Leonard Leo Directed Funds to Ginni Thomas, Another Account of Supreme Court Grift


There was too much news on Thursday for me to get to the story about Clarence Thomas, his grand-nephew, and Harlan Crow, the justice’s landlord-cum-travel agent-cum sugar daddy. Fortunately, Thomas and his wife are so on the arm that you couldn’t dislodge them with a tactical nuke and, if you just wait a little while, another dubious financial transaction will come along, reliable as the crosstown bus. Voila!

From the Washington Post, with special guest appearance by…Kellyanne Conway!

In January 2012, Leo instructed the GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway to bill a nonprofit group he advises and use that money to pay Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the documents show. The same year, the nonprofit, the Judicial Education Project, filed a brief to the Supreme Court in a landmark voting rights case. Leo, a key figure in a network of nonprofits that has worked to support the nominations of conservative judges, told Conway that he wanted her to “give” Ginni Thomas “another $25K,” the documents show. He emphasized that the paperwork should have “No mention of Ginni, of course.”

Of course, not.

Conway’s firm, the Polling Company, sent the Judicial Education Project a $25,000 bill that day. Per Leo’s instructions, it listed the purpose as “Supplement for Constitution Polling and Opinion Consulting,” the documents show.

In all, according to the documents, the Polling Company paid Thomas’s firm, Liberty Consulting, $80,000 between June 2011 and June 2012, and it expected to pay $20,000 more before the end of 2012. The documents reviewed by The Post do not indicate the precise nature of any work Thomas did for the Judicial Education Project or the Polling Company.

The “landmark voting rights” case to which the Post refers is Shelby County v. Holder, in which the Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and through which Chief Justice John Roberts declared the Day Of Jubilee. That’s just in case you were thinking that this little bit of influence peddling was a victimless crime.

That figures like Leo and Conway are roped into this latest episode of payola regarding the Thomases is not just a happy bonus in which we all can revel, but also an indication that the long conservative project of capturing the federal judiciary wasn’t merely an ideological crusade, it was also the opportunity to do some first-class grifting along the way. There were a lot of very wealthy people whose pecuniary interests dovetailed nicely with the political effort to reverse all the progressive gains made back to Roosevelt — either one, actually.

In his statement to The Post, Leo said that Ginni Thomas’s work had no bearing on her husband’s opinions.

“I have known Clarence and Ginni Thomas since 1990. They are dear friends and are people of tremendous good will and integrity. 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. 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.”

Of course, she does.

“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!! … You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

That’s Ginni Thomas, demonstrating the respect she has etc. etc. blah-blah etc on November 10, 2016, after the former president* had lost the popular vote for the second time in a row.

“I can’t see Americans swallowing the obvious fraud. Just going with one more thing with no frickin consequences… the whole coup and now this… we just cave to people wanting Biden to be anointed? Many of us can’t continue the GOP charade.”

That was a couple of weeks later, when her respect for the American experiment obviously had increased. It seems to have peaked on January 10, 2021, four days after some enthusiasts with a similar respect for institutions laid waste to the Capitol. Ms. Thomas focused her great respect on vice-president Mike Pence and his role in facilitating an orderly and peaceful transition of power.

“We are living through what feels like the end of America. Most of us are disgusted with the VP and are in a listening mode to see where to fight with our teams. Those who attacked the Capitol are not representative of our great teams of patriots for DJT!! Amazing times. The end of Liberty.”

She never discussed any of this with her husband, of course. That would be wrong.

Headshot of Charles P. Pierce

Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976. He lives near Boston and has three children. 


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