A truck with a “Fire Gay” message drives through Harvard Square. The congressional testimony of Harvard University president Claudine Gay has caused a stir on campus on Dec 10th. 2023.

Pat Greenhouse | Boston Globe | Getty Images

A far-right activist group that is doxxing college students who engage in pro-Palestinian protests revealed that it is funded by top Republican political donors and nonprofits backed by wealthy business leaders, a tax return reviewed by CNBC shows.

The group, Accuracy in Media, publicly disclosed on its federal tax return a list of donors who combined to contribute nearly $1.9 million to the tax-exempt nonprofit between May 2022 and April of last year.

The contributors listed on the tax return include billionaire Republican megadonor Jeff Yass, who Accuracy in Media said gave it $1 million.

The family foundation of shipping supply magnate Richard Uihlein is also identified on the tax return, which says the Ed Uihlein Family Foundation gave $10,000. The Milstein Family Foundation, which is run by real estate executive and Republican donor Adam Milstein, gave another $10,000, the group reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

According to its tax return, Accuracy in Media said it received $15,000 from the Coors brewing family’s charitable foundation. The Adolph Coors Foundation is chaired by former Molson Coors executive Peter H. Coors, according to the foundation’s latest tax records.

Yass, Uihlein, Milstein and Coors have all donated regularly to Republican campaigns over the past decade.

But Yass stands apart from the others. The co-founder of options trading powerhouse Susquehanna International Group and his wife Janine are the single highest political donors of the 2024 election. So far, Yass and his wife have contributed $70 million to dozens of Republican candidates and committees, according to the nonpartisan campaign finance database OpenSecrets.

Tents and signs fill Harvard Yard by the John Harvard statue in the Pro-Palestinian encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 5, 2024.

Joseph Prezioso | Afp | Getty Images

Accuracy in Media blamed its accountant when CNBC informed the group that its 2022 federal tax return had been filed with a list of major donors and contribution amounts included. This data is typically meant only for the IRS.

Accuracy in Media did not dispute the authenticity of the nonprofit tax return. Nor did it challenge the accuracy of 25 out of the 26 donations listed.

But AIM president Adam Guillette told CNBC Yass had been misidentified, and he did not give to the organization.

Yass’ name and his business address appear on two separate pages of AIM’s 2022 tax return. The amount it says that Yass gave, $1 million, is the largest contribution listed on the filing for that year.

“Jeff Yass is not an AIM donor and never has been. I think our accounting firm made a major, major error,” Guillette told CNBC.

The accounting firm, JBS & Company, said the information on the tax return was provided by the client, Accuracy in Media. It also said that the return contained an “incorrect donor.” But it did not say who the donor was, or who said that it was incorrect.

“We filed a Form 990, authorized by our client, and identifying an incorrect donor. We apologize on behalf of our client and to those incorrectly identified as donors to organizations that are not donors too. We have no further comment,” Phil Headley, a certified public accountant at JBS, wrote CNBC in an email.

A spokesman for Yass did not return a request from CNBC to clarify whether he made the donation or not. Milstein, Uihlein and representatives from the Adolph Coors Foundation did not return requests for comment.

CNBC was able to independently confirm the accuracy of the contributions AIM listed from the Uihlein and Coors foundations by cross-checking the amounts against the foundations’ publicly available records of donations they made. The Yass entry, however, was reported as coming from an individual, and not a foundation.

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Nonprofit groups are not required to release their donors’ names publicly, but they are required to report to the IRS the names of donors who gave $5,000 or more. Typically, tax-exempt groups redact these major donors’ names on the public versions of their tax returns. But in this case, AIM did not.

Instead, the organization submitted its 2022 tax return to the IRS earlier this year with the names of major donors still attached. The forms were later posted online on Candid’s nonprofit database and ProPublica‘s Nonprofit Explorer.

While it’s rare for a tax-exempt group to reveal the names and contribution levels of its donors, this is not the first time a nonprofit appears to have inadvertently posted a tax return that contained this information.

The conservative Independent Women’s Forum included the names and amounts of its major donors in a 2021 tax return it filed with the South Carolina Secretary of State’s office. The IWF filing revealed that Amazon had donated $400,000 to the group.

The secretary of state’s office defended its handling of the records, telling CNBC that IWF had “failed to redact” its donor names before filing the return. Shortly after CNBC alerted the office that IWF’s donor details were online, the pages were removed.

AIM’s aggressive tactics

The only employee Accuracy in Media reports on its latest tax return is Guillette. A former vice president of Project Veritas, the far-right camera sting group, many of AIM’s tactics are similar to those employed by Project Veritas.

For months, Accuracy in Media has waged a doxxing campaign against college students and faculty who the group determines are either too supportive of Palestinians, or not supportive enough of Israel. Gaza has been under siege by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, 2023, when Hamas attacked Israel.

Within days of the attack, Accuracy in Media was driving a mobile billboard around Harvard University, with names and photos of college students who allegedly belonged to groups that signed a letter blaming Israel for Hamas’ attack. The students’ names and photos had “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites” above them.

A student protester stands in front of the statue of John Harvard, the first major benefactor of Harvard College, draped in the Palestinian flag, at an encampment of students protesting against the war in Gaza, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

Ben Curtis | AP

AIM’s billboard campaign did not stop at Harvard. The group says on its website that it carried out similar billboard campaigns with college students’ names and photos on trucks at City University of New York, Berkeley Law School, University of Southern California, Columbia University and Stanford, among others.

The group has also launched websites that take aim at students and universities.

Last fall, Accuracy in Media drove trucks to the homes of three university presidents: Harvard’s Claudine Gay, University of Pennsylvania’s Liz Magill and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth. The trucks were covered with photos of the women and accusations of antisemitism.

Gay and Magill later resigned amid backlash over their testimony at a congressional hearing about antisemitism on college campuses. Both administrators defended their responses to campus protests.

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