A few months ago, Leonard Leo laid out his next audacious project.
Ever since the longtime Federalist Society leader helped create a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court, and then received more than a billion dollars from a wealthy Chicago business owner to disburse to conservative causes, Leo’s next moves had been the subject of speculation.
Now, Leo declared in a slick but private video to potential donors, he planned to “crush liberal dominance” across American life. The country was plagued by “woke-ism” in corporations and education, “one-sided journalism” and “entertainment that’s really corrupting our youth,” said Leo amid snippets of cheery music and shots of sunsets and American flags.
Sitting tucked into a couch, with wire-rimmed glasses and hair gone to gray, Leo conveyed his inspiration and intentions: “I just said to myself, ‘Well, if this can work for law, why can’t it work for lots of other areas of American culture and American life where things are really messed up right now?’”
Leo revealed his latest battle plan in the previously unreported video for the Teneo Network, a little-known group he called “a tremendously important resource for the future of our country.”
Teneo is building what Leo called in the video “networks of conservatives that can roll back” liberal influence in Wall Street and Silicon Valley, among authors and academics, with pro athletes and Hollywood producers. A Federalist Society for everything.
Despite its linchpin role in Leo’s plans, Teneo (which is not the similarly named consulting firm associated with former officials in the Bill Clinton administration) has kept a low public profile. Its one-page website includes bland slogans — “Timeless ideas. Fresh approach” — and scant details. Its co-founder described Teneo as “private and confidential” in one presentation, and the group doesn’t disclose the vast majority of its members or its funders.
But ProPublica and Documented have obtained more than 50 hours of internal Teneo videos and hundreds of pages of documents that reveal the organization’s ambitious agenda, influential membership and burgeoning clout. We have also interviewed Teneo members and people familiar with the group’s activities. The videos, documents and interviews provide an unfiltered look at the lens through which the group views the power of the left — and how it plans to combat it. [Continue reading…]