Leonard Leo firm received $21M from Leo-linked group

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Leonard Leo’s network came under investigation after a progressive watchdog group filed a complaint with the D.C. attorney general and the IRS following a POLITICO report in March that The 85 Fund had paid CRC $33.8 million over two years beginning in 2020. | Carolyn Kaster/AP

Conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo’s consulting firm received $21 million in 2022 from a group that is a pillar of Leo’s aligned nonprofit network, according to a new tax filing.

That group, The 85 Fund, is part of an umbrella of nonprofits under investigation by the Washington, D.C. attorney general for potentially violating tax laws.

The tax filing, obtained by the watchdog group Accountable.US, shows that last year, The 85 Fund’s highest paid contractor was CRC Advisors, the for-profit firm where Leo is chair.

The revelation comes as D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb is looking into the finances and expenditures associated with The 85 Fund and as Leo faces enhanced congressional scrutiny for his role in bolstering conservative legal movement, including advising President Donald Trump on judicial nominations.

Leo’s network came under investigation after a progressive watchdog group filed a complaint with the D.C. attorney general and the IRS following a POLITICO report in March that The 85 Fund had paid CRC $33.8 million over two years beginning in 2020. The complaint requested an investigation into what services were provided and whether Leo was in violation of laws against using charities for personal enrichment.

Around the time that news emerged about Schwalb’s investigation, it was also revealed that the 85 Fund moved its headquarters, which was a UPS mailbox, from the D.C. area to Texas. The 85 Fund had been incorporated in Virginia for nearly 20 years, and Leo is not cooperating with investigators. After CRC, the next highest paid contractor is $1.4 million to an educational advocacy group known as the Valentine Group.

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