(Washington Free Beacon) The left-wing billionaire and media donor Pierre Omidyar is behind the dark-money group that has kept its donors secret for nearly a year and is leading a corporate boycott campaign against Twitter owner Elon Musk.
Omidyar, the eBay founder and financial backer of the Intercept and ProPublica, donated $509,500 to Accountable Tech in 2021 and 2022, according to a recently updated list of grants disclosed by Omidyar’s foundation. Omidyar also gave $2 million to at least six other organizations that targeted Musk, criticizing him in letters and op-eds as “uniquely ill-suited for the job of running a social media platform” and warning that he would turn Twitter into a “free-for-all of hate and harassment.”
The news reveals one of the primary forces behind the anti-Musk campaign. Accountable Tech has been dodging questions about its donors for months. Over the past year, Accountable Tech and other groups bankrolled by Omidyar organized campaigns to pressure corporations to boycott Twitter and issued statements and op-eds denouncing Musk and calling for government investigations into the billionaire. “I wonder who funds them,” wrote Musk in May, in response to a Washington Free Beacon report about the organization’s secretiveness.
A spokeswoman for the Omidyar Network confirmed the funding but told the Free Beacon that the foundation didn’t order the Twitter boycott campaign. “We routinely support organizations that share our vision for a responsible technology system, but do not direct their day-to-day activities,” said spokeswoman Beth Kanter.
It is unclear the exact amount Omidyar gave to Accountable Tech. As of Sunday, Omidyar Network listed grants on its website worth $509,500 that were given in 2021 and 2022. After the Free Beacon reached out for comment on Monday, the Omidyar Network edited its database to show just one $209,500 grant to “North Fund 2022 Accountable Tech P&P Project Funding” on Oct. 24, 2022. It also removed the grants to two other organizations that criticized Musk.
Kanter said the website updates were actually made on Friday, although they were not reflected when the Free Beacon visited the website over the weekend. She said the foundation removed funding that had expired, including a prior grant to Accountable Tech from 2021 to 2022.
The Free Beacon reported last year that Accountable Tech—which calls itself a “small nonprofit taking on Big Tech companies”—has no physical footprint and is a registered trade name of the North Fund, a $66 million nonprofit group that uses aliases to push an array of left-wing causes from a shell office in Washington, D.C.
Accountable Tech did not respond to a request for comment.
Omidyar’s ties to the anti-Musk campaign is notable due to the personal history between the two billionaires. The eBay founder helped launch Musk into the ranks of the super-wealthy by buying PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002. Over the next two decades, Musk multiplied this fortune and climbed his way to the top of the Forbes billionaire list.
But the two tech moguls now find themselves on opposing sides of the political debate. Omidyar has poured millions into pro-Democrat dark-money groups such as the Sixteen Thirty Fund, while Musk has praised Republicans like Florida governor Ron DeSantis and rolled back Twitter’s speech restrictions targeting conservatives.