‘Dark money’ groups gear up for Supreme Court battle as 2020 election nears

- OPEN SECRETS , ORG - Sep 21, 2020 -

Anna Massoglia -

Screenshot of Demand Justice ad “Donald Trump has hijacked our Supreme Court.” Captured via YouTube

“Dark money” groups are projected to spend tens of millions of dollars on the battle over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court, raising the stakes — and likely the cost — of an election cycle that is already seeing record-breaking cash flow.

Even before President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will appoint a woman to fill the open Supreme Court seat, multiple outside groups weighed in on the projected nomination in the days following Justice Ginsburg’s death.

Judicial Crisis Network, a dark money group that operates as the preeminent vehicle for deep-pocketed conservative donors to funnel millions of dollars into Supreme Court confirmation fights, announced a $2.2 million ad blitz through Axios on Monday. The ad pushes for a confirmation vote before Election Day 2020 and is expected to target Colorado, Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, Utah, and Washington, D.C.

Judicial Crisis Network’s recent spending was largely bankrolled by a single $16 million donation from a secret donor and another secretly-funded $17 million donation in 2017. In both cases, Judicial Crisis Network took the money from a closely-tied dark money group that is also funded almost exclusively by multimillion-dollar anonymous donors. But that group shut down and Judicial Crisis Network’s operation recently restructured, leaving even more questions about the source of funding its new multimillion-dollar ad blitz unanswered.

Carrie Severino, Judicial Crisis Network’s president, told CNBC on Saturday that the conservative dark money group aims to “match” and “surpass” the $10 million in spending pledged by their liberal counterpart, Demand Justice.



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