Update on Cambridge Analytica funder Rebekah Mercer who runs Emerdata, co-founded 1789 Capital with Omeed Malik and is a key trustee of the Heritage Foundation which launched Project 2025

Leonard Leo, Rebekah Mercer, Tucker Carlson, Omeed Malik

Rebekah Mercer is a major Republican donor and with her father, Robert Mercer, was one of the largest funders of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and a co-founder of the notorious company, Cambridge Analytica, along with Stephen Bannon.

The Mercer family distanced themselves from Bannon and then from Trump during the 2020 election. But in April of this year Rebekah and Robert Mercer attended a dinner with Donald Trump and they were two of a few dozen co-chairs of a fundraising dinner for Trump in Palm Beach, Florida.

Following is an update on Rebekah Mercer’s recent activities with several nonprofit organizations and for profit businesses. This overview is certainly not all inclusive and may be updated periodically. There is no indication of anything illegal or any wrongdoing. But there is definitely indication of Rebekah Mercer’s ongoing efforts to use her vast wealth, resources and network to implement and influence her extreme far-right views.

Rebekah Mercer is a trustee of the Heritage Foundation which published Project 2025 on how to consolidate power if Trump wins

Rebekah Mercer is one of eighteen trustees of the Heritage Foundation and in past years the Mercer Family Foundation has been a donor to Heritage.

However, in addition to that, Rebekah Mercer is also one of only five board members at the Heritage Action for America, a nonprofit affiliated with the Heritage Foundation. This shows a deep level of involvement with Heritage where she is both a trustee and director for two affiliated nonprofits.

The Heritage Foundation has been featured prominently in the news recently as the creator of the presidential transition Project 2025.

While Trump recently denied knowing anything about it, the entire document was written as a blueprint for Trump if he wins and was written by many members of his previous administration. As I noted below, the first section on the White House was written by Trump’s former Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn, who came under scrutiny in the Russia investigation for passing along an email about Alexander Torshin to Jared Kushner that discussed a possible meeting with Putin.

The media has pointed out how ludicrous it is for Trump to deny knowledge of Project 2025 and some people have speculated that he wants to distance himself from the bad press. But to me the most plausible reason Trump is upset with Project 2025 is that it bruises his ego and takes away focus from his Agenda 47 which overlaps with many of the same goals of Project 2025 – to eliminate regulations, prop up the wealthy, roll back civil rights and consolidate power in the Executive branch and with Trump loyalists.

It is significant that Rebekah Mercer is not only a trustee of the larger Heritage Foundation but also one of five directors at the Heritage Action for America nonprofit, since that is the political arm of Heritage:

Our mission is to fight for conservative policies in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals across the country. We turn ideas into bills and bills into law.

In 2022 Heritage Action for America launched the Sentinel Action Fund with over $4.26 million in funding to support conservative candidates.

Rebekah Mercer is a director of Reclaim New York along with ‘Court Whisperer’ Leonard Leo

Rebekah Mercer is involved in a much smaller and less well-known nonprofit than Heritage, called Reclaim New York. However, her involvement there is significant because it shows a decade long alliance with Leonard Leo, who is also a director.

Leonard Leo, who I wrote about here, was known during Trump’s presidency as the ‘court whisperer’ for his outsized influence in helping to nominate right-wing justices to the Supreme Court and to lower courts across the U.S. At the age of 25 Leo helped with Clarence Thomas’s nomination, and Thomas is a godfather to one of Leo’s daughters. For decades Leo has organized events and donor meetings with Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito and many others. Leo is now branching out beyond the judiciary to influence politics, culture and his right-wing agenda.

Reclaim New York is a relatively tiny nonprofit with net assets of $855,988, net income of $174,954 and expenses of $527,427 per their most recent 2022 990. They describe their mission:

Reclaim New York educates New Yorkers on issues like affordability, government reform, and education. Through civic education we empower citizens to reclaim ownership in their government.”

In 2020 I did this Twitter thread on Reclaim New York, Rebekah Mercer and Leonard Leo noting that Reclaim had listed payments to Cambridge Analytica for services and rent.

When Reclaim New York filed their first 990 in 2013, the original directors included Rebekah Mercer, Stephen Bannon and Leonard Leo – showing that Mercer, Bannon and Leo were all working together well over a decade ago. Both Mercer and Leo are directors as of the most recent 2022 990. And they were both directors of an affiliated nonprofit called Reclaim New York Initiative Inc. which filed it’s last 990 in 2021.

Per this WNYC story, Kellyanne Conway had been a founding director of Reclaim New York and was active with Bannon until 2016.

I wrote about Leonard Leo and all of the nonprofits he was affiliated with as of December 2023 in this story:

Rebekah Mercer is a director of the Government Accountability Institute co-founded with Stephen Bannon

The nonprofit Government Accountability Institute, also known as GAI, was launched in 2012 by Peter Schweizer and Stephen Bannon with funding from the Mercer family.

Stephen Bannon was a director and officer at GAI until 2016 while he also ran the Mercer-funded alt-right Breitbart News outlet.

The mission of GAI is “to investigate and expose crony capitalism, misuse of taxpayer monies, and other governmental corruption or malfeasance.”

In 2015 Peter Schweizer published Clinton Cash with GAI research. In this New Yorker piece Jane Mayer described how the Mercer-funded Government Accountability Institute had targeted Clinton ahead of the 2016 election. A few years later the GAI was involved in spreading conspiracy theories about Biden and Ukraine.

Given their track record, it would not be surprising if the Mercer funded GAI is active again in supporting Trump’s campaign and discrediting Biden.

Rebekah Mercer’s other nonprofit activities

Below is a list of nonprofits that list Rebekah Mercer as an officer and/or director on 2022 and 2023 filings:

A few additional notes below on two of the nonprofits in this list not previously described earlier.

In January I published this story on Rebekah Mercer’s nonprofit RAM Veterans Foundation, which was launched in 2022. The nonprofit has a key project called Charities for Vets which recommends charities that should or should not be supported by publishing  ‘highly recommended’ ‘recommended’ and ‘not recommended’ ratings.

Rebekah Mercer is a board member of Candace Owens’ Blexit Foundation which is part of Turning Point USA run by Charlie Kirk.

I wrote about Candace Owens and Prager University here and about Charlie Kirk’s rapidly growing Turning Point USA here. I broke a scoop about oddly overlapping payments between the two nonprofits PragerU and Turning Point USA. In 2019 Prager University paid Candace Owens $445,646 for various items including narrating a video called “The Plantation: Then and Now” where she said slave owners were Democrats and Democrats are now modern day plantation owners. In 2019 and 2020 Turning Point USA, where Candace Owens had stepped down as communications director, paid Prager University $500,000.

Rebekah Mercer is still running the current Cambridge Analytica companies – Emerdata Ltd and Dynamo Recoveries Ltd

Cambridge Analytica became known after they helped get Trump elected by targeting voters and then they were exposed for harvesting data from tens of millions of people on Facebook and other shady practices. The U.K. parent company SCL Group was established in 2005 and around 2014 Stephen Bannon and the Mercers became key funders of Cambridge Analytica and several U.S. based affiliates.

Since 2017 I have reported extensively on Cambridge Analytica and their parent SCL Group and the new iterations – Emerdata Limited and Dynamo Recoveries Limited. Dynamo is a company set up to manage litigation related to the collapse of the Cambridge Analytica Companies.

In 2018 I published this story in The Guardian: Cambridge Analytica is dead – but its obscure network is alive and well. I wrote that the company’s executives had formed a web of linked companies, suggesting its work would continue. I originally broke the story on the formation of Emerdata Limited and that one of the early directors was Johnson Chun Shun Co, who was the deputy chairman of Chinese majority state-owned Frontier Services Group – co-founded with Erik Prince.

My 2018 prediction that the network is alive and well turned out to be true. While most Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group companies have gone into liquidation or bankruptcy, Emerdata Limited which is run by Rebekah Mercer is still fully active. And while Erik Prince’s business partner Johnson Chun Shun Ko is no longer on the board, he was replaced on the board by Gary Ka Chun Tiu, who has worked for Ko and seems to be his proxy.

The 2021 confirmation statement for Emerdata listed 32 shareholders, a fairly large number if the company is inactive, and the list includes many earlier shareholders but also several new ones. The 2022 and 2023 confirmation statements were filed with no updates indicating that the 2021 shareholders is the most active list.

Emerdata Limited – 2021 confirmation statement (not updated in 2022 or 2023)

Rebekah Mercer co-founded 1789 Capital with Omeed Malik and Chris Buskirk

In May I published this story on Omeed Malik, a Trump fundraiser who invests in ‘patriotic’ ‘anti-woke’ businesses. In addition to several other ventures, Omeed Malik recently co-founded 1789 Capital with Rebekah Mercer and last year the firm led a round of seed funding for Tucker Carlson’s new media venture.

Last year the Wall Street Journal reported on 1789 Capital co-founded by Omeed Malik, Rebekah Mercer and Chris Buskirk. The 1789 Capital website describes four main focus areas:

(i) the Replication/Parallel Economy; (ii) Deglobalization, (iii) Anti-ESG (i.e. sectors that have been negatively impacted by such principles) and (iv) Cutting edge technologies that disrupt industries weighed down by excessive bureaucracy.

While Rebekah Mercer is listed in various securities offerings filings as an executive and ‘Manager of 1789 Capital Fund I GP, LLC, its General Partner’, she is oddly not included on the website where only Malik and Buskirk are listed as founders.

One notable name listed as an advisor is Blake Masters, who had been chief operating officer at Peter Thiel’s investment firm Thiel Capital from 2018 to 2022. As I reported Blake Masters is also a director of PSQ Holdings, or PublicSquare (the right-wing version of Amazon), which did a business combination with Omeed Malik’s company Colombier Acquisition Corp. in 2023 and then later acquired firearms financing company Credova.

Omeed Malik does not have the immense wealth of Rebekah Mercer or other billionaire GOP donors, but he is making inroads in financing right-wing businesses through firms like 1789 Capital and by leveraging financing through SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, which I reported here.

Two recent filings show 1789 Capital has raised over $12 million from a few dozen investors

Two SEC filings from late last month show that 1789 Capital has raised slightly more than $12 million in equity and limited partnership interest funds from several dozen new investors. While this is a relatively small amount, a few million dollars invested in hateful right-wing businesses, such as the new media company run by Tucker Carlson, can have a big impact on public discourse and the spread of disinformation.

1789 Capital has not yet raised significant funds, but they now have several dozen investors and any business backed by Rebekah Mercer should be watched closely.

A Form D filed on June 10, 2024 by 1789 Capital BH, LP shows a $10 million offering and of that $9,700,000 was sold to 28 investors. The date of the first sale was June 7, 2024 and the type of securities is ‘Equity’. Another Form D filed on June 10, 2024 by 1789 Capital Co-Invest I, LP shows an offering of $2,162,000 which was all sold to 7 investors. The date of the first sale was January 31, 2023 and the type of securities offered is ‘Sale of limited partnership interests’.

In 2023 the Wall Street Journal published this story on how the ‘Anti-Woke’ firm 1789 Capital was investing in Tucker Carlson’s media company. The WSJ reported that:

Its first fund, with a modest $150 million, made its initial investment Monday, leading a $15 million seed round with other private investors into Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel’s new media company. Carlson and Patel’s company has been registered in Nevada under the holding company name Last Country, Inc. Malik is familiar with Carlson and Patel, having invested in an earlier media venture of theirs, the Daily Caller. 

The prior known funding for 1789 capital was $10 million raised in 2023 for sale of limited partnership interests. The SEC Form D filing, dated February 9, 2023, shows that the securities offered were for the ‘Sale of limited partnership interests’ and of the total offering amount of $100,000,000 only $10,000,000 was sold to one investor. Of the original co-founders it seems most likely that Rebekah Mercer had the most money and was likely the $10 million investor. It is not clear if the WSJ report that the fund had $150 million was based information from a source of the amount they intended to raise, versus from actual SEC filings. But any business that Rebekah Mercer runs should be watched closely.

As noted earlier, there is no indication of anything illegal or any wrongdoing. While Rebekah Mercer seemed to step back from Trump in the 2020 election, it appears that she is once again funding his campaign and she remains an active overseer of the Heritage Foundation, which created Project 2025 and several other nonprofits and businesses promoting extreme far-right views.


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