Conservative foundations, multinational oil companies and a prescription drug maker were the most frequent sponsors of more than 100 expenses-paid educational seminars attended by federal judges over a 4 1/2-year period, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation months in the making.
The Center identified instances where judges who attended seminars underwritten by certain firms and trade groups later issued rulings in the funders’ favor.
And the Koch Foundation and The Searle Freedom Trust, both major supporters of conservative causes, were sponsors for most of the conferences organized at George Mason University and Northwestern University.
Both schools conducted more judicial seminars than any other university or organization between mid-2008 and 2012, the Center's analysis found.
The project's main investigation, written by Center for Public Integrity reporters Chris Young, Reity O'Brien and Andrea Fuller, is found here.
Other components include:
- How a secretive company run by the former president of Bolivia, who is sought by his native country for alleged human rights violations, sponsored a judicial seminar that U.S. federal judges attended.
- Detailed analysis of how judges frequently ignore or improperly follow travel disclosure rules.
- An interactive database allowing you to determine which federal judges attended what seminars.
- A list of key findings from the investigation.
- The project's methodology.