'Largest political donation ever': Trump ally received $1.6 billion through Federalist Society contact
Leonard Leo — who assisted former President Donald Trump in selecting judicial nominees — received a groundbreaking $1.6 billion dollar gift for his network through the Federalist Society; an organization with a tax status that condemns political activism.
A new report published by Politico explains the series of events that led to the announcement of the billion-dollar contribution.
"Leo first met Barre Seid, the now 91-year-old manufacturing magnate turned donor, through an introduction arranged by Eugene Meyer, the longtime director of the Federalist Society," the report reads.
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"At the time, Leo was the society’s executive vice president, and he is currently its co-chair," it continues. "Meyer envisioned Seid as a contributor to the society, according to a person familiar with the introduction. Instead, Leo cultivated Seid as a funder of his own dark money network. The result was a $1.6 billion gift announced last year — which is believed to be the largest political donation ever."
According to the news outlet, Leo's political activism along with his use of the funds has led to some opposition between him, Meyer, and his fellow co-chair, Steven Calabresi a law professor at Northwestern University.
While some have defended Leo's actions, critics have pushed back by arguing that they are, at the least, questionable.
"Critics, including some within the society, note that Leo’s dual arrangement provides a potential end-run around prohibitions on political activity by nonprofit educational organizations, with the prestigious debating society attracting the donors and Leo collecting the funds through politically active independent groups," the report notes.
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Despite the latest reports that suggest problems are brewing, Meyer released a statement applauding Leo for his work.
"Leonard Leo did an outstanding job at the Federalist Society for 20 years and we are enormously grateful for his faithful service," Meyer said in the emailed statement.
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