Remember during the 2001 election when David Corn of Mother Jones broke the story of Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video? In the midst of a heated Presidential campaign, that revelation reverberated throughout the media of the world, earning it a nomination as the story of the year.
The Romney video was shot behind closed doors, at a fundraising event for wealthy campaign donors. Last week, Corn reported on another secret coalition of conservative policy makers — a behind-the-scenes group of Republican lobbyists, activists, journalists — and some elected officials. The group includes conservative stars like Clarence Thomas’ wife, Ginny Thomas, as well as Frank Gaffney and former Florida Tea Party Representative Allen West.
Dubbed Groundswell, this coalition convenes weekly in the offices of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal watchdog group. During these hush-hush sessions and through a Google group, the members of Groundswell—including aides to congressional Republicans—cook up battle plans for their ongoing fights against the Obama administration, congressional Democrats, progressive outfits, and the Republican establishment and “clueless” GOP congressional leaders. They devise strategies for killing immigration reform, hyping the Benghazi controversy, and countering the impression that the GOP exploits racism. And the Groundswell gang is mounting a behind-the-scenes organized effort to eradicate the outsize influence of GOP über-strategist/pundit Karl Rove within Republican and conservative ranks. (For more on Groundswell’s “two front war” against Rove—a major clash on the right—click here.)
If you were ever wondering why the news cycle was so focused on “scandals” like Benghazi (which never caught fire, despite the efforts of Fox News) and the IRS’ investigation of political groups trying to obtain tax-exempt status — look no further. Karoli at CrooksandLiars.com has obtained an audio recording of this group boasting about a meeting with Darrell Issa and John Boehner to stoke the fires and keep these stories in the news at the expense of issues that actually matter to the American people (such as the damage being done by the sequester).
There was wave after wave of headlines about these so-called scandals. Some people wrote about what an awful week the White House had. It wasn’t coincidence. It was orchestrated and planned by this group of people, who had the will and the power to secure the participation of people like Darrell Issa, John Boehner and more.
True the Vote led the charge to sue the IRS and serve the highest-profile plaintiff among the “aggrieved” groups. Yet this audio recording shows their president “facilitating” a clearly partisan, right-wing activist group meeting of people who claim to be fighting a “30-front war.” No big deal? When is the last time anyone you know could ring up the Speaker of the House and the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee and take a face-to-face meeting in the wee hours of the evening with approval from the wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice?
You may recall True the Vote as the group that trained “citizen poll watchers” to challenge voters on election day. Their goal is to disenfranchise as many likely Democratic voters as possible, and they happen to have been one of the groups leading the charge that the IRS was discriminating against conservatives.
But the role of Ginni Thomas, who earns money lobbying for measures her Supreme Court justice husband rules upon is a whole other level of blatant conflict of interest.
When a sitting Supreme Court justice is married to a woman who received nearly a million dollars from a wealthy Texas billionaire to oppose the Affordable Care Act in a high-profile fashion, the answer shouldn’t be that spouses are entitled to do whatever they want.
There are circumstances where they can’t do what they want, and one clear one is a situation where their spouse is going to rule on a related case. No other federal judge would be permitted to hear or issue opinions about cases where his or her spouse is publicly acting as advocate for one side or the other.
Karoli thinks it’s time we impeach Thomas. We’re inclined to agree.