The secret megadonor behind the MAGA movement’s Washington ‘nerve center’

The secret megadonor behind the MAGA movement’s Washington ‘nerve center’

The Daily Beast reports:

In a few short years, the Conservative Partnership Institute has become known in Washington as the “nerve center” of the MAGA movement—an outsized power player in Congress and a hotbed of election denialism.

What hasn’t been known, however, is who exactly has underwritten the group’s rise and rapid expansion, as the conservative nonprofit buys up prime real estate on Capitol Hill and turns pricey row houses into outposts for the House Freedom Caucus—until now.

It turns out there’s one relatively unknown conservative megadonor behind much of the group’s expansion. And that donor is not on the familiar shortlist of major Republican backers. In fact, he’s not even among the top 100 political donors in the country.

His name is Mike Rydin, a retired Houston software developer. And thanks to the tens of millions of dollars he’s provided at a critical time, Rydin’s name is now all over the group.

The Daily Beast pieced together details in financial statements and other public records to identify Rydin as the largest donor by far to CPI, which Rydin confirmed in a phone call on Tuesday. In the aftermath of Jan. 6, this previously low-profile nonprofit—which has a staffing roster that reads like a Jan. 6 witness list—has found itself flush with cash and aggressively buying up ornate Capitol Hill properties. Much of that is thanks to their unsuspecting donor.

But Rydin, who gave CPI more than $25 million in the aftermath of Jan. 6, insists he doesn’t know “anything about” the Capitol attack. He also claims ignorance about CPI’s well-documented ties to central figures in Donald Trump’s attempt to reverse the 2020 election, and even total ignorance of those attempts themselves.

While those claims are difficult to accept at face value, the value of Rydin’s gift to the group, in both its size and its timing, is nothing short of incredible.

When Trump left office, CPI was a bit player in the larger ecosystem of conservative influence. But after the Jan. 6 attack, the upstart organization established itself as a safe haven for departing Trump administration staff and extremist allies, offering cush positions to figures like Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, top adviser and confidant Stephen Miller, and anti-election attorney Cleta Mitchell. [Continue reading…]

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