Watchdog Calls on Eli Lilly to Denounce Supreme Court Puppetmaster’s Firm

Earlier this year, Rolling Stone reported that the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly has employed the for-profit consulting firm helmed by Leonard Leo, the dark money maven and conservative Supreme Court architect, according to leaked records.

Leo is best known for assembling the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority. As Donald Trump’s judicial adviser, he helped select three of the court’s six conservative justices, while simultaneously steering a dark money network that led PR campaigns supporting their nominations. Leo’s network, which received a historic $1.6 billion infusion in 2021, also funds politicians and nonprofits that bring and support cases before the high court — including, most prominently, the 2022 Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed states to ban abortion.

While Leo’s firm has faced scrutiny for receiving many millions from his own dark money network, the company, CRC Advisors, also represents corporate clients. Its client roster has included drug company Eli Lilly, according to a CRC employee’s 2020 resume file, which was exposed in an online leak.

On Wednesday, following the conclusion of another radically right-wing Supreme Court term, the liberal watchdog group Accountable.US sent a letter to Eli Lilly calling on the company to denounce Leo’s firm and its “relationship with anti-abortion extremism.”

“Given Eli Lilly’s clear support for abortion access, the choice to contract with Leonard Leo’s personal firm contradicts its publicly stated values,” Accountable.US writes in the letter, which was provided exclusively to Rolling Stone. “Eli Lilly’s ongoing financial relationship with CRC Advisors continues to support the post-Dobbs attack on reproductive rights.”

The letter points out that Leo’s dark money network has spent tens of millions to oppose abortion access as part of state ballot measure fights — including $18 million last year to unsuccessfully block a campaign to enshrine abortion rights in Ohio’s constitution.

The watchdog further notes that after the state of Indiana, where Eli Lilly is headquartered, moved to ban abortion, the company “‘issued a strong objection to the new restrictions’ and announced plans to build its workforce outside Indiana, citing employee recruitment and retention concerns.” Eli Lilly also expanded its employee health plans to pay for travel for reproductive services.

Spokespeople for CRC Advisors and Eli Lilly did not respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment.

“Abortion is a life-or-death issue for many of Eli Lilly’s customers, employees, and for Americans everywhere,” Accountable.US president Caroline Ciccone tells Rolling Stone. “We’re calling on Eli Lilly to live its purported values and denounce CRC Advisors’ relationship with anti-abortion extremism.”

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