Mercer paid millions to target anti-Muslim ads at voters: report

Mercer paid millions to target anti-Muslim ads at voters: report
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Billionaire investor Robert Mercer pumped $2 million into a conservative nonprofit group that used Facebook and Google to target anti-Muslim ads toward certain voters in swing states in 2016, according to tax records obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The ads — three in all — mimic travel advertisements intended to stoke fears of Muslim influence in France, Germany and the United States. Most voters were never exposed to the ads because they were targeted toward people most likely to be receptive to them, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The ads do not specifically mention the names of political candidates.


Mercer was among three donors that provided most of the funding for Secure America Now (SAN), the nonprofit group behind the ads that operates out of a law firm in Washington, D.C., the tax records show.

Mercer spent millions of dollars in 2016 to support the campaign of President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE and is a prominent backer of conservative causes.

The other donors include Estee Lauder heir Ronald Lauder, who gave $1.1 million, and the secret-money group 45Committee, which pumped another $2 million into SAN. 

An additional $60,000 in reported contributions to the group came from former Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson, Republican donor Foster Friess and Olympus Ventures LLC, a company tied to the foundation created by Best Buy founder Dick Schulze, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Bloomberg News first reported in October 2017 that SAN worked directly with employees at Google and Facebook to target the ads toward a specific audience determined to be more receptive to their message.