Posted 11 months ago on April 1, 2013, 10:23 a.m. EST by GirlFriday
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Between July 2008 and 2012, about 185 federal judges attended more than 100 judicial education seminars, sponsored by conservative foundations and multinational corporations like ExxonMobil, Pfizer and BP.
The Center identified instances where judges who attended seminars underwritten by certain firms and trade groups later issued rulings in the funders’ favor.
George Mason University’s Law & Economics Center and Northwestern University’s Judicial Education Program hosted more judicial conferences than any other organization or university.
The Koch Foundation and The Searle Freedom Trust, both major supporters of conservative causes, were sponsors for most of the conferences organized by the two schools.
The person who spoke at more judicial conferences than any other was Henry Butler, a professor and prominent conservative formerly of Northwestern and now executive director of George Mason’s Law & Economics Center.
Conservative foundations, multinational oil companies and a prescription drug maker were the most frequent sponsors of more than 100 expense-paid educational seminars attended by federal judges over a 4 1/2-year period, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation.
Among the seminar titles were “The Moral Foundations of Capitalism,” “Corporations and the Limits of Criminal Law” and “Terrorism, Climate & Central Planning: Challenges to Liberty & the Rule of Law.”
Leading the list of sponsors of the 109 seminars identified by the Center were the conservative Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, The Searle Freedom Trust, also a supporter of conservative causes, ExxonMobil Corp., Shell Oil Co., pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and State Farm Insurance Cos. Each were sponsors of 54 seminars.
Other top sponsors included the conservative Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (51), Dow Chemical Co. (47), AT&T Inc. (45) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (46), according to the Center’s analysis.
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