Est. 1995

Tag: Dark Money

Freedom Over Fascism

Americans value our freedoms – including our freedom to elect leaders who govern in our name. Multiple grand juries of Americans have indicted the former MAGA President for his criminal conspiracy to defraud, deny, and overthrow the will of the people. Yet MAGA Republicans cheer him on and want to overturn our legal system to allow him to get away with it, while they take away our freedoms and rule for the wealthy few. We must come together to ensure all involved are held accountable, so we can protect our country and our freedoms.

At least four members of the most corrupt Supreme Court in American history have decided to help Trump delay his trial for trying to overthrow the government of the United States.

Just like in 2000, when five Republicans on the Court ignored Al Gore’s probable (later found to be definite) win in Florida to put Bush in the White House, today’s Court is doing as much as they can to help Trump win this November.

As we reckon with this infuriating news, we must keep loudly insisting that the federal trial take place – and do so urgently, before the election. We cannot feed the cynicism and storyline that Trump and his co-conspirators will never be held accountable, as that would lend credence to and cover for their demands for this outcome. As legal expert Norm Eisen said:

“Let’s be clear: there is still time to have a trial, and Department of Justice policy does not prohibit the scheduling of one during an election. The Supreme Court must decide as quickly as humanly possible after oral argument so that Trump can at last be judged by a jury of Americans.”

Also, we must strike from our vocabulary the phrase “SCOTUS decided” or “the Supreme Court ruled.” This provides cover to the corrupt individuals on that court – put there at the behest of billionaires to do their bidding. It is also an implicit condemnation of the three justices who take their roles and oaths seriously.

Make no mistake: these actions are a continuation of MAGA’s criminal conspiracy to take away our freedoms that we’ve been beating back for years. It is vital that we not merely respond to specific legislative atrocities and judicial assaults in isolation, but instead expose the throughline connecting these attacks from SCOTUS to the House of Representatives to state legislatures to the billionaires and corporations financing all of them.

With gratitude to our colleagues at Democracy Defense Project (DDP), here are talking points for how to convey not merely what’s happening but why it matters and what we must demand comes next:

  • Despite a total lack of legal precedent and universal rejection by lower courts, the MAGA Justices on the Supreme Court decided to hear Trump’s claims of absolute presidential immunity.
  • By agreeing to entertain the fiction that presidents are free to commit crimes, these justices are further delaying voters’ most basic right: to have a ruling on and justice for the criminal conspiracy to silence their voices.
  • No court has ever recognized presidential immunity from criminal prosecution. Former presidents have never been allowed to engage in criminal conspiracies unpunished.
  • The August 2023 indictment by a grand jury of everyday Americans lays out the clear criminal conspiracy: It alleges that Trump and MAGA Republicans tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election by every means available, including violence because they knew they had lost.
  • It shows how they organized false presidential elector slates, pressured state officials to disregard their Constitutional oaths, and attempted to enlist Vice President Mike Pence to alter the election results.
  • It demonstrates that they were responsible for the January 6 attack to take away our freedom to vote and seize power to rule for the wealthy few.
  • The MAGA Republicans who schemed and covered up for Trump are still in power and must be held accountable. Trump and MAGA Republicans continue to endanger our country and harm our lives and livelihoods by deliberately spreading lies, breaking laws, and encouraging violence.
  • The Supreme Court must conduct this hearing and rule quickly so that, at last, a jury of Americans can weigh the facts of the case and determine the consequences of Trump’s criminal conspiracy to overthrow the 2020 election.

The Freedom Over Fascism Toolkit has been updated with this guidance, under the Presidential Immunity Hearing section. We encourage you to share this resource widely.

In solidarity,

Anat and the Research Collaborative and ASO Communications teams

Download (PDF, 3.35MB)

Everyone loses when MAGA Republicans get their way

Freedumb Caucus

Freedom Caucus, US House, GOP Right Wing, speaker of the house, political cartoon

 

What you need to know

Now you might be thinking: Didn’t we just go through this whole cycle a few months ago? The brinksmanship, the urgent warnings, the crisis over government funding? Why on earth is this happening again?

The short answer: Because Republicans have handed the car keys to the most extreme members of their caucus and they’re driving us all off a cliff.

The long answer: The May default crisis was resolved in the nick of time with a deal between President Biden and Kevin McCarthy. That deal set top-line spending levels for the coming year’s budget.

MAGA arsonist Matt GaetzExtreme MAGA Republicans have spent the last several months agitating against the deal. Their demands are wide-ranging and radical. They want dramatic cuts to federal programs. They want to defund the DOJ and aid to Ukraine. They want to restrict access to medication abortion. They want drastic cuts to social safety net programs. In short, they want to move the goalposts for the budget process into right-wing fantasy land. As a result, Republican House members are currently literally unable to agree with each other on how to fund the federal government.

Now, this would not be a problem if Kevin McCarthy was willing to ignore the MAGA caucus. Because he does have enough votes in the House to pass the original deal. It’s just that he’d need Democratic votes to do it. And he’s committed to his caucus that he won’t pass a funding bill unless it can pass with only Republican votes.

US government shutdown: What is it and who would be affected?

This crisis could also be resolved if even a handful of Republicans were willing to go against their party and sign a discharge petition to allow Democrats to bring a bipartisan bill to the floor. A discharge petition is a tactic that allows a majority of Congress members to override the Speaker and put a bill on the floor. Plenty of Republicans (especially the ones who are worried about their re-elections, like the Unrepresentatives) are giving quotes about being frustrated, or how they wish their party would get its act together. Every time you hear that, just remember: it would take 6 Republicans signing a discharge petition to allow Democrats to bring a bipartisan bill to the floor. If your representative isn’t willing to do this, then their words are meaningless.

It’s common for the media to frame shutdowns as a “both sides” issue. But let’s be clear: This is not a situation where “Washington is broken” or “the two sides can’t work it out.” The deal has been reached. The votes for the deal are there. That’s not the problem. The problem is that Republicans, under pressure from their most extreme MAGA members, have unilaterally abandoned the deal. They would rather shut the government down than simply work with Democrats to pass the budget deal they already agreed to.

Don’t just take our word for it — here’s the same point from an unlikely source:

 

Said arsonist Matt Gaetz, “We cannot blame the Democrats for having not done our job to comply with the coalition agreement that we made at the beginning of the year. That is the fault of the Speaker.”

All of this would be comical if there weren’t such awful consequences for the rest of us. The pain of a government shutdown is enormous. Essential services for seniors, working families, the military, and first responders are disrupted. Kids go hungry because programs like WIC and SNAP lose funding. Disaster relief funding — like money for the survivors of the Maui fires — is delayed or cut. And crucial government functions like food safety inspections and air travel oversight risk disruption.

Everyone loses when MAGA Republicans get their way.

OK, so what do we do about it?

There are two things we need to do here: 

First, we need to get out of this mess without rewarding Republicans’ terrible behavior. If you’ve got a Democratic representative, you should be telling them to stand strong. If you’ve got a Republican representative, you should be putting the heat on them — especially if you’ve got a Republican who represents a flippable district, or who’s in principle opposed to their party’s shenanigans.

Second, if a shutdown does occur, we need to make sure that the public understands that it’s a product of Republican extremism and dysfunction. Republicans are doing something very unpopular (shutting down the government) to try to get something else that’s also very unpopular (cuts to essential programs for families, seniors, and more). They need to pay a political price for it. Fortunately, we’ve got a plan for that – an entire campaign. Join our Unrepresentatives Project and help us hold the most vulnerable Republicans accountable. 

The reality is that for these folks, the election season has already started. If this shutdown drags on, we’ve got to make sure they see consequences for it.

In solidarity,
Leah Greenberg
Co-founder and Co-Executive Director, of Indivisible

Leonard Leo’s In Trouble

Dark money goon Leonard LeoLeonard Leo, everybody’s favorite dark money goon, is under scrutiny: Politico reported that  Washington D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb has launched an investigative probe into his sinister network of nonprofit groups.

The Lever has reported extensively on Leo’s shady shenanigans. From stacking the Supreme Court to bankrolling climate denial, eviscerating abortion protections, and championing the right to discriminate, the man truly does it all. But he might finally be starting to get his comeuppance. The probe follows increased media scrutiny and comes after a progressive watchdog group filed a complaint against Leo with the attorney general and the IRS.

Best known as Donald Trump’s White House “court whisperer,” Leo played a behind-the-scenes role in the nominations of all three of the former president’s Supreme Court justices and promoted them through his multi-billion-dollar network of nonprofits. Trump chose his three Supreme Court picks, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, from a list drawn up by Leo. More recently, Leo was the beneficiary of a $1.6 billion contribution, believed to be the biggest political donation in U.S. history.

It’s unclear what the scope of the investigation will be, or how much power the attorney general has to halt Leo’s influence. But hopefully, the move will bring increased scrutiny to the outsized power Leo holds over the conservative legal movement. At the very least, maybe it’ll make him sweat.

D.C. Attorney General is probing Leonard Leo’s network

The Breathtaking Hypocrisy of Justice Alito

#scotusiscorrupt

#scotusiscorrupt

The hedge fund of Justice Samuel Alito’s billionaire benefactor has been using a recent Alito-backed Supreme Court ruling to try to pressure federal regulators to back off new financial rules designed to fight fraud, according to documents reviewed by The Lever.

The hedge fund, Elliott Management, has been arguing that the rules are unconstitutional, and could ultimately try to bring a case before Alito to strike down the new regulations if they are enacted. The high court is currently considering a petition to hear a separate case involving the same firm.

ProPublica this week reported that Elliott Management founder, president, and co-CEO Paul Singer provided an undisclosed private jet flight to Alito, and has been a major donor to the Judicial Crisis Network, a dark money group that has funded campaigns to install conservative judges throughout the judiciaryincluding Alito. The justice has declined to recuse himself in past cases involving the hedge fund.

In early June, the SEC finalized part of the proposed anti-fraud rule but just reopened the public comment period for the disclosure rule that Elliott was fighting.

Nonetheless, the SEC’s proposed rules set up a potential court battle between the agency and Elliott, which could ultimately be decided in part by Singer’s Alaska fishing partner, Alito.

Elliott’s efforts to weaponize a recent Supreme Court case to block anti-fraud rules — and to potentially use the high court to kill them — spotlights how judges are in key positions to help billionaires who provide them with gifts and other largesse.

Alito Could Deliver Another Ruling For Billionaire Benefactor

No Labels declines to reveal just who is funding its third party bid

UPDATE  6/23 No Labels Exposed: Here’s a List of Donors Funding Its Effort To Disrupt the 2024 Race

No Labels is helping a firm that raises money for right-wing extremists

Since its inception in 2010, No Labels has billed itself as a refuge for sensible centrists, inspiring a caucus on Capitol Hill called the “Problem Solvers.” More recently, it’s sought to assemble a potential third-party presidential ticket.

On No Label’s fundraising vendor’s Anedot Direct page, the firm promotes a “Conservative List” of organizations and candidates who can receive contributions directly through this service. The roster includes 205 entities, including 46 state GOP committees, Sen. Tim Scott’s and Nikki Haley’s presidential campaigns, 109 House Republican members (including Reps. Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Matt Gaetz), 37 GOP senators (including Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul), and 11 organizations (including Turning Point USA, Moms for America, the National Association for Gun Rights, and the National Republican Congressional Committee).

Who, exactly, is paying for this thing?

Sinema and ManchinWhile No Labels has not actually named a ticket it wants to see run, it has privately made it evident that it has one in mind. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is seen as a potential candidate and has joined at least one regular conference call held by the group in late April. A state official granted anonymity to speak freely said Jacobson and Clancy both mentioned Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) as potential candidates during a 2022 phone call about fundraising.

No Labels declines to reveal just who is funding its third party bid

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