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Politico: D.C. Investigating Far-Right Judicial Activist Leonard Leo and His Dark Money Network

HeadlineAug 24, 2023

Politico is reporting Washington, D.C., Attorney General Brian Schwalb has launched an investigation into right-wing judicial activist and Federalist Society co-chair Leonard Leo and his network of nonprofits. Earlier this year, Politico reported one of Leo’s registered charities paid his for-profit public relations company at least $43 million. The charity, which recently relocated from Virginia to Texas, is called The 85 Fund and received $117 million in anonymous funding in 2021. The nonprofit is run by Carrie Severino, a former clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas. Leonard Leo is widely known as Donald Trump’s “court whisperer” and was involved in the selection of all three of the former president’s far-right Supreme Court justices. It’s not the first time Leo and his dark money network have come under scrutiny. Leo was the recipient of likely the largest-ever political donation in the U.S. when he received $1.6 billion from conservative billionaire Barre Seid in 2021. The watchdog Campaign for Accountability says some $73 million has been moved from nonprofits connected to Leo to his for-profit firms since 2016.

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