A Republican donor gave $1.6 billion to a new conservative nonprofit final year, 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 power 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 large media campaigns to see them confirmed.
The sheer dimension of the donation will seemingly support the nation’s conservative wing for years, if not many years, and can function a selected boon to the GOP because the nation heads into November’s midterm elections.
The money got here by way of Barre Seid, a 90-year-old electronics manufacturing tycoon from Chicago, who transferred the huge sum by way of 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 company, Tripp Lite, to the nonprofit group earlier than the company was then bought for $1.65 billion to an Irish conglomerate.
The nonprofit group acquired the proceeds from the sale, which was accomplished in March 2021, some $1.6 billion in whole. ProPublica added the structure 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 present Leo is the trustee and chairman of the belief and has “primary authority” over how they money is spent, in keeping with tax filings obtained by the Times. His energy over the conflict chest will solidify his position as a conservative energy dealer and supercharge his relationships with main donors all through Washington.
The $1.6 billion determine will instantly shift the stability of energy in American political spending. Dark money teams have lengthy aided Democrats, and the Times notes the highest 15 most energetic nonprofit teams benefiting the social gathering spent greater than $1.5 billion within the 2020 race (in comparison with $900 million for GOP-linked teams in that interval).
Democrats have labored to finish such spending after the Supreme Court legalized the apply in its Citizens United determination, however have largely failed to take action so far.