Arkleyville goes nationwide: Episode 2 – Dark Money

The Examiner received a tip about this story from one of our regular readers. We would like to say our jaws dropped, but when it comes to Robin Arkley, nothing really surprises us. The Daily Beast wrote an extremely well researched and in depth article which looked into the inner workings of unaccountable donations in elections. Not surprisingly, Arkley has played a big part in the national scene. We have highlighted some of the sections from the article, but we encourage all readers to take a look at the full story. Seriously, read the article.

This secret slush fund spending is what Arkley, and others have been doing at a national level. What kind of “dark money” do you think Robins been throwing around in these parts. Small amounts of money to Arkley, like $10k or $15k, could have major ramifications in elections here in Humboldt. Remember Measure R and the secrecy regarding the “No on R” donations?

we the corps

From the Daily Beast:

It was a cold winter night in Washington, D.C., not long after President George W. Bush won a second term, and the mood at the upscale Italian restaurant was downright celebratory.

The most prominent guest was Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, but his table also boasted a mix of high-powered conservatives, including some deep-pocketed donors. Among the elite were Federalist Society executive Leonard Leo, fundraiser and lawyer Ann Corkery, and California real estate magnate Robin Arkley II. “The big prize was to sit next to Scalia,” quipped one attendee at the soiree, adding that Arkley was one such lucky winner.

As it happened, the bash coincided with the birth of a new judicial advocacy outfit that Corkery was instrumental in launching, and Arkley in funding, according to conservative sources familiar with the events. The Judicial Confirmation Network (JCN), set up as a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” group that doesn’t disclose its donors, would prove to be a crucial player in drumming up support for Bush Supreme Court nominees John Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito Jr.—eventual allies for Scalia on the Court’s right flank……

The sharp rise in judicial election spending by JCN and other groups on both sides of the political aisle troubles some judicial candidates who have been targeted. “To the extent that judicial campaigns start looking like other campaigns, there’s a risk that judges will be perceived as having a political agenda,” Sam Ervin IV, a North Carolina Supreme Court justice, told The Daily Beast. Ervin, who was elected  in 2014 and is the grandson of the celebrated senator who led Congress’s investigation of the Watergate scandal, lost an earlier race in 2012 after a spending blitz by several outside groups totaling almost $2.6 million, much of it dark money including $75,000 from JCN. “The public is better served, in an environment where judges are elected, if they know the source of the funding for those campaigns,” Ervin, a Democrat, added……

To fill its own coffers, JCN has increasingly relied on funding—to the tune of nearly $4 million, according to IRS documents—from another non-disclosing group, the Wellspring Committee, that’s run by Corkery and was founded seven years ago with the help of conservative donors in the network led by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Corkery’s entree to that rarefied network came via JCN supporter Arkley, an early attendee of their famed retreats. And Ann Corkery and her husband, Neil—who is JCN’s treasurer—are central figures in a cluster of other nonprofits, according to IRS documents.

Robin Arkley, the president and CEO of Security National Corp. who had tapped Corkery to be his political liaison and senior advisor, became a key underwriter of JCN’s operations, to the tune of the high six or low seven figures, sources say. The pair went to some of the early fundraising and policy retreats held by the Kochs—events that now draw a glittering cast of wealthy allies and conservative stars to raise millions for the brothers’ network of politically active groups. Arkley was also a financial backer of the Federalist Society. “Arkley helped put Ann in play” as a liaison to funding for advocacy groups on the right, said one conservative….

Though Corkery’s most direct Koch ties frayed after the ’08 elections and Arkley’s wallet took a hit in the financial crisis, according to sources and reports, Corkery mined other big donors she’d been courting for Wellspring, such as John Templeton Jr., a Pennsylvania philanthropist, and New York hedge fund mogul Paul Singer, conservative sources said.

Ultimately JCN looks poised to continue its role as a dark money juggernaut in 2016 in state and federal elections—both directly and via allied dark money and 527 conduits. If JCN’s recent history proves a guide, that means voters going to the polls in 2016 will remain largely uninformed about who’s writing the network’s big checks for ad and grassroots drives to help elect the highest judicial and legal officers in the states, and senators who may well have to approve nominees to fill future Supreme Court vacancies.

Robert Maguire of the Center for Responsive Politics contributed to this piece




26 thoughts on “Arkleyville goes nationwide: Episode 2 – Dark Money

  1. “and Arkley’s wallet took a hit in the financial crisis, according to sources and reports…”


  2. Wow. This little county touches national politics. 6 degrees of separation? Sometimes it feels like we’re all a heck of a lot closer than that. Thanks for the link TE

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Geez, do you people at Tulawat actually believe that big spending of which some may be “dark” money only happens in the “Right conservative” side of politics. Why don’t you become more diverse and comment on all sides of the issues so you might be considered a reliable source of information instead of the biased drivle you continue to spew from your latrine!


    • who cares if a good old fashioned right-wing jack-a-nape such as Daves’ younger, stupider brother Lee, doesn’t like the coverage and analysis of the news at the Tulawat Examiner (see– no offensive misogynistic epithets employed).

      Of course some democratic politicians are cynical, crooked or otherwise ethically challenged. At least such un-American behavor is not a plank of the party platform, nor the basis of the grand strategy of the whole stinking rotten party like it is with the neo-royalist, warmonger, planet raping, republcan party!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lee Chappelle:

      “Why don’t you become more diverse and comment on all sides of the issues… ”

      Because the Right already has its spokesperson. It’s called money. The Right has no problem getting its message out.

      You want balance? Join Weight Watchers.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lee you can rage at us all you want, but we’re going to edit out your sexist language

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks TE. That was not only offensive, but getting a bit old. You’d think that another offensively juvenile reference could have been found. Not a challenge Lee, just my observation of extreme ignorance.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sounds a little reptilian to me there Lee…….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The good old days of Rob cruising the friendly skies in his private jet. The jet rides were used to influence people locally , remember Virginia’s unreported ride , and it also carried Rob and his money to things like this meeting. Rob seems obsessed with power at any cost… Wonder if any other local news will give any ink to this story concerning a local shaker and mover ?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Where’s Liberal guy on bike. Loco just ripped off this rip off without attributing the first rip off. My mind is blown!!!


    • I know you are joking, but I take media seriously.

      So wait, does TE own this now? No.

      TE linked to a story the Daily Beast owns and we don’t have a timestamp (that I have noticed) so we don’t know who won the “breaking news” of breaking news.

      And, as SVB would say “quite frankly” I could care less who gets where first.

      But there is lernin’ to be had here. Let’s be clear, this is layperson’s lernin, I am no journalist nor a lawyer, but I read a bunch of the former and enjoy ethics.

      Take a look at LoCO’s v TE’s coverage. LoCO earns money so they have to beware of whatever – trademark, copyright, property right, … infringing on another’s property. They used only two paragraphs.

      TE took 8 paragraphs and did – to their credit attribute it above and below the paragraphs.

      TE doesn’t make money, so there is very little financial liability here. I don’t think that means that this is OK. I really don’t have a huge problem with this and I’m sure I’ve done the same before – look, we are local yokals doing what we can to stir things up.

      But we do need to be aware of this imho. I don’t think this is only a matter of style either. I don’t think it’s OK to change portions of an article without indicating you are. One risk is financial, but the risk I’m really interested in is credibility. I know after doing that little experiment on the “duck” post, I no longer expect the TE’s posts to be what I would expect – at the very least a contiguous cut from the owner’s piece.

      John Chiv and Watchpaul do this too (not cutting posts, but no-so-clear distinctions between their writing and others). It makes reading their site less clear. I might mention this to them, but in the end, I don’t care what they do for various reasons. I do care about the TE b/c 9 times out of 10 we’ll be fighting for the same thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As usual, we will never know just how many people might become outraged if stories like this appeared routinely in print/TV “news” to expose our institutionally corrupt political system….which invites right-wingers to cry “foul” if liberals ever dare to gathered the secretive financial resources to equally compete.

    In H.Co. liberal candidates are always outspent with extremely few exceptions.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Here’s how I don’t like to post my own links, but you asked and it’s not like I can repost this here.

        Here’s the take-home.

        “Campaign finance reform is a great thing and Democrats are on the right side of this issue. We don’t believe money is speech as the 5 partisans and activist judges on the Supreme Court do. But at the same time many of us are not going to lie down and let money rule a poorly leveraged campaign finance status quo.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Also, holy s**t, thank you for that link!


      • From the link…

        “On the Republican side, party activist Charles T. Munger Jr. gave $3.3 million to the state GOP and seven other party committees from August through the election.

        On the Democratic side, affiliates of the SEIU union gave $2.3 million to state Democrats, 17 Democratic county parties, as well as to the California Republican Party.”

        “How is this different than what the hcdcc does?”

        It’s different b/c one person gave more than one union. There are limited unions, there are limited, but much, much more persons, businesses, business organizations with money, etc.

        That is the difference and the difference is the relative presence of money.

        Do you want a country of the most money wins or a country of the most votes wins?

        That is the difference. And the difference exists and is clear if you chose to pay attention.

        thanks again nothanks.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Wisconsin, geez, JCN has been working Republican grifter shenigans there, no surprise that, Scott Walker’s kickback machine is very successful, a model for politics local baggers can only drool over..

    [$1 million in contributions to Walker’s campaigns resulted in over $570 million in Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Grants

    Kickback City.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reading liberal rags only, you’d never know people like Tom Steyer, George Soros, or Michael Bloomberg even existed, never mind that they lead the way in contributions to superPACs in 2014. And unlike unions, at least people like the Koch brothers give their OWN money. Ever wonder why democrats just whine about Citizens United, but never try to get it overturned?


    • JW. Oops. Lack of knowledge or political savvy.

      No one, including Democrats can “overturn” Citizens United b/c it is a Supreme Court decision. “Liberals” are working with any Tea Party conservative who are actually interested in returning power to the people instead of entrenched money by Constitutional amendments efforts such as “Move to Amend”.

      The Supreme Court is supposed to be above politics. You should know that by what the right wing has sold us for the past 30 years. Turns out that was another of their not-quite-entirely-accurates. They were clearly for activist judges, just not liberal activist judges.

      And regarding the names, yes, thanks to commenters to you (also, please see this story in LoCO) we know these names. But they are just names – scare tactics. Where are your numbers? Here is a start. Koch v unions in 2012 – Koch total $400 million, union total $150 million – and that’s top ten unions vs 2 people.

      “at least people like the Koch brothers give their OWN money”

      Is it really their OWN money or is it money that has been stolen from the middle class by corrupting a political system with simple economics.

      There isn’t an economic equivalency here, that’s part of the game the right places. It’s why we end up with the calls for a pox to both houses which of course will end up with people tuning out and the status quo continuing.

      Wait, now that I think about it, your political savvy wasn’t lacking, was it?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jon yalcinkaya…oops. lack of political knowledge. A constitutional amendment can be generated and submitted for a vote in congress to overturn citizens united……no SCOTUS necessary.


  9. Did you know that Rob Arkley sent Virginia Bass to dinner with Goerge W. Bush when she was running for Eureka City Council. There was a $10,000 gift from Arkley to Virginia, but I guess she forgot to report it!! one from the vault, but we’re still paying… The Board of Supervisors is abominable.

    Liked by 3 people

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