Leonard Leo-Linked Group Is Funding Anti-Trans Legislation | EUROtoday

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A gaggle on the heart of conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo’s community funneled $750,000 to an influential new lobbying operation that pushes anti-LGBTQ+ laws across the nation, new tax data present.

Do No Harm presents itself as a grassroots affiliation of medical doctors in opposition to gender-affirming care and variety efforts within the medical career. The group, which was based in 2022, doesn’t disclose its donors. But newly disclosed tax filings offered to HuffPost by Accountable.US, a progressive watchdog, present that the Concord Fund, the funding arm of Leo’s community, donated $750,000 in 2022 to Do No Harm Action, the group’s official lobbying effort.

Do No Harm additionally acquired greater than $1.4 million from a nonprofit, the Project on Fair Representation, run by conservative activist Edward Blum, new data present. Blum, a conservative activist who helped engineer two Supreme Court instances that struck down affirmative motion and main sections of the Voting Rights Act, is now a Do No Harm board member.

HuffPost beforehand revealed that Do No Harm acquired $1 million in seed funding from Joseph Edelman, a billionaire hedge fund CEO, and his spouse, Suzy Edelman, who has mentioned she considers “transgenderism” “a fiction designed to destroy.”

Leo is greatest generally known as the kingpin of a decades-long effort to pack the federal judiciary with conservative judges. As the chief of the Federalist Society, Leo assembled an unlimited and secretive community of rich donors and nonprofits to amplify the ability of the conservative authorized motion, culminating in Leo handpicking the checklist of former President Donald Trump’s potential nominees to the Supreme Court. While a few of his efforts are extremely public, others, just like the funding of Do No Harm, happen with little fanfare.

The medley of conservative teams channeling cash to Do No Harm underscores the rising perception on the suitable that attacking trans rights is “a political winner.”

The scale of the contributions additionally helps illuminate how Do No Harm turned a profitable affect operation so quickly after its launch. Last 12 months, the group deployed lobbyists to greater than a half-dozen states to advocate for restrictions on gender-affirming care, and at the least two states handed legal guidelines utilizing its mannequin legislative language. In Montana, Do No Harm offered the blueprint for a ban on gender-affirming take care of minors, which sparked livid native protests.

Transgender rights activists march through the University of Montana campus on May 3 in Missoula, Montana. Dozens were protesting the censure of transgender Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D), who was blocked from speaking after she said state legislators would have "blood on your hands" if a transgender youth care ban was passed.
Transgender rights activists march via the University of Montana campus on May 3 in Missoula, Montana. Dozens had been protesting the censure of transgender Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D), who was blocked from talking after she mentioned state legislators would have “blood on your hands” if a transgender youth care ban was handed.

Justin Sullivan through Getty Images

“It just made the worst of the worst people here more bold in their bigotry, and that trickles down to our kids,” Darcy Saffer, the father or mother of two transgender nonbinary kids in Bozeman, Montana, informed HuffPost final 12 months. The legislation is blocked whereas the Montana Supreme Court weighs whether or not it’s unconstitutional.

Do No Harm has additionally filed a bunch of lawsuits to dam packages geared toward diversifying the medical career.

In addition to receiving $750,000 from Leo’s community, Do No Harm paid Leo’s consulting agency $231,185 for “public affairs” providers. The consulting agency, CRC Advisors, and different for-profit companies through which Leo has a monetary stake have been paid thousands and thousands of {dollars} over time by varied nonprofits in Leo’s orbit, leading to a liberal watchdog calling on the IRS to analyze whether or not the funds violate guidelines on charitable giving.

Last 12 months, Brian Schwalb, the lawyer common of the District of Columbia, opened an investigation into Leo and his nonprofit community. The scope has not been made public.

Neither Do No Harm, Blum, Concord Fund president Carrie Severino, nor CRC Advisors president Greg Mueller responded to requests for remark.

After Trump left workplace, Leo vastly expanded his efforts to goal a large spectrum of conservative coverage targets and passion horses. Powered partially by the biggest identified political donation in U.S. historical past — a $1.6 billion present from a reclusive electronics mogul named Barre Seid — Leo’s community is now fueling political assaults on points together with abortion entry, voting rights and important race concept.

Since 2022, the Concord Fund has acquired at the least $55 million from the nonprofit that homes Seid’s present, the Marble Trust.

Right-wing activist Leonard Leo attends the 2023 Antonin Scalia Memorial Dinner that is part of the Federalist Society's 2023 National Lawyers Convention at the Washington Hilton Hotel on Nov. 9, 2023, in Washington.
Right-wing activist Leonard Leo attends the 2023 Antonin Scalia Memorial Dinner that’s a part of the Federalist Society’s 2023 National Lawyers Convention on the Washington Hilton Hotel on Nov. 9, 2023, in Washington.

The Washington Post through Getty Images

Do No Harm’s targets dovetail neatly with Leo’s expanded mission. The group has helped pay for activists and knowledgeable witnesses to journey the nation, testifying in favor of bans on gender-affirming take care of minors.

On prime of preventing to limit transgender care, Do No Harm is suing Louisiana and Montana over modest efforts to diversify their state medical boards and making an attempt to dismantle a Pfizer fellowship designed to place extra Black, Latino and Native American medical professionals in management positions.

The lawsuits signify a continuation of Blum’s efforts to unravel racial equality efforts utilizing the courts. In 2023, a bunch Blum led introduced the pair of Supreme Court instances that successfully banned race-based affirmative motion in faculty admissions. A Blum group additionally introduced Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court case that eradicated federal oversight of racially discriminatory voting legal guidelines.

“It’s no surprise that Leonard Leo is using his vast dark money network to bankroll far-right groups working to roll back LGBTQ Americans’ rights,” Caroline Ciccone, president of Accountable.US, informed HuffPost. “This is how Leonard Leo works. He leverages his web of nonprofits — bolstered by a massive $1.6 billion windfall — to carry out his radical, unpopular agenda because he knows it will never win at the ballot box.”