House Judiciary chairman Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) and House Oversight chairman James Comer (R., Ky.) are concerned that the Washington, D.C., attorney general’s investigation of a conservative donor and his nonprofits could be “improper and politically motivated.”
Democratic attorney general Brian Schwalb started looking into Leonard Leo, co-chairman of the Federalist Society’s legal group, months after a progressive-watchdog group accused the conservative lawyer of financially benefiting from his nonprofit network. By filing a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service in April, the Campaign for Accountability alleged that one of Leo’s seven nonprofit organizations paid excessive compensation to his for-profit companies.
Jordan and Comer, in a letter dated Monday, asserted that this allegation was made without evidence.
“Given prior attempts by state attorneys general to target conservative nonprofits and their donors—and your apparent political motivations for investigating Mr. Leo—the Committees are concerned about potential infringement on free association and donor privacy,” the pair of House Republicans wrote to Schwalb, who reportedly launched the investigation into Leo in August.
The chairmen raised two major concerns to Schwalb: that he “does not have jurisdiction” over the matter, considering the Leo-affiliated nonprofits are not based in D.C.; and that his investigation “could infringe upon the fundamental rights of donor privacy and free association.”
Furthermore, Jordan and Comer advised Schwalb to divert his office’s attention and resources from its “politically motivated probe” to the recent crime wave in the nation’s capital. The lawmakers cited the 27 percent increase in all crimes across the city since last year, much of which is committed by juvenile offenders, as a more pressing issue.
Sentinel Action Fund president Jessica Anderson praised the House GOP’s oversight of the matter on X, while recently arguing that Schwalb has known connections to a dark-money, left-wing group called Arabella Advisors.
Leo has faced criticism over the years for his judicial activism, especially after playing a key role in former president Donald Trump’s three picks for conservative Supreme Court justices. Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett were all selected by Trump and subsequently confirmed during his presidency, thanks to the short list that Leo made at the time.
The joint letter requested that Schwalb provide all documents and communications pertaining to the inquiry into Leo no later than November 13. The D.C. attorney general must also schedule a briefing “on the status and scope” of the investigation by then.
Source : National Review