The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a financial hub for liberal political activity in Washington and around the country, spent $196 million last year backing state ballot measures on abortion rights and helping Democrats to a better-than-expected result in the 2022 midterm elections, among other efforts.
The big spending, detailed in a new tax filing obtained by NBC News, reflects the massive growth in anonymously funded, big donor-fueled political groups on the left since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016. The Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is registered as a nonprofit and does not have to disclose its funders, has exploded in size since then, and it spent even more in 2022 than the $141 million it disbursed in 2018, the Trump-era midterm election.
By comparison, the group spent $11 million in 2014.
Yet the numbers, while large, may also show how money in politics has tightened up somewhat in the last few years after a period of rapid growth. Political nonprofits often see their spending jump significantly in election years, but Sixteen Thirty Fund’s outlays in 2022 were similar to its levels in 2021.
And the filing demonstrates how abortion rights moved to the center of politics — and political fundraising — in 2022, as the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and abortion became a state-by-state policy battle. Millions of dollars that the Sixteen Thirty Fund collected flowed into funding policy and political battles over abortion around the country, like successful ballot measure campaigns in Kansas and Michigan.
The 2022 filing doesn’t even include a more recent outlay: $12 million that the fund spent in Ohio this year, according to state campaign finance records there. That money helped finance twin ballot measure efforts, which culminated last week in passage of a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing abortion rights, superseding a legislative ban.
Working to protect abortion rights was a theme in a Medium post that Sixteen Thirty Fund president Amy Kurtz wrote Wednesday summarizing the group’s recent activity.
“Sixteen Thirty Fund played a vital role in 2022 protecting democracy and moving the needle on policy solutions,” Kurtz wrote, noting its support for abortion rights and candidates who advanced “progressive values” in 2022.