by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
“Nonpartisan” Supreme Court watchdogs demanding conservative justices disclose more about their finances hauled in millions of dollars combined in 2022 from the largest Democratic-allied dark money network in the United States, tax forms show.
The cash transfers, which became public Wednesday upon the release of new financial disclosures, underscore how groups leading a campaign targeting Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito over trips and gifts they accepted, but did not report, rely on influential left-wing grantmakers to help keep their lights on. Several of these self-described watchdogs took heaps of cash from nonprofit organizations managed by Arabella Advisors, a consulting firm overseeing an anonymously-funded network that spent over $1 billion last year propping up liberal causes.
Washington D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb (D) is investigating Arabella Advisors and its offshoots, including New Venture Fund and Sixteen Thirty Fund, and his office issued subpoenas to the network in September for information on financial mismanagement allegations. The consultancy also manages Hopewell Fund, North Fund, and Windward Fund, which, like others in the network, sponsor little-known groups that aren’t required to file their own tax forms with the IRS.
“Arabella Advisors and the dark money groups it advises specialize in cultivating pop-up front groups to make their extreme agenda sound locally-run or nonpartisan,” Carrie Severino, president of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, told the Washington Examiner. “It’s no surprise they’re behind the campaign to discredit originalist justices.”
JCN, the judicial advocacy group also known as Concord Fund, is affiliated with Federalist Society co-chair Leonard Leo, a conservative activist who, along with GOP businessman Harlan Crow, could face congressional subpoenas over their ties to Thomas and Alito. Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats decided against a vote on the matter last week after Republicans, including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), dangled the idea of an Arabella subpoena.