Clarence Thomas Attended Koch Donor Events: Report – Rolling Stone

Clarence Thomas

The Supreme Court justice attended at least two exclusive summits summits hosted by the wealthy conservatives, according to ProPublica

Clarence Thomas attended donor events hosted by the billionaire Koch brothers — whose organizations and legal projects regularly appear before the Supreme Court. According to a report from ProPublica, the Supreme Court justice has appeared at least two summits hosted by the wealthy conservatives, one of which had been previously reported on, and a second which was not disclosed.

Most recently, Thomas appeared as a speaker at an exclusive dinner for high-level donors during the Koch network’s 2018 Palm Springs summit. One former Koch network executive told ProPublica that these kinds of dinners were aimed at “giving donors access” to powerful conservative figures, “and giving them a reason to come or to continue to come in the future.” No doubt continued financial support for the network is also part of the goal. 

According to ProPublica, Thomas arrived to and left from Palm Springs on a private jet, and the trip was not listed in Thomas’ disclosure forms for that year. The 2018 summit served as a launching point for a Koch network initiative aiming to place more conservative judges on federal benches. The person appointed to lead the project was a former employee of Ginni Thomas, Clarence Thomas’ wife.

It wasn’t the first time Thomas was rubbing elbows with the Kocs in Palm Springs. The New York Times obtained a copy of an invitation from Koch Industries, the corporate conglomerate then controlled by Charles and David Koch, for a covert meeting at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa in Palm Springs. The information included in the packet referenced Justice Thomas as a past speaker at Koch Network summits. Thomas just so happened to be in the Palm Springs area during the 2008 meeting, but the court claimed he had been there for a Federalist Society dinner promoting his memoir and had only made a “brief drop-by” at the Koch event. According to ProPublica, his travel arrangements for the trip were included in his 2008 disclosures as a speech for the Federalist Society. 


A series of ProPublica investigations have uncovered the extent to which the Thomas’s are living large off the gifts and generosity of their wealthy connections, and frequently failing to disclose those perks.  

Since the ‘90s, Thomas has taken at least 38 luxury trips and dozens of private jet flights paid for by major conservative donors. Benefactors include billionaire Harlan Crow, Horatio Alger, former Miami Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga, and investor David Sokol. Crow also personally purchased property from Thomas, and funded the private school tuition for a child Thomas had taken under his wing. Most of the gifts and transactions never made it onto ethics disclosure forms. 

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