The Biden administration coordinated with Eric Kessler, the founder and principal of the Arabella Advisors consulting firm, which oversees a massive liberal dark money network, on key agriculture policy issues, according to emails obtained by Fox News Digital.
The internal Department of Agriculture (USDA) communications — obtained by Americans for Public Trust (APT) and shared with Fox News Digital — show that Kessler was involved in initiatives to “transform” the U.S. food system and to crack down on the meat industry for high prices. Kessler was the only individual on the email chains who wasn't affiliated with the USDA.
“These emails reveal that Eric Kessler has direct access to Biden cabinet officials and plays an intimate role in shaping this administration’s agenda,” APT executive director Caitlin Sutherland told Fox News Digital. “As the architect and operator of the largest dark money network in U.S. politics, Kessler’s cozy relationship with Secretary Vilsack raises questions about the level of influence his foreign-funded Arabella network has on the Biden administration and its policies.”
The emails obtained by Fox News Digital show that on July 15, 2021, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack emailed Kessler, Marty Matlock, a USDA senior advisor for food systems resiliency, and Matthew McKenna, a former senior advisor to Vilsack. Vilsack expressed his excitement about a processing initiative that the three were helping to “direct and lead,” and Kessler responded positively.
Months later, in September 2021, Vilsack emailed Kessler and McKenna in an email that USDA completely redacted, and then on October 31, 2021, Vilsack sent another email to Kessler and USDA officials, asking for feedback on a “processing memo.” Much of the email was redacted, but Kessler responded, thanking Vilsack for the “kind invitation” and expressing his excitement.
Finally, on Dec. 6, 2021, the agriculture secretary suggested edits to a “transformed food system” memo in an email to Wu and Jenny Moffitt, the USDA's under secretary of marketing and regulatory programs, with Kessler copied. This appears to have led to a Jan. 3, 2022, event at the White House where President Biden, Vilsack, and Attorney General Merrick Garland announced steps that administration would take to “increase processing options” for farmers and ranchers.
The USDA, though, said the emails and close coordination between Kessler, Vilsack, and other top agency officials was an example of its broad stakeholder engagement efforts.
“External partners are critical in USDA’s effort to maximize our investment in a way that creates new markets and increases income opportunities for producers,” a USDA spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement.
Kessler's Arabella Advisors, which is based in Washington, D.C., is a consulting firm that manages at least five nonprofit organizations — Sixteen Thirty Fund, New Venture Fund, Hopewell Fund, Windward Fund and North Fund — that, in turn, host and funnel money to dozens of shadowy left-wing groups. In 2021, the latest year with available data, the network hauled in more than $1.5 billion in anonymous donations.
The funds are involved in a series of social and progressive campaigns around the world, and have also focused particularly on climate change initiatives. Funds in the network have also given millions of dollars to agriculture-related programs.
Kessler and Arabella Advisors didn't respond to a request for comment. However, the emails obtained by Fox News Digital raise serious questions about the degree to which the dark money network is influencing the Biden administration's agricultural policy.