Clarence Thomas' wife Ginni was paid nearly $100,000 for 'consulting' by a nonprofit that ended up filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court: report
- A conservative activist helped Ginni Thomas rake in nearly $100,000 for consulting, The Washington Post reported.
- Conservative lawyer Leonard Leo reportedly ensured Ginni Thomas' name was kept off the paperwork.
A little more than a decade ago, a conservative judicial activist helped Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, secure consulting work that yielded her nearly $100,000 — all the while asking that her name was left off the financial paperwork, according to a new Washington Post report.
Leonard Leo, a lawyer and conservative legal activist, told then-GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway to bill a nonprofit he advised, Judicial Education Project, and give that money to Ginni Thomas in January 2012, the outlet reported, citing financial documents.
That very same year, Leo's nonprofit filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in a key voting rights case in which a 5-4 majority — that included Thomas — ultimately opted to strike down a component of the Voting Rights Act.
The Post highlighted an opinion that Thomas wrote for the case, in which he favored the same outcome that the Judicial Education Project pushed for alongside other conservative organizations. However, he did not mention the amicus brief submitted by the nonprofit.
The latest scandal comes amid a flood of judicial misconduct allegations against Thomas in recent weeks. A series of ProPublica reports alleged that the longest-serving justice sold his childhood home to GOP mega-donor Harlan Crow without disclosing the sale and accepted decades of expensive — and undisclosed — vacations from Crow.
Ginni Thomas has previously courted controversy with her public, pro-Trump activities, and other conservative activism.
The Post said documents show that Leo instructed Conway at the time to "give" Ginni Thomas "another $25K," noting that the billing information should have "no mention of Ginni, of course."
"When you funnel tens of thousands of dollars to the wife of a Supreme Court justice and go out of your way to specify that her name must be kept off all records of the transaction, that means you know you are doing something wrong," Sarah Lipton-Lubet, president of the Supreme Court advocacy nonprofit Take Back the Court, said in a statement shared with Insider.
Leo told The Post in a statement that Ginni Thomas' work at the Judicial Education Project "did not involve anything connected with either the Court's business or with other legal issues."
"Anybody who thinks that Justice Thomas is influenced in his work by what others say or do, including his wife Ginni, is completely ignorant of who this man is and what he stands for," Leo's statement read, per The Post. "And anybody who thinks Ginni Thomas would seek to influence the Supreme Court's work is completely ignorant of the respect she has for her husband and the important role that he and his colleagues play in our society."
The conservative activist said he kept Thomas' name off the financial paperwork "knowing how disrespectful, malicious and gossipy people can be," per The Post.
"I have always tried to protect the privacy of Justice Thomas and Ginni," he told the outlet.
Leo and Thomas first met when the justice was a clerk in the District of Columbia Circuit, and have been friends for decades, per The New York Times. Thomas is the godfather to one of Leo's children and has spent time at the activist's vacation home, The Times reported, while Ginni Thomas considers Leo a mentor, per The Washington Post.
Leo himself has been under recent scrutiny. Politico reported in March that Leo's personal wealth soared as he started playing a key role in political fundraising and assisting then-President Donald Trump in 2016 with creating a conservative Supreme Court majority.
And on April 6, a nonprofit watchdog organization in Washington accused Leo of acquiring $73 million over six years from nonprofit groups that illegally sent money to his businesses.
Representatives for Ginni Thomas and the Supreme Court, did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment sent outside regular business hours. Leo's firm, CRC Advisors, and Conway's website did not immediately respond to similar requests.
Previously, SCOTUS experts have said that a main issue is the lack of enforcement of ethics standards; justices are tasked with policing themselves.
This story is breaking. Please check back for updates.
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