Why Does the Mercer Family Foundation Give 10 Percent of Its Assets to The Federalist Society? - 2019-03-18
The Mercer Family Foundation, created by hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer and overseen by his daughter, Rebekah, is best known for its role in supporting the efforts of Stephen K. Bannon during his Breitbart years. After the family propped up the Breitbart News enterprise by investing $10 million in the right-wing media outlet just before the death of founder Andrew Breitbart, the family's foundation invested millions in a non-profit founded by Bannon with Peter Schweizer, a Breitbart reporter, that created the fodder for a book and movie advancing allegations against Hillary Clinton, with scant evidence, that she had run a pay-for-play operation during her tenure as secretary of state. Bannon's Government Accountability Institute, founded in 2012, collected $1 million in funding from the Mercer Family Foundation in 2013, and has collected at least $1 million per year ever since—at least until 2016 (when the foundation granted GAI $2 million), the most recent year for which tax filings are publicly available. In a 2016 Washington Post profile of Rebekah Mercer, who served as GAI's chairman of the board, her friend Leonard Leo explained Ms. Mercer's rationale for her efforts to reporter Matea Gold:
"One is faced with a binary choice right now, and you know the country would be taken in one very clear direction with Hillary Clinton, and that's a direction she would find extremely objectionable."
Leo is the power behind The Federalist Society, the influential right-wing legal organization that is essentially creating the roster of potential federal judicial nominees for the Trump administration. Though he holds the title of executive vice president, Leo functions as the society's public face and its liaison with the Trump administration. During the time between the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the Senate vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation, Leo took a leave from his day job in order to work for the administration to help guide the tarnished judge through any obstacles to his ascendance to the Olympus that is the high court.