March for Our Lives launches dark money advocacy group

The March for Our Lives is coming up this weekend. Students from Parkland high school will be front and center once again, though as I’ve pointed out before, they have a lot of adults working behind the scenes on their behalf. Today the Washington Free Beacon notes the March has also spawned a new 501(c)(4) nonprofit which is not required to reveal the names of its donors.

The March for Our Lives Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit organization, was registered on March 8 with the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, records show. The action fund lists its business address in Encino, Calif., and its agent as CT Corporation System, a D.C.-based firm that offers agent, incorporation, and corporate business compliance services.

Jeri Rhodes, an associate executive secretary for finance and administration at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a group that “lobbies Congress and the administration to advance peace, justice, opportunity, and environmental stewardship,” is also listed as the action fund’s executing officer and governor on its registration. Rhodes previously served as chief financial officer for Greenpeace…

“Donations to the March For Our Lives Action Fund will cover all expenses associated with the march taking place in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 24th,” the site said. “The funds will also be used to fight for comprehensive gun safety legislation at the local, state, and federal level, and will also include voter education, ballot initiatives, and lobbying state legislatures and Congress to protect America’s kids.”

The students aren’t directly in control of the money being raised by this fund. That rests in the hands of six volunteer board members. From HuffPost:

Millions of dollars in donations have poured into a fundraiser launched by student survivors of the school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida. When it comes to activism, the teens say they’re running the show. But there are adults behind the scenes of March for Our Lives: A document uncovered by HuffPost reveals a diverse board of directors that includes public servants, legal experts and professionals based outside of Florida…

A board that includes six volunteer directors is overseeing all March for Our Lives funds, a spokesperson for 42 West told HuffPost in an email. Decisions on how to spend the funds will be up to that board and a “student advisory board,” the spokesperson said. When asked what sort of oversight mechanisms are set up to ensure the money is going to the students’ desired reforms, the spokesperson said, “The board of directors will handle.”

Oversight? Hey, just trust us. And who gets to be on the student advisory board? I’m guessing it’s the same 6-7 students who are appearing in the media every day with the help of a professional PR firm. Last month, Buzzfeed revealed that the pro-gun control Parkland students had been getting advice from Debbie Wasserman-Schultz since the day after the shooting. And in the weeks that followed, they were surrounded by a who’s who of progressive groups.

Since then, major players and organizations — including Everytown, Giffords, Move On, Planned Parenthood, and the Women’s March LA — told BuzzFeed News they are helping the students with logistics, strategy, and planning for next month’s March for Our Lives rally and beyond. Much of the specific resources the groups are providing to the Parkland students remains unclear — as is the full list of supporting organizations — but there are broad outlines.

Giffords, an organization started by former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that fights gun violence, is working with Everytown and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to plan the main march on Washington — as well as sister rallies across the country…

The media created these gun control pop stars, but the adults are planning the tour dates and collecting the ticket money.