Based in Bethesda, Maryland, the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation (DDSF) is a philanthropic organization focused on education, national security, entrepreneurship, and public policy. It has contributed to numerous groups that are suppressing voter access and subverting voting processes. DDSF is led by CEO Abby Spencer Moffat, the daughter of Shelby Cullom Davis, who made a fortune on investments and insurance and once chaired the right-leaning Heritage Foundation. According to its 2020 IRS filings, DDSF has net assets totaling $1.5 billion.
DDSF was reportedly the largest donor to the short-lived Daniel Morgan Graduate School in Washington, D.C., which was founded in 2014 to train students for the fields of national security and intelligence. The academy closed its doors permanently in July 2020 after several young male employees reported that the school’s special advisor to the president had sexually abused them..
January 6, 2021
- DDSF helps fund the Media Research Center (MRC), a nonprofit responsible for spreading disinformation related to the Jan. 6 insurrection. That day MRC retweeted a message from its founder Brent Bozell that read “99% of the protesters today were justifiably outraged—and peaceful. 1% were reprehensible. But I can tell you with 100% confidence that the 99% peaceful protesters will be completely ignored by our leftist news media.”
The Big Lie
- In 2019 and 2020, DDSF distributed grants totaling $300,000 to the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) for “election integrity.” In March 2020, TPPF launched an Election Integrity Project that spread the myth of widespread voter fraud and helped Texas Republicans put an effective spin on the voter suppression bills passed there in 2021.
- In 2020, DDSF distributed $200,000 to the Eagle Forum Educational and Legal Defense Fund (EFELDF) for an “election integrity project.” The EFELDF is one of the organizations behind the Jericho March on Dec. 12, 2020 that spread lies about voter fraud that helped build momentum behind the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Post-2020 Election Subversion
- Between 2018 and 2020, DDSF provided the Lawyers’ Democracy Fund (LDF) with $625,000 for an “election integrity project.” LDF advocates for strict voter ID laws and opposes all mail-in ballots and mandatory voter registration.
- In January 2020, LDF helped overturn Pennsylvania’s no-excuse absentee voting law in Commonwealth Court and filed an amicus brief with Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) in the Supreme Court case Berger v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, arguing in favor of giving the state legislature the power to intervene to defend the constitutionality of North Carolina’s voter ID law.
- DDSF is a major donor to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), providing $550,000 in 2020, with $440,000 of that designated exclusively for “accurate and verifiable voter rolls: an American public awareness campaign.” Following the 2020 election, ALEC has worked with right-wing politicians such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to restrict voting access.
- In 2020, DDSF granted the Judicial Education Project—now known as The 85 Fund—$450,000 for “election integrity initiatives in various states.” The 85 Fund’s Honest Elections Project has campaigned against mail-in voting, advocated for paper-only ballots, and worked with ALEC to develop policies that suppress voter turnout.