New reporting from Bloomberg today revealed far-right judicial activist Leonard Leo and billionaire megadonor Charles Koch at the center of the coordinated effort behind the Chevron challenges heard at the Supreme Court last week.
The combined Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce cases threaten to shift power away from federal agency experts and toward corporate interests. As part of an expansive campaign to gut federal agency power through the courts, Leonard Leo’s network has mobilized more than $13.6 million in funding for groups that have filed amicus briefs calling on the courts to overturn Chevron. The Koch network was the sole funder of the group backing the plaintiffs in Loper and was the largest funder of the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which is backing the plaintiffs in Relentless.
As Bloomberg notes, “The New Civil Liberties Alliance identifies as nonpartisan. But it’s backed by groups tied to powerful sources of conservative funding, including billionaire Charles Koch and entities linked to legal activist Leonard Leo, who’s had direct influence over the court’s conservative makeup.”
In addition to the Leo and Koch ties to these landmark Chevron cases, multiple justices who heard the cases last week have serious conflicts of interest. The Guardian detailed Justice Neil Gorsuch’s longtime personal and financial relationship with billionaire oil baron Philip Anschutz, whose energy company stands to benefit from a ruling undermining Chevron deference.
Ahead of the term, Accountable.US highlighted conflicts of interest in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo involving Justice Clarence Thomas’s extensive participation in Koch network events. Despite the justices’ clear conflicts, they have refused to recuse themselves.
Visit LeonardLeo.org for more on Leonard Leo’s scheme to undermine federal agency power, and learn more about the coalition of dark money groups pushing a dangerous agenda through the courts at MonitoringInfluence.org.