Group led by Justice Thomas' wife raised nearly $600K to battle 'cultural Marxism;' donors are unknown
Conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas walks during a break in a voluntary interview Sept. 29, 2022, in Washington, D.C., with the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press.
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, led a conservative group that received nearly $600,000 in donations through a “fiscal sponsorship” provided by a think tank.
The group was called Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty, and Ginni Thomas said it was formed to battle “cultural Marxism,” according to an exclusive report by the Washington Post.
Tax filings described the group as an “informal, unincorporated nonprofit association which serves as an incubator for ideas.”
The funding arrangement “effectively shielded from public view details about Crowdsourcers’ activities and spending, information it would have had to disclose publicly if it operated as a separate nonprofit organization,” according to the Washington Post.
Anonymous donors had given the Capital Research Center $596,000 in 2019, money that was designated for Crowdsourcers, the story reports. Much of that money—$400,000—was in turn routed through another nonprofit called Donors Trust. The funding arrangement ended at the close of 2021, according to the story.
The Capital Research Center was among the organizations that signed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to hear a fuel-emission case. The brief was filed at about the same time that the Capital Research Center agreed to channel donations to Crowdsourcers, the Washington Post reports. The court did not grant cert.
Ginni Thomas’ lawyer, Mark Paoletta, told the Washington Post that she has “complied with all reporting and disclosure requirements” in her work. “There is no plausible conflict of interest issue with respect to Justice Thomas,” Paoletta said.
She didn’t know about the Capital Research Center amicus brief and had no connection to it, Paoletta told the Washington Post.
Paoletta said Ginni Thomas was “proud of the work she did with Crowdsourcers, which brought together conservative leaders to discuss amplifying conservative values with respect to the battle over culture.”
Stephen Gillers, a professor at the New York University School of Law, told the Washington Post that the Capital Research Center brief could raise a recusal issue for Justice Thomas only if Ginni Thomas was paid through the Capital Research Center. The size and timing of the pay would make a difference, he added.
Ginni Thomas receives a paycheck from the for-profit company Liberty Consulting. Justice Thomas has reported that it is Ginni Thomas’ only source of income.
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