New reporting today in Rolling Stone, based in part on new research from Accountable.US, reveals that Leonard Leo’s dark money networks have funneled more than $2 million to several climate denial groups working to undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This revelation comes as the Supreme Court prepares to make a decision that could potentially upend the Chevron deference, which could have far-reaching impacts on the government’s ability to hold corporations accountable and drastically scale back federal agency authority to interpret laws.

Tony Carrk, Executive Director of Accountable.US, had this to say about the findings:

Leonard Leo is trying to radically remake America into a place where the most powerful corporations are free to profit at the expense of everyday Americans and the environment. His actions threaten not only the conservation of at-risk species but the broader ability of the government to hold corporate special interests accountable on behalf of the public.”

Tony Carrk, Executive Director of Accountable.US

Leonard Leo, known as the architect of the right-wing takeover of the U.S. Supreme Court, has been dubbed the “Supreme Court billionaire matchmaker” due to his close relationships with conservative Justices. The research highlights significant financial support provided by Leo’s network to groups that discredit climate science and oppose environmental regulations.

Key findings from the research, as detailed in Rolling Stone, include:

  • Americans for Limited Government (ALG): A major recipient of over $1.8 million from Leo’s networks, ALG operates websites discrediting climate science and opposing emissions reduction. ALG supported nine legislative proposals to weaken the ESA, falsely claiming the Act imposes unnecessary burdens on farmers and ranchers. These endorsements were directed to controversial Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar and promoted by the Congressional Western Caucus.
  • Property and Environment Research Center (PERC): The 85 Fund allocated $200,000 to PERC, whose CEO co-authored an op-ed criticizing the ESA. PERC also published an extensive report advocating against ESA regulations.
  • Americans for Prosperity (AFP): Another client of Leo’s consulting firm CRC Advisors, AFP lobbied against the ESA, claiming it obstructs energy innovation and infrastructure development. In 2023, AFP spent approximately $460,000 lobbying on issues related to the ESA.


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