One of Leonard Leo’s funding vehicles is once again the top contributor to the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), according to an analysis of the group’s latest 2023 IRS filing by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).
The Concord Fund, a dark money group affiliated with the Trump “judge whisperer” who has played a leading role in moving the federal court system to the Right in recent years, has given RAGA $1 million—close to four times more than the next largest donor—in the first half of this year.
Leonard Leo’s increasing influence on local legal landscapes comes as the fight over access to abortion moves to the states in the wake of last year’s controversial Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and RAGA amps up its coordinated actions in the fight against sustainable investing. His network has played an integral role in amplifying right-wing outrage over the manufactured crisis of ESG investments.
The latest Concord Fund contribution brings its total contributions to RAGA to $16.8 million since the group was registered with the IRS in 2014.
Overall, RAGA brought in $8.8 million in the first six months of this year, up from the $6.7 million it raised during the same two quarters of 2021. In that last off-year in elections it suffered from the controversy over its ties to the insurrection.
With its comparatively much smaller contribution of $250,620, the Institute for Legal Reform is the second largest donor to RAGA so far this year. This affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce focuses on advancing business-friendly legal reforms such as making class-action lawsuits more difficult to file and defending business interests in court.
Koch Industries, the multinational conglomerate run by Charles Koch, is close behind with a donation of $250,150 and an additional $200 from Koch Companies Public Sector.
The fossil fuel industry contributed $979,271—or 11%—of the Republican organization’s total haul in the first two quarters. Following Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute ($125,200); Nextera Energy Resources ($100,000); Valero Services ($75,000); and NRG Energy ($52,451) are the top five RAGA contributors.
RAGA reported making only two campaign contributions in the first half of this year: $12,500 to the reelection campaign of Utah’s right-wing Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) and $2,100 to Russell Coleman’s campaign for attorney general in Kentucky. A former legal counsel to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Coleman is running to replace Kentucky’s sitting Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R), who is running for governor in November.
RAGA held a fundraiser for the Coleman campaign with McConnell in July 2022, and endorsed Coleman five months later.
In conjunction with its 501(c)(4) affiliate Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF) and its 501(c)(3) affiliate Center for Law and Policy, RAGA runs a cash-for-influence operation that coordinates the official actions of Republican state attorneys general and sells its corporate funders access to them and their staff.