Watchdog Calls for IRS Investigation into Right-Wing Activist Leonard Leo’s Corrupt Self-Dealing
Reporting in The Guardian details Campaign for Accountability’s IRS complaint
(Washington, D.C.) – Leonard Leo is facing mounting legal scrutiny following new revelations about his enormous financial gains during the Trump era. A new report from the Guardian’s David Smith detailed the IRS complaint filed by nonpartisan watchdog Campaign for Accountability. The complaint calls for an investigation into illegal activity at seven Leo-linked nonprofits. Together, the groups paid out more than $73 million to Leo’s for-profit firms the BH Group and CRC Advisors.
The complaint concludes that Leo caused “tax-exempt organizations to pay him (directly or indirectly) more than $73 million over a six-year period from 2016 through 2021.”
“Furthermore, there is evidence that from the moment these payments began, Leonard Leo began spending millions of dollars on personal expenditures in amounts commensurate with the amounts being siphoned off from the Leo-Affiliated Nonprofits to BH Group and CRC Advisors,” it continues.
Recent reporting in POLITICO raised questions about how much Leo personally benefited from nonprofits pouring money into his private firms. Leo’s newfound lavish lifestyle, from two mansions in Maine to a wine locker at Morton’s Steakhouse, seemed to correspond with his growing influence in the MAGA movement.
This is just more evidence of what we already knew: Leonard Leo is getting rich from his efforts to poison American democracy. The complaint details numerous ethical and legal breaches by Leo and his associates in the MAGA movement, calling into question the tax-exempt status of his nonprofits and raising questions of potential criminality. The IRS should move to immediately investigate Leo’s activities.”
Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig.
CFA is calling on IRS officials to revoke the tax-exempt status of the seven Leo-linked nonprofits. Smith writes that the watchdog has written to DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb “referring the non-profits for potential investigation and enforcement action.”
The seven Leo-linked nonprofits named in the complaint include:
- The Federalist Society, which employed Leo full-time through 2020, paying him an annual salary upwards of $300,000. It also paid out more than $3 million to CRC Advisors in 2020 and 2021.
- Marble Freedom Trust, Leo’s newest nonprofit and the recipient of a $1.6 billion untraceable contribution. It has already distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to other Leo-linked nonprofits.
- Rule of Law Trust, a shadowy passthrough organization that paid $6 million in reimbursements to the BH Group while Leo served as the group’s sole trustee.
- Freedom and Opportunity Fund, a group led by Leo that may have improperly filed its tax returns and violated its 501(c)(4) nonprofit status.
- Wellspring Committee, which paid over $1.5 million to BH Group for public relations and consulting without disclosing the close relationship between Leo and Wellspring’s sole director Neil Corkery.
- The 85 Fund, which paid out almost $40 million to CRC Advisors for consulting and advertising. It also routed upwards of $3 million to the BH Group.
- The Concord Fund (AKA Judicial Crisis Network), the lynchpin of Leo’s nonprofit network which paid CRC Advisors and BH Group more than $15 million.
Learn more about Leo, his network of nonprofits, and his expansive campaign to remake American society on LeonardLeo.org.