This May Be the Biggest Political Donation Ever

'NYT' reports on $1.6B from conservative businessman Barre Seid to new nonprofit
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2022 10:59 AM CDT
This May Be the Biggest Political Donation Ever
A file photo of Leonard Leo, who runs Marble Freedom Trust. The group has received a $1.6 billion donation from conservative backer Barre Seid.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The New York Times is reporting on what appears to be a record-setting political donation in the US, though the principals involved aren't exactly household names. The story by Kenneth P. Vogel and Shane Goldmacher reports that Barre Seid—a mogul who made his fortune in electronics manufacturing—donated $1.6 billion to a new conservative nonprofit called the Marble Freedom Trust. The latter group is run by Federalist Society co-chair Leonard Leo, a prominent figure in conservative causes, including restricting abortion rights. He's also "been deeply involved in the nomination and confirmation of every Republican-appointed Supreme Court justice since Clarence Thomas," per the left-leaning Talking Points Memo.

The story describes the donation as "among the largest—if not the largest—single contributions ever made to a politically focused nonprofit." In a tweet, Vogel is more emphatic on that point: "When I describe this as 'likely the biggest single political donation,' I mean biggest EVER. Like in the history of US politics." The money could give conservative causes a major push ahead of the midterms, per the story, which digs into the unusual way the donation was structured. Instead of cash, Seid donated all of his shares in his Tripp Lite company to Marble Freedom Trust before the firm sold for $1.6 billion. Both Seid and the group may be able to avoid paying taxes on the sum as a result. (Read the full Times story.)

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