I, for one, will continue to keep this issue in the spotlight on this blog. I still believe that it is the backstory of the Anthony Weiner fiasco that everyone including, nay, especially the main stream media, ignored.
As an Anthony Weiner advocate (I used to live in Queens, but not in his district, so there is an inherent affinity for Weiner, as a native son. Aside from the geographical connection, former Rep. Anthony Weiner and former Rep. Alan Grayson were the most outspoken and passionate supporters for their constituents and for the masses of people disenfranchised by GOP policies.
Can anyone see a correlation here or am I just wearing my tin-foil hat too tightly?
The New York Times’ report this weekend highlighted just one of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s problems with ethics.
[Justice Clarence Thomas and real estate magnate Harlan Crow] met in the mid-1990s, a few years after Justice Thomas joined the court. Since then, Mr. Crow has done many favors for the justice and his wife, Virginia, helping finance a Savannah library project dedicated to Justice Thomas, presenting him with a Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass and reportedly providing $500,000 for Ms. Thomas to start a Tea Party-related group. They have also spent time together at gatherings of prominent Republicans and businesspeople at Mr. Crow’s Adirondacks estate and his camp in East Texas.In several instances, news reports of Mr. Crow’s largess provoked controversy and questions, adding fuel to a rising debate about Supreme Court ethics. But Mr. Crow’s financing of the museum, his largest such act of generosity, previously unreported, raises the sharpest questions yet — both about Justice Thomas’s extrajudicial activities and about the extent to which the justices should remain exempt from the code of conduct for federal judges.
This is just one in a growing list of ethical problems for Thomas:
Unethical Fundraising: The Code of Conduct does not allow judges to “personally participate in fund-raising activities, solicit funds for any organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose,” except in very limited circumstances. Yet Justice Thomas attended a Koch-sponsored political fundraiser intended to fund the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks and media outlets. This attendance is technically legal, because of the justices exemption from the Code of Conduct, but the justices claim that they have long followed a policy of “look[ing] to the Code of Conduct for guidance” in determining when they may participate in fundraising activities.Failure to Disclose: Federal judges and justices are required by law to disclose their spouse’s income — thus preventing persons who wish to influence the judge or justice from funneling money to them through their husband or wife. Nevertheless, Thomas falsely claimed that his wife Ginni — a lobbyist and high-earning member of the professional right — earned no non-investment income whatsoever while she was working at the right-wing Heritage Foundation. When asked to explain this error, Thomas — who is one of the nine people responsible for issuing binding interpretations of the nation’s founding document — claimed that he “misunderst[ood] the filing instructions.”
Potential Conflict of Interest: Ginni Thomas used to lead an organization that vigorously opposes the Affordable Care Act, and she even briefly signed a memo calling that Act unconstitutional. Ginni also may be earning lobbying fees for working to have this Act repealed. A team of conservative lawyers recently argued that such activities by a judge’s spouse requires the judge to recuse from the lawsuits challenging the ACA, but a defiant speech Thomas gave to the conservative Federalist Society leaves little doubt that he will not recuse.
A Financial Stake in His Own Decisions?: Ginni Thomas may also be getting rich off of her husband’s vote in the infamous Citizens United decision — which freed corporations to spend billions of dollars to buy U.S. elections. Ginni’s new lobbying firm “offers advice on optimizing political investments for charitable giving in the non-profit world or political causes,” a line of work which has obviously become much more lucrative since Citizens United.
- Attn @ClarenceThomas: This is just the beginning of Pandora’s Box opening. I suggest you step down now. (k1nsey6.com)
- Weiner’s a fool but there’s more here than meets the eye (maureenholland.wordpress.com)
- Don’t Be Distracted by Weinergate: The Scandalous “Judicial Insider Trading” of Justice Clarence Thomas, Wife “Ginni” (alternet.org)
- Friendship between Thomas and Crow Triggers Controversy — Again (legaltimes.typepad.com)
- We Should Have Listened To Anita Hill (lezgetreal.com)
- Clarence Thomas’ Ethics Problems (skydancingblog.com)
- Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Letter to Justice Thomas (kaystreet.wordpress.com)