Leonard Leo tied group registers to lobby

4 months ago 185

The lobbying registration is the latest expansion of the political agenda of the web of groups connected to Leonard Leo. | Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

The nonprofit linked to conservative judicial activist and major fundraiser Leonard Leo has registered to lobby.

The Concord Fund said in a filing that it will lobby on “Issues related to government oversight and reform.” The conservative firm OnMessage will lobby on its behalf. Thomas Binion, a former aide to Rep. Steve King — the Iowa Republican who was removed from his congressional committees and lost his reelection bid — is expected to work on the Concord Fund’s behalf.

The lobbying registration is the latest expansion of the political agenda of the web of groups connected to Leo. The Judicial Crisis Network, an alias of the Concord Fund, has been agitating against Democrats’ efforts to install a code of conduct for the Supreme Court, even as some conservative justices have indicated their support for an ethics code. The Judicial Crisis Network previously lobbied in 2017 in support of Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

According to the registration, OnMessage began lobbying for the Concord Fund in early September.

OnMessage Inc., the campaign arm of the firm, has a rolodex of prominent conservative clients for whom they help with campaigns, including the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund, and Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). Recently, the firm worked for Fair Courts America, a conservative group backed by Republican mega-donor Richard Uihlein that boosted the conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Daniel Kelly.

But the group has not been active on the lobbying scene. According to disclosures, OnMessage has just one other federal lobbying client aside from the Concord Fund: the National Association of Broadcasters.

The Concord Fund is helmed by Carrie Severino, a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas. The nonprofit, which is not required to disclose its donors, is one of several Leo-linked groups to benefit from a $1.6 billion contribution made by a little-known tech executive in 2020. Tax records show the Concord Fund received a $28.9 million donation in the tax year ending April 2022 from the Marble Freedom Trust, the recipient of that $1.6 billion donation.

Neither the Judicial Crisis Network nor OnMessage returned a request for comment.

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