Last night, the American Spectator — a right-wing magazine known for its role in the “Arkansas Project,” a well-funded effort to invent stories with the goal of eventually impeaching President Clinton — held its annual gala fundraising event. The Spectator is more than merely an ideological outlet. Spectator publisher Al Regnery helps lead a secretive group of conservatives called the “Conservative Action Project,” formed after President Obama’s election, to help lobby for conservative legislative priorities, elect Republicans (the Conservative Action Project helped campaign against Democrat Bill Owens in NY-23), and block President Obama’s judicial appointments. The Spectator’s gala last night, with ticket prices/sponsorship levels ranging from $250 to $25,000, featured prominent Republicans like RNC chairman Michael Steele, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer (a major donor to Republican campaign committees and attack ad groups), and U.S. Chamber of Commerce board member and former Allied Capital CEO William Walton. Among the attendees toasting Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the keynote speaker for the event, was Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito.
Fang, who was at the event, asked Alito why he was attending a partisan fund-raising event. Alito responded, “It’s not important that I’m here.” Fang pointed out that Alito had headlined the same event in 2008 and had used his speech to ridicule now Vice President Joe Biden.
Apparently, Alito is a regular benefactor for highly political conservative fundraisers. Last year, he headlined the fundraising dinner for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) — the same corporate front that funded the rise of Republican dirty trickster James O’Keefe and anti-masturbation activist Christine O’Donnell. According to the sponsorship levels for the event, Alito helped ISI raise $70,000 or more.
Documents exposed by ThinkProgress last month revealed that Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas have also attended secret political fundraisers. We published a memo detailing fundraising events, organized by oil billionaires David and Charles Koch, to fund Republican campaigns, judicial elections, and groups running ads in the 2010 midterm election. The fundraisers, attended by some of the nation’s wealthiest bankers, industrialists, and other executives, help fund much of the conservative infrastructure. The memo stated the Thomas and Alito were past participants of the Koch fundraisers.
What the hell?! This kind of conduct is explicitly forbidden by the Code of Conduct for United States Judges (via Raw Story), which clearly states that a “judge should refrain from political activity.” Specifically, he or she should not:
“solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, or attend or purchase a ticket for a dinner or other event sponsored by a political organization or candidate.”
According to Raw Story,
In 2009, Alito also headlined a fundraising dinner for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which funded the conservative journalist James O’Keefe and Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. Alito is reported to have helped the institute raise $70,000.
This is absolutely outrageous! Will the Obama administration or Congress respond, or are these kinds of partisan political activities on the part of Supreme Court Justices just fine with them? Keep in mind that these three justices voted in favor of “Citizens United” in the recent controversial decision that opened the doors to unlimited campaign spending by corporations. Lest we forget, “Citizens United” was originally called Citizens United Not Timid (get it?), and was formed in order to destroy Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy.
By the way, have you heard that Alito plans to skip the State of Union Address this year? This man does not belong on the Supreme Court.