Monkey business

Well, looky here [Via Common Cause]. Maybe we need to call Congressman Issa and have him look into whether the Federalist Society was used as a front group to pay for Clarence Thomas and Tony Scalia — and their little meetings with the infamous Koch brothers, which by the way, aren’t illegal.

But the Federalist Society might want to be a little more careful. They might lost that handy 501(c)3 status:

“The public is entitled to more detail about the nature and extent of the justices’ involvement with Koch Industries’ closed-door political strategy sessions,” said Edgar, “And there has been no response to the equally serious concern raised about Justice Thomas’s financial conflict of interest due to his wife’s role as CEO of Liberty Central and its political activities in 2010.”

Charles Koch’s invitation to their 2011 secretive retreat, to be held in Palm Springs on January 30-31, states that the “action-oriented program brings together top experts and leaders to discuss – and offer solutions to counter – the most critical threats to our free society.” It added that past “meetings have featured such notable leaders as Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas,” along with a host conservative leaders and elected officials, like Glenn Beck, Haley Barbour and Jim DeMint.

“That doesn’t exactly square with Thursday’s assertions by a Court spokeswoman,” Edgar said. As reported today by the Los Angeles Times, the spokeswoman stated that the justices attended nearby Federalist Society dinners, but that Scalia did not attend the January 2007 Koch seminar, and that Justice Thomas merely did a “brief drop-by” at the separate Koch meeting sessions.”

In addition, Justice Thomas’s 2008 disclosure form states that he was reimbursed by the Federalist Society for “transportation/meals and accommodations” for a trip to Palm Springs January 26-29. Those dates appear to coincide with the schedule for Koch Industries multi-day retreats, and raise some obvious questions: Did Justice Thomas stay at the same posh resort where the Kochs were holding their event or have more extensive involvement with the event or event participants?

Justice Scalia’s 2007 disclosure form only shows reimbursement by the Federalist Society for “transportation, food and lodging” for Indian Wells, California for a single day, January 29, 2007. His form also shows reimbursement by the Federalist Society for a trip to Beaver Creek, Colorado on September 10-11 of 2007 as well, but we do not know at this time if that was in conjunction with another Koch Industries retreat. The last semi-annual Koch retreat was held in Aspen, Colorado on June 27-28, 2010.

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