Gabe Kaminsky of the Washington Examiner highlights inconvenient facts for Democrats investigating the leader of the Federalist Society.

Senate Democrats investigating Leonard Leo and other conservative activists over their ties to Supreme Court justices pocketed donations from a wealthy businessman bankrolling organizations behind the high court “ethics” campaign — including ProPublica.

Leo, co-chairman of the Federalist Society legal group, told Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats last week he would not comply with an “unlawful” subpoena from the panel, which has accused conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito of harboring conflicts of interest in connection to their reported relationships with Leo, Republican billionaires Harlan Crow and Paul Singer, and others. But some lawmakers have their own financial ties that ethics experts say could open them up to an apparent conflict of interest, or, at a very minimum, public charges of hypocrisy. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA), as well as other Democrats who have taken aim at right-of-center nonprofit groups connected to Leo, have accepted tens of thousands of dollars from a California philanthropist giving generously each year to influential left-wing foundations, Federal Election Commission filings show.

The philanthropist, Stephen M. Silberstein, has directed regular checks from his private foundation earmarked for “investigative reporting” since 2011 to ProPublica, according to tax forms. The outlet’s reporting on the alleged misconduct of Supreme Court justices prompted the Senate investigation, and it later appeared to pressure lawmakers to subpoena Leo and Crow. Silberstein, a retiree who made his fortune co-founding the software company Innovative Interfaces, also funds left-wing groups now backing sweeping judiciary ethics reforms and praising Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats for approving the subpoenas to Leo and Crow, a Washington Examiner investigation found.

“Congressional oversight of the influence of money on the public policy process will always be imperfect because the overseers themselves are reliant on special interests, but Sheldon Whitehouse raises this to a whole new level,” said Peter Flaherty, CEO of the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group.