The Mercer Family are major funders of right-wing candidates
For years Rebekah Mercer, her father Robert Mercer and the Mercer Family Foundation, were significant donors and supporters of Republican right-wing causes and candidates.
Billionaire Robert Mercer earned his fortune as a co-founder of Renaissance Technologies, and has used his wealth to fund the Mercer Family Foundation and, in recent years, his daughter Rebekah Mercer has taken a lead role in funding various areas – including Breitbart news when it was run by Steve Bannon, the right-wing media Government Accountability Institute, the Heritage Foundation, conservative social media platform Parler and many other initiatives.
The Mercers were among the largest financial supporters of Donald Trump during the 2016 election (after first supporting Ted Cruz until he fell out of the race). They were also key financial backers of Cambridge Analytica, a social media influence company that supported Trump.
The Mercers funded Cambridge Analytica and the current iteration called Emerdata
I co-published a key chart showing the Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group corporate structure, and in 2018, I broke the story that Rebekah Mercer along with others including an associate of Blackwater founder Erik Prince, had launched the company Emerdata Limited to replace Cambridge Analytica.
After Carole Cadwalladr with whistleblower Christopher Wylie revealed that Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from tens of millions of people through Facebook, the Mercers were scrutinized closely. Over time they tried to distance themselves from Donald Trump and the media spotlight.
According to a November 2023 CNBC story the Mercer Family Foundation has over $80 million in assets and the Mercers are once again weighing whether or not to support Donald Trump in the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
Following is a brief overview of the nonprofits that Rebekah Mercer is now associated with, including her newest venture which aims to rate veterans’ organizations.
Nonprofits where Rebekah Mercer is an officer and/or director
Below are the most recent nonprofit filings from 2022 and 2021 that list Rebekah Mercer as an officer and/or director:
- Mercer Family Foundation – Director (other directors are her father Robert and sisters Jennifer and Heather)
- Government Accountability Institute – Chairman, Board of Directors (where Steve Bannon previously worked)
- Reclaim New York Inc. – Director, Treasurer (another director is conservative activist Leonard Leo, who I wrote about in this piece on Leo’s nonprofit network)
- Reclaim New York Initiative – Director
- Blexit Foundation – Board Member (as of 9/2022), (Blexit is now part of Turning Point USA and is run by Candace Owens, who I wrote about in this piece on Prager University)
- The American Spectator Foundation – Director
- Heritage Action for America – Board Member
In addition to these, there is a filing for a new nonprofit called the RAM Veterans Foundation, which lists Rebekah Mercer as President (RAM are the initials for Robert Alexander Mercer who died in 1944 and to whom the foundation is dedicated).
Rebekah Mercer is President of RAM Veterans Foundation
In 2022 I reported that Rebekah Mercer had launched a nonprofit called RAM Veterans Foundation that had a key project called Charities for Vets and which planned to recommend charities that should or should not be supported.
The RAM Veterans Foundation IRS 990 filing for the period ending 12/31/2022 describes their mission “to educate the public about the effectiveness and efficiencies of charities purporting to be engaged in helping veterans.”
The 990 lists four key officers:
- Rebekah Mercer – President
- Richard Berman – Executive Director
- Ed Stucky – Secretary
- Jim Bruyette – Director
The total revenue for the year ending December 31, 2022 was $310,832.
In November 2023, Col. Pete Metzger, US Marine Corps (Ret) and CDR Kirk Lippold, US Navy (Ret), who are on the advisory board of the RAM Veterans Foundation, published an opinion piece in the New York Post entitled Watch out: Charities ‘for veterans’ don’t always deserve your support.
The article describes how RAM is similar to other long-established charity rating organizations (Charity Navigator and CharityWatch) and says “RAM’s Charities for Vets is an especially pivotal player: Its CharitiesForVets.org website reveals billions donated annually to just 105 organizations that share “Recommended” or “Not recommended” status.”
The CharitiesForVets.org website has a list of ‘highly recommended’ ‘recommended’ and ‘not recommended’ charities. The site includes a brief description of their methodology, including a key criteria that 75% of the budget is spent on veterans programs – and not on overhead.
However the information displayed in the rankings, including for charities in the ‘not recommended’ list, does not include a link to the IRS 990 filings for the charity, and does not specify which numbers from the 990 IRS filing are used to calculate what they consider to be ‘overhead’.
While RAM Veterans Foundation is new and it is not clear that it will have a significant influence, it is clear that the mission is to support some veterans charities and to steer funders away from others charities.
Given Rebekah Mercer’s history of supporting right-wing causes, it is worth looking deeper into her latest venture of launching a nonprofit that is meant to provide a balanced and transparent rating for veteran charities.
Note: an update was made on January 31, 2024 to correct information on the name of the RAM Veterans Foundation which was named after Robert Alexander Mercer.