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Saturday, September 3, 2022

Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 8:58 AM No comments
Rightwing Mega-Donor Gives $1.6 Billion to Fund Extremist Candidates

A billionaire named Barre Seid has given $1.6 billion to a new far-right group, to be used to fund extremist candidates.

ProPublica wrote about how the billionaire structured the deal to avoid taxes.

An elderly, ultra-secretive Chicago businessman has given the largest known donation to a political advocacy group in U.S. history — worth $1.6 billion — and the recipient is one of the prime architects of conservatives’ efforts to reshape the American judicial system, including the Supreme Court.

Through a series of opaque transactions over the past two years, Barre Seid, a 90-year-old manufacturing magnate, gave the massive sum to a nonprofit run by Leonard Leo, who co-chairs the conservative legal group the Federalist Society.

The donation was first reported by The New York Times on Monday. The Lever and ProPublica confirmed the information from documents received independently by the news organizations.

Our reporting sheds additional light on how the two men, one a judicial kingmaker and the other a mysterious but prolific donor to conservative causes, came together to create a political war chest that will likely supercharge efforts to further shift American politics to the right.

As President Donald Trump’s adviser on judicial nominations, Leo helped build the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority, which recently eliminated Constitutional protections for abortion rights and has made a series of sweeping pro-business decisions. Leo, a conservative Catholic, has both helped select judges to nominate to the Supreme Court and directed multimillion dollar media campaigns to confirm them.

Leo derives immense political power through his ability to raise huge sums of money and distribute those funds throughout the conservative movement to influence elections, judicial appointments and policy battles. Yet the biggest funders of Leo’s operation have long been a mystery.

Seid, who led the surge protector and data-center equipment maker Tripp Lite for more than half a century, has been almost unknown outside a small circle of political and cultural recipients. The gift immediately vaults him into the ranks of major funders like the Koch brothers and George Soros.

In practical terms, there are few limitations on how Leo’s new group, the Marble Freedom Trust, can spend the enormous donation. The structure of the donation allowed Seid to avoid as much as $400 million in taxes. Thus, he maximized the amount of money at Leo’s disposal.

Sourcewatch says about him.

Barre Seid is a right-wing industrialist and donor to advocacy groups and thinktanks attacking climate science and promoting Islamaphobia. He is closely allied with the Koch network and funnels dark money through the same groups used by the Kochs, including Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.

Seid built a fortune as the Chairman and CEO of Trippe Manufacturing Company (now known as Trippe Lite), which produces electrical equipment such as surge protectors and power strips, and Fiber Bond, which produces HVAC equipment.[1][2] In 1985, he established the Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation. It donates primarily to education, cultural organizations and the arts, and other philanthropic associations.[3]

Attacks on Climate Science

Seid is a major donor to the Heartland Institute, a vocal denier of climate science. According to leaked internal Heartland Institute documents obtained by DeSmogBlog, between 2007 and 2011, Seid contributed over $13,342,267 in donations.[4][5] In September 2013, the Heritage Foundation hosted an event for Heartland Institute CEO Joseph Bast and two of Heartland’s contracted climate denial scientists Willie Soon and Bob Carter. During the event, the Heartland Institute representatives would present a report titled “Climate Change Reconsidered” which was funded by Barre Seid. The report denies the seriousness of global warming and directly challenges the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC). According to Greenpeace, the Heartland Institute falsely claims that the report is peer-reviewed.[6]

The Heartland Institute, in addition to denying climate change, is a big supporter of vouchers.

The Sourcewatch article describes his effort to take control of a small liberal arts college outside of Chicago and turn it into a reflection of his extreme ideology.

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here


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