U.S. President Donald Trump boarding Air Force One as he leaves Miami for campaign trips to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin on November 2, 2020 at Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida, United States.
Carlos Barrai | Reuters
A little-known dark money group has tacitly spent nearly half a million dollars on digital ads against an ordinance signed by President Donald Trump ahead of Election Day.
The buying spree came from a group called A Healthy Future, who have spent over $ 400,000 on Google, YouTube, and Facebook ads in the past 10 days.
The group is targeting Trump's Executive Order, which aims to lower the prices of prescription drugs. The decree was signed by the President in September.
One of the advertisements argues that the executive order could affect the development and pricing of a potential coronavirus vaccine.
"America needs a cure for Covid-19 now, and innovative biopharmaceutical companies are rising to the challenge. Why is President Trump risking Americans' lives with dangerous executive directives?" The voice over in the ad says.
Trump has been under investigation for his treatment of the coronavirus pandemic since March. According to the Johns Hopkins University, over 230,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the United States.
There is very little information available about who operates or funds A Healthy Future. The group's Facebook page says it is a nonprofit organization. The website does not contain contact information or names of organizers. CNBC tried to reach the organization on Twitter, but no one responded. His Twitter account only follows two people.
The front page of the website says, "Call or sign up today to tell President Trump to end most-favored-nation treatment that threatens treatments and future vaccines that would save American lives." There is then a number for the White House switchboard.
The website suggests that the group support a libertarian business ethic.
"Price control approaches have done more harm than good in the past. When the government dictates how much we should pay for our prescriptions, not only the taxpayer bears the brunt of this change, but American patients as well," the website reads under his topic .
The group's Google and YouTube ads ran on October 22nd and were active until Saturday, according to Google's ad archive. The Facebook ads started on October 22nd and will remain active.
Destinations include Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and Washington, DC regions. Pennsylvania is a key state for Trump's re-election bid. State polls have shown a close race between Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Data from Google shows that A Healthy Future spent between $ 1,000 and $ 50,000 on a YouTube ad that focused on areas in and around Philadelphia. It made between 100,000 and 1 million impressions. The organization spent over $ 100,000 targeting people in Washington, DC. This ad made over 10 million impressions, according to Google. One of the group's 30-second YouTube ads has over 2 million views.
Facebook's ad archive estimates the group invested between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000 in recent spots on the social media platform.
The name of the group corresponds to an LLC registered in Ohio. A lawyer named James Ryan is listed on the registration certificate as the group’s legal representative. Ryan did not return a request for comment prior to posting.
The registration form states that it was founded in 2018 and is in fact a non-profit organization.
A review of the few previous Facebook ads shows that Trump has never been mentioned before.
According to a study by the Wesleyan Media Project, dark money groups that do not publicly disclose their donors combined spent nearly $ 20 million on Facebook and Google ads throughout the 2020 campaign.