WASHINGTON, DC – Following a bombshell report from Politico detailing how Leonard Leo, Ginni Thomas, and Harlan Crow formed a “billion-dollar force” to remake the judiciary, representatives from watchdog groups discussed the new revelations in light of ongoing investigations into Leo’s dark money network.
Politico’s Heidi Przybyla found that in the months leading up to the Citizens United ruling, conservative kingpin Leonard Leo and his “ideological soulmate” Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, joined forces with billionaire Harlan Crow to build an unprecedented, billion-dollar conservative legal movement.
The latest revelations come just two weeks after news broke of an investigation by DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb into Leonard Leo and his network, following Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Dick Durbin’s request for more information on Leo’s role in the ongoing Supreme Court corruption crisis. Investigations from Accountable.US previously uncovered a circular payment structure funneling millions of dollars through Leo-connected nonprofits to for-profit firms owned by Leo.
“[Leo’s] gone through elaborate means in order to hide from the American people who’s funding this operation…He keeps saying it’s about the ideas, not the money — but Leonard Leo’s the money man. He’s parlayed his influence machine into relationships with these billionaires in order to change legal precedents and change our rights,” said Lisa Graves, executive director of True North Research and former deputy assistant attorney general to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
“[Chief Justice] John Roberts has shown that he’s either unable or unwilling to get his house in order, so it’s time for the Congress to take action on this unaccountable court,” said Alex Aronson, former chief counsel for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
“Leonard Leo has written the playbook on court corruption and dark money influence, and this is yet another example of his decades-long scheme to erode democracy and force his own dangerous agenda on Americans,” said Accountable.US senior advisor Kyle Herrig. “That agenda is a wildly unpopular one that Leonard Leo cannot get over the finish line at the ballot box — and that’s why what he’s doing is so anti-democratic and the use of the courts to do it is so eroding to the basic foundations of this country’s democracy.”
A full recording of the press call can be found HERE.