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Biden cabinet secretary’s daughter works for activist group tied to liberal dark money juggernaut

by

Daily Caller News Foundation

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s daughter works for an anti-fossil fuel activist group connected to a sprawling liberal dark money network.

Somah Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe and daughter of Deb Haaland, is a communications coordinator for the Pueblo Action Alliance (PAA), a New Mexico-based activist group advocating for “indigenous solutions as means to dismantle and eradicate white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, hetero-patriarchy and extractive colonialism” that has drawn scrutiny from some elected Republicans for its engagement on land use policy, according to its website.

PAA is a fiscal project of the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), a group that has received more than $1.5 million since 2020 from funds managed by Arabella Advisors, a for-profit company that oversees a vast dark money network aligned with left-of-center organizations and causes.

In 2022, the Windward Fund, a nonprofit operating as part of the Arabella network, gave SWOP $150,000 after giving it more than $136,000 in 2021 and $70,000 in 2020, according to the Windward Fund’s tax filings. The New Venture Fund, another nonprofit leg of the Arabella network, gave SWOP $282,000 and $425,000 in 2021 and 2022, respectively, after giving SWOP more than $467,000 in 2020, according to the New Venture Fund’s tax filings.

Arabella Advisors-managed funds have also supported other organizations that advocate for a bevy of left-wing political causes, such as campaigns pushing for oil divestment and less stringent criminal sentencing, according to Influence Watch. The five nonprofits that compose Arabella Advisors’ network, including the Windward Fund and the New Venture Fund, do not have to disclose the source of their funding. The five nonprofits also make grants to each other in some cases, making it more difficult to identify the origins of the money, according to the Capital Research Center.

The company provides management services to the nonprofits in exchange for fees, according to the Capital Research Center, and it is currently subject to an investigation by Brian Schwalb, the attorney general for the District of Columbia, for alleged violations of tax law.

Somah Haaland identifies as a “non-binary” person and supports a range of left-wing views, according to her public posts on X, formerly Twitter. For instance, she once donned a shirt that read “all colonizers are bastards” specifically to go shopping in wealthy neighborhoods in July 2020, a time when racially-charged Black Lives Matter riots were breaking out in numerous American cities.

As the PAA’s fiscal sponsor, SWOP helps the organization by handling matters including “fiduciary oversight, financial management, and other administrative services” while PAA works to achieve standalone nonprofit status with the government, according to the National Council of Nonprofits.

President Joe Biden announced in December 2020 that he intended to nominate Deb Haaland to become the interior secretary, a powerful cabinet position that provides considerable influence over the country’s energy policies on public lands. SWOP and PAA are both vehemently opposed to fossil fuel development, and Haaland’s record as interior secretary has been generally hostile to oil and gas activity on public lands and federally controlled offshore areas.

Deb Haaland came under fire for her agency’s June decision pertaining to the future status of oil and gas leasing activity in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon region. The Department of the Interior (DOI) closed off public lands within ten miles of the Chaco Canyon from any future fuel leasing activity for the next two decades, a move which Haaland’s Laguna Pueblo tribe celebrated; however, a different tribal group opposed the decision, saying that it would deprive them of economic opportunities, according to Source NM.

Some observers, like Western Energy Alliance President Kathleen Sgamma, said that Deb Haaland had a “conflict of interest” in that decision, a sentiment echoed by Protect the Public’s Trust, a government watchdog group that filed an ethics complaint against her in August.

Deb Haaland “was evidently involved” with the PAA prior to assuming the top job at DOI, and she purportedly met with PAA leaders during her tenure, according to a June letter sent by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman. Somah Haaland also reportedly participated in a 2022 PAA trip to Capitol Hill to lobby on legislation that would bar leasing public lands for oil and gas development, according to the same letter.

Additionally, in September, Haaland’s DOI released the most restrictive five-year offshore oil and gas leasing schedule in contemporary American history. Haaland touted the agency’s leasing schedule, which drew sharp criticism from energy industry trade groups like the National Oceans Industries Association and the AmericaPetroleum Institute.

“It’s no surprise Arabella’s dark money network pours hundreds of thousands of dollars into the fiscal sponsor of a radical group tied to a sitting cabinet secretary and her daughter because Arabella seeks power for itself and radical policies for America,” Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The PAA’s website also includes a section titled the “New Mexico Venceremos Brigade” highlighting the organization’s efforts to encourage people to join Venceremos Brigade trips. The Venceremos Brigade is a group that organizes work trips for Americans to visit communist Cuba, established with the help of Cuban officials “for indoctrinating and recruiting American leftists, arranging and coordinating meetings between international terrorists, sponsoring terrorist activities among Puerto Rican Americans, and providing training for terrorists,” according to a 1976 report by the Department of Justice.

The PAA also features a prominent reference to the year 1680 on its website, an allusion to the Pueblo revolt against Spanish colonizers that year. The website says “1680 to infinity” and that “the Pueblo revolt never ended.”

The DOI, PAA, SWOP, Windward Fund, New Venture Fund, and Arabella Advisors did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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