Activist helped with direct payments to Ginni Thomas but kept her name off bills: report


Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was paid tens of thousands of dollars for consulting work in 2012, but a conservative activist instructed not to mention her name in the accounting filings. The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Leonard Leo, a powerful figure in conservative circles and vice president of the Federalist Society, instructed pollster Kellyanne Conway to bill a conservative nonprofit group $25,000 and “give” the money to Ginni Thomas, according to those verified by the newspaper show documents. Conway billed the group, the Judicial Education Project, that day and called the service “a supplement for constitutional inquiry and opinion advice.”

“No mention of Ginni of course,” Leo Conway added in reference to paying Thomas.

The Post said Conway’s The Polling Company ultimately paid Thomas’s own company $80,000 from June 2011 to June 2012, with more to come. Conway later became Donald Trump’s campaign manager and then White House adviser in 2016.

Leo defended the payments in a statement to the Post, saying it was “no secret that Ginni Thomas has a long history of working on issues within the conservative movement”.

“Part of that work was measuring public attitudes and sentiment,” he added. “The work she did here had nothing to do with the affairs of the court or any other legal issue.”

Leo added he kept Ginni Thomas’ name out of the accounting records because he “knows how disrespectful, vicious and gossiping people can be”.

The revelation only adds to the controversy surrounding Judge Thomas. ProPublica has released a series of shocking reports detailing decades of lavish trips the Thomases received from billionaire and GOP mega-donor, Harlan Crow. The site also reported on a real estate transaction in which Crow bought three properties from Clarence Thomas and his family members, including a property where Justice’s mother still lives rent-free.

And on Thursday ProPublica has released a new report which showed Crow paying private school tuition for Thomas’ grandnephew for two years.

Clarence Thomas did not report any of these financial transactions on its federal disclosure forms. He said last month he doesn’t think he needs to disclose a friend’s “personal hospitality”.

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