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United StatesAugust 25 2022, 13:51 pm

$1.6 Billion Donated to Group Headed by Former Trump Advisor

US media is report­ing on a huge dona­tion made to a group led by what is described as a “promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tive lawyer” close to Don­ald Trump and known for run­ning a net­work of rightwing “dark mon­ey” non-prof­its that don’t dis­close their donors. Accord­ing to the CNN report, the dona­tion is con­nect­ed to an elec­tron­ics com­pa­ny exec­u­tive and phil­an­thropist tied to oth­er dark-mon­ey donations:

August 22, 2022 A new group led by a promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tive lawyer has received $1.6 bil­lion from one donor — the largest sin­gle con­tri­bu­tion to a polit­i­cal­ly focused non­prof­it that’s ever been made pub­lic, and a for­tune that could be used to fuel right-wing inter­ests. The non­prof­it, Mar­ble Free­dom Trust, received the con­tri­bu­tion in the form of stock and then fun­neled more than $200 mil­lion to oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions last year, a tax form CNN obtained from the IRS shows. Mar­ble Free­dom is led by Leonard Leo, the co-chair­man of the con­ser­v­a­tive Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety, who advised for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on his Supreme Court picks and runs a sprawl­ing net­work of oth­er right-wing non­prof­its that don’t dis­close their donors, which are often referred to as dark mon­ey groups. A CNN review of finan­cial doc­u­ments con­nect­ed the dona­tion to Barre Seid, a low-pro­file, 90-year-old Chica­go elec­tron­ics com­pa­ny exec­u­tive and phil­an­thropist who has pre­vi­ous­ly been tied to small­er anony­mous con­tri­bu­tions to oth­er right-wing groups. The New York Times, which first report­ed the con­tri­bu­tion on Mon­day, also iden­ti­fied Seid as the donor. Donors with influ­ence on Texas pol­i­tics Donors with influ­ence on Texas pol­i­tics 02:52 The mas­sive dona­tion instant­ly makes the Utah-based group one of the most well-fund­ed orga­ni­za­tions bankrolling con­ser­v­a­tive caus­es in the US — a stag­ger­ing dis­tinc­tion for a group with zero pub­lic pro­file or even a web­site. In com­par­i­son, the sin­gle con­tri­bu­tion is more than dou­ble the total amount raised by Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign com­mit­tee dur­ing the entire 2020 elec­tion cycle.

Read the rest here.

Pro-Pub­li­ca fur­ther report­ed on Leonard Leo, iden­ti­fied above as the head of Mar­ble Free­dom, the group which received the 1.6 bil­lion dol­lar donation:

August 22, 2022 As Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s advis­er on judi­cial nom­i­na­tions, Leo helped build the Supreme Court’s con­ser­v­a­tive super­ma­jor­i­ty, which recent­ly elim­i­nat­ed Con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­tec­tions for abor­tion rights and has made a series of sweep­ing pro-busi­ness deci­sions. Leo, a con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic, has both helped select judges to nom­i­nate to the Supreme Court and direct­ed mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar media cam­paigns to con­firm them. Leo derives immense polit­i­cal pow­er through his abil­i­ty to raise huge sums of mon­ey and dis­trib­ute those funds through­out the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment to influ­ence elec­tions, judi­cial appoint­ments and pol­i­cy bat­tles. Yet the biggest fun­ders of Leo’s oper­a­tion have long been a mystery.

Read the rest here.

The Pro-Pub­li­ca report adds fur­ther detail about the don­er Barre Seid:

Seid, who led the surge pro­tec­tor and data-cen­ter equip­ment mak­er Tripp Lite for more than half a cen­tu­ry, has been almost unknown out­side a small cir­cle of polit­i­cal and cul­tur­al recip­i­ents. The gift imme­di­ate­ly vaults him into the ranks of major fun­ders like the Koch broth­ers and George Soros.

In August 2021, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed that a net­work of dark-mon­ey orga­ni­za­tions was attempt­ing to fos­ter vot­er sup­pres­sion in the US.

In Jan­u­ary 2022, we report­ed about the role of con­ser­v­a­tive dark mon­ey and an unreg­is­tered lob­by­ist in seek­ing Pres­i­den­tial par­dons from out­go­ing US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

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