"Activist group led by Ginni Thomas received nearly $600,000 in anonymous donations" - Washington Post
There are many interesting characters and lots of money changing hands in this WaPo article. It's enough to make your head spin. We decided to create a network chart with the free Kumu to track who is paying what to whom and how this might (or might not) be influencing Supreme Court decisions. Follow the money, and decide for yourself.
"The Post’s investigation sheds new light on the role money from donors who are not publicly identified has played in supporting Ginni Thomas’s political advocacy, long a source of controversy. The funding is the first example of anonymous donors backing her activism since she founded a conservative charity more than a decade ago. Thomas’s activism has set her apart from other spouses of Supreme Court justices. She has allied with numerous people and groups that have interests before the court, and she has dedicated herself to causes involving some of the most polarizing issues in the country."
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Supreme Court has no Code of Ethics
The Supreme Court, however, has so far refused to adopt an ethics code. The justices may consult the code in effect for all other federal judges, but they need not do so, and the choices they make are their own. What requirements they do apparently impose on their workforce, such as a duty of confidentiality, they do not make public. President Joe Biden’s Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States noted in its final report that “most public and private entities have adopted Codes of Conduct for their organizations and employees,” and that “it is not obvious why the Court is best served by an exemption from what so many consider best practice.” - The Atlantic
We have a lot more to do
“We have some culture warriors, but we have a lot more to do,” Thomas said at a meeting of the Council for National Policy in Northern Virginia, according to the video, which was obtained by the nonprofit watchdog Documented and has been previously reported. “Conservatives and Republicans are tired of being the oppressed minority. Thomas said partners in the effort included:
- Cleta Mitchell, chair of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a nonprofit that submits amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in election law cases. Mitchell planned to establish a political action committee to “protect President [Donald] Trump,” according to a slide Thomas displayed during the closed-door meeting.
- James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas — known for hidden-camera stings that aim to embarrass liberals — would lead an effort to “protect our heroes,”
- Richard Viguerie, a pioneer in conservative direct-mail campaigns, would head up an effort to “brand the left,” she said.” WaPo
Conflict of interest?
The fact that CRC filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court around the same time it was supporting the work of Crowdsourcers does not on its own present a conflict of interest that would have required Clarence Thomas to recuse himself, according to Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert at New York University. If Ginni Thomas was paid for her work with Crowdsourcers — either directly or through her consulting firm — then there could be a recusal issue depending on the size and timing of the payment, Gillers said. - WaPo
Ginni Thomas wrote that she had been trying to raise money for Crowdsourcers. “We had many great meetings with interested donors, but we don’t yet have specific funding yet, so prayers still needed,” she wrote. - Washington Post
How does this impact the Supreme Court decision on Student Loan Program?
"She added that Crowdsourcers’ next biweekly conference call would include a presentation from Steve Hantler, an adviser to Bernie Marcus, a Home Depot co-founder and major conservative donor. Hantler is listed as the “principal officer” in a nonprofit group called the Job Creators Network Foundation, its tax filings show. The group has in recent years asked the Supreme Court to strike down the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program." - WaPo
TakeAway: The Supreme Court needs a code of ethics and have justices recuse themselves for deciding cases where they may be influenced.
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