Conservative kingpin under investigation following IRS complaint
WASHINGTON, DC — Following new reporting from Politico revealing DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb’s investigation into Leonard Leo’s extensive nonprofit network, Accountable.US today published a report detailing Leo’s growing fortune — a result of decades of shady backroom dealings and influence-peddling.
Previous Accountable.US investigations and news reports revealed a circular payment structure in which millions of dollars flowed through Leo-connected nonprofits to for-profit firms Leo owns. Reporting from Politico and The Guardian earlier this year revealed that CRC Advisors and BH Group – two corporate entities owned by Leo – received $73 million from nonprofits associated with the right-wing activist while he was advising Trump on judicial nominations.
According to Politico, since 2016, Leo has used his newfound wealth to finance two new mansions in Maine, four new cars, private school tuition for his children, hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Catholic causes, and a wine buyer and locker at Morton’s Steakhouse.
Read the full memo detailing Leo’s scheme HERE.
News of Attorney General Schwalb’s investigation comes on the heels of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Dick Durbin’s request for more information on Leo’s role in the ongoing Supreme Court corruption crisis, which Leo rebuffed in a letter rife with “comically absurd” legal arguments. The news of the investigation also follows an IRS complaint filed by Campaign for Accountability for Leo’s potential self-dealing.
Watchdog and democracy experts from Accountable.US, Democracy Forward, and Fair Fight Action held a press call to discuss Leo’s longtime corruption and the new consequences he faces.
“[Leonard Leo] is a man who believes that unless he writes the rules, they don’t apply to him. While his handpicked justices are stripping Americans of their rights and brazenly violating ethics rules, Leo is cashing in on his activism,” said Lizzy Price, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at Accountable.US. “Whether it’s the American judiciary or his own network of conservative organizations, Leo’s disdain for ethics is constant.”
“The vast majority of the American people believe in the promise and potential of democracy and believe that our laws and our courts should be used for justice — not for regressive activity that seeks to marginalize people and communities. Leonard Leo has been a center of seeking to roll back rights of people, creating harm in communities and courts throughout the country,” said Skye Perryman, President & CEO of Democracy Forward.
“Anti-voter groups and their conspiracy-peddling allies like Leo are using every tool at their disposal to subvert the will of voters, attack election administration, and stifle the political power of communities of color,” said Xakota Espinoza, Director of Strategic Communications & Digital at Fair Fight Action. “These efforts would not be possible without the apparatus built by Leo, one of the biggest dark money funders of voter suppression in the country.”
A full recording of the call can be found HERE.
Learn more about Leonard Leo, his dark network, and his dangerous agenda at LeonardLeo.org.