The now-defunct BH Fund and the BH Group — which is still an active entity — were a pair of organizations closely linked to Leonard Leo with little to no public presence. BH Fund was a nonprofit formed in 2016 alongside two other Leo entities – the Freedom and Opportunity Fund, and America Engaged. These three entities were used to funnel millions to organizations that boosted the Supreme Court nominations of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Leonard Leo became the president of these nonprofits, which were set up by the conservative law firm Holtzman Vogel. Within the first two years of incorporation, these three groups raised about $33 million. The same law firm formed BH Group, a private limited liability corporation that is still registered as an active entity in Virginia, and Leonard Leo has disclosed it as his employer. BH Group anonymously donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration four months after its formation. On November 7, 2022, Jonathan Bunch voluntarily filed articles of termination for the BH Fund and America Engaged with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Leo has been called “arguably the most powerful figure in the federal justice system” with his “network of interlocking nonprofits” that aggressively support conservative judges.
Jonathan Bunch is a former senior vice president at the Federalist Society who has been described as Leonard Leo’s “right-hand man.” Bunch has been involved in several Leo-linked entities; and is currently the president of CRC Advisors, a public relations consulting firm Leo founded in 2020. CRC Advisors grew out of CRC Strategies, a consulting firm that played a key role in supporting Leo’s efforts to influence the Supreme Court and federal judiciary.
From 2007 to 2008, Jonathan Bunch was the executive director of “Better Courts for Missouri,” a nonprofit organization that aimed to fundamentally alter the state’s merit-based judicial nomination process.
Better Courts’ strategy reflects the Leo network’s typical playbook at the state level. In Iowa, JCN financed a 2018 campaign that advocated for giving partisan legislators the power to select members of the judicial nomination commission, “meaning politicians will choose every member.”
The BH Fund was formed in January 2016 with two employees: Leonard Leo as president and Jonathan Bunch as treasurer. The BH Fund was dissolved on November 7, 2022, when the organization’s treasurer and secretary, Jonathan Bunch, voluntarily filed articles of termination with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
However, while it was active, the BH Fund, along with the Freedom and Opportunity Fund and American Engaged, seemingly funneled millions between themselves and other Leo-connected groups.
BH Fund Was Used To Facilitate An Anonymous Donation To George Mason University In An Effort To Rename GMU’s Law School After The Late Antonin Scalia
Leo reportedly used the BH Fund and its related entities to hide a donation aimed at getting George Mason University (GMU) to rename its law school after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Leo facilitated a $10 million donation from Charles Koch and funneled another $20 million to GMU through the BH Fund from Barre Seid.
The BH Group was formed in 2016 in Virginia, and the company’s Virginia business records do not list any staff. However, Leonard Leo is identified as an “authorized person” in a 2022 filing update with the Virginia State Corporation Commission regarding the organization’s registered agent.
Four months after its creation; the BH Group donated $1 million to Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee in an apparent attempt to prevent disclosure of the true donor’s name.
Despite receiving large sums of money for contracted work from the other Leo-connected groups, the BH Group does not market itself as a public relations firm, nor does the group have any public presence. However, The BH Group has received over $15 million from other Leo-connected groups, including Rule of Law Trust, Judicial Crisis Network, 85 Fund, and Wellspring Committee, since its inception in 2016.
Leo-Network Group Name
Amount Paid To BH Group
Description Of Services/Notes
|Rule Of Law Trust||$4,345,000.00||2018||
“Reimbursed For Independent Contractor Expenses Incurred On Behalf Of Rule Of Law Trust BH Group LLC Received No Compensation […] $1,639,996 Were Prepayments For 2019 Independent Contractor Expenses” [Page 14]
|Rule Of Law Trust||$2,100,000.00||2019||“Reimbursed For Independent Contractor Expenses Incurred On Behalf Of Rule Of Law Trust BH Group LLC Received No Compensation [Page 21.]|
|Judicial Crisis Network||$1,595,000.00||2019||Consulting|
|85 Fund (FKA Judicial Education Project)||$1,352,340.00||2017||Consulting|
|Judicial Crisis Network||$1,191,875.00||2018||Consulting|
|Judicial Crisis Network||$947,000.00||2016||Consulting Services|
|85 Fund (FKA Judicial Education Project)||$935,125.00||2019||Consulting|
|Wellspring Committee||$750,000.00||2016||Public Relations|
|85 Fund (FKA Judicial Education Project)||$657,000.00||2018||Consulting|
|Judicial Crisis Network||$241,000.00||2017||
BH Fund’s legal services contractor was Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, a boutique law firm that represents “some of the nation’s largest super PACs and their related nonprofits” on the conservative side, including American Crossroads, Americans for Prosperity, the Honest Elections Project, the Freedom and Opportunity Fund, and American Engaged among others. According to McClatchy, Holtzman Vogel “specializ[es] in creative legal maneuvers that allow donors to conservative causes to remain anonymous.”
In 2022, it was revealed that a newly identified organization helmed by Leonard Leo, the Marble Freedom Trust, received a $1.6 billion donation from Chicago manufacturing magnate Barre Seid. In the Marble Freedom Trust’s tax filing revealing the donation, America Engaged, BH Fund, and the Rule of Law Trust were identified as “related entities.”