James Murdoch, an heir to the Fox News fortune, spent $20 million opposing Donald Trump's 2020 reelection while funneling another $100 million through a nonprofit to support leftwing political groups, according to a new report.
James and his wife, Kathryn Murdoch, have largely backed Democrats or liberal, nonpartisan causes, according to CNBC, which found the large contribution while reviewing the 2019 tax return documents of Quadrivium, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit the couple control. Quadrivium was founded in 2014.
It has been widely known that the young Murdochs backed President Joe Biden's candidacy, but the $100 million for Democrats and other PACs was not well publicized, having been funneled through Quadrivium, CNBC reported.
The Murdoch family is worth $22 billion, according to Forbes.
The family controls Fox Corp and News Corp. James' brother, Lachlan Murdoch, is CEO of Fox, the parent to Fox News.
While James' father, 90-year-old billionaire Rupert Murdoch, and brother, Lachlan, are considered staunch Republicans, James has made known to associates that upon his father’s passing he and his more liberal sisters will control the family trust, and thereby Fox News.
Earlier this year, the Financial Times reported that upon gaining control, James and his sisters do not plan on selling Fox News, but will reshape it into an establishment media outlet.
More than $25 million of James and Kathryn’s funding in 2019 went toward grants, including for several political causes, such as fighting climate change and helping voter turnout.
That was not the extent of the funding for the 2020 election cycle, a source close to the family told CNBC, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Quadrivium had $100 million in its coffers going into 2020, the tax document showed — the same year James was CEO of 21st Century Fox before it was bought by Disney for $71 billion. He was also on the board of News Corp. at the time.
Quadrivium has committed over $43 million to climate groups since 2019, and more than $38 million — $14 million in Quadrivium donations and $24 million in individual contributions from the couple — toward election organizations, such as protecting voting rights.
Get-out-the-vote campaigns in Georgia — where Republicans lost two Senate runoffs Jan. 5 — also received donations from the couple.
James also signed onto a public statement opposing "any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot."
In what was viewed as a not-so-veiled reference to Fox News, James attacked conservative media that was sympathetic to then-President Trump's challenge of the 2020 election.
Murdoch claimed such media were "propagating lies."
"The damage is profound," James told the Financial Times after the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol. "The sacking of the Capitol is proof positive that what we thought was dangerous is indeed very much so. Those outlets that propagate lies to their audience have unleashed insidious and uncontrollable forces that will be with us for years."
Among the sums and beneficiaries cited in the report:
- $11 million to the Environmental Defense Fund, with which Kathryn Murdoch has been a trustee for years.
- $2.5 million for Democracy Works Inc., a nonprofit to help register people to vote.
- $2 million for Represent.Us, a nonprofit group that includes Hollywood elites J.J. Abrams, Michael Douglas, and Jennifer Lawrence, and works to "pass powerful state and local laws that fix our broken elections and stop political bribery."
- $1 million for The Brennan Center for Justice.
A spokesman for the couple declined to comment to CNBC on the report.
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