Scalia, Thomas Dined at Fancy Koch Dinners Before Citizens United Ruling, Advocacy Group Wants DOJ Investigation

Millions of conservative dollars are rushing into GOP campaigns in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United. (Read our in-depth look at the spending, one year later, here.) The ruling unleashed the floodgates of cash infusions, yet “the cloak of secrecy surrounding corporate campaign spending goes against the Supreme Court thinking behind Citizens United, which was that massive corporate spending was acceptable as long as the public knew about it,” according to Chris Kromm.

But Common Cause, a liberal advocacy group, thinks it's time to look deeper into the original ruling. Specifically, they're asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether Justices Scalia and Thomas should have recused themselves from the Supreme Court's final decision, noting they were “featured speakers at invitation-only retreats sponsored by Koch Industries, a private company whose officials have played an active role supporting Republican candidates and conservative causes,” according to a report by Christian Science Monitor. Koch Industries is, essentially, bankrolling the Tea Party.

On two separate occasions in 2007 and 2008, the Justices spoke and dined with Charles Koch at gatherings for his conservative Federalist Party, which paid for their travel expenses.

Further, Justice Thomas may have been operating under an undisclosed financial conflict of interest -- his wife is founder of Liberty Central, a conservative advocacy group, that would have benefited from greased-up fundraising and spending rules.

Common Cause drafted a letter to Eric Holder requesting a full investigation into the matter. “If the department finds sufficient grounds for disqualification of either justice, we request that the solicitor general file a … motion with the full Supreme Court seeking to vacate the judgment,” the letter read.

Read more at the Christian Science Monitor.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at January 21, 2011, 3:56am

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