WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Accountable.US released the following statement in response to the draft National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) under consideration in the House of Representatives, which could allow federal judges and their families to keep secret potential conflicts of interest, including who their employer is, their positions on nonprofit boards or any institutional affiliations they might have. If passed, the provision could prevent the public from being aware of potential conflicts of interest.
The law could shield individuals like Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who worked to overturn the 2020 Presidential election results in Arizona and Wisconsin. Moreover, Mrs.Thomas was involved with right-wing groups and conservative Judicial kingmaker Leonard Leo. Even before the amendment, last year, reports revealed that over 131 federal judges failed to disclose potential conflicts of interest in cases they were overseeing.
This well-intentioned NDAA provision to keep judges and their families safe could put at risk basic transparency measures and open the door for shadowy groups interested in influencing our courts to direct jobs, affiliations, or board seats to the spouses of federal judges with no public disclosure,” said Kayla Hancock, Accountable.US’ Director of the Power and Influence program. "The judicial branch already has a serious issue with transparency and conflicts of interests. This provision could further damage the institution's legitimacy and expand the influence of right-wing groups that operate behind the scenes.”