WASHINGTON, DC – Following reporting from Politico exposing Leonard Leo’s Concord Fund registration to lobby on ethics issues, Accountable.US research revealed new circular connections between Concord Fund, its lobbying firm OnMessage Public Strategies, and OnMessage’s key congressional clients publicly opposing Supreme Court ethics reform.
As Politico’s Caitlin Oprysko notes, OnMessage’s “sister company has received tens of millions of dollars from the campaigns of several Republican senators who will be asked to vote next week on subpoenaing Leo and two GOP megadonors.”
It’s ironic that Leonard Leo’s Concord Fund dumped thousands of dollars into ethics lobbying while Leo himself dodges a congressional inquiry and a probe into his misuse of charitable dollars for self-enrichment. And why have senators opposed to Supreme Court ethics reform funneled tens of millions to the same firm now lobbying on Leo’s behalf. This is just the latest in Leo’s decades-long ploy to leverage his dark money network to pull the strings of government and personally benefit in the process," said Accountable.US president Caroline Ciccone.
Leonard Leo’s Concord Fund, known for leading the charge to oppose ethics reform, recently hired OnMessage to lobby the federal government on government oversight policies. According to OnMessage’s lobbying report from late October, Concord Fund funneled $20,000 to OnMessage in less than a month.
Meanwhile, OnMessage’s key congressional clients are loud opponents of ethics reform. Senator Thom Tillis, who voted against a Supreme Court code of conduct bill, paid OnMessage over $21.6 million; Senator Josh Hawley, who opposed multiple bills for ethics standards for the Court, paid OnMessage over $9.7 million; and Senator Ron Johnson, who claimed that calls for ethics investigations were a form of intimidation, paid OnMessage over $3 million.
Politico previously revealed DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb’s probe into Leonard Leo and his network of nonprofit groups, following reports that one of Leo’s nonprofits — registered as a charity — paid his for-profit company tens of millions of dollars in the two years after he had joined. Weeks later, a progressive watchdog group filed a complaint with the DC attorney general and the IRS requesting an investigation into the services provided and whether Leo violated laws against using charities for personal enrichment.
Learn more about Leo, his dark money network, and his dangerous agenda at LeonardLeo.org.