A Republican donor gave $1.6 billion to a new conservative nonprofit final yr, the biggest identified donation to a political advocacy group within the nation’s historical past, The New York Times reported Monday.
The group, Marble Freedom Trust, is run by Leonard Leo, the co-chair of the conservative Federalist Society, an influential drive in Washington that has labored to remodel the nation’s judiciary. Leo has been instrumental within the battle to overturn Americans’ entry to abortion and restrict voting rights throughout the nation. ProPublica notes Leo has immediately helped choose judges to be nominated to the Supreme Court and arranged huge media campaigns to see them confirmed.
The sheer measurement of the donation will seemingly assist the nation’s conservative wing for years, if not many years, and can function a specific boon to the GOP because the nation heads into November’s midterm elections.
The cash got here through Barre Seid, a 90-year-old electronics manufacturing tycoon from Chicago, who transferred the huge sum through a collection of authorized tax loopholes that appear to have largely prevented any liabilities, the Times reported. Seid donated 100% of his shares in his firm, Tripp Lite, to the nonprofit group earlier than the corporate was then bought for $1.65 billion to an Irish conglomerate.
The nonprofit group obtained the proceeds from the sale, which was accomplished in March 2021, some $1.6 billion in complete. ProPublica added the construction of the donation seemingly prevented as a lot as $400 million in taxes.
Marble Freedom Trust, which was founded in 2020, is what’s known in political circles as a dark money group that faces no requirements to publicly disclose its donors. Such organizations are able to spend as much as they like on third-party electoral efforts and political issues.
Leo told the Times in a statement it was “high time for the conservative movement to be among the ranks of George Soros, Hansjörg Wyss, Arabella Advisors and other left-wing philanthropists.” He mentioned the donation would assist the brand new group go “toe-to-toe in the fight to defend our constitution and its ideals.”
Tax filings show Leo is the trustee and chairman of the trust and has “primary authority” over how they money is spent, according to tax filings obtained by the Times. His power over the war chest will solidify his role as a conservative power broker and supercharge his relationships with major donors throughout Washington.
The $1.6 billion figure will immediately shift the balance of power in American political spending. Dark money groups have long aided Democrats, and the Times notes the top 15 most active nonprofit groups benefiting the party spent more than $1.5 billion in the 2020 race (compared to $900 million for GOP-linked groups in that period).
Democrats have worked to end such spending after the Supreme Court legalized the practice in its Citizens United decision, but have largely failed to do so thus far.