Clarence Thomas' links to right-wing dark money groups detailed in new report

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' right leaning political views have been obvious for decades in his writings for the Court. A new report in the Daily Beast, however, spotlights just how intertwined his financial connections are to an ultra-conservative judicial activist.

When Thomas was looking to promote the release of his memoir last October he chose to hire a public relations firm, CRC Advisors, run by the former chief of the Federalist Society, Leonard Leo. Leo is a top fundraiser for right-wing judicial activist groups. The Daily Beast reports that "Leo has raised hundreds of millions of dollars over the three decades on behalf of right-wing dark money groups to influence the federal judiciary and Supreme Court. He advised and persuaded Republican presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump in their appointments of Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Chief Justice John Roberts—and prepped Justice Thomas for his nomination hearings."

The report also says that Leo is the "hub" of dark money groups that stealthily fund and link up with parties who argue cases before the Supreme Court, something that Supreme watchers have dubbed an "amicus flotilla."

Leo’s affiliations with the court - and especially Thomas - are especially pronounced. He made the justice the godfather of one of his children and has hosted him on vacation at his New England retreat.

Paul Collins is a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and author of several books about the high court. He says Thomas’ choice of Leo’s firm is “strange” and “unnecessary.”

“It signals that this world of the Federalist Society is even smaller than we thought,” Collins told The Daily Beast.