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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

American Bridge 21st Century/AB PAC

Political leaningsDemocratic/liberal

2018 total spending
: $20.9 million

American Bridge 21st Century is a liberal super PAC that conducts opposition research to aid Democratic candidates and organizations. The group changed its name to AB PAC in November 2019.

The group was founded in November 2010 by David Brock, a conservative-turned-liberal activist. After making a name for himself as a self-described “right-wing hit man,” Brock reinvented himself as a liberal crusader. In 2004, Brock founded Media Matters, which monitors the media for “conservative misinformation.” Brock also founded Correct the Record, a pro-Hillary Clinton hybrid PAC/super PAC (or Carey committee), which began as an arm of American Bridge but split off in 2015 to become an independent committee.

Bradley Beychok is a co-founder of the super PAC and serves as the group’s president. Beychok is a past president of Media Matters.

As a super PAC, American Bridge can accept unlimited donations and is largely funded by major Democratic donors and labor unions. The PAC had raised $25.5 million in the 2019-2020 election cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission filed on March 31.

It had spent $20 million of those funds, including $8 million on independent expenditures –– advertising that expressly advocates for the election or defeat of specific candidates — against President Donald Trump so far this election cycle. 

The largest donors in the 2020 cycle, according to FEC data as of March 31, have been Deborah Simon, daughter of the late property developer Melvin Simon, who has contributed $3 million; philanthropist and academic Marsha Laufer, who has contributed $1.25 million; Phillip Ragon, CEO and founder of the technology company InterSystems, who also has given $1.25 million; and Simon’s sister, Samerian Foundation Chairwoman Cynthia Simon Skjodt, has contributed $1.75 million to the PAC. 

American Bridge raised $20.5 million and spent $20.9 million in the 2018 election cycle. Sisters Deborah Simon and Cynthia Simon Skjodt each gave the group $1 million. Other major donors included: Henry Laufer, chief scientist and vice president of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies (and husband of Marsha Laufer), who gave $500,000; Anne Earhart, granddaughter of the late businessman Jean Paul Getty, who gave $300,000; and billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, who donated $300,000.

In 2018, little of the group’s spending went toward independent expenditures. It spent only about $25,000 on independent expenditures in the 2018 cycle. Instead, most of its money went to employee salaries, including opposition researchers. Undergraduate Fellow Isabella Fertel contributed to this article. 

Fact-checking American Bridge 21st Centurty:

FactChecking Ad About Donating ‘Our Masks and Supplies’ to China, April 23