Fact Check: Did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Donate $300K to Anti-Gerrymandering Effort?

This year's once-a-decade redrawing of district lines following the 2020 Census is top of mind for lawmakers in Washington, where Democrats reintroduced H.R. 1, or the For the People Act, in January.

The goal of the 2019 bill is, in part, to put an end to the Congressional practice of redrawing district lines to gain an electoral advantage over an opposing party.

This week, a $300,000 donation from PAC to the Future, a political action committee affiliated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) is drawing the attention of critics and supporters.

The Claim

Writer Joshua Holland, reacting to an article published by the Washington Free Beacon, claimed in a tweet on Tuesday that the NDRC is an anti-gerrymandering group.

The article used public data to show financial links between PAC to the Future and the NDRC.

This money is going to the NRDC, which is an *anti-gerrymandering* group.

The people who wrote and edited this piece know that but they are utterly shameless liars. pic.twitter.com/JVEb8g15Mo

— Joshua Holland (@JoshuaHol) February 22, 2021

The Facts

Political gerrymandering is an abiding feature of U.S. politics by which state legislatures weaken the opposition's voters through the reshaping of district boundaries. This tool allows governing parties to secure and maintain power, and it's one that has frequently worked to the disadvantage of Democrats.

Electoral redistricting occurs every 10 years following the completion of the Census count of the U.S. population. In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that it didn't have the authority to hear cases about the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering in Lamone v. Benisek and Rucho v. Common Cause, two landmark cases arguing that the practice is unconstitutional.

Pelosi, a co-sponsor of H.R. 1, came out against the decision, saying that it "greenlights the unjust and deeply dangerous practice of gerrymandering, which robs Americans of their right to have an equal voice in their government."

PAC to the Future made $200,000 and $100,000 contributions to the NDRC in early 2020, according to Federal Election Commission data.

But the NDRC, which resulted from a closed-door meeting between then-President Barack Obama, Pelosi, then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in 2017, is not a "gerrymandering group."

According to the NDRC's site, the organization, which is led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, is a Democratic effort to dismantle Republican gerrymandering through legislative action, grassroots mobilization, reform and targeted election wins.

How is this different than what Democrats have frequently critiqued as unfair, unconstitutional gerrymandering?

Patrick Rodenbush, communications director for NDRC, told Newsweek that redistricting commissions in key states are citizen-led, making the process less partisan.

"Moreover, we support Congress passing the For the People Act because it would ban the partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts," Rodenbush said. "We believe that the American people—not politicians who draw the legislative lines—should decide who wins our elections."

The Ruling

True.

PAC to the Future, for which the treasurer is Paul Pelosi, Nancy's husband, did contribute $300,000 to the NDRC, which is anti-gerrymandering and says it wants to shift redistricting power from politicians to citizens.

barack obama
Former President Barack Obama spoke about the unfairness of gerrymandering in a video from September 2020. DNCC/Getty
True: The claim is verifiably correct. Primary source evidence proves the claim to be true.
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