Anti-abortion group funded by dark money is advising Trump on 2020


The group's largest donors have connections to the Koch family and Sheldon Adelson.

One of the most well-known anti-abortion groups in the United States, Susan B. Anthony List, is also the anti-abortion group with the most convoluted and secretive funding. It's also the group that is most tightly tied to Donald Trump.

Founded in 1992 as an anti-abortion response to EMILY's List, a group that aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office, SBA List was initially intended to support both Republican and Democratic female candidates and elect more women to office.

However, the group lurched even further right in subsequent years and now exclusively supports Republicans while targeting anti-abortion Democrats. Its name is predicated on the idea that renowned feminist Susan B. Anthony opposed abortion, but even that is likely a myth.

Today, the group is a juggernaut, raising millions each year to push their extreme agenda. And with Trump in office, it's found an administration highly sympathetic to their radical views. That's despite the fact that the group's head, Marjorie Dannenfelser, was a Never Trumper during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Now, Dannenfelser holds press calls about her meetings with Trump, and Trump spoke at the group's 2018 gala. SBA List and the Trump administration have also aligned their messaging, with both pushing the dangerous and entirely false idea that states are pushing for "abortion on demand through birth."

It's difficult to track down where all of SBA List's funding comes from, but one of the largest donors is the "Center to Protect Patient Rights." That's a group linked to the Koch brothers, and it's a dark money sinkhole that got in trouble in California for failing to disclose over $15 million of donations in that state.

Another major funder of SBA List is the Wellspring Committee, which also has ties to the Koch family. Wellspring is also a dark money front and coordinates with Republican megadonors like Sheldon Adelson. Neither group is in any way explicitly connected to reproductive health rights — they just funnel conservative money to conservative groups.

At root, SBA List represents the triumph of money over truth. It's founded on a lie, it pushes absurd lies about abortion, and it obscures its funding.