Ex-Enron executive and billionaire John Arnold is under fire from Texas Republicans for reportedly funneling millions into groups trying to censor supposed “disinformation.” Ironically, Enron is the same company that went bankrupt from corruption and fraud.
Two Republican lawmakers criticized Arnold’s donations in comments to the Washington Examiner. His more than $13.7 million total in donations helped fund leftist efforts to censor conservatives.
Arnold Ventures LLC, which manages financial giving for multiple entities, claims to be nonpartisan but has funded a number of pro-censorship organizations. “This is another example of the dark money ecosystem pushing its own interpretation of disinformation,” insisted Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX). Texas State Rep. Brian Harrison (R) also slammed Arnold “funding groups that undermine” free speech.
For instance, Arnold’s LLC donated to research nonprofit MapLight, which was also funded in 2018 with $150,000 by leftist billionaire George Soros. MapLight, which describes itself as “Technology for Democracy,” published a “Voter Empowerment Plan” memo before the 2022 midterms with the primary priority to“[r]educe the quantity, spread, and impact of electoral disinformation.”
The memo called for government action to ensure this censorship. As Harrison noted, donors should spend “their resources protecting free speech rights as opposed to funding groups that undermine them.” The Examiner reported that MapLight President Daniel Newman previously claimed to the outlet his group “no longer works in the disinformation area.”
Arnold Ventures also gave money to Lenfest Institute for Journalism, a Philadelphia-based media funder. The Institute has partnered with leftist NewsGuard for several reports, the Examiner noted. MRC Free Speech America’s original studies showed how pro-censorship and skewed NewsGuard’s phony ratings system is.
Such donations are, of course, controversial. Nehls, who represents Houston suburbs, is from the city where Enron was based before it failed in 2001. “These groups will never stop funneling money to attack Republicans until they fully control the narrative,” Nehls insisted to the Examiner.
“Given the increased collusion over the past two years between Big Government and Big Tech to censor opposing views by labeling them disinformation, Texas and America would be better off if big donors spent their resources protecting free speech rights as opposed to funding groups that undermine them,” Texas State Rep. Brian Harrison (R) reportedly told the Examiner.
The Arnold LLC also funded misinformation efforts by local news supporter the American Journalism Project, the Examiner reported. The project highlights and prophesies doom about the supposed “rise of misinformation” on its site. Spotlight PA, a Pennsylvania news outlet that published a voter “election misinformation” guide, was another entity that received Arnold Ventures funding, according to the Examiner.
Arnold Ventures, which also manages philanthropic giving for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, has funded other leftist causes too, the Examiner said, such as giving over $45 million to so-called “criminal justice reform” in crime-infested New York. Republicans accused that same “reform” of causing a crime spike.
John Arnold whined on Twitter that critiques of him and his donations are “well-funded attack campaigns run by professional firms.” But Republican political consultant Matt Mackowiak reportedly told the Examiner, “The use of ‘disinformation’ is quickly morphing into a catch-all on the Left for censoring speech you don’t like from people you don’t like.”
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