The American Accountability Foundation (AAF) is a nonprofit launched by the far-right Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), which refers to itself as a “government oversight and research organization” that uses “aggressive research and investigations to advance conservative messaging, rapid response, and Congressional investigations.”
However, much of AAF’s work is actually focused on discounting and discrediting President Biden and his executive nominees through opposition research and negative, often factually inaccurate narratives. The organization uses the X handle @ExposingBiden to push its point of view. During the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson, for instance, AAF “put forward [the narrative] that she had supported lighter sentences for people who had been involved with child pornography,” according to journalist Maggie Severns.
AAF has released a number of reports to assist right-wing attacks on “woke capitalism” and ESG investing. In July 2023, it published Naming and Shaming: The ESG Movement’s Efforts to Defund Trade Associations and Put the Advocacy Community Out of Business. The report argues that ESG-related shareholder resolutions at public companies are actually “ideologically motivated to suppress the speech of conservatives and business groups,” specifically through defunding corporate lobbying.
In July 2023, AAF also produced Proxy Wars: Glass Lewis, a report claiming that the proxy advisory company Glass Lewis has an “overwhelmingly liberal” bias that has fueled the “implementation of ESG policies at major corporations.”
In April 2023, AAF published what it calls an investigative report titled None of It Is Our Money: An Introduction to the Leftist Activists and Liberal DC Insiders at BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street Using Your Money to Advance Their Political Agenda. The report has been publicized by other anti-ESG groups such as the Independent Women’s Forum.
In February 2023, AAF joined other major anti-ESG groups in signing a group letter calling on U.S. senators to “stop Biden’s ideological embezzling of Americans’ retirement accounts.” The following month, it signed onto an Advancing American Freedom letter thanking senators who opposed President Biden’s “woke 401(k)” rule.
AAF is led by Tom Jones, a former legislative director for Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and was head of opposition research for Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. According to the Wall Street Journal, AAF has received funding from Leonard Leo’s Marble Freedom Trust, but the Center for Media and Democracy has not been able to document this.
- President Tom Jones
- Research Director Jerome Trankle
- Conservative Partnership Institute: $335,100 (2021)
- Goldman Sachs Charitable Gift Fund: $25,000 (2021)
- Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund: $17,500 (2021)
- Institute for Citizen Focused Service: $10,000 (2021)
- Swenson Family Foundation: $5,000 (2022)
- Total revenue: $551,544
- Total expenses: $530,360
- Net assets: $21,184
Source: 2021 IRS filing