Just How Many Supreme Court Justices Have Ties To The Koch Brothers?

January 22, 2011
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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is required to disclose their spouse’s income — just like any federal judge and justice. This law prevents people from influencing a judge or justice from piping money to them by way of their spouse.


A Supreme Court Justice is obviously aware of this disclosure requirement. Justice Clarence Thomas has not adhered to this very important requirement for at least five years.


Los Angeles Times reports:

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failed to report his wife’s income from a conservative think tank on financial disclosure forms for at least five years, the watchdog group Common Cause said Friday.

Between 2003 and 2007, Virginia Thomas, a longtime conservative activist, earned $686,589 from the Heritage Foundation, according to a Common Cause review of the foundation’s IRS records. Thomas failed to note the income in his Supreme Court financial disclosure forms for those years, instead checking a box labeled “none” where “spousal noninvestment income” would be disclosed.

Virginia Thomas also has been active in the group Liberty Central, an organization she founded to restore the “founding principles” of limited government and individual liberty.

In his 2009 disclosure, Justice Thomas also reported spousal income as “none.” Common Cause contends that Liberty Central paid Virginia Thomas an unknown salary that year.

In the case, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the court ruled that corporate and union funds could be spent directly on election advertising.

The Koch brothers have been key supporters of the group Americans for Prosperity, which spent heavily in the 2010 midterm election and claims a nonprofit tax status that allows it to avoid disclosing its donors.

Clarence Thomas has been the lone justice to argue that laws requiring public disclosure of large political contributions are unconstitutional.


Litigants in the ‘Citizens United decision also attended the Koch brothers’ meeting. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce attended the Koch gathering and filed a ‘Citizens Unitied brief  supporting unlimited corporate spending in elections.


The Institute for Justice, founded by Charles Koch, and the Cato Institute, also founded by Charles Koch, filed briefs in support for overturning campaign finance laws. A number of the other groups filing briefs in the Citizens United decision, including the Center for Competitive Politics, are run by Koch meeting participants like Eric O’Keefe.


Thomas’ noncompliance with this tax requirement shows again his own involvement in fund raising through his wife — while disregarding the disclosure requirements.  Once more he attended an event of wealthy corporates assembled by the Koch brothers — the same Koch brothers who claimed no affiliation with the Tea Party. The event was to raise money for right wing political causes.


Thomas also attended a fundraiser by the far right think tank that formerly employed his wife.  Corporations are more in power than ever, and now they’re seeking an even higher level — they have been given, with approval by Thomas himself, to funnel money into elections — all of which was condoned by the right wing. Now their agenda is supported by several Justices.


Thomas isn’t the only one.

Think Progress:

Last year, Justice Thomas helped headline a fundraiser for the National Association of Broadcasters, a lobby group representing News Corp, Cox Media Group, and other media companies. The event raised hundreds of thousands for NAB’s charity from a host of corporate sponsors, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, PhRMA, and CBS Corp. Justice Antonin Scalia also attended one of Charles Koch’s right-wing fundraising and strategy sessions, and Justice Samuel Alito is a frequent speaker at fundraisers for groups such as the Intercollegiate Studies Institute the corporate front that funded the rise of Republican dirty trickster James O’Keefe and that used to employ anti-masturbation activist Christine O’Donnell.

Worst of all, today’s revelation that Justice Thomas has been submitting incomplete financial disclosures suggests that the conservative justices’ engagement with corporate political advocacy could be much more widespread than previously believed. If the justices are not disclosing their activities, it’s anyone’s guess what they could be hiding.

Corporations’ profits are up but they aren’t hiring. Is this what the Founding Fathers wanted — were their intentions to put Corporations above the people’s interests? Let’s not hide behind a rewritten history. Corporations are not America — we are.


It’s estimated that Charles Koch has given $50 million to anti-environmental groups — the self serving brothers are notably one of America’s biggest polluters.


Given what we know now, ‘Citizens United’ should be investigated.


The Tea Party’s inception came from grassroots supporters, but they were taken in by the wealthy Koch brothers, and now their party is bought and paid for by the billionaire siblings. Tea Party activists will awaken to this truth eventually and America knows just how angry they can get.




Ole Ole Olson from News Junkie Post wrote an article on Restoring Balance to the SCOTUS — which is a must read.


Our thanks to ThinkProgress


There is another post from Think Progress here on this issue.


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