GINNI THOMAS CONTINUES TO BREAK NEW GROUND…. It’s probably safe to say there’s never been a Supreme Court justice’s spouse quite like Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.
Throughout 2010, Ginni Thomas’ once-obscure right-wing activism took on a much higher-profile role. She told audiences nationwide that “there’s a war going on against tyranny,” and in her worldview, the tyrants are America’s elected leaders. All the while, Thomas collected large, undisclosed contributions from secret donors, some of whom, conceivably, may have had business before the Supreme Court. (Clarence Thomas was required to report her income on his financial disclosure forms, but for several years, for reasons that remain unclear, he chose not to.)
The creepiness factor went up considerably, of course, when Thomas left an odd, accusatory voice-mail message for Brandeis University professor Anita Hill in October, calling early on a Saturday morning, asking her to apologize for having been sexually harassed by her husband.
Thomas parted ways with her far-right activist group, Liberty Central, and has now apparently designated herself a “Tea Party Ambassador,” through her new lobbying outfit, Liberty Consulting. For a price, her clients can even take advantage of Ginni Thomas’ “connections.”
Thomas already has met with nearly half of the 99 GOP freshmen in the House and Senate, according to an e-mail she sent last week to congressional chiefs of staff, in which she branded herself “a self-appointed, ambassador to the freshmen class and an ambassador to the tea party movement.”
But her latest career incarnation is sparking controversy again.
Thomas’s role as a de facto tea party lobbyist and — until recently — as head of a tea party group that worked to defeat Democrats last November “show a new level of arrogance of just not caring that the court is being politicized and how that undermines the historic image of the Supreme Court as being above the political fray,” said Arn Pearson, a lawyer for Common Cause, the left-leaning government watchdog group.
Even for Ginni Thomas, this is pretty bizarre. In fact, while she claims to have met with nearly half of the new GOP freshman class, House Republicans hardly seem to know who she is: “Roughly half a dozen aides for new members told POLITICO that their offices received handwritten meeting requests from Thomas the day after they were sworn in, as well as follow-up e-mails requesting a meeting with her — but only one of them had met with her. The rest had no plans to do so.”
It’s not even altogether clear exactly what kind of services Ginni Thomas is selling, since “self-appointed ambassador” isn’t quite a traditional position in D.C. Apparently, her clients get “advice for short or long term projects and bringing resources to bear for impact — whether it includes a short term bill-reading project, assistance on congressional oversight efforts or an effective coalition for impact.
Dave Weigel added, “So you can hire Ginni Thomas to help determine whether a bill will pass constitutional muster if it comes before, you know, her husband.”
What a ridiculous mess.