An opaque conservative group closely linked with Trump legal adviser Leonard Leo donated nearly $2 million to the Republican State Leadership Committee last quarter.

by David Moore, Sludge

A “dark money” group tied to Donald Trump’s judicial adviser Leonard Leo made a pair of donations totaling $1.85 million in September to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), according to new IRS filings. The donations came as the RSLC began ramping up its ad spending in state court races that will be crucial for determining access to abortion care, ruling on gerrymandering cases, and other issues.

New York Court of Appeals Building was built with Greek Revival style in 1842 in downtown Albany, New York State NY, USA.

The Concord Fund, a nonprofit that does not publicly disclose its funders and is closely linked with Federalist Society co-chair Leo, also donated $1 million to the RSLC in 2021. Its donations through the third quarter of this year mark a step up from the 2019-2020 election cycle, when the group, which was called the Judicial Crisis Network until February 2020, donated $1.6 million to the RSLC.

The RSLC, the state campaign arm of the Republican Party, has spent more than any other group to support conservative state judicial candidates in recent election cycles. Earlier this year, it pledged to hit new spending highs in state court races this cycle, and it recently announced it broke its per-cycle fundraising record. In addition to state judges, the RSLC backs candidates for state legislature seats, secretary of state, and other down-ballot positions. In the first three quarters of this year, the RSLC reported raising nearly $33.9 million in its IRS disclosures, and last year it took in more than $26.4 million.

Read More