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New conflict of interest allegations surface about Justice Clarence Thomas: NPR


Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas poses for an official portrait in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court building last year.

Alex Wong/Getty Images


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Alex Wong/Getty Images

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Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas poses for an official portrait in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court building last year.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

New conflict of interest allegations have surfaced regarding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

In a lengthy article published Friday, ProPublica reports that Thomas has maintained close relationships over the years with the Koch network, one of the nation’s largest and most influential political organizations, and that Justice, at least two times, has spoken at fundraising events for the conservative organization.

According to ProPublica, Thomas was invited at least twice to speak at private dinners for major donors to the Koch network. That put him in what ProPublica called “the extraordinary position” of having served as a “fundraiser” for a network that has repeatedly taken cases to the Supreme Court.

In 2021, one of Koch’s entities, Americans for Prosperity, successfully challenged state laws that required nonprofits to disclose the identities of their major donors. And this year, the network is supporting the Supreme Court’s challenge to a long-standing regulatory precedent.

Thomas has not recused himself from the 2021 case, and there is no indication that he will recuse himself from this term’s case, a challenge to a nearly 40-year-old Supreme Court precedent. Chevron c. Natural Resources Defense Council, in which the justices unanimously ruled that courts should defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous law as long as that interpretation is “reasonable.”

The most recent report is the latest in a series on ProPublica’s Thomas highlighting allegations of conflicts of interest that include undisclosed luxury travel and gifts paid for by a billionaire GOP megadonor.


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