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Conservative ‘Dark Money’ Group Spent $22 Million To Promote Brett Kavanaugh

A conservative dark money group has been promoting right-wing judges and Supreme Court justices for the past decade-and-a-half — but where they’ve gotten their funds to do so has been largely kept secretive.

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 09: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh listens to a discussion between Economic Club President David Rubenstein and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver about the state of the NBA and professional sports during and event hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. at the Capitol Hilton on May 9, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

The Judicial Crisis Network spent around $22 million in support of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his nomination process, producing campaign-like videos urging citizens to call Senators in Washington to vote in favor of his nomination, the National Memo reported.

The information detailing the funding for Kavanaugh’s “campaign” came from the Center for Responsive Politics, through its website OpenSecrets.org.

Kavanaugh’s nomination was mired by the fact that a woman named Christine Blasey Ford alleged that he had sexually assaulted her when the two were teenagers, several decades ago. Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Republican-led Senate, in spite of Ford’s impassioned testimony (and after Kavanaugh gave a rage-filled statement of his own to the Judiciary Committee in his defense).

Of the $22 million that JCN spent in favor of Kavanaugh, $17 million came from an unknown individual who made a donation to the cause. Because of the group’s “dark money” status, it’s impossible to know who this individual was.

Some of JCN’s ties are known, however, in spite of its ability to normally hide such donations. The report detailing the expenditures and funding noted its ties to questionable, far-right groups.

“JCN has close ties to Trump’s judicial adviser Leonard Leo, a longtime executive at the Federalist Society, the influential conservative and libertarian lawyers network based in Washington, D.C.,” the report from OpenSecrets.org read.

A “bulk” of JCN’s funding also comes from the Wellspring Committee, itself another “secretive nonprofit” that influences other “opaque groups,” the report said.

Those opaque groups include possible links to dubious donations to Trump’s inauguration committee, the report suggested. The inauguration committee is itself possibly the subject of a federal investigative inquiry, according to Truthout.org.

The group has made similar expenditures in the past in favor of conservative causes, including spending $10 million in favor of another of President Donald Trump’s nominees Neil Gorsuch, according to the Brennan Center. The group also spent $7 million against former President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland, who was stonewalled after the Republican Senate refused to consider his nomination at all.



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