October 27, 2021

Maurice Cunningham: Trump’s Lawyer Sues Wellesley for Charles Koch’s Phony “Parent” Group

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Maurice Cunningham, author of the new book Dark Money and the Politics of School Privatization, tracks down the real players behind a new lawsuit from Parents Defending Education. Reposted with permission.

Tuesday the Boston Globe had a story National conservative group files lawsuit against Wellesley public schools and I thought, I could write a headline that is both more clickable and more dead-on balls accurate than that so here it is: Trump’s Lawyer Sues Wellesley for Charles Koch’s Phony “Parent” Group. Do you like it?

The Parents Defending Education lawsuit against Wellesley was brought by the law firm of Consovoy McMullen. Its principal, William Consovoy is in the Federalist Society, was a law clerk to Clarence Thomas and has represented Donald Trump during a congressional investigation. The firm also joined Trump while representing the GOP in an effort to stop the vote count in Pennsylvania. In defending Trump from a New York investigation Consovoy told the court that Trump, while president, could not be charged with a crime if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue. And, Consovoy is on the board of the New Civil Liberties Alliance.

Oh yeah, the New Civil Liberties Alliance is a legal front for Charles Koch’s operations. NCLALegal represented Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance in its failed lawsuit against Governor Charlie Baker’s emergency public health powers used to fight the Covid pandemic.

Back to Parents Defending Education. Its president Nicole Neily is a Koch operative. She runs another Koch front called Speech First which is a pass through for legal fees to Consovoy to attack universities, $950K in 2019.

As a board member Consovoy must have been ok with New Civil Liberties Alliance hiring former DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark as chief of litigation and director of strategy. But Clark didn’t even last long enough to be named Employee of the Month. Clark was just dumped after he was subpoenaed over his role in helping Trump try to overturn the election. Clark now faces disciplinary action before the DC bar. So sad.

Also on the New Civil Liberties Alliance board with Consovoy and thus passing on Clark is Jennifer Braceras of Independent Women’s Voice, another Koch front that just got bagged providing phony anti-mask model letters to “parent” groups

And, Jennifer Braceras of Koch funded Independent Women’s Forum and Koch funded New Civil Liberties Alliance Legal is also on the board of local dark money front Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, represented by Koch-funded New Civil Liberties Alliance.

I’m not suggesting this is all Koch. What we’re looking at is a highly sophisticated network of right wing legal funders. NCLALegal for instance has a passel of other wealthy right wing donors, including the Bradley Foundation, Scaife, Thomas Smith Fdn, etc. Independent Women’s forum has a host of radical right donors including Bradley and hey, is that you, Walton Family Foundation, underwriter of phony parent fronts Massachusetts Parents United and (with Koch) National Parents Union? Why, yes. Yes it is.

It’s a small world after all.

Money never sleeps. Follow the money.

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