In politics, they often say that personnel is policy. If that’s the case, then Nikki Haley may be running in the wrong party’s primary.
Over the weekend, The Washington Examiner reported that the former ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina hired a Democrat to run her campaign efforts in New Hampshire.
The news has left some conservatives scratching their head.
Tyler Clark, who became Haley’s 2024 state director for the Granite State late last year, is listed on lobbying disclosures filed in New Hampshire as working in 2020 on behalf of Sixteen Thirty Fund, a nonprofit group managed by Arabella Advisors, the largest liberal dark money network in the United States. Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is being investigated by the Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office over financial mismanagement allegations along with the broader Arabella network, doled out more than $410 million in 2020 to boost Democrats and help unseat former President Donald Trump, all thanks to billionaire donors such as George Soros, according to the newspaper.
The top Haley campaign staffer’s ties to Sixteen Thirty Fund could become a major liability for the ex-U.N. ambassador, who, along with Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), will compete Tuesday in the New Hampshire primary. Clark, the former New Hampshire state director for Trust in the Mission, a super PAC allied with failed GOP White House hopeful Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), also lobbied as recently as last year for New Hampshire’s chapters for the American Civil Liberties Union and American Federation of Teachers, two groups conservatives often criticize for purportedly operating as arms of the Democratic Party, according to lobbying disclosures.
Clark’s prior clients through Preti Strategies, where he was a public and government affairs adviser until June 2023, are likely to bolster concerns among conservatives that Haley is too “establishment” and could cave to Democratic demands if she became president, as well as potentially hire personnel with close relationships to liberal activist hubs. The Sixteen Thirty Fund-linked disclosures and other filings listing the lobbyist’s name were personally signed by Clark, who was required to “hereby swear or affirm that the foregoing information is true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief.”
“Clearly, when Nikki Haley looks for talent, she turns to the Swamp and the Democrat Party’s guns-for-hire, not genuine conservatives,” Hayden Ludwig, policy research director for Restoration of America, a conservative advocacy group, told the Washington Examiner. “The Arabella Advisors-run ‘dark money’ Sixteen Thirty Fund is as Beltway insider as they come, to say nothing of the diversity, equity, and inclusion-obsessed teachers union that wants the government to raise all our kids.”
The New York Post noted that The Sixteen Thirty Fund alone “distributed $410 million in dark funding to Democrats in the last presidential election cycle.”
“The fund also launched the pressure group Demand Justice, which spent $5 million in 2018 in an attempt to derail Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court — and later, in 2021, ran an aggressive ad campaign pushing Justice Steven Breyer’s retirement.
Breyer caved to the pressure in 2022, allowing Biden to install Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on the nation’s highest court,” The Post continued.
This is not the first time that Haley has been accused of being boosted by Democrats. In December, she received a massive campaign donation from Reid Hoffman, the founder of Linked In and sworn enemy of Donald Trump.
Hoffman, a billionaire and a major Democratic donor, “gave $250,000 to a super PAC supporting Ms. Haley, the former South Carolina governor who has gained momentum in recent weeks in the 2024 Republican primary race. The donation, which has not been previously reported, was confirmed by Dmitri Mehlhorn, a political adviser to Mr. Hoffman.
The pro-Haley super PAC, SFA Fund Inc., was asked specifically by Mr. Hoffman’s political team if it would take money from Mr. Hoffman, given that he is a Democrat who actively supports President Biden, Mr. Mehlhorn said. The super PAC, he added, said yes, reported The New York Times.
Hoffman became well-known in political circles as one of Trump’s biggest opponents and has been labeled the “Soros of Silicon Valley.” The Daily Caller documented that the billionaire has acted as one of the Democratic Party’s “largest funders in the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, according to nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets. He spent more than $15 million supporting Democrats in 2022 and $14.5 million in 2020, OpenSecrets found.”
Trump has laid into Haley’s campaign.
At his Saturday rally, Trump discusses the contents of a @dcexaminer report on how Nikki Haley’s NH director Tyler Clark lobbied for the left-wing dark money Arabella Advisors network’s Sixteen Thirty Fund
— Gabe Kaminsky (@gekaminsky) January 21, 2024
“He was a lobbyist for the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is managed by Arabella Advisors, which is the largest Democrat dark money network in the country and considered public enemy No. 1,” the former president declared. “That’s who’s managing her campaign. Does that tell you something, perhaps?”
Haley’s path to victory in New Hampshire may come from Democrats being “Republicans for a day.”
The Washington Post recently explained that “independent voters, who can cast a ballot in either party’s primary, are seen as key to the outcome in Tuesday’s GOP contest. Those who don’t identify with a party now make up 39 percent of the overall electorate in New Hampshire — a bloc long viewed as key to Haley’s chances of springing an upset. But their political leanings are complex, ranging from Democratic-leaning anti-Trump voters to hard-right conservatives, and polling shows Haley’s edge among them narrowing in the final stage of the race, complicating her path to a competitive finish.
According to the latest Suffolk University/NBC-10/Boston Globe tracking poll of likely primary voters released Saturday, Haley was pulling 45 percent support among unaffiliated voters, with Trump at 44 percent support — a change from an earlier poll on Jan. 18 when Haley was receiving the support of 53 percent of unaffiliated voters, compared to 32 percent for Trump. Trump, meanwhile, trounced Haley in the latest poll among registered Republicans, receiving 59 percent of their support, compared to Haley’s 29 percent, propelling him to a 17-point lead overall.”