Washington Post: US Supreme Court Justice Thomas’s wife accepted over $80K from conservative legal activist News
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Washington Post: US Supreme Court Justice Thomas’s wife accepted over $80K from conservative legal activist

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife Ginni accepted tens of thousands of dollars from Leonard Leo, the president of a conservative legal organization known as the Federalist Society, for consulting work over a decade ago, according to a new report from the Washington Post. The report is the latest in a series of revelations regarding the Thomases and alleged financial improprieties.

Between June 2011 and June 2012, Leo paid Ginni’s consulting firm at least $80,000. Leo relied upon Kellyanne Conway, former advisor to President Donald Trump and at the time a Republican party pollster, to facilitate transactions between Leo’s Judicial Education Project and Ginni’s Liberty Consulting. Documents reveal that Leo specifically asked that the transactions make “no mention of Ginni.” Instead, the documents handled by Conway’s Polling Company listed the purpose of the payments as “Supplement for Constitution Polling and Opinion Consulting.”

In December 2012, the Judicial Education Project filed an amicus brief in a case pending before the US Supreme Court known as Shelby County v. Holder. The court granted the case, which challenged a portion of the landmark Voting Rights Act, review in November 2012. According to the Washington Post’s reporting, documents revealed that Leo and Ginni’s relationship likely persisted through the end of 2012. Documents from the Polling Company reveal that the Judicial Education Project was to pay Liberty Consulting an additional $20,000 between June 2012 and December 2012.

In response to the Washington Post’s reporting, Leo said:

It is no secret that Ginni Thomas has a long history of working on issues within the conservative movement, and part of that work has involved gauging public attitudes and sentiment. The work she did here did not involve anything connected with either the Court’s business or with other legal issues.

Neither the Thomases nor Conway responded to a request for comment from the Washington Post.

In recent weeks, reporting from ProPublica revealed that Justice failed to disclose thousands of dollars in private gifts from conservative donor Harlan Crow. Among the reported gifts are thousands of dollars in tuition payments for Thomas’s great-nephew, private flights, vacations and yacht trips.

Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin (D-IL) said of the recent revelations, “The cumulative evidence of Justice Thomas’ financial connections with Harlan Crow and Leonard Leo does a disservice to the Court–and exposes the dangers of its longstanding ethical vacuum.” He continued, “It comes down to one question: will the Chief Justice finally say enough and save the reputation of his Court?”

While other branches of the federal government and lower federal courts are bound by codes of ethics, the US Supreme Court is largely left to police itself. An issue brought to light in 2019 by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan.