AVC, Gotham Gal, and Feld Thoughts Communities Rally $100,000+ For The ACLU

Sunday morning Fred Wilson put up the following blog post: A $20,000 Match Offer On ACLU Donations Today. Joanne Wilson put up a similar post titled A $20,000 Match Offer On ACLU Donations Today on her blog.

It came after a flurry of emails that started with one from me at 7:41am.

“Inspired by Chris Sacca, Amy and I are considering doing an ACLU grant with a 100% match”

Joanne, Fred, Amy, and I were all distressed by Trump’s executive order on immigration, which Fred wrote about in Make America Hate Again and I wrote in Unsettled and Disgusted. We had seen the ACLU already jump into action so we collectively decided to do something about it by supporting it.

Fred’s partner Albert Wenger and his wife Susan Danzinger had already started a match for $15,000 so we (Fred, Joanne, me, and Amy) agreed that when they maxed out they’d hand the ball to us to match for another $20,000.

Jet lag then ate my soul and I went to sleep for a few hours. When I woke up, Amy said “we did something good while you were asleep.” I had well over 100 tweets with ACLU receipts, Fred had started a spreadsheet of all the matching gifts, and we had blown through our $20,000 match. By the end of the day, we were over $90,000 of matches with more coming in so we stopped counting and, with our $20,000, were easily over $100,000 to the ACLU in one day, which started with Fred’s blog post.

By the end of the day it had picked up enough speed to become a TechCrunch article: Some tech executives are matching ACLU donations amid immigration ban protests.

We know more executive orders on immigration are expected. Bloomberg is hinting Trump’s Next Move on Immigration to Hit Closer to Home for Tech. Regardless of how this plays out, I’m hopeful that Congress will step up and do their job at this point, rather than just let executive orders slide by, create chaos, and get litigated in court. Remember – Congress makes the laws and the President is supposed to execute the instructions of Congress.

In the mean time, thanks to everyone who contributed to the ACLU match yesterday. We helped the ACLU raise $24 million since Saturday morning. For perspective, the ACLU typically raises a total of $4 million in a year. Amy and I have been long time ACLU supporters and I expect they will have an outsized and important role in our democracy in the next four years.

Also published on Medium.

  • beautiful

  • Fred mentioned you might continue this monthly? I was traveling yesterday and unable to donate – which my wife and I are doing regardless, but if we can pile on your generosity, we’re happy to wait until Wednesday. Thank you, Amy, Fred and Joanne for doing this.

    • We are going to do something monthly. Maybe ACLU – maybe some other organization. The next one will be on March 1 (since this was so close to Feb 1).

      • ok, thanks. We will give now and again on 3/1. If you’re looking for ideas, we are also increasing our annual giving to Planned Parenthood.

      • panterosa,

        I would be interested in NPR, PBS and Planned Parenthood. Also open to other things. I donated to the ACLU yesterday via your, Amy, Fred and Joanne’s drive. Thank you all for taking the lead.

  • Worst idea I ever heard. Unless of course one like cheap tech labor and Karl Marx?

  • sigmaalgebra

    Brad, on your efforts to push back against Trump’s immigration executive order and fund the ACLU to do so, I believe you are totally wasting your time, effort, sleeps, concern, and money.

    Suggestion: For each of your concerns about what Trump did, or will do, find some relatively solid rational support. So, doing this, you will have to set aside nearly all the accusations about Trump from the Hillary campaign and its propaganda arm the mainstream media (MSM).

    Such a process, such a reality check, yes, is a little like desk checking software: For each library call, SQL command, TCP/IP call, language feature, have to look up in solid documentation and check. E.g., in the 100,000 lines of typing, about 25,000 programming language statements, I’m working with now, the 75,000 lines of comments are awash in tree names of documentation files, 5000+, on the hard disk file system of my development computer; then with my editor, one keystroke displays the documentation. There are also tree names of my own documentation, test code, etc. Brad, you thoroughly understand such desk checking for code. Well, it also works for advanced math, e.g., sigma algebras for probability, statistics, and stochastic processes.

    And, wonder of wonder, presto, bingo, such checking also works for much more, recipes, fixing a lawnmower, getting the right diameter stranded wire for my high quality audio speakers, and, sure, questions in politics. With such checking, have to discard as junk essentially everything from ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, NBC, NYT, WaPo, Boston Globe, LAT, and more. Thus, get much better information and save a lot of time reading faux news.

    By the way, in that NBC tape, Trump never actually said that he had ever actually “grabbed” a woman. The POTUS who did? Sure, JFK, just as Trump described. The woman? Sure, 19 year old, graduate of Miss Porter’s School (right, the one Jackie Kennedy went to), debutante, engaged, Miss Mimi Allford. She wrote a book. There are details in an NBC interview still at


    Uh, it appears that in understanding Trump’s immigration executive order, you need go no farther than the JLM posts here. Brad, save your time, money, sleep, etc.

    • cavepainting

      Fortunately, it is not your opinion that decides the matter. The courts shall do so not just based on the letter of the laws, but also their spirit.

      The ban seems to violate the immigration act of 1965 that prohibits the government from imposing restrictions based on nationality. The public comments of Trump and Rudy Guiliani make the case that this was meant as a religious ban violating the equal protections clause of the Constitution.

      • sigmaalgebra

        Fortunately, it is not your opinion that decides the matter.

        And my opinion stands to have no effect on when or if Mount Vesuvius erupts next, when the next supernova explosion or gamma ray burst hits the earth, etc. Nor did I so claim.

        For your “1965 law”, I’d like to have a solid reference.

        Without some solid references, I’m going to have a super-duper tough time believing that anything in the US Constitution applies to aliens not yet in the US, equal protection clause, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, etc.

        • cavepainting

          You are not a constitutional lawyer and neither am I. Let the courts decide. The Immigrant act of 1965 is available on the internet.

          • JLM

            Actually the pertinent law is the US Refugee Act of 1980 which amended the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.


            This is not really very controversial and there are not a lot of moving pieces.


          • sigmaalgebra

            Some guesses:

            (1) For the named shitpit countries, not many people would be coming to the US now anyway.

            (2) The MSM newsies saw a chance to get the remaining Dems, who still could stand, up on their hind legs and make a really big stink.

            (3) In the short term, a lot of people who voted for Trump and wanted fast action on immigration now have seen some fast action. Due to the big stink from the MSM, Dems, Schumer tears, melting Hollywood snowflakes, etc., what Trump did can look like significant, actual action.

            (4) The White House press and publicity efforts are doing really well showing that the MSM, etc. are being especially foolish, pumping pure faux news. Really, can guess that Trump trolled some bait, and the MSM took it hook, line, and sinker, with a box of Kleenex (for Chuckie).

            (4) Thus on immigration, the MSM, newsies, screaming Dems, melting snowflakes, etc. have had their time on camera, shed their tears, and have been shown to have been silly, screaming hysterical fools.

            (5) NOW and in the 30-60-90 days or so, when Trump comes out with his real proposal for immigration and “extreme vetting”, the screaming Dems, etc. will be short on dry powder.

            Would Trump actually deliberately manipulate the MSM in such a way? Yup!

          • JLM

            American Embassies and consulates process requests for visas. In that part of the world, rejection rates of 60% are the norm. All the Trump administration has to do is to deny as many visa applications as they want.

            This is really what the Obama administration did in 2011. They were embarrassed they’d admitted two Al Qaeda guys in Bowling Green, Kentucky and stopped approving visas.

            My prediction is that visa approval rates are going down, down, down.


          • sigmaalgebra

            Wait, this just in! I found it; I found it; I found it; I found it!

            As at



            8 U.S. Code § 1182 – Inadmissible aliens

            Turns out, this is what JLM has been quoting here so I omit a quote.

            So, net, what non-US citizens who can get into the US depends on what the POTUS “deems”.

            Disclosure: I got the title of the law from the Hannity program tonight from a comment there by Laura Ingraham, apparenly a former SCOTUS clerk.

      • JLM

        The power specifically granted to the President as it relates to the issue of immigration is as follows:

        “(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

        Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

        Of course, the issue of nationality has been fully negotiated and was a non-issue in the Obama ban of Iraqi visas during 2011. Note that the Obama ban related to all visas though it was targeted on refugee visas.

        As to Constitutional protections, they are only pertinent to American citizens and, under certain circumstances, to persons in America at the time of the commission of a crime, as an example.

        They do not apply to foreigners whether they are Mexicans in Mexico or French persons getting on a plane to the US. Even when a foreign person is on American soil — such as at an airport — and has not been admitted to the US, the Constitution does not apply.

        This is a temporary ban and by the time anybody even gets close to getting it litigated, it will be over and we will have extreme vetting.


        • cavepainting

          If it is such a cut and dry case, why do so many well qualified lawyers believe otherwise? The immigration law of 1965 clearly spells our that the government cannot discriminate immigrant petitions based on nationality.

          I am not an attorney and do not know this well enough to conclusively make an argument either way. But there seems to be enough grayness here to give me pause. Irrespective of what you and I think, litigations are piling up. Let the courts decide.

          • JLM

            All of the legal challenges are simply requests for a TRO (temporary restraining order) which is an attempt by a litigant to get a court to give them sufficient time to apply for and prevail for the grant of a Permanent Injunction.

            Obtaining a TRO is a low hurdle. Obtaining a PI is a much tougher quest.

            The general standard for the grant of a TRO is that someone will suffer “irreparable harm” which they argue would be the result for someone who is sent back to their country of origin.

            A “hearing on the merits” will typically be set within 14 days of the grant of a TRO. It is all contained in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 65.


            It is really not a big deal.


          • cavepainting

            See attached.
            If this is true, the 1965 law aims to protect both immigrants and citizens against discrimination, leaving open an avenue for plaintiffs to make the case that it supercedes the 1952 law that vests powers in the presidency to suspend any class of aliens.

          • JLM

            In the article you linked to is one element of the distinction, which I quote for you:

            “Legally speaking, immigrants are those who are given permanent United States residency. By contrast, temporary visitors like guest workers, students and tourists, as well as REFUGEES, could still be barred.”

            This is the glue that binds the two halves together — the distinction between immigration (one kind of visa) and tourists/temporary visitors (another kind of visa).

            A temporary visa is for 90 days.

            An immigration visa may be for one year, two years or ten years and would generally be called a “green card.”

            An immigrant on a green card can avail themselves of Form 131 Re-entry Permit which allows them to re-enter the country when gone for even more than a year.

            A Re-entry Permit is granted for two years but if you have less than two years left on your visa, you cannot get one.

            Anyone who receives a ten year green card, can apply for citizenship when they have been a resident for five years — the vaunted “pathway to citzenship” often spoken of.

            When one lives in a border state, like I do in Texas, you learn all of this stuff as it is real life.

            Point of order — nothing in any of these laws pertains to American “citizens.”

            Pres Obama recently changed policy pertinent to Cuban citizens rescinding the “wet feet” “dry feet” policy with a new policy which targets Cubans only and provides for them to be returned to Cuba whether their feet are wet (apprehended at sea before landfall) or dry (apprehended on land in the US).

            He obviously focused on a single country of origin.


          • cavepainting

            That’s a good distinction but one that was lost on the administration, don’t you think? Also, people with dual citizenships from countries with visa waivers belong to a different class. There are tens of thousands of people with current visas (or) eligibility to come to the US who are affected by the ban including students, doctors,patients, and others. There are more people in the US with Iranian /Iraqi /Syrian/Somali roots than the administration cared to understand.

            Legal matters set aside, the entire ban was horribly conceived, communicated and implemented. It is like a bull set loose in a china shop.

          • JLM

            I think the confusion is with the media. The Trump administration knows exactly what it is doing — your characterization of a bull in a china shop is correct.

            The Trump administration wants to knock the gov’t on its ass and isn’t going to tolerate any pussyfooting around. Witness the speed with which Pres Trump fired the silly Acting AG.

            Dual citizenship holders will be determined by the second country in which they hold citizenship. As an example, if it is Canada and there is no other complication, their Canadian citizenship will be dispositive.

            Know why?

            Canadian citizens do not require a visa of any kind to enter the US.

            A person who holds dual citizenship possesses two passports. They could always have used their Canadian passport. This is much ado about nothing.

            You have to make the distinction between temporary/tourist visas and immigration visas.

            Remember also that a visa has to be obtained from a US Embassy or consulate in the country of origin. When the country of origin is not host to a US Embassy or consulate, then it is very difficult to arrange.

            You can reasonably expect visa denial rates to skyrocket.

            The ban has accomplished exactly what it sought to do — provide 90-120 days of breathing to define and impliment extreme vetting.


          • cavepainting

            I do not buy your premise that they knew what were they doing. If so, why were greencard holders stopped over the weekend? Dual citizenship questions are being resolved only now on a case-by-case basis. May be you think they know what they are doing, but they surely don’t and are just making up as they go.

            Also, put yourself in the shoes of an Iraqi student enrolled in a US university who is now locked out, a Libyan-American care giver who cannot get his parents into the country, or an Iranian scientist who was all set to come to MIT who no longer can. It is asinine and if a President does not have the empathy to relate to it, he should not be President. There is no immanent national security threat today from these countries that deserves a blanket ban of this type. This is what authoritarians do to accrue power and act tough.

          • JLM

            You are just ranting. These are fictitious, but even so, the EO provides the Secs of State and Homeland Security unlimited power to grant waivers — almost 1,000 granted thus far.

            Nobody has a right to enter the country without permission.

            There is no empathy requirement to be President. There is a requirement to protect the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

            This is a 90-120 day ban and it will be fine.

            It is only the first step, wait until he gets ahold of H1-B visas.


          • cavepainting

            None are fictitious. They are real cases from the incidents over the weekend. May be if you would just care to look beyojd your bubble, you may understand.

            Empathy for the President is a big deal. Understanding and living by the values that made this country great are a big deal.

            Expanding one’s powers and range of executive actions in the name of national security is what dictators do. I lived in one of these countries so know how it works.

            I respect your views but have real trouble with you when you cannot try to see the other viewpoint.

          • sigmaalgebra

            “Expanding one’s powers and range of executive actions in the name of national security is what dictators do.”

            Dictators also also breathe air, but not everyone who breathes air is or is on the way to being a dictator.

          • cavepainting

            A Seattle Judge granted a TRO today and also applied it nationwide. Good for the 60,000+ terrified people in the country who had their visas revoked and the hundreds who had approved visas but could not come.

            One of the better days for the country! But, this is a battle that will go all the way to the Supreme Court and I hope the immigrants prevail.

    • LE

      Brad, on your efforts to push back against Trump’s immigration executive
      order and fund the ACLU to do so, I believe you are totally wasting
      your time, effort, sleep, concern, and money.

      Not a waste of time, effort, sleep and so on. Why?

      Let me put the human element into this discussion.

      First it’s debatable whether the money will have any impact. The important thing to remember is that in order to relieve anxiety people need to feel as if they are doing something. That’s an important concept that drives a great deal of human behavior.

      I will give you a small example. You know when someone goes missing and people have candelight vigils? It’s to make them feel as if they are doing something and that they care. You know when people give at the office?. It’s to make them feel as if they are doing something. Even though any individuals 2 cents will do zilch.

      You know when a child goes missing and the parent gets in their car and drives all over the place looking for them? Even in a big city? It’s because they have to feel as if they are doing something and they realize that just sitting in their den is not going to bring their child home.

      And in each of the above cases that I list sometimes something actually ends up happening as a result of the effort. Most of the time it doesn’t but that isn’t the point. People have to feel as if they are contributing to solving a problem it’s really as simple as that.

      • JLM

        I agree with your logic, but — but — they are the same echo chamber people screaming into the same echo chamber. There are no minds being changed here.

        As to the ACLU, know that one source of their funding is the donation of legal services. When they have money, they get the same legal services, they just pay for them rather than have them donated.

        The ACLU keeps a running log of who has donated and they get the next paid service. I doubt this results in any more legal hours, just changes the free v paid ratio.

        The ACLU was a proponent of the Citizens United case — on the side of Citizens United. They are a mixed bag. Do you think the donors were smart enough to target their donations.

        The ACLU operates two entities — one to which donations are tax deductible but which cannot engage in political advocacy — which are essentially the same except for political advocacy. They gather money nationally but have subsidiaries in each state which actually run the show, meaning they have primarily local talent. Quality of lawyers? Locals.

        They hope to have an annual budget, nationally of $100MM. Good luck with that when almost 25% is donated legal services.

        I applaud the ACLU but they are pretty small potatoes in the grand scheme of things when you realize the national PACs will piss through $250,000,000 in the next month screwing with the Judge Gorsuch nomination — he will be confirmed.


  • JLM

    I applaud your putting skin in the game. Talk is cheap and money is not just talk. Bravo and well played!

    The entity you fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, is a bit of a mixed bag.

    You know, I am sure, that they intervened in the CITIZENS UNITED case (the SCOTUS decision whereby corporations were acknowledged as people for the purpose of being allowed unlimited funding of political free speech) on the side of Citizens United.

    Yes, the ACLU is in favor of unlimited corporate funding of political campaigns and that there should be no limit to political fundraising — because it’s free speech.

    I take no fault with their position — though I personally think there should be limits to the amount of funds deployed in politics — based on the law.

    Your money will be used to further this position.


  • JLM

    In this debate and legal squabble, it is important to measure the hill against which your money is funding the climb.

    The President of the US has huge powers to determine who does and does not get into the country.

    The statute provides as follows:

    “(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President
    Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

    Understandably, this is a clear recitation of his authority and it is difficult to see — other than some complications with SIV (special immigrant visas granted IAW the 2008 Defense Appropriation Bill which pertain to those who have rendered service to the US while in foreign lands) which are within the EO’s exception authority granted to the Secs of State and Homeland Security — how it turns out any other way.


    • cavepainting

      A 12 year old girl who was prevented from entering the country to be with her parents in California just sued the President.


      • sigmaalgebra

        It looks like that law suit wants to say: If Joe is legally in the US but has a brother Ali IED Abdul Fatwa al Jihad bin Boom Boom Car Bomb (who recently took an Internet course “How to Fly the Big Jets”) ready for his magic carpet ride to Allah, then Joe’s rights under the US Constitution say that the POTUS must admit to the US Joe’s “immediate family member” Ali Car Bomb. Gee, I wonder if the US founding fathers thought of that case!

      • JLM

        Anybody with the $25 filing fee can sue anyone they want. The Pres is, of course, immune from personal liability so a suit filed against him alone is a waste of $25 which could buy a lot of good barbecue at Green Mesquite BBQ in the ATX.

        Also, I am not certain a 12-year-old can actually file a lawsuit. I think it might have to be a guardian or parent. Technicality.


        • cavepainting

          yes, agree with everything you said. My point is just that litigations are piling up on the matter (41 and counting). May be none of them will go anywhere. Or may be some will be successful in overturning some parts of the ban. We will have to wait and see.

          I understand today that the state department is revoking visas that have already been awarded. That is crazy and not sure what exactly it means and if people with valid visas can come back if they decide to leave the country.

          This may not matter to people who do not have friends from these countries or have not been through the immigration process themselves. But for those of us who do, it is clear that is becoming a real nightmare. The downsides to the US govt. and the blowback far outweigh the imaginary terrorist being stopped in the future.

          • JLM

            I looked at a few of the complaints, not all of them but the ones I read were requests for a TRO (temporary restraining order) which have 14 days in which to turn into a hearing for an injunction.

            I did not see a single complaint that was on the “merits” of the Executive Order. This sort of makes sense because the first wave is dealing with individuals who are impacted.

            The Executive Order has a self-correcting power in the grant of authority for the Secs of State and Homeland Security to grant waivers — of which more than a thousand were granted by noon today.

            The ability to resolve a lawsuit with the grant of a waiver is a powerful antidote to the roar of the crowd and the smell of the greasepaint. Already a few of the complaints (lawsuits) have been dismissed by the grant of a waiver.

            You do understand that all visas are granted subject to the government’s ability to revoke them without notice and without cause?

            In the future, one should expect the granting entities (Embassies and consulates) to dramatically reduce the number of visas. The current denial rate for those countries is more than 60%. There is no appeal to a denial as the Embassy does not have to state a reason and an immigrant has no rights under US law.

            Polling as recently as today, shows more than 60% of Americans approve of this program — remember it is temporary — and that only 29% disagree strongly.

            By current standards, this is quite high. Folks in states which have borders with foreign countries (Mexico) have huge rates of approval of this process but I think they are based on the “temporary” nature of the program.

            We are still dealing with very low numbers — today, less than 50 persons — and a lot of fraud has bubbled up which undermines those who are protesting.


            I think the bull has gored all of the china in the china shop and it will amount to nothing.


  • As a bootstrapped founder focusing on a new product/pivot I’m trying to stay focused and not get sucked into all the terrible things with our constitution in crisis.

    I think most of us just don’t know what to do.

    Matching with the ACLU created an easy way for people to take action that matters. Thanks to you and Amy….we need more of this.

  • sigmaalgebra

    The Great Trump Cat Crisis

    But, but, but, but, but, what about cats? How does the Trump executive order on immigration affect cats?

    National Emergency Code Red! Alert Madonna, Senator (flowing tears) Schumer, and Nancy “The San Francisco Treat!”.

    Many snowflake cat lovers are concerned, worried, anxious, hysterical, melting down about Trump and cats!

    In particular, since Indonesia was not on the list, presumably Siamese cats can come to the US. Okay. Lots of people like Siamese cats.

    And, sure, no problem with Norwegian Forest Cats or Russian Blue Cats.

    And likely okay with the many Australian feral cats.

    And, no doubt a US Maine Coon Cat who visited Germany can return.

    Then, given that Iran IS on the list, what about Persian cats? A lot of cat lovers really like extremely fluffy Persian cats:


    Is this unfair, unconstitutional, not who we are, shed lots of tears, racist, discrimination against all Persian cats?

    How many times have we seen Trump with a Persian cat? Is Trump Persian felineophobic?

    Was it irresponsible for Trump not to have a committee work for a month to staff out a careful policy on Persian cats?

    • cavepainting

      Dude, this is the point in time I feel like asking you to shut up and go fuck yourself, though I am going to restrain myself and not be rude.

      People are not cats. This is nothing to be made fun of. If you cannot seek to even understand the other viewpoint, you should not engage in any type of debate. Find echo chambers (and there are many of these starting with Brietbart) where you can glow with the resplendence of the self righteous and the indignant.

  • taptaptap

    This is effectively the model you should be employing for the foundation- use emergent trends and quickly throw the foundation into the conversation to stir momentum on multiple levels, channels, and disruption. This is the swam strategy and bravo!

  • A1Nellie

    Hog Wash–GO GET “EM TRUMP