Eaton praised the voting rights but surrendered $1.6 billion to the right

Last year, publicly traded company Eaton signed an open statement supporting “American democracy” and acknowledging the country’s history of political disenfranchisement. “We should all feel an obligation to defend the right to vote and to oppose discriminatory laws or policies that prevent or limit every eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to vote,” the statement said, which among other things was published in newspapers The New York Times and The Washington Post.

But just a month earlier, the energy company pledged $1.6 billion to a trust controlled by a man whose work allegedly contradicts those values. That individual, Leonard Leo, is perhaps best known for his efforts to fill courts with conservative judges. He has also been linked to groups such as the Honest Elections Project, which has been blamed from Pushing for controversial new voting restrictions, ostensibly in the name of electoral security.

Details of Leo’s role at the trust only came to light this week after detailed reports The New York Times and ProPublica.

“I think Leonard Leo’s work, especially his recent work on elections, has done a lot of damage to American democracy,” said Richard Hasen, a professor specializing in electoral law and regulation of campaign finance at the UCLA School of Law Has. “And I think with that extra $1.6 billion to play with, there’s a lot more damage that can be done.”

The $1.6 billion infusion came about through a complex maneuver in which conservative billionaire Barre Seid donated shares in his manufacturing company to the Leo-led Marble Freedom Trust. Marble then sold the company to Eaton in March 2021 for more than $1.6 billion.

Eaton made no mention of the Trust or Leo in press releases announcing the acquisition. According to Hasen, it’s possible the company didn’t know his money would “help fund Leonard Leo’s empire” since he’s not a household name. In that case, he said, it would be “hard to blame them.”

Maurice Cunningham, an associate professor of political science at Boston University who writes about secret political spending known as “dark money,” was skeptical that Eaton might not know the recipient of his funds.

“I’m not buying $1.6 billion for a minute [deal] is made without knowing where it’s going and who’s going to use it and what its track record is,” he said.

“Eaton has a lot to explain. Do they support American democracy or was it all just talk to get good PR?” added Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, which describes itself as a nonpartisan organization that aims to “shed a light on corporations and special interests who all too often wield unchecked power and influence”.

Leo did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Eaton said: “We have no additional information on the acquisition announced last year.

In a statement, Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project, said the group “is proud to support the right to free and fair elections and to defend the common sense laws that Americans overwhelmingly demand to protect our electoral system.” … including photo ID, early access voting and clean electoral rolls.”

Snead has previously distanced the group from some conspiracy theories surrounding former President Donald Trump’s election fraud. “We looked very closely at all the allegations that were made after the election,” he told the Associated Press last year. “We, like many others, have concluded that there is no evidence of widespread fraud.”

In the run-up to the vote, however, the Honest Elections Project was accused of fomenting panic over absentee voting and so-called voter fraud, including through a reported $250,000 advertising campaign about attempts to “fix the election.” As The guard As previously mentioned, the group published a blog in 2019 in which it declared voter suppression a “myth.”

Rabbits publicly attacked Leo’s work with the Honest Elections Project in 2020, explaining on Twitter that it “pushes crazy theories that could be used to try and get the courts, which he helped stack with Conservatives, to accept bogus voter-rigging arguments that themselves.” could affect election results.”

Despite the setback, Barre’s gift — and Eaton’s subsequent acquisition — could become a new model for political spending, as it allowed both the billionaire and the trust to avoid paying taxes on the deal. Not to mention that the whole affair remained a secret for more than a year. Eaton praised the voting rights but surrendered $1.6 billion to the right


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button