The late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have been in hot water for concealing the ultimate recipients of a $1 million prize she won from a liberal billionaire’s foundation in 2019, Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) charged during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Thursday.
"There is one allegation, it’s come to light fairly recently with regard to the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg … to the effect that she received a $1 million award that went unreported," the Utah Republican said in reference to a Washington Free Beacon report on conflict of interest concerns surrounding Ginsburg’s acceptance of the $1 million prize from the Berggruen Institute.
Ginsburg pledged when she accepted the prize in December 2019 that she would donate her winnings to more than 60 charities that reflected her personal causes. But the Berggruen Institute refused to provide the full list of recipients to the Free Beacon, saying the late liberal justice wished to keep the charities confidential. Experts said the lack of transparency surrounding the recipients of Ginsburg’s prize raises the possibility that some could have had business before the Court prior to her death.
"This might have some very significant ramifications if she was still serving on the Court," Lee said of Ginsburg’s prize. "We don’t yet know exactly what was done with that, whether she carried out the apparent intention of the stated purpose of intent at the outset to donate it to charity."
Lee’s comments came during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting to mark up a Supreme Court ethics law led by Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.) to crack down on alleged ethical transgressions from conservative members of the Court. The move follows attacks from mainstream media outlets such as ProPublica against conservative justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito that Republicans have cast as unfair efforts to instill a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court.