Peter Thiel nonprofit group gave millions to right-wing donor

Peter Thiel
Entrepreneur Peter Thiel speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Peter Thiel nonprofit group gave millions to right-wing donor

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The Thiel Foundation, a nonprofit charity of billionaire Peter Thiel, gave millions of dollars to a fund that funneled money into hate groups and groups that spread COVID-19 denialism.

Federal tax records indicate that, in addition to his direct spending on Republican candidates, Thiel donated $4.2 million to DonorsTrust, a consistent financial backer of groups that spread COVID-19 misinformation and vaccine skepticism, according to a report from Important Context and OptOut Media Foundation.

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This information comes in the years after Thiel, founder of Palantir Technologies, made significant money through contracts made during the pandemic. In 2016, he donated more than $1 million to former President Donald Trump‘s campaign. Since then, he has opted to throw his donations behind Republicans J.D. Vance and Blake Masters, as well as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

While it is unknown which groups received Thiel’s money, DonorsTrust is infamous for funneling money into hate groups. From 2019 to 2021, the group gave more than $1.6 million to VDARE Foundation, deemed a white nationalist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its role in spreading anti-immigration sentiments.

In 2020, DonorsTrust gave $600,000 to New Century Foundation, another hate group focused on promoting pseudoscientific studies that show the “inferiority of blacks to whites — although in hifalutin language that avoids open racial slurs and attempts to portray itself as serious scholarship,” per the law center. The contribution from DonorsTrust was greater than the foundation’s annual revenue in any year since 2010, per the Important Context report.

DonorsTrust is well known for spreading COVID-19 misinformation as well. In 2020, the organization set up a special program, the “Growth and Resilience Project,” to fund groups that were against regulations and wanted to reopen the economy. It spread public health narratives that the federal government was intruding “into our lives and livelihoods.”

The organization also gave $8 million to the State Policy Network, a libertarian state-based policy network that opposed government public health measures set to control the spread of COVID-19. The group came out against vaccine and mask mandates and argued for school reopenings in the summer of 2020, at the height of the pandemic. DonorsTrust donated $361,000 to the Heritage Foundation, a group also advocating against lockdowns.

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Several other groups, including Tea Party Patriots Foundation, the Epoch Times Association, the American Institute for Economic Research, and New Civil Liberties Alliance, received donations from DonorsTrust, ranging from $31,000 to $1 million.

Thiel was recently thrust into the national spotlight following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in early March after being accused of influencing businesses to withdraw their funds from the bank. The rapid withdrawals led to regulators closing down the bank and over a week of financial turmoil in U.S. and European markets.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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