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Swiss billionaire quietly becomes an influential force among Democrats


This type of spending – which is typically channeled by nonprofit groups that don’t have to divulge a lot of information about their finances, including their donors – was embraced by the Conservatives after election spending cuts were cut. been relaxed by regulatory changes and court rulings, including the Supreme Court. 2010 decision in the Citizens United case.

While progressives and election guardians have denounced developments as giving too much power to rich interests, Democratic donors and agents have increasingly used black money. During the 2020 election cycle, Democratic-aligned groups spent more than $ 514 million in those funds, compared to around $ 200 million spent by Republican-aligned groups, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis.

Some of the groups funded by Mr. Wyss foundations played a key role in this change, although the relatively limited disclosure requirements for these types of groups make it difficult to definitively determine how they spent the Wyss Foundation funds.

Mr Wyss and his advisers have perfected a “strategic, evidence-based, indicators and results approach to building political infrastructure,” said Rob Stein, a Democratic strategist.

Mr Stein, who founded the influential Alliance for Democracy club of major liberal donors in 2005 and recruited Mr Wyss to join it, added that “unlike most wealthy political donors on the right and left “, Mr. Wyss and his team” know how to create a measurable and lasting impact. “

Mr. Wyss, 85, was born in Bern, first visited the United States as an exchange student in 1958, and became enchanted with the national parks and public lands of the United States. After enriching himself while helping run Swiss medical device maker Synthes, he began donating his fortune through a network of foundations to promote conservation, environmental causes, and other issues.

Foundations gradually increased their donations to other Democrat-backed causes, including abortion rights and minimum wage increases, and eventually to groups more directly involved in partisan political debates, particularly after the election of Mr. Trump.



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