Leonard Leo’s firm got nearly $500K from conservative nonprofit, tax filing shows

Americans for Public Trust, a nonprofit conservative government watchdog group, transferred more than a quarter of its expenses to Leonard Leo’s consulting firm, CRC Advisors, in 2022, according to a new tax filing.

The filing was shared with POLITICO by Accountable.US, a progressive watchdog group.

Leo, among the most prominent figures of the conservative legal movement, has come under scrutiny over revelations that his network of nonprofits has funneled millions of dollars to his for-profit firm. The D.C. attorney general Brian Schwalb is investigating whether Leo violated nonprofit tax laws for personal gain.

Leo presides over a multi-billion-dollar network of tax-exempt nonprofit groups and has used it, in part, to organize campaigns over the past decade to install the Supreme Court’s conservative majority.

American for Public Trust is a nonprofit group run by the former research director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. The organization often publicly criticizes progressive so-called dark money groups that do not have to disclose their donors. On Wednesday, it highlighted the tax filings for a number of progressive nonprofits, including the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

The group’s donations fell significantly between 2021 and 2022, from about $3.6 million to $1.6 million. As a 501(c)(3) charity, it does not have to disclose its donors. Meanwhile, the amount paid to CRC Advisors between 2021 and 2022 increased from $470,092 to $480,905. The payments to Leo’s firm now constitute about 28 percent of its total expenditures.

A spokesperson for the group did not immediately return a request for additional details about CRC’s work for Americans for Public Trust.

Many of Leo’s aligned groups pay his for-profit company, CRC, and they are not required to disclose what services they are purchasing.

But Leo has declined to say what services were provided in exchange for at least $43 million transferred to his company in the two years since he had come on board in 2020. Leo, through an attorney, also recently told POLITICO that he is not cooperating with the D.C. investigation.

Previously, POLITICO’s investigation found his own personal wealth appeared to have ballooned as his fundraising prowess accelerated since 2016, when he became an adviser to former President Donald Trump on judicial nominations.

In a statement, Accountable.US criticized the group for sending money from a nonprofit back to Leo’s own business.

“Americans for Public Trust’s allegiance to Leonard Leo couldn’t be more obvious — even as the group’s revenue is plummeting, it continues to funnel almost a third of its expenses straight to Leo’s firm,” said Accountable.US President Caroline Ciccone.

It also appears that nearly all of Americans for Public Trust’s contributions and grants came from DonorsTrust, a prominent conservative donor fund. It gave the group $1,579,000 in 2022, according to DonorsTrust’s recent filing.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this report misstated the age of CRC Advisors and Leo’s tenure with the firm. The firm was created in 2020.


Hot News