* Left-wing activist who was formerly a conservative journalist
* President and CEO of Media Matters For America
* Complains about the “undue influence” of the “right-wing media”
* Founder of American Bridge 21st Century
* Founder of Correct the Record
* Founder of the American Independence Institute
* Founder of the American Democracy Legal Fund
* Founder of Facts First USA
Born in Hackensack, New Jersey on July 23, 1962, David Brock is an openly gay author, a former conservative who became a leftist in his thirties, and the founder of a number of leftwing, pro-Democrat, political-activism organizations.
In the early 1980s Brock was a student at UC Berkeley, where he was active in conservative campus journalism. After graduating in 1985 with a B.A. in history, he worked for a number of years at the Heritage Foundation, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Times. During the first half of the 1990s, Brock was a muckraking investigative reporter for the conservative magazine The American Spectator. All told, on a contract that paid him $350,000, Brock produced just six articles for the Spectator; these focused on President Bill Clinton’s sexual farragoes and brought Brock much fame.
Brock achieved further public prominence with his 1993 book, The Real Anita Hill, a follow-up to his identically titled March 1992 article in the Spectator. In that 17,000-word piece from ’92, Brock had: described the female accuser (Anita Hill) of then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty”; discredited the woman’s claims against Thomas; and exposed the larger left-wing smear campaign against the future Justice. Soon after the publication of the article on Ms. Hill, Brock accepted a $550,000 advance from a conservative book publisher, Free Press, to write an investigative biography of Hillary Clinton that was expected to expose the First Lady in the same sensational and salacious way that his first book had discredited Anita Hill. An initial press run of 200,000 copies was announced for this projected bestseller.
But Brock ultimately failed to produce the book he had promised. When The Seduction of Hillary Rodham was released in October 1996, it was a pedestrian account of a well-intentioned liberal who Brock said was misunderstood by the “mainstream media” and had been “seduced by the talented boy from the Arkansas backwoods.”
Brock portrayed Mrs. Clinton in surprisingly sympathetic light: “Hillary had the ill fortune to take power at a moment in history when much of the public had turned against the panacea of big government,” he explained. The author also took extraordinary pains to defend Mrs. Clinton against a host of charges. Of her suspicious success in commodities trading, and her subsequent evasiveness on that subject, for instance, Brock contended that the criticisms were merely “lawyerly nit-picking.” Besides, he reasoned, “it might simply be said that politicians shade the truth all the time.”
Yet Brock’s effusive apologetics convinced virtually no one. Even The New York Times, hardly a citadel of anti-Clinton sentiment, scolded Brock for straining to absolve Mrs. Clinton from her involvement in the Whitewater scandal. As word of the book’s tepid contents spread, its sales plummeted.
In the June 1997 issue of Esquire magazine, Brock wrote “Confessions of a Right-Wing Hit Man,” in which he claimed that conservatives were now punishing him for the independence of thought he had exhibited by refusing to vilify Hillary Clinton.
Also in the mid- to late ’90s, Brock developed a close relationship with Neel Lattimore, Mrs. Clinton’s openly gay press secretary and close confidante. Brock’s affinity for Mrs. Clinton, as well, grew over time, and vice versa.
Brock followed up his Esquire article with a March 1998 public letter of apology to Bill Clinton, in which he repudiated his (Brock’s) own past reporting on the former president’s private life. Brock also condemned the Arkansas state troopers who had been the sources for his 1994 “Troopergate” story on Clinton’s extra-marital affairs, now claiming that those troopers had acted out of “greedy” and “slimy” motives—though he stopped short of calling their allegations untrue. He similarly denounced Clinton’s Arkansas critics as “segregationists” who “hated Clinton for his progressive record on race.”
Notwithstanding Brock’s apology to the former president, the relevant facts of his reporting on “Troopergate” were corroborated by subsequent reports in the Los Angeles Times, But in no way did this faze Brock, who said: “Most journalists never admit they were wrong. The Los Angeles Times made many of the mistakes that I did.”
In March 2002, Brock publicly embraced Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that her husband had been the target of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” which alleged, without basis in fact, that her husband had carried on an adulterous affair with Monica Lewinsky. Asked by television host Matt Lauer whether he (Brock) himself had been part of the conspiracy alleged by Clinton, Brock replied: “I was, and I was stunned when she said it because I said, finally somebody gets it…”
In 2002, Brock published the book Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative. Billed as a confessional account of Brock’s disaffection with conservative politics, the book was in reality a series of malicious attacks on his former colleagues. Even as he cast himself as the reformed pawn of an all-powerful conservative movement — “a witting cog in the Republican sleaze machine,” as he put it — Brock brazenly interrogated the ethics of his onetime friends and co-workers, heaping contempt on everything from their views to their wardrobe. For instance, Brock was not above mocking Wlady Pleszczynski—the longtime editorial director of The American Spectator who, at considerable peril to his own reputation, had been one of Brock’s staunchest defenders in the late Nineties—for his “heavy brown corduroy jackets and clodhoppers.” Conservative author David Horowitz, meanwhile, stood accused by the openly gay Brock of uttering a “hateful anti-gay slur to an editor friend of mine whom Horowitz didn’t know was gay.” According to Brock, such slurs were characteristic of the “real attitude of the conservative movement towards homosexuality” and were a major cause of his defection to the left.
But the editor in question, Chad Conway, unreservedly denied Brock’s claim about Horowitz. Said Conway to Horowitz: “You have never made an anti-gay slur to me, or about David Brock or anyone else; you have never said anything hurtful to me — not about gays or anything else. I have always enjoyed our professional relationship and our friendship, and you have always been supportive of me.”
And according to Horowitz: “When I confronted the bestselling defamer [Brock] on the NPR show with this refutation of his claims, he was not the least apologetic or regretful for what he had done. He neither retracted his slander, nor attempted to defend it. He simply pretended that he had not been confronted with it, and moved on to the next page of his attack.”
Notably, Brock was “outed” as a homosexual not by conservatives but by left-wing journalist and New York Times columnist Frank Rich. When Rich’s malicious column appeared, Brock was defended by conservatives who rallied to his side. Even as an outed gay conservative, Brock was one of the highest-paid journalists in the country—and by conservative sources. Far from being “anti-gay” as Brock claimed, Horowitz had long been an outspoken conservative defender of gays.
Having ceremoniously severed ranks with the conservative movement, Brock set about concocting a fictional persona as an objective journalist who was no longer driven by myopic political interests. “It’s only since coming out of the right wing that I’ve been able to see beyond partisan politics and careerism to what’s really important in life,” he said in a 2002 interview with The Washington Post. “[T]he blinders off and the anger gone,” was how Brock described his newfound sensibility.
Brock also began working as a research assistant for Democratic political operative Sidney Blumenthal, a former top advisor and confidante to President Bill Clinton. In his sympathetic 2004 book about the scandals that had embroiled the Clinton administration, The Clinton Wars, Blumenthal revealed that Brock had helped him construct a partisan narrative that painted Clinton’s critics as agents of a well-organized ideological onslaught laying siege to the office of the presidency.
By the fall of 2003, Brock had his sights set on creating a new Internet-based initiative—Media Matters For America—a political rapid-response website that would monitor and criticize conservative media. Around that same time, at a Washington, D.C. meeting of friends and supporters of Hillary Clinton, Brock met Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of the fashion company Esprit and a major donor to Democratic causes. When Brock told Buell about his Media Matters idea, she was highly receptive. “It just made so much sense to me,” Buell later recalled. “All this garbage that’s coming out of the Right is like the worst contamination of this country…. He [Brock] brought so much understanding of what goes on over there. He’s very articulate, and very, very bright.” So impressed was Buell, that she eventually held a fundraiser for Brock and his new project at her San Francisco home.
According to Glenn Thrush of Newsday, Hillary Clinton personally “encourag[ed]” and “advised Brock on creating” Media Matters as “a liberal equivalent of the Media Research Center, a conservative group that has aggravated Democrats for decades.” When Brock formally announced the launch of Media Matters in early May 2004, billionaire George Soros and former Clinton chief-of-staff John Podesta helped him raise $2 million for the venture. Moreover, as Thrush noted: “[Hillary] Clinton’s extended family of contributors, consultants and friends … played a pivotal role in helping Media Matters grow,” in terms of both its size and its operating budget. Moreover, Brock hired the aforementioned Neel Lattimore, Mrs. Clinton’s press secretary and confidante, as a director of “special projects” for Media Matters. “The right wing in this country has dominated the debate over liberal bias, Brock said in a May 2004 interview about his new Internet-based venture. “By dominating that debate, my belief is they’ve moved the media itself to the right and therefore they’ve moved American politics to the right.”
Brock made the point more simply in his 2004 book, The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How it Corrupts Democracy, an invective-fueled broadside against “biased right-wing media,” “biased right-wing commentators,” and a “mainstream media susceptible to right-wing scripting.” “My view,” wrote Brock, “is that unchecked right-wing media power means that in the United States today, no issue can be honestly debated and no election can be fairly decided.”
In an interview with Mother Jones magazine three months later, Brock, dismissing conservative complaints about liberal bias in the news media, derided “this phony notion of balance—that we need to hear all sides of a story, and that everyone’s entitled to express their opinion.” The conservative side of the story, he explained, was replete with falsehoods. Indeed, Brock has long maintained that conservatives “are simply willing to lie” to gain political advantage.
In a February 2005 speech to interns at the Center for American Progress, Brock stated: “We have seen the mainstream media increasingly accommodating conservatism and this is not an accident. This is the result of a coordinated and financed effort by the right wing to pressure, push and bully the media to do that.”
During that same general time period, Brock was a leading proponent of resurrecting the so-called Fairness Doctrine. Enacted in 1949 by the Federal Communications Commission, this unconstitutional policy required radio and television programs to obtain licenses before broadcasting controversial views, and mandated that those views be presented in a “fair and balanced” manner—thereby setting bounds on free speech and limiting the diversity of viewpoints that could be freely aired. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine’s major provisions in 1987 ushered in a boom of new media formats, including political talk radio. In 2005 Brock joined forces with Thomas Athans, executive director of the radio program Democracy Now!, and Andrew Schwartzman of the left-wing Media Access Project, to author a petition calling for the Doctrine’s reinstatement. The petition claimed that “news consumers … are overwhelmingly exposed to a single [conservative] point of view” which is “presented in a manner not conducive to the listeners’ receiving the facts and range of opinions necessary to make informed decisions.” This same verbiage was also incorporated into H.R. 501, a February 2005 House bill introduced by Democrats “To Enforce the Public Interest Obligations of Broadcast Station Licensees to Their Local Communities.”
In 2007 Brock became involved in a high-profile dispute with William Grey, a former boyfriend who had been his domestic partner for more than ten years in the 1990s and early 2000s. In a civil lawsuit, Grey accused Brock of having taken $170,000 in possessions from the Washington townhouse which the couple had once shared, and he threatened to go to the IRS with damaging information involving Brock, Media Matters, and donors to the organization. Brock, in turn, paid Grey $850,000 to keep quiet, a payment that Brock subsequently described as “blackmail.” In order to raise the money he needed for this payoff, Brock had to sell his home in Rehoboth, Delaware. Eventually – on March 8, 2011 – Brock sued Grey for more than $4 million, demanding that Grey return the $850,000, plus pay more than $3 million in punitive damages. Brock and Grey finally settled their dispute in 2015, under terms that were not publicly disclosed.
In April 2008, Politico.com reported that Brock was collaborating with multi-billionaire George Soros and longtime Democrat operative Paul Begala to launch a four-month, $40 million media campaign designed to publicly discredit Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Brock was slated to lead the effort through an organization called Progressive Media USA, whose chairmanship he had assumed in March 2008. Brock complained that because “the press is in love with John McCain,” the Republican senator “is allowed to say [things] without being challenged by facts that will show him to have said something different in the past.” “Progressive Media USA will be a permanent part of progressive media infrastructure,” added Brock.
In 2010 Brock founded American Bridge 21st Century, a self-described “progressive research and communications organization” that conducts opposition research designed to help Democratic political candidates.
That same year, Brock served on the board of directors for the Progressive States Network, a New York City-based association of leftist leaders and activists seeking to “pass progressive legislation in all fifty states.”
In 2012 Brock reportedly earned a salary of $273,954 as chairman of the Media Matters board, a position in which he worked, on average, just 22.5 hours per week.
In 2012 as well, Brock, with the aid of his Media Matters researchers, published The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine. This book began with a potted and tendentious history of Fox News’ founder and president, Roger Ailes, much of it a rehash of media critic Michael Wolff’s earlier biography of Rupert Murdoch. According to Brock and company, Ailes was not only a rabid partisan but also a ruthless overlord, punishing anyone daring to defy his dictates. As evidence, the book cited the online gossip website Gawker, which had once run a story claiming that Ailes was having some of his employees followed. Ailes denied the allegations, but Gawker’s word was good enough for Brock, who mused that Ailes had used “personal security” from Murdoch’s News Corporation “to deal with a personal conflict.”
Brock’s book gave much attention to the partisan statements of conservative commentators who appeared on Fox News, which the author depicted as the chief “communications [arm]” and “mobilizing arm of the Republican Party.” A less excitable reading might have been that Fox News was a center-right network whose programs featured conservatives and Republicans who expressed conservative and Republican views. It should also be noted in this connection, that the network regularly featured liberal and leftist commentators, including, among many others, Bob Beckel, Alan Colmes, Kirsten Powers, Geraldo Rivera, and Juan Williams.
Equally unconvincing was the book’s suggestion that during the George W. Bush administration, Fox News had served as an uncritical public-relations arm for the president, and that its purpose essentially had been to “cheerlead for George W. Bush.” To make that case, Brock relied on an unnamed “former Fox employee” who complained that “[w]e were a Stalin-esque mouthpiece” for President Bush. The claim, however, was demonstrably untrue. Throughout Bush’s two terms in office, Fox News programs and personalities commonly criticized the administration’s policies on everything from civil liberties, to immigration, to hurricane disaster relief, to the environment, to its prosecution of the war on terror.
Brock’s book also turned its ire on Fox’s audience, asserting that “polls consistently find Fox News viewers to be the most ignorant on a variety of issues.” Contrary to that claim, however, what polls and surveys actually found was that Fox News viewers’ knowledge of current affairs was greater than the national average. Even worse for Brock’s theory, the Fox viewers who demonstrated the highest levels of political and current-affairs knowledge, scoring well above the national average, were the viewers of more polemical Fox News fare, like Hannity and The O’Reilly Factor.
In January 2013 the Daily Caller reported that Brock’s one-time aide, Media Matters staffer Haydn Price-Morris, had “committed numerous felonies in the District of Columbia and around the country by [illegally] carrying a firearm to defend” Brock. The report continued:
“[M]ultiple firearms used to protect the Media Matters founder were purchased with Brock’s blessing—and apparently with the group’s money…. Brock, whose struggles with mental health have seen him hospitalized in the past, became increasingly concerned by late 2010 that he was being targeted by right-wing assassins…. [B]y that time, Brock had armed his assistant—who had no permit to carry a concealed firearm—with a Glock handgun. According to an internal email exchange obtained by [The Daily Caller], the gun was purchased with cash in Maryland, likely to diminish the chances such a purchase would appear on the tax-exempt group’s books. Between Price-Morris’ early 2009 arrival and late 2010 departure from Media Matters, he also acquired a shotgun for Brock’s protection. Price-Morris was regularly armed when accompanying Brock on trips around the country, according to a source, and his firearm possession in Washington, DC constituted multiple felonies.”
Stephen Halbrook, a D.C.-area attorney with more than 35 years of experience practicing gun law, stated that Price-Morris — for the offense of carrying a fully-loaded Glock in the District of Columbia without a permit — “could be looking at some substantial prison time because if we use the low-end felony sentence of five years, you could get five years for the non-registration, five for the carrying, and then [more for] the second offenses of the magazine being over 10 rounds and then the cartridges.” Halbrook also said that Brock could be charged as “a conspirator, or maybe an aider or abettor of a crime.”
In November 2013, Brock launched Correct The Record, a rapid-response organization devoted to discrediting criticisms aimed against Hillary Clinton. At that time, CTR’s staff—consisting of 18 people as of September 2014—worked round-the-clock in the offices of American Bridge 21st Century.
In January 2014, Brock was named to the board of Priorities USA Action, as the super PAC announced that it would be supporting a possible Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2016. But in February 2015, Brock abruptly resigned from his post with the organization. In his resignation letter, he accused Priorities officials of having conducted “an orchestrated political hit job” against his own pro-Clinton groups, American Bridge 21st Century and Media Matters For America. Specifically, Brock was angry over a recent New York Times report that had called into question the fundraising practices of both those organizations, as well as those of another pro-Clinton group, Ready for Hillary. Brock’s letter alleged that “current and former Priorities officials were behind this specious and malicious attack on the integrity of these critical organizations.”
In June 2014, Brock launched an entity called the American Independent Institute (AII) to provide grants to journalists and to work with left-leaning news organizations on investigations that sought to expose the “nexus of conservative power in Washington” and discredit it. Brock’s launch of AII was technically a relaunch of a former state-based digital news-gathering network that bore the same name. According to Politico, the new Institute’s initial grants under Brock’s leadership were awarded to fund investigations into: (a) the Gun Owners of America; (b) the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; and (c) the “adverse impacts of the right-wing billionaire Koch Brothers’ business practices.” Upon the group’s relaunch, Brock stated that the nonprofit had “a proud of history of journalism that spurred progressive change,” and that it would “continue to meet the new challenges of democracy in a new way.” Several of the early projects funded by AII were printed in leftwing publications like the Huffington Post, Harper’s, and the Washington Monthly. The aforementioned investigation targeting Gun Owners of America, meanwhile, was featured in a July 2014 panel discussion at George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.
In August 2014, Brock was elected chairman of the watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Joining Brock on the board that year were Democrat consultant David Mercer and liberal donor Wayne Jordan. When Brock took his position as CREW’s chairman, he replaced the outgoing Melanie Sloan, a longtime leftwing activist and Democrat political operative.
In 2014 as well, Brock established the American Democracy Legal Fund, a nonprofit leftwing watchdog group committed to “promoting accountability and ethics in government and campaigns by shining a light on public officials and candidates who put their own interests ahead of public service.” Despite its purportedly nonpartisan agenda, this organization has regularly filed ethics complaints against Republican legislators, officials, and candidates. Among the targets of their complaints have been such notables as Senator Marsha Blackburn, Senator Josh Hawley, and in 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In 2015 Brock purchased Blue Nation Review (BNR), a pro-Democrat website promoting left-wing agendas by means of news articles, personal essays, investigative reports, videos, and graphics. Founded in 2014, BNR was particularly effusive in its praise of Hillary Clinton, as evidenced by an August 2016 piece titled “Hillary Clinton Is One of the Most Ethical (and Most Lied About) Political Leaders in America.” Brock’s plan was to develop BNR into a progressive media outlet that would speak directly to grassroots Americans, who were, in Brock’s estimation, “avidly and unabashedly pro-Hillary.” In September 2016 Brock rebranded BNR as “Shareblue,” whose mission would be to supplement the pro-Democrat efforts of his other enterprises — namely American Bridge 21st Century, Media Matters for America, and Correct The Record. To achieve this goal, Brock decided to bring his own people aboard; thus he terminated most of BNR’s existing staff by December 1, 2016.
In September 2015, Brock published Killing the Messenger: The Right-Wing Plot to Derail Hillary and Hijack Your Government, a book in which he applauded Hillary Clinton’s “outstanding” record as Secretary of State and heaped praise upon the Clinton Foundation for its “pathbreaking global philanthropy.” Brock even suggested that by the conclusion of the Clinton presidency in 2001, Bill and Hillary were struggling financially because “at every opportunity, they chose to devote their time and energy to improving their community, their country and their world … rather than cash out.” The book further contended that the political right was replete with wealthy donors, propagandist news organizations, and bigoted leaders seeking to undermine the influence and success of the Clinton family. Not surprisingly, the book garnered acclaim from Bill Clinton as well as Clinton allies Paul Begala and James Carville.
In September 2016 Brock posted, on the website of his pro-Hillary Clinton organization Correct the Record, an announcement of his new “TrumpLeaks” project, which was offering money in exchange for any legally obtained audio or video that might damage the presidential campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump. “One of the most important things for voters to evaluate in any election is the full measure of a candidate’s views, ideas, and temperament over time,” the Correct the Record website stated. “In making a choice for president, voters must also consider how various candidates present themselves to the public and to the world. There are few things more important in that regard than access to video or audio in the form of prior television or radio interviews or more candid video from events a candidate may have attended.”
Just a week before the November 8, 2016 presidential election, Brock, through his American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, secretly gave $200,000 to the prominent sexual-harassment attorney Lisa Bloom, to help create a fund that would pay women who were willing to come forward and accuse Republican nominee Donald Trump of having engaged in sexual misconduct against them in prior years. Fashion entrepreneur Susie Tompkins Buell, a longtime friend of Hillary Clinton, gave $500,000 to the same effort.
In January 2017, Brock was the featured speaker at a Shareblue conference held at the luxurious Turnberry Isle resort in Aventura, Florida. There, he addressed some 120 wealthy Democratic donors and he outlined his new organization’s plan to effectively “kick [the new Republican President] Donald Trump’s ass” during the ensuing four years. This plan was spelled out extensively in a 44-page confidential memo — titled “Democracy Matters: Strategic Plan for Action” — which set the agenda for Brock’s conference. According to the Washington Free Beacon: “The memo contain[ed] plans for defeating Trump through impeachment, expanding Media Matters’ mission to combat ‘government misinformation,’ ensuring Democratic control of the Senate in the 2018 midterm elections, filing lawsuits against the Trump administration, monetizing political advocacy, using a ‘digital attacker’ to delegitimize Trump’s presidency and damage Republicans, and partnering with Facebook to combat ‘fake news.’”
In his prepared remarks at the Florida conference, Brock: characterized Donald Trump as “[Vladimir] Putin’s puppet”; derided the promotion of “fake news” by “sleaze merchants of the alt-right”; said that “[FBI director] Jim Comey and the Clinton-hating traitors inside the FBI” had unquestionably “stole[n] the [2016 presidential] election” from “a woman who was one of the most qualified, dedicated, committed, forward-thinking, and – yes – honorable people ever to seek the presidency”; and lamented that the Hillary Clinton campaign had chosen, during the run-up to the election, not to exploit opposition research from Brock’s American Bridge 21st Century that depicted Trump as “not just a sexual predator, but also an economic predator.” By Brock’s telling, the Clinton campaign’s fervent belief “that Trump was already too well-branded as a successful businessman” ultimately “rob[bed] her of the only anti-Trump argument that would have opened up the all-important economic issue to her advantage.”
Also among Brock’s remarks at the conference were the following:
In April 2020, the American Bridge Foundation (ABF) was accused of illegally funneling $2.7 million to Brock’s for-profit group, True Blue Media. According to The Blaze, ABF’s transfers were reported on its IRS filings for 2017 and 2018. Craig Robinson, president of the conservative Patriots Foundation, claimed that ABF’s contributions to True Blue Media “warrants serious investigation” due to possible misuse of its nonprofit status. “These complaints we filed provide damning indictment of serious allegations about how [Brock’s] organizations have circumvented rules and exploited the tax-exempt status of the organizations for personal benefit and partisan political purposes, and potentially siphoning millions for improper purposes,” Robinson said. The Patriots Foundation also filed a formal complaint with the IRS, alleging that American Bridge sought to form a “47-person war room to take on Donald Trump with a staff of 23 researchers, a communications team of 16” people serving as rapid-response specialists tasked with smearing Trump in the media as frequently and forcefully as possible.
On March 7, 2022, Axios.com reported that Brock had launched a “dark money” effort – funded by anonymous donors — to disbar, publicly shame, and impoverish more than 100 attorneys who had participated in filing post-election legal challenges to the results of the 2020 presidential election that saw Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump. This initiative was called the “65 Project” – named after the number of post-election lawsuits that had been filed on Trump’s behalf. “A dark money group with ties to Democratic Party heavyweights will spend millions this year to expose and try to disbar more than 100 lawyers who worked on Donald Trump’s post-election lawsuits,” said Axios, which quoted Brock stating that his goal was to “not only bring the grievances in the bar complaints, but shame them and make them toxic in their communities and in their firms.” Axios further noted that the 65 Project was targeting three groups of lawyers: those who had represented Trump, those who had sought to become “alternate electors,” and those who had been present at the January 6, 2021 protest at the U.S. Capitol, whether or not they had violated any law.
On November 16, 2022, Brock abruptly announced that he would be stepping down from his role as chairman of Media Matters. “As of today, I am leaving my roles as Chairman of the board of Media Matters for America, Media Matters Action Network, and American Bridge,” he said in a tweet. “It’s been my great honor to work with such talented and committed teams over the last 20 yrs. I’ll be sharing more about my next steps soon.”
Brock’s departure from Media Matters and American Bridge afforded him an opportunity to jumpstart his newly formed nonprofit group, “Facts First USA.” In a 15-page memo dated October 25, 2022, Brock explained that Facts First was essentially being launched to combat the newly elected Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and to defend President Joe Biden against possible impeachment initiatives:
“Of course, Republicans have no true basis for impeaching President Biden or any administration officials. Instead, they push baseless claims that President Biden has failed to enforce immigration laws or ‘enabl[ed] bribery’ by allowing [his son] Hunter Biden to influence the domestic policy of a foreign nation. Republican congressional leadership has already pledged to increase staffing for oversight committee attorneys – to cook up a reason for investigations and impeachment.”
Facts First was also formed as an effort to expose and undermine Republican political strategies against President Biden, and to prevent Donald Trump from reclaiming the presidency in 2024. Said Brock: “I do believe that, absent a vigorous [rapid-response] operation, like the one we’re putting out, I think it makes it difficult for President Biden to be re-elected…. [I]t’s the Republicans that are really making this a political issue. We are doing this in response.”
A November 2022 NBC News story reported that Brock had also met with Joe Biden’s son Hunter in order to prepare him for potential ethics investigations by Republicans. Said Biden about that meeting: “I came out of that [meeting with Hunter Biden] not nervous. I came out of that thinking that we’ll be able to show, over time, [that] this is a Republican fantasy narrative driven by a lot of unreliable witnesses and spurious conspiracy theories…. To me, the main story here is of an addictive person who has mental health issues of the kind that are in most families in America…. I also think it’s the story of Joe Biden as an empathetic father.”