Reclaim New York was incorporated in 2013 by former head of Breitbart News Steve Bannon and Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway. It claims to be a “a non-partisan, non-profit organization that empowers New Yorkers… to reclaim ownership of their government.”
Yet despite launching “The New York Transparency Project,” which was “born out of the belief in citizen-driven oversight,” Reclaim has been anything but transparent with its own finances.
Public records reveal that The Mercer Family Foundation provided over half of Reclaim NY’s $2 million in revenue from 2013-2016, though itemized information about receipts or expenditures is kept hidden. This week, Reclaim NY’s Executive Director Brandon Muir “refused to say what Reclaim’s budget is now or who else is funding operations,” according to press reports.
“Transparency builds trust; secrecy erodes it. We know at Trailblazers PAC that to be advocates for openness, we must voluntarily hold ourselves to higher standards than required by law, and require our candidates to do the same,” said Leslie Danks Burke, President of Trailblazers PAC. “Reclaim New York says they are advocates for transparency, but they haven’t put their mouth where their money is. They say they’re a tax-deductible nonprofit working for citizen-driven oversight, but you can’t reclaim transparency while hiding in the shadow of dark money.”
Robert Mercer, a principal at Cambridge Analytica (a data firm that worked on Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign), at the Mercer Family Foundation, and at Reclaim New York, and, until recently, a primary stakeholder in Breitbart, is known as a prominent backer of political candidates. Research compiled by Trailblazers PAC indicates that the Mercer family also donated nearly $3 million to races at the county level or below in New York.
“Trailblazers PAC knows it’s not that difficult to be open about finances, because we’ve done it,” said Danks Burke. “We provide workshops all over New York and Pennsylvania about moving politics out of the back room, onto the front porch. If Reclaim NY needs help, we’d be happy to show them how to be 100% transparent with finances, have a truly multi-partisan board of advisors, and actively recruit across the political spectrum.”
Trailblazers PAC supports candidates running for office at the county level and below who commit to clean government, and who walk that talk during their campaigns by powering their campaigns through in-district donations from their own voters, and by disclosing 100% their campaign’s receipts and expenditures.