Trump Supreme Court advisor Leonard Leo tied to more than $80 mllion in dark money

Trump Supreme Court advisor Leonard Leo tied to more than $80 mllion in dark money
Leonard Leo, image via Screengrab.

President Donald Trump's unofficial Supreme Court advisor who was actively involved in all three of his justice nominations has been revealed as the sole trustee of a perplexing group that generated more than $80 million in dark money in 2018.

A unfiled tax return for Rule of Law Trust (RLT) shows the name of Federalist Society co-chairman Leonard Leo, according to CREW. The mysterious tax return also includes a number of questionable details that raise alarms about the origin of the money.

In its first year of operation, there were no employees or volunteers working the firm's main address which appears to be a virtual office located in Virginia. The only people associated with RLT have statuses similar to Leo being Federalist Society officials who now work as "consultants" or have a long history of ties to companies circulating dark money.

The company's mission statement also notes that it strives "to advance conservative principles and causes through communications, research, strategy and assistance to other organizations."

In addition to the mysterious cash circulating and the business' hallow history, it also appears to have funneled nearly $2.7 million in company expenditures through another business known as the BH Group.

"The filing vastly expands the amount of money known to be flowing into the growing constellation of dark money groups tied to Federalist Society co-chairman Leonard Leo."

Leo is also listed as the partial owner of that firm. While there has been speculation of Leo's affiliation with the company, his true status within the company had not been confirmed until recently. The BH Group garnered attention back in 2016 after it donated a cool $1 million to Trump's first presidential election campaign. The firm also has a history of funneling funds for the purpose of campaign contributions.

Wellspring Committee and Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), both 501(c)(4) social welfare groups relatively similar to RLT, also funneled money through the BH Group to sway elections and Supreme Court nominations.

Here is a quick timeline of how dark money has influenced politics over the last four years:

  • In 2016, JCN shelled out millions of dollars to dissuade senators from considering President Barack Obama's last Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.
  • In 2017, JCN dumped millions into having Trump's first Supreme Court nominee Justice Neil Gorsuch fill the seat Obama's nominee was denied.
  • In 2018, the group repeated the same process to back Trump's second nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
  • Now, in 2020, JNC has poured millions into the confirmation of Trump's nomination, Amy Coney Barrett to quickly fill the seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the upcoming election.

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