Money and Democracy

Published — March 28, 2013

Key Findings


  • Between July 2008 and 2012, about 185 federal judges attended more than 100 judicial education seminars, sponsored by conservative foundations and multinational corporations like ExxonMobil, Pfizer and BP.
  • The Center identified instances where judges who attended seminars underwritten by certain firms and trade groups later issued rulings in the funders’ favor.
  • George Mason University’s Law & Economics Center and Northwestern University’s Judicial Education Program hosted more judicial conferences than any other organization or university.
  • The Koch Foundation and The Searle Freedom Trust, both major supporters of conservative causes, were sponsors for most of the conferences organized by the two schools.
  • The person who spoke at more judicial conferences than any other was Henry Butler, a professor and prominent conservative formerly of Northwestern and now executive director of George Mason’s Law & Economics Center.

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