Press Releases

Republicans’ $1.1 Billion Dark Money Investment to Overturn Roe V. Wade

May 11, 2022

The recently leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn nearly 50 years of precedent and take away the right to privacy for millions of Americans is the culmination of $1.1 billion in dark money spending by extremist right-wing partisan groups tied to Minority Leader McConnell and other Republican members.

McConnell’s determination to move the court to the right came as the Federalist Society, Koch-backed groups, and other far-right dark money networks gave millions to McConnell’s and Republican Senators’ fundraising committees and outside groups. Dark money groups spent half a billion dollars lobbying, advertising, and organizing against the right to choose. At the same time, these groups raised nearly $600 million on efforts to push through Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and other conservative judges into the courts.

While Republican Senators are now trying to deflect from this draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Mitch McConnell and Republican Senators have been working with right-wing extremists like Leonard Leo and other allies for years to take away women’s right to choose. This has been a long-time coordinated effort to move the court to this point.

The facts:

  • Radical groups on the right have raised at least $600 million in dark money to capture the courts, including spending at least $52 million specifically to block the nomination of Merrick Garland and pack the Court with radical nominees (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Coney Barrett). Radical anti-choice groups also spent almost half a billion dollars in dark money on lobbying, ads, and organizing to attack and rollback women’s reproductive health.

  • The Federalist Society and its president Leonard Leo are behind most of the dark money raised that has flowed through front groups like the Judicial Crisis Network.

  • At the same time, the Federalist Society and Leo provided former President Trump with shortlists of judges for his appointments to the Supreme Court that included Brett Kanvaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

  • Over the past couple years, Senator McConnell zeroed in on confirming these Justices as well as other federal judges after his joint fundraising committee received over $250,000 from C. Boyden Gray, a board member at the Federalist Society and the founder of Committee of Justice, the “leading conservative voice on judicial appointments.” McConnell himself is listed as a contributing member to the Federalist Society.

  • Nearly every Republican Senate Judiciary Committee member has deep ties to Leonard Leo’s Federalist Society and dark money network. Members, including Senators Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Ben Sasse, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, Thom Tillis and Marsha Blackburn have done events with the Federalist Society and/or benefitted from campaign spending by them. In addition, current Republican Senators have benefitted from over $100 million in spending by the Koch Network, which also spent big to push far-right justices onto the Supreme Court.

  • The Federalist Society has long sought to overturn Roe v. Wade and Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett are all associated with the extremist group.