A major story from POLITICO’s Heidi Przybyla made waves in Washington on Tuesday. Przybyla’s reporting revealed that right-wing judicial activist, Leonard Leo, secured a financial windfall for top Trump advisor, Kellyanne Conway, as she advised the president to nominate Leo’s handpicked judges for Supreme Court vacancies.
News of the transaction caught the attention of congressional leaders like Democratic Whip, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) – both of whom criticized the deal.
Whitehouse, a longtime advocate for government transparency, shared the story and quipped, “When you’re spending $580 million to pack and control the Supreme Court, what’s a few million in payola to White House officials.”
Durbin, who also serves as chair of the Judiciary Committee, denounced the move as “troubling,” and called into question Leo and the Federalist Society’s role in “driving the judicial selection process.” He then went a step further, and released a statement implying Conway violated ethics laws when she sold her company to Leo, as he lobbied her on Trump’s Supreme Court nominees.
This story raises serious ethical questions about Leonard Leo’s role in Trump’s judicial strategy. His purchase of Conway’s polling firm should be immediately investigated.”
Accountable.US president, Kyle Herrig
Interest in the story extended beyond the halls of Capitol Hill. Outlets like the Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and Salon covered the financial deal and the role it potentially played in Trump’s judicial decisions. High-profile journalists like Michael Barbaro, Ken Vogel, and Ian Millhiser also amplified the story on Twitter.