Designers of SCOTUS acquisition attract millions to group seeking to root out voting and discrimination laws

leonard leo 0307221


ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this in your inbox.

After receiving the largest known political advocacy donation in U.S. history, the money was pouring in, and conservative activist Leonard Leo and his associates went to court to influence some of the Supreme Court’s most important recent cases. spending millions of dollars. Performance.

The documents show that Leo, who helped win the Supreme Court’s conservative majority as an adviser to President Donald Trump, funded a group that advocated ending affirmative action, withdrawing anti-discrimination protections, and making state legislatures uninvestigative. It details how we tapped a vast network of opaque non-profits to provide Overseeing federal elections.

Records also show that nonprofits working with Leos have paid millions of dollars to Leo-affiliated commercial organizations.

Leo and one of his best buddies did not respond to requests for comment.

Funds mainly flowed through so-called black money groups, who did not have to disclose their donors. They are required to disclose the recipient of the expenditure on their annual tax returns, which are made available to the public, but in many cases they are also dark money groups or other entities with minimal disclosure rules.

As ProPublica and The Lever detailed in August, Leo was gifted a $1.6 billion fortune by reclusive manufacturing tycoon Barre Seid last year. Newly revealed tax documents cover the last year when Leo received that huge donation.

A Supreme Court case involving a Colorado-based website designer who refused to work for same-sex couples provides a window into Leo’s strategy.

At least six groups funded by Leo’s network have filed briefs in support of lawsuits seeking to overturn Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws. The Center for Ethics and Public Policy, which received his $1.9 million from Leo’s network, submitted a brief in support of his designer, according to records. So does Concerned Women for America, which received at least $565,000 from Leo’s network in the past two years, and an organization called the Beckett Foundation, which received her $550,000 from Leo’s group.

Leo’s network spends money to elect Republican Attorneys General and is also the largest funder of the Republican Attorney General Association (RAGA), which serves as a policy hub for state officials. Twenty Republican Attorneys General also filed arguments in support of the case. One Leo group donated her $6.5 million to her RAGA during his 2022 election campaign, according to the association’s federal filings.

Leo’s network’s largest donation was $71 million given to DonorsTrust, a so-called donor-advised fund that pools funds from numerous donors and donates primarily to conservative and libertarian groups. Past reports have referred to DonorsTrust as the conservative movement’s “dark money ATM.”

Another case that Leo’s group has tried to influence is the Moore v. Harper case, which could have significant implications for American democracy. The question raised in this case is whether the Constitution authorizes state legislatures to make rules for federal elections without the oversight or intervention of state courts.

The Honest Election Project, an initiative within the 85 Foundation, another major Leo organization, is supporting the plaintiffs’ lawsuit in Amicus Brief. Tax documents show the 85 Foundation that in 2020 he donated $400,000 to the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a conservative legal group based in Indianapolis.

Thirteen Republican attorneys general have also filed arguments supporting the lawsuit.

The Supreme Court is also reviewing two lawsuits this semester brought by students seeking fair admissions by conservative group students challenging the university’s affirmative action policy. The group received $250,000 from the 85 Fund in 2020. More than a third of the total raised that year, according to tax records.

Speech First, which received $700,000 in 2020-21 from the 85 Foundation, submitted briefs endorsing students for fair admission in both cases, according to records. The Republican attorney general, backed by Leo’s network, also submitted a brief.

Another theme that will emerge from the new tax records is large expenditures on Leo-operated or Leo-related commercial entities. The 85 Fund’s largest external vendor in 2021 was CRC Advisors, a for-profit consulting firm chaired by Leo. The 85 Fund paid CRC advisers his $22 million last year, according to tax records.

Another hub in Leo’s network, Concord Fund’s largest outside vendor was also CRC Advisors, which received nearly $8 million in one year. Concord also paid his $500,000 to He BH Group, another commercial company headed by Leo.

There is nothing prohibiting non-profits from sending business to companies with which they have ties, but transactions must be at fair market value.

Both companies did not immediately respond to questions about payment.


Source link

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

    mec outside

    USM’s Marine Education Center Wins First Season of TV Series “America ByDesign: Architecture”

    20221215 mou

    Auburn University and Lalene B. Wallace Community College Sign MOU to Expand Path to Plains Program