AMWF, Abdul-Jalil and Belal Esa receive Proclamation Honoring them for Muslim American Achievment in Resolution from the Mayor of the City of Albany

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Phone  (510) 394-4101
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“He who Harms a Life, it is as if he has Harmed ALL Mankind,
He who has saved a Life, it is as if he has Saved ALL Mankind!”
Who will you save?

Surah Al-Insan says: “And they are those who give food
– in spite of their own need , to the needy, and the
orphan, and the captive, [saying in their hearts], “We
only feed you for the sake of God, and we desire nothing
in return from you, not even a word of thanks!’’ (76:8-9).

As Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu wa Jazzak Allah Khair Khayrun,

We, the Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation (AMWF), pray Allah (SWT) you and the Families are well, ALL of your health is robust, you’re making GREAT progress in your Deen, your businesses are thriving, that everything will be perfect in your life and you ALL stay in Allah’s Love, Grace, Guidance and Mercy, iA, Amen!

We, the Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation (AMWF), and Abdul-Jalil, have received another Proclamation for Muslim American’s with a Resolution Honoring us from the Mayor of the City of Albany, the City Council and from the Albany Unified School District Board of Supervisors, Albany, CA, during their Council meeting September 5, 2023. We received this Honor with the family of Belal Salih Esa whom was murdered in 2022.


“WHEREAS, the Aaron and Margaret Wallace Foundation (AMWF), founded in 1957 provides basic necessities to over 30,000 individuals per month, including hot meals, fresh produce, toys, books and more. Brother Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim and Brother Belal Salih Esa were instrumental in supporting the Albany community, providing food, hygiene supplies, and hot meals. Belal, who served not just the Albany community but also the Oakland Islamic Center and the Jummah Free Farmers Market dedicated his life to service and uplifting his community and beyond. On September 19, 2022 Belal lost his life to senseless gun violence but his legacy to support the underserved community lives on through AMWF, his family and loved ones; and”

The Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation (AMWF), since 1957, is a public services organization based on GIVING AND SHARING, is non-denominational, Multi-Cultural, 100% volunteer financed and operated relief organization that serves over 30,000 people a month, provides FREE charitable assistance to the general public with food, medicine, clothing, educational and employment opportunities, mental and physical health referrals, legal aid, shelter and other necessities to the economically, mentally, and physically challenged; the poor and needy; the undereducated and undeserved; people living with sever illness including symptomatic HIV and AIDS; people living substance abuse; seniors 55 years and older; prenatal women; at risk youth; and homebound people living with serious illness; homeless, unhoused; immigrants and refugees; different-abled shut-in residents; and individuals, children, families, and organizations who lack these essentials for any reason. We provide private school and college admissions educational opportunities; assists with referrals for job training and placement; rental assistance; social services assistance; homelessness assistance; mental and physical health assistance; medical assistance and legal aid assistance referrals FREE for ANYONE whom has the need.

The Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation (AMWF), from our Oakland base, serves a 100 mile radius to San Francisco, to Sacramento, to Stockton, to San Jose and back covering all points in between.

AMWF has been heavily involved in and has taken the lead the servicing and protecting the most vulnerable of these homeless, unhoused communities since the 1970’s that as a result of COVID-19, now the government needs to address the spread of this Deadly agent of the virus. We provide direct, meaningful and essential sustenance extending these various services and programs to those most in need. Providing food IS AN ESSENTIAL service, so we are used for that purpose, we added new food resource donors, we MUST be out to serve and our work has TRIPLED!

For many YEARS prior to Covid, and since, we have provided FREE groceries, clothing, shoes, hygiene kits, sleeping bags, blankets, medicine, and hot chef’s prepared gourmet meals to the homeless and homeless encampments and habitations of ALL kinds, from the streets to parks, from trees and bushes to alleys, from corners to ditches, from hand built shanties to tents under freeway overpasses!

We provide FREE groceries, bagged and hot chef’s prepared gourmet meals, plus the above, to the Safe Parking Programs, among others, at local senior and community centers, and faith based organizations in an effort to provide families and/or individuals who have been displaced and are temporarily homeless, living in their vehicles and need a safe place to park and sleep overnight, with restrooms and an attendant present throughout the night at all of the locations.

We also provide food to those that had previously obtained necessary items at their Senior Center. But now that they’re closed, are vital to the wellness of the community and senior population with our Food Bank program and Free Farmers Market Food Give-Aways.

One Blessing of the pandemic is we have added MORE retail grocery stores pick ups and arranged several other groups programs with the young adults and kids to participate in servicing the poor, homeless, and senior shut-in’s, since they were out of school and needed something to do!! This will stick with them for LIFE!

We also annually hand out over 400 Eid gifts/toys to the youth twice a year for Eid and regularly during our weekly Jumaah Free Farmers Market Food Giveaways.

We provide direct, meaningful and essential sustenance extending these various services and programs to those most in need to MORE Muslims in America, per Allah (SWT), then ALL the Islamic charity groups COMBINED in the United States including Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America ICNA, Islamic Society of North America ISNA, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Community Association, MCA-SFBA, American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP), Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA), the Muslim Reform Movement (MRM), Muslims Facing Tomorrow (MFT), the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), The Mosque Cares, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), American Muslim Alliance (AMA), The Mosque Foundation, American Muslim Task Force (AMTF), American Muslims for Civic Engagement (AMCE), The North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Muslim Students Association (MSA), United Muslim Americans Association (UMAA), United Muslims of America (UMA), the UMMA, Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Muslim Advocates, Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD), United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), MuslimARC, and Zaytuna College!!

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim (بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ)

“In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”


“Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Allah we shall return.”

إِنَّا لِلَّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ

BelalOn September 19, 2022, Belal Salih Esa was one of two gunshot victims at 31st Street and Telegraph Avenue about 7:45 p.m. that night, inside Layalina, a Middle-Eastern pizza restaurant that died on the scene right around the corner from a mosque where they had been praying just 45 minutes beforehand. The Oakland Islamic Center is around the corner from the shooting scene where the men had been attending their evening prayers at around sundown or 7 p.m.

Surveillance video from the store and restaurant that were involved, shows a white vehicle, possibly a Prius, pulling up and someone started shooting into the store and restaurant. Police are reviewing that footage, but did not confirm any suspect vehicle information.

Belal was on the Board of Directors of the Oakland Islamic Center and his family operated several businesses and performed Charity with the Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation (AMWF) Jumaah Free Farmers Markets in the African and Middle Eastern Muslim communities and at several Eat Bay Masajids on Jumaah Friday Kuthbah. Belal, Ethiopian by birth, worked tirelessly to better the African and Muslim communities in the Bay Area, where he singularly fed thousands in 9 Free Food Ministries each week with our AMWF Free Food Program, AHDL!

He is survived by his wife Mimi, sons Dawude- graduated from U. C. Berkeley with a triple major, Omar- also graduated from U. C. Berkeley, Salih- 15 year old entrepreneur at the top of his class entering high school, and daughter Rewda- the smartest of them all!

We couldn’t have done ANYTHING without your support, AHDL!! May ALLAH accept your good deeds and fasts, and grant you and your families duas, Salaahs, forgiveness and REWARD YOU and your Families with Jannatul Firdaus in paradise directly under his throne, iA! Shukran wa Jazzak Allah Khair Khayrun

    These organizations that we support included: Masjid al-Rahman with Br. Mohammed Younis A. Subedar; the Islamic Center of Vallejo with Mohammed Hussain, Abdul Khabir, Najim Khan, Abdul Aziz Mohammed, Gamal Abushaban, Amal Ahmad, Sr. Sanober, Qaisar Zaman; Islamic Society of West Contra Costa County, Masjid al-Rahman, Universal Mercy Academy and Uma Homeschool Co-Op with Imam Abdul-Rahman, Ishmael, Banna Mirza, Yosef and Khadija Ayyad and their daughters, Maulana Hamza Mehter, Br. Syed Mujibur Rahman, Br. Abdul Maqsat, Dr. Imadul Islam, Talha Mirza and the students of Universal Mercy Academy and Uma Homeschool; Richmond Muslim Mission Center and Masjid Tawqua with Imam Wali Muhammad, Willie Shakoor; Masjid al-Islam and Masjid al-Islam School- Imam Abdul-Alim Musa, Sis Nanita Strong, Sumayyah Abdul-Haqq, Minyahn Robinson, Sis. Michelle and her husband Ibrahim, Sis. Adrianna and her daughter, Steve Swaggard- Kiongozi Binamu, Phylis Goins and her son Maxwell, Rodney Harrison; Berkeley Masjid and Dr. Naseem Z. and Dr. M. Yusuf Sheikh and Family, and the A 2 Z Foundation; Oakland Islamic Center- with Belal Esa and his son’s Omar, Salih, and Dawud, Masjid AbuBakr with Belal Esa and his son’s Omar, Salih, and Dawud with Jamaludin Omar; Masjidul Waritheen and the Lighthouse Mosque with Oni Mussan, Theon Berkley-King, their family and volunteers with the King-Thomas L. Berkley Foundation; Unified Muslim Community Masjid of San Leandro, San Leandro Islamic Center – Masjid Al-Farooq; CALIFA: Center for Advance Learning Improving Family Awareness with Bros. Jamaal Pratt, Saleem Lofton, Muwwakli Thompson, and Jeremy serving the Community of Vallejo, with one of four locations at The Marina Vista Apartments.
    In addition to their Masjid Communities, these groups served:
University Village Berkeley, Bear Pantry, Al-Noor School, Ibad-Ar-Rahman Sunday School, Oakland Islamic Center, Oakland Islamic Center Weekend Islamic School, Islamic Center of Alameda, Masjid Quba, Berkeley Masjid Weekend Islamic School, Sultana Bookstore, Masjid International Wahadah, Islamic Center of Berkeley, Unified Muslim Community, Masjid Omar Al-Farooq, Islamic Center of Contra Costa, Noor Islamic & Cultural Community Center, Islamic Society of Northern California, Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, San Ramon
Islamic Center- serve many Masjids and their communities, Africans, Middle Easterners, Indo-Pak-So. Asian, Blacks, Latinos, Immigrants, Refugees, the poor, the needy, and the public at large- 1,000’s of people a day!

    A couple of these youth-led operations were with/by Yosef and Khadija Ayyad and their daughters at the Islamic Center of Vallejo; and Banna Mirza, Maulana Hamza Mehter, Talha Mirza and the students of Universal Mercy Academy and Uma Homeschool at Islamic Society of West Contra Costa County, Masjid al-Rahman, AHDL!
     This will stick with them for LIVES! We are and have been heavily involved in servicing the Homeless for over 50 years, that suddenly the government needed to address as a potential Deadly agent of the spread of the virus. ALL our work Tripled up to the time they were unceremoniously dismissed!
    We ALL have had to face and address the devastating effect the Pandemic has had on the WORLD! We hurried and struggled to find solutions that could slow- at the very least, the surge of Covid and it’s disastrous multiplying deadly force.
    We learned that many things we thought were true and accurate simply were NOT! We learned that many things we were told was true and accurate simply were NOT!
    We learned that many things we thought we knew, we simply did NOT!
    We learned that vaccinations are many things we thought, BUT simply NOT a CURE!
    As a front line “essential worker”, we saw FIRST HAND, the consequences of ALL the actions and inactions taken, the many things that were done that should NOT have been done, AND, the many things that were NOT done that should have been done!
    Foremost among those of US on the front line in the worst conditions supporting those MOST at risk- the unhoused, we lived in real-time the absolute FEAR that gripped those in the “wild”!
    One of the GREATEST issues that consumed our emotions was the incessant open display of MAN’S INHUMANITY TOWARD MAN!
    We are ALWAYS operating with the reminder that tomorrow is NOT promised, no matter how much you do in the service of man for God! We have had several people that were killed while serving food to the less fortunate.

    We will ALWAYS make HONEST, SINCERE, DEDICATED EFFORTS IN SUPPORT OF OUR SELF PROFESSED COMMITMENT in combating the centuries long INJUSTICE with our work to put an end to HUMAN/CIVIL Rights, economic injustice, real and personal property poverty; physical and mental oppression and brutality; to racism, and inequities where so many shocked and outraged people around the world have found it in their own DNA
as humans to oppose this historical display of systemic and endemic injustice that enables discrimination and protects the violation of human rights.


    At this time we are asking YOU to be available to support our communities very lifelines!
    Please call/text me at 510-394-4501, AMWF at 510-394-4101, email at:; FB: Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation FaceBook Page:

Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation Group:
    You can contact and support the AARON & MARGARET WALLACE FOUNDATION, (AMWF) at:,
    You can make your check payable to: AARON & MARGARET WALLACE FOUNDATION (AMWF), 4200 Park Blvd., Ste. #One16, Oakland, CA 94602; you can donate with Paypal here:
or Paypal with email to:
    May ALLAH  REWARD YOU and your Families with Jannatul Firdaus in paradise directly under his throne, iA! 
    Shukran wa JZK,
Abdul Jalil


ASA wR wB Dear Brothers and Sisters,


          AwardAs CEO and President of the Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation (AMWF), I, Abdul-Jalil was Awarded the Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly for 2021-22 Humanitarian, Civil and Human Rights Achievements. I want to sincerely “THANK” ALL my/our supporters and I am thankful of the recognition for the work done as a Humanitarian for societal change/advancement with the establishment of real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines, in Civil Rights and Social Services addressing: Homelessness; Constitutional Reform; Social Justice Reform; Hunger and Food Insecurity; Police Reform; Climate Justice Reform; Criminal Justice Reform; Gun Violence; Religious Hate, Bias, Islamophobia, Xenaphobia and Bigotry; Immigration/Refugee Crisis; Healthcare; Education Equality; School-to-Prison Pipeline; Wealth Inequality/Poverty and Basic Needs; Voter Rights; COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Response; Sport and Athletes Human Rights and the fight for Judicial Reform to END Grand Systemic and Endemic Corruption, that includes Judicial/Legal Systemic Racism, Bigotry, Persecution, as a subset.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s ZOA Energy launches NIL campaign headlined by Angel Reese, Marvin Harrison Jr.

Rock ZOA NIL group

ZOA Energy Drink

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was not able to profit off his NILrights as a defensive tackle at Miami in the 1990s.

Things have significantly changed since then. The former professional wrestler is now one of the most recognized and highest-paid actors in Hollywood. An owner of the XFL, he has his own Under Armour line.

The Rock also has his own energy drink, ZOA, which has entered the NIL world in a very big way. An annual program dubbed, “The Rock’s Warriors,” has signed NIL deals with seven college athletes. Georgia‘s Brock Bowers, Austin Peay‘s Hansel Enmanuel, Florida A&M‘s Amaya Gainer, Ohio State‘s Marvin Harrison Jr., Miami’s Kamren Kinchens, North Carolina‘s Drake Maye and LSU‘s Angel Reese have all inked endorsement deals with the brand.

Each athlete was selected by The Rock. Everett Sports Management‘s Rachel Everett, Dan Everett and Jeff Hoffmancreated and procured the NIL campaign.

“Through this first-of-its-kind NIL expansion program, ZOA Energy will bring together some of the greatest college athletes of our time,” The Rock said in a statement. “I know from experience the grit and hard work that’s required of these college athletes to get the job done. Not just during their championship games or in the classrooms, but every day in the game of life. ZOA gives people that power, that unique energy to fuel themselves and fuel others around them – that’s why I’m super pumped about uniting all of The Rock’s Warriors under one roof.

“I personally selected these phenomenal individuals because of the energy, tenacity, and excitement they bring to the game. With a diverse set of stories and experiences, they’re driven, hungry, talented and ready for ZOA to help fuel them to greatness.”

Provided by ESM

Details of ZOA NIL campaign

As part of the agreements, the athletes will lead an upcoming marketing campaign for the energy drink and will release content across their social media platforms. “The Rock’s Warriors” will support national and regional partnerships through the deal.

“NIL is a brave new world,” ESM’s Dan Everett told On3. “Working alongside disruptive and multifaceted brands can be a catalyst for groundbreaking work. For ESM Sports, procuring the right talent to accelerate awareness and consideration for ZOA was the goal. Combining seven of college athletic’s biggest names with the stardom of The Rock is the single most defining moment in NIL history.”

ZOA pieced together a loaded class of NIL talent. Reese has seen her national profile soar following LSU’s national title, adding 3.6 million social media followers and signing NIL deals with brands like PlayStation and Starry.

“I’m pumped to be a part of such a unique group of athletes, and who better than The Rock to bring us together for a one-of-a-kind opportunity,” Reese said. “ZOA is all about putting in the work, learning from your wins and losses, and empowering others, something I strive to do every day on and off the court, so it was a no-brainer to join the first class of The Rock’s Warriors.”

Harrison had 77 catches for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2022. He’s started to take advantage of his marketability, recently launching a memorabilia website and signing with Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet. Maye has become one of college football’s most marketable names since last season. The quarterback wrapped up his rookie campaign throwing for 4,321 yards with 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Touting a 66.2% completion percentage, he led the Tar Heels to an ACC title game appearance.

An Everett Sports Management client, Bowers has played a significant role in helping Georgia win the last two national title games. Name to the first-team All-SEC, first-team All-American and the John Mackey Award winner, he turned down deals from Georgia’s Classic City Collective this winter. Instead, he’s inked partnerships with companies like NOBULL and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Dominican Republic native and one-handed basketball sensation Hansel Enmanuel received approval for an O-1 visa in October, which gives him the ability to pursue NIL deals in the U.S. through his newfound work authorization. He has agreed to deals with adidas and Gatorade.

A safety, Kinchens has a $474,000 On3 NIL Valuation. A first-team All-America last season, he led the Hurricanes with 59 total tackles along with six interceptions, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.

“It is the maturation of commercial NIL. ESM’s ability to create, navigate and bring together these amazing NIL athletes for ZOA cannot be overstated,” Hoffman told On3. “Equally as impressive is the ZOA team’s ability to be brave, nimble and creative in the execution of such a tremendous activation. The Rock’s Warriors is how high-profile, real NIL (commercial NIL) is done right.”

Colorado football coach Deion Sanders’ son, Shedeur, buys Maybach after monster NIL deal

Deion Shedure Sanders

Deion Sanders’ son, Shedeur Sanders, bought a Maybach after a huge NIL deal. Here is a video of them driving in the car.

Colorado football coach Deion Sanders and his son, Shedeur Sanders, hope to turn the program’s fortune around after it won just one game this past season.

Deion put the program in a massive overhaul with the transfer portal and brought in Shedeur and other players to quickly try and make the Buffaloes competitive. Shedeur will play quarterback and have all eyes on him this season.

He has scored NIL deals with Mercedes-Benz, Gatorade, Tom Brady’s clothing brand and Beats by Dre, among other outlets. On3 reported in November that Sanders has an NIL value of $1.3 million.

Wednesday, Deion posted a video in which he is driving with Shedeur in a Maybach, which has a starting price of $200,000.

“It wasn’t like this when I was in college,” Deion said in the video.

Shedeur and Deion Sanders will look to bring attention to Colorado football this season. The Buffaloes have not had a winning season since 2016 and have failed to reach five wins since 2019.

Deion coached Jackson State football for the last three seasons. He led the Tigers to back-to-back SWAC championships in 2021 and 2022. Last season, they finished 12-1.

Shedure Maybach
Shedeur’s Maybach

Coach Prime will bring in the nation’s No. 2 transfer class to try and turn Colorado football around. The Buffaloes have a very difficult schedule with TCU, Oregon, USC, UCLA, Oregon State and Utah among their opponents. Only the Bruins had fewer than 10 wins in 2022 (they had nine).

Colorado football is picked to finish ninth in the Pac-12 by 247Sports. The Buffaloes hope they can finish even higher and shock the nation.

Dreams Money Can Buy: LSU’s NIL-powered Superteam is exactly what college sports needs

Angel Reese

The Bayou’s budding Superteam is great for college sports.

From a fairness standpoint, the NIL era has been beautiful for the college athlete. No longer do they have to sacrifice their bodies with little to nothing in return other than the expectation for them to be grateful because they now have a “free” education.From an entertainment standpoint, the influx of NIL contracts has led to an inflation in “stardom.” When a lineman at a mid-major can have his agent negotiate a burrito deal for him, it becomes hard to decipher who the real stars are. If a program inks a player to a 6 figure-plus deal, it’s in the school’s interest to push them to the forefront despite their true impact on winning.Ironically, the clarity college sports is seeking can be found in the muddy waters of the Mississippi.

The legend of Angel Reese is just getting started. Fresh off LSU’s national championship win and her boastful post-game actions, the budding star has quickly become a hot commodity in the NIL world.

Angel Reese
Angel Reese

Kim Mulkey and the LSU Tigers have conducted a crash-course in how to effectively utilize NIL money. Instead of using the cash to boost players with potential, hoping they pan out, Mulkey and the Tigers have operated the last two offseasons like a professional front office. To build 2023’s National Championship team, they grabbed a proven star in Angel Reese from Maryland and surrounded her with experienced role players out of the portal, some of whom played for Mulkey’s Baylor teams or were recruited by her in high school.

Reese’s polarizing personality — at its brightest in the runaway National Championship win over Iowa and Caitlyn Clark — and capable skills on the court pushed her past the pack of college players who have been tagged with the “star” label into a lane of her own now. And while the majority of collegiate impact players are leagues behind their professional counterparts when it comes to notoriety, it can be argued that the “Bayou Barbie” is now the biggest name in all of women’s basketball. That’s real superstardom.

The story could end here (don’t worry, it doesn’t). With a true star like Reese returning and a bubbling second option in Flau’jae “Big 4” Johnson, Mulkey’s Tigers looked poised to once again compete with South Carolina, Iowa and the top of women’s basketball for another National Championship.

Yet, like any good professional general manager, Mulkey didn’t waste an opportunity to get better just because she had stable pieces.

Instead, Mulkey hitched up the F-150, backed her boat into the banks of the Transfer Portal and went fishing. Unlike last year, she wasn’t just looking for role pieces that complement her star forward. This time, she was looking to reel in the big catfish. The ones that break records, not just supply a fry. And, boy did her catch tip the scales this offseason.

LSU walked away from the portal with commitments from Louisville’s top guard Hailey Van Lith — who 247Sports’ expert contributor Brandon Clay had pegged as the No. 2 player in the women basketball transfer portal. The Tigers didn’t stop there. They also hauled in Clay’s No. 1 player in the portal, DePaul forward Aneesah Morrow.

This gives LSU a potential starting line up that contains Van Lith, Big 4, Morrow and the Bayou Barbie. For fans who don’t get how pivotal this is, it’s basically the equivalent of a Cash Money Hot Boys track. No matter where you turn, there’s either an experienced spitter waiting in the wings or a young, hungry rapper on the attack. The beat (or opposing defense in this case) has no chance to relax.

The Bayou’s budding superteam is great for college sports in general. Not only does it bring light to women’s sports, but each member of this quartet brings a unique approach to the game that any fan can get behind.

Van Lith is a Kobe disciple. She trained with the Mamba in high school and it shows with her explosive offensive game and aggressive scoring. She embraces all the things fans loved about Bean, but this also comes with an attitude that can rub some of the “basketball purists” the wrong way.

Now, if you’re into a do-it-all, “blue collar” star, then look no further than All-American Aneesah Morrow. The DePaul standout averaged 25.7 points and 12.2 rebounds per game last season with an outstanding usage rate. She’s able to initiate the offense while also doing the dirty work.

As for Big 4 (Flau’jae “Big 4” Johnson, if you forgot): her development and production will be a bit of a question mark given that she’ll have to defer the ball to more experienced players. But what isn’t unknown is her ability to find a spark. She’s shown countless times during LSU’s title run that she’s capable of getting hot in a hurry. This will put stress on opposing defenses as they try to limit Van Lith, Morrow and Reese just to get torched by Johnson. It will also continue to make her a fan-favorite as her dagger shots will likely come in high demand.

Angel Reese speaks for herself. Like Morrow, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to win but has the boisterous personality that will intrigue fans who are into the style points (I’m part of this demographic, myself). Similar to Van Lith, Reese doesn’t back down from a chance to challenge the moment, so it’s hard to say that her on-court personality isn’t warranted.

Outside of their on-court production, the fact that nothing seemed forced or constructed will make LSU’s pending superteam a crossover hit. They aren’t painting disses to their opponents on their fingernails or turning their name into condiments. They’re genuinely themselves at all times and refuse to step outside of their personalities. It just so happens that their natural personas seem to balance each other and that realness resonates with fans.

As tenacious as Van Lith comes off, it still doesn’t seem like a “tough guy (or girl)” act. As for Reese, she didn’t just put on this personality once she started winning at LSU. That’s just the first time you guys started paying attention to her. But if you cared to do research, you can find videos of her at Saint Frances Academy in Baltimore antagonizing and dominating her opponents the same way she did during the title game.

Although Morrow’s hard work, no-nonsense approach to the game balances the scale that’s leaning Reese and Van Lith’s way, it isn’t fake humility. She built herself into one of the best players in the game at DePaul without the glitz and glamor of a major program. DePaul head coach Doug Bruno details how Morrow sets goals for herself before every game only to shatter them during the contest.

“Aneesah talks about goals,” Bruno said. “She’s got individual goals for every game and individual goals for the season. She’s got individual goals for when she graduates from DePaul. But to reach those goals, she has to keep getting better.”

It’s hard to hate on someone who leaves no stone unturned when perfecting their craft, even though they’re already near the top. This only further proves to spectators that she deserves the NIL boost and to finally take her spot on the big stage.

For Johnson, she’s not an athlete with an affinity for rapping who releases cringe-worthy freestyles just because they have access to a professional studio. No. She’s a real recording artist who has a distribution deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation record label. Johnson dedicates time to her craft in the booth and on the court with aspirations of starting her own record label in the future. As a result, it’s easy to accept her raps as part of her personality. Fans can get behind her “Big 4” persona because they know it’s naturally her and not something she’s doing as a gimmick.

This collective of real stars will do wonders for college sports, but it will definitely spell out trouble for the WNBA. Reese, the hottest name in the sport, has said on several occasions that she doesn’t even think about going pro. And why would she?

While the world has been belting out the opening line of NBA YoungBoy’s “Fresh Prince of Utah,” Reese really did bring a parade to the rapper’s hometown where she’s treated (and compensated) like a superstar, making over $1 million in NIL money. She’s going to grace Sports Illustrated’s “Swimsuit Edition”, flies in chartered jets to LSU away games with her teammates, frequently goes on elaborate shopping sprees that she documents on social media and just bought herself a new Mercedes. What more could a 21-year-old want?

In comparison, A’ja Wilson (two-time WNBA MVP, a WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and a WNBA champion) is set to make $202,115 in the 2023-24 season. Candace Parker, a sure-fire, first ballot Hall of Fame player, told the media that her decision to team up with Wilson on the Aces was partly fueled by the team’s new facilities. Parker explained that at no point in her illustrious career did she have a locker to call her own until Las Vegas built its new arena.

That puts Reese in the rare space where her personal brand would be taking a step back if she chooses to go pro. The same can be said for Van Lith, who is reportedly making over $500,000 in NIL and Johnson, who is set to pocket a little under $1 million herself this year. The WNBA will need to scramble to find ways to bridge the pay gap between its salaries and NIL if it wants to compete for these real college superstars and the future players who will undoubtedly follow their financial footprints.

Fortunately for the WNBA (and college sports fans), Reese and Van Lith don’t have to cross that bridge for at least another year. Because right now, Mulkey and Co. are solely focused on actualizing the potential of this superteam by bringing home another banner to the Bayou.

LSU’s Angel Reese Dominating NIL Space, Agrees to Deal With SI Swimsuit

Reese has become one of the most marketable athletes, signs another noteworthy deal.

“Angel entered into a standard agreement with SI Swimsuit to appear in print and digital editorial media for the publication and to attend the launch event,” Sports Illustrated tells LSU Country.

The edition of the magazine will be released on May 12th with both Reese and Dunne being the first college athletes to ever be featured.

“We’ve done so much within a year,” Reese told SI. “We weren’t even supposed to be in the Final Four. We had nine new players, and it was coach [Kim Mulkey]’s second year in the SEC, so we didn’t know what to expect. We just went out there and had fun all the time and put in a lot of work all season.”

LSU has dominated the NIL space over the last year. From Reese to Dunne to other student athletes adding monstrous deals, it’s clear the university is ahead of the curve in this new era of college athletics.

After Reese made the move from Maryland to LSU, her status continued to skyrocket. With sheer dominance on the court, averaging a cool 23 points and 15 rebounds a game, her status off the floor became much more marketable.

The superstar forward led the Tigers to their first national title in program history, and after the championship game, it’s been nonstop for Reese. She’s been featured on Good Morning America, signed a deal with Mercedes Benz, Coach and much more as her NIL valuation reaches the $1.4 million mark via On3’s system.

Reese has the chance to keep the momentum rolling as she goes through the offseason before the 2023-24 season. Despite being eligible for the 2024 WNBA Draft, Reese has stated she’s “in no rush” to leave college. Time will tell, but for now, Reese is living in the moment as she transforms women’s basketball.

Monetizing Your Personal Brand: CAECAY Empowering Student Athletes, Entertainers, Celebrities, and Influencers with NIL Expertise

Julia Foxx

Julia Foxx
Julia Foxx

In today’s digital age, the power of personal branding has never been more apparent. For student athletes, entertainers, celebrities, and influencers, the ability to monetize their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) has become a game-changer. Thanks to the NCAA’s recent policy change allowing college student athletes to profit from their NIL, a world of opportunities has opened up. Leading the way in this transformative landscape is the Congress of Athletes Entertainers and Celebrities Creating Alternatives for Youths (CAECAY). With over 50 years of experience and a commitment to empowering individuals, CAECAY, in collaboration with esteemed organizations and personalities like the Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth, is poised to revolutionize the world of NIL monetization.

Client Campaign: “Unlock Your Potential with CAECAY’s NIL Monetization Program”

Campaign Objective:

To raise awareness among student athletes, entertainers, celebrities, and influencers about the Congress of Athletes Entertainers and Celebrities Creating Alternatives for Youths (CAECAY), partnership with Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth and its NIL Monetization Program. The campaign aims to showcase the opportunities available through monetizing Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) and encourage individuals to leverage their personal brand for financial success.

Monetizing Your Personal Brand: CAECAY Empowering Student Athletes, Entertainers, Celebrities, and Influencers with NIL Expertise

“Embrace Your Power. Monetize Your Influence.  Join CAECAY’s NIL Revolution!”

Target Audience:

  • Student Athletes, Entertainers, Celebrities, and Influencers seeking to monetize their NIL and earn income from their personal brand.
  • Athletes, Entertainers, Celebrities, and Influencers looking to expand their revenue streams and maximize their reach.
  • Coaches, mentors, and industry professionals who support and guide athletes, entertainers, celebrities, and influencers.

Campaign Elements:

Motion Picture, Television, Video, Radio, Audio, Print Commercial/Ads, Social Media, Podcast, Blog/Vlog, Web Ads:

  • Create visually captivating and inspiring commercial ads that highlight the success stories of athletes, entertainers, and influencers who have benefited from CAECAY’s NIL Monetization Program. Showcase the various avenues of income generation, such as autograph signings, coaching lessons/clinics, social media endorsements, and appearances at restaurants or events.

Digital Advertisements:

  • Develop engaging digital ads for social media platforms, websites, and mobile apps. These ads will:
    • Feature compelling visuals and persuasive messaging to capture attention and generate interest.
    • Highlight the financial opportunities available through NIL monetization and CAECAY, Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth’s expertise in the field.
    • Direct viewers to the CAECAY, Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth website or dedicated landing page for more information and enrollment.

Influencer Collaborations:

    • Partner with influential athletes, entertainers, celebrities, and social media influencers who have successfully monetized their NIL. They will serve as brand ambassadors and share their experiences, insights, and endorsement of CAECAY, Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth’s NIL Monetization Program through:
    • Sponsored social media posts and stories.
    • Live streams or recorded videos discussing the benefits of NIL monetization and CAECAY, Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth’s support.
    • Collaborative content, such as Q&A sessions or exclusive interviews, showcasing their journey and financial success.

Educational Webinars and Workshops:

  • Organize informative webinars and workshops led by industry experts and professionals from CAECAY, Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth. These sessions will cover topics like:
  • Understanding the legal aspects and guidelines of NIL monetization.
  • Building and managing a personal brand for maximum impact.
  • Social media strategies to enhance engagement and attract sponsorships.
  • Financial planning and wealth management for long-term success.
  • Contract negotiations and endorsement opportunities.

Angel Reese
Angel Reese

PR and Media Outreach:

  • Engage with media outlets, sports networks, and entertainment platforms to share the success stories of individuals who have thrived through CAECAY, Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth’s NIL Monetization Program. Provide press releases, interviews, and media kits highlighting the transformative experiences and financial gains achieved by program participants.

Campus Activations and Events:

  • Organize interactive events and activations on college campuses, sports venues, and entertainment hubs. These activities may include:
    • Panel discussions featuring industry experts, successful athletes, entertainers, and influencers sharing their NIL monetization journey.
    • Autograph signings, meet-and-greets, or mini-clinics conducted by prominent athletes or entertainers.
    • Competitions or challenges encouraging students to showcase their talent and entrepreneurial spirit.
    • Sponsorship of sporting events or concerts, leveraging CAECAY, Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth’s presence to connect with the target audience.

Measurement and Evaluation:

  • Track website traffic, click-through rates, and conversions from digital advertisements.
  • Monitor social media analytics to assess reach, engagement, and audience sentiment.
  • Measure the number of enrollments and inquiries received through the campaign period.
  • Conduct surveys and feedback sessions to gauge awareness, perception, and satisfaction among the target audience.
  • Monitor media coverage, including press mentions, interviews, and features, to evaluate campaign reach and impact.

CAECAY recognizes that student athletes and entertainers possess unique talents and personal brands that can be harnessed for financial gain. Through their comprehensive program, they equip individuals with the knowledge, tools, and support necessary to leverage their NIL effectively. Whether it’s signing autographs, coaching lessons and clinics, social media endorsements, or appearances at restaurants and events, CAECAY, Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth’s program provides the guidance needed to maximize earning potential. Their expertise and proven track record make them an invaluable resource for those seeking to monetize their personal brand.

Empowering Through Education:

One of CAECAY’s core principles is education. They understand the importance of equipping student athletes and entertainers with the skills and knowledge required to navigate the complexities of NIL monetization. Through their partnership with industry experts and professionals, CAECAY offers educational webinars and workshops that cover a wide range of topics. From legal aspects and guidelines surrounding NIL monetization to building and managing a personal brand, participants gain valuable insights and practical strategies for success. CAECAY’s dedication to empowering individuals through education sets them apart as a leader in the field.

A Network of Support:

CAECAY’s network of influential organizations and personalities provides participants with unparalleled opportunities for growth and collaboration. The Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth bring their expertise, connections, and resources to the table, ensuring participants receive the support they need to thrive. With their guidance, individuals can navigate the intricacies of contract negotiations, endorsement deals, and wealth management, fostering long-term success in their careers.

Creating Alternatives for Youths:

Beyond the individual benefits, CAECAY’s mission extends to creating alternatives for youths. By empowering student athletes and entertainers to monetize their NIL, CAECAY generates opportunities that not only shape their own futures but also provide inspiration and pathways for aspiring young talents. Through mentorship programs, community engagements, and outreach initiatives, CAECAY strives to make a positive impact on the lives of young individuals, creating a ripple effect that reaches far beyond the realm of sports and entertainment.

As the landscape of collegiate sports and entertainment continues to evolve, CAECAY stands at the forefront, offering a comprehensive program that unlocks the financial potential of student athletes and entertainers through NIL monetization.

Through an integrated advertising campaign encompassing television commercials, digital advertisements, influencer collaborations, educational webinars, PR outreach, and campus activations, CAECAY aims to empower student athletes, entertainers, celebrities, and influencers to monetize their NIL. By showcasing success stories, providing educational resources, and fostering strategic partnerships, the campaign will drive awareness and engagement, positioning CAECAY as a trusted partner in unlocking financial opportunities through NIL monetization.

With their 50 years of experience, partnerships with influential organizations and personalities, and dedication to education and empowerment, CAECAY is paving the way for a new era of financial opportunities. By joining forces with the Aaron & Margaret Wallace Foundation, AMWF, Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, Superstar Management, Ex-why AdVentures, and Nowtruth, CAECAY creates a formidable alliance that is set to revolutionize the world of NIL. Together, they provide the guidance, resources, and support needed for individuals to maximize their personal brand and create a prosperous future.

To enjoy these benefits, join CAECAY’s “ICONS CHARITY REGISTRAR”, go to“Matching Charitable Philanthropic Organizations with ICONS”: or “Matching ICONS with Charitable Philanthropic Organizations”:

131 Federal Judges Broke the Law by Hearing Cases Where They Had a Financial Interest

The judges failed to recuse themselves from 685 lawsuits from 2010 to 2018 involving firms in which they or their family held shares, a Wall Street Journal investigation found.

By James V. Grimaldi, Coulter Jones and Joe Palazzolo

More than 130 federal judges have violated U.S. law and judicial ethics by overseeing court cases involving companies in which they or their family owned stock.

A Wall Street Journal investigation found that judges have improperly failed to disqualify themselves from 685 court cases around the nation since 2010. The jurists were appointed by nearly every president from Lyndon Johnson to Donald Trump.

About two-thirds of federal district judges disclosed holdings of individual stocks, and nearly one of every five who did heard at least one case involving those stocks.

Alerted to the violations by the Journal, 56 of the judges have directed court clerks to notify parties in 329 lawsuits that they should have recused themselves. That means new judges might be assigned, potentially upending rulings.

When judges participated in such cases, about two-thirds of their rulings on motions that were contested came down in favor of their or their family’s financial interests. 

In New York, Judge Edgardo Ramos handled a suit between an Exxon Mobil Corp. unit and TIG Insurance Co. over a pollution claim while owning between $15,001 and $50,000 of Exxon stock, according to his financial disclosure form. He accepted an arbitration panel’s opinion that TIG should pay Exxon $25 million and added $8 million of interest to the tab.

In Colorado, Judge Lewis Babcock oversaw a case involving a ComcastCorp. subsidiary, ruling in its favor, while he or his family held between $15,001 and $50,000 of Comcast stock.

At an Ohio-based appeals court, Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote an opinion that favored Ford Motor Co. in a trademark dispute while her husband held stock in the auto maker. After she and the others on the three-judge appellate panel heard arguments but before they ruled, her husband’s financial adviser bought two chunks of Ford stock, each valued at up to $15,000, for his retirement account, according to her disclosure form.

Edgardo Ramos, Lewis Babcock, Julia Smith Gibbons

The hundreds of recusal violations found by the Journal breach a bedrock principle of American jurisprudence: No one should be a judge of his or her own cause. Congress first laid out that principle in 1792 to guarantee litigants an impartial judge and reassure the public that courts could be trusted.

Judge Ramos, who oversaw the Exxon case, was unaware of his violation, said an official of the New York federal court, because his “recusal list”—a tally judges keep of parties they shouldn’t have in their courtrooms—listed only parent Exxon Mobil Corp. and not the unit, whose name includes the additional word “oil.” The official said the court conflict-screening software relied on exact matches.

The unit had informed the court at the outset of the case that it was a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil so Judge Ramos could “evaluate possible disqualification or recusal,” a court filing shows.

See the federal judges with financial conflicts


After the Journal contacted Judge Ramos, who was named to the court by former President Barack Obama, the court’s clerk notified the parties of his stockholding. TIG attorneys asked the court to set aside his ruling and send the case to a new judge because of “the inevitable appearance of partiality.” Exxon opposed assigning a new judge, calling that a “manifest unfairness, gross inefficiency, and waste of judicial resources.” An appellate court has put a hearing on hold until the district court decides what to do.

In the Comcast case, a Colorado couple asked Judge Babcock to issue an order blocking Comcast from accessing their property to install fiber-optic cable. Representing themselves in court, Andrew O’Connor and Mary Henry accused Comcast workers of bullying them, scaring their 10-year-old daughter and injuring their dog, Einstein, allegations the company denied. Judge Babcock, who was appointed to the court by former President Ronald Reagan, ruled the couple had “continually blocked Comcast’s access to the easement.” He sent the case back to state court, as Comcast wanted.

“I dropped the ball,” Judge Babcock said when asked about the recusal violation. He blamed flawed internal procedures. “Thank you for helping me stay on my toes the way I’m supposed to,” he said. A Comcast spokeswoman declined to comment.

Mr. O’Connor, who settled his case in state court, said, “If you are a federal judge, you should not be holding individual stocks.” 

Judge Gibbons from the Ford trademark case, appointed to the appeals court by former President George W. Bush, said she had mistakenly believed holdings in her husband’s retirement account didn’t require her recusal. She later directed the clerk of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to notify the parties of the violation and said that her husband has since told his financial adviser not to buy individual stocks. 

“I regret my misunderstanding, but I assure you it was an honest one,” she said. 

A spokesman for Ford said: “A fair and impartial judiciary is critical to the integrity of our legal system. In this case, the violation of Ford’s trademarks was clear.”

“I dropped the ball. Thank you for helping me stay on my toes the way I’m supposed to.”— Judge Lewis Babcock, when asked about his violations 

Nothing bars judges from owning stocks, but federal law since 1974 has prohibited judges from hearing cases that involve a party in which they, their spouses or their minor children have a “legal or equitable interest, however small.” That law and the Judicial Conference of the U.S., which is the federal courts’ policy-making body, require judges to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. Although most lawsuits don’t directly affect a company’s stock price, the Supreme Court in 1988 said the law’s purpose is to promote confidence in the judiciary. 

Conflict-of-interest rules are common for state and federal employees as well as for lawyers, journalists and corporate executives. U.S. government workers may not participate “personally and substantially” in matters in which they have a financial interest.

The Journal reviewed financial disclosure forms filed annually for 2010 through 2018 by roughly 700 federal judges who reported holding individual stocks of large companies, and then compared those holdings to tens of thousands of court dockets in civil cases. The same conflict rules apply to criminal cases, but large companies are rarely charged, and the Journal found no instances of judges holding shares of corporate criminal defendants in their courts.

It found that 129 federal district judges and two federal appellate judges had at least one case in which a stock they or their family owned was a plaintiff or defendant.

Judges’ stockholdings exceeded $15,000 in 173 cases and $50,000 in 21 of those cases, although under the law, the amount doesn’t matter.

The Journal found 61 judges or their families not only holding stocks in companies that were plaintiffs or defendants in the judges’ courts but also trading the stocks during cases.

Judges offered a variety of explanations for the violations. Some blamed court clerks. Some said their recusal lists had misspellings that foiled the conflict-screening software. Some pointed to trades that resulted in losses. Others said they had only nominal roles, such as confirming settlements or transferring cases to other courts, though there is no legal exemption for such work.

The ethics code for federal judges “requires recusal when a judge has a financial conflict, regardless of the substance of the judge’s actual involvement in the case,” the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Codes of Conduct wrote in a letter to a judge this month.

Some blamed court clerks. Some said their recusal lists had misspellings. Some pointed to trades that resulted in losses.

In response to the Journal’s findings, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said: “The Wall Street Journal’s report on instances where conflicts inadvertently were not identified before a case was resolved or transferred is troubling, and the Administrative Office is carefully reviewing the matter.”

It said the federal judiciary “takes very seriously its obligations to preclude any financial conflicts of interest” and has taken steps, such as conflict-screening software and ethics training, to prevent violations. “We have in place a number of safeguards and are looking for ways to improve,” the office said. 

Chief Justice John Roberts, who heads the federal judiciary, didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

The nation’s roughly 600 full-time federal trial judges, supplemented by about 460 semiretired jurists called senior judges, wield enormous power. Holding lifetime appointments, they preside over hundreds of thousands of civil and criminal cases each year in 94 court districts. 

They have soup-to-nuts control over all elements of their courtrooms, from pretrial process and trial to criminal pleas, judgments and sentencing. Judges have wide latitude for fact findings and evidentiary rulings, most of which can be overturned only for abuse of discretion, a high hurdle.

Violations of the 1974 law almost never become public. Judges’ financial disclosures aren’t online, are cumbersome to request and sometimes take years to access.

Judges are informed if anyone requests to see their disclosures, creating a disincentive for lawyers who might fear annoying judges in whose courtrooms they frequently appear.

Judges rarely make public the lists of companies on whose cases they shouldn’t work. When judges disqualify themselves from cases, they typically don’t disclose details. No judges in modern times have been removed from the federal bench solely for having a financial interest in a plaintiff or defendant that appeared in their courtroom.

“I just blew it. I regret any question that I’ve created an appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest.”— Judge Timothy Batten Sr., when notified of his violations 

The Journal analyzed data from the Free Law Project, a nonpartisan legal-research nonprofit that is planning to post judicial disclosure forms online. The findings amount to a pervasive disregard for the judicial conflict-of-interest laws, legal experts said.

A recusal violation in isolation could be viewed as an oversight, but the Journal’s investigation “raises a more systemic problem of judges chronically neglecting their duty to disqualify in such cases,” said Charles Geyh, a law professor at Indiana University, who specializes in judicial conduct, ethics and accountability.

The findings “are both surprising and disappointing,” said Timothy Batten Sr., chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and a member of the Committee on Codes of Conduct for the Judicial Conference of the U.S.

“I believe in the vast majority of these cases, it is an oversight and indolence,” he added.

Judge Batten himself owned shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. while he heard 11 lawsuits involving the bank, most of which ended in the bank’s favor, the Journal’s analysis shows. 

“I am mortified,” Judge Batten said in a phone interview when notified about his violations, which occurred in 2010 and 2011, before he joined the Codes of Conduct committee in 2019. “I had no idea that I had an interest in any of these companies in what was a most modest retirement account” managed by a broker.

“I just blew it. I regret any question that I’ve created or appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest,” he said.

Timothy Batten Sr., Janis Sammartino, Rodney Gilstrap

Judge Batten, appointed by former President George W. Bush, said he stopped investing in individual stocks in 2012 and moved his portfolio to mutual funds, which don’t require recusal, and has since closed the account.

The Journal analyzed cases to determine whether judges made rulings on contested motions, such as those seeking dismissal or summary judgment. Judges ruled on contested motions in 21% of the nearly 700 cases in question. 

Those rulings favored the judges’ financial interests in 94 cases, went against the judges’ interest in 27 cases and had mixed outcomes in 24 cases.

Already, several parties on the losing side of the rulings have petitioned for a new judge to hear their cases after they were alerted to the violations identified by the Journal. 

Several judges misunderstood the law, initially saying that they didn’t have to recuse themselves because their shares were held in accounts run by a money manager.

The ban on holding even a single share of a company while presiding in a case involving the firm means judges must be vigilant. The 1974 law requires judges to inform themselves about their own financial interests and make a “reasonable effort” to do the same for their spouses and any minor children. The Judicial Conference of the U.S. requires courts to use conflict-checking software to help identify cases where judges should bow out.

Judge Janis Sammartino of California traded in stocks of Bank of America Corp., CVS Health Corp., Deutsche Bank AG, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., HSBC Holdings PLC, JPMorgan, PfizerInc., Public Storage, Wells Fargo & Co. and Microsoft Corp. while hearing 18 lawsuits involving one or more of those companies, the Journal found. In all, she heard 54 cases involving companies held in her family’s trusts.

In the Microsoft case, a Chicago man alleged the software giant violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending an unsolicited text about its Xbox gaming console to his mobile phone. He filed suit in 2011. One of Judge Sammartino’s family trusts bought Microsoft stock twice in 2012 and added three purchases in 2013.

The plaintiff’s lawyers sought in 2013 to turn the case into a class action involving 91,708 people who allegedly received the text messages. Microsoft said that it had received permission to send the texts but that records confirming this had been destroyed. Had a class been approved, the case could potentially have cost Microsoft more than $45 million, according to court filings by the plaintiff.

Judge Sammartino denied the class-action motion as well as Microsoft’s motion to dismiss the case. She ruled that the law permitted the plaintiff to seek damages of $500 for one alleged violation, potentially tripled. He appealed but settled before the appeal was heard. A spokesman for Microsoft declined to comment. One of the plaintiff’s lawyers also declined to comment. 

Judge Sammartino, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, initially referred questions from the Journal to William Cracraft, a spokesman for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “She asked me to let you know” her stocks “are in a managed account, so she’s not seeing as how there could be a conflict,” Mr. Cracraft said. “She’s not inclined to discuss her private business with you since it is all in managed accounts, and she thinks that’s sufficient.”

An opinion by the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Codes of Conduct in 2013 confirmed that judges must bow out of cases involving stocks they own in accounts run by money managers.

Judge Sammartino later informed the court clerk’s office of the conflicts, and the office filed a letter notifying parties to the Microsoft case and other cases with violations identified by the Journal.

“Judge Sammartino was not aware of this financial interest at the time the case was pending,” the letter said. “The matter was brought to her attention after disposition of the case. Thus, the financial interest neither affected nor impacted her decisions in this case. However, the financial interest would have required recusal.”

Before the Journal contacted Judge Sammartino about her recusal violations, she disqualified herself in at least 10 other cases involving companies whose stocks were listed on her disclosure forms, a review of her cases shows.

Judge Rodney Gilstrap, chief of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, had the largest number of conflicts in the Journal’s analysis: 138 cases assigned to him involving companies in which he or his wife held an interest.

Judge Gilstrap said he believed he didn’t need to recuse himself from some cases because they required little or no action on his part, and in other cases because the stocks were in a trust created for his wife. Legal-ethics experts disagreed on both counts.

“I take my obligations related to potential conflicts/recusals seriously,” he said in an email. “Throughout my judicial career, I have endeavored to comply with all such obligations, and I will continue to do so.” 

Judge Sammartino’s 54 conflicts were the second-most recusal violations. Brian Martinotti in New Jersey ranked third, handling 44 cases involving companies in which he had invested. Among his biggest holdings was Alphabet Inc., the parent of Google. He disclosed in 2016, 2017 and 2018 that he owned $15,001 to $50,000 of Alphabet shares. 

Brian Martinotti, Gershwin Drain, Emily Marks

In 2017, the judge threw out a lawsuit against Google alleging that videos on its YouTube unit falsely said the plaintiff was a sex offender, ruling that the Communications Decency Act let Google off the hook.

Judge Martinotti, an Obama appointee, didn’t respond to requests for comment, but after the Journal inquired, the district court clerk notified parties to 44 cases of Judge Martinotti’s stock ownership. His Alphabet holding didn’t affect the judge’s decisions but would have required recusal, the clerk wrote. A spokesman for Google declined to comment.

“I would like my case to be re-opened as Judge Brian R. Martinotti was unfairly biased and should have recused himself from my case,” the plaintiff, Nuwan Weerahandi, wrote in an August 2021 letter to the court, after receiving notice of Judge Martinotti’s violation.

The chief judge of the New Jersey federal court, Freda Wolfson, denied Mr. Weerahandi’s request on Sept. 2, saying the Communications Decency Act bars defamation-related claims against computer services such as Google. 

“Importantly, in making this purely legal determination, Judge Martinotti did not engage in any factfinding that would bear on the credibility of any party, including you,” Judge Wolfson wrote

In at least 18 instances, judges disqualified themselves over conflicts, only to have the case reassigned to a judge who also had a conflict but didn’t recuse.

In 2015, Judge Robert Cleland in Michigan, a George H.W. Bush appointee, bowed out of a suit by an injured motorist against insurer Allstate Corp., whose stock the judge had been buying and selling that year. 

The case was reassigned to Judge Gershwin Drain, who also owned Allstate shares. Judge Drain heard the case—and six others involving Allstate—and wrote a ruling denying a request by the motorist to move the dispute to state court. The case then settled on undisclosed terms.

Presented with his conflicts in 42 cases, Judge Drain, an Obama appointee, said he had added notices to the court’s public docket for each suit.

“I can say with absolute certainty that I never made any decision in favor of a company because I owned stock and was invested in that company,” Judge Drain said in an email. “To prevent any future issues, however, I have taken steps to review any new cases and if I am invested in any of the companies among the new cases that are assigned to me I will immediately recuse myself.” Allstate didn’t respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for the motorist declined to comment.

Frequent recusals can upset courts’ random drawing of judges for cases and lead to a smaller pool. In 20 federal districts, a third or more judges owned the same stock in the same year. In the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2017, fully a third disclosed a Microsoft stock holding. 

More than 340 federal appellate and trial judges reported holdings in Apple Inc. at some point from 2010 to 2018 and 300 in Microsoft. About 500 judges owned Bank of America, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan or Wells Fargo shares at some point. 

Those numbers reflect only stock ownership, not recusal violations. However, the Journal found 37 judges who owned a bank stock while improperly hearing a case involving that bank.

Judge Emily Marks bought Wells Fargo stock two weeks after she was assigned a Wells Fargo case, a conflict that now threatens to upset a ruling she made.

In the suit, Jacob Springer and Jeanetta Springer of Roanoke, Ala., acted as their own attorneys in challenging Wells Fargo’s foreclosure of Ms. Springer’s father’s home. 

In court filings, they said her ailing father missed a mortgage payment three months before he died, after which his daughter, who inherited the home, made payments. Wells Fargo foreclosed, saying the Springers missed payments of about $4,100 on an outstanding mortgage of more than $80,000; they said they had missed just one $695 payment.

“This is outrageous. How am I supposed to know she owns stock in Wells Fargo?”— Jacob Springer, when told of the judge’s violation in the case he lost 

Judge Marks, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and an appointee of former President Donald Trump, was assigned the case in mid-August 2018. The judge bought Wells Fargo stock at the end of the month. In September, she adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation to dismiss the Springers’ suit, a decision affirmed on appeal.

Judge Marks declined to comment. The court clerk told parties to the case that the judge had informed her of having owned the bank stock and directed the clerk to notify the parties. The clerk told them Judge Marks’s stock ownership didn’t affect her decisions in the case but would have required recusal. 

Mr. Springer said, “This is outrageous. How am I supposed to know she owns stock in Wells Fargo?”

The Springers asked the court to reopen the case, saying in a filing that “a non-interested Judge” might have let them amend their pleadings. The court assigned a new judge to their suit in July. A spokesman for Wells Fargo declined to comment. 

The nation’s 94 district courts are organized into 12 circuits, or regions. The Journal identified recusal violations in each region.

The U.S. Supreme Court wasn’t part of the Journal’s analysis. Nor did it include bankruptcy or magistrate judges.

Half of all federal trial and appellate judges in the Journal’s review disclosed minimum financial assets of $775,000 in 2018, while 31 reported a minimum of $10 million of assets. Some jurists joined the bench after lucrative careers in private practice.

Federal district judges draw an annual salary of $218,600, which isn’t much more than a first-year attorney at a top-tier law firm earns. Some judges said their salary level makes stock investments an attractive option.

Susan Webber Wright, Donald Graham, Benjamin Settle

“I have my judicial salary, but the law really restricts what else judges can do for additional income,” said Judge Susan Webber Wright in Arkansas. She said she held more stock when she was younger and trying to build a nest egg for her family.

Judge Wright, an appointee of former President George H.W. Bush, oversaw 2005 and 2006 cases involving Eli Lilly and Co. and Home Depot Inc. while owning shares of those companies. She issued no major rulings before one case settled and the other was transferred to another district.

“A judge has to be on her toes, and obviously I was not,” Judge Wright said.

Judges who have many conflicts are “either being careless or have people working for them who are not exercising due diligence,” she said, though she added that judges bear the ultimate responsibility for steering clear of conflicts.

Judge Donald Graham in Florida held American depositary receipts of Alcatel-Lucent while assigned to a case involving the French telecom maker. He sold the ADRs in 2010, a day after he approved a $45 million civil settlement between the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Alcatel-Lucent over allegations the company bribed foreign officials. The company neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

After being contacted by the Journal, Judge Graham, a George H.W. Bush appointee, notified the court clerk of the violation. In a publicly filed letter to the parties, the clerk said Judge Graham’s holding didn’t affect his decisions.

A lawyer for the SEC told the court the agency didn’t believe any further action was required. Alcatel-Lucent’s current owner, Nokia Corp., declined to comment.

Judge Benjamin Settle in Washington state sold as much as $15,000 of Amgen Inc. stock during a case that was settled in 2012. He sold the stock in 2008, while the suit was under seal, giving him access to nonpublic information about an allegation of kickbacks to doctors. The case contributed to a $762 million penalty against the biotech company in 2012.

Judge Settle, a George W. Bush appointee, said he hadn’t included all of his holdings on his recusal list when he inherited the case in 2007 as a newly commissioned federal judge. “Amgen was among those mistakenly omitted,” he said. 

Judge Settle said he directed his broker in 2008 to sell all of his stocks. A spokesman for Amgen declined to comment.

The Journal’s tally of recusal violations is likely an undercount. In Mississippi, Judge Sharion Aycock’s husband owned as much as $15,000 in shares of Dollar General Corp. at a time when the Journal found two cases she heard involving the retailer. After being asked about the matter, Judge Aycock found five more violations involving Dollar General and notified the clerk about all seven.

A few of the judges with violations the Journal identified had legendary careers, including Jack Weinstein and Arthur Spatt in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. 

Judge Weinstein, a Lyndon Johnson appointee, oversaw four cases involving Medtronic PLC or Target Corp. while he or his family held their shares. Judge Spatt, who was named to the court by former President George H.W. Bush, had a violation involving Johnson & Johnson. Judge Spatt died in 2020 and Judge Weinstein died earlier this year, both having served into their 90s.

Judge Margo Brodie, chief of the Eastern District, which includes New York City’s Brooklyn and Queens boroughs, acknowledged the conflicts but said the judges’ “involvement was minimal, limited to ministerial actions” such as approving settlements or opinions by magistrate judges.

“These two judges have been revered by the practicing bar for their integrity and even handedness,” Judge Brodie said in an email. “There has never been a suggestion, much less an accusation, that either ever acted inappropriately.”

The Journal identified 36 conflicts by one judge in Colorado, R. Brooke Jackson. The cases included Apple, Chevron Corp., Eli Lilly, FacebookInc., General Electric Co., Home Depot, Honeywell International Inc., Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan, Pfizer and Wells Fargo. 

“I have preferred to stay unknowledgeable about it.”— Judge R. Brooke Jackson, on the stocks in his and his wife’s portfolio 

Reached by phone, Judge Jackson said he had no idea which stocks he owns because a money manager handles them and because his wife fills out his disclosure forms. He said that because he doesn’t know, he couldn’t have a conflict of interest.

“I’ve never really paid much attention to it,” Judge Jackson said of his and his wife’s investments. “I have preferred to stay unknowledgeable about it.”

Told he was required to know under the law, he said: “That’s news to me.” 

In a later email, Judge Jackson, an Obama appointee, admitted his mistake. “I am taking immediate steps to provide a current list of stocks and other investments held by my wife and by me to our Clerk’s Office so that we can create an appropriate conflicts list and be sure that this does not happen again,” he wrote. 

Does some judges’ ownership of shares in companies in their courtrooms shake your confidence in the courts? Join the conversation below.

In a subsequent 21-page letter to the Journal, Judge Jackson said he should have recused himself in most if not all of the 36 cases.

“I am embarrassed that I did not properly understand and apply the stock ownership rule,” he wrote. “Being informed of what could be viewed as an ethical violation, even a technical one, is no fun.” 

R. Brooke Jackson, David Norton, Sharion Aycock

Judge David Norton in South Carolina presided over six asbestos suits beginning in 2012 while his disclosures show he held between $95,004 and $250,000 of stock in two defendants, 3M Co. and GE. 

In 2015 he heard a case filed by James Chesher, who alleged that he developed cancer from exposure to asbestos in the Navy. Mr. Chesher and his wife sought damages from 3M, GE and about two dozen other companies. They reached settlements with 3M and GE in 2016.

Mr. Chesher died in 2017. His widow, Cheryl Ann Chesher, was surprised to learn from the Journal of the judge’s financial interest in GE and 3M.

“He should have policed himself,” Ms. Chesher said. “He knows what the law is on that and he should have followed through,” she said, adding: “You have to wonder if he’s looking out for himself…rather than the clients.” 

In an emailed statement, Judge Norton said he didn’t recuse himself because 3M and GE played no significant role in the suits and were “defendants in name only.”

He added: “At the outset the lawyers involved in these cases assured me that 3M and GE would be dismissed and not involved in the case pursuant to a pre-existing agreement between the plaintiffs’ lawyers and GE and 3M.”

Peter Kraus, an attorney for the Cheshers, said he and his co-counsel “have no recollection about making any assurances to the judge that GE and 3M would be dismissed.” They “were sued because the evidence in the case implicated them, and were certainly not ‘defendants in name only,’ ” he said, adding that attorneys for both companies participated in depositions.

A 3M spokeswoman said neither the company nor its attorneys ever assured the judge regarding any dismissals. A spokeswoman for GE didn’t respond to questions about whether it had conveyed such an assurance. An attorney for GE said she didn’t recall the case.

Told what 3M and the plaintiffs’ attorney said, Judge Norton reiterated his recollection of the case.

As remaining asbestos defendants moved toward trial, Judge Norton, a George H.W. Bush appointee, issued rulings that broadly benefited companies with asbestos liabilities.

In hearings, he took aim at the theory behind the cases: that any exposure to asbestos was significant enough to contribute to their cancer. The defendants said the plaintiffs’ expert witness shouldn’t be allowed to testify because he was unable to show that the men more likely than not would have avoided the disease but for their exposure to the asbestos. Judge Norton sided with the companies, ruling that the expert witness’s testimony—“scientifically sound as it may be”—couldn’t be presented to a jury.

The ruling drew national attention. Plaintiffs’ lawyers denounced it, while lawyers who often defend corporations embraced it as common-sense analysis. A Harvard Law Review article blasted it, saying that “unrealistic legal expectations of science could do great injustice.”

Mr. Kraus, the Cheshers’s attorney, called the decision out of sync with court precedent on liability in asbestos cases. Other courts have adopted Judge Norton’s analysis, including the Ohio Supreme Court.

Mr. Kraus said he has never asked to see a judge’s financial disclosure form. He said he wasn’t sure he ever would. 

“If a judge who is considering a matter you have before him finds out that you’ve been snooping around about his finances, I’d be very concerned as a practitioner that it would cause a negative backlash that would affect my clients’ rights in the court,” Mr. Kraus said.

Judge Norton also violated an ethics rule when he bought a box of cuff links at an auction of the government-seized property of a man he earlier sentenced to prison for a Ponzi scheme, according to the chief judge of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The judge’s purchase did create an appearance of impropriety,” though it didn’t affect the sentence imposed, Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote in 2017, without identifying the cuff links buyer.

Judge Gregory quoted the unnamed judge as saying he tried to “keep current on all ethical rules and take the yearly ethics test prepared by the Administrative office” but was unaware that his participation in the auction could create the appearance of impropriety.

Judge Norton, who confirmed in a separate filing that he bought the cuff links, told the Fourth Circuit: “Now that I have been made aware of this, my actions will not be repeated.”

Secretive Billionaire Handed Fortune to Architect of Right-Wing Takeover of the Courts

In the largest known political advocacy donation in U.S. history, industrialist Barre Seid funded a new group run by Federalist Society co-chair Leonard Leo, who guided Trump’s Supreme Court picks and helped end federal abortion rights.

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

This story was co-published with The Lever.

An elderly, ultra-secretive Chicago businessman has given the largest known donation to a political advocacy group in U.S. history — worth $1.6 billion — and the recipient is one of the prime architects of conservatives’ efforts to reshape the American judicial system, including the Supreme Court.

Through a series of opaque transactions over the past two years, Barre Seid, a 90-year-old manufacturing magnate, gave the massive sum to a nonprofit run by Leonard Leo, who co-chairs the conservative legal group the Federalist Society.

The donation was first reported by The New York Times on Monday. The Lever and ProPublica confirmed the information from documents received independently by the news organizations.

Our reporting sheds additional light on how the two men, one a judicial kingmaker and the other a mysterious but prolific donor to conservative causes, came together to create a political war chest that will likely supercharge efforts to further shift American politics to the right.

As President Donald Trump’s adviser on judicial nominations, Leo helped build the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority, which recently eliminated Constitutional protections for abortion rights and has made a series of sweeping pro-business decisions. Leo, a conservative Catholic, has both helped select judges to nominate to the Supreme Court and directed multimillion dollar media campaigns to confirm them.

Leo derives immense political power through his ability to raise huge sums of money and distribute those funds throughout the conservative movement to influence elections, judicial appointments and policy battles. Yet the biggest funders of Leo’s operation have long been a mystery.

Seid, who led the surge protector and data-center equipment maker Tripp Lite for more than half a century, has been almost unknown outside a small circle of political and cultural recipients. The gift immediately vaults him into the ranks of major funders like the Koch brothers and George Soros.

In practical terms, there are few limitations on how Leo’s new group, the Marble Freedom Trust, can spend the enormous donation. The structure of the donation allowed Seid to avoid as much as $400 million in taxes. Thus, he maximized the amount of money at Leo’s disposal.

Now, Leo, 56, is positioned to finance his already sprawling network with one of the largest pools of political capital in American history. Seid has left his legacy to Leo.

“To my knowledge, it is entirely without precedent for a political operative to be given control of such an astonishing amount of money,” said Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance lawyer at the nonpartisan watchdog group Documented. “Leonard Leo is already incredibly powerful, and now he is going to have over a billion dollars at his disposal to continue upending our country’s institutions.”

In a statement to the Times, Leo said it was “high time for the conservative movement to be among the ranks of George Soros, Hansjörg Wyss, Arabella Advisors and other left-wing philanthropists, going toe-to-toe in the fight to defend our constitution and its ideals.” Leo and representatives for Seid did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Marble Freedom Trust is a so-called dark money group that is not required to publicly disclose its donors. It has wide latitude to spend directly on elections as well as on ideological projects such as funding issue-advocacy groups, think tanks, universities, religious institutions and organizing efforts.

In an unusual maneuver, Leonard Leo was added as an officer to Barre Seid’s company. Seid left the company’s board, and his name was crossed out in state corporate disclosure filings. Credit: Illinois Office of the Secretary of State

The creators of the Marble Freedom Trust shrouded their project in secrecy for more than two years.

The group’s name does not appear in any public database of business, tax or securities records. The Marble Freedom Trust is organized for legal purposes as a trust, rather than as a corporation. That means it did not have to publicly disclose basic details like its name, directors and address.

The trust was formed in Utah. Its address is a house in North Salt Lake owned by Tyler Green, a lawyer who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Green is listed in the trust’s tax return as an administrative trustee. The donation does not appear to violate any laws.

Seid’s $1.6 billion donation is a landmark in the era of deregulated political spending ushered in by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. That case, along with subsequent changes and weak federal oversight, empowered a tiny group of the super rich in both parties to fund groups that can spend unlimited sums to support candidates and political causes. In the last decade, donations in the millions and sometimes tens of millions of dollars have become common.

Individuals could give unlimited amounts of money to nonprofit groups prior to Citizens United, but the decision allowed those nonprofits to more directly influence elections. A handful of billionaires such as the Koch family and Soros have spent billions to achieve epochal political influence by bankrolling networks of nonprofits.

Even in this money-drenched world, Seid’s $1.6 billion gift exceeds all publicly known one-time donations to a politically oriented group.

The Silent Donor

One day in November 2015, the employees of Tripp Lite, a manufacturer of power strips and other electrical equipment, gathered for a celebration at the company’s headquarters on the South Side of Chicago. Cupcakes frosted in blue and white spelled out the numbers “56.” An easel held up a sign hailing Tripp Lite’s longtime leader: “Congratulations Barre!”

A small, balding man with a white goatee and a ruddy complexion took the microphone. Barre Seid was known as someone who preferred to keep a low profile, but on the 56th anniversary of his leadership of Tripp Lite, he couldn’t resist the chance to address his employees. Later, as he bit into a cupcake, Seid posed for a company photographer, who later uploaded the photo to the company’s Facebook page.

Even this semipublic glimpse of Seid was rare.

For several decades, a select group of political activists, academics and fundraisers was ushered to Tripp Lite headquarters to pitch Seid at his office. Despite his status as one of the country’s most prolific funders of conservative causes, and despite his decades as the president and sole owner of one of the country’s most successful electronics makers, Seid has spent most of his 90 years painstakingly guarding his privacy.

There are no art galleries, opera companies, or theaters or university buildings emblazoned with his name in his hometown of Chicago. There’s even some confusion over how to pronounce his last name. (People who’ve dealt with him say it’s “side.”)

The Lever and ProPublica pieced together the details of his life and his motivations for his extensive donations through interviews, court records and other documents obtained through public-records requests.

One of the only photos of Seid that The Lever and ProPublica could find shows him as a 14-year-old walking in a small group across a college campus. Born in 1932 to Russian Jewish immigrants, Seid grew up on the South Side of Chicago, the oldest of two brothers, according to Census records. A precocious child, he was chosen for a special bachelor’s degree program at the University of Chicago, not far from his childhood home.

Seid attended the University of Chicago in the early years of the “Chicago school,” a group of professors and researchers who would reimagine the field of economics, assailing massive government interventions in the economy and emphasizing the importance of human liberty and free markets. After college, Seid served two years in the Army and eventually returned home to Chicago, according to testimony given decades later in a court case. He took a job as an assistant to an investor and businessman named Graham Trippe, whose company made headlights and would produce the rotating warning lights used by police cars, tow trucks and other emergency response vehicles.

By the mid-1960s, Seid had taken over as Trippe Manufacturing’s president. In the decades to come, the company, now called Tripp Lite, became a pick-and-shovel business of the digital gold rush. The company sells the power strips that supply electricity to computers and the server racks, cooling equipment and network switches that make data centers run. Business surged with the shift to cloud computing and the proliferation of vast data centers.

That boom vaulted him from the ranks of merely rich to the superrich. Seid was making around $30 million per year by the mid-1990s, tax records obtained by ProPublica show. His annual income, the vast majority of which came from Tripp Lite’s profits, took off in the mid-2000s and steadily rose, hitting around $157 million in 2018. Tripp Lite, which was 100% owned by Seid, contributed $136 million to his total income that year.

Even as Seid built a billion-plus dollar business, he drew scant public attention; Forbes never put him on its list of the wealthiest Americans, and business and political press rarely mentioned him.

Yet he was becoming a major donor. He gave at least $775 million in charitable donations between 1996 and 2018, a period in which he reported $1.7 billion in income, according to his tax records. Seid parceled out a small portion of those donations to Chicago-area universities, religious organizations, medical research and dozens of civic-focused groups.

While Seid has never spoken to the press about his ideology, evidence of his worldview has emerged here and there. His family foundation has supported the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics, named after two of the Chicago school’s intellectual leaders, Gary Becker and Milton Friedman. He has also donated to the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit that has a history of using inflammatory rhetoric and misleading tactics to undermine climate science.

Seid appeared to be the donor (listed as “Barry Seid”) who gave $17 million to fund the distribution during the 2008 presidential campaign of millions of copies of a DVD of the film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War With the West.” The DVDs, which were sent specifically to households in presidential election battleground states, were criticized as virulently anti-Muslim.

Seid’s personality can be glimpsed in exchanges with George Mason University officials from the late 2000s to mid-2010s that came out in response to a public-records request by the activist group UnKoch My Campus. In the emails, Seid comes across as an intellectually probing figure, asking the dean of the law school to respond to news stories about the value of a law-school degree or the workings of higher education’s accreditation system. Seid drily addressed several administrators for the university, whose law school and economics department are known for their alignment with conservative, free-market principles, as “Fellow Members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.”

Seid appears to have continually sought new vehicles for dispensing his money and maintaining as much anonymity as possible. The GMU emails also show a redacted donor — who activists believed to be Seid based on other unredacted materials — routing donations to the school through DonorsTrust or the Donors Capital Fund, two donor-advised funds that provide an additional level of anonymity.

While the roots of Seid and Leo’s professional relationship aren’t clear, the two worked together at a small foundation Seid formed in 2009 called the Chicago Freedom Trust, a charity that gave out small grants to nonpolitical groups. Leo later joined the foundation’s board.

The GMU emails provide an inkling of the relationship between the two men. In early 2016, Seid emailed the dean of GMU’s law school and the head of a prominent American Jewish organization to urge them to work together. The dean, Henry Butler, forwarded Seid’s message to Leo seeking to better understand Seid’s intentions.

“Do you have any insight?” Butler wrote.

“I do not, but will find out,” Leo replied.

The Money

Billionaires tend to craft intricate estate plans to pass the family business to the next generation, fortified from taxation and protective of their vision. The apparently childless Seid didn’t have that option, but starting in April 2020, he set in motion a plan to make sure his fortune would go toward his favored causes.

That month, the Marble Freedom Trust was created, and Seid subsequently transferred his 100% ownership stake in Tripp Lite to the trust, according to the documents reviewed by The Lever and ProPublica.

In February 2021, Tripp Lite filed its annual reports with the state of Illinois as it had done for decades. But this time, Seid’s typewritten name had been crossed out as an officer of the company. Added as an officer, written in by hand, was Leonard Leo.

A Tripp Lite subsidiary in Nova Scotia, Canada, similarly removed Seid as a director and added Leo as a director in March 2021, according to disclosure filings.

Then, later that same month, Eaton Corporation, a large publicly traded company, acquired Tripp Lite for $1.65 billion.

The transactions appear to have been carefully sequenced to reap massive tax savings. Selling a company that has grown in value after decades of ownership is treated the same way for tax purposes as a person selling a share of stock. If the property has grown in value, capital gains taxes are due when it is sold.

But Seid transferred Tripp Lite to the Marble Freedom Trust, a nonprofit that is exempt from income tax, before the electronics company was sold. As a result, lawyers say, Seid avoided up to $400 million in state and federal income tax, preserving those funds for Leo’s operation.

“If the person who had owned the stock had sold the stock himself, he would’ve been taxed on the appreciation in the stock,” said Ellen Aprill, a tax law professor at Loyola Marymount University. “Whereas if you give it to the 501(c)(4), there’s no charitable deduction for giving the money, but you avoid the tax on all of that appreciation.”

Political advocacy nonprofits like the Marble Freedom Trust are formally called 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, after the section of the tax code. Informally, they are known as dark-money groups because donors can remain secret, in contrast to the public disclosures required of gifts to political campaigns or super PACs. While they can spend money directly advocating for or against candidates in political campaigns, such spending cannot be their primary purpose.

In giving to such a dark money group, Seid also avoided another federal levy, the gift tax, thanks to a change signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2015.

There’s a reason why giving money specifically to a trust might have been attractive for an older and ideological donor such as Seid. The founding documents that lay out how the trust will spend money can be harder to change than the governing documents of a corporation, according to Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a professor at Notre Dame Law School.

Mayer added that while corporations usually have at least three directors, trusts can have just a single trustee in charge of the organization’s activities.

Leo is the trustee and chairman of the Marble Freedom Trust. In other words, Leo is now in charge of the massive sum of money.

The Rainmaker

For decades, Leo had served as a top executive at the Federalist Society, helping lead the influential Washington-based conservative lawyers group that serves as a launching pad for careers on the right.

But in early 2020, Leo made an announcement that suggested he was taking his successful model for reshaping the courts to remake American politics at every level: local, state and federal. In an interview with Axios, Leo said he was stepping away from his day-to-day role with the Federalist Society to take a more active role steering a network of conservative dark money groups.

The plan was to expand the network’s scope to “funnel tens of millions of dollars into conservative fights around the country,” according to Axios. What Leo did not mention in the interview was the imminent creation of the Marble Freedom Trust, his biggest-ever war chest.

Leo’s long career as both a legal activist and a prodigious fundraiser for conservative causes shows a steady march toward becoming a central figure in the Republican Party’s successful strategy to fill as many judicial vacancies as possible with young, conservative judges skeptical of the federal government’s power. He served as an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign, helping the candidate take a step no other major presidential candidate had ever taken: releasing a list of names he would draw on to nominate to the Supreme Court.

Coming at a moment when conservatives were wary of Trump’s past leanings, the move bolstered his support among social conservatives. Leo stayed on as a judicial adviser during Trump’s four years in office. During that time, Leo helped the president appoint and confirm more than 200 nominees to the federal bench, most famously Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Leo’s efforts to reshape the country’s judicial system began long before Trump’s political ascent. In 1991, he joined the Federalist Society, which was then in its early years and only beginning to build a pipeline for conservative jurists.

In the view of Leo and his allies, the U.S. legal system had drifted dangerously far from its roots, establishing privileged classes and doctrines that were not enumerated in the Constitution and would be unrecognizable to the Founders. Those same courts had also empowered a class of unelected bureaucrats dubbed the “administrative state” to impose needless regulations and to endow the federal government with too much power. Like his close friend Justice Antonin Scalia, Leo argued for an originalist view of the Constitution — namely, that the country’s founding document should be interpreted strictly based on how its 18th century authors understood its words at the time.

In 2005, Leo and his allies formed a dark money network to rally support for George W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. But if Leo wanted to turn back the tide of what he saw as unchecked judicial activism, he needed to build something bigger, more lasting.

Leo set out to create a network of interlocking groups that could each play a part in returning the country to what he saw as its roots, whether by training future generations of Scalias, funding scholarship that made the case for originalism or bankrolling efforts to install conservative judges on the bench.

Between 2005 and mid-2021, Leo and his associates raised at least $460 million (not including the Marble Freedom Trust’s funds).

According to tax records, Leo’s network has funneled those hundreds of millions into ad campaigns and right-leaning groups. The Judicial Crisis Network — which is now called the Concord Fund and is headed by a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and Leo associate named Carrie Severino — has spent tens of millions airing ads during Supreme Court confirmation fights.

The group’s fundraising took off in 2016, when it led a campaign to block Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland’s confirmation. That year, Leo’s network received a $28 million infusion from a single anonymous donor. Leo and his network long refused to say who is paying for their advocacy campaigns.

Leo’s network has worked closely with Senate Republicans and has showered them with cash as well, recently donating $9 million to a dark money group affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

While Leo is best known for his influence on the Supreme Court, he and his network have also worked to shift the balance of power throughout the judiciary — in federal district and appellate courts, and state supreme courts, too.

At the state level, the network funds groups supporting conservative gubernatorial and legislative candidates. Leo’s nonprofits and their subsidiaries have recently pushed states to tighten voting laws, opposed the teaching of critical race theory in schools and financed organizations pressing states to remove millions of Americans from the Medicaid rolls.Republicans Turn Against the League of Women Voters

But now, with Seid’s largesse, Leo has nearly four times the amount he raised over 16 years at his disposal and ambitions to match.

“I have a very simple rule, which is, I’m engaged in the battle of ideas, and I care very deeply about our Constitution and the role of courts in our society,” Leo told The Washington Post in 2019 when asked about his donors. “And I don’t waste my time on stories that involve money and politics because what I care about is ideas.”

Call for solidarity after FBI raids African People’s Socialist Party and Uhuru movement

| Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the Uhuru movement via Facebook live July 29 | MR Online

Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the Uhuru movement via Facebook live July 29.

By Jeff Mackler (Posted Aug 09, 2022)

Originally published: Popular Resistance  on August 4, 2022 (more by Popular Resistance | 

Empire, Imperialism, Inequality, MovementsAmericas, United StatesNewswireAfrican People’s Socialist Party (APSP), Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Raid, Uhuru Movement

For More Information And To Contact And Support The African Peoples Socialist Party And Uhuru Solidarity Movement, Please Visit Their Website And Donate At

The specter of a Biden administration-authorized Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated McCarthy-era witch hunt was posed in bold relief last week as FBI agents took aim at a Black liberation organization that has been a sharp critic of the U.S./NATO-backed war in Ukraine and a defender of poor nations threatened with U.S. sanctions, coups, embargoes and blockades. These include Cuba, Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Iran.

Replete with flash/bang grenades deployed at 5:00 am on Friday, July 29 to startle African Peoples Socialist Party (APSP) leader Omali Yeshitela and his wife at their home in St. Louis, Missouri, FBI agents, carrying federal search warrants, ordered them to come out with their hands up. They were handcuffed and ordered to sit on the curb. The armed agents, accompanied by local police, proceeded to ransack their home, confiscating their files, computer equipment and cell phones.

The FBI raid is connected to a federal indictment of a Russian man, Aleksandr Ionov, who the U.S. government alleges orchestrated a “political influence campaign” targeting local U.S. elections with the direct assistance of the APSP and its associated group, the Uhuru Movement. FBI and local police also raided the Uhuru Solidarity Center in St. Louis and APSP headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Ionov, a Russian national, is a leader of the Anti-Globalization Movement in Russia that the DOJ alleges worked on behalf of the Russian Federal Security Service to use U.S. political groups “to spread pro-Russia propaganda and interfere with local elections.”

APSP founder and chair Yeshitela and Uhuru Movement representatives denied being part of any Russian conspiracy campaign or receiving money from the Russian government.

African Peoples Socialist Party press conference

See the complete APSP press conference on the day of the FBI raid here:

The U.S. Department of Justice indictment charges  Ionov with working with at least three other Russian officials in a “malign influence campaign” against the U.S. over the past seven years. Ionov and his collaborators, according to the DOJ, used various U.S. groups to advance Russian government goals in several states.

“Through these influence operations,” said U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg during a Florida press conference on the day of the raids, “Russia attempts to shape foreign perceptions and to influence populations in a number of ways.” He added, “Their goal is to further the interests of Russia.” The federal indictment asserts that the Russian “conspiracy” started in 2015 when APSP representatives attended a 2015 Moscow “anti-globalization” conference that included a range of U.S. and international antiwar organizations. The conference was billed and organized as an independent  antiwar gathering. In addition to the APSP several U.S. antiwar groups attended, including representatives from the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), which includes some 150 associated groups. A number of the conference participants participated in a separate peaceful protest at the U.S. embassy in Moscow decrying the 2014 U.S.-backed fascist-led coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine.

False charges: “Unindicted co-conspirators”

Yeshitela and the other July 29 FBI raid victims were not arrested. The DOJ press release characterized them as “unindicted co-conspirators,” presumably facing future court action and persecution as the DOJ continues its “investigations” and evaluates the contents of the sequestered files, computers and cell phones. One of the three “co-conspirators” was a 2017 APSP candidate for the St. Petersburg City Council, Akilé Anai, the party’s director of agitation and propaganda. Anai ran again in 2019 focusing on APSP’s traditional demands for reparations for U.S. slavery and in opposition to U.S. colonial and imperialist policies around the world.

The presumption of innocence

An italicized footnote to the DOJ press release states, “An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”

This constitutional presumption of innocence notwithstanding, the FBI agents had no qualms about employing terror tactics against a longstanding Black liberation group.

According to FBI Special Agent David Walker, the three Florida search warrants were aimed at “collecting evidence for their indictment.” Walker added: “The facts and circumstances surrounding this indictment are some of the most blatant violations we’ve seen by the Russian government in order to destabilize and undermine trust in American democracy.” That the APSP participated in a local election campaign–where they received some 18 percent of the vote–and advocated freedom and reparations for oppressed people in the U.S. and worldwide, in the twisted logic of the FBI and DOJ, constitutes, a threat to the “stability” of the U.S. and “undermines trust in American democracy.”

Challenging U.S./NATO Ukraine war is a crime

Walker unwittingly reveals today’s near-unanimous mindset of the U.S. government, which today exercises a virtual media blockade of all views that criticize the Biden administration’s war policies. The message is unmistakable: Challenging U.S. imperialist policy on Ukraine, or for that matter, anywhere in the world, can subject antiwar opponents to persecution, if not imprisonment! Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division in a related statement was explicit: “The Department of Justice will not allow Russia to unlawfully sow division and spread misinformation inside the United States.”

Return to McCarthy era persecution

Declaring the APSP as essentially an agent of a foreign power because of its political ideas, not to mention running for political office and campaigning for their ideas, smacks of the reactionary methods employed against socialists and communists during the 1950s and 60s McCarthy-era witch-hunt. During that decades long horror a compliant U.S. Supreme approved the infamous Felix Frankfurter doctrine that held that the constitutionally protected rights of free speech and free association had to be “balanced” against the “national security interests” of the U.S. government. During that period these so-called national security interests, that is, the right of the capitalist class to persecute dissidents who opposed U.S. wars, racism and political repression, triumphed and the First Amendment was largely obliterated.

Thousands of individuals and scores of organizations accused of Communist Party or other socialist organization association were subject to being fired from their jobs if not outright imprisonment. Thousands were blacklisted; loyalty oaths were imposed as a condition of employment, especially in the public sector; Hollywood was purged of dissenting writers, directors and actors. Bending to reactionary legislation regarding Communist Party union leaders holding office, union bureaucrats purged their ranks. Dissident unions were expelled from the AFL-CIO. Fear prevailed. An intimidated ACLU refused to defend Communists in the courts, a decision that today’s ACLU leaders regard as its gravest mistake.

The threat of government persecution, humiliation, and isolation caused much of the radical and socialist movements to retreat to a near underground existence.

Preclude to the witchhunt

The government’s earlier witch-hunt persecution of the Socialist Workers Party in 1941 under the provisions of the anti-communist Smith Act saw 18 central leaders of that Trotskyist party imprisoned for almost two years for their Marxist ideas alone! No illegal acts were required! The SWP had been central to the leadership of the 1934 Minneapolis Teamster strikes that opened the door to the mass labor upsurge that gave rise to the formation of the CIO.

Are you now or have you even been a Communist?

The government’s official witch-hunt institutions, the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and the Senate Internal Security Committee, paraded the country, holding well-publicized “investigative” hearings. Subpoenaed witnesses were virtually forced to answer the Grand Inquisitors’ repeated question, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party or any other organization that advocates the violent overthrow of the U.S. government?” When the subpoenaed victim declined to answer, citing the First Amendment right to freedom of association, the interrogator persisted and threatened the accused and pilloried “witness” with punishment.

“You are in contempt of congress, Sir!” The interrogators were vindicated soon after with the notorious Supreme Court Frankfurter decision cited above. A First Amendment refusal to answer and admit Communist Party membership, as well as refusing to name other party members, guaranteed a prison sentence. Thereafter, and for more than a decade, beleaguered HUAC subpoena victims who courageously refused to “name names” of their friends and associates, were compelled to cite the Fifth Amendment’s provision again self-incrimination, that is, “I refuse to answer on the grounds of my right against self-incrimination,” a virtual admission of party membership that employers and others often used against them. But at least it kept most HUAC subpoena victims out of jail.

America’s experiment with fascist repression

The McCarthy era was America’s initial experiment with fascist repression, brought on by the post-WWII unprecedented strike wave that brought million’s of angry union workers into the streets, closing down major portions of U.S. industry and winning major victories. For a few years the U.S. ruling class feared that a radicalized U.S. labor movement, with revolutionary forces often in the leadership, would be capable of winning the kind of major social changes that were won by fighting European workers who had lived under fascist occupation and threatened to challenge capitalist rule itself. The leadership of these European struggles was largely Communist Party militants, who had won great respect during the war based on their central role in the underground Resistance and due to the Soviet Union’s decisive role in the military defeat of Hitler, at a cost of 27 million Russian dead.

Post-WWII background to the McCarthy era

The Communist Parties in France and Italy emerged at the end of the war as the largest in the nation, at a time when most of the major capitalist parties were tainted by their wartime collaboration with the Nazis occupiers. Tragically, however, the CPs’ subservience to Stalin’s “peaceful coexistence” policies led them to participate in “coalition capitalist governments” that subordinated class struggle to preserving capitalist wealth and rule. In the U.S. Stalinist-oriented trade union leaders, who had achieved major influence or control of one-third of the militant CIO unions, followed suit and aimed at cooling the mass labor upsurge with their unpopular proposal to “continue the wartime No Strike Pledge into the distant future.” This single act of betrayal allowed the posturing anti-communist labor bureaucracy to effectively isolate the CP and foster the government’s witch-hunt of the union movement.

New worldwide relationship of forces

But the initially frightened U.S. ruling class soon came to understand that a new relationship of forces had dramatically emerged in the post-WWII world. While U.S. industry was virtually untouched and qualitatively expanded during the war, all of Europe stood in ruins and in unprecedented debt to the U.S. and its banking institutions. With near-zero competition U.S. capitalism had a virtual monopoly in the world market place. U.S. wartime allies in Europe, including Russia, stood in ruin as did U.S. enemies, Germany and Japan. In this context, U.S. corporations were able to grant some important concessions to worker militancy. They had no need to turn to fascist repression to enforce their rule. Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy himself was called to task before congress in hearings presided over by top U.S. military leaders–the famous “Army-McCarthy hearings.” The now discredited demagogue McCarthy proved incapable of presenting his alleged lists of “thousands of Communists” that he had repeatedly asserted were employed by the U.S. government itself. He was finished! But the U.S. elite saw no need to erase the reactionary anti-Communist legislation and court rulings that had been put in place during that period.

Civil rights and Vietnam War mass protest turn back witch-hunt

It was only the mass radicalization attendant to the 1960s and 1970s mass civil rights and Vietnam War antiwar movements that obliterated or made moot much of the reactionary McCarthy-era legislation. That is, freedom of speech and association and the right to protest were won in struggles that engaged millions and never by the largess of the capitalist parties or their “liberal/progressive” politicians.

U.S.-imposed media ban on criticizing Ukraine war policy

Today’s witch hunters, armed with a corporate media monopoly that exceeds any other in modern history, operate under the premise that an Orwellian-like media blackout can be largely imposed to eliminate virtually all dissent. If cracks appear in their imposed wall of silence, a bit of repression is always in order, aided by an unprecedented surveillance system, as Edward Snowden so dramatically revealed.

Tightening the government’s screws of repression often begins with concerted attacks on small groups of dissidents as with the recent blatant attack on the APSP. If left unchallenged, however, the cancer of criminalizing political dissent can only metastasize. At a time when U.S. capitalism has proved incapable of addressing one after another of its major crises–systemic racist oppression and police violence, endless war, a growing debilitating inflation, global warming/climate catastrophe, a raging pandemic that has taken the lives of more than a million people, deepening attacks on women and LGBTQI people and a generalized assault on steady work at a living wage–a ruling class resort to McCarthy-era persecution when faced with mass forces in the streets aimed at fundamental change, cannot be ruled out. Indeed, it is to be expected.

Trump’s initial fascist foray

Donald Trump’s moves to steal the 2020 elections, or turn to fascist-like groups or to the military to bolster his presidency when 25 million took to the streets during the Black Lives Matter mobilizations, was a harbinger of things to come. He was rebuffed for the moment by the majority sectors of the U.S. elite who insured that the military, the FBI, CIA and police, as well as Congress itself, would not back his moves toward a virtual coup on January 6 or earlier.

Fascist-like currents on the rise

For the time being, in the absence of broadly-organized and consciously-led mass forces on the scene aimed at challenging capitalist rule in its fundamentals and posing socialist solutions that align with the aspirations of the vast majority, the ruling rich are content with the electoral arena to try to resolve their crises and differences. To date, however, in a world saturated with unprecedented inter-imperialist rivalries for markets and resources, ever declining average rates of profit, and ever-deepening and multiple crises with no solutions in sight, no sector of U.S. capital has ruled out playing the fascist card when it is deemed necessary to quell mass content that threatens to breach the boundaries of the tightly-controlled billionaire dominated electoral process.  That fascist-like currents are on the rise the world over is no accident. They reflect the deepening crises of the capitalist system itself, including its endless wars, offshoring U.S. industrial jobs–28 percent of all jobs since 1990–to low wage countries around the world and the deepening immiseration of billions around the world. Mass repression or threats to that effect have become the new norm from India to Brazil to Hungary and Poland to Italy and in the U.S. with Trump.

Cuba anti-embargo activists threatened with repression

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio last week urged the FBI to open an “immediate” investigation into a U.S. anti-embargo group whose members recently met with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel. Rubio charged in effect, as with the FBI agents who raided the APSP, that opponents of the U.S. embargo of Cuba, in this case the Bridges of Love coalition, were acting as “unregistered foreign agents of the Cuban government.” He insisted that they be investigated under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. It is no coincidence that his Florida press conference followed shortly after the FBI’s public attack on the AFSP, also headquartered in Florida.

Defending against government repression

A united front effort to defend against all government attacks is a prerequisite to turning back today’s witch hunters.

The United National Antiwar Coalition has initiated an important online petition to solicit solidarity with the APSP and the Uhuru Movement. The petition defends their right to freely associate with people around the world, to hold any political beliefs it may choose, and to express them without fear of intimidation, persecution, or prosecution.

FBI stages COINTELPRO-like raid on Black socialist group, alleges Russian government connection

August 4, 2022 10:30 AM CDT  BY PEOPLES DISPATCH

FBI stages COINTELPRO-like raid on Black socialist group, alleges Russian government connection

U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg, alongside St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway, left, and FBI Special Agent David Walker, speaks to reporters at St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters, July 29, 2022. Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, a Russian operative allegedly under the supervision of one of Russia’s main intelligence services has been charged with recruiting political groups in the United States to advance pro-Russia propaganda, including during the invasion of Ukraine, the Justice Department said. In this case, the authorities say, Ionov from 2014 through last March recruited political groups in Florida, Georgia, and California and directed them to spread pro-Russia talking points. Among the political groups raided in connection with the charges is the African People’s Socialist Party. | Martha Asencio-Rhine / Tampa Bay Times via AP

On July 29 at 5 a.m., the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted a violent raid on the home of Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the U.S.-based African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), in St. Louis, Mo.

In a video posted the next day, Yeshitela claims the FBI deployed flashbang grenades, carried automatic weapons, damaged the property of his neighbors, including smashing windows, and handcuffed himself and his wife. Yeshitela also claims that the FBI refused to show him a search warrant and that they took his cell phones and all other devices from his home.

It was only later that Yeshitela learned that the raid on his home was one of several carried out across the country against locations affiliated with the APSP. That same day, the FBI raided the Uhuru Solidarity Center, also in St. Louis, and the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, Fla., both locations of the Uhuru Movement, led by the APSP. According to Yeshitela, the FBI also raided the APSP’s radio station, Black Power 96.3 FM, and reportedly detained a prominent APSP leader.

The raids came as a result of a Justice Department indictment of a Russian man, Aleksandr Ionov, whom the U.S. government alleges funded and supported Black organizations as part of a “foreign malign influence campaign against the U.S.” The indictment never specifically names any organization but refers to a “U.S. Political Group 1,” in St. Petersburg, which allegedly partnered with Ionov.

A photo from an African Liberation Day event hosted by the African People’s Socialist Party in 2019. | African People’s Socialist Party USA via Facebook

“Ain’t no Russian been responsible for what we face every day in our lives,” Yeshitela stated in response to the indictment. “[The government] is going to say that the Russians somehow had to tell us that we are being oppressed…[the government] telling the world that Black people don’t have enough sense to be able to lead our own struggle, but that’s not true.”

In response to the raid, Ajamu Baraka, leader of the Black Alliance for Peace, tweeted, “As predicted, Black radicals are targeted again for not falling in line with U.S. imperial agenda on Ukraine.” The APSP has been critical of U.S. involvement in the Russia–Ukraine war. Attorney and organizer Kamau Franklin stated, “This is a COINTELPRO operation. One meant to destroy Black organizations.”

COINTELPRO was an FBI program that existed from 1956 to 1971, which, in its own words, existed to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” revolutionary organizations. The FBI and local police conducted raids on offices of organizations such as the Black Panther Party (BPP). In a particularly harsh illegal raid in Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo threatened, “If they break our law, we’ll be there. The police, we’ll be there, and we’ll see who wins.”

U.S. law enforcement also conducted raids on individuals, such as Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago BPP, who was assassinated by Chicago police during one such raid. In his video, Yeshitela notes that the raid on his house was conducted one hour after Hampton’s assassination, which occurred at 4 a.m., Dec. 4, 1969.

COINTELPRO is a central reason that many U.S. political prisoners who were former Black revolutionaries in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s are in prison today. Examples include Mutulu Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal.

COINTELPRO 2K22 Part 10- TARGETED GOVERNMENT ENTRAPMENT STRATEGY with/of “Target, Engagement, Harassment, Provocation, Litigation Tactics”

COINTELPRO 2K22 Part 10- TARGETED GOVERNMENT ENTRAPMENT STRATEGY with/of “Target, Engagement, Harassment, Provocation, Litigation Tactics”

, further engaging in Grand, Systemic and Endemic Corruption; Abuse of Power, office, and resources with Judicial, Political, Law Enforcement, Governmental, Legal Entities and Officials for organizational and personal gain, while INCREASING TARGETED ENTRAPMENT ATTACKS, STING/SCAMS ON INNOCENT CITIZENS WHOM EXPOSE THIS CORRUPTION!! His carrying out this WHITE PRIVILEGE ENTITLEMENT agenda that includes Political Vendetta’s and Personal/Professional Revenge landed his Attorney General position!


The Rob Bonta, Hinds and Fair’s COINTELPRO 2K22 Targeted Government Entrapment Strategy” with/of “Target, Engagement, Harassment, Provocation, Litigation” tactics parties are part of U. S. ATTORNEY GENERAL EXPANDED COINTELPRO USE OF FBI, JUDGES, AND SNITCHES FOR SURVEILLANCE, HARASSMENT, AND ENTRAPMENT OF MINORITIES, IMMIGRANTS, MUSLIM’S, BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT, ACTIVIST, AND INNOCENT CITIZENS! The objective of the Entrapment Strategy is to disable, destroy, and eliminate the TARGET, personally, professionally, morally, ethically, and financially with the courts system to deny and exhaust any and all notions of civil rights, civil liberties, human rights without the God given right to undertake unbiased litigation without the deciding and controlling actions and influence of corrupt unscrupulous judicial, law enforcement, governmental and legal entities, agencies and operatives. The very nature and inherent structure/operation of the Political/Judicial Institution (Judges are Politicians= elected officials by the Public, to serve for the public) makes it diabolically impossible to journey from the Constitution to the Institution “Of The People, For The People, By The People!” is to place him in this evil corruption “civil rights/litigation meat grinder”.

THE Targeted Government Entrapment Strategy is: 1) Identify TARGET; 2) research, develop entrapment plan of TARGET; 3) encounter/acquaint TARGET; 4) engage/entrap TARGET activity; 5) harass/confront TARGET; 6) victimize/aggrieve TARGET activity; 7) provoke/trigger TARGET activity; 8) deny/deflect wrong doing from TARGET; 9) project/vilify wrong doing on to TARGET; 10) accuse/charge TARGET civil/criminal action; 11) force litigate civil/criminal action with TARGET; 12) Federal/State confine/systemize TARGET; 13) seize/destroy TARGET assets/rights personally, professionally, financially; 14) activate defamation/calumny deceit of TARGET;15) neutralize/eliminate TARGET.

As soon as you suspect there is government surveillance and/or entrapment activity, immediately file a FOIA; if you anticipate there is a need to investigate or possibly litigate the matter, serve a Preservation of Evidence Demand and if there is litigation serve Subpoenas with Request for Production of Documents. REQUEST ANY and ALL documents and records of directives, orders, referrals, examinations, communications mentioning, concerning, relating, referring or containing cross-references to ALL the Requestors, including but not limited to records that document any collection of information about monitoring; investigating; entrapping; encountering; meeting; interacting; provoking; litigating; litigation; conversing; testifying; deposing; use of confidential sources; undercover operations; physical surveillance including cameras, pole cameras, recorders, interception of communications, global position satellite enabled tracking devices; other electronic surveillance tools; body wires and transmitters; analysis of telephone records, financial records and utility records; operations investigation and/or infiltration of Requestors and Propounders, their real and personal property or their activities; operations and investigations involving evidence and the utilization of buy/bust techniques; financial investigations; electronic surveillance of residences and vehicles; electronic devices; DNA; fingerprints; cellular telephone GPS information; confidential human sources; an undercover employee of the FBI; body wire recorders; closed circuit television (CCTV); court authorized T-III intercepts; observing; questioning; interrogating; tampering; interaction with any and all Federal Agents, State and Local Police Officers.


The objective of the Entrapment Strategy is to disable, destroy, and eliminate the TARGET, personally, professionally, morally, ethically, and financially with the courts system to deny and exhaust any and all notions of civil rights, civil liberties, human rights without the God given right to undertake unbiased litigation without the deciding and controlling actions and influence of corrupt unscrupulous judicial, law enforcement, governmental and legal entities, agencies and operatives. The very nature and inherent structure/operation of the Political/Judicial Institution (Judges are Politicians= elected officials by the Public, to serve for the public) makes it diabolically impossible to journey from the Constitution to the Institution “Of The People, For The People, By The People!” is to place him in this evil corruption “civil rights/litigation meat grinder”.

The DOJ and FBI worked with the “COURTEL”, it’s legal system of judges, courts, the judicial administrative and regulatory agencies, both State and Federal wherein the TARGETED PARTY is NOT having a investigation nor trial, but is being “railroaded by the DOJ and FBI’s court in a case that is ALREADY fixed against the YOU!” Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart who authorized the raid on former President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago has a shady past that invites the question of whether he used the FBI to attack a political enemy. Reinhart represented former employees of deceased sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. More suspiciously, Reinhart donated to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, and to Trump’s GOP rivals during the 2016 GOP primary races.

The timing of the sensational raid suggests the DOJ and FBI as federal law enforcement has become a secret police force.

Coupled with the use of secret informants- SNITCHES within the TARGETED PARTY’s circle, in this case Trump’s, that provided invaluable information as to what and where the sensitive documents were AFTER the DOJ had left Trumps home with 20 boxes of documents in June 2022!

GOPLeader Kevin McCarthy and Sen. John Cornyn tweeted “I’ve seen enough, The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization. Attorney General Garland: preserve your documents and clear your calendar.” Stating should he wield the gavel next year, House Republicans would open a congressional investigation into the attorney general, Merrick Garland.

Rep. Jim Jordan called out both Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding both officials brief the Judiciary Committee, AND Rep Michael Turner from The Oversight Committee is also asking for a briefing from Wray!

At a minimum, Garland must resign or be impeached,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote. “The search warrant must be published. Christoper Wray [sic] must be removed. And the FBI reformed top to bottom.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted “DEFUND THE FBI!

Sen. Lindsey Graham, criticized the FBI, as politically motivated “reeks of politics

Using government power to persecute political opponents is something we have seen many times from 3rd world Marxist dictatorships, But never before in America” tweeted Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Governor Ron DeSantis, called the U.S. a “Banana Republic.” for the “weaponization of federal agencies” against political rivals

Rep. Anthony Sabatini called on his state’s legislature to “sever all ties” with the Justice Department and to arrest any FBI agent“ conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State. Three-letter federal agencies are coming for you

Boebert also said “totally un-American” and “Gestapo cr*p,” as she called for the DOJ to be “cleaned out.”

Gov. Greg Abbott echoed “This is next-level Nixonian”.

The FBI unprecedented political weaponization of the Justice Department” tweeted South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem. “Using the criminal justice system in this manner is un-American.

Rep. Elise Stefanik and Rep Fred Keller said “If the FBI can raid a U.S. President, imagine what they can do to you