American Accountability Foundation

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The American Accountability Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization launched with the help of the rightwing Conservative Partnership Institute that describes itself as a "government oversight and research organization that uses investigative tools to educate the public on issues related to personnel, policy, and spending".[1]

With a Twitter handle of "@ExposingBiden", the group works to prevent Biden Administration nominees from getting approved.[2] It also hosts a website called BidenNoms.com that tracks how Republican senators vote for President Biden's nominees. The site describes itself as "an effort to ensure that personnel in leadership positions within the federal government reflect the values and concerns of the American people, not the liberal coastal elite or their woke allies in corporate America."[3] The site also includes profiles of each nominee.

Fox News reported that the AAF focuses on the second tier of Biden's nominees, the appointees beneath the Cabinet level. Jones told Fox News, "That second tier are really the folks who are going to do the day-to-day work implementing the agenda...It's obviously severely problematic if there's a radical leftist running an agency, but it's also really problematic if their deputy has worked on leftist issues in the past and is out of step and has deep roots within the progressive movement and is going to implement an agenda out of touch with what the American people care about."[4]

News and Controversies

AAF Attack on Federal Reserve Nominee Lisa Cook

Following Biden's nomination of Michigan State University professor Lisa Cook to the Federal Reserve, AAF group sought to discredit Cook's tenure at the school and further qualifications for the position, Politico reported. Cook's nomination garnered bipartisan support and she was endorsed by both conservative and liberal economists.[5] The New Yorker reported that Jones fished for information from about 50 of her colleagues at MSU, asking in an email, "Are any of you concerned that... she's not good enough to sit on the Federal Reserve Board?"[6] He also posted about Cook on "Economics Job Market Rumors", an online forum that the New York Times reports as "a cesspool of misogyny".[7]

AAF Spread Misleading Claims about SCOTUS Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson

In alignment with a widespread misconception[8] popularized by Republicans, AAF released a statement saying Biden's nominee for Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson "argued that America's judicial system is 'unfair' to sexual predators".[9]

AAF Attack on the Raskin Family

AAF launched an attack on Sarah Bloom Raskin and her husband Jamie Raskin following Bloom Raskin's nomination to the Vice Chair for Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Due to her stance on the fossil fuel industry's hand in climate change, AAF pushed the narrative that "Sarah and Jamie Raskin are career politicians who have used the system to enrich themselves"[10] The AAF filed an ethics complaint against Jamie Raskin due to his late disclosure of a stock sale by Sarah Bloom Raskin.[11] While Bloom Raskin told the New Yorker that she did not expect special treatment, she did explain that their son had committed suicide two weeks after the sale and that they "were comatose, barely functioning, so of course Jamie didn't remember to file".[6]

AAF Attack on Comptroller of the Currency Nominee Saule Omarova

AAF bullied President Biden's nominee for Comptroller of the Currency Saule Omarova into withdrawing herself from consideration after launching an investigation into her history and falsely painting her as a Marxist. Omarova told the New Yorker, "There were so many accusations. AAF was at the forefront of making my life extremely and unnecessarily difficult. It was complete absurdity. But people who have no idea who I am jumped in and said, 'Go back to the Soviet Union!'."[6] The AAF's tactics for attacking Omarova primarily involved taking clips of her speaking and reproducing them without context and weaponizing her childhood in Kazakhstan against her.[12]

AAF Attack on Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Nominee David Chipman

The New Yorker reported that the AAF accused Chipman of being both racist and too "woke", exaggerating his belief that Army bases should not be named after Confederate soldiers and his opposition to monuments that celebrate them due to their racial insensitivity. AAF claimed that he wanted to "use fighter jets to bomb" Mount Rushmore. Due to the relentless harassment of AAF, users on Twitter called for his death and his wife, a long-time ATF employee felt too unsafe to continue working and quit her job[6].

AAF Infiltrated Zoom Training Meeting for Congressional Staffers

AAF members posing as congressional aides infiltrated and recorded a Zoom meeting about earmark spending rules in the spring of 2021. The recording was posted online. Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander wrote in an email, "For a group that purports to concern itself with ethics, using fake identities, misrepresenting themselves as Congressional staff and surreptitiously recording meetings is hypocritical in the extreme."[13] Founder Tom Jones told Fox News, "I'm never doing anything illegal but just because it's impolite to log into an earmark training seminar and offend the morals of Capitol Hill staff, that's not going to stop me from doing it."[4]

Launched with the Help of the Conservative Partnership Institute

AAF lists itself as in care of the Conservative Partnership Institute in its 501(c)(3) application, and in CPI's 2021 annual report, it described that AAF was part of a "new dimension" to the group's work. The report states, "Before the American Accountability Foundation (AAF), conservatives didn't have a group performing research on Biden's woke nominees-- even though plenty of liberal groups were digging up (or manufacturing) dirt on our side."[14]

AAF Founder Tom Jones

Founder and executive director Tomas Jones was the Legislative Director to Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Senior Policy Advisor to former Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Opposition Research Director for Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz, and served as the President of both the 339 Group and the Cannon Research Group.[15] He also served as legislative director for John Ensign of Nevada.[6] He told Fox News that AAF wants to "take a big handful of sand and throw it in the gears of the Biden Administration" and that, unlike other opposition groups, AAF is based not on individual clients but on "causing trouble for the new administration".[4]

Funding

Funding information for AAF is not publicly available as of July 2022.

Core Financials

Core financials for AAF are not publicly available as of July 2022.

Personnel

Staff Members[16]

  • Thomas Jones, Founder
  • Matthew Buckham, Founder

Board Members[17]

  • Wesley Denton, Secretary
  • Ed Corrigan, Treasurer

Contact Information

Employer Identification Number (EIN): 85-4391204

American Accountability Foundation
300 Independence Ave, SE
Washington DC 2003

Articles and Resources

Articles

IRS Filings

Tax-Exempt Application

References

  1. American Accountability Foundation, American Accountability Foundation About, "AAF", accessed June 28, 2022.
  2. @ExposingBiden, American Accountability Foundation Twitter Profile, "AAF", accessed July 5, 2022.
  3. BidenNoms, BidenNoms, "BidenNoms", accessed July 5, 2022.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Adam Shaw, New conservative group wields unorthodox tactics to block Biden agenda, nominees, "Fox News", April 13, 2021.
  5. Kate Davidson and Aubree Eliza Weaver, Breaking down the Biden budget, "Politico", March 29, 2022.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Jane Mayer, The Slime Machine Targeting Dozens of Biden Nominees, "The New Yorker", April 16, 2022.
  7. Justin Wolfers, Evidence of a Toxic Environment for Women in Economics, "The New York Times", August 18, 2017.
  8. Seung Min Kim, Aaron C. Davis, and Paul Kane, Ketanji Brown Jackson passionately defends her sentencing of sex offenders, "The Washington Post", March 22, 2022.
  9. American Accountability Foundation, AAF Investigation Uncovers SCOTUS Nominee Argued the Judicial System Is "Unfair" to Sexual Predators, "AAF Blog", February 25, 2022.
  10. Megan Henney, Rep. Jamie Raskin slapped with ethics complaint over failure to report wife's huge stock payout, "Fox Business", February 7, 2022.
  11. American Accountability Foundation, AAF Files Ethics Complaint Against Rep. Jamie Raskin, "AAF Blog", February 8, 2022.
  12. American Accountability Foundation, AAF Research Tanks Saule Omarova Comptroller of the Currency Nomination, "AAF Blog", December 7, 2021.
  13. Scott Wong, Conservative group escalates earmarks war by infiltrating trainings, "The Hill", March 24, 2021.
  14. Conservative Partnership Institute, CPI 2021 Annual Report, "CPI", 2021.
  15. American Accountability Foundation, AAF Meet the Team, "AAF", accessed July 6, 2022.
  16. American Accountability Foundation, Meet AAF Leadership, "AAF", accessed July 5, 2022.
  17. American Accountability Foundation, IRS 501c3 Application, "AAF", January 25, 2021.