Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors
© Greg Nash

A group of Senate Democrats are demanding that a prominent GOP judicial group disclose its donors, citing their heavy spending in the confirmation fights over Supreme Court Justices Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Gorsuch: 'We're not nine robots, we're nine judges' Gorsuch describes Ginsburg's 'warm welcome' to him when he joined Supreme Court MORE and Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration The crosshairs of extremism  New York City to end ban on gay conversion therapy to avoid Supreme Court fight MORE

More than a dozen Democratic senators, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.), sent a letter to Carrie Severino, the chief counsel and policy director of Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), asking for a list of the group's donors. 

"Over the last week, the Judicial Crisis Network began a $1.1 million ad campaign calling for greater transparency by progressive advocacy organizations in the judicial nominations process. Yet, despite your organization’s claimed commitment to transparency, JCN continues to conceal the identity of its donors," the senators wrote in their letter.

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The group spent heavily during the confirmation fights for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, and worked to oppose Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Gorsuch: Those who don't have 'great confidence in America' should 'look elsewhere' Trump stacking lower courts MORE's nomination to the high court during the final year of the Obama administration.

The Democratic senators want JCN to release the names of all its donors who have contributed more than $10,000 since 2017, its total number of donors since 2017, the total number of donations under $100 since 2017 and the percentage of donations made since 2017 by corporate entities and the names of those corporations. 

Severino, in a statement, argued that the Democratic letter put their "hypocrisy on 'dark money' directly before the public."

"We assume their intention, however, is actually to try and distract the public from the continued deception on the part of their liberal 'dark money' allies and their secret list of potential judicial nominees post-2020 elections," she added. 

The group began running an ad last week arguing that 2020 candidates should release a list of potential Supreme Court picks, similar to what President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE did during the 2016 campaign.

The ad referenced a recent New York Times article detailing efforts by outside liberal advocacy groups to game plan for judicial nominations after Trump leaves office. According to The New York Times, the groups do not plan to make their list of judges public. The article does not suggest that 2020 Democratic campaigns have put together a list of potential judicial nominations. 

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