Leading conservative judicial activist poured $216M into causes in 12-month span: tax forms

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EXCLUSIVE: A group affiliated with Leonard Leo, a top conservative judicial activist, poured $216 million into causes over the course of a year, tax forms obtained by Fox News Digital show.

The Marble Freedom Trust, a nonprofit for which Leo acts as chairman, has found itself under the microscope of media outlets and Democratic politicians such as Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse due to Leo’s involvement in the conservative judicial sphere. 

During its 2022 fiscal year, the group gave large sums of money to three other entities.

Liberals, led by over $1 billion a year from the foreign-funded Arabella Advisors network, have dominated dark money in politics,” a Marble Freedom Trust spokesperson told Fox News Digital.”In the face of such lopsided spending, Marble Freedom Trust is working to even the playing field so that conservatives can crush liberal dominance.


Leonard Leo

Leonard Leo speaks at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., April 23, 2019.  (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

According to the Marble Freedom Trust’s newest tax forms, Leo’s group disbursed $216.8 million between May 2022 and May 2023, an increase of $34.1 million over the previous year, when it handed out $182 million in donations.

The new tax documents show the nonprofit pushed a bulk of this cash — $153.7 million — to the Schwab Charitable Fund, a donor-advised fund used by groups and individuals to make other charitable contributions.

The New York Times previously reported that the Schwab Charitable Fund gave $141.5 million to the 85 Fund, another group linked to Leo, before the period laid out in the most recent tax forms.


During its most recent fiscal year, the Marble Freedom Trust also provided $55.5 million to the Concord Fund, which previously was known as the Judicial Crisis Network and also has been tied to Leo.

Its last donation — in the amount of $7.6 million — went to the Knights of Columbus Charitable Fund, another donor-advised fund. 

Once an organization or individual pushes money to entities such as the Schwab Charitable Fund and Knights of Columbus Charitable Fund, it is practically impossible to trace where the money ends up.

photo split: Sens. Whitehouse, left, and Durbin, right

Democratic senators Sheldon Whitehouse, left, and Dick Durbin, right, have targeted Leo and other judicial activists. (Getty Images)

Leo has been the target of Democratic lawmakers over his involvement in right-leaning judicial matters as part of their investigation into Supreme Court justices.

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Whitehouse have sent letters to Leo and billionaire activists seeking information regarding trips and events Supreme Court justices have taken and participated in over the years.

In October, the senators sent a letter to Leo, Harlan Crow and Robin Arkley in an attempt to strong-arm them into complying with a previous July request for details about trips involving justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Leo, however, rejected their demands in a letter his attorneys sent to committee Chairman Durbin, a copy of which Fox News Digital previously obtained.

“We have put forward clear and detailed reasons why the Committee’s inquiry is a form of political retaliation in violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clause,” Leo’s attorney, David Rivkin, wrote in the letter. 

“But, for the most part, the October 5 Letter ignores these points, and, since our last correspondence, the Committee has only expanded the retaliatory campaign it is mounting against Mr. Leo.”

Clarence Thomas, associate justice of the US Supreme Court

Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at the Heritage Foundation Oct. 21, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

For decades, Leo has been a part of the Federalist Society, which progressive activists have long criticized for its involvement in helping advise and lobby former President Trump through the nominations of Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Leo has also been a target of Washington, D.C.’s Democratic Atorney General Brian Schwalb, who launched an investigation into Leo’s network last summer. 


Schwalb’s office faced criticism for targeting Leo while ignoring a similar liberal dark-money network overseen by the Arabella Advisors consulting firm. 

After the criticism, Schwalb’s office also opened a probe into the Arabella Advisors-managed network.

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