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Laxalt’s Deep Ties to Right-Wing Dark Money Group

Adam Laxalt’s loyalty to Washington-based dark money special interests is spotlighted in the Republican gubernatorial candidate’s connections to the ultra-conservative Federalist Society, a “gatekeeper” for putting right-wing judges on the federal bench. It’s no surprise that Laxalt enthusiastically urged the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, since they share a similar right-wing ideology as Federalist Society members.

Like Laxalt, the Federalist Society is strongly aligned with the Koch network. The group received at least three six-figure donations from Koch entities in 2017, and another six-figure sum from a Koch-aligned group described as “the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement.” The Federalist Society also counts as recent big donors the family of Betsy DeVos and the family of Richard Uihlein, an anti-union shipping magnate who backed Judge Roy Moore in the Alabama U.S. Senate race.

Laxalt’s record of “zealously” combating what he views as “federal overreach” under the Obama administration and his connection to yet another powerful out-of-state special interest group show just how deeply Laxalt is wedded to pushing his personal ideology and the agendas of wealthy right-wing mega-donors at the expense of Nevada families.

The Nevada Independent: Letter from Virginia attorney underlines Laxalt’s connections to conservative legal movement
By Riley Snyder
August 1, 2018


  • Like Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito, Laxalt has close ties to the Federalist Society — a hugely influential organization that helps boost attorneys and others in the legal system with a textualist view of the U.S. Constitution, a legal theory that judges should interpret the constitution in line with the literal text and structure of the nation’s governing document.

  • Founded in 1982, the society has grown to encompass more than 60,000 practicing attorneys nationwide, including President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy — Brett Kavanaugh.

  • The group has essentially become a gatekeeper for Republican administrations to find judicial candidates — every single federal judge appointed by Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush was either a member of or approved by the society, and Trump has heavily relied on the group to help select candidates for the federal bench.

  • Laxalt’s connections to the national conservative legal movement and the Federalist Society were abundantly underlined last week, when his campaign’s attorney, Jason Torchinsky, sent a letter to the longtime personal lawyer of his Democratic opponent, Steve Sisolak, responding to threats of a defamation lawsuit over ads run by Laxalt’s campaign.

  • Torchinsky’s firm, Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, also has a financial history with the Laxalt campaign. According to campaign finance records, Laxalt and his affiliated “Morning in Nevada PAC” reported making more than $31,000 in payments to the firm since 2014.

  • The law firm is widely used by mainstream Republican candidates and campaigns and, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, is “known for specializing in creative legal maneuvers that allow donors to conservative causes to remain anonymous, at least to the public.”

  • The firm itself has several ties to the Federalist Society and the organization’s influential executive vice president, Leonard Leo.

  • A longtime paralegal for the firm appeared to be the only person registered with a mysterious Virginia company that gave Trump’s inaugural committee a $1 million donation, which also has apparent ties to Leo.

  • Leo, who took a leave of absence from the organization to help assist President Donald Trump in selecting a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, has contributed $4,500 to Laxalt’s campaigns, including $2,500 to his current gubernatorial campaign — his only recorded contributions to a Nevada candidate.

  • He was also listed as a co-chair for a Washington, D.C. fundraiser for Laxalt last year, hosted at the home of conservative megadonor and Chicago Cubs part-owner Todd Ricketts.

  • And Laxalt himself has strong links to the conservative legal group. In addition to speaking at the group’s 2015 and 2016 National Lawyers Convention (which included Kavanaugh as a speaker in 2015), he also spoke at the society’s Reno chapter’s inaugural lunch in 2017, on the topic of “Federalism and Separation of Power.”

  • He also appeared in a short video uploaded to the group’s YouTube page in 2015, detailing his views on the “Role of Congress.”

  • As attorney general, Laxalt has zealously focused on tackling “unlawful federal overreach,” including creating a “Federalism Unit” within his office.

  • The office has filed lawsuits or joined existing suits challenging numerous Obama-era regulations including the Waters of the United States rule, challenges to a Department of Labor directive changing overtime calculation and regulations on sage grouse management.


Read more: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/letter-from-virginia-attorney-underlines-laxalts-connections-to-conservative-legal-movement