Koch Billionaire Network Secretly Funding Legal Scheme To Gut Government
Far-right judicial activist Leonard Leo, the force behind the Trump-packed Supreme Court, and billionaire megadonor Charles Koch have combined their networks to back yet another dark-money-fueled effort to gut the federal government. Bloomberg Law has uncovered their involvement in the New Civil Liberties Alliance, “a top US Supreme Court litigator” that’s behind the challenges the court heard last week to the federal government’s power to regulate corporate America.
The group’s purported goal is to protect individual rights from “the administrative state” which they see as “an especially serious threat to constitutional freedoms,” according to the group’s website. You know, that “deep state” that ensures we have clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, that ensures our food is safe to eat and our prescription medications won’t harm us.
Bloomberg notes that while the New Civil Liberties Alliance “identifies as nonpartisan,” it is “backed by groups tied to powerful sources of conservative funding, including billionaire Charles Koch and entities linked to legal activist Leonard Leo, who’s had direct influence over the court’s conservative makeup.”
The group received $2.06 million from Donors Trust Inc., a “community foundation for liberty,” from 2020 to 2022, according to Bloomberg. Donors Trust, in turn, received $175.6 million in those two years from The 85 Fund, yet another Leo group. In the same time period, the 85 Fund was also getting money back from Donors Trust “to help finance various conservative groups,” according to CNBC.
“The 85 Fund, which paid Leo’s public affairs firm CRC Advisors $21.4 million for services in 2022, is led by Carrie Severino, the president of the Judicial Crisis Network, which spent millions on ad campaigns to get Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to the bench,” Bloomberg reports.
That’s combined with the more than $5 million the New Civil Liberties Alliance has received since its beginning from the Charles Koch Institute and the Charles Koch Foundation. A nonprofit associated with the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the Cause of Action Institute, filed one of the challenges to federal rule-making, Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo. Cause of Action received $200,000 from Americans for Prosperity in 2022, according to records reviewed by Bloomberg.
This is all much less about individual rights than corporate rights. It’s about giving corporations free rein to gamble with public health and safety, dressed up as “liberty.” The New Civil Liberties Alliance’s efforts extend to bringing upcoming Supreme Court cases that would reverse the criminal ban on bump stocks—accessories that turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns—and would prevent administration efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 conspiracy theories and misinformation.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.
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