Swiss billionaire’s millions may have come to North Carolina

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2018 file photo, former Attorney General Eric Holder addresses the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in Washington, D.C. Virginians will elect members of the House of Delegates this year using a map seen as favorable to Democrats, according to a ruling Monday, June 17, 2019 by the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawsuit challenging the original House lines was backed by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

RALEIGH — A report detailing millions of dollars being channeled into a Democrat redistricting group led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has implications for North Carolina.

The Washington Free Beacon recently reported that the “Berger Action Fund, the advocacy arm of Swiss megadonor Hansjörg Wyss’s Wyss Foundation, passed $3 million to the National Redistricting Action Fund (NRAF) between 2018 and 2020.”

The NRAF is the 501(c)(4) attached to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC). The NDRC was formed by Holder and former President Barack Obama and officially launched in 2017 with $11 million in start-up funds from various Democratic donor. The purpose of the NDRC is to be a “strategic hub for a comprehensive redistricting strategy” in order to secure “fair maps” for Democrats.

Holder, the only U.S. attorney general ever to be held in contempt of Congress, is the chairman for the NDRC. Under Holder, the group made two $250,000 donations to the N.C. Democratic Party during the 2018 election cycle. One donation came in June and a second in September of that year.

The NDRC made only one donation directly to a North Carolina candidate during the 2018 cycle, giving $5,200 to then-N.C. Supreme Court candidate Anita Earls.

Holder had campaigned with Earls during 2018, and she won her race. The year prior, in 2017, Holder and Gov. Roy Cooper co-headlined the annual NCDP Unity Dinner held in Raleigh.

North Carolina continued to be a target for the NDRC in 2020, and the organization likely has its eye on the state’s new congressional seat apportioned after the U.S. Census published its data.

“With the release of apportionment data, each state now needs to prepare for a fair and transparent redistricting process that includes input from the public. Make no mistake — the same Republican state legislators who are pushing forward on hundreds of anti-voter bills at the state level have been very clear that they intend to manipulate the redistricting process to lock in their power,” Holder said in a statement about the census results.

Represented by the top partisan Democratic lawyer Marc Elias of the D.C.-based Perkins Coie law firm, the NDRC’s political action fund has recent launched three lawsuits in Louisiana, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

The three lawsuits take aim at potential new legislative maps related to new congressional seats.  All three filings ask the state’s courts to find the current congressional map unconstitutional, bar any state officials from making changes to it and for the court to implement a new map.

Elias, on behalf of his plaintiffs, asks the courts in Pennsylvania to take over the process and “establish a schedule that will enable the Court to adopt and implement a new congressional district plan by a date certain should the political branches fail to enact such plan by that time.”

The lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania, Carter v. Degraffenreid, has ties to North Carolina in naming Veronica Degfaffenreid, acting secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as a defendant. Degraffenreid is from North Carolina and served as the director of elections operations for the N.C. State Board of Elections from 2008 to 2020. She was also an employee of the N.C. Department of Justice, from 2000 to 2008, serving under then-Attorney General Roy Cooper.

View the lawsuits:

Louisiana – English v. Ardoin
Minnesota – Sachs vs. Simon
Pennsylvania – Carter v. Degraffenreid

About A.P. Dillon 509 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_