TakeAction MN takes a victory lap

The role of the far-left advocacy group gets noticed.

We’ve written frequently of the St. Paul-based far-left advocacy group TakeAction Minnesota‘s efforts to move the state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party ever leftward.

Overall, they had a pretty good run this election season in the just-concluded municipal races. True, they backed incumbent Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, who lost decisively (40%-60%) to former state legislator Roger Reinert. And their city council pick in Minneapolis Ward 8, Soren Sorenson, fell just 38 votes short of ousting the incumbent, Andrea Jenkins.

But we’re not the only one who is noticing. St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Frederick Melo wrote last week about the nonprofit’s efforts in St. Paul’s election contests, opening his piece as follows,

In no uncertain terms, the candidate screening questionnaire from TakeAction Minnesota seeks allegiance, and not just to the progressive organizing group’s principles and priorities such as rent control and police divestment, but to the institution itself.

“How will you relate to us in an ongoing way so that we can govern together?” asks a question on the survey recently issued to candidates for the St. Paul City Council. 

Melo adds later that,

the progressive organizing group TakeAction Minnesota has become ubiquitous in city council elections in both Minneapolis and St. Paul to get out the vote and raise money for candidates.

It takes money to raise money, and TakeAction has plenty of it.

The nonprofit was originally founded in 1988 as the Minnesota Citizen Education Fund. It later changed its name to the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action. In its more recent incarnation, it has been backed a mix of private foundations and by its members, who are mostly progressive labor unions.

But in the wake of the George Floyd incident in May 2020, the nonprofit was on the receiving end of an unprecedented windfall. According to tax returns filed for the nonprofit’s charity (501c3) arm, TakeAction went from annual revenue of less than $3.6 million in 2019, to 10x that amount, almost $36 million in 2020. It turns out that more than $30 million of national charity giving in Floyd’s name was directed to something called “Black Visions Collective” which operated under the corporate structure of TakeAction.

It’s been this $30 million windfall that TakeAction has used to fund much of its left-wing political work in recent years.

TakeAction began distributing the Black Visions windfall in Fiscal Year 2021. An early investment of $725,000 was made in that year’s “defund the police” referendum in Minneapolis. That referendum was ultimately voted down.

The largest single donation in FY 2021, almost $7.2 million, went to a group called Nexus Community Partners.

The original George Floyd-inspired donors to Black Visions may or may not be disappointed to learn that their money has gone to a wide variety of groups backing Hispanics, Asians, Jews and others. My personal favorite is the $92,500 grant that went to the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) of Walnut, California.

But plenty of other Black Visions’ money was set aside for use by other political nonprofits in Minnesota, including Isaiah, Minnesota Voice, Minnesota Youth Collective, Navigate MN, Women for Political Change, and a local unit of the SEIU labor union.

In Fiscal Year 2022, the TakeAction MN 501c3 transferred $50,000 to TakeAction’s 501c4 “dark money” political nonprofit. Over the past three years, TakeAction has reported between $2 million and $3 million, each year, in financial transactions between the two corporate entities. In each instance, the money flows from the Black Vision-funded “charity” to the “dark money” operation to pay for “program service expenses.”

May the circle of virtue be ever unbroken.