Thursday, 30 Nov 2023

Clarence Thomas under scrutiny after report of activists payments to his wife

Clarence Thomas under scrutiny after report of activists payments to his wife


Clarence Thomas under scrutiny after report of activists payments to his wife

The conservative supreme court justice Clarence Thomas is under renewed scrutiny after the Washington Post found that an activist with interests in the court's decisions funneled tens of thousands of dollars to Thomas's wife, with instructions not to mention her name.

The report published on Thursday outlines instances in which activist Leonard Leo paid Clarence Thomas's wife, Ginni Thomas, via the GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway. Citing documents it had obtained, the Post said that Leo told Conway to bill one of his non-profits and send the funds to Thomas, at one point mentioning that paperwork associated with the transaction should have "no mention of Ginni, of course".

A staunch abortion foe who is said to have helped Donald Trump choose his nominees for the supreme court, Leo told Conway's firm, Polling Company, to bill his Judicial Education Project for "Supplement for Constitution Polling and Opinion Consulting".

The Post reports that it was unclear what type of consulting work Thomas did for either firm, but the Polling Company paid a total of $80,000 to Thomas's Liberty Consulting from June 2011 to June 2012, with plans to pay another $20,000 before the end of that year.

The Post's story is the latest in a stream of reports scrutinizing the ethics of supreme court justices, which began last month when ProPublica revealed entanglements between Clarence Thomas and the Republican mega-donor Harlan Crow. Thomas has for years accepted luxury travel from Crow and at one point participated in a real estate deal with the billionaire, without fully disclosing these associations, ProPublica reported. On Thursday, ProPublica revealed Crow also paid for Thomas's great-nephew to attend a boarding school in Georgia.

Politico has reported that Neil Gorsuch, a conservative appointed to the supreme court by Trump, profited from the sale of a home to the executive of a law firm involved in cases the panel was considering. Gorsuch did not disclose the identity of the buyer in his mandatory reporting forms.

The supreme court swung firmly to the right after Trump appointed Gorsuch and two other conservatives to the bench. Last year, that group together with Thomas and fellow conservative justice Samuel Alito voted to overturn Roe v Wade and allow states to ban abortion entirely, and also issued decisions expanding the right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit and cutting into the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate power plant emissions.

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