Deep-pocketed interests are pulling out all the stops — including employing top Democrats to plead their case.
Obama’s former acting Solicitor General and a senator-turned-lobbyist are helping a dark money group pressure the high court.
The former Supreme Court lawyer for the Obama administration and a Democratic senator-turned-lobbyist are pressuring justices to block Congress from ever instituting a wealth tax on the superrich, according to court filings reviewed by The Lever.
Former Obama acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal recently submitted an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Moore v. United States on behalf of the group Saving America’s Family Enterprises (SAFE). That anonymously funded group — whose board includes corporate lobbyists — has spearheaded campaigns against Democrats’ efforts to tax the inheritances and wealth of millionaires and billionaires.
Now the group is aiming to use the seemingly obscure corporate taxation case to elicit a broad ruling that outlaws all wealth taxes.
SAFE’s board of directors includes two corporate lobbyists: Missy Edwards and David Lehman. Edwards lobbies for General Motors, the real estate industry, and electric utilities, while Lehman lobbies for defense contractors.
SAFE employs Forbes Tate, a lobbying firm run by former officials from President Bill Clinton’s administration that has coordinated the healthcare industry’s campaign against Medicare for All.
Katyal is an MSNBC mainstay who came to prominence as a liberal defender of Republican President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, all of whom will now rule on the case. In recent years, Katyal has helped Nestlé defend itself in a child slavery case before the Supreme Court and represented Johnson & Johnson in its bid to use bankruptcy to block lawsuits from cancer victims.
Top Dems Press Supreme Court To Block Billionaire Tax
Leonard 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