WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Accountable.US released a new report exposing Leonard Leo’s sprawling shadow network of far-right legal organizations and the influence they exert on our democratic institutions. The report represents the inaugural publication of the organization’s newly launched Monitoring Influence project, which seeks to uncover the relationships between powerful right-wing organizations and the influential mega-donors who fund them.
The report profiles 12 of Leonard Leo’s groups that act in concert to capture and influence the judicial branch and sway other institutions to advance his right-wing agenda at the expense of everyday Americans. Today’s release comes on the heels of last month’s unprecedented $1.6 billion contribution to the Leo-linked Marable Freedom Trust (profiled in the report) and only a few days before the beginning of the Supreme Court’s October Term.
As the country braces for the start of yet another perilously uncertain Supreme Court term, Leonard Leo and his ultra-wealthy funders who’ve invested billions into his network of right-wing fringe groups eagerly await the return on their investments – high court decisions that erode our democracy and favor the privileged few over everyday Americans. We can not allow Leo’s groups to dictate public policy from the shadows. Monitoring Influence empowers citizens and journalists with the in-depth analysis they need to hold Leo and his wealthy donors accountable."
Kyle Herrig, President of Accountable.US
Profiled organizations include:
- Judicial Crisis Network: Judicial Crisis Network spent nearly $40 million on efforts to confirm Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees and provides multiple layers of secrecy for their donors.
- The Federalist Society: During the Trump Administration nearly 90% of Judicial nominees were affiliated with the Federalist Society.
- The Wellspring Community: From 2008-2018 the group gave almost $90 million to hard-right organizations.
- The 85 Fund: In 2020 alone, the 85 Fund paid over $12 million to the Leo held CRC Advisors.
- BH Fund and BH Group: These two entities, which are different groups with separate functions, have been used to funnel millions to organizations that boosted the Supreme Court nominations of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
- The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty: The group is actively fighting to allow discrimination in healthcare, and in the past successfully fought laws protecting abortion clinics from violent attacks.
- America Engaged: The group received millions in donations from groups affiliated with Leo and appears to be involved in shuffling money between Leonard Leo-linked nonprofits.
- Marble Freedom Trust: Billionaire Barre Seid made what is likely the largest single contribution to a political nonprofit when he contributed $1.6 billion to the organization. He has a long history of funding groups that spread climate misinformation and Islamophobia.
- Rule of Law Trust: Over its lifetime, RLT has given over $33 million to Leo-connected groups and recently received $153 million from Marble Freedom Trust.
- Rule of Law Defense Fund: The group helped organize the “March to Save America” rally on January 6, 2021, that preceded the violent attack on the Capitol.