President Biden’s pick for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York is backed by a dark money group with close connections to a top White House adviser.
Biden nominated Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project, for the New York court on Thursday. The liberal group Demand Justice includes Ho on its short list of potential Supreme Court nominees created to influence Biden’s judicial nominations.
Demand Justice, an advocacy nonprofit that hides its funders, is led by former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer Brian Fallon. The group works to discredit Republican judicial picks while backing Democratic nominees.
It has also been the primary left-wing judicial group pushing to pack the Supreme Court.
Paige Herwig, who was previously Demand Justice’s senior counsel, serves as senior counsel and special assistant to the president and is Biden’s point person on judicial nominations.
“With two Demand Justice alums already working in the White House, it should come as no surprise that the liberal dark money group is calling the shots for the Biden administration and handpicking judicial nominees,” Americans for Public Trust Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland told Fox News. “President Biden ran on a platform of restoring American norms and values, yet from day one, the only norm he’s restored is the revolving door of dark money activists in the White House.”
Andrew Bates, a White House spokesperson, told Fox News that Herwig did not influence the decision on Ho, and attributed it to Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.
“He [Biden] is proud to have acted on Senator Schumer’s recommendation and put this extraordinarily qualified nominee forward,” said Bates.
Hillary Clinton with then-spokesman Brian Fallon on her plane at Westchester County Airport in New York, in 2016. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images, File)
Demand Justice praised Herwig’s appointment in the Biden administration as a judicial nominations expert in January.
“President-elect Biden is off to a phenomenal start when it comes to judicial nominations,” the group wrote at the time. “Paige Herwig is a brilliant lawyer and committed public servant who knows the judicial nomination process inside and out, and she’s been on the front lines of rethinking how Democrats should fight for our courts. No one is better positioned to carry forward President-elect Biden’s commitment to rebalancing our judicial system.”
Demand Justice is not a stand-alone nonprofit. Instead, it’s a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a fiscal sponsor managed by consulting group Arabella Advisors, which oversees one of the left’s largest dark money networks containing dozens of left-wing groups and initiatives.
This setup allows Demand Justice to operate mainly in secrecy. Because the Sixteen Thirty Fund acts as its fiscal sponsor by providing its tax and legal status to the group, Demand Justice is not required to file public documents such as tax forms to the IRS.
The judicial group’s complete list of donors is unknown due to its relationship with the Sixteen Thirty Fund. However, a nonprofit in liberal billionaire George Soros’s network, the Open Society Policy Center, provided $2.6 million to Demand Justice around the time of its inception, its grants showed.
Fallon also pitched the group behind closed doors to a secretive club of Democratic donors co-created by Soros, the Democracy Alliance, before its launch.
Ho, who has argued before the Supreme Court against the Trump administration, including a successful challenge involving citizenship on the 2020 Census questionnaire, is not the only person Demand Justice has pushed to land a Biden nomination.
Earlier this year, Biden picked Ketanji Brown Jackson for the D.C. Court of Appeals to replace Attorney General Merrick Garland.