Federalist Society has control over the Supreme Court. Here are their donors.
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Six of the nine justices of the Supreme Court—the highest court in the United States, with the power to declare actions of the Legislative and Executive branch unconstitutional—were (or are) members of a powerful organization called the Federalist Society. The group is a collection of conservative and libertarian lawyers who are often chosen by Republican presidents to ascend to the federal bench.
Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society, advised both George W. Bush and Donald Trump on the confirmation process for Supreme Court justices, leading to Roberts’ and Alito’s placement as well as the success of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. Clarence Thomas, too, is a member of the Federalist Society.
As a non-profit, the Federalist Society is not required to report individual donations to the IRS. What we know of donors to the Federalist Society is what the organization itself chooses to publicize.
I went through the group’s last three annual reports (2017-2019, the most recent available) detailing their donors. Many choose to remain anonymous.
This list is not comprehensive; see the annual reports link above for the full lists.
- Google: Gave at least $100,000 every year
- Koch Industries: Gave at least $100,000 every year
- Walmart: Gave at least $100,000 in 2017 and $50,000-$99,999 in 2018
- Chevron Corporation: Gave $50,000-$99,999 every year
- Facebook: Gave $50,000-$99,999 in 2018 and 2019, gave $25,000-$49,999 in 2017
- Pfizer, Inc.: Gave $50,000-$99,999 every year
- Microsoft: Gave $50,000-$99,999 in 2017 and 2018
- GlaxoSmithKline: Gave $50,000-$99,999 in 2018 and $25,000-$49,999 in 2017.
- T-Mobile: Gave $25,000-$49,999 in 2018 and 2019
- Verizon: Gave $25,000-$49,999 every year
- Exxon Mobil Corporation: Gave $10,000-$24,999 every year
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, gave at least $100,000 every year: top funder for groups affiliated with charter schools; Pro-Trump attorney Cleta Mitchell sits on the foundation’s board of directors
New Yorker: Based in Milwaukee, the private, tax-exempt organization has become an extraordinary force in persuading mainstream Republicans to support radical challenges to election rules—a tactic once relegated to the far right. With an endowment of some eight hundred and fifty million dollars, the foundation funds a network of groups that have been stoking fear about election fraud, in some cases for years. Public records show that, since 2012, the foundation has spent some eighteen million dollars supporting eleven conservative groups involved in election issues.
E.L. Craig Foundation, gave at least $100,000 every year: Created by the founder of TAMKO Building Products; headed by his daughter, Ethelmae Humphreys, who served on the boards of the libertarian think tank Cato Institute; Humphreys and her children financially supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and donated $850,000 to Club for Growth Action Missouri to support Sen. Josh Hawley.
The Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation, gave at least $100,000 every year: A legal education foundation in California. UCLA Law School features a legal library in their name.
Donors Trust, gave at least $100,000 every year: Donors Trust is one of the biggest conservative dark money groups. “[Now-deceased CEO Whitney] Ball says she travels all over the country courting wealthy conservatives and libertarians, and attends Koch donor retreats and Cato ‘shareholder’ meetings. The crux of her pitch is this: Rich folks can give to Donors Trust and rest easy knowing that their millions will continue bankrolling the conservative movement long into the future, even after their death.”
The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, gave at least $100,000 every year: Created by Hewlett-Packard cofounder William Redington Hewlett. According to Influence Watch, the foundation gave $500,000 to the Federalist Society in “support of the Article 1 Initiative,” which is dedicated to “examining whether the contemporary Congress is operating according to the original constitutional design.”
Koret Foundation, gave at least $100,000 every year: pro-Israel foundation headed by a director of Exxon Mobil
Lilly Endowment, Inc., gave at least $100,000 every year: Created by Eli Lilly and Company heirs. Supports numerous religious education organizations.
The Marcus Foundation, Inc., gave at least $100,000 every year: Created by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus (who also supported Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns).
Searle Freedom Trust, gave at least $100,000 every year: Founded by Daniel C. Searle, of Searle & Company (now part of Pfizer). The trust has given over $2 million to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
The Ed Uihlein Family Foundation, gave at least $100,000 every year: Created by founder of Uline packaging and office supply firm. Gave $4.3 million to a group involved in the pre-insurrection rally of Jan. 6.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, gave $50,000-$99,000 every year: A private nonprofit business league that traditionally donates to conservative candidates and committees.
Adolph Coors Foundation, gave $50,000-$99,000 every year: Created by the son of the founder of the Coors Brewing Company. Seeks to educate Americans “in the wisdom of the free enterprise system, traditional Judeo-Christian values and the rule of law.”
The Snider Foundation, gave $25,000-$49,999 in 2017 and 2018: Created by Ed Snider, former chairman of the company that owns the Philadelphia Flyers and former owner of the Philadelphia 76ers.
David and Charles Koch, gave at least $100,000 every year
Scott & Cyan Banister, gave at least $100,000 every year: Tech investors involved in Paypal, Uber, and SpaceX; gave to Rand Paul for President and Ted Cruz for President
Mark Kolokotrones, gave at least $100,000 every year: Founder of financial services firm Castle Knoll Investments LLC and trustee of the Heritage Foundation.
Raymond Ruddy and Marilyn Ruddy, gave at least $100,000 in 2018 and 2019, gave $10,000-$24,999 in 2017: Catholic pro-life donors.
Rex Sinquefield gave at least $100,000 in 2018 and 2019, gave $10,000-$24,999 in 2017: Investor with a long history of supporting Republican candidates in Missouri.
Thomas W. Smith, gave at least $100,000 every year: A hedge fund manager in Florida. Very little public information available.
Ted and Jennifer Ullyot, gave at least $100,000 every year: Ted was an attorney in George W. Bush’s administration and served as Facebook’s general counsel from September 2008 until July 2013.
Roger and Susan Hertog, gave at least $100,000 every year: Roger manages the Tikvah Fund, which opened a Federalist Society copycat group in Israel, “aimed at developing a new generation of conservative legal thinkers and judicial leaders for the Jewish state.”
Ken and Frayda Levy, gave $50,000-$99,000 every year: Ken is a co-founder of Jacobs Levy Equity Management. He and his wife are heavily involved in pro-Israel organizations, believing that “Israel is not a free-market economy” and needs more Reaganomics.