Shining a light on the dark money of The Marble Freedom Trust

I have posted about No Labels, the reactionary centrist political action committee bankrolling Senator Kirsten Sinema and her attack on what's left of the social infrastructure of the Second Reconstruction. The American Legislative Exchange Council and the Heritage Foundation are two examples of think Tanks that write laws for politicians. But who funds the money groups which fund politicians? Last year Barre Seid, a Chicago School economist and industrial magnate, donated $1.6 billion to yet another new group, ensuring that the long-game strategy of institutionalizing an originalist interpretation and application of the Constitution continues.

In an eye-opening and angering collaborative article by The Lever and ProPublica, "How a Secretive Billionaire Handed His Fortune to the Architect of the Right-Wing Takeover of the Courts," Andrew Perez and Justin Elliott explain how "An elderly, ultra-secretive Chicago businessman has given the largest known donation to a political advocacy group in U.S. history — worth $1.6 billion — and the recipient is one of the prime architects of conservatives' efforts to reshape the American judicial system, including the Supreme Court. Through a series of opaque transactions over the past two years, Barre Seid, a 90-year-old manufacturing magnate, gave the massive sum to a nonprofit run by Leonard Leo, who co-chairs the conservative legal group the Federalist Society."

Trippe Lite manufacturing made its money as "a pick-and-shovel business of the digital gold rush." In 2020, Seid transferred his 100% ownership stake in Tripp Lite to The Marble Freedom Trust. The $1.6 billion translated into a $400 million tax write-off for funds with little strings attached to how they will be spent – other than to bolster an ideological interpretation of the Constitution by filling the nation's courts with conservative judges.

"The Marble Freedom Trust is a so-called dark money group that is not required to publicly disclose its donors. It has wide latitude to spend directly on elections as well as on ideological projects such as funding issue-advocacy groups, think tanks, universities, religious institutions and organizing efforts."

Click here for the full ProPublica and The Lever collaboration. Click here for a 2022 interview with Leo, "Meet The Man Who Helped Build The Court That May Overturn Roe."