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Koch Brothers Influence Peddling Justice Thomas?

February 15, 2011

I have talked about influence peddling before. It seems to be a law that is no longer enforced. Strange irony in that sentiment being we may be witnessing a serious case of influence peddling with a Supreme Court Justice. New York Times article covers this story.

Influence peddling is the illegal practice of using one’s influence in government or connections with persons in authority to obtain favors or preferential treatment for another, usually in return for payment. Also called traffic of influence or trading in influence . In fact, influence peddling is not necessarily illegal as OECD has often used the term “undue influence peddling” as to refer to illegal acts of lobbying.

New Common Cause research found that Justice Thomas enjoyed a four-day, all-expense-paid trip in 2008 to Palm Springs, courtesy of the Federalist Society, where Koch Industries was holding one of its secretive political strategy meetings. But a Supreme Court spokesperson said that his involvement was limited to a “brief drop-by” at the gathering.

If that is the case, then his expenses should have been reported as a gift. They weren’t.

This is just the latest in a series of revelations that raise troubling questions about Justice Thomas’ potential bias in the Citizens United case, which opened the door for corporations like Koch Industries to spend unlimited funds to influence elections.

What do you think? If it looks like a duck and quacks like duck, it’s a duck.

Related: Rachel Maddow last night reports on this story, click here

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