GOP Lawmakers Probing Big Oil Lawsuits That Allegedly Received Funding from Leonardo DiCaprio

US actor Leonardo Dicaprio poses during a photocall for the film "Killers of the Flower Moon" at the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 21, 2023. (Photo by Patricia DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Two prominent Republican lawmakers are probing a series of lawsuits against major oil companies brought by the California law firm Sher Edling. Among the topics of the probe is the source of alleged dark money funding for the suits, with claims that Leonardo DiCaprio has indirectly funneled money into the effort through his environmental fund.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) announced Monday they sent a letter to Sher Edling partners, saying the ultimate goal of the lawsuits is to kill fossil fuels.

They also questioned the firm’s source of funding.

“It appears that Sher Edling is not really working on these lawsuits on a contingency basis, but rather the lawsuits are being funded, tax-free, by wealthy liberals via dark money pass-through funds,” they wrote, citing two prominent funds — the Resources Legacy Fund and New Venture Fund.

These groups “purportedly manage the funds of affluent elitists like Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio. And as these groups showered Sher Edling with millions of dollars, your law firm advanced numerous climate change lawsuits.”

The lawmakers added: “It therefore appears that dark money—a purported concern of many who support radical climate legislation—is fueling your firm’s litigious effort to achieve a left-wing goal lacking majority support in Congress: the eradication of fossil fuels.”

The allegations against Leonardo DiCaprio appear to stem from a Fox News report last year saying the actor’s non-profit foundation awarded grants to a dark money initiative organized by the aforementioned funds that ,in turn, funneled money to Sher Edling.

In recent years, Sher Edling has filed multiple lawsuits against oil companies on behalf of state and local governments.

The firm has claimed its goal is  “to hold fossil fuel industry defendants accountable for their decades-long campaigns of deception about the science of climate change and the role their products play in causing it.”

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.