Clarence Thomas’ conflict of interest, and Anthony Weiner’s Twitter ‘scandal’

Ginny Thomas got six figures from an anti-healthcare group. Why shouldn't Clarence Thomas recuse himself from deciding on the Affordable Care Act?

Daily Kos gets to the bottom line of why Andrew Breitbart (once again with the help of the mainstream media … and strangely enough, Talking Points Memo… is attempting to smear a New York Democratic congressman.

From Joan McCarter:

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has somewhat of a conflict just being a justice, concerning the very right-wing and very prominent political activities of his wife, Ginni. But that conflict is particularly a problem since the Supreme Court will almost undoubtedly be hearing a case against the Affordable Care Act, the law that his wife has been paid handsomely to fight. A Friday afternoon news dump consisting of his financial disclosure form highlights this little problem he has.

What’s the disclosure? Per Mother Jones:
His new financial disclosure form indicates that his wife, Virginia, who served as Liberty Central’s president and CEO, received $150,000 in salary from the group and less than $15,000 in payments from an anti-health care lobbying firm she started.

The disclosure was apparently prompted in part by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who had been needling Thomas (including on Twitter) for months to disclose how much money his wife earned from Liberty Central. That’s because challenges to Obama’s health care reform law are likely to end up before the Supreme Court sooner rather than later, and if Thomas and his wife benefited from her income working against the bill, the justice has an enormous conflict of interest in hearing any legal challenge. Thomas had failed to disclose Virginia’s income on his financial disclosure forms for 20 years; under pressure from Weiner and others, he had recently amended old disclosures to reflect hundreds of thousands of dollars she had earned working for the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank that also opposed Obama’s health care plan.

As McCarter alludes to in her post, New York Rep. Anthony Weiner has been spearheading efforts to shame Clarence Thomas into recusing himself from any case involving healthcare reform, due to his wife’s tea party advocacy against so-called “Obamacare,” and due to the family’s financial interest in the industry that has risen up around opposing and then trying to get the Affordable Care Act repealed. So far, Clarence isn’t budging (and no doubt the irony is not lost on him that his protectors are using alleged lewdness to attack Weiner, when it was Clarence who made the phrase “pubic hair on a Coke can” famous.)

Ginny Thomas now works for The Daily Caller, having had to step down from her tea party group. From that perch she could conceivably be opining about healthcare reform while her hubby is deciding its fate on the Supreme Court.

And isn’t that special.

Driving Weiner off television and out of the water cooler media, if only by making his every television appearance an excruciating gauntlet of “wiener” questions, would not be a bad thing for the pro-Thomas side (Breitbart is a longtime, vicious Thomas defender, and in fact, it was the Thomas case that apparently set Breitbart off on a years-long quest to prove that non-conservative Black people are racist, and liberals are racist against conservative Black people.)

But what’s really shocking here is that at this stage, after the fake pimp stories and Shirley Sherrod, that anything Breitbart says, tweets or writes is taken seriously by anyone but right wing talk radio, blogs and Fox News, which is where his drivel should be confined. And yet, the media is putting Breitbart’s completely unproven allegations into the feedback loop (just like they did with President Obama’s birth certificate) with the result likely being a less aggressive Anthony Weiner on Twitter (though I hope not) and at least in the near term, probably less of the congressman on TV, if only because his communications director (or maybe his lawyer) advises him to allow a cooling off period for the media to get excited about something else.

So once again, Breitbart wins.

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6 Responses to Clarence Thomas’ conflict of interest, and Anthony Weiner’s Twitter ‘scandal’

  1. It is a disgrace that any news outlet would give Breitbart airtime. To his credit, Jeffrey Toobin said that to the CNN host who allowed Breitbart to broadcast unsubstantiated allegations about Wiener.

  2. ABL says:

    Breitbart is a liar. Full stop.

  3. I believe that James O’keefe might be behind this all, Breitbart’s buddy. Hacking Weiner’s account and sending a dirty picture sounds like his work.

  4. Pingback: The Weinergate-Clarence Thomas convergence : The Reid Report

  5. Pingback: The growing Clarence Thomas ethics problem : The Reid Report

  6. Pingback: Advice to Rep. Chris Murphy: stay off Twitter, watch your back. The Thomasbots will be watching : The Reid Report

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