SPARC: Sneaky in the ❤️ of TX?
When a SPARC employee testified before the Texas legislature, she didn't name her employer until pressed
SPARC is a project within the New Venture Fund (NVF), a large non-profit political lobbying organization, the kind that sprang up after the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. FEC ruling in 2010.
As such, the status of SPARC employees as lobbyists is conveniently vague — being part of an NVF project, they aren’t required to register as lobbyists, and can attend meetings and other functions as representatives of SPARC, which consistently and misleadingly portrays itself as a non-profit (it is not).
More and more people understand that SPARC is operating in a lobbying “gray zone.” Disclosures that SPARC is heavily managed by NVF only increased the awareness of SPARC’s gray zone lobbying practices.
However, when SPARC employees consciously fail to disclose the name of their employer to legislative bodies and instead portray themselves as self-motivated grassroots activists, we may be in a different zone altogether.