Conservative dark money groups that are fighting President Joe Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court also helped fund conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and rallies leading to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to a new reportAccountable.US, a watchdog group
The Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), which played a key role in shaping Trump’s Supreme Court nominations, last month launched a preemptive $2.5 million strike before Biden even named his nominee, accusing Biden of caving in to leftists by promising a “Supreme Court nominee who will be a liberal activist.” The organization is one of many linked to a network of dark-money groups around conservative activist Leonard Leo, the co-chairman of the Federalist Society who was dubbed Trump’s “Supreme Court whisperer.” Other groups affiliated with Leo, like the 85 Fund, have donated hundreds of thousands to the Independent Women’s Forum, another group that has run ads attacking Democrats for picking judges to advance a “woke agenda.”
JCN, the 85 Fund and other affiliates have spent tens of millions to shape the Supreme Court — but have also funded groups that played a role in the Capitol riot, according to Accountable.US.
“It should worry us all that the groups leading the fight against Biden’s historic nomination of Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court are tied to the Jan. 6 insurrection and efforts to undermine confidence in the 2020 election,” Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, said in a statement to Salon. “With American institutions and our democracy itself under constant attack from every direction, the importance of Judge Jackson’s swift and successful confirmation cannot be overstated.”
JCN was the public face of a secretive network of dark money groups that spent millions to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court picks. According to JCN, JCN spent millions in order to confirm Justices Neil Gorsuch (and Brett Kavanaugh). Open Secrets, and launched a $25 millionJust weeks before the 2020 election, Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed.
JCN is closely associated with Leo, who also founded the 85 FundHe also uses this money to funnel money into other conservative groups. They all seem to be tightly connected to one another. According to JCN, Gary Marx, president and treasurer at the 85 Fund is also a senior advisor. CNBC. JCN president Carrie Severino is also involvedWith the Honest Elections Project, a part of The 85 Fund.
These groups are also linked to other right-wing donors. Donors Trust is a dark-money group that is backed by Koch Network. gave more than $20 millionAccountable.US reports that at least 12 groups that challenged the election donated $48 million to the 85 Fund in 2020. The Rule of Law Trust, an obscure conservative group. appears to have no employeesJCN in 2020 received nearly $22 million and Donors Trust received $6 million. Cleta Mitchell, who was an attorney who helped Trump to overturn the election, is a member of the Bradley Foundation’s board. The Bradley Foundation donated more than $3.5 Million to Leo-connected organizations in 2019 and 2020, which included $1 million to Federalist Society. In 2020, donors trust donated $700,000.
Members of the Federalist Society played key roles in Trump’s attempts to overturn the election. Attorney John Eastman was a senior Federalist Society fellow and worked with Trump on a six-point plan that would convince Vice President Mike Pence of overturning the election. He later appeared at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 to claim that the election had been stolen.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, another Federalist Society member, filed a lawsuit aimed at throwing out the election results in a number of key states, effectively overturning Biden’s victory. Of the 17 other Republican attorneys general who joined Paxton’s suit, 13 were membersFederalist Society.
Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, both Federalist Society members, led the objections to the certification of Trump’s loss after the riot.
Donors Trust has been described as “the” “dark money ATM of the right,”Money funneled from anonymous wealthy donors to a variety right-wing causes. The group gave nearly $8 million to the State Policy Network, which helped push voting restrictions in Georgia and other states in the wake of Trump’s campaign of lies following the election, according to the New York Times.
Donors Trust in 2019 also gave nearly $1.6million to the Government Accountability Institute. This group was founded by Trump ally Steve Bannon. It is backed by Trump megadonor Rebekah Mercer. pushed false voter fraud claims. Since the Capitol riot Bannon urged his followersto search for local offices that would allow them to oversee future election.
Donors Trust also donated over $1.45million to Wyoming Liberty Group in that same year. They made baseless claims of voter corruption and demanded a “regular” payment. election audit. It also donated $1.27 million towards the Metric Media Foundation, which managed more than 200,000 employees. 1,000 partisan news sitesThis spread allegations of voter fraud prior to the election. Donors Trust donated over $1 million to Thomas More Society and its Amistad Project. They filed election challenges in five of the states. Another $1 million went to Project Veritas, the conservative media group that publishes undercover “sting” videos which have frequently been accused of deceptive edited. Project Veritas was founded before the 2020 election. launched a campaignTo discredit mail-in vote, which has been proven secure.
Donors Trust also gave $839,000 the conservative Club for Growth. This club distributed millions of dollars to 42 members in Congress who voted against the 2020 election. Turning Point USA, a conservative youth group, received $780,000. braggedConcerning sending 80 buses to the rally before the Capitol riot.
According to Accountable.US., Donors Trust funneled more $28 million to groups who pushed election lies or funded the rally that preceded the Capitol riot.
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation also assisted fund groupsThe Bradley Foundation supported election lies and attempts to impose voting restriction. The Bradley Foundation spent millions of dollars to support voting restrictions well before Trump’s era. The New YorkerIt was reported last year. According to tax filings, Bradley Impact Fund, its affiliate, also funds groups that support conspiracy theories about election, such as Project Veritas, Turning Point USA, and Heritage Foundation. The Intercept. Accountable.US reports that the Bradley Impact Fund donated $2.5 million to The 85 Fund and more than $1 million to The Federalist Society. Cleta Mitchell, who serves on the board of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, was the attorney who participated in Trump’s infamous phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, when Trump demanded he “find” enough votes to overturn the election. That effort is currently under investigation by the Fulton County district attorney’s office.
A second report from Accountable.US raised questions about ties between Leo’s network and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is set to hold hearings on Jackson’s nomination later this month.
Cruz, Hawley, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who all sit on the panel, all “grew up” in the Federalist Society, Law & Liberty reported in 2018, dubbing the group the “Federalist Society Caucus.” Cruz, Hawley and Cotton were even on Trump’s Supreme Court shortlistLeo and Federalist Society created the word “Earth”,
Cruz’s nonprofit, the Conservative Action network, has received at least $500,000 from Leo’s Freedom and Opportunity Fund, according to Open Secrets. Leo’s Concord Fund also donated $200,000 to American One Policies, a group tied to Cotton, according to the Daily Poster.
Other Republicans on the committee also have links to the group. Leo praised Sen. Chuck Grassley from Iowa, who was the top Republican on that committee. “long friend of the Federalist Society.” Grassley, who previously chaired the committee during Trump’s tenure, helped speed through confirmations for Federalist Society-approved judicial nominees, and Mike Davis, Grassley’s former nominations counsel, oversaw a record number of circuit-court judicial confirmations during Trump’s first two years in office, according to his online biography. Davis joined the Article III Project, a dark money group. linked to Leo’s network.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who replaced Grassley as the committee’s chairman during Trump’s last two years in office, oversaw Barrett’s lightning-quick confirmation ahead of the 2020 election. Graham received a maximum donation from Federalist Society co-founder and board chairman Steve Calabresi during Barrett’s confirmation process. Graham also headlinedFederalist Society event at the Capitol Building in 2019
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, another member of the committee, attended a Koch network summit in 2018 with Leo to discuss Trump’s judicial nominations, according to CNBC. Sen. Ben Sasse, R.-Neb. has been featured in at most fourFederalist Society events have been held since 2016 and have been repeated defendedAnd praisedThe group. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., received at least $7,800 from Federalist Society leadership last election cycle, including $1,500 from Leo on the day Gorsuch’s confirmation proceeding began, according to Accountable.US. Sen. Marsha BLACKBURN, R-Tenn. has also been confirmed. appearedSince 2009, at least four Federalist Society events have been attended defended the group when Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., criticized the influence of Leo, the Federalist Society and their related dark money groups during Barrett’s confirmation hearing.
Last month, Whitehouse called out Leo’s dark-money network for spending money to attack Biden’s nominee before he had even selected one, and also for accusing liberal groups that support Biden’s nominee of doing exactly what Leo’s network has done for decades.
“When Supreme Court vacancies occur, a Republican dark-money operation swings into action. … Their accusations of dark-money corruption are a bizarre reimagining of the very strategy that they, themselves, hatched and executed,” Whitehouse wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “But that’s not all. It takes the public eye off the Roberts Court’s pattern of more than 80 partisan 5-to-4 and 6-to-3 decisions benefiting easily identified Republican donor interests. These wins often come at the cost of regular Americans, stripping away protections to minority voters, reproductive right, and workers. And they often degrade our democracy: greenlighting gerrymandering, protecting dark money and suppressing the vote.”