How do tax dodging billionaires get to write the laws for tax paying Americans? Follow the dark money.
Barre Seid, an electronics mogul, made a $ 1.6 billion tax-free donation to Marble Freedom Trust, a new political group controlled by Leonard Leo, who has engineered the conservative dominance of the Supreme Court and finance battles over abortion rights, voting rules and climate change policy.
It is among the largest single contributions ever made to a politically focused nonprofit and more than the total of $1.5 billion spent in 2020 by 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with Democrats. – NY Times
Marble is organized as a nonprofit, so when Seid gave it 100% of the stock in Tripp Lite, a privately held company that makes surge protectors and other electronic equipment, it could sell the stock without paying taxes. The arrangement also likely enabled Seid to avoid paying as much as $400 million in capital gains taxes on the stock. – Letters From An American
How does Leonard Leo’s network of dark money groups stack the Supreme Court with extremists to overturn Roe v Wade? Follow the money.
Follow the dark money
Billionaire dark money denies tax-paying Americans their freedoms
“These actions by the super wealthy are actually costing the American taxpayers to support the political spending of the wealthiest Americans.” This massive donation is an example of so-called “dark money”: funds donated for political advocacy to nonprofits that do not have to disclose their donors. In the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) decision, the Supreme Court said that limiting the ability of corporations and other entities to advertise their political preferences violates their First Amendment right to free speech. This was a new interpretation: until the 1970s, the Supreme Court did not agree that companies had free speech protections.
Now, nonprofit organizations can receive unlimited donations from people, corporations, or other entities for political speech. They cannot collaborate directly with candidates or campaigns, but they can promote a candidate’s policies and attack opponents, all without identifying their donors.” – Letters From An American
“In recent years, Mr. Leo increasingly expanded into a broader role in the conservative movement, shaping the big money flow as an adviser to donors and nonprofit organizations. In 2020, he left the Federalist Society to become chairman of a company called CRC Advisors, which advises and helps manage conservative nonprofits. He is trustee and chairman of the Marble trust and has “primary authority” to decide how the money is spent, according to the tax filing, which shows that he was paid $350,000 in salary by the group.
Conservative pipeline to Supreme Court
“Leo has for many years been the executive vice-president of the Federalist Society, a nationwide organization of conservative lawyers, based in Washington. Leo served, in effect, as Trump’s subcontractor on the selection of Gorsuch, who was confirmed by a vote of 54–45, last week, after Republicans changed the Senate rules to forbid the use of filibusters. Leo’s role in the nomination capped a period of extraordinary influence for him and for the Federalist Society. During the Administration of George W. Bush, Leo also played a crucial part in the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Now that Gorsuch has been confirmed, Leo is responsible, to a considerable extent, for a third of the Supreme Court.” – New Yorker
Secretive conservative legal groups
“The conservative “dark money” organization that spearheaded controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation received $22 million in anonymous donations in the year before the 2018 court fight, newly released tax records show. The Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, pledged to spend as much as $10 million to ensure Kavanaugh’s confirmation — the same amount that it spent to help confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017. JCN has close ties to Trump’s judicial adviser Leonard Leo, a longtime executive at the Federalist Society, the influential conservative and libertarian lawyers network based in Washington, D.C.” – Open Secrets
Ginni Thomas, Wife of Clarence, Cheered On the Rally That Turned Into the Capitol Riot. “On the morning of Jan. 6, Ginni Thomas—wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—endorsed the rally in Washington, D.C. demanding that Congress overturn the election. She then sent her “LOVE” to the demonstrators, who violently overtook the Capitol several hours later. Two days later, Thomas amended her post with the addendum: “[Note: written before violence in US Capitol]”. By that point, five people involved in the insurrection, including a Capitol Police officer, had died.” – MSN
Secretive right-wing Christian groups
Leo predicted the success of his agenda in a speech to funders of the secretive Christian-right Council for National Policy in reversing precedents and turning back Americans’ rights to the pre-New Deal/robber baron era. He bragged that “no one in this room has probably experienced the kind of transformation that I think we are beginning to see” in rulings by the court.
Leo’s network cannot be entirely separated from the dark money web of fossil fuel billionaire Charles Koch, who is a major funder of the Federalist Society and many of the groups that have filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court this term and in previous terms. Koch’s Americans for Prosperity organization spent millions to support the confirmation of Trump appointees, including Amy Coney Barrett, the daughter of a man who worked for decades as a fossil fuel industry lawyer. It’s no great mystery why. Koch’s company, Koch Industries, will likely reap untold billions from decisions favoring the carbon industry, like the reactionary edict recently handed down by the Court’s right-wing faction in West Virginia v. EPA. – TruthOut
What’s that? You don’t have $1.6 billion lying around? Sorry. Did I forget to mention that packing the Supreme Court is only for billionaires?
TakeAway: Stop billionaires stacking the Supreme Court with extremist right wing judges.
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Reposted from Democracy Labs with permission.
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