The JCN Story: How to Build a Secretive, Right-Wing Judicial Machine - 2015-03-23
To expand its influence in state elections, JCN has emerged as a pipeline for secret money to other, better-known dark money groups like the Wisconsin Club for Growth and the American Future Fund which, in turn, have spent big bucks in state Supreme Court and AG races.
JCN heightened its focus on AG races last year when it pumped $1 million in secret money into the Republican Attorneys General Association, making it the third-biggest contributor to RAGA and helping the GOP pick up three new slots so that it now controls the majority of state AG posts.
JCN's pivotal part in the surge of spending on court elections has received scant attention. But in 2012, it dished out more than $2 million in court races in Michigan alone—half of that in a single down-ticket state circuit contest, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. And over the last two years, the organization contributed a minimum of about $2 million to groups that were involved in 2014 state judicial elections and efforts to influence how judges are chosen. Recipients of JCN checks included the many-tentacled Republican State Leadership Committee, which for the first time invested in court races around the country, spending more on them than any other outside group.