WASHINGTON, DC – This week, nonpartisan government watchdog Accountable.US launched a campaign to expose right-wing activist Leonard Leo as the real Mr. MAGA. The campaign focuses on Leo’s foundational role in the MAGA movement, from his time in Trump’s inner circle to his efforts to undermine democracy and his personal role in overturning Roe v. Wade.
Leo’s machine of nonprofits is advancing the MAGA agenda. He supports right-wing attorneys general that challenge laws he doesn’t like, funds right-wing organizations to make the legal arguments to overturn laws he doesn’t like, and then he stacks the courts with right-wing judges who rule the way he likes.”
Kyle Herrig, President of Accountable.US.
For nearly two decades, Leo has been at the center of the right-wing’s court capture campaign, stacking the federal bench with partisans working to undermine constitutional freedoms and weaken our democracy. But Leo’s efforts kicked into overdrive when he got in the door with Donald Trump, Accountable.US’ research shows.
Accountable.US’ research has already exposed key examples of Leo’s extremism, influence, and corruption:
- In 2017, Leo orchestrated a financial windfall for Kellyanne Conway in an effort to push Federalist Society judicial nominees. It’s no surprise that under Leo’s guidance, nearly 90% of Trump’s nominees were Federalist Society members. But his efforts extend far beyond the courts.
- Leo recently received $1.6 billion from right-wing billionaire Barre Seid to shape the conservative movement. While the contributions are largely untraceable, this cash infusion coincided with the expansion of election integrity groups and an aggressive anti-ESG campaign to kneecap environmental protections.
- He also funds MAGA candidates and causes, who in turn bring spurious legal challenges to his judges. In fact, his “election integrity” front group the Honest Elections Project filed more than a dozen amicus briefs supporting voting restrictions since 2020, and intervened in the Moore v. Harper case in front of the Supreme Court in an effort to steal the next election.
- While Leo’s network is made up of nonprofits, he’s been able to turn a nice profit for himself, his friends, and the corrupt special interests who fund him. In fact, POLITICO revealed that Leo’s nonprofits often skirt IRS rules to maximize his cut. Since 2016, Leo-connected nonprofits have paid $58 million to the BH Group and CRC Advisors, for profit firms that he owns.
As Leo begins to distribute the largest dark money donation in American history, Accountable.US will continue to hold him accountable. Learn more about Leo’s MAGA agenda and the Mr. MAGA campaign at LeonardLeo.org.