Ginni Thomas should be removed from board managing Library of Congress funds
Ginni Thomas finds herself in the news a lot these days. Controversies surrounding the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas range from her husband’s conflicts of interest to texts she sent pushing former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to overturn the 2020 presidential election to her roles in organizations involved in litigation before the Court.
What many people do not know is that Thomas currently is a federal government official herself. And that’s not a position she should have.
In May 2020, then-President Trump appointed Thomas to a five-year term on the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board. Created by statute in 1925, the Trust Fund Board oversees gifts to the Library and determines the investment policy of the Library’s gift and trust funds. As of the Library’s most recent financial report, the combined value of the gift and trust funds overseen by the Trust Fund Board totalled more than $200 million.
The Trust Fund Board includes the Librarian of Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury, the chair and vice-chair of Congress’s Joint Committee on the Library, eight members appointed by Congress, and two presidential appointments. Members aren’t paid, but can be reimbursed for expenses.
Unsurprisingly, Trust Fund Board membership is rarely if ever controversial. But Thomas’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election make her unfit for any role in government, let alone one overseeing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money.
Thomas was a passionate Trump supporter who campaigned for him during the 2020 election. As soon as it appeared Trump had lost, she started pushing Meadows to take steps to overturn the election, embracing a range of debunked conspiracy theories.
Among other things, Thomas’s text messages directed Meadows not to concede because “it takes time for the army who is gathering for [Trump’s] back,” and pressed for discredited attorney Sidney Powell to be “the lead and the face” of the Trump legal team. Thomas threatened to pull her political support if they were to “cave to the elites” by not working to overturn the election results. Thomas also alleged “Biden and the Left [are] attempting the greatest Heist of our History” and quoted a passage charging that the “Biden crime family & ballot fraud co-conspirators” were being arrested and faced “military tribunals for sedition.”
Thomas also recently admitted she attended the January 6th “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse, though she said she left before Trump spoke. Early on that day, Thomas proclaimed on Facebook “LOVE MAGA people!!!!” and posted “GOD BLESS EACH OF YOU STANDING UP or PRAYING.” Thomas also signed a letter last December calling on the House Republican Conference to expel Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for working on the House January 6th Committee, which the letter called “an overtly partisan political persecution” engaging in “political harassment” and “demagoguery.” One month later, Thomas’s husband, Justice Clarence Thomas, was the Supreme Court’s lone dissent in its order rejecting Donald Trump’s bid to withhold documents from the January 6 panel.
Federal law does not address removal of Trust Fund Board members or require they can only be terminated for good cause. Since Thomas is a presidential appointment, it is likely that President Biden has the power to remove her. Biden similarly removed 18 Trump supporters last year that Trump appointed to boards of the military academies, including Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer, and last month removed Mehmet Oz and Herschel Walker from the Presidential Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.
Trump’s other Trust Fund Board appointment – named in the same last-minute move as the military academy board members – was American Conservative Union (ACU) chairman Matt Schlapp. The ACU is running a legal defense for select Trump aides targeted in the House’s January 6th investigation, and like Thomas, has personally promoted the false claims of fraud in the 2020 election.
It isn’t clear why then-President Trump put Thomas on the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board. But after her efforts to undermine democracy by overturning the election that Trump lost, she shouldn’t still be on it. Her egregious actions to push the White House Chief of Staff and others to overturn a free and fair election make her a threat to democracy and should disqualify her for any role of public trust at the Library of Congress or anywhere else in government.