“New clues link $1 million Trump inauguration mystery money to secretive ‘dark money’ network”

Open Secrets:

Notorious “dark money” conduit Wellspring Committee gave $14.8 million to the primary spender on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation and paid $919,900 to the mysterious LLC that made a $1 million donation to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, according to a new tax return obtained Nov. 27 by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Wellspring has acted as a conduit for large contributions from secretive donors since it was set up, effectively laundering multi-million dollar donations with no substantive disclosure or accountability.

Despite operating behind the scenes with a name unknown to most of the American public, Wellspring is at the crux of Ann and Neil Corkery’s network of politically active dark money groups, funneling millions from anonymous financiers to political causes they don’t want their names attached to — and doing ostensibly little else.

Wellspring has continued to be the chief financier of the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), with a $14,814,998 contribution last year…

The only contractor paid by Wellspring last year was BH Group, the mysterious LLC created four months to the day before it made a $1 million donation to the Trump inaugural committee on Dec. 22, 2016.

The newly discovered payment for “public relations” follows a $750,000 payment to the newly minted BH Group the prior year as well as $947,000 from JCN to the BH Group around when the LLC made its inaugural donation.

While it initially appeared that BH Group was merely a shell company created solely for the purpose of laundering money into the Trump inaugural committee, more information about the LLC has only added to its mystery.

New tax returns reviewed by CRP reveal that Judicial Education Project, JCN’s sister 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, also paid an additional $1.3 million to BH Group LLC last year. Judicial Education Fund keeps its donors anonymous but CRP tracked the bulk of the group’s recent funding to DonorsTrust, which accounted for more than 99 percent of its money last year. Like JCN, Judicial Education Fund has also been funded by Wellspring in prior years.

One name that CRP has tied to the mysterious LLC is Leonard Leo, the executive vice president at the Federalist Society, an influential conservative and libertarian legal organization, who listed “BH Group” as his employer in a campaign finance filing reported to the Federal Election Commission.

Leo’s more widely known affiliation with the Federalist Society has gained attention after reports that it played a substantial role guiding the hand of Trump’s White House in its judicial nomination process, including in the selection of Supreme Court justices.


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