Mar 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Progressives prep big spending for SCOTUS confirmation

Illustration of a donkey holding a teacher's stick, pointing at a background full of complicated diagrams and text.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Progressives are bringing a seven-figure budget and roster of top Democratic talent to their fight to confirm Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: While Jackson's confirmation is likely, both sides are looking to milk the process for every ounce of political advantage this midterm year. Demand Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy outfit, is slated to lead the fight on the left.

What's happening: According to tax exemption applications filed with the IRS, Demand Justice projected a budget of $7.5 million for 2022.

  • An affiliated charity, the Demand Justice Initiative, will bring in $4.2 million, it told the IRS, and steer all of those funds to allied organizations — including its advocacy arm.
  • Demand Justice previously operated under the auspices of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a progressive "fiscal sponsor," but split from the group last year.

Its IRS filings, which were obtained by the conservative group Americans for Public Trust and shared exclusively with Axios, reveal Demand Justice's internal structure and finances as an independent outfit.

  • Executive director Brian Fallon told Axios the IRS approved tax exemptions for both groups, but he declined to comment further.
  • Fallon headed communications for the Justice Department under President Obama and served as Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2016 national press secretary.

The filings also provide the first full list of Demand Justice's board of directors.

  • It includes Arkadi Gerney, the co-founder of The Hub Project, a progressive strategy nonprofit; Lori Lodes, the executive director of environmental advocacy group Climate Power; Adam Jentleson, formerly a senior aide to the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; and Elie Mystal, an attorney and justice correspondent for The Nation.
  • The Demand Justice Initiative's board includes former Bernie Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir; former NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue; and Stasha Rhodes, a former managing director at The Hub Project.

The big picture: Both sides of the Jackson nomination contest are already focused on the outside groups that have come to dominate Supreme Court confirmation fights.

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