A dark money organization that spent $7 million to block former President Obama’s Supreme Court pick received just three donations between 2015 and 2016, but one transaction really counted: A single $17.9 million contribution from a mystery donor.
The Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), a Washington, D.C.-based conservative nonprofit, saw its revenues explode as it ran ads thanking Republican senators who successfully prevented Merrick Garland, Obama’s pick to replace Antonin Scalia, from receiving a confirmation hearing. It also sent millions of dollars to nonprofits that worked to elect conservative state judicial candidates and attorneys general. Earlier this year, JCN spent $10 million on ads to help secure Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation.
The organization’s most recent tax return, covering July 2015 to June 2016, shows JCN’s anti-Garland spending spree was fueled by three contributions. The $17.9 million donation accounted for 96.6 percent of its revenue. Before the donation, the organization had never reported more than $6 million in revenue since its 2005 creation.