A Highly effective Proper-Wing Activist Is Secretly Funding Assaults On Trans Rights


A bunch on the middle of conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo’s community funneled $750,000 to an influential new lobbying operation that pushes anti-LGBTQ+ laws across the nation, new tax data present.

Do No Hurt presents itself as a grassroots affiliation of medical doctors in opposition to gender-affirming care and variety efforts within the medical occupation. The group, which was based in 2022, doesn’t disclose its donors. However newly disclosed tax filings supplied to HuffPost by Accountable.US, a progressive watchdog, present that the Harmony Fund, the funding arm of Leo’s community, donated $750,000 in 2022 to Do No Hurt Motion, the group’s official lobbying effort.

Do No Hurt additionally obtained greater than $1.4 million from a nonprofit, the Undertaking on Truthful Illustration, run by conservative activist Edward Blum, new data present. Blum, a conservative activist who helped engineer two Supreme Courtroom circumstances that struck down affirmative motion and main sections of the Voting Rights Act, is now a Do No Hurt board member.

HuffPost beforehand revealed that Do No Hurt obtained $1 million in seed funding from Joseph Edelman, a billionaire hedge fund CEO, and his spouse, Suzy Edelman, who has mentioned she considers “transgenderism” “a fiction designed to destroy.”

Leo is greatest referred to as the kingpin of a decades-long effort to pack the federal judiciary with conservative judges. Because the chief of the Federalist Society, Leo assembled an unlimited and secretive community of rich donors and nonprofits to amplify the ability of the conservative authorized motion, culminating in Leo handpicking the listing of former President Donald Trump’s potential nominees to the Supreme Courtroom. Whereas a few of his efforts are extremely public, others, just like the funding of Do No Hurt, happen with little fanfare.

The medley of conservative teams channeling cash to Do No Hurt underscores the rising perception on the suitable that attacking trans rights is “a political winner.”

The dimensions of the contributions additionally helps illuminate how Do No Hurt turned a profitable affect operation so quickly after its launch. Final 12 months, the group deployed lobbyists to greater than a half-dozen states to advocate for restrictions on gender-affirming care, and at the least two states handed legal guidelines utilizing its mannequin legislative language. In Montana, Do No Hurt supplied the blueprint for a ban on gender-affirming take care of minors, which sparked livid native protests.

Transgender rights activists march via the College of Montana campus on Might 3 in Missoula, Montana. Dozens had been protesting the censure of transgender Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr (D), who was blocked from talking after she mentioned state legislators would have “blood on your hands” if a transgender youth care ban was handed.

Justin Sullivan by way of Getty Photographs

“It just made the worst of the worst people here more bold in their bigotry, and that trickles down to our kids,” Darcy Saffer, the mother or father of two transgender nonbinary kids in Bozeman, Montana, informed HuffPost final 12 months. The regulation is blocked whereas the Montana Supreme Courtroom weighs whether or not it’s unconstitutional.

Do No Hurt has additionally filed a bunch of lawsuits to dam applications aimed toward diversifying the medical occupation.

Along with receiving $750,000 from Leo’s community, Do No Hurt paid Leo’s consulting agency $231,185 for “public affairs” providers. The consulting agency, CRC Advisors, and different for-profit companies during which Leo has a monetary stake have been paid thousands and thousands of {dollars} through the years by numerous nonprofits in Leo’s orbit, leading to a liberal watchdog calling on the IRS to research whether or not the funds violate guidelines on charitable giving.

Final 12 months, Brian Schwalb, the lawyer normal of the District of Columbia, opened an investigation into Leo and his nonprofit community. The scope has not been made public.

Neither Do No Hurt, Blum, nor Harmony Fund president Carrie Severino responded to requests for remark.

A spokesperson at CRC Advisors despatched HuffPost the next assertion: “CRC Advisors employs nearly 100 best-in-class professionals that put its clients’ money to work more effectively than any other enterprise of its sort, and the repeated baseless attacks by groups linked to Arabella Advisors show the left agrees. CRC’s results speak for themselves, and we are blessed to be able to have this kind of impact in our country.” (Arabella Advisors is the left-leaning nonprofit that funds Accountable.US.)

After Trump left workplace, Leo vastly expanded his efforts to goal a large spectrum of conservative coverage objectives and passion horses. Powered partially by the biggest recognized political donation in U.S. historical past — a $1.6 billion present from a reclusive electronics mogul named Barre Seid — Leo’s community is now fueling political assaults on points together with abortion entry, voting rights and significant race concept.

Since 2022, the Harmony Fund has obtained at the least $55 million from the nonprofit that homes Seid’s present, the Marble Belief.

Right-wing activist Leonard Leo attends the 2023 Antonin Scalia Memorial Dinner that is part of the Federalist Society's 2023 National Lawyers Convention at the Washington Hilton Hotel on Nov. 9, 2023, in Washington.
Proper-wing activist Leonard Leo attends the 2023 Antonin Scalia Memorial Dinner that’s a part of the Federalist Society’s 2023 Nationwide Attorneys Conference on the Washington Hilton Lodge on Nov. 9, 2023, in Washington.

The Washington Submit by way of Getty Photographs

Do No Hurt’s objectives dovetail neatly with Leo’s expanded mission. The group has helped pay for activists and skilled witnesses to journey the nation, testifying in favor of bans on gender-affirming take care of minors.

On high of combating to limit transgender care, Do No Hurt is suing Louisiana and Montana over modest efforts to diversify their state medical boards and attempting to dismantle a Pfizer fellowship designed to place extra Black, Latino and Native American medical professionals in management positions.

The lawsuits signify a continuation of Blum’s efforts to unravel racial equality efforts utilizing the courts. In 2023, a bunch Blum led introduced the pair of Supreme Courtroom circumstances that successfully banned race-based affirmative motion in school admissions. A Blum group additionally introduced Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Courtroom case that eradicated federal oversight of racially discriminatory voting legal guidelines.

“It’s no surprise that Leonard Leo is using his vast dark money network to bankroll far-right groups working to roll back LGBTQ Americans’ rights,” Caroline Ciccone, president of Accountable.US, informed HuffPost. “This is how Leonard Leo works. He leverages his web of nonprofits — bolstered by a massive $1.6 billion windfall — to carry out his radical, unpopular agenda because he knows it will never win at the ballot box.”

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