How a few secret donors are fueling the new right-wing infrastructure

How a few secret donors are fueling the new right-wing infrastructure

Mother Jones reports:

In early 2021, Stephen Miller—former White House senior adviser to Donald Trump and architect of the 45th president’s hopeful second-term mass deportation agenda—announced his next venture: America First Legal (AFL).

Paraded as “the long-awaited answer to the ACLU,” AFL fights for Trumpist values in the legal system. And the group is prolific: In its three years of existence, AFL has taken on more than 100 legal actions—between lawsuits filed, complaints lodged with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and court briefs written, according to the Washington Post.

While it has notably played a major role in stopping debt relief for Black farmers, Miller’s organization has been perhaps most famous for its aggressive publicity strategy of “lawfare.”

AFL targets so-called “woke” corporate and government programs, alleging employment discrimination against white, heterosexual men. It has challenged Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in higher education and supposed “radical transgender ideology” in school districts. Typically, after filing a suit or complaint, Miller makes the rounds of the right-wing media circuit and fundraises off the attention. “Bogus suits,” securities law expert Benjamin Edwards explained in the Daily Beast, seem designed for a nonlegal goal: to issue “press releases” so AFL can “recruit more donors.” Miller’s group has reportedly spent more on ads than legal services. (AFL did not respond to questions from Mother Jones.)

The strategy has worked. In 2022, AFL brought in $44 million. Its revenue shot up by nearly 600 percent compared with the previous year. But less scrutinized has been how AFL has secured its haul. More than 60 percent of its funding came from a little-discussed entity: the Bradley Impact Fund. In 2022, Bradley doled out more than $27 million to AFL, according to the organization’s most recent available tax filing. [Continue reading…]

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