EXCLUSIVE: Supreme Court “Ethics” Watchdog Scrubs Website of Undisclosed Lobbying
A Supreme Court “ethics” watchdog, Fix the Court, has come under scrutiny for alleged ethics violations. Recently, it was revealed that the organization failed to report lobbying on tax forms in 2021 and 2022. To make matters worse, Fix the Court has now removed blog posts from its website that appeared to demonstrate its lobbying efforts during those years. This revelation has raised questions about the organization’s transparency and adherence to federal law.
Watchdog’s Lack of Disclosure Raises Concerns
Fix the Court, which advocates for justices to disclose more about their finances, has faced criticism for its failure to accurately report its own lobbying activities. Charity experts have accused the organization of skirting federal law by checking “no” on tax forms when asked if it lobbied in 2021 and 2022. However, amended tax forms filed by Fix the Court now confirm that it did engage in lobbying during those years.
The executive director of Fix the Court, Gabe Roth, admitted the organization’s mistake and acknowledged that they directly lobbied members of Congress and engaged in grassroots lobbying. This includes efforts to influence public opinion and encourage individuals to contact their representatives in support of specific bills.
Website Changes Raise Further Questions
Fix the Court’s recent removal of blog posts from its website has raised eyebrows. These posts, such as “The Judiciary Must Do More to Prevent Harassment in the Courthouse,” appeared to demonstrate the organization’s grassroots lobbying efforts. Additionally, Fix the Court publicly endorsed legislation like the Judiciary Accountability Act and the Open Courts Act, further suggesting its involvement in lobbying activities.
Despite the organization’s attempts to address its lack of transparency, critics have pointed out the irony of Fix the Court calling out justices for their own disclosure problems while failing to get its own disclosures right. Senate Republicans have decried the watchdog’s hypocrisy, highlighting its efforts to criticize justices like Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito for their alleged lack of transparency.
Fix the Court’s compliance issues have also drawn attention to its donors, including the New Venture Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The organization initially faced backlash after inadvertently leaking its donor list and was later hit with an IRS complaint over allegations of illegal overpayment to its executive director.
While Fix the Court has acknowledged its mistakes and pledged to improve compliance, questions remain about its credibility and commitment to transparency. As the organization works to rectify its errors, it is clear that greater scrutiny will be placed on its activities moving forward.
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