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Trump-linked group attacked critical race theory


Outside the Loudoun County school board headquarters in Ashburn (Virginia), U.S.A. June 22nd, 2021, opponents to the Critical Race Theory academic doctrine are protesting.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

A group that fueled attacks on critical race theory during Virginia’s hotly contested gubernatorial race has ties to several of former President Donald Trump’s allies, including Newt Gingrich and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

1776 Action is a non-profit 501(c),(4) “dark money” group that doesn’t have to disclose its donors. Gingrich and Carson aren’t included among the leaders of 1776 Action, though people with whom they have been closely associated, such as family members or former top aides hold leadership roles.

It was previously known as American Legacy Center. It targeted Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and Congress Democrats in the 2018 midterms.  

CNBC reviewed their public 990 forms and found that the group raised $2.3 Million between 2014-2019. CNBC has not yet obtained records for 2020 or 2021. CNBC reached out to 1776 Action for comments before publishing.

According to the organization, it’s committed to ending “anti-American doctrine” and will continue to push its message through next year’s midterms. Then perhaps in 2024 as conservative forces take aim at critical races theory. 

As new fronts emerged in the cultural war between conservatives and liberals over racism education in schools, the group was rebranded.

The academic study of the effects of racism is called critical race theory. It can be taught at both the graduate and college levels. It is used by conservatives to denote any anti-racism conversation or event. any mention of race in schoolsIt is. Republicans are opposed to critical race theory and this was an important issue in Virginia’s election.

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1776 Action got its name from Trump’s 1776 Commission. A White House initiative, it called their work “a refutation of reckless’reeducation’ efforts that attempt to reframe American History around the idea the United States does not exist as an extraordinary country, but rather an evil nation.” 

Republican Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, won Virginia’s governor’s race. He campaigned on behalf of banning critical race theory from commonwealth schools. While Youngkin kept Trump at arm’s length, the former president was outspoken in his support of the candidate – and for fighting critical race theory education.

1776 Action’s logo featured in September at the Virginia “Rally to Save Our Schools” Youngkin said during the rally that he would ban the teachingIf he was elected governor, he would be a champion of critical race theory. Carson spoke as well at the event. 

Other logos were featured on the banner, including those of Fight for Schools in Virginia, which is opposed to the teaching and practice of critical race theory. The Virginia Public Access Project data shows that 1776 Action donated $10,000 to this year’s PAC. This was one of the most prominent donors. Trump was also represented by two other groups. 

1776 Action was also published an over nine-minute video showingAccording to the group, Virginia parents oppose the teaching and practice of critical race theory.

Origins of the group

In 2014, the American Legacy Center was founded. Virginia records indicate that there was an initial board, which included Adam Waldeck who was a Gingrich adviser during the 2012 election for President. Waldeck is currently the president and CEO of 1776 Action. Waldeck was American Legacy’s executive director between its inception and 2019. From its inception through 2019, Waldeck was American Legacy’s executive director.

Waldeck has recently spoken on Gingrich’s podcast about 1776 Action. Waldeck told GingrichHannah Smith was elected to Texas’ school board and opposed the teaching of critical racism theory. is now a member of their board of advisors.In the interview, you will also learn about a text-messaging campaign launched by this group during Virginia’s recent elections.

Mike Murray was a senior adviser to Carson’s 2016 presidential campaign. He also served as the American Legacy Center board’s member from 2015 through 2017. Murray worked with Trump on his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.

Murray is the current CEO of TMA Direct. TMA Direct has previously worked for Carson’s campaign as well as American Legacy PAC. American LegacyPAC was reportedlyGingrich was the co-founder. Murray isn’t listed as a 1776 Action leader.

Benjamin Carson Jr., Carson’s younger brother joined American Legacy in 2016, and continued on the board through 2019, according the 990 forms. According to 1776 Action, Carson Jr. is listed as a director on its website.

According to a 2016 disclosure, Vincent Haley was another member of the board who planned on working under Trump. In 2017, he resigned to be a part of the White House. According to disclosure reports, Haley was a senior assistant to President Barack Obama, specifically as an adviser for policy, strategy, and speechwriting.

Haley’s financial disclosure for the first time during Trump’s Trump presidency also reveals his ties to Gingrich. His filing states that Haley was vice president of Gingrich Productions when he joined the Trump campaign. Haley also worked as a producer on the Billy Graham Film Project LLC. Graham, who was an influential Christian preacher and died in 2018, was greatly missed.

Haley isn’t listed on the 1776 Action Board.

Ryan Rhodes was a Carson 2016 candidate and is currently on 1776 Action’s board. Prior to that, Rhodes had previously been on the American Legacy Center board. 

Influence and money

Although American Legacy Center doesn’t publicly disclose its donors, it does report that the people involved in financing Republican campaigns contributed to them, according Federal Election Commission filings. From its inception in 2010, Murray served as treasurer for the American Legacy PAC. He was also responsible for most of 2016’s election. Waldeck briefly served as the treasurer of the PAC before it was shut down in 2017.

According to nonpartisan data from Center for Responsive Politics, the PAC supported Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and Trump’s 2016 effort. The American Legacy PAC donated more than $280,000 to Republican candidates between 2012 and the 2018 midterms.

Between its founding and 2017 closing, the PAC raised nearly $9 million. Top donors over the years included Jennifer Pritzker, a member of the wealthy Pritzker family, and Murray, along with other employees of his data firm, TMA Direct. Murray’s firm received $325,000 in donations from the PAC just before closing.

The American Legacy PAC has been closed. However, the American Legacy Center (a related organization) continued to take pro-Trump stances during the 2016 and 2018 elections.

The 2016 campaign saw the group attack Clinton’s handling in 2012 of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. In two ads posted on their still active YouTube account, the group blasts Clinton with commentary from Kristian “Tanto” Paronto, who was part of the security detail that defended against the attack. Those two spots were published in the summer of 2016, months before Trump defeated Clinton in the election.

A website sponsored by the American Legacy Center at the time lists Paronto as the chairman, according to internet archive the Wayback Machine.

The same organisation put up an advertisement during the midterm elections 2018. ad featuring former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was later pardoned by Trump for federal crimes.

This ad encourages people to place America first. It invokes one of Trump’s slogans as well as to force their members of Congress into doing their job. Ending the ad, it encourages people to access a website called “Sovereignty Now.” The text of the archived website states that “The 2018 midterm elections present a clear choice between President Trump’s vision for strong borders and restored American sovereignty and the radical Left’s vision for open borders, abolishing ICE”