Should Scalia and Thomas have recused themselves from Citizens United case?

Common Cause says yes:

“The public is entitled to more detail about the nature and extent of the justices’ involvement with Koch Industries’ closed-door political strategy sessions,” said Edgar, “And there has been no response to the equally serious concern raised about Justice Thomas’s financial conflict of interest due to his wife’s role as CEO of Liberty Central and its political activities in 2010.”

Charles Koch’s invitation to their 2011 secretive retreat, to be held in Palm Springs on January 30-31, states that the “action-oriented program brings together top experts and leaders to discuss – and offer solutions to counter – the most critical threats to our free society.” It added that past “meetings have featured such notable leaders as Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas,” along with a host conservative leaders and elected officials, like Glenn Beck, Haley Barbour and Jim DeMint.

“That doesn’t exactly square with Thursday’s assertions by a Court spokeswoman,” Edgar said. As reported today by the Los Angeles Times, the spokeswoman stated that the justices attended nearby Federalist Society dinners, but that Scalia did not attend the January 2007 Koch seminar, and that Justice Thomas merely did a “brief drop-by” at the separate Koch meeting sessions.”

In addition, Justice Thomas’s 2008 disclosure form states that he was reimbursed by the Federalist Society for “transportation/meals and accommodations” for a trip to Palm Springs January 26-29. Those dates appear to coincide with the schedule for Koch Industries multi-day retreats, and raise some obvious questions: Did Justice Thomas stay at the same posh resort where the Kochs were holding their event or have more extensive involvement with the event or event participants?

Justice Scalia’s 2007 disclosure form only shows reimbursement by the Federalist Society for “transportation, food and lodging” for Indian Wells, California for a single day, January 29, 2007. His form also shows reimbursement by the Federalist Society for a trip to Beaver Creek, Colorado on September 10-11 of 2007 as well, but we do not know at this time if that was in conjunction with another Koch Industries retreat. The last semi-annual Koch retreat was held in Aspen, Colorado on June 27-28, 2010.

Common Cause has sent a letter to DOJ, and launched a petition to garner more attention to this issue.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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