press and in voting outcomes, not a single story about our activities appeared in any press outlet, including far-right internet-focused conspiracy sites like InfoWars or Breitbart, prone to speculation about liberal interference in Republican politics.
— Project Birmingham Debrief
Documents laying out the clandestine operation were partially published by Jeff Giesea on Medium. A Washington Post article confirmed Giesea’s leakand said that the full report, called “Project Birmingham Debrief”, was 12 pages long. The Washington Post, along with The New York Times, has not publicly released the full report despite having access to it.
The pro-Doug Jones election meddling resulted in Jones winning with 50% of the total vote, according to CNN. Moore received 48.3% and write-in candidates secured 1.7%.
A national security and intelligence community journalist at The New York Times, Scott Shane (known well for his betrayal of CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou), aided in concealing the Project Birmingham scandal for some time. On December 17, 2018, Shane proposed that Russian troll farms boosted Trump in the General Election via various media outlets, but mentioned nothing of the effective boosting and meddling from Project Birmingham. Journalist Dan Cohen wrote on January 23, 2019, that Shane had signed an NDA with AET. According to Cohen, when Shane was asked about the agreement by journalist Yasha Levine, he claimed that such agreements are “totally routine in journalism.”
Shane eventually revealed information on Project Birmingham in a report on December 19, 2018. Cohen’s report on Shane’s suspect measures regarding Project Birmingham was published by The Grayzone.
While Russiagate was hyperbolic and full of holes, Project Birmingham was very real — resulting in a formal apology from Hoffman. Max Blumenthal reported on Hoffman’s ties to New Knowledge and Project Birmingham at greater length in February 2020.
In keeping with the Russiagate trend, Hoffman has dubious ties to Fusion GPS — the organization behind the infamous and wildly discredited Steele dossier.
Commissioned by Fusion GPS with funding from the Hilary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, ex-British spy Christopher Steele drafted the dossier. A leading source of the Russiagate hysteria of the past four years, the Steele dossier provided liberals with a safety net and a conspiratorial explanation following the unexpected 2016 presidential election outcome.
The report was an utter failure and was disproved by the Mueller Report. Despite this, mainstream media outlets have maintained their Russiagate front. Paul Gregory wrote at The Hill in March 2019 that The New York Times refrained from using the words Steele and dossier in the days following the Mueller investigation closing.
Steele relied on a single primary source, a man named Igor Danchenko. One would assume that Steele’s central source was likely an individual with internal ties to the Kremlin and immediate access to Vladimir Putin, but Danchenko was no such asset.
Aaron Maté wrote in The Nation earlier this month:
“Rather than being inside Russia with access to Kremlin sources, Danchenko was in fact a DC-based Russian expat with better access to Capitol Hill. Danchenko had formerly worked at the Brookings Institution, a prominent Beltway think tank. According to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal, one of Danchenko’s key sources turned out to be another Russian expat, public-relations executive Olga Galkina. Based in Cyprus, Galkina was credited with coming up with the claim about Cohen in Prague. A dispute with her employer, a web services company, apparently inspired Steele’s claim that one of its properties, Webzilla, was implicated in the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC.”
Hoffman’s fortune helped fund Fusion GPS’s legal team, Bean LLC. Bean LLC had received a staggering $620,000 (IRS tax filings: here) from Integrity First for America (IFA). Monica Graham, an IFA board member, explained that IFA’s early seed money came from Silicon Valley — most notably $1 million from Hoffman.
The Daily Caller reported in April 2019 that a George Soros funded nonprofit, The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), provided more than $3.8 million to Bean LLC. and Christopher Steele’s firm Walsingham Partners Ltd. (among other Fusion related firms). IRS filings confirmed this.
TDIP founder Daniel Jones also founded Advance Democracy Inc. (ADI). ADI., alongside TDIP, provided New Knowledge with $485,000 in 2018.
Fusion GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch wrote in their book, Crime in Progress, that Clintonite John Podesta, of WikiLeaks fame, aided in connecting Fusion GPS with Daniel Jones. The duo wrote:
“Podesta agreed to contact some friends out west on Jones’s behalf and told him to drop his name in talks with other potential supporters,”
They went on to discuss relations with Jones and New Knowledge:
“Sure enough, the Russians were once again trying to fire up Trump’s base by spewing anti-immigrant propaganda. Fusion, TDIP, and their partners at the cyber research firm New Knowledge eventually identified more than ten thousand posts on the Internet traced to known Russian influence operations.”
On Crime in Progress, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who RT once labeled as a Russiagate queen, said: “I’ve read kind of all the books on this subject . . . and this is the one you want to read.”
The irony of parading Russiagate hysteria in a book and having Rachel Maddow provide promotion despite the Mueller Report’s findings is laughable. It is nonsensical given that Simpson and Fritsch have financial connections to actual election meddlers at New Knowledge and its CEO Jonathon Morgan
Hoffman’s disinformation stench wafts further. The LinkedIn co-founder was a major startup donor of the Tara McGowan nonprofit ACRONYM. The deceitful social media-focused nonprofit was the sole financial contributor to Shadow Inc. — the group behind the mischievous Iowa Caucus Shadow app. Shadow Inc. recruited former Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama staffers (also Google and Apple vets). McGowan was also an Obama for America operative.
The Shadow app disrupted the 2020 Iowa Caucus — resulting in a polling boost for recently tapped Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Meanwhile, the bizarre event damaged Bernie Sanders’ momentum leading into the New Hampshire primary.
Buttigieg awkwardly declared a robotic victory amidst the confusion before official results were released. The absurdity of the spectacle culminated with some precincts deciding their delegates by flipping coins.
Jordan Chariton wrote at The Intercept:
The DNC-mandated several-day delay in reporting results led Buttigieg to infamously declare victory without any actual results released, with the Sanders campaign claiming its internal results showed it had won the popular vote. The mainstream media elevated the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s victory narrative, boosting him in polls for the New Hampshire primary, set eight days after the Iowa caucuses.
The Democratic National Committee denied playing a role in the development and implementation of the application, but a Nicholas Klinefeldt-led investigation proved otherwise. The Iowa Democratic party signed a contract on October 14, 2019, with Shadow Inc. The application rolled out in mid-January despite initial plans recommending a five-month development period. The DNC-imposed delaying of Caucus results resulted in a massive boon for Buttigieg heading into New Hampshire’s primary and left a sour taste in the mouths of Sanders staffers.
Reports popped up, including one from The Associated Press, that Buttigieg’s campaign had paid Shadow Inc $42,500 for software unrelated to the Iowa Caucus.
Buttigieg and fellow candidate Amy Klobuchar shamefully dropped out of the presidential race one day before Super Tuesday. With blessing from President Obama, the two candidates endorsed the DNC preferred candidate Joe Biden (who also paid for Shadow Inc. services).
The DNC was Brutus, Shadow Inc was his blade, and Sanders was Caesar.
ACRONYM’s corruption and quiet political interventionism did not end in Iowa. The nonprofit, fueled in part by Hoffman’s checkbook, expanded and now has a sister organization — a Super PAC boringly called PACRONYM. PACROYNM’s goal during the Trump era was to flush digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat full of anti-Trump media and advertisements.
Hoffman’s cash helped McGowan found CourierNewsroom.com, a partisan pro-Democrat news outlet. While starting a liberal media outlet is not a crime, Courier Newsroom’s misconduct came via deceptive news campaigns on Facebook. Courier Newsroom began creating small Facebook news profiles under unsuspecting names like Virginia Dogwood and The Copper Courier. These pages attracted its base by promoting modest and folksy news stories.
When elections rolled around, Courier Newsroom’s secret Facebook outlets began pumping out pro-Democrat news stories. Nowadays, these pages are almost exclusively Democratic Party propaganda.
Hoffman has frequently used his wealth to impose his political will from afar. Tracking down the layered results of his investments is a challenge. However, a number of his partisan actions are far easier to uncover. For instance, Kevin Gosztola of Shadowproof reported that the billionaire had “contributed $1 million to Unite The Country on February 28.”
Unite The Country is a pro-Biden Super PAC that used funds on attack ads aimed at Bernie Sanders. Unsurprisingly, Unite The Country funneled over $960k into Biden’s campaign a few days before the 2020 Iowa Caucus.
Hoffman is the only known donor of the Republican Women for Progress PAC (RWP) — which he provided $400,000. The coalition of Republican women frustrated with the Trump administration provided $78,000 to Amy McGrath — the Kentucky Democrat who campaigned against Mitch McConnell. RWP donated $76,000 and $77,000 to Democrats Mikie Sherrill (NJ) and Elissa Slotkin (MI), respectively.
Joe Schoffstall listed some of Hoffman’s other more visible political investments at The Washington Free Beacon on October 19, 2018:
Hoffman provided $3 million to the House Majority PAC, a PAC closely affiliated with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) that is focused on electing and keeping Democrats in the House of Representatives; $2 million to the Senate Majority PAC, a PAC dedicated to electing and preserving Democrats in the Senate; and $1 million to Forward Majority Action, a group launched by former Obama alumni.
Hoffman also sent a maxed contribution to the Democratic National Committee and pushed cash to the campaigns of Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Tim Kaine (Va.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Phil Bredesen (Tenn.), and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) among others.
The venture capitalist additionally sent money to a number of Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Republican Party.