A little-known conservative activist group led by Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, collected nearly $600,000 in anonymous donations to wage a cultural battle against the left, a Post investigation found.https://t.co/zZydvZdPIK
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 28, 2023
She (and her husband) aren’t doing this for the money — I’m willing to accept that their idea of a good time is trekking between Walmart parking lots in their RV – she’s doing it in support of the retrograde, authoritarian, domestic-terrorist-enabling beliefs espoused by the worst dark-money groups in American politics. She doesn’t care who knows about her actions… but her funders very much do want to stay out of the spotlight.
So delegitimizing such funding is probably all that can be done to prevent future revanchists from funneling money to groups who have as much respect for democracy as I do for household mildew, and for approximately the same reasons.
(As the old political saw goes: It wasn’t against the law when they showed up, but as soon as they did, laws had to be passed forbidding it.)
Everyone should absolutely read the whole article, so here’s an unpaywalled link:
… The previously unreported donations to the fledgling group Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty were channeled through a right-wing think tank in Washington that agreed to serve as a funding conduit from 2019 until the start of last year, according to documents and interviews. The arrangement, known as a “fiscal sponsorship,” 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, experts said.
The Post’s investigation sheds new light on the role money from donors who are not publicly identified has played in supporting Ginni Thomas’s political advocacy, long a source of controversy. The funding is the first example of anonymous donors backing her activism since she founded a conservative charity more than a decade ago. She stepped away from that charity amid concerns that it created potential conflicts for her husband on hot-button issues before the court.
Thomas’s activism has set her apart from other spouses of Supreme Court justices. She has allied with numerous people and groups that have interests before the court, and she has dedicated herself to causes involving some of the most polarizing issues in the country.
In 2020, she privately pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue efforts to overturn the presidential election, and she sent emails urging swing-state lawmakers to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory in awarding electoral votes. When those efforts were revealed by The Post last year, they intensified questions about whether her husband should recuse himself from cases related to the election and attempts to subvert it…
In 2019, anonymous donors gave the think tank Capital Research Center, or CRC, $596,000 that was designated for Crowdsourcers, according to tax filings and audits the think tank submitted to state regulators. The majority of that money, $400,000, was routed through yet another nonprofit, Donors Trust, according to that organization’s tax filings. Donors Trust is a fund that receives money from wealthy donors whose identities are not disclosed and steers it toward conservative causes.
The documents do not say how or whether the money was spent. It is not clear how much compensation, if any, Ginni Thomas received.
CRC, which bills itself as an “investigative think tank,” is dedicated to uncovering anonymously funded influence campaigns by unions, environmental groups and other left-leaning nonprofits. Among its trustees is Edwin Meese III, the conservative elder statesman and former attorney general in the Reagan administration. Its president is Scott Walter, a former aide to President George W. Bush…
Thomas said partners in the effort included Cleta Mitchell, chair of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a nonprofit that submits amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in election law cases. Mitchell planned to establish a political action committee to “protect President [Donald] Trump,” according to a slide Thomas displayed during the closed-door meeting. James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas — known for hidden-camera stings that aim to embarrass liberals — would lead an effort to “protect our heroes,” she said. And Richard Viguerie, a pioneer in conservative direct-mail campaigns, would head up an effort to “brand the left,” she said.
Mitchell said in a brief phone interview that she did not know anything about Crowdsourcers and that nothing ever came of the political action committee…
The same dark money group that had its fingerprints all over the effort to pack the Supreme Court is now responsible for $600,000 in donations to a right-wing activist group led by the wife of a sitting Supreme Court Justice.
And you want me to believe these aren't connected? pic.twitter.com/gxDTpTHnMe
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) March 29, 2023
Plus, remember that the secrecy conduits like Donors Trust keep the *public* from knowing what’s happening, but nothing prevents the secret donor from telling the spouse or the justice, “Hey, that money that secretly came through to you — that’s me.”
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) March 28, 2023
Speaking of covert culture wars; you know how YouTube now has “shorts” that stream on a loop one after the other? Recently a lot of anti-trans and anti-CRT shorts have been popping up between the cute cat videos. Has anyone else noticed this? I wonder if its worth pushing back on YouTube and insisting that propaganda not be rolled into these loops. I’ve stopped watching them, but do they really think people aren’t going to notice and feel ambushed? And pissed off?
This article is one of the reasons I renewed my subscription to WaPo, in spite of my intense loathing of its political “reporters”. WaPo has done some excellent investigative journalism over the past few years. Plus I love the book review section.
@Kathleen: And the food section is far superior to the elitist, twee NYT.
@SuzieC: Does anyone actually make those New York Times recipes? They seem awful complicated.to me. Maybe rich people have their cooks make them and pretend they did it themselves.
I admit to having made a few things from FTFNYT in my past. But they weren’t too fussy and didn’t have exotic ingredients. Been years since I have tried any of their stuff, simply because I will not read that rag anymore.
@Geminid: The NYT food section is the one I miss the most. Its not dumbed down cultural appropriation like ATK or its cousin Milk Street. They were one of the few American websites that didn’t murder various regional Indian cuisines.
Especially when Mark Bittman used to write for it, it was really good. I haven’t checked it since 2016.
West of the Rockies
Any chance this pair of corrupt slobs can stroke out together? Seems to be the only way they’ll fade away.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
OT. Saw this take today, from 2 days ago:
Is there any validity to this person’s take on the bank crisis? It’s been well-reported that lots of money has been flooding into money market funds and big banks from regional banks despite the federal government’s swift actions to provide a backstop
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Who is this person and what is his analysis based on and where does he get his numbers from.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
It’s one of those LinkedIn post thingies that appeared under an article that Google suggested to me. That’s why I was asking here if any of this passed the smell test. Guy is Alan H Moore, CPA. Apparently, he’s served as a CFO and COO in various companies. Holds a masters degree in business economics from UC Santa Barbara
I read an Axios article that cited a Moody’s report that a lot of money was leaving the banking system in the last two weeks
@schrodingers_cat: I like the articles. But some of those recipes are so complex they seem performative.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Goku, seriously: If you keep spinning your wheels and derailing posts with far-fetched But what if… financial terror-phantasies, I’m gonna start worrying about your mental health.
Think about the ‘imminent threat’ of ‘financial disaster’ the way I thought about covid, back when it was a huge threatening Unknown Risk back in March 2020. Pick one or a few sources you know are fact-based and not trying to sell you on the latest hot theory, check those good sources not more than once a day, and give yourself (and us!) a fekkin’ rest.
You’re letting people who don’t have your best interests in mind gin up your cortisol levels, and you know that doesn’t end well.
The donors aren’t secret to Donors Trust. There’s no “Hey, that’s me” needed.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
….but I was just asking? I’m fine, honestly. I’m a little concerned of course, that’s natural. I was just curious if any of it was valid and I hadn’t seen it discussed here. That’s all. I wasn’t trying to derail anything.
But if that’s bothering you all, I’ll tone it down
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Then stop, already.
You’ve established a bad pattern, and it’s almost as tiring for the rest of us as it must be for you!
Interesting (but very long) essay on how Trump and the GOP’s antidemocratic and authoritarian bleiefs come directly out of Florida, 2000.
It felt like that to me at the time- like a turning point. Still does.
Anne, Imagine if a democrat did …. Unless the news deems it worthy, it won’t matter. Clarence will keep voting the way his wife wants .
Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer, but that’s the way I’m feeling.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): You’re citing something from a rando barfed up by Google. The guy is a retired CPA in Boca Raton, worked 23 years for one company that administered 401ks. He’s flogging a book bitching about pampered millenials. In other words, high crank factor. Calm the fuck down.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I’m pretty sure she wants him to vote the way he already wanted to vote. He was picked in a desperate effort by Poppy Bush to suck up to The Two Pats and make up for David Souter.
I was wondering if Leonard Leo was even a Thing back then, and it looks like Lenny and Clarence have a joint origin story.
I personally believe Ginni Thomas is actually mentally ill at this point and has been for a while, dating back to at least the time of the insane phone call she made to Anita Hill. Not that that would stop her from being a lavishly paid GOP operative – obviously hasn’t – but she has real issues. I think it will come up again because it seems she isn’t getting any help and no one around her cares about her enough to insist she get help.
The whole thing just makes the SCOTUS seem weirder and more out of touch with reality, which is a shame. That place needs an…. airing out. Sunshine. Transparency. More than half of them seem like they’re nuts.
@Kay: The 2000 hijacked election was certainly a turning point. I can think of another two turning points that preceded it: 1) Reagan and George H. W. Bush getting away with Iran-Contra (and with the sabotaging of attempts to release the Iran hostages). 2) Ford’s disgraceful blanket pardon of Nixon after Watergate.
@Kay: There really should be term limits for those Supreme Court clowns. Maybe ten years and then hit the road.
I agree. In the more than 50 years that I have been watching politics and voting, there were only two times I actually sat down and sobbed uncontrollably–when Kennedy was killed and when the Supreme Court stopped the counting of votes in Florida.
Maybe she drinks too much. Some of the behavior seems like that of a drunk. Anyway. Something is really wrong with her- more than just ordinary far Right obsession.
She’ll be in the news again in a bad way- I’d bet on it – her husband is too powerful for anyone to intervene and all these sleazy Court lobbyists who suck up to her and give her these ridiculous fake jobs aren’t actually her friends so they’ll never say a word that might actually help her.
@Kay: Makes sense to me. The Republicans pulled out no stops to have the state declared for GWB. I remember seeing the Bush family on the TV, saying (when some news channels called the state for Gore) that they were not worried at all. I also remember reading before the vote that the Bush campaign was prepared to argue before the Supreme Court that the popular vote winner should take office, not the EC vote winner. They are ruthless, and it is hard to respond to ruthlessness, when you operate in good faith.
Totally agree. Felt the same to me. And then 9/11 and Iraq and I knew it was more than just a feeling.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): I think Ms. Laurie’s suggestion that you find a good, solid source for economic news and follow it consistently is sound advice. Maybe when Mr. New Deal Economist pops up here you can ask him to suggest one. The website he writes for might be a good one. He seems to have a level head and his feet on the ground.
I sat at my kitchen table, early morning, in the near-dark, for a long, long time. I knew it was bad in a profound way. We were so helpless. Just watching this elaborate fraud unfold. What was worse for me was the aftermath, how much effort media put into “everything is FINE! and we are moving ON!”. Just stomach turning, the cowardice. They were so scared to admit that the whole election system had just failed.
But we knew.
I think term limits would be good. I’d even take 20 year terms, but like you I think 10 would be fine.
Ginni Thomas keeps this big wacky list of Clarence Thomas’ former law clerks and they have discussions, including discussions about Trumps/Ginni’s election fraud theories.
I mean, come on. WTF, lady. How about you get a different hobby than “influencing cases that are before your husband”?
She takes advantage of us. No one should have to put up with this nonsense from the spouse of a government employee. Ten and out. See ya.
@Kay: Same here 2000 shocked me. There is a direct line between that and what happened in 2020.
IIRC (too lazy to check right now), Ginni grew up in a cult, and being One of the Few True Keepers of The Secret Knowledge is a hard identity to shed. So it might just be she’s pinballed from one ‘church’ to a new, more powerful cult.
On the other hand, like you, I’ve suspected since that famous phone call to Anita Hill that Ginni’s a binge-alcoholic. She’ll be out of the news for months, and then pop up in a foam Miss Liberty tiara yammering about demonic Democratic death cults. Her husband cares enough — not least about his own social position — to make sure her ‘lapses’ are mostly kept out of the media, but not enough to see she gets the help she needs.
Every marriage has its secrets (she says, from the vantage point of a 40+ year relationship), but the Clarence / Ginni marriage is gonna be a real bounty for future historians. Kind of the mirror-world version of John & Abigail Adams, come to think of it!
@Geminid: @Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Bill McBride of Calculated Risk is a good follow. His analysis of the subprime crisis and the bank closures due to that crisis were on point.
West of the Rockies
Could be alcohol. She was quite strange though in her college days (I believe I read). Also, she comes from a conservative, very religious background. She is a conspiracy theorist with a pretty self-evident vein of narcissistic behavior. A bloody nightmare of a human. Clarence is equally dreadful, though he seems more garden variety greedy sociopath.
Disney’s lawyers are smarter than Ron DeSantis:
While he was gadding around the country demonizing various groups of people, Disney was quietly completely neutering his hand picked board.
I hope Trump gets wind of this- he’ll know just what to do with it :)
@Kay: That also!
I did read that she belonged to a cult in her younger days, so she might have a predisposition to that.
It really doesn’t matter though. What matters is that her hubby needs to recluse himself for cases she is involved in.
ha that won’t happen.
He said about her after she got caught with the election interference that she is a “good person”, which is a weird thing to say and treats her like some kind of pitiable invalid.
She was in Lifespring which people on BJ told me is not a cult but is instead a self improvement program (some of them took the courses). Ginni Thomas said it was a cult but she said that in the context of the being a religious fundamentalist, so that’s a little suspect. As you know for religious fundies anything that isn’t their flavor of cult is automatically dangerous.
@Kay: Must be the wine then. I’m still in awe of her phone call to Anita Hill. What was she thinking.
GA Republicans are trying to pass a voucher for private and home schooled children. Taking out 60 to 80 million from public funds would hurt inner cities and rural counties the most. Some local schools would have to close. It already failed one vote, but they are going to try again before midnight.
@JPL: I was curious and just looked up the transcript of her interview with the January 6 committee (136 page document cloud thing).
p.5-6 is her opening statement. Lots of weasel words, it seems to me, and of course she attacks the committee about “leaks” while Clarence was in the hospital recovering from an infection.
p.7 – she worked for Hillsdale College, because of course she did. And worked for the Daily Caller for 7 years, because of course she did.
Lots of back and forth about looking for e-mails to and from various people on her devices. One of her lawyers was pretty adamant that she (the lawyer) had done the searching for the e-mails, not Thomas.
p.15 – she “stepped back” from political stuff between November 9 and mid-January 2021. Nothing to see there. What’s that? She attended the Stop the Steal rally on January 6? What’s wrong with that?! She told you she stepped back. Can’t you understand plain English??!!11ONE
etc., etc., etc.
@Kay: Ask and ye shall receive!
“‘Out-negotiated by Mickey Mouse’: Trump team taunts DeSantis as Disney gambit blows up in his face”
@Kay: Lifespring sure seemed like a cult to me. I never went past the introductory lecture, but later an acquaintance got farther into the program. His new friends and the inner potential they helped him unlock were so exhilarating he overpaid for a restaurant, ran it into the ground, and ended up losing his house.
Then Paul couldn’t afford any more Lifespring trainings so he lost his new friends too. He was very depressed for the next five years.
The WaPo decribed it as a cult but people here on BJ I trust said they had taken some of the courses and it isn’t. Thomas used the issue to promote fundie Christianity, like “I was in a cult and then I returned to the fundie fold!” so I’m suspicious of both her evaluation and her motives.
Ali Velshi, MSNBC, is reporting that Alan Weisselberg has fired his Trump lawyers! Velshi is wondering if this explains the indictment delay, saying if Weisselberg was to flip, this would be the time.
Ella in New Mexico
Ginni is a serial cult member and sex deprived, emotionaly labile white woman who hates herself so she wants to impose her misery on the rest of the planet that might have it better than her so fuck her. God knows what haunts her–not having babies? Is she secretly a lesbian? is her self balme about her husband’s impotence with women?
No matter, those very human dramas are reasonable for a typical human. But if she’s seeing the world thru her un-healed psychological dramas she doesn’t deserve the amount of influence she seems to have.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Jackie: IANAL but that seems… significant. The last person to fire trumpy lawyers was I believe Cassidy Hutchinson
@Jackie: Oh, that would be good. Popcorn, popcorn.
@Elizabelle: And chocolate cake for WaterGirl!
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Another Scott: I think it’s Kurt Anderson, late of the late Spy magazine, whose family knew Ginni’s growing up in Nebraska, and his rock-ribbed Republican parents through Ginni’s were RW nutcases. Birchers, maybe, would’ve been that era, I think.
ETA: First person I ever heard mention “fluoridation” was Frank Burns on an old rerun of MASH. I had to ask my dad what it meant.
@Kay: Okay, Lifespring was not a cult. It was just a multilevel marketing operation that helped people unlock their potential through intense, expensive group therapy sessions.
And it is inspiring how the founder bounced back from his 1969 conviction on six counts of felony wire fraud to make this signal contribution to the human race.
@Jackie: Cake is always good.
Paul in KY
@Kay: I actually felt their was a ‘Universe Split’ happening and a version of Paul went to the universe where Pres. Gore was elected and I’m stuck here in this one (with you poor devils too)!
Paul in KY
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: He was selected as the biggest ‘fuck you’ they could think of to all who admired Justice Marshall.
‘You want a black person on the court? Well, we’ll give you one, hee, hee!!!’
Paul in KY
@Geminid: Poor ole Paul…